Saturday, February 28, 2015

In the Market Report:

In the "Pink" of Things

Anna Wintour at the 87th Academy Awards

So, it seems Anna Wintour knew that something was in the air when she decided to wear that pastel pink gown and matching fur shrug at the 87th Academy Awards last Sunday. Surprise, surprise (not!) She, along with supermodel Karolina Kurkova and Gwyneth Paltrow, were the other fashionable attendees who stood out on the red carpet by virtue of the fact that they opted for this traditionally sweet, girlie, feminine pastel hue, instead of the more predictable shades of red, black, white, gold, silver, etc. that one is accustomed to seeing at these high profile events.

Prada Fall 2015

As I have previously mentioned, the combination of baby pink and red has long been considered to be a decidedly chic and fashionable (if not an unusual and surprisingly off beat color combination), so, it should not have been that surprising when it appeared in several guises during the course of Miuccia Prada’s pastel - saturated Fall 2015 runway show held in Milan on Thursday evening. Like the rest of us, the brilliant designer apparently bores easily and seems to have a short attention span; and she has turned being fickle and contradictory, into an art form. Which explains why each season, you can rely on her to go completely against what she previously showed. Case in point, just about one month ago, she unveiled an almost entirely all black pre fall 2015 collection and admitted that she was feeling for strict and severe “uniform” dressing (which has also beens another Prada signature through the years). But not this time.

Prada Fall 2015

For Fall 2015, Miuccia was in true form with a collection that was a testament to her ongoing love affair with strange and unorthodox colors and color combinations (various shades of pink, blue, green, gray, mustard, ochre, etc.); offbeat use of furs and plastic (as ornamentation); gutsy, hefty tweeds along with luxurious, exotic skins and innovative fabrics; pared down, almost minimal shapes (in this case, everything was neat, fitted, short, and cropped, including the pants); and of course, her beloved structured satchels.

The overall effect was subversively ladylike (and innocently childlike at the same time), and her runway did not look like anyone else's this season. But of course, she did look like the Miuccia we have all come to know and love. In the meantime, it’s worth noting that while off beat color combinations and pastels defined her collection, (there were even pastel hued walls in her show venue), Miuccia herself took her bow in the always chic combination of black and white. It's as though she was saying, "Do what I say, not as I do."

- Marilyn Kirschner

Friday, February 27, 2015

Editorial: Saggy Boobs Get Their Day in the Sun

Ashley Benson
(Photo: Getty Images)

This past fashion week flew by with remarkably few moments that stood out in memory, except for the Reem Acra show. While the gowns and dresses were spectacular in their bohemian gypsy-like beauty, what was more surprising was a front row attendee who had her saggy boobs on full display smack in the middle of the audience.  It appeared as if no one noticed and I felt slightly perverted for staring and focusing on her droopy chest but her young age and the prominence of the display made me uncomfortable.

The girl's name was Ashley Benson, a 25-year old from the television show "Pretty Little Liars" and there were numerous headlines from Perez Hilton to the Daily Mail and even a YouTube video made of her cleavage, documenting this momentous event. This was the "coming out" party for Benson, and it is almost assured she is on her way to fame and fortune due to her revealing garment.

Sofia Vergara Vanity Fair party

This was the revered fashion week where icons Anna Wintour and Linda Fargo set the dress code with long sleeves, mid-calf skirts and an occasional flounce or skinny jean. Was I even in the right place? Then I began to feel melancholy as I looked at her boobs because they reminded me of my grandmother (or bubby) who used to sit me on her lap with her voluminous chest, and talk to me about her days in Poland and the struggles she endured. Wow the emotions that this exhibitionistic display riled up left me perplexed. Upon going home to view the Reem Acra show online it became clear that the press did in fact take notice of this woman and there were multiple pictures and comments discussing her revealing dress.

Jennifer Lopez at the Vanity Fair party

However, Ashley is not alone, as the saggy boob trend has been picking up in Hollywood this past awards season with Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum and Amy Adams forerunners of this increasingly popular trend.  And why not, aren't we all sick of looking at the perfectly perky breasts of Salma Hayek, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian? Plaudits to Kate Upton for appearing on the Sports Illustrated cover twice with her low hanging boobs sans bra saying hello to the male audience in 2012 and 2013 - we were getting sick of the perfect Photoshopped Victoria's Secret models stealing all the attention.

Gwyneth Paltrow at 2002 Academy Awards

Gwyneth Paltrow was an early advocate, appearing at the 2002 Academy Awards in an Alexander McQueen sheer gown with little support, even lamenting this dreadful look years later claiming she should have worn a bra, beachy hair and less makeup. Thank you Gwyneth for being so self deprecating but you are in good company. Jennifer Lopez has hit nearly every awards show sans bra, recently appearing in an Elie Saab dress at the Academy Awards that had everyone talking.

Jennifer Aniston at the SAG awards

Jennifer Aniston, another offender, appeared at the "SAG" awards in a vintage Galliano dress that left little to the imagination, and Heidi Klum showed up at the Elton John Oscar party in 2013 in a Julie Macdonald dress that had tongues wagging at her dangling duos. Furthermore, Amy Adams limping lemons were practically the focal point of the entire "American Hustle" movie, the one in which she was nominated for an Oscar in 2013. Even goddess Sofia Vergara has been showing some southern movement in her chest area as the pictures from the recent Vanity Fair Academy Award's party reveal, making her more relatable to her vast female audience.

Heidi Klum Julien at the Elton John AIDS Foundations Oscar Viewing-Party

The burgeoning popularity of low hung boobs is a feminist statement of sorts. It says to the world I am proud of what I have even if it does not conform to the ideal of female perfection. However, its "downside" is it increases society's objectification of women and puts attention in all the wrong places. We should be applauding these amazing women for their incredible career accomplishments and instead the only thing that stands out are the two things that have always garnered the most attention, since the days of Marilyn Monroe - and I am not talking about their soulful eyes.

- Lieba Nesis

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In the Market Report: Pucci & the Geometric Prints

Veruschka in Pucci photographed by Franco Rubartelli  

Fashion is nothing, if not fickle, contradictory, and cyclical (yes, everything comes back, and it’s not always that different from the original, contradictory to what many fashion ‘experts’ say). And judging from the fall 2015 shows thus far, many highly influential designers are taking their cue from decades past. Among other things, there’s been an obvious return to a look that can best be described as luxurious bohemian (circa 1970’s); a wholehearted embrace of the 80’s (a decade the defined the notion of ‘bad’ taste); and it’s been hard to ignore all the 60’s inspired mod designs.

Christian Dior Couture Spring 2015 Collection

Pucci, the iconic Florentine label known for its exuberant, artistic, and colorful geometric prints, has long held a particular appeal for me (as a child of the 60’s and an art history major). And my closets, (filled with an enviable collection of vintage Pucci’s which look as modern today as they did more than 50 years ago because the shapes are classic and timeless, if not minimal) attest to that fact. And it just so happens that they remind me of some standout pieces I’ve seen on the runways as of late, as it seems that fashion is having yet another Pucci moment.

Tom Ford Fall 2015 Collection

Seeds of it began with the Christian Dior spring 2015 Haute Couture show in Paris this past January. As soon as I saw images of Raf Simons’ second skin bodysuits covered in swirly psycadelic prints, the name Pucci immediately came to mind. And who would imagine that Tom Ford would use Pucci-esque brightly hued geometric prints in his fall 2015 collection? (The show was held in Los Angeles just a few days before the Academy Awards). Many of his long lean skirts and trousers were made of plush velvet, often pieced together with patchwork denim.

Ilincic Roksanda’s Fall 2015 Collection

The most recent example was in London. Ilincic Roksanda’s fall 2015 runway was highly textural (tweeds, knits, felt, jacquards, fox), and she made effective use of vividly hued, swirly, geometric patterns, often mismatched.

Pucci Emilio Pucci Resort 2015 

Peter Dundas has been artistic director of Emilio Pucci since October 2008. He has been credited with making the jet set label, more youthful, sophisticated, edgy, and rock n roll, thanks in part to his two main fashion muses (Anita Pallenberg and Maryann Faithfull), who are never far from his thoughts, and his desire to explore more of the sexy, nighttime spirit of the line. He also admits to having a love affair with women’s legs, and so, short (often very short) dresses, and shorts, will always co-exist with maxis, within his collections. His fall 2015 line will be shown in Milan later this week.

By the way, part of the timeless appeal of the immediately identifiable label, is its inherently up beat, happy, and optimistic nature. Many years ago, I was on the elevator in my building, and an elderly woman got on. She looked at me and asked if I was wearing Pucci and when I said yes, she immediately smiled and with a gleam in her eyes, replied, "We all had so much fun in those clothes". Indeed!

- Marilyn Kirschner

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New York Fashion Editorial:

The Cutout Dress - Enough is Enough

Singer Rita Ora at the Vanity Fair Oscar party

The recent emergence of the half sheer dress which leads little to the imagination is a trend that I wish celebrities would "cutout." The look was introduced by Gwyneth Paltrow when she appeared in an Antonio Berardi dress with a sheer component on the side at the Iron Man Premiere in 2013. The dress gave us a glimpse of her buttocks and provided much fodder for the fashion press. The mega slit donned by Angelina Jolie to the 2012 Oscars, appeared demure compared to the flash of skin exposed by Paltrow. Along came the side butt and vaginal area as focal points of attention, replacing the side boob, with celebrities turning up to premieres and parties sans undergarments. Gwyneth was largely criticized for this dress with the press calling her desperate for attention and obscene, however, this look has picked up steam appearing on celebrities, models and wannabes. While this might appear mild compared to a Kardashian "spread," this look is gaining mainstream traction and acceptance.

Irina Shayk at the Vanity Fair Oscar party

The Vanity Fair party this past week included four major starlets wearing this outrageous ensemble including Heidi Klum, Irina Shayk, Rita Ora and Gigi Hadid. These dresses were practically pornographic with Rita Ora and Irina Shayk heading the pack with the most revealing gowns, displaying rear ends and vaginal areas with such explicitness as to make Gwyneth Paltrow blush. The public has become so accustomed to this look that nary a peep was heard this past week at this new display of nudeness. Even Heidi Klum, a relatively respected television personality, mother of four, and supermodel pulled off this gown without controversy.

Miley Cyrus

Are we becoming so inured to celebrity indecency that we fail to even recognize it. When will the explicit dress code that has become de rigeur in Hollywood become disfavored with a return to elegance and classicism reintroduced? I am afraid the answer is never, as social media continues to highlight and encourage lewdness and starlets see their Instagram and Facebook following multiply exponentially as their layers of clothing diminish. This unfortunate shift to "less is more" is here to stay and continues to reach new heights of salaciousness. This movements origin can be traced back to Liz Hurley who appeared in a safety-pin black Versace dress in 1994 that left people gasping at the racy garment which showed some obliques and a fair amount of cleavage. This garment today would receive little to no attention as proven by the scant publicity given to Lady Gaga when she repeated this gown in 2012. Even more shocking is the introduction of the vagina as a new area of fashion exploration with Kendall Jenner appearing in a Balmain dress up to her nether regions and Miley Cyrus sporting leotards that barely cover.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Antonio Berardi

These "role models" and mainstream celebrities are wearing looks that in the past were reserved exclusively for Playboy models Pamela Anderson and Jenna Jameson in a magazine "layout." Baffling is the approbation of Kris Jenner and Tish Cyrus, who manage their daughter's careers and encourage this exposure. The only standard enforced in Tinseltown is the "gold standard" - as long as riches can by earned anything goes.

Kate Hudson

Similarly, Kate Hudson's recent appearance in a red Versace cutout dress to a Versace fashion show when accompanied by mom Goldie Hawn was paradigmatic of the complete absence of shame by celebrity offspring, even when accompanied by a revered parent. The media lauded Kate's fashion pick as extraordinary and the press coverage was overwhelming. This kind of reinforcement ensures that this style of dressing will increase rapidly with few impediments to its dangerous ascendancy.

- Lieba Nesis

New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

Furry Balls: My Best Dressed at the Oscars

Dana Perry and Ellen Goosenberg Kent

Although award season is now behind us and "The Last Word" has already been written I still can't forget my favorite look of the evening. No, it wasn't Gaga or Lupita or any of the other custom and haute couture offerings that took a village of 3,000 seamstresses six years to make. Instead it was unearthed in a mother-in-law's attic, probably smelling musty and possibly accompanied by rodents (haha, I'm just basing that on my parents attic) although it certainly looked none the worse for it. I would love to know the year and designer of the item in question because it is sooo good; nothing else that I saw even came close.

Confetti caps

This article of apparel was seen on a "non-celeb," a co-producer of a short documentary film called "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1" and its wearer was Dana Perry. The object of my extreme desire was one that host Neil Patrick Harris joked about due to its furry balls saying: "I love that dress...takes a lot of balls to wear that dress." The balls were actually giant mink or fox pom poms applied to a cage like unstructured jacket which Ms. Perry wore over a perfectly complementing black low cut gown.  "I got the gown to support the balls" she quipped.

She wasn't initially aware that NPH had made a joke about her attire until later on however she took it all in stride and added "I invite anyone to feel my furry balls (she said on Twitter) I love it because I can make ridiculous dirty jokes about it" reported the Los Angeles Daily News. Sadly, she had just dedicated the Oscar win to her son who had committed suicide at age 15 however she is clearly someone who has retained her sense of humor and who wore "the happiest outfit of the night" as Los Angeles Magazine dubbed it. Later Twitter exploded with witticisms like "how many furbies did it take to make Dana Perry's outfit" as well as tribble and gremlin (don't feed her outfit after midnight) jokes but it didn't dissuade me from thinking it was an inspired choice.

Maximillian fur stole from Bloomingdales

While I couldn't find anything quite like Ms. Perry's wonderful garment, I did realize that giant pom poms are definitely trending and come in quite a few varieties depending on whether you like a little or a lot of furry balls. If you like a lot, then this Maximilian fur stole, available in black or white and on sale at is for you. While I really like the openness of the one that Ms. Perry wore, the clustered pom pom stole could be a great look with a gown or dress and will have the added benefit of keeping the wearer warm. I also found two pairs of pom pom earrings at two different price points, one very inexpensive pair from Etsy and one more expensive pair with gold bars from Tuleste:see more here.

Etsy fur monster bag charms

Of course, Pom Poms are no strangers to hats however some of the newer ways to wear them are from wool felt or leather caps rather than the knit variety. Fendi had done a wool felt cap for around $500 and a brand called Confetti is now making several versions as seen on Kylie Kardashian and others for around $80. Eugenia Kim has a knit cap with two pom poms at Barneys for $235. Also made popular by Fendi is the bag bug monster which retails for upwards of $700 and I'm not even talking about the Karlito (the fur likeness of Karl Lagerfeld) which goes into the four figure stratosphere for a charm that you hang on your bag! Etsy has several "knockoffs" in the $85-$90 price range which are dead ringers for the designer ones.

Aperlai at

If you want to look down at your feet and see furry pom poms then there are plenty of options whether you want heels, boots or flats. Barneys has a pom pom boot for $625 which should get you through the rest of the winter in style. For great looking heels check out the black with hot pink pom poms or black with black pom poms from Aperlai at For other options: click here. While I don't advise covering yourself head to toe in pom poms, a few large well placed furry balls can go a long way towards making your look not only eye catching but possibly award winning.

- Laurel Marcus

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscars 2015: The Last Word
by Diane Clehane

How Lady Gaga Saved the Oscars

Lady Gaga in Alaia
(All photos:

By its very nature, the Academy Awards is always a ponderous event with its endless number of categories and winners to be acknowledged but in recent years, the ceremony had been made even worse by ill-suited hosts (Seth MacFarlane, James Franco and Anne Hathaway) and stultifying direction. And let’s face it, the writing is always bad.

When it was announced that perennial award show host Neil Patrick Harris would host this year, I thought: meh. He’s fine for the Emmys and perfect for the Tonys, but this was the Oscars for goodness sakes! The truth is, there is no real mystery or allure left in Hollywood so NPH’s ubiquity and proven track record seemed like a sensible if not inspired choice to assure the producer some guarantee of safety things would go smoothly.

The results were mixed. NPH started out on a high note with a clever, lively opening number and with the exception of a few good jokes (John Travolta is nothing if not a good sport), he couldn’t maintain the momentum and things for him went downhill from there: the unfortunate tighty whiteys, his uncomfortable references to race and an awkward Oprah moment reminiscent of the Letterman fiasco. At three hours and forty minutes the show was about forty minutes too long and the host did indulge in an over-extended and annoying ‘look at me’ gag (the stupid predictions in the lock box). What does it say about the Academy Awards that the show still managed to be one of the more enjoyable broadcasts in recent years?

The emotional unscripted moments -- and Lady Gaga’s stellar tribute to the Sound of Music -- made up for NPH’s surprisingly uneven performance and the complete lack of suspense over the winners. From Patricia Arquette’s battle cry for women’s equality to the reaction shot of Best Actor nominee David Oyelowo with tears streaming down his face as he watched John Legend and Common performance “Glory” from Best Picture nominee “Selma,” there were plenty of moments worthy of remembering after everyone had left for Vanity Fair’s party.

Reese Witherspoon

When it came to Oscar fashion, it was all there in black and white. There was no ‘wow’ dress this year. I think that ship has sailed. But there were some lovely standouts. Reese Witherspoon may have gone home empty handed but she did nab the evening’s other prize – best dressed honors for her sleek, chic Tom Ford. It reminded me of the stunning all white caped column dress he designed for Gwyneth Paltrow a few Oscars ago. Witherspoon has really come into her own this awards season by consistently wowing on every red carpet. From her glittering Golden Globes column to tonight’s stunner – and she’s done it by looking strong not starved. Bravo. I also adored Cate Blanchett’s unexpected Martin Margiela Couture black velvet column and its subversive simplicity. I also loved the Tiffany statement necklace. It was a meaningful gesture of support for John Galliano who has designed so many of her most memorable Oscar dresses. She cleverly stood out among the sea of pretty but largely forgettable pearlescent dresses. And let’s face it: she’s Cate Blanchett. In my book, she can do no wrong.

Julianne Moore

Other fashion winners were Julianne Moore in custom Chanel, Sienna Miller who looked cool and elegant in Oscar de la Renta, the two ladies in red: Rosamund Pike in Givenchy haute couture (Does she ever smile?) and Dakota Johnson in Saint Laurent (but sorry, didn’t love the pony tail). Only Marion Cotillard could carry off the geisha-like Dior Haute Couture. Fashion darling Lupita Nyong’o who dazzled during her inaugural Oscar season last year, chose a custom Calvin Klein made from 6,000 pearls which looked better on stage then it did on the red carpet. I didn’t love it, but the dress did what it was supposed to do – it got everyone talking.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I hate the way the ‘trend of the moment’ -- in this case white and blush colored dresses -- saturated or more like washed out – the red carpet. I have to imagine all those actresses who chose them were more than a little disappointed to be lost in a sea of sartorial snowflakes. All except one:
Scarlett Johansson

And now the losers: Scarlett Johansson-- what was that? Yes, you have an incredible body and a new baby but the Puff the Magic dragon-inspired dress and matching choker (not to mention that hair) was absolutely hideous. Emma Stone’s Vegas-inspired Elie Saab was so disappointing. I was expecting so much more after her daring Lavin bustled pants at the Golden Globes. And what the hell happened to Nicole Kidman? She inexplicably tied a red grosgrain ribbon around her nondescript Louis Vuitton and opted to carry a mini tool chest instead of an elegant clutch. I guess now that she’s happily married she’s gets less concerned with maintaining her fashion icon status.

The biggest winner: Lady Gaga who more or less saved the whole shebang with the night’s best performance and was anointed Queen of the Night by none other than Julie Andrews. Extra points for finally giving us a Cher moment in Azzedine Alaia accessorized with, what looked all the world like red Playtex gloves.

Here’s a rundown of the evening’s highlights:

8:30 Neil Patrick Harris clearly has the crowd with him with that clever opening number. Oprah is really rooting for him. And Sharon Stone will be sending him flowers tomorrow. His Billy Crystal 2.0 song and dance was lively and fun. Nice job, Anna Kendrick.

8:30 Lupita Nyong’o presents the Best Supporting Actor Oscar to J.K. Simmons. The first of what would be a long list of predictable winners. He gives charming acceptance speech. Extra points for telling the world to call their parents.

8:46 They’re bringing out the big guns early. Liam Neeson introduces Best Picture nominees The Grand Budapest Hotel and American Sniper.

8:49 Dakota Johnson and her Forevermark diamonds introduces Adam Levine who performs the first Best Song nominee.

8:52 Reaction shot of Lady Gaga in the audience. My ten year old says: “I don’t understand what’s going on with the red gloves.”

8:56 Nominees get a gift bag worth $160,000 -- and an armored car when the revolution comes. Good one, NPH.

9:00 Sorry but I’ve got to sign off to watch Downton Abbey. This is the next to last episode of the season and I’m pretty sure I won’t miss too much.

10:00 Man did that hour fly by. Something tells me that’s the last time I’ll say that tonight. I just blew through the hour on my DVR I missed. So I did miss something. Wow. Patricia Arquette. My new hero. I’ll follow you anywhere.

10:08 Is Zoe Saldana the new Halle Berry? Yowza.

10:30 An emotional Meryl Streep presents the In Memoriam segment. So many greats left us in past year.

10:43 My husband thinks Benedict Cumberbatch should have worn an undershirt.

10:47 Who is Terrence Howard auditioning for with that squirm-inducing best picture introduction?

10:49 Jennifer Aniston may not have gotten an Oscar nomination, but she looks none the worse for wear. And that is one smokin’ hot Versace.

11:02 The audience is on its feet for John Legend and Common’s stirring performance of Glory.

11:03 The funniest moment of the night: John Travolta gets to redeem himself by presenting Best Original Song with Idina Menzel (that’s Adele Dazeem to you). NPH also killed it with his Benedict Cumberbatch-Ben Affleck joke.

11:15 An iconic Oscar moment with Lady Gaga and Julie Andrews.  Too bad whoever wrote Andrews’ remarks for her presentation of Best Original Score didn’t know that it was Johnny Mercer not Henry Mancini that wrote “Moon River.” As an aside I can’t help but think all these women with hideous tattoos are really going to regret them ten years from now.

11:33 Some guy just thanked his dog Larry in his Oscar speech.

11:36 Best Adapted Screenplay winner Graham Moore delivers what is sure to be one of the most memorable acceptance speeches in Oscar history and sets the Twittersphere on fire. Who else can say they saved a life with an Oscar speech? Brilliant.

11:42     Alejandro Gonzalez Inarrita wins Best Director for Birdman. A charming fellow who, it turns out, should have just stayed on the stage.

11:51 Eddie Redmayne wins Best Actor and wins the hearts of everyone everywhere with his utterly charming acceptance speech.

11:52 All right. All right. Matthew McConaughey presents the Best Actress Oscar to Julianne Moore. All right indeed.

12:00 I’ve lost track of the number of tuxedoes Neil Patrick Harris has worn tonight.

12:03 Sean Penn presents Best Picture. “Who gave this sonofabitch his green card?” Birdman wins proving Hollywood really doesn’t like Clint Eastwood and loves movies about actors.

GRADE: The broadcast: B-     The clothes: B

- Diane Clehane
 is's entertainment editor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane 

In the Market Report: Fashion Notes on the Oscars

Lupita Nyong'o Oscars Red Carpet 2015

Long ago, I made peace with the fact that I will invariably be disappointed with the (usually ho hum) parade of fashions at the Academy Awards and nothing will never live up to my expectations. But last night, I actually gasped when I first caught sight of Lupita Nyong’o in her amazing custom made Calvin Klein dress which was comprised of 6,000 pearls. She tops my best dressed list because the creation, all in white, was not only truly spectacular, but it enhanced her beauty (when you saw close-ups of her on stage, it almost looked like she was wearing one big fantastical pearl necklace), and the style (slim and body conscious yet not too much so), completely suited her body and her style. And, it was unusual!

Lady Gaga in Alaia

Another unusual choice was Lady Gaga’s dramatically shaped custom made Azzedine Alaia (the dress took two months to make). She is really toning down her fashion choices as of late, and seemingly gone are the over the top hijinks that defined her on and off stage appearances. Of course, that being said, she did add monster red gloves (the kind better suited for doing the dishes than appearing on the red carpet at the Academy Awards). But regardless, nobody can deny her amazing talent. That woman can sing (and she can apparently sing anything).

Dakota Johnson 

I also thought Dakota Johnson, in sleek, custom made red Saint Laurent, looked fantastic. With its bejeweled one shoulder, it was decorative in the most modern way. Rosamund Pike was another star to opt for red, and her fitted, strapless custom made Givenchy Haute Couture gown was undeniably a vast improvement over her last few red carpet appearances. (FYI, I’m getting a little tired of all those overly cumbersome ball gowns, such as the one worn by Jennifer Lopez, who admitted it was so heavy; she would be changing to a “party dress” afterwards. And yes, it was so unwieldy; she actually tripped when she left the stage. And while I’m at it, I’m also getting a little tired of seeing the boobs!)

Scarlett Johansson

Speaking of sleek, I almost gasped again, when I saw Scarlett Johansson. The beautiful star, known for her voluptuous curves, recently had a baby, and she has never looked so svelte (quite frankly, I wasn’t even sure it was her when I first saw her on the red carpet). Her body hugging green Atelier Versace not only perfectly accentuated her new body, it was accessorized with that fantastic face framing green bib necklace, which really made a statement when she appeared on stage. Another star who opted for a statement making necklace was Cate Blanchett. Her turquoise beaded necklace provided a perfect counterpoint to her simple yet dramatic black Maison Martin Margiela gown, which was covered up in front, but featured the surprise of a bare back (this has long been a Blanchett trademark.

By the way, I never understand why more stars (or rather, their stylists) don’t opt for face framing, statement necklaces, instead of going bare on top, or borrowing millions of dollars of teeny tiny diamonds that are almost invisible to the naked eye (and almost impossible to see on television). While I thought Julianne Moore looked beautiful in her embroidered white and black Chanel Haute Couture strapless gown, it did look a bit mother-of-the-bride and I somehow wish she had something a bit more face framing.

Meryl Streep

While Meryl Streep did not go home with a statue, she won my award as one of the evenings’ ‘most improved’. Meryl sometimes does not get it right at these award shows, but she really hit the nail on the head in her tailored Lanvin ensemble (a feminine take on a menswear staple), which completely suited her. Speaking of menswear, the 80 year old Shirley MacLaine, looked damned good, in her black sequined pantsuit, and 69 year old Milena Canonero, who won for costume design for Budapest Hotel, wins my award as chicest and most individual, in her black satin trench coat, black sequined pants, white shirt, black and red Roger Vivier pumps with crystal buckle, and black beaded choker, embellished with white lips.

Shirley MacLaine & Milena Canonero rocking black sequined pants

And now, for the disappointments. Emma Stone looked uncharacteristically matronly in her gold Elie Saab (I agree with The New York Times’s Alexandra Jacobs, who said she looked like the “mother of the bride”). Marion Cotillard’s white Dior Haute Couture was a bit sacky and did absolutely nothing for her. Sienna Miller’s (lackluster) long black Oscar de la Renta, is unlikely to do much to bolster the label, now under the direction of Peter Copping. Naomi Watts’s cut out, beaded Armani Prive, looked sort of poor and was not a great choice (and she is too skinny to have that much skin showing).

Barbie and Gwyneth Paltrow

And finally, perhaps one of the most surprising trends on the red carpet, was the sighting of pale pink (although, pink and red have always been considered a fashionable, if not surprising color combo). Giving credence to the trend, was Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who arrived in a pale pink gown and shrug, Karolina Kurkova, who wore a pale pink strapless gown, and Gwyneth Paltrow, (who wore a pale pink Oscar de la Renta when she received her Oscar many years ago). Her one shouldered baby pink Ralph & Russo gown, which featured a ginormous rose on one shoulder, drew a few comparisons to Barbie. Oh, baby!

- Marilyn Kirschner

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscars 2015 Coverage

Editorial: Some "Predictable" Observations

Lara Flynn Boyle's tutu dress

As Oscar night beckons, it behooves us to review the history of Oscar dresses and to recommend some appropriate gown or pants choices for current nominees. Over the past decade we have seen some abominable fashion choices nearly end the career of numerous celebrities, such as Lara Flynn Boyle, Bjork and Kim Basinger. It is difficult to assess whether a bold outfit will catapult a star to stratospheric heights, or end up on the worst dressed list of every fashion blog and newspaper. Therefore, stylists have recently chosen to play it safe by veering starlets away from controversy and into safe territory by choosing an Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy or Armani confection, with little possibility of offending.

Cher in Bob Mackie 

The delicate balance necessary to gain publicity without becoming a laughing stock is difficult to achieve and has ruined the fun of the show that was experienced back in the days when Cher showed up in 1986 in a feathered Bob Mackie. Consequently, an already too long, too staid Awards show has become nearly unbearable with predictable fashion choices leading most to let out a big yawn. Moreover, this year we face the added hurdle of bland host, Neil Patrick Harris, who averts controversy, and thinks tap dancing and show tunes are exciting. Needless to say, I will be sitting out this year's show, but will nonetheless try to make some predictions as to who will dress appropriately, who will bore and who will shock.

Bjork's swan dress

Bjork's swan dress which she wore to the 2001 Academy Awards was the major fashion disaster of all time. Designed by Macedonian designer Marjan Pejoski, the dress was in the shape of a swan and at the Awards Bjork mimicked laying an egg on the red carpet.  While the dress has received some salvation by being reimagined for the Spring 2014 Valentino couture show, it is largely viewed as the fashion faux pas of the decade, and Bjork has largely disappeared from the public eye.  Similarly, Lara Flynn Boyle's choice of a pink tutu like confection for the 2003 Golden Globes was just wrong.  Her look was "ballerina meets starving Hollywood wannabe" and it ensured the demise of her already shaky career.  Thankfully, we have not heard from her since this major fashion misstep, except to see her on some National Enquirer "who had terrible surgery" lists.  Kim Basinger, another fashion victim, showed up to the 1990 Oscars in a gown she designed herself, in which she looked like Cinderella after an encounter with a dangerous mugger, and we have not heard much from her thereafter.  While Cher's outrageous look was lauded as one of the great fashion moments in history, these women virtually destroyed their careers by their daring and unfortunate getups.

Lupita Nyong-o in Prada couture gown

Last year's nominees mostly played it safe with Lupita Nyong'o leading the crowd in a pale blue Prada couture gown-pretty but nothing outstanding. Jessica Biel bored in a metallic Chanel gown, and Julia Roberts made absolutely no list with her black peplum Givenchy. Even Lady Gaga showed up in a demure metallic Versace gown with a pink scarf-we are certainly in trouble if she underwhelms. Similarly, Kerry Washington, a usual fashion standout, showed up in a pale mauve Jason Wu gown-I am getting disinterested by just enumerating the blah fashion of last year. This year's nominees are a fashionable group, yet they frequently play it safe and suffice it to say we will not be seeing any Jennifer Lopez green Versace gowns on the carpet. Julianne Moore, will most likely don a Givenchy gown with some sequins in either green, red or gold. It would be great to see her change it up and go for a more modern look, in a Naeem Khan feathered number or in an edgy pantsuit-however, this is unlikely.

Marion Cotillard In Dior couture

Another predictable dresser, Marion Cotillard, loves Dior and will probably appear in one of their elegant gowns, with her hair in some French chignon. Emma Stone, has been spicing things up a bit with a Lanvin pantsuit worn to the Golden Globes and a sheer tuxedo Dior dress worn to the SAG Awards, however, her unappetizingly boyish figure make her a "who cares what she wears" in my estimation. Assured is that Patricia Arquette who stated she "would love to wear overalls" to the Oscars, will appear in a dowdy, monochromatic dress designed by her friend Rosetta Getty and Felicity Jones will likely disappoint in a covered-up frock by Dolce and Gabbana or Dior. There is some hope that Rosamund Pike will choose poorly as she did with that dreadful off-white poorly fit Vera Wang she wore to the Golden Globes, but Reese Witherspoon will most likely disappoint in a safe single color, custom fitted gown with a stiff looking hairdo.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford

Oscar history has produced some audacious fashion choices that have awed the public, including Gwyneth Paltrow's white Tom Ford cape worn in 2012 and Julia Robert's vintage Valentino worn in 2001. These choices were edgy, fashion forward, and spectacular without resulting in a spectacle. This year there may be some provocative garb donned by Rihanna, Miley or Gaga but their excessive risk taking is becoming tedious and desperate. The wish this year is that someone relatively unknown, will create that fashion moment that will cause conversation for the next 30 years, following in the footsteps of fashion iconoclast, Cher.

-Lieba Nesis

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

Sherri Hill Fall 2015 At The Plaza

Sadie Robertson

Don't think of it as losing a Kendall and Kylie, think of it as gaining a Savannah and Sadie.   For evening wear designer Sherri Hill's Fall 2015 show held Thursday night at the Plaza Hotel there was still much star power present in the Grand Ballroom, both on and off the runway. The two S's are none other than Savannah Faith Chrisley of USA Network's "Chrisley Knows Best" accompanied by her dad Michael Todd Chrisley, as well as Sadie Robertson of A & E's "Duck Dynasty" accompanied by her mom Korie Robertson.OK, so they're not quite Jenner/Kardashian's but just give them some time in the big city and they'll get there!

First of all, let me say that I was slightly unprepared for the scene I encountered in the Plaza lobby. So many millennials milling about in sky high heels and seriously sparkly party frocks at 5PM seemed slightly obscene. One particularly tall girl in a black and gold strapless cleavage enhancing mini set her crystal encrusted clutch down on the lobby center table and proceeded to knock over a huge urn filled with flowers. I must say she had extremely fast reflexes though and managed to quickly scoop it up, however not before copious amounts of water stained the oriental carpet. Carmen Dell'Orefice elegantly strolled by, white hair and white blazer flashing, and continued to make her way to the third floor ballroom. After a deep breath I decided to follow her there.

Third from the left: Maddie Ziegler, my new style icon! 

The room outside the ballroom was just starting to fill with more heavily made up and lightly dressed PYT's (do we still use that phrase?) posing on the step and repeat including Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. I spied Rob Shuter of "Naughty But Nice;" the last time I saw him he was following Countess Luann de Lesseps around at her shopping channel clothing launch event. It turned out that he was her "walker" this evening too, as I found out when they sat together in the front row of the ballroom next to Carmen. The Countess looked stunning as always in an amazing black evening dress that definitely wasn't from her home line nor do I think it was from Ms. Hill's as it was suspiciously unadorned by anything clear and shiny.   Across the runway, on the other front row sat 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler from "Dance Moms" recently seen accompanying and dressed like Singer Sia at the Grammy's (she dances with Shia LaBeouf in Sia's video and performed at the Grammy's) with 13-year-old actress Clare Foley of "Gotham" and "Orange is the New Black." Ziegler as Elle Magazine's NYFW correspondent she has had one busy week See: Elle article . Nice product placement with the ELLE clutch! A few seats over I also spied Kelly Hyland, mom of Paige and Brooke, all of whom left the show last year.  Carson Kressley and MSNBC's Thomas Roberts rounded out the list of notables for the evening.

Sherri Hill

If you're not familiar with Sherri Hill don't be ashamed; this is niche dressing. She started her own line in 2008 after a 12-year stint at Jovani, known for prom and pageant wear. Hill gained recognition when various Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Universe contestants won titles in gowns that she had designed. The Sherri Hill brand now has over 800 stores selling the brand in over 30 countries. She has dressed young Hollywood for the red carpet including Selena Gomez, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Bella Thorne. Her star really rose in 2011 when Kendall walked in the show during NYFW along with Miss China and Miss USA. In 2013 both Kendall and Kylie  joined Miss Universe 2008 in walking the runway for the spring collection.

At about 5:40PM the ballroom went dark and the show began. Thirty-four evening wear looks were shown mostly in jewel tones and most studded with rhinestones, crystal and all matter of bling. There were velvet mermaid silhouettes, ostrich feathers, high slits, heavily beaded bodices with silk taffeta overskirts, nude illusion side panels, cut-out backs, plunging necklines, lace, jewels, beads, pearls and more crystals; sometimes all on the same dress! I realize that pageant/prom is its own market/price point and can't be compared to some of the high-end evening wear designs I had just seen at Fashion Week however it was shocking to my system, nonetheless. Looks 34 through 44 were from the exclusive preview of the Fall 2015 Bridal Collection. The first bridal look must have been for a second wedding; it was way too sex-ay for a first, but it received cheers for its beaded fringe over a nude illusion Swarovski crystal bodice. Carmen let out a whoop for Look 42 which was the only pant ensemble; a midriff bearing lace beaded top with liquid beaded extremely form-fitting pants.

Carmen Dell'Orefice in Tahari Window Display

Although Carmen wore sunglasses and drank from a straw in a water bottle (aren't straws supposed to give you wrinkles?) she was busy shielding her eyes and turning around during the show as the intense light reflecting off of the blingety-bling-bling was all just too much. I realized that the 83-year-old had to have had an extremely long day as she spent the earlier part of it posing at a presentation at the Elie Tahari show along with a stuffed zebra in the store window. Unbelievable!  At the end of the show, after Ms. Hill took her quick sortie on the runway and ducked backstage, Carmen started yelling "Sherri, Sherri, Sherri" until finally she decided to take matters into her own hands (or legs) and walked briskly backstage to get the shy designer. They both embraced on the runway, everyone held their iPhones aloft, snapped and then it was over, 20 minutes after it had begun. I wonder where all the fabulously overdressed young girls went afterwards. Was there an after party at an ice cream shop?

- Laurel Marcus