Monday, March 23, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

Hungry For Spring

"Cake Couture"
International Culinary Center "too pretty to eat"
edible display

As we all know the vernal equinox delivered more snow. Should we blame Mother Nature, Old Man Winter or the Lion that March comes in as for not ceding it to the Lamb? Take it away Lamb already! I am reminded of a commercial for Florida tourism in the '70s called " I need it bad!"  but I'm not suggesting we all go south just that Spring weather would get here (play commercial). If ever there was a year when my yearning for printemps was more intense I don't remember it.

Like just about everyone else, I am ready to burn the skinny jeans and boots. After a steady diet subsisting on clothing of the warm variety, not to mention the non-colors of black and 50 shades of gray that have been on wardrobe repeat these past many months I'm hungry for some amazing hues and fun prints as my sartorial splurge. On recent forays into the retail world for "research purposes" LOL, I can assure you that what I've seen are endless racks of dull, lifeless, boring beiges, pale blues, navy, maybe a dash of coral thrown in for good measure. These bland, monochromatic colors  do nothing to dispel my winter doldrums or quell my appetite for a fashion adventure.


Kimmy Schmidt

Despite T's Fashion Editor Jason Rider saying that florals are "a familiar trope in womenswear. It's something that we see come around every Spring." (See article) I am not seeing many that speak to me. At this point I don't even mind looking like something out of the wardrobe of "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" in which the title character dresses in an overabundance of '90s inspired color. IRL, don't even try to find a red pantsuit this spring; it's not out there. Saturated tones are a rare find much like a D&G shopping bag in Elton John's hand...OK, bad example but they are an anomaly.


Balenciaga Bag

Right now I'm loving the bright bursts of color (when I can find them) and if there's a floral motif as well, then all the better. I plan to bypass the pastels of Easter and go right to Memorial Day with the debut of my new Balenciaga vibrant floral bag. This is the kind of bag that makes an entire outfit and is everything! B bags are my kryptonite however my daily driver (a gris poivre City bag) has had nary a day off this winter and definitely needs a restoration. Nothing could have gotten my motor running more than spying its replacement on a shelf at Roundabout Couture.  I like the Madison Avenue and 83rd St. location as it has become my go-to inspirational shrine for new and resale designer clothing and accessories.


Giles Couture

No sooner had I fallen in love with the bag when I turned and saw another new found obsession. I gasped at the sight of a true work of art in dress form. How could you not love something with 3-D floral rubber bathing cap-like appliques? The white flower petals have a hand painted appearance and are done in shades of bright almost neon yellow, orange, and hot pink along with faint splatterings of bright blue and a paler green. Set against a black outline and background, they are showstopping. Somehow the petals remind me of cake icing and, at the risk of getting Proustian, they transport me back to one of my first decade birthdays (I'm an April baby) that had a daisy theme topped off with a large "daisy" cake. I also love the vibe that the dress was giving off with its equal parts Stephen Sprouse neon graffiti look and it's Giambattista Valli workmanship. The label read Giles.


Anna Dello Russo in Giles Swan Hat

Intrigued, I was easily persuaded to try it on by Roundabout honchos Patrick and Kelly whose names go together to form another designer obsession of mine: '80s designer Patrick Kelly, of course. Though he's far from a household name, Giles is Giles Deacon a 1992 graduate of Central Saint Martins who has worked with Jean Charles De Castelbajac in Paris and was a designer at Bottega Veneta and the Gucci Group. He presented his first collection at London Fashion Week in 2004 and was featured in American, British, Japanese, Italian and French Vogue as well as W, and Harper's Bazaar. He was also awarded "Best New Designer" at the British Fashion Awards of that year, won Elle's "Best New Designer" award in February 2005 and "British Designer of the Year" at the British Fashion Awards in November 2006. His Spring/Summer 2012 collection included several swan hats that did Bjork one better. The red one was seen on Anna Dello Russo for Carine Roitfeld's Vampire Ball in May 2011.

Also in London, with the recent opening of the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum, this butterfly headdress, a Philip Treacy created topper from McQueen's SS2008 collection has inspired a plate of elegantly arranged tea biscuits.


Butterfly headress by Philip Treacy

 Going back to the Giles frock, I later discovered that it's from his PreCollection SS15 which I'm guessing is similar to what folks this side of the pond call Resort.  Try as I might to talk myself out of it ("Where would I wear such a thing"," It's meant for someone way cooler than myself") somehow I must have said YTTD and this little gem found its way into my heart and my home. I honestly don't know whether to hide it in my closet or frame it and hang it on the wall but one thing is for sure. Even though it reminds me of cake, I won't eat it.

Speaking of cake and going from wearable art to edible art leads me to my next discovery (see lead photo).  On a recent stroll down Broadway near Grand Street a window featuring several designer handbags made me take notice. This window (happily) did not belong to a boutique, rather it was the vitrine of the International Culinary Center which contained the "too pretty to eat" display. They offer a three-month course in Cake Technique & Design should you want to learn to bake a bag. Last February they pranked some transit riders with a spoof featuring a woman on the subway chowing down on her "Chanel bag." Of greater concern is the fact that that she was sleeveless in mid-winter so even before she started to munch away at her purse I would have been staring (play video),


Laduree Macarons

Sometime around mid-winter I noticed the appearance of yet another intersection of colorful food and retail that had manifested itself on the 2nd floor of Bloomingdales: a little cookie known as a macaron that seems sweet on world domination. A cart suddenly sprung up directly in front of the selling floor near Haute Hippie, Helmut Lang and DVF featuring Laduree Macarons, those irresistible (to many) pastel colored treats that you used to have to travel to Paris or at least Madison Avenue to get before they became the Cara Delevingne of treats. I have no idea what has made  these little cakes so popular these past few months but can't help thinking that perhaps it's got something to do with the fact that they wear the perpetual colors of spring and sing a siren song to the winter weary.




- Laurel Marcus

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