Friday, October 30, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ® by Laurel Marcus

Wall Murals to Scarves; From Illegal Guns to Jewelry

"Creativity is just connecting things" said Steve Jobs. It is that "Aha" moment which inspires it's auteur to forge on with an idea; in the case of these two individuals it involves the repurposing of an object or concept. The result is wearable art. In very different ways, these two designers have accomplished this feat; designing fashion accessories as a byproduct of other driving forces.

When Austin Palmer-Smith opens the door to his studio apartment my first thought is that he is on the wrong coast. His Cali boy looks and laid back demeanor not to mention the surf board propped against the wall in the incense filled room, belie his NYC roots. On the record player is an old blues album ("Something Blue" by Lightnin' Hopkins to be exact, perfect for this rainy dismal day). On the desk are strewn watercolor mock ups of  artwork for the silk scarves in his "Trumpets & Cherries" collection. The whimsical name refers to the hardness and the softness or the Yin and Yang. "The cherries could very well be the notes on a colorful ledger coming from the trumpet,"(an instrument he has played since grade school) he explains.

Palmer-Smith created Trumpets & Cherries about a year and a half ago after a 10-year career painting murals commercially for many of the high profile buildings both domestically and internationally. Eventually finding the art world too "static and predictable" he began to lean towards the world of fashion (which, I might add, judging by all the high-profile designer defections in recent days is neither of those two things). Born in Paris, the son of a fashion photographer father and fashion model mother, you could say it was in his blood and virtually destined.

Of course his background in mural painting has not totally gone by the wayside. His method of creating patterns includes painting a watercolor mural, often with a floral motif ("I like flowers. Buddha held a flower") and eventually shrinking it down to its essence working very organically while seeing which parts of the composition "come alive and speak to me." Like most fashion people, he is a stickler for detail and quality -- he points out a few production pieces (they are produced in China) that he considers defective since they were not made with the specified color edged rolled hem. He gives me a few from the approved pile to try. He drapes one with a more geometric pattern on himself as well. "I'd like to make scarves for men" he tells me. I mention that everything in fashion is leaning towards the unisex, so why not?

Melange Indigo

The scarves are large and of a thick silk with names such as "Float," "Flower Lady" and "Melange," range from $225 to $240 and are available on his website as well as at various art fairs and boutiques. Next up: he's working on getting them into Bergdorf Goodman. I always think that it's a shame that due to the nature of scarves being worn folded, one can never fully appreciate all that goes into the artwork yet the Zen-like designer doesn't seem to have a problem with that concept. I depart but not before I am given a very beautiful gift: a melange sand scarf which Austin feels best compliments my OOTD.

Jessica Mindich (right) at a trunk show

Jessica Mindich of Greenwich, Connecticut is a former lawyer who quite literally made a creative connection between the Book of Isaiah's passage "let them beat swords into ploughshares" by melting down guns and shell casings to make jewelry. The Caliber Collection ( was formed in 2012 (so named because it uses gun calibers while raising the caliber of the city by helping to get illegal guns off the street) evolved out of the original philanthropic company that she founded in 2008; Jewelry For a Cause. Mindich got this idea while attending a conference at which then Mayor of Newark Cory Booker spoke of the gun violence in his city. Booker mentioned that the city's gun buyback and amnesty program was out of funds and that they had several hundred weapons collected from crime scenes which they didn't know what to do with. She decided to give her concept a "shot" and spent 10 months collaborating with Booker and the Newark Police Department, developing their plan of attack.

Detroit Rose Gold 'D' Cuff
Photo by Kyle Norton

Mindich figured out that by using the guns to make jewelry and donating 20% of the proceeds she could help fund the buyback program. She has since partnered with other cities including Detroit, Hartford and the San Francisco Bay Area, creating jewelry exclusives named after each city. Today they have customers in over 83 countries. According to the website they have collected over 1,000 guns while raising approximately $100,000 for the police departments in their adopted cities. The Caliber Collection is carried by Selfridges UK, American Rag, Canvas Malibu, The Detroit Institute of the Arts and Urban Zen in New York as well as online retailers such as AHA Life and Amazon and of course on

Newark Steel Cufflinks
Photo by Kyle Norton

The popular Newark designs are made of brass or steel metal oval shaped bangles and cuffs "like the trigger cage of a gun. If you put your finger in the trigger cage you cause damage. But when you put the Caliber Collection through your hand you become part of the positive change and are participating in a virtuous cycle to get more illegal guns off the streets," explains Mindich. Each bracelet has a serial number incorporated into its design; one which comes from a gun that has been "Destroyed. Never to Destroy Again." The side of the bracelets are hand hammered "symbolizing the hard work of everyone in the community that is needed to deal with this issue" while the top of the bracelet is smooth and shiny to commemorate the feeling of a community without illegal gun violence.

Newark Steel Bangle with Diamond
Photo by Kyle Norton

The design is sleek and similar to the Cartier Love bracelet which has recently had a resurgence in popularity with celebs such as Kylie Jenner wearing them by the wrist full. The Newark bracelets look great stacked as well and you get much more "bang for your buck" at $160 for a steel cuff to $375 for a bangle with diamonds. The Detroit "D" cuff (which reminds me of a more elevated, rapper version of a POW-MIA bracelet, if you're old enough to remember those), pays homage to the incredible music roots of the city while the Pittsburg, California line has a "coal" finish to reflect their rich coal mining history. Unfortunately, when those jobs left it paved the way for crime, gangs and guns to move in.

Caliber Collection was recently mentioned in the Huffington Post as one of the top four jewelry companies that give back (see article), The New York Times (see article) as well as O Magazine, Crain's, People and InStyle. I also noticed that Mindich had lunch at Michael's with none other than our Entertainment Editor Diane Clehane last December for her Wednesdays at Michaels Column .

And now for the "smoking gun" hot off the press news: Home decor in the form of lighting has just been added in a collaboration with Joseph Jeup to benefit the city of Detroit. You can check out the brand new floor and hanging lamps on the website, each with their own gun serial number. Actual intact shell casings are used decoratively in the design making them unique and individual.

The Caliber Collection will be bringing a trunk show to Urban Zen sometime closer to the holidays meanwhile if you'd like to order from website use the code THANKYOU15 to save 15% on your purchase.

- Laurel Marcus

Thursday, October 29, 2015

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner


Frank Stella, Gobba, zoppa e collotorto, 1985

There is an ongoing connection between fashion and art, which is not to say that fashion always rises to the level of art. Nonetheless, as a longtime fashion editor and an art history major in college, I love to relate the two, when applicable, and I totally buy into the Oscar Wilde missive: “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art”. I’m also quite satisfied with walking around world class galleries and museums, and simply taking in the great art, as was the case last night. I attended a VIP Reception at the Whitney Museum of American Art in celebration of their new exhibition, Frank Stella: A Retrospective which opens on October 30 and runs through February 7th. A joint venture between the Whitney and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the exhibition has been organized by Michael Augping, Chief Curator, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, along with Adam. D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown, and Carrie Springer, Director and Assistant Curator respectively, the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Frank Stella in conversation

Speaking of fashion and art, according to Julie L. Belcove, (who penned an article about Stella that ran in the Wall Street Journal last November), when he was growing up, his mother attended fashion school, and “he credits a Vogue layout, featuring models posed in front of Franz Kline’s graphic smears of black on white canvas, for his eureka moment about abstraction. He thought, I can do that!” And fashion designer Pamella Roland, who not only sits on the board of the Whitney, but lent “significant support” to this exhibition, (the major sponsor is Morgan Stanley) cited the Post painterly abstraction of Frank Stella, and his “unique vocabulary of line and color”, as inspiration for her 37 piece collection, which she showed at the Whitney during New York Fashion Week in September.

Frank Stella

Almost as soon as I exited the elevator which took me up to the 5th floor (the exhibit takes up the entire floor and then some), I spotted Frank Stella. Standing there alone, in one of the central galleries, the Massachusetts born, Princeton educated legend was completely over shadowed by some of the iconic paintings which hung on the walls. While a towering figure in the art world (and one of the most dominant and influential figures in abstract painting during the 60’s through the 90’s), he is relatively small in stature. Quite frankly, nobody but Godzilla would be a match for the massive, over scaled paintings and sculptures he has become known for. Indeed, some of the ones on display were so large, they took up an entire wall and I needed to stand far back, in another room, in order to get a full shot.

A guest wearing an ensemble that mimics the artwork  

True to form, when I pointed my camera at the unassuming and modest 79 year old, he at first playfully covered his face with his hat, but he then removed it, so that I could take a picture of him, as he began greeting and receiving guests. FYI, he looked approvingly at my graphically striped dress (admittedly very art like), which I wore as an homage. The invitation called for “festive attire”, and while most of the people I saw apparently could not have cared less about that missive (not to mention the fact that it was a nasty, rainy evening), a few, like me, seemed to have factored in the honoree, a leading figure in the Minimal art movement, known for his use of stripes, geometry, and intense color, when they got dressed. Of course, there was also a lot of black being worn, which was not only chic, but very much in keeping with Stella’s most iconic works: The Black Paintings, dated 1958- 1959.

A guest wearing an ensemble that mimics the artwork  

This is a formidable exhibition on many levels. Stella, known for his unconventional and unemotional approach to his craft, and for his relentless experimentation, is arguably one of the most important American artists living today, and this is the first survey of his career in the U.S. since 1987 (and the most comprehensive presentation of his career to date). There are approximately 100 works on display (paintings, reliefs, maquettes, sculptures, and drawings) dating from the 1950’s to the present. It’s a highly representational mix of his best known along with his lesser known works. There was so much to see (and it’s such a powerful eyeful), it was impossible to digest in just one visit and I will definitely want to make several trips back.

A picture from the exhibition

It’s been said, that Stella is “not interested in expression or sensitivity. He is only interested in the necessity of painting”. He is not only passionate and talented, but philosophical and eminently quotable. Among his memorable observations:

“Up until 35 I had a slightly skewed world view. I honestly believed everybody in the world wanted to make abstract paintings, and people only became lawyers and doctors and brokers and things because they couldn’t make abstract paintings”
“A sculpture is just a painting cut out and stood up somewhere”

“Time is what you have left. You just march with it and use it the best you can”
“I don’t like to say I have given my life to art. I prefer to say that art has given me my life”
“If we are the best, it is only fair that they imitate us”
“What you see is what you get.”

- Marilyn Kirschner 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

The CFDA New Members Party

New Members

The annual CFDA New Members party, which formally welcomes its roster of new designers into the fold, was held last evening at Reed and Delphine Krakoff’s fabulous east side townhouse. 40 newbies were honored and all were present except for two - one was ill and the other was out of town. They are always ‘pinned’ with delicate floral corsages to not only separate them from the crowd, but to mark their right of passage (making it look like a fashionable fraternity).

Diane von Fursternberg with Ted Kim

The word ‘new’ always makes me think of Geoffrey Beene, who always hated when members of the press asked him what was new. “Don’t ask me what’s new. Ask me what’s good!”, was his thought. And while I can’t say I know all 40 of the aforementioned designers that well, I can attest to the fact that they are not only good, but some have the trophies to prove it. For example, Rosie Assoulin won CFDA’s 2015 Swarovski Award for Womenswear; Shayne Oliver (of Hood by Air), picked up the 2015 Swarovski Award for Menswear; and Florana Gavriel and Rachel Mansur, the duo behind the handbag line Mansur Gavriel, nagged the 2015 Swarovski Award for Accessory Design.

Nanette Lepore with Steven Kolb

By the way, they are not the only things that are ‘new’ at the CFDA. Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s CEO since 2011, recently took on the new dual title of CEO and president, and after nearly 10 years as the organization’s president, Diane von Furstenberg, had her title changed to chairman. Diane made her welcoming remarks, congratulating the new members, emphasizing the importance of being “be true to yourself”. The host of the evening, Reed Krakoff spoke next and he admitted, “I got rejected the first time I applied”. He echoed Diane’s assertion of being true to yourself and said that the most important thing about her tenure at the helm of the organization, is that “she created community”. One cannot underestimate the importance of being part of a group, he noted, and then he observed, “there is strength in numbers”.

Reed Krakoff

There was a bit of a bottleneck in the large living room, but then guests, including Steven Kolb, Nanette Lepore, Stan Herman, Roland Nivelais, Ruth Finley, Fern Mallis, Deborah Lloyd, Paul Andrew, Steven Alan, began spilling out into the other rooms. And let me tell you, there were plenty of rooms to spill out into! I always like to point out, that this event is a wonderful way to scope out prime Manhattan real estate and take in fabulous art because the setting is more often than not, a jaw dropping, art filled, multimillion dollar apartment, loft, or town house, owned by one of its fabulously wealthy, highly established members (which of course, is a great way to show the new members what rewards they might expect should their career paths mimic those of their fellow celebrated mentors).

                                       Misha Nonoo and Ana Khouri                                      

Past venues have included Elie Tahari’s grand downtown loft, Vera Wang’s luxurious Park Avenue duplex, Lisa Perry’s spectacular art filled penthouse, and Kenneth Cole’s fabulous coop (located at 1 Sutton Place South, the same building as Lisa’s) and this year was the Krakoff’s 5 story art and book filled mansion on East 64th street. It had previously been a Kips Bay Decorator Show House and home to The New York Observer and the Krakoffs have completely transformed it with custom built ins (Delphine is a Parisian born interior designer).

Guests navigating up the museum worthy spiral  staircase

I was not the only guest walking up the museum worthy spiral staircase and taking a house tour with camera in tow and when I was done, I asked Reed if he knows how many books he has, and if he actually reads them all. He told me he doesn’t know how many he has, but he does read them and they are divided by subject. I then told him that at this point, I often find myself more excited by seeing great homes than by fashion. He laughed and agreed, but noted, “yes, but you’ve got to do the fashion to get the house”.

The New Members

Ana Khouri, ANA KHOURI

Matt Baldwin, BALDWIN

Louise Camuto, CAMUTO GROUP

Leigh Batnick Plessner, CATBIRD

Rony Vardi, CATBIRD

Guido Campello, COSABELLA

David Hart, DAVID HART


Brett Heyman, EDIE PARKER


Shayne Oliver, HOOD BY AIR

John Brevard, JOHN BREVARD

Kendra Scott, KENDRA SCOTT

Lisa Marie Fernandez, LISA MARIE FERNANDEZ

Elizabeth Fortunato, LIZZIE FORTUNATO

Floriana Gavriel, MANSUR GAVRIEL


Michael Saiger, MIANSAI

Misha Nonoo, MISHA NONOO


Nellie Partow, NELLIE PARTOW

Paul Andrew, PAUL ANDREW

Raquel Allegra, RAQUEL ALLEGRA

Kristine Johannes, RAUWOLF

Rosie Assoulin, ROSIE ASSOULIN

Ted Kim, RVN


Scosha Woolridge, SCOSHA

Brooke Garber Neidich, SIDNEY GARBER

Siki Im, SIKI IM

Daniel Corrigan, SIMON MILLER

Jake Sargent, SIMON MILLER

Paige Dellavalle, STELLA VALLE


Britt Cosgrove, SVILUMarina Polo, SVILU

Tanya Taylor, TANYA TAYLOR

Francesca Amfitheatrof, TIFFANY & CO.

Ryan Lobo, TOME

Ramon Martin, TOME

-  Marilyn Kirschner

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

The Alzheimer's Gala 2015 - An Unforgettable Evening

 Michele Herbert in Naeem Khan Larry Herbert , Princess Yasmin Aga Khan
in Naeem Khan and chair Daryl Simon in Dior
(All photos Lieba Nesis: Click images for larger views)

The 32nd black-tie annual Rita Hayworth Alzheimer's Gala was held at Cipriani 42nd Street on a balmy Tuesday evening with cocktails beginning at 6:30 pm. Last year I had the privilege of attending the event which was held at the Waldorf Astoria which was a preferable venue due to its grandeur and wide open spaces which accommodate the massive crowd; Unfortunately, at Cipriani the guests were huddled in a small area for hors d'oeuvres and forced to sit on top of each other for dinner.

Beth in Oscar de la Renta and Lenny Wilf

It seems as if every charity event is held at one Cipriani or another; thankfully, this Cipriani was not on Wall Street. Upon entering the space I bumped into my ex husband's partners, real estate developers, Lenny and Beth Wilf. Lenny is an owner of the Vikings and the Yankees, so it says a lot about the event that Lenny attended this dinner instead of watching the baseball game. The Wilf's are an incredibly charitable couple giving time and money to numerous organizations and their low key demeanor belies their power and influence.

John Catsimatidis Jr. Andrea Catsimatidis John and Margo Catsimatidis
and Chele Farley

The dinner, underwritten by Rolex, contained a crowd full of luminaries including: Ray and Veronica Kelly, Margo and Jimmy Nederlander, Audrey Gruss, John and Margo Catsimatidis, Somers and Jonathan Farkas, Lauren Roberts, Jean and Martin Shafiroff, Barbara and Bruce Winston, Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia and so many more.

Jean Shafiroff in Carolina Herrera, Audrey Gruss in Andrew Gn
and Robin Meltzer in Jenny Packham

The evening began with master of ceremonies Willie Giest, the news correspondent, introducing Yasmin Aga Khan, the chair and founder of the organization, who has worked tirelessly to eradicate the disease that killed her mom, Rita Hayworth. Yasmin Khan, was wearing a stunning Naeem Khan (no relation), and announced that this evening raised $2 million with 23 occupied tables in the room, and tickets sold out weeks in advance.

Ray and Veronica Kelly, Sharon Bush and Jimmy Nederlander

Gala chair Daryl Simon then got up to speak about the theme of the evening which was "Our Future is Crystal Clear" and recount her mother's ultimately losing battle with Alzheimer's and the need for courage and perseverance to fight this dreaded disease. Another early onset Alzheimer's sufferer is the mother of actress Kimberly Williams, the star of "Father of the Bride," who told of her formerly adventurous parent who was stricken at the age of 61 with the deteriorating condition- eventually being unable to speak or write. Kimberly felt lost and alone until she connected with the Alzheimer's association.

Chris Henchy, Brooke Shields in Naeem Khan,
and Willie Giest in Zegna

The color of the evening was purple which I was unaware of and I chose a purple ball gown matching the red carpet wallpaper perfectly. I was a tad concerned I might be overdressed until I spotted Michele Herbert in a floor length Naeem Khan with feathers on the bottom and a smashing white fur stole.

Somers Farkas in Naeem Khan and Jonathan Farkas

I haven't seen Michele most of the year because she has been busy trying to raise awareness for the Alzheimer's cause and she and her husband Larry were given the Rita Hayworth award for their contribution, in both money and time, to researching Alzheimer's in women. Michele is a dynamo and when she approached the stage to accept her award she said she "was putting her husband's money where her mouth was."

Carolyn Gold, Irina Laksk, Barbara Winston, Ada de Maurier,
 Charlene Haroche and Jody Wolf

Michele also said she warned her investment bankers if they did not support the cause then she would take her son's trust out of their hands and consequently, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, U.S.Trust and many others decided to buy tickets for the evening which were $1,500 per seat. Furthermore, Herbert collaborated with Naeem Khan to produce a one of a kind custom Purple dress auctioned off in the silent auction which included items like dinner at Le Bernardin, two seats to "Hamilton" and a Kara Ross clutch as well as live auction offerings of a trip to Morocco, a weekend at the Golf Masters, and a plane ride to Detroit with the Brooklyn Nets.

Dan Gasby and B. Smith

The next recipients of the Champion Award were B. Smith and Dan Gasby who received a standing ovation for their brave outspokenness in the fight against Alzheimer's. B. Smith, the magazine publisher, celebrity chef and lifestyle maven has had a widely publicized battle with the disease and her husband and caregiver Dan Gasby spoke about the grim statistics: every 67 seconds someone new develops the disease; two out of three of the sufferers are women; and women in their 60's are twice as likely to get Alzheimer's than breast cancer.

Jessica Behm in Versace and Kasia McCormick in Monique Lhuillier

His wife B. who was on stage with him but could not speak told him privately "she didn't want to hide" and that is why they have been so vocal in their struggle. Gasby went on to say that this disease was a 21st Century civil rights issue because the majority of the victims are women, minorities and indigents-urging the audience to press Congress for funding and research.

Mike Tadross and Georgia Witkin

After the program finished, the guests headed to the dance floor in the lavish purple-hued ballroom, which contained pink and purple flowers and crystal chandeliers. I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Tadross, a producer at Warner Bros., who was there to support the Herbert's and excited to see Brooke Shields since he hasn't caught up with her since he produced her 1989 movie "Brenda Starr."

Actress Kimberly Williams

Tadross, in a custom Armani tuxedo, has produced more than 49 movies and is currently working on a movie with Sandra Bullock and a remake of "A Star is Born" with Beyonce. His wife Georgia Witkin is an expert on stress and men and women's health issues as well as a prominent tv commentator.

Paula Peck in Pucci and Anthony Peck

As we all exited the building I bumped into Anthony and Paula Peck, a friend of the Tadross's, and inquired if they were related to Gregory.  Anthony replied that Gregory was his father and the thing he misses most of the actor was his warmth, kindness and generosity. I was astounded to have met the legendary Gregory Peck's son who said that both he and his father's favorite role was that of Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird" because his father was identical to Finch.

This was another one of those nights that is hard to describe, but hanging out with Rita Hayworth's daughter and Gregory Peck's son in one evening is one of those happenstances they call extraordinary.

- Lieba Nesis

Monday, October 26, 2015

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

From Cosmopolitans to Moscow Mules: The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life Revised

Purchase now for $15.45 on

Jane Buckingham wears many hats.  She is an author, a trend expert and founder of the forecasting firm Trendera, the “Job Genius” on ABC Family’s Job or No Job, a frequent contributor to TV shows like Today and Good Morning America and a mother of two.  Not surprisingly, Jane has a great deal of lifestyle advice to share and in 2004 she wrote the essential how to book, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life, filled with “the stuff you need to know but no one thinks to tell you” Fast forward to 2015, and now in the era when Blockbuster nights have turned into Netflix binges and Cosmopolitans have been replaced by Moscow Mules, Jane’s lifestyle bible for the “modern girl” is ready for an update:

What made you decide that it was time to update your book and what specifically have you added or changed for the revised edition?

Jane Buckingham: Every time I learn something new I think "I wish I could put that in Modern Girl!" And after 10 years there were a LOT of things I wanted to include! I hadn't covered anything on Tech! From sexting to taking a good selfie, or even how to deal with your boss by text. I added a lot about organic foods -- what's worth buying and what's not, to recipes for vegans and new easy recipes for fans who were tired of the old ones. Then Of course I added a lot on new beauty tips, fashion tips, working online fashion sites and sales, because even though "googling" is habit now, it's still important to do research on what's "good information". I don't think there was a single chapter that didn't get a pretty big overhaul. The only thing that I forgot to change was the introduction, explaining WHY and what I changed! Oops!

Who is the woman that you have written this book for and how has she evolved since you first published it?

JB: I would say this is a book for any woman who just needs a little help from her friends. She's trying to live the best life she can and though she may be trying to do it all, she knows that she can't do it all perfectly! Though I think the book is really relevant for women of any age, I think it probably is most helpful for women in their 20's and 30's who are starting their first homes, careers and families. And I think that this new generation is probably a little more together, a little more confident, a little more empowered and definitely has better hair (thanks to all the DryBars out there ;) But I think that even given all that, she still wants the tips and tricks that can help make her life a little easier, and the understanding that not everybody gets it right every time. At the end of the day we all need a shoulder to lean on!

Jane Buckingham’s new and improved edition of The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life is on sale now from HarperCollins Publishers; list price: $25.99

DIY Halloween Costumes
 Halloween is just days away and you can dress up like a celebrity with a little help from L’eggs

Lindsay Ellingson

 Channel your inner Sandy from Grease as model Lindsay Ellingson did in 2013. Pair L’eggs Energy Black Opaque Footless Tights with a black top.  A black biker jacket completes the look.

Miranda Kerr

Miranda Kerr’s 2011 ringmaster costume is easily recreated with a leotard, top hat and L’eggs Sheer Energy Sheer Tights in black.

Kate Middleton

In 2007, Kate Middleton dressed as a witch for Halloween. Get her look with a little black dress and a black cape.  Black L’eggs Energy Tights and black boots make this costume weather appropriate for a cold Halloween night.

Find these L’eggs styles for $7.99 or less at CVS and other food, drug and mass merchandise stores nationwide or visit:
Photos: Lindsay Ellingson (Getty Images), Miranda Kerr (Getty Images), Kate Middleton (Bauer-Griffin)

Stylishly Spooky with Trollbeads

Who says scary can’t be beautiful? This elegant sterling silver bracelet has a pumpkin bead flanked by a brown fusion bead and a brown stripe bead. It’s just the right accessory to complement any Halloween costume.

Trollbeads Halloween Silver Bracelet: $292.00

-Rhonda Erb

For more Better Bets visit:

Friday, October 23, 2015

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner: FGI Night of Stars Awards Gala

Starry, Starry Night

Meryl Streep & Alber Elbaz
All Photos Randy Brooke
(Click on images for larger views)

Fashion Group International’s 32nd annual Night of Stars was held at Cipriani Wall Street last evening. Sponsored by Lord & Taylor with support from Hearst, Givaudan, LIM College and Arcade Beauty, the black tie dinner and awards ceremony was preceded by cocktails, and included musical performances by jazz musician Brian Newman and singer songwriter Tori Kelly.

Simon Doonan

Once again, it was hosted by Simon Doonan, who entertained the guests (which included Meryl Streep, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Linda Fargo, Tory Burch, Stefano Tonchi, Angela Missoni, Diane Kruger, Allison Williams, Leonard Lauder, Katie Holmes),  with his signature irreverent, off the wall observations during a dinner of scallop salad, Rack of Lamb, and Chilean Sea Bass.

Glenda Bailey

He had everyone laughing out loud when he said that when Margaret Hayes initially told him the theme was “The Revolutionaries”, he thought she had gone mad, thinking that she was referring to the Che Gueveras and Marxes of fashion. But then he ‘got’ it, and upon research, he learned that all the honorees showed early signs of being revolutionaries in their past and went on to explain (“When Alber Elbaz was in grade school, he trimmed his uniform with grosgrain and doused himself in Arpege”).

Anh Duong & Hamish Bowles

This popular event certainly lived up to its name, as the stars (star VIP guests, star honorees, and star presenters) were certainly out in force. And let’s face it; you can’t get much bigger than the legendary Academy Award winning actress Meryl Streep or the multi-talented Justin Timberlake for that matter, both of whom were on hand and provided some of the best and most entertaining moments of the evening with their Oscar worthy performances. One even serenaded us (and no, it wasn’t Justin).

Stefano Tonchi & Tabitha Simmons

Meryl, dressed in a chic white Lanvin dress, received a thunderous standing ovation when, at the end of the night, she went on stage to present the Superstar Award to Lanvin’s creative director Alber Elbaz. She got everyone laughing talking about how, in that “beautiful dress by Alber”, she had to go into the kitchen and open up a can of liver and salmon to serve dinner to her hungry cat.

Jonathan Anderson and Julia Nobis

“Poetry in motion” is how she described his designs, and then she began to sing a few bars from Johnny Pillotson 1960s “Poetry in Motion”. “Alber is a poet and a mensch”. “When I wear the dress, I still feel like me, but a good version of myself. And when I take it off, it falls on the chair with a sigh. There’s no punishment in wearing Alber. It’s all about being comfortable with yourself.” “I know little of fashion. I don’t know how I got in that movie” (this got a lot of laughs). But fashion speaks to me. I studied costume design so I’m a real nightmare to work with because I have so many ideas. He just makes me feel lovely. It’s the beauty of his lines. The drop and the drape. His talent is breathtaking”.

Linda Fargo

Alber’s speech, which ended the night (it was about 10:45), was heartfelt and impassioned, just like his designs. With Meryl standing behind him, he explained that he had told Fashion Group’s Marylou Luther during Paris Fashion Week, that he needed an “extension” for his speech because he couldn’t do it within the “5 minute” time slot. He said he didn’t like the word revolution and preferred evolution. He spoke about our high tech world, how it’s changing everything, and said he was addicted to Instagram.

He talked about his love of movies and popcorn, and the dreams they enable him to have. “Films make me dream and laugh”. “Dreams make us go forward. Dreams make me go forward”. “We’re living in a smart world. Today we have too much information.” “I’m not against high tech, but it has to be mixed with beauty.” For him, it’s all about striking that balance, and about figuring out “what women need and what women want.” “I prefer to whisper than to speak loud.” He ended by thanking everyone who works with him at Lanvin. “I’m only the conductor of Lanvin”, he offered.

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel

Justin Timberlake is hands down one of the coolest cats on the planet in my opinion (he made my 2015 Best Dressed List). The showman and style icon, credited for “bringing sexy back”, was the recipient of the Lord & Taylor Fashion Oracle Award, which was presented to him by designer Neil Barrett. But not before Tori Kelly went on stage with a show stopping rendition of Justin’s hit, “Suit and Tie”.

Katie Holmes

It was so good in fact, he actually said it was better than his own version. He admitted he did not write a speech because “I’m a musician and musicians never prepare for anything”. But he did have a list, and he was hysterical. He said that when Margaret Hayes told him he was receiving the Award, all he heard was the word ‘Oracle’, not Lord & Taylor, and said to himself, “I 'm a fucking oracle?” He admitted he watches too much Matrix.

Neil Barrett

There was no denying that the evening was all about Alber. Before presenting the Brand Heritage Award to Bulgari, Glenda Bailey said, “Alber is the star of the evening- an entire galaxy!” She then recounted that Richard Burton had once observed that “the only Italian world Liz Taylor knew was Bulgari.” And when Roger Vivier’s creative director Bruno Frisoni received his Fashion Star Award from Katie Holmes (who said his “kindness matches his brilliance”), he gave a shout out to fellow honoree Alber: “You are a special man Alber and I’m happy I can call you my friend. This is such a special moment tonight because of Alber.”

John Demsey & Alina Cho

John Demsey gave the Beauty Star Award to Estee Lauder’s Karyn Khoury (“Estee Lauder was the first revolutionary in the beauty industry” she noted). Peter Harris gave the Interior Design Award to George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg (Glenn, having fun, shouted out, “Margaret is a swell dame”). Andrew Morgan gave Eileen Fisher the Sustainability Award and praised her for “her profound sense of humility”. Eileen said her dream is to be “100% sustainable”.

Jason Wu & Diane Kruger

Jason Wu received his Fashion Star prize from gorgeous and always well turned out Diane Kruger, who explained that even though she considers herself to be fashion savvy, like most of us, she had really not known about Jason Wu until Michele Obama “made history” wearing his gown at the Inaugural Ball in 2008. Jason, who said he was “buying dolls on Ebay” prior to becoming a fashion designer, first met Margaret Hayes 7 years ago when he won Fashion Group’s Rising Star Award. “Margaret adopted me before adopting Asians was fashionable” he joked. Fellow Fashion Star honoree Jonathan Anderson received his award from the model Julia Nobis (“I never had to make a speech before. At a time when fashion is moving at the speed of boredom, collaborations are even more important. Man cannot do it alone” he said, and the thanked LVMH).

Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon handed Pinterest’s Evan Sharp the first ever Technology Innovation prize. “Girls” star Allison Williams gave eBay’s Marcelle Parrish the Retail Trailblazer award. Lew Frankfort awarded Karen Harvey the Humanitarian Award.

The evening ended just before 11PM and upon leaving, each guest was handed a good looking leather Christian Lacroix tote bag filled with goodies. While alas, it didn’t include a pair of Roger Vivier pumps, a Bulgari watch, or a fabulous frock by Lanvin, Jason Wu, or Jonathan Anderson (who designs for both JW Anderson and Lowe), there was a Lord & Taylor gift certificate, an Ebay gift card, a bottle of Pinot Grigio, a box of Godiva chocolates, an Eileen Fisher bag, and Tom Ford’s Noir eau de toilette among other things.

Lookonline's Marilyn Kirschner with Elbaz
Photo: Lieba Nesis

And on a final note, thankfully, the New York Mets clinched the division title on Wednesday night, so I didn’t have to miss most of what would have been game 5 last night. Go Mets!

- Marilyn Kirschner