Friday, October 16, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

October Picks: Postseason, Pigs & Pink

All photos Laurel Marcus

It's been a busy week with quite a few events to cover particularly if one is trying to do it between televised playoff Mets games.  On Wednesday night, I began with a quick visit to the Hotel Americano for a Nic+Zoe Spring 2016 presentation. The mother/daughter label sold at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and online (nicandzoe.com) is celebrating its 10th year with an addition to its signature styles called the Special Edition Collection. This collection was born out of necessity by founder Dorian Lightbown as she could not find a stylish and comfortable look for daughter Zoe's recent wedding. Incidentally, Zoe was there fresh off her honeymoon in Brazil. I was given a tour of these dressier options as well as a look at the knits, linens, jersey, fringe and updated '70s meets digital print inspired looks from the upcoming season.There were some appealing choices for warmer weather here plus I got to go home with my selection from a rack of basics so thanks for the great slimming black pants.

Glamsquad (glamsquad.com) was on hand giving makeup and hair touch ups to promote their traveling services. They are an app service like Uber who will come to your location on short notice with whatever beauty treatments you need including mani/pedis, all for a reasonable price considering that you don't even need to find your flip flops and leave your house. Great idea for a girls night in!

Dressbarn ad campaign launch poster

Next I traveled a bit further downtown to Spring Studios for a Dressbarn Fall 2015 ad launch campaign cocktail event. You've probably seen the Dressbarn ads papering the subway walls featuring Hilary Rhoda with various barn animals. Here we were introduced to their digital selves and were invited to pose against a green screen with either Wilbur The Pig (no, you couldn't "pick him up"), Count The Bull or Winnie The Baby Goat. Apparently Mary Kate The Sheep and Zoom The Rooster had it written into their contracts that their digital images don't get out of the hay for less than $10k). LOL

Hilary Rhoda at Dressbarn event

Unlike her bestial counterparts Ms. Rhoda was there in the flesh wearing a Dressbarn frock, fresh off of her Hamptons wedding to hockey player Sean Avery. (In lieu of a honeymoon it seems she had to be content with an early AM post wedding spin at Soulcycle to which she coerced some of her wedding party ). Just for the record: her wedding attire was a far cry from Dressbarn: a custom made Carolina Herrera formfitting and decidedly not bridal gown, while her husband wore a James Perse cotton jersey suit made to resemble an actual suit. I guess he was comfortable! Maybe he should wear it to court next week when he goes to defend his awkward pre-wedding arrest on prescription drug charges and throwing stuff out of car windows.

Mixing a lipstick at Dressbarn

Besides the fun photo op promoting the tag line: "Dressbarn It's Our Name. Deal With It."#labelmeconfident, there were other amusements including a table where you could have a lipstick shade custom blended (if you didn't mind the super long line) as well as a station where you could get a rust colored faux suede portfolio engraved while you waited. DJ Brendan Fallis spun tunes and the bar featured cocktails named after all five animals. I have no idea why I enjoyed going up to the bar and saying "I'll have a Winnie."

Robert Verdi at Dressbarn

In attendance were Katie Lee, Heidi Weisel (who collaborates with a line of dresses for the company), Phillip Bloch, Robert Verdi and Zanna Roberts Rassi. I'd have to say that this was a well thought out concept for a launch party and although the fashions are trying to move more upscale, let's just say they've got a ways to go; as did I riding home on the subway after failing to secure a cab, and getting deja vu from seeing all those ubiquitous Dressbarn ads.


Key to the Cure Event at Baccarat Hotel

On Thursday night I ventured out to the beautiful Baccarat Hotel which only opened last April. As you might have guessed by the name there is no shortage of crystal on the walls, the ceiling, basically everywhere! Hell, the champagne flutes weigh about 5 pounds each, leading me to wonder if I could just use them as dumbbells and count it as going to the gym (Hillary Rhoda, I'm not!) What brought me to this stunning spot was the Saks Fifth Avenue Key To The Cure cocktail party.


Two women wearing the Jason Wu designed Key to the Cure t-shirt

As you may know, this is the 17th year that Saks (along with Entertainment Industry Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer) had a designer create  t-shirts from which proceeds are donated to various cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. To date they have given over $36 million to the cause. This year's designer is Jason Wu, who seems to be having a moment and will be a guest of honor at next week's FGI "Night of Stars." I spied approximately three people wearing the shirts including DJ Mia Moretti.

Katie Couric, Melissa Beste

The event was hosted by Katie Couric who appeared briefly, posed for a few photographs but didn't speak. She looked terrific in a black sleeveless "car wash" inspired dress and attempted a few twirls so that the panels on her skirt could be set to motion. An unassuming Jason Wu arrived even later (I believe Katie was gone by then), surrounded for a short time by an entourage of employees, friends and assorted well wishers and then vanished into the night with nary a word.  I don't know why but I expected the evening to include a few syllables from Katie and or Jason but none were forthcoming.

Jason Wu

Naturally there was some overlap of guests from one night to the next--a concept that was neatly driven home to me when I spied one of the Dressbarn portfolios being carried by a guest leaving the Maison Baccarat. Another guy handed me his card saying that he's seen me "everywhere." I pondered whether my heels would allow me a trip home on the subway so that I could take in the ads anew...

Post Script explaining my need to dash: As a once ardent/loyal Yankee fan in the days of the "Core Four" I've felt adrift these past few seasons and have gone to what I once would have considered "the dark side." I have given the Mets a fresh once-over, liking what I see enough to have watched all five games of the National League Division Series. Now that they're on the way to do battle with even more unlikely postseason heroes aka the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series, I feel the least I can do is be in front of my TV set cheering them on. Go Mets! said no one ever for the past nine Octobers.




- Laurel Marcus









Better Bets:  Fashion Meets Technology

Swimming In Ink

Photos: Rhonda Erb

On a sunny, late September day in Manhattan, as New York City braced itself for the arrival of Pope Francis, Epson brought a truly unique phenomenon to Broadway.To herald the launch of Epson’s new EcoTank printers, the company filled the area of Times Square known as “Duffy Square” with a 17,000 gallon, multi-colored, see thru, swim tank for an event called “Swimming In Ink.” There, for the entire afternoon, members of the Olympic bound USA Synchro synchronized swim team performed their routines wearing swimsuits created using Epson’s SureColor F9200 printer.



The arrival of Epson’s new family of EcoTank printers signals a new era of economical and convenient printing. Each printer in the series comes loaded with up to two years of ink, allowing you to print thousands of pages, even in color, without replacing ink. When it is finally time for more ink, the replacement bottles are “ultra low cost.”



Epson teamed up with Triflare, the official apparel sponsor of USA Synchro, to create the bright, multi-hued suits worn by the swim team. Triflare’s original designs were then produced using Epson SureColor F-Series dye sublimation printing technology, which allows apparel manufacturers to produce large or small batches of their products in an efficient, affordable manner. Each of the swim teams suits used only about 20 cents of ink.

The 40 suits featured in the event took just over an hour to produce. The possibilities for young fashion entrepreneurs to manufacture their art using this F-Series dye sublimation technique are extraordinary; “if they can dream it, they can make it happen.” The resulting apparel has “richer, darker blacks and colors that pop”

USA Synchro is headed to Rio for the Olympics in 2016. You can see a portion of their “Swimming In Ink” performance here: http://bcove.me/0v5vtjks

- Rhonda Erb


For more Better Bets visit: http://betterbetsny.tumblr.com/

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