Monday, June 26, 2017

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

'Cheap Thrill'

While I always look for quality, I am not a label snob and have always described myself as an equal opportunity shopper; I subscribe to both ends of the totem pole, and am not above a 'cheap thrill'. There are those expensive purchases that demand some thought and consideration, and then there are the ones that by virtue of their unbelievably low price tags (and classic timeless nature), are "no brainers".

While high fashion undeniably comes with astronomically high prices, that doesn’t mean there aren’t bargains to be found, and who amongst us doesn’t love a bargain? To best illustrate, I selected a number of items in the market and showed their high priced versions along with their (far) less expensive doppelgangers (in every case, they are a fraction of the cost of the originals).

In several instances, I actually preferred the less expensive version and not just because of the price (it was by virtue of its design, size, etc.). FYI, if it appears that most of the inexpensive pieces are from Zara, that was unintentional but given how in sync they are with the pulse of fashion, and how successful they are with creating affordable fashion, it shouldn’t be that surprising. Be

Be sure to click images for full size views:

Left: Rianna + Nina floral print kimono, $1,927 Info/buy Right: Zara long contrasting kimono dress, $119.00 Info/buy

Left: The Row black patent ‘Mendoza’ coat, $4,390 Info/buy; Right: Mango black vinyl hooded coat, $99.99  Info/buy

Left: Tom Ford satin trimmed cady tuxedo jacket, $2,750 Info/buy Right: Zara satin trimmed tuxedo jacket $79.90 Info/buy

Left: Gucci Princetown velvet slipper, $850 Info/buy Right: Steve Madden ‘Jill’ slide, $89.95 Info/buy

Left: Proenza Schouler black wool blend twill culottes, $950 Info/purchase Right: Mango black culottes, $39.99 Info/buy

Left: The Row black leather backpack, $3,990 Info/buy Right: Zara sturdy backpack, $39.90 Info/buy

Left: Burberry Sandringham mid cotton gabardine trench, $1,795 Info/buy Right: Mango double breasted trench $89.99  Info/buy

Left: Monse striped cotton poplin off the shoulder blouse, $1,090 Info/buy Right: Zara striped cotton poplin ‘multi- position’ shirt $49.90 Info/buy FYI, they don’t call this shirt ‘multi-position’ for nothing; you can wear this at least 4 different ways which gives you a lot of look for the buck.

In addition to wearing it off the shoulder and letting the inside straps show, you can also take the sleeves and tie them in front.

You can wear it slightly off the shoulder and tucked in.

You can wear it ‘borrowed from the boys’, long sleeved and tucked (or half tucked) into the waistband of a pant or skirt.

(Disclaimer: No commercial involvement of any kind has been solicited or accepted in the development of the content for this article. The choice of content is purely up to the author of the article and he/she receives no compensation from any of the companies or advertising agencies that own, represent or promote said products or samples selected.)

- Marilyn Kirschner

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New York Summer Evenings by Jill Golden

An Inspiring New Nonprofit: Global Strays

Photo Jill Golden

It was a heartening sight to see. New York animal lovers, young and old, clad in every genre from sleek chignons and sparkling Oscar de La Renta, to summer seersucker and red stripes, to a chic take on a rapper tee and braids filled the downtown Rumpus Room until it overflowed onto the street. They all came together on the evening of June 21st to support a wonderful new organization founded to help animals throughout the world – Global Strays.

Elizabeth Shafiroff & Lindsey Spielfogel
Photo: Patrick McMullan

The idea for Global Strays all began when Elizabeth “Liz” Shafiroff, daughter of luminary philanthropist Jean Shafiroff and Liz’ friend Lindsey Spielfogel went on vacation together in Nicaragua. Together, they were horrified by the suffering of animals they saw. Ticks, fleas and open sores were rampant. Lindsey told the story of a pup Handel who they rescued from the streets of Nicaragua. He was not only starving, but he had been hit by a motor bike and had a hurt leg with a little tarp on it. Liz scooped him up and they took him to a vet. He healed nicely and on their next trip they were able to bring him back to a loving family in the US where he is now flourishing as virtually unrecognizable, vibrant dog. He is one of 28 dogs these women have brought back with them from their travels, who all have found homes through Global Strays partner organization in the US: Social Tees Animal Rescue Foundation.

It was a crowded scene
Photo: Jill Golden

Liz explained that Global Strays, now an official 501(c)3 nonprofit is currently concentrating its work in Nicaragua, and that the goal is to ultimately provide grants to animal welfare organizations throughout the developing world. The most immediate next targets include the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Saint Lucia. Liz and Lindsey have made several self-funded trips to Nicaragua, to see the work funded by Global Strays first hand. They strongly believe it is important for them to be able to personally vouch for the organizations that are awarded grants for food, medications and spay and neutering efforts. An upcoming project is Nicaragua’s first Dog Ambulance.

Ultimately, they hope to influence cultures throughout the world and establish spaying, neutering, knowledgeable veterinary care and “pet parenting” as universal norms. One lovely part of the evening was all of the shared memories of pets past and present and the extraordinary joy they bring to our lives…

Michele Herbert’s cocker spaniel thought she was a person and loved walking down the street with Michele as a fellow “blonde”.

Coco is President’s twelve-year-old Shih Tzu, who reminds him everyday to stop and enjoy the simple things, as that is what makes life worth living!

Kennedy Hines recently moved to NYC and loves her rescue Nugget who was left behind a dumpster as a puppy. Nugget has ears as big as her head that pick right up when she’s alert.

Social Tees brought David Rein together with Brewster, a corgi/golden retriever mix who was worth waiting for since David has always wanted a dog since he was a little kid.

After much warm and friendly mingling, the attendees of of the Kick-off Global Strays Fundraising Event got an introduction to the organization from Liz and Lindsey, watched a film and then wrapped up the party with dancing.

Jean Shafiroff
Photo: Patrick McMullan

Jean Shafiroff summed up the super-successful evening by talking about how proud she is of both Liz and Lindsey for turning their heartfelt passion into effective action.  Many abused and abandoned dogs are already living happy, healthy lives due to their efforts. Individual donations for the evening ranged from $35 to at least one $5,000 pledge.

For more information, please visit:

- Jill Golden

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New York Fashion Cool-Aid by Laurel Marcus

Women Seeing Women: An Exhibition Celebrating Women Photographers

Deborah Turbeville, Bath House, New York, VOGUE, 1975
(Click images for full size views)

How do women photographers see their women subjects? That is the concept of a new exhibition through August 31 at Staley-Wise Gallery (100 Crosby Street) in conjunction with Magnum Photos, an exclusive artist's cooperative owned by its photographer members (of which 12 of these photographers belong), now celebrating its 70th anniversary.

Newsha Tavakolian  -- Portrait of Somayyeh, Tehran, Iran, 2014

I attended the show's opening last night which features varied works from international photographers ranging from the 1930's to present day in both editorial and advertising photography. Highlighted subjects as diverse as war, childhood, religion, sexuality and of course, fashion/style/celebrity illustrate the "complexity of the female experience."

Toni Frissell, Woman with Two Dachshunds, circa 1940

Photographers included are Eve Arnold, Olivia Arthur, Lillian Bassman, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Bieke Depoorter, Carolyn Drake, Martine Franck, Toni Frissell, Sheva Fruitman, Isabella Ginanneschi, Pamela Hanson, Ruth Harriet Louise, Diana Markosian, Susan Meiselas, Sheila Metzner, Inge Morath, Genevieve Naylor, Priscilla Rattazzi, Christina Garcia Rodero, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Marilyn Silverstone, Newsha Tavakolian, Deborah Turbeville, and Ellen von Unwerth.


Naturally, I was most interested in the more fashion oriented shots -- several of which are well known. Former model Deborah Turbeville's Bath House series was quite shocking when it was first seen. Composed and photographed in a condemned NYC public bath house "it scandalized readers and critics alike when it was published in Vogue in 1975, due to what they regarded as its indecency and its dark, sexual overtones." It was also variously interpreted as a paean to "Auschwitz and lesbians and drugs," as Turbeville recalled. On a less provocative note, From the Valentino Collection, 1977, in Turbeville's signature fuzzy, unfocused style is here as well. She published books on varied subjects such as Versailles and Guatemala and photographed a Valentino ad campaign one year before her death in 2013.

Rihanna, Berlin 2009 by Ellen von Unwerth

Also of note are several photos from Ellen von Unwerth such as Rihanna, Berlin, 2009 which was used for the cover of her Russian Roulette album; Fallen Party Angel, 2012, Bathing Beauties II, Paris 1992 and Mask: Nadja Audermann, VOGUE UK, Paris, 1991, all of which represent her recognizable photographic style. Von Unwerth got her professional start as the assistant of the knife thrower and the clown in the circus, later becoming a model and finally a photographer. Now known for the sort of sexy pictures of women that you can see here including several celebrities such as Sophia Loren and Penelope Cruz.

(L) Eve Arnold, Marilyn Monroe, Los Angeles, California, 1960, (R) Ellen von Unwerth, Penelope Cruz, Paris, 2003

Eve Arnold studied with Alexey Brodovitch in 1948, pursuing photojournalism around the world and becoming the first woman to join Magnum Photos in 1951. Her photos of iconic personalities of the 20th century include Marilyn Monroe who she photographed for more than 10 years. There are three photos of Monroe here from 1960, two of which feature her in the Nevada desert during the filming of "The Misfits."

 Lillian Bassman, Black - With One White Glove: Barbara Mullen, Dress by Christian Dior, New York, Harper's Bazaar, 1950

Lillian Bassman was also a protege of Brodovitch who was known for her career as art director for Junior Bazaar in the 1940's. She experimented with printing processes, throwing out her negatives and then "re-interpreting" and manipulating them in the 1990's to resemble charcoal drawings, recalling her early work as a fashion illustrator, as seen here in Black - With One White Glove: Barbara Mullen, Dress by Christian Dior, New York, Harper's Bazaar, 1950.

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Liz Gibbons as Photographer, 1938

Louise Dahl-Wolfe published her first photo in Vanity Fair in 1933. Early on in her career she documented rural America, opened her own photo studio and became a staff fashion photographer for Harper's Bazaar. She was at the forefront in color photography in the '40s and '50s and was credited by Richard Avedon as one of his most lasting influences. Her works featured here are Liz Gibbons as Photographer, 1938 and Betty McLaughlin, circa 1940.

Toni Frissell, Two Models Drinking Coke, 1940's

Toni Frissell was encouraged by Carmel Snow to pursue photography and she worked for both VOGUE and Harper's Bazaar. She volunteered her services to the American Red Cross and became the official photographer of the Women's Army Reserve and later the first female staff photographer for Sports Illustrated magazine in 1953. Her distinct and effortless photographic style in crisp black and white as well as her love for the sunlit outdoors, can be seen here in Woman with Two Dachshunds, circa 1940 and Two Models Drinking Coke, 1940's.

Ellen von Unwerth, Carmin, Paris 2003

A theme that I detected while perusing several of the photographs was the focus on a woman's mouth. From the Von Unwerth portrait of Penelope Cruz with a cigar, her Carmin, Paris, 2003 which shows a woman applying lipstick, to the Eve Arnold Marilyn Monroe in which she's pursing her lips as if about to form a kiss, the aforementioned Toni Frissell Two Models Drinking a Coke, Sheila Metzner's The Passion of Rome: Fendi, 1986 featuring a model nuzzling a David-like stone statue; Pamela Hanson photo of Bridget Hall raising a strand of spaghetti to her lips, and the Sheva Fruitman Nice Smile, New York, 2016 which features a woman's teeth and lips; these are a few examples of what I perceive as a spotlight on the mouth.

Sheva Fruitman, Nice Smile, New York 2016

Perhaps, since these are photos by women of women, it can be construed as a reference to females finding their voices, rather than just the display of sensuality that might be conveyed if a man had photographed them. An amuse bouche or a mouth that roared? It's all in the mind of the beholder but it originates with the female photographer and her female model.

- Laurel Marcus

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Here Comes the Bride - Student Style

The 5 wedding gowns flanked by Daryl Blank far right, Mara Urshel (middle),
Robert di Mauro on far right
All photos Marilyn Kirschner - click images for for full size views

I live in the present but as someone who has been involved with fashion for over four decades, I feel an emotional connection with (and have an enormous respect for) the past, and I am always thinking about the future. It’s all about fashion’s next generation and nurturing and encouraging young talent. So naturally, I was honored to have been asked to be part of the judging panel for the 7th annual bridal gown design competition from the High School of Fashion Industries (HSFI), in partnership with Kleinfeld Bridal (

The five wedding gowns

Multimedia personality and Lifestyle Commentator Robert di Mauro established the Industry Partnership Program (IPP) in 2006. It bridges the HSFI with the fashion industry and was a way to honor his father, Thomas Gaetano Di Mauro, who attended the school when it was known as the Central High School of Needle Trades. As Daryl Blank, the Principal of HSFI put it “no one works harder than Robert on behalf of the High School of Fashion Industries”. Indeed, nobody has done more to help talented fashion students gain exposure and experience, thereby helping them to succeed in the fashion industry. FYI, his annual nominations for the FGI Rising Star Award have jumpstarted the careers of some of fashion’s biggest names (Jason Wu among them).

Robert di Mauro with Amanda Santos' pink jumpsuit

The first step in the process began back in March, when a group convened at the High School of Fashion Industries. Among those who were given the task of reviewing 50 mood boards out of which 5 would be selected were Robert di Mauro, legendary stylist Freddie Leiba (we worked together at Harper’s Bazaar in the 80’s), and Mara Urshel, the Principal Owner and President of Kleinfeld Bridal Corp. The final five: Wu Qian Ye, Windy Dias, Tammy Leong, Amanda Santos, and Victoria Rivera. They were later provided with fabric and a selection of headpieces and veils and began bringing their designs to life. FYI, the fabrics were generously donated by Madeline Gardner of Mori Lee. She has been doing this from the beginning, 7 years ago, and has been giving the students some guidance as well.

The judges review all five wedding dresses 

The results were ‘unveiled’ on Monday, June 12 at the impressive and spacious Kleinfeld Salon on West 20th street. Known for having the finest and largest selection of bridal gowns in the world, the salon was turned into a runway for the occasion and on hand were friends and family of the students and of course, a panel of 9 judges. In addition to myself and Robert di Mauro, they were Freddie Leiba, New York Fashion Stylist & Creative Director; Stephanie Simon of NY1; Diane Forden, Editor-in-Chief, The Bridal Guide; Stephanie Balmir, HSFI Fashion Coordinator; Jennette Kruszka, Director of Marketing & PR at Kleinfeld; Mara Urshel, Kleinfeld; Madeline Gardner, Mori Lee Bridal.

Tammy Leong, Victoria Rivera,  Amanda Santos, Windy Dias, Wu Qian Ye
with their mood boards

After Robert gave his enthusiastic, welcoming remarks (he is a natural born emcee), followed by Daryl Blank, each of the 5 gowns (actually, one was a jumpsuit in pink no less) came out one by one (along with the design student). This gave us a chance to review them (and the mood boards) and ask questions about the design students’ inspiration, the design process, etc. In order to select a winner, we had to grade them in three categories: mood board, their creativity and ability to bring their project to life, and construction. Whoever got the highest scores would be the winner.

Victoria Rivera's Enchanted Garden wedding dress

As Mara Urshel noted, “everyone thinks it’s easy to make a wedding dress but it’s not that easy.” Actually Mara, I didn’t think it was easy. All 5 are undoubtedly talented and they were up for the challenge (and let’s not forget that they are teenage high school students). It was hard to single one out, but the mathematical winner was 16 year old Windy Dias.

Windy Dias wearing her winning bridal gown

Among the things that made her stand out: her elegant white dress, dubbed “Timelessly Modern” was the most classic and traditional of all of them and the only one that was white (the others were in pale pastel hues and the least traditional was Tammy Leong's pink jumpsuit). In addition, she added a versatile detachable skirt which literally gave it two distinctly different looks. Last but not least, she was the only one who was not only the designer, but the model.

Windy Dias with her wedding gown and detachable overskirt 

By the way, the winner not only gets the recognition and a monetary award, she might be as lucky as 2014 winner Hadassa Dorcean. Mara Urshel loved the dress designed by the winning student designer so much; the bias cut silk charmeuse sheath with fitted bodice was chosen to be recreated for purchase at Kleinfeld. It was named after the 18 year old designer herself and a portion of proceeds from each sale were donated to The High School of Fashion Industries.

Hadassa Dorcean and her winning bridal gown

Now at the age of 21, she has created a small independent business brand. Each year or every other season, there is a new collection for her women’s couture line which is made and sold via e-commerce, In 2017, she created a ready-to-wear line for both men and women.

- Marilyn Kirschner

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Red Hot: Fight Fire with Fire

Olivia Wilde heats up the Tony Awards

Boy, have things really begun to heat up! And I'm not talking politics. But instead of wearing white (which is always suggested for its ‘cooling’ effect), many women have been wearing red hot red, the symbol of power. As they say, “Fight fire with fire”.At the Tony Awards on Sunday (a day when the thermostat rose above 90), actress and presenter Olivia Wilde, heated up the night with her red plunge front long sleeved Michael Kors gown.

Jessica Chastain arrives at her pre-wedding party in Venice

When Jessica Chastain arrived for her pre-wedding reception at Venice, Italy (the actress married Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo outside of Venice over this past weekend), she was wearing a short red dress.

Mia Moretti 2017 CFDA Awards

Last Monday, actress Mia Morelli was literally encased in red at the 2017 CFDA Awards, opting for Stacey Bendet’s red patent bomber, matching floor length skirt, and sheer red blouse for Alice + Olivia (she arrived with the designer).

Jean Shafiroff

At the New York Botanical Garden’s Conservatory Ball on June 1st, Jean Shafiroff stole the show in Victor de Souza’s red ‘Unicorn’ gown.

Bella Hadid

At the Cannes Film Festival in May, Bella Hadid was a vision in her red quilted Christian Dior gown perfectly accessorized with Bulgari diamonds (she is the face of the new Bulgari fragrance).

Melania Trump

First Lady Melania Trump understands the impact of fashion AND color and has been known to favor red, along with white, black, and tan. One memorable example was her short Givenchy cape dress which she accessorized with a small red quilted Chanel clutch and red suede Louboutin ballerinas.

Jeffrey Dodd Resort 2018

The Resort 2018 collections are now underway and it’s obvious that designers continue to be taken with this color (for day and evening). They also understand that the hue packs such a wallop that it’s best when shown in its most simplistic, minimalist state. Relative newcomer Jeffrey Dodd launched his high end line in 2014. Everything is designed in New York City and made in Italy. The emphasis is on workmanship, superb fabrication, impeccable tailoring, draping, and modern silhouettes (he has begun to garner much attention for his red carpet worthy designs). For his debut resort 2018, he included 6 pieces in vibrant, saturated red.

Jeffrey Dodd Resort 2018

There were several jumpsuits -- one with a short kimono sleeve and a one shoulder number.A long lean strapless dress featured hand embroidered separate sleeves
Jeffrey Dodd Resort 2018

A red tunic shown over red hand embroidered narrow pants, was accessorized with red high heels. This was also the debut of his new shoe collection.

Pamella Roland Resort 2018

Pamella Roland previewed her Resort 2018 collection (inspired by the garden in Northern Michigan vacation home) at the Italian jeweler Bulgari. She accessorized with Bulgari’s bijoux, and the 5th Avenue store was transformed into a botanical paradise. She ended the 35 piece collection in a blazer of red (there were 5 red dresses, long and short)

Pringle of Scotland

Fran Stringer has been creative director for Pringle of Scotland for just under one year and she spiced up the Resort 2018 collection (which emphasized technical knitwear), with several pieces in red, adding matching flats.

I have always gravitated to red as it instantly changes the way I feel. I am always reminded of Spanish designer Sybilla’s observation, “When I wear red, I feel like I can eat the world!” Do you need more of an excuse to follow her lead?

- Marilyn Kirschner