Monday, July 31, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Watermill Center Holds Star-Studded Gala in Hampton's

"Art installation"
All photos: Lieba Nesis
Click images for full size views

The Watermill Center held its 24th annual "Fly Into the Sun" gala this past Saturday July 29, 2017 with cocktails beginning at 6PM. This year's benefit and auction was sponsored by Van Cleef and Arpels and honored Laurie Anderson and Isabelle Huppert in tribute to Lou Reed. The Jewish New Yorker in me has a habit of continually comparing this year's event to last year's with the ultimate conclusion that "last year was better."

Columnist Lieba Nesis & Robert Downey Jr

However, this dinner was one of those rare occasions where I thought this year superseded the others. When I arrived at the outdoor destination, there was an hour long wait just to enter the area. Judging by the eclecticism of the massive crowd it was readily apparent the event was already a smash success.
Fern Mallis & designer Bibhu Mohapatra

With nearly 2,000 people in attendance there were socialites/philanthropists: Jean Shafiroff, Somers Farkas, Prince Dimitri, Randi Schatz, Janna Bullock, Toby and Larry Milstein, Lucia Hwong Gordon,

Somers Farkas

Cassandra Seidenfeld, Lauren and Bob Roberts, Ziel and Helene Feldman, and Alexander Soros; actors: Robert Downey Jr., and Isabelle Huppert; fashion heavyweights: Fern Mallis, Nicole Miller and Bibhu Mohapatra; and famed photographers Mick Rock and David Prutting.

Jean Shafiroff  & artist Robert Wilson

Let's just say Kanye West who was a no-show this year and last was hardly missed. Famed artist Robert Wilson who counts celebrities such as Kanye and Gaga as friends, heads the event each year and invites international artists to create site-specific installations.

Frances & Neda Young with Inga Maren Otto

Tonight there were 24 artistic installations and performances featured in the outdoor forest with a large black sign reading "She outwits him/she outlives him." The scene was other-worldly with an African American man lying in a pile of bananas; women in various states of undress; and men with white eyeballs dangling from trees. This was the "unenchanted forest" and there was no holding back-the anger was blaring.

Photographer Mick Rock

I had the opportunity to speak with legendary rock photographer Mick Rock who was enjoying the artistic displays but was not a fan of the Hamptons since it was "too self conscious." He revealed that he received a free evening at the gala after donating a 1973 print of Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Lou Reed to the auction and was enjoying the event since it was all about young artists. He was also there to pay tribute to Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed's wife, and remarked that he was surprised at how diminutive actress Isabelle Huppert was in person.

Alexander Soros

Following the lengthy two hour cocktail portion, which cost $500, a more expensive dinner of $1,500 and $2,500 was held in the tent where illustrious guests such as Alexander Soros, son of George, and superstar Robert Downey Jr. enjoyed the auction part of the evening. Downey took to the stage to implore guests to donate money even offering a selfie for anyone who donated $5,000.

Campion & Tatiana Platt

Tatiana Platt, wife of interior designer Campion Platt, bought a selfie to the delight of the excited crowd. Soros, who arrived with three tables of top models bid on some artwork during the live auction conducted by the well known Simone de Pury, who flew in from the Di Caprio fundraiser in St. Tropez the night before. The first item auctioned was a Michael Dweck print which sold for $55,000.   The Carrie Mae Weems silkscreen which had an estimated value of $45,000 sold for $70,000.

Auctioneer Simon de Pury & Honoree Isabelle Huppert

Unfortunately, the Robert Wilson photograph of Isabelle Huppert received $70,000 despite its estimated value of $100,000. We were also treated to a mini fashion presentation of Bibhu Mohapatra who agreed to design a haute couture dress for the lucky guest who bid $15,000.

Jewelry designer Joan Hornig

After the business portion of the evening, guests headed outdoors to hear Laurie Anderson perform while petit fours were served. The night concluded with a DJ and dancing with guests heading home at midnight after experiencing one of the premier events of the summer social season.

- Lieba Nesis

Sunday, July 30, 2017

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

A ‘Penny’ For Your Thoughts

Leandra Medine's MR By Man Repeller metallic penny loafers in stop traffic red and blue
More info/purchase

Saddle shoes are making a comeback, in good part because of Joseph Altuzarra’s endorsement of them for resort 2018 (if missed my article, here is a link). Can penny loafers be far behind?

I am of the belief that when something is good, it’s good forever regardless of the vagaries of fashion ins and outs; simple yet tasteful designs have an enduringly timeless style. That being said, I am hardly suggesting you dust off the ones you wore in college lol. There are seemingly endless varieties available right now, from the relatively straightforward, simple and classic to those that have been updated and reinvented to make them more interesting and edgier. And let’s just say, it is the latter, the more unexpected versions, rather than the run of the mill, which I am obsessing over right now.

There are penny loafer flats, penny loafer heels, and penny loafers on platforms. They are made of leather, suede, velvet, metallic and animal printed calf. They range in color from white to black and everything in between (it’s the colorful ones that got my attention because, why not!) There are penny loafers to slip on and those to slide into. There are even penny loafers to wear in the rain. FYI, this is a great time to shop because many items are greatly reduced, as you will see.

MR by Man Repeller two-tone satin lace up loafers in pink with red penny slot, are an exclusive at Leandra Medine, the style influencer who designed this highly anticipated shoe collection, noted, “I love to wear a loafer. But I also like things that are a bit silly, so why not a pink one” Why not indeed! $119 (reduced from $395) More info/purchase

MR by Man Repeller The Alternative to Bare Feet penny loafers in pink plush velvet embossed with a paisley motif, $128 (reduced from $425) More info/purchase

Miu Miu’s update on the classic penny loafer is in dark cherry polished leather with contrasting orange and is set on a thick heel. Leave it to Miuccia to substitute a traditional penny with a golden medallion that has been embossed with the label’s name for recognition, $590. More info/purchase

Tod’s two toned glossed leather penny loafer pumps on a stacked 4 inch heel, $725 More info/purchase

Maison Margiela white leather with white stitching moccasins feature a pound coin detail, $428 reduced from $855. More info/purchase

Christopher Kane pointy toed silver metallic penny loafers, $195 (reduced from $489) More info/purchase

Givenchy black patent leather platform penny loafers, $ 450 (originally $1125) More info/purchase

Zara red metallic leather penny loafers, $49.90 More info/purchase

Vintage Prada animal printed fur penny loafers, $295 More info/purchase

G.H. Bass & Co. Wynn two tone penny mules, $110 More info/purchase

Hands down the most practical, are Hunter’s gloss finish waterproof penny loafer and penny loafers boots. I love the combination of form and function and am of the belief that one should look as wonderful in the rain, as in the sun if not better!!!!Hunter waterproof penny loafers $135 More info/purchase

Hunter waterproof refined penny loafer Chelsea boots, $89.99 reduced from $145 More info/purchase

Hunter waterproof tall penny loafer boots, $175  More info/purchase

- Marilyn Kirschner

Friday, July 28, 2017

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

Saks Fifth Avenue & The Emoji Movie

Combine Saks Fifth Avenue, leading fashion brands and the Sony Pictures Animation feature, The Emoji Movie, and what do you get? A custom designed, emoji-inspired fashion collection, available exclusively at Saks New York flagship and Beverly Hills stores, as well as

Jason Wu collection
All photos Rhonda Erb
Click images for full size views

The “Saks Fifth Avenue x The Emoji Movie” collection features ready-to-wear clothing and shoes from design houses such as Jason Wu, Mackage, Del Toro Footwear, Orlebar Brown, Gents and Havianas. This fashion and film collaboration may seem like an unusual partnership at first, but John Antonini, Saks Fifth Avenue Director of Stores explains why Saks and Sony Pictures Animation have created the perfect synergy, “...the smiley emoji is a big part of the movie and it sort of sums up how customers should feel when they interact with Saks Fifth Avenue. They should walk into our stores, go to our website and feel happy.”

John Antonini

In honor of the “Saks Fifth Avenue x The Emoji Movie” collection, Saks has devoted six windows at its Fifth Avenue store to an immersive fashion and film experience that allows viewers to interact with emoji characters from the film.  The windows were unveiled last week at a red carpet event that took place, appropriately enough, on World Emoji Day. “I think that when you talk about The Emoji Movie, it has to be about fun, Antonini explained, “When people use emojis today, it’s about bringing to life their emotions in different ways, and I think putting that together in our windows with product from some of our favorite designers, really brings that all together for us.”

On hand for The Emoji Movie event were members of the cast, including T. J. Miller, Maya Rudolph, Jake T. Austin and Liam Aiken. Also in attendance were the film’s director, Tony Leondis, and producer, Michelle Kouyate, as well as designers, Sony Pictures executives and fans of fashion and the movie like Paula Abdul.

Tony Leondis

In keeping with the expressive theme of the movie, Leondis, a native New Yorker, was very enthusiastic as he reflected on the way in which the film came about,“ in animation we’re always looking for new worlds to discover and I was thinking about my next movie, what I wanted to make and I looked down on the phone and I saw these emojis and I thought ‘Oh My goodness there’s a whole world that exists in our phones and there’s already a society that is inherent, which is everybody has to be their one thing’ so the smiler always has to smile, even if she’s really angry and the frowner is always frowning. So I thought it would be interesting to do a story inside the phone and explore what that would be. What happens behind the scenes?” And how does Leondis feel about Saks Fifth Avenue and fashion becoming a part of the equation? “Oh my gosh, I am so thrilled! We spend so much time on our production design and our color and how to light a sequence and how to bring these worlds to life...and so I'm thrilled that other designers could get inspired by something we did.”

The Emoji Movie opens nationwide on July 28th. Saks Fifth Avenue New York Flagship windows will be live through the end of July.

- Rhonda Erb
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Thursday, July 27, 2017

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Ralph’s ‘Garage’ Sale

Photos by

Need more proof that this is Ralph’s world and we’re all just living in it?

I was fascinated by the news that Ralph Lauren would show his fall 2017 "see-now–buy-now" collection at his private garage in Bedford, New York, with his enviable treasure trove of museum worthy automobiles as a backdrop for both his Purple label menswear and womenswear lines. (And you thought taking a ferry to the Brooklyn Navy Yards for Alexander Wang’s 2014 collection, or high-tailing it to Roosevelt Island for Yeezy Season 4 last September was a trek!)

Ralph in his garage

The avowed car obsessed fashion legend’s collection of more than 70 extremely rare cars (he owns some of the best antique cars known to man) is perhaps the highest-valued in the world, estimated by Forbes to be worth at least $300 million (17 cars from his collection were exhibited at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris in 2011). He has said, “I’ve always seen cars as art. Moving art”. This will be the first time the garage, which has been described as purposely non-descript from the outside (it’s not on his property as many think, but close by), will have been used for an event, let alone a fashion show.

Coincidentally, the announcement came on the heels of my report, “Making NYFW Great Again! Fashion Insiders Weigh In”, during which time I asked fashion insiders to weigh in with comments, criticism, and suggestions. Unsurprisingly, the Fashion Calendar, the scheduling of shows, and the location of show venues were a big topic of discussion, with many pressing for some sort of centralization or at the very least, a logistical plan to make things easier for buyers and press. The New York Fashion Week calendar comes out on Friday and it’s already shaping up to be a season of many changes.

Ralph's cars on exhibition in Paris

There was a time when you could tell what day it was (and the time of day) by who was showing, and where they were showing. It was like fashion’s version of the 1969 movie “If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium” lol. Well, those days are long gone. Proenza Schouler, Joseph Altuzarra, Monique Lhuillier, and Thom Browne have left New York for Paris, and Tommy Hilfiger will move his show to London this season. Narciso Rodriguez, who was to show on the same night as Ralph, has decided against having a formal show, and will instead, stage smaller showroom presentations on the first official day of NYFW. At a time when many top designers are pulling out, or are going small, leave it to Ralph to go big! And thank goodness, because what NYFW needs now, more than anything, is a jolt, a buzz, a knock your socks off excitement. His show will not only be a fashion happening, he’s making it personal! His garage is obviously a place that is a source of enormous pleasure, satisfaction, and pride (as well it should be), and it is very meaningful for him. Opening it up to the public in this manner is symbolic and indicative of where he is at this stage in his life. He turns 78 in October and will be celebrating his 50th anniversary next year!

"Of course, some might say and justly so, at a time when New York Fashion Week needs more support America's most iconic designer is basically abandoning the city and moving his show 40 miles north to his garage. Does Ralph really need the distraction of all those fabulous cars? Are not the clothes enough? How is his choice of venues a reflection on everyone working together to make Fashion Week more effective?"

Regardless, Ralph’s show promises to be vintage Ralph, has all the earmarks of a bona fide fashion moment and will no doubt garner much press. The man is a class act; a perfectionist with impeccable taste. There will be no stones left unturned, and it will all be picture perfect like everything he does. A glimpse inside his stores is a glimpse inside his homes. His life, his style and his fashion are completely intertwined into one fabulous stage set and it’s hard to separate one from the other, which is a large part of his success.

Notwithstanding an unspecified number of store closures, a reduction in workforce, closure of certain corporation operations, and the departure of CEO Stefan Larsson in February (he was replaced by Patrice Louvet who began his career at Procter & Gamble so let’s just say he knows a thing or two about branding) Ralph Lauren is undisputedly one of the most successful designers on the planet and a true American original who has built one of the world’s most iconic fashion brands and lifestyle empires. It was his “brilliant creative vision and business acumen, and the audacity with which he fused the two into a $7.5 billion dollar global empire” that earned him WWD’s inaugural John B. Fairchild Honor last year (among other honors, awards and accolades too numerous to mention). From the start, he has had a singular vision and he’s been a master at honing in on that vision, literally creating his own alternative universe. Not bad for a kid from the Bronx who began sewing neckties out of a cramped rental in the Empire State Building in 1967 and eventually shake up American menswear.

As for the unapologetically out of the way location (it’s at the very least, a 40 minute drive from New York). Ken Downing, in his comments to me last week (which I included in my report), noted, “if you want to show on the moon, fine, go with NASA. If you want to show in Brooklyn after 7 p.m.; that’s fine with me”. While Ralph’s show is not quite as inaccessible as the moon, it is not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump from midtown Manhattan. But thankfully it’s scheduled for 7 pm, and transportation will be provided (what would really be impressive, is if guests were to be helicoptered back and forth). The fact that you can’t walk to it, or get there by hopping on the subway guarantees exclusivity and no crashers. One can’t exactly show up with the tired excuse: “Oh well, I was just in the neighborhood”, unless of course, you happen to live in the tony town of Bedford. It’s not only going to be exclusive (invitees will be a select group of press, editors, and clients and you can be certain there will be a number of a list stars in the midst), but formal (there will be a dinner afterwards and guests will be asked to dress in formal black and white attire). It has all the makings of a perfect photo op.

As for the fashion, well let’s just say that if you are going to have as a backdrop for a fashion show some of the world’s rarest, most incredible cars, you had better have your  “A” Game going and no doubt, Ralph will. While I don’t know exactly what the clothes will look like, I think I can safely say he will not be doing a western prairie theme this time around and you probably won't be seeing faded denim. In keeping with the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, two Ferrari Tastarossas, three 1996 McLaren F1’s (one of them an ultra-rare McLaren F1LM), a Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing, a 1929 Bentley 41/2 Litre (Blower Bentley), a Bugatti Veyron, a 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK “Count Trossi”, a 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Mille Miglia, a rare Lamborghini Reventon Roadster, a 1938 Bugatti Atlantic, a 1929 Bentley Blower, an orange 1966 McLaren F1LM, and a number of red Ferraris from the 60’s, 70’s, and 90’s, the clothes will assuredly be similarly sleek, polished, modern, urbane and impeccably tailored -- with an emphasis on black, with touches of red, white, yellow, orange, and accentuated with silver to mimic the gleaming chrome of his prized possessions.

- Marilyn Kirschner

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

"Cheap Thrills": Mid-Summer Edition

High fashion undeniably comes with astronomically high prices. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t bargains to be found. And who amongst us doesn’t love a bargain? Once again, I have reprised my "Cheap Thrills" column; selecting a number of items in the market, I show their high priced version along with their (far) less expensive doppelganger (in most cases, they are a fraction of the cost of the originals).

Will the quality, workmanship, fabrication, and detailing of the latter be on par with the former? Well of course not. But in many cases, the differences are miniscule, barely discernable, discernible only to those with the most well trained eye, and not enough of a negative to outweigh the positive (the price tag). Let’s face it, most of us, without the clothing allowance of First Lady Melania Trump for example, can’t afford not to take cost into consideration. In some cases, I actually prefer the less expensive version and not just because of the price but by virtue of its design, size, etc.

FYI, if it appears that almost all but two 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. Is it any wonder that Amancio Ortega, the founder and owner, has been named the third richest person in the world?

Click images for full size views...

The XL Multi-Striped Leather Shopper

Left: Balenciaga, $2550 More info/purchase : Right: Mango, $99 More info/purchase

The Fringed Black Leather Belt

Left: Azzedine Alaia, $6800 More info/purchase; Right: BCBG Max Azria, $98 More info/purchase

The Colorful Bejeweled Buckle Pump

Left: Manolo Blahnik, $695 More info/purchase ; Right: Zara, $65.90 More info/purchase

The Structured Wicker Bag

Left: Mark Cross, $1048 More info/purchase ; Right: Zara, $59.90 More info/purchase

The Elongated Frayed Edge Tweed Jacket

Left: MSGM tweed blazer, $785 More info/purchase ; Right: Zara elongated tweed jacket, $129 More info/purchase

The Vividly Hued Pointy Toed Over The Knee Stretch Boot

Left: Balenciaga, $1395 More info/purchase ; Right: Zara, $89.90 More info/purchase

The Silver Studded Black Leather Bag

Left: Elizabeth & James, $695 More info/purchase ; Right: Zara, $69.90 More info/purchase

The Fringed Cobalt Blue Tote

Left: Stella McCartney, $868.50& More info/purchase ; Right: Binge Knitting, $98 More info/purchase

The Minimal White Slingback Pump

Left: Tibi, $425 More info/purchase ; Right: Zara, $59.90 More info/purchase

The Striped Wide Legged Trouser

Left: Lanvin, $458 (50% off) More info/purchase ; Right: Zara, $69.90 More info/purchase

The Slouchy Trench Coat

Left: Vetements, $2867 (reduced from $4095) More info/purchase ; Right: Zara, $219 More info/purchase

The Silver Oxford

Left: Loeffler Randall, $395 More info/purchase ;Right: Zara , $49.90 More info/purchase

- Marilyn Kirschner