Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wednesdays at Michael's by Diane Clehane

A Conversation With Nancy Grace on Her Return to TV

Nancy Grace & Diane Clehane

I’m serving up an extra helping of all the dish from Michael’s since I was not able to get to 55th and Fifth last week due to the biblical weather. (Will this winter ever end?) Last Monday I had lunch with Nancy Grace and, as you might expect, she had plenty to say. Today, I was joined by marketing guru and political analyst Robert Zimmerman and producer Joan Gelman, two of my favorite people to chat with about current events. Here’s two columns in one!

First, Nancy and I go way back. I first met her when I was working on a book about celebrities and their mothers in 2003.  At the time, I hadn’t known she was a force to be reckoned with -- I just had an insane deadline and needed to talk to bold face names about their relationships with their mothers and finish the book. Without hesitation, she graciously agreed to share her story. After speaking to Nancy about the close relationship she has with her mother, Elizabeth, I was touched. But it was hearing her story about how the shooting death of her fiancé, Keith Griffin, had compelled her to abandon her dream of settling down and becoming a school teacher and to instead go to law school and become a prosecutor that really fascinated me.

At the time, I was intrigued to find out more about how that prosecutor who had become a victim’s advocate was now on the brink of becoming a full-fledged TV star. I checked her out on Court TV and Larry King. She could hold her own with anyone – and then some. It was then and there I knew Nancy had her own book in her and promptly pitched her on the idea. Two years later, her first book (co-authored by yours truly) was published and shot up the best-seller list. She’s since written three more best-sellers and is currently at work on another book. “I’m always writing!” After that I didn’t see Nancy again until her twins were born a decade ago and I profiled her for People magazine. We were long overdue for a catch-up.



I heard Nancy’s familiar southern drawl when she said hello to some people as she made her way through the dining room. “Diane!” she threw her arms around me and we were off. After sharing photos on our phones of our children, we got down to business. Nancy was in town shooting her new show, “Grace vs. Abrams” premiering Thursday night at 11 pm ET on A&E Network.

Nancy and her sparring partner – Oops! I meant cohost -- Dan Abrams – are joining forces to debate infamous crimes and legal cases on the series produced by Lincoln Square Productions. It’s shot in Times Square Studios before a live audience.  “A&E has the best ideas! The fur flies!” said Nancy. “Dan and I have a history that goes back to Court TV. We never had an argument until GMA.”

Both Nancy and Dan are two of the country’s most respected legal analysts and are known for their epic battles on their “Good Morning America” segments – which is actually where the idea for the series came from. Prolific television producer Hilary Estey McLoughlin walked in on one of their discussions and said, “Hey, I have an idea – what about a ‘He said – She said’ show?” Nancy told me. “The last time someone said that, I wound up doing “Cochrane & Grace”.” [Estey McLoughlin and Terrance Noonan are the producers of “Grace vs. Abrams.”]

Nancy, as you may know, became part of the national conversation about OJ Simpson. While she was working as a special prosecutor in the Fulton County District Attorney’s office in Atlanta she had become a regular presence on CNN and was becoming an in-demand speaker. “It was after Simpson. I was up in New York in 1996 to be on a panel at the Hall of Justice in New York with Johnnie [Cochrane] and Roy Black, who was straight off a victory in the William Kennedy Smith rape case to talk about the justice system. I met Dan that night,” she said. “I didn’t know if I was going to go – I had a rape trial and I was picking the jury the following week but I went up.”

A few months later, the district attorney she had worked for decided to retire. “I knew whoever came in would clean house,” she said and so she said yes when producers pitched the idea of “Cochrane & Grace.” In 1997, she moved to New York “with two boxes of clothes, a curling iron and $300.”

After 11 years at Court TV, Nancy had her own nightly show on Headline News for 12 years (while somehow managing to do a radio show at the same time) where she made headlines confronting those who dared to go on the defend (in her view) the indefensible. Remember the ‘Tot Mom’ trial? When Nancy left Headline News in 2016, she did so to launch Crimeonline.com (More on that later) but wasn’t thinking about a return to series television at that time. In recent years, she’s made regular appearances on Wendy Williams (who is a huge Nancy fan) and weighs in twice month on Crime Tuesdays on Dr. Oz’s show. She’s also the executive producer of an ongoing series of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries films based on the characters from her novels. Nancy makes a cameo in every movie. “I know it sounds corny to say but the Hallmark people are really nice!” she laughed. “As nice as you’d think people from Hallmark would be. I love working with them.”

The people Nancy and Dan are talking about on their new show are anything but nice. On the premiere, Casey Anthony (yes, ‘Tot Mom’) is the topic of conversation. Next week, convicted murderer Drew Peterson’s second wife makes an appearance on the show. “I was just transfixed,” said Nancy. “Drew Peterson hates my guts!” There’s also an episode about Chandra Levy’s disappearance and Gary Condit. Nancy recalled covering the young woman’s disappearance. “Condit’s son jumped all over me and kept blaming me and ‘the media.’ His father slept with an intern! No one has been held accountable [for Levy’s disappearance and murder.]”  Sounds like true crime fans will be riveted.

Speaking of true crime, Nancy’s website Crimeonline.com, a digital media venture aimed at fighting crime, is flourishing. She proudly told me the site is getting 10 million page views per month. A small staff of reporters is covering crime stories nationwide in addition to Nancy’s work advocating for victims on the site. She’s also doing a Sirius radio show and daily podcast. “I love television, but I also love what we’re doing online. People aren’t running home to watch television like they used to. You need to adapt.” “Nancy is also speaking at CrimeCon 2018 which is being held in Nashville May 4th through 6th. These days, Nancy splits her time between New York and Atlanta where she and husband David Linch are raising their twins and she couldn’t be happier. “I spend a lot of time in a dinged-up mini-van and still get dinner on the table every night!”


Joan Gelman, Diane Clehane & Robert Zimmerman

I was joined today by Robert Zimmerman and Joan Gelman who are always great conversationalists about the issue of the day. Robert is the cofounder of Zimmerman/Edelson, a very successful PR agency on Long Island and is an in-demand political analyst on cable news. Joan has had a long career in television and in theater as a producer. We get together a couple of times a year to discuss politics (all OTR today) and talk obsessively about media. Today we took on the state of television. “I think we are in a golden age of broadcast,” said Robert as well settled in for lunch. He’d just seen Last night’s premiere of “Roseanne” and gave it the thumbs up. “I thought it was smart and edgy,” he said of its political humor that sets up Roseanne and her sister Jackie on opposite ends of the current spectrum.” Joan, who isn’t a fan of network television, gave Whoopi Goldberg high marks for keeping The View relevant. “She is such a professional.” High praise coming from Joan, trust me.

We all agreed that cable news has become an obsession. Robert watches everything “across the political spectrum” while Joan is glued to MSNBC. “It’s like a drug,” she said. “I love Chris Matthews and I like Rachel [Maddow].” Having worked at WCBS-TV in New York, Joan told us she thinks today’s news is “too local” and needs more in-depth reporting and service-oriented pieces.  Today, said Robert, “People watch the news to reinforce their existing point-of-view, not to learn something new.” The greatest irony, though, is this: “We’re in a post-factual age and we’re living in a world where there are more opportunities to fact-check than ever before.” No argument here.

On a lighter note, Joan and Robert also shared their theater recommendations with me. Fresh off a trip to London where she saw “everything,” Joan told me she loved "Network", an adaption of the Peter Finch-Faye Dunaway film at the National Theatre. She’s seeing the revival of "Angels in America" starring Andrew Garfield this week which is a two-part, seven hour “masterwork” according to The New York Times. Robert, suggested I take my 13 year-old daughter to see "The Lion King" (“One of the best shows I’ve ever seen”) and "Phantom of the Opera" during her spring break. He’s off to Europe in a few weeks on a very special trip. I’m glad I have fancy friends like these who allow me to live vicariously through their deep dive into culture while I’m home watching "The Crown"!


SEEN & HEARD AROUND THE ROOM

Table One was jam-packed with well-heeled ladies who lunch feting Eva Mohr who was celebrating a birthday. We spotted her dear friend Today show host Kathie Lee Gifford in the mix. I chatted briefly with Rikki Klieman before she joined in the fun.  Fabulous Rikki, who is a legal analyst for CBS News and always looks perfectly put together, told me she’s been on air since 4 am talking about the motion filed by attorney, Michael Avenatti for President Donald Trump to be deposed over an alleged affair with Stephanie Clifford aka Stormy Daniels.

Gordon Elliot was on Table Two … Andrew Stein and Judith Miller seemed to have a lot to talk about on Three … Peter Brown was at his usual perch on Table Four … Allen & Company’s Stan Shuman was on Five …The Imber Gang: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman and a young lady we didn’t get to meet were holding court on Table Six …Uber agent Esther Newberg was on Table Eleven … NBC’s David Corvo on Twelve.


And there’s more …


I stopped by Table Fifteen to say hello to my pal power publicist Judy Twersky who was lunching with Lisa Birnbach and Maurie Perl. Judy, who did such a stellar job promoting Sheila Nevins book, is now working with Joanne Lipman whose new book, That’s What She Said, a timely tome about the structural changes and challenges women are facing in the workplace. Joanne will be talking about this hot topic at the 92nd Street Y on April 8. Busy Judy has also taken on Laurie Burrows Grad’s new book entitled The Joke’s Over, You Can Come Back Now: How This Widow Plowed Through Grief and Survived. Expect to see both women all over the airwaves soon!


And finally… Neil Lasher on Sixteen … LAK PR’s CEO Lisa Linden with City & State’s Tom Allon …Social swan Cece Cord on Table Twenty. See you at Michael’s next week!




In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Marching Forward: The Year of the Boot

Boots made a statement at Christian Dior Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear
Photos Vogue.com - Click images for full size views

Boots are beloved, indispensable wardrobe workhorses but it just so happens that they could not be more relevant for these feminist times. Let’s face it; nothing makes a woman feel stronger, bolder, or more empowered, than a great pair of boots.

Forget about boots that are "made for walking", how about boots made for marching? This was perfectly echoed on the boot heavy runway of Christian Dior, where Maria Grazia Chiuri celebrated the student protesters of the highly charged late 60’s. Her red soled, red blocked heeled black leather boots with graphic red and white side stripes were standouts (see opening shot).

Saint Laurent Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

Indeed, one could argue that Fall 2018 is the season of the boot and many designers literally gave women a ‘platform’ to stand on as platform boots (in a number of iterations) stormed the runways (and their message is loud and clear: "you can't mess with me!").


Balenciaga Knife Boots 

There are boots that could do double duty as a weapon, if one needed to defend oneself. The Balenciaga Knife thigh boots, available right now for $1690, are so named because of their extremely pointy toes and spiky heels. Talk about ‘killer boots’.


Ann Demeulemeester Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

There are fierce flat over-the-knee lace up combat boots that would please even the most staunchly militant feminists.


Givenchy Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

Fierce short asymmetrically zippered leather boots with conical mid-heels.


R 13 Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

There are boots in bold black and white checks that match the entire ensemble.


Sacai Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

Purposely mismatched animal patterned boots.


Rochas Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

There are "go with everything", uber cool snakeskin boots.


Marine Serre Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

Also, fab boots in "go with everything" red.


Isabel Marant Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear 

Thigh high Western style boots punctuated with a sleek metal cap toe.


Tod's Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

Day boots in suede, both slouchy and fitted.


Alexandre Vauthier Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

Decorative boots for evening (whether printed, embellished, bejeweled, feathered).


Phillip Plein Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear 

There are furry takes on the traditional Moon Boot.


 Prada Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

Rubber boots that take their cue from the humble Wellie.


Chanel

Boots that are gilded.


Calvin Klein Fall 2018 Ready-to-wear

Boots that are silvery.


Needless to say there are endless choices and there is literally something for everyone, and everything!




- Marilyn Kirschner

Monday, March 26, 2018

Special Report by Merle Ginsberg

VIVE LA RESISTANCE!  PROTEST CHIC

Protest signs for the March for Our lives, Los Angeles
Photo: Merle Ginsberg
Click images for full size views

If you’re like me, you’ve spent a lot more time at protests in the last 14 months. And, as with the come-and-go fashion zeitgeist, the sixties and seventies are now being recycled, this time in politics - as our government/patriarchy grows more and more oppressive, and feminists and the youth raise their voices and march in the streets.

 Lately, I do feel kind of guilty about shopping and caring about trends, even looking at photos from the shows online. News has taken precedence over fashion magazines. Look, it’s all about passion: passion for aesthetics, which drives the desire for dresses, bags and shoes, plus the freedom to express my individuality – and passion about pushing back at oppression of any kind, particularly when it comes to the government telling you what you can and can’t do with your body – and that kids getting killed is less important than gun rights. A good sign your best accessory at any kind of march – as long as it’s relevant to the theme.

Photo Merle Ginsberg

Without starting to rant on present politics– and it’s hard for me not to – I’ve been pondering lately on what’s optimum to wear in our brave new world of resistance and rising up. I’m eschewing Barneys and Neimans in favor of soft t shirts, slightly forgiving and flared cropped leggings – and leaving the trend part to my sneakers – Golden Goose sock sneakers, on sale for $150 from $700. I’ve been wearing Brit-style nautical caps, a la John Lennon, from Zara, making my nails green-black with Chanel’s Fiction polish (girls will be girls) – and kicking it up a bit with bright red matte lipstick (the only thing I can’t resist buying.


Merle Ginsberg at March for Our Lives, Los Angeles
Photo: Thomas Drotar

I have never worn a t-shirt in my life till now – let alone the (shudder) occasional jeans. I didn’t even know where to buy t-shirts! (H & M, Zara, Crossroads, Wasteland, Splendid, Three Dots.) But I’ve come to observe, with the trained eagle eye of a fashion editor, what to wear to a march/protest, as this is something I ASSURE YOU fashion people DO think about this: even though, like me, they probably feel guilty about it, a bit shamed for being so superficial in light of such a serious issue: but dressing well, or appropriately – doesn’t take away from the political ramifications and a serious intent – does it?

I ran into my friend, the longtime fashion writer Monica Corcoran Harel, at the march. She was wearing a nylon jacket with “FEMINIST” stenciled on the back that was SO cool and so original. Turns out she feels much like me at – well, not being able to NOT see defined looks at these things:

“Activists always say, ‘comfort first’ when it comes to marches, but let's face it: style is an amazing and utilitarian way to express yourself. (Think of the pink pussy hats.) I have stenciled "Feminist" tee shirts and sweat shirts for my daughter Tess and myself so we're always sharing our views.  My friends and I created that stencil for the first Womens’ March in D.C. last year. We cut out the letters on poster board and adorned tees, sweatshirts and jackets with fabric spray paint at a pre-party before we left L.A. to march. It was very DIY! Nylon jackets are great because the fabric is perfect for any weather protests.”

What trends did she observe?

“In L.A., I saw lots of powerful tees with slogans like ‘Don't Shoot!’ and ‘Am I Next?’ Many women in my crowd opted for Anine Bing fatigue jackets and suede booties because we knew we wouldn't be marching for miles/hours this time around.”

 Well, here are my pointers for the next march –as there’s sure to be one. On tax day, April 15, I believe there is one for Trump to show his taxes. Ha! But I’ll be there anyway.

First things first, find out the color of the theme (pink for feminism, orange for protesting gun violence) – because there always seems to be one. I obviously didn’t get the memo about the orange for March For Our Lives – and as a fashion person, was embarrassed. Eventually, a woman generously gave me a homemade orange knit cap with ENOUGH stitched on in black.  Orange showed up on babies, parents, dogs, men, women, old people – in many forms. Hats was one. No, your fuschia pussy hat won’t fly in every march. Get with the right program.

Photo Merle Ginsberg


HAIR


Photo Merle Ginsberg

If all else fails, dye your hair the color of the theme – or pop on a wig.


A POP OF PROTEST COLOR


Photo Merle Ginsberg

Just wear something – sweater, sweatshirt, with the color embedded.


LEGGINGS AND SWEAT SHIRTS AND SNEAKERS

Photo Merle Ginsberg

All forms of leg wear are cool – as long as they’re comfortable (the fishnet ones would like kind of stupid here). Orange laces on sneakers: perf. Or orange sneakers themselves. Even a thin sweatshirt wrapped around the waist works. This protestor chose to work all three. And best of all, you can buy any of these things at Target –not Tar JAY.


 EYEWEAR


I saw a lot of orange framed sunglasses. No, you don’t need to get Oliver Peoples. The $4 ones sold on the street will do.


FLAG CHIC

Photo Merle Ginsberg

Anything with a flag on it works – even the flag itself. Who says we’re not real Americans? Surely Betsy Ross would approve.


PUFFER OR BRIGHT VESTS


Photo Merle Ginsberg

They look tough, keep you warmer, and they go over everything. Recycle to ride your bike at night.




 - Merle Ginsberg

Sunday, March 25, 2018

New York Fashion Cool-Aid® by Laurel Marcus

She's Just a Denim Woman

by Amy Leverton
Published by Rizzoli
More info/purchase

Calling all denimheads, denim purists or those just looking for a little inspo on a veritable wardrobe staple. Amy Leverton , a transplanted Brit residing in L.A. who has worked in the denim industry for 15 years including as Director of Denim and Youth Culture for trend forecasting site WGSN, has followed up her 2015 book "Denim Dudes" with something for the "dudettes." "Denim: Street Style, Vintage, Obsession," focuses on style rather than fashion -- it's a bible of who's who in the world of denim featuring trendsetters, stylists, vintage dealers, shop owners and designers across the U.S., the U.K, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Unless you are well versed in the world of denimology most of these names may not be familiar to you however it will open your eyes to the cult of indigo.

Amy Leverton
Photo by Ryan Lopez

"Denim is a bit of a boy's club," said Leverton in a podcast , "but there are loads and loads of women and they haven't been celebrated." Publisher Rizzoli asked that she veer "a little less purist and a little more fashion so I let it pull me a little bit that way to appeal more broadly. It's an inspiration book, both authentic and amazing," she added.

Nina Kaplan
Photo by Bryan Lopez

The book opens with a quote from Yves Saint Laurent: "I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed, and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity -- all I hope for in my clothes." Yes, men wore the durable (denim) pants in the late 1800's and early 1900's working during the gold rush, on the railroads or on the ranch.

Iconic denim ad by Brooke Shields in Calvin Klein

By the 1930s and '40s women suffragettes and factory femmes had borrowed from the boys and appropriated denim.  The fabric became Hollywood sexy in 1961 with Marilyn Monroe's iconic photo seated in a director's chair in a Lee Rider jacket. Blondie's Debbie Harry wore Levi's 505 jeans giving them a cool rock 'n roll edge in New York in 1976 while the name Daisy Duke became synonymous with fringed denim short shorts. Farrah Fawcett on a skateboard and Brooke Shields and her Calvins are two more enduring images that firmly established denim's haute hotness.

Sofia Lundqvist
Photo by Alberto Comper

Each page of this book, divided in sections by geographic area, shows a blue jean babe in a favorite outfit, be it selvedge raws, '90s stone washed, patched, shredded, repurposed, pimped, embroidered jeans, skinnies, straight legs, flares, overalls, indigo shirts, jackets and skirts all take a bow here. There are six New Yorkers who represent including Linda Rodin, creator of Rodin Olio Lusso wearing Hullabaloo by Rachel Comey jeans and a Marc Jacobs top; and fashion designer Rachel Comey herself. Ms. Comey is proud of one of her "earliest denim experiments" known as her Legion Pant -- inspired by her mother's propensity to lengthen her jeans as she grew taller, producing the dreaded "dark spot" -- "something embarrassing could be great fashion."

Florene Kane
Photo by Eric Kvatec

Other New Yorkers include Florence Kane, cofounder and editorial director of Jean Stories, in her super patched "Frankenstein" jeans of unknown provenance passed down from a deceased uncle's possessions. Since they fit her "eerily well" Kane concluded they must have belonged to a girlfriend of Uncle Mike's as they would have been too short on his six-foot tall frame.

Hsiang Chin Moe
Photo by Eric Kvatec

Hsiang Chin Moe, a New York Filmmaker wears eclectic heirlooms acquired from flea markets across the country. The vintage Lee jacket and embroidered chambray shirt (a hand-stitched DIY project from the early 1970's featuring Peanuts characters) and her KAPITAL Century denim distressed by their Kountry workshop in Okayama, "have some connections with various friends and locations."

Nina Kaplan
Photo by Ryan Lopez

Nina Kaplan, an occupational therapist and motorcycle enthusiast from L.A. loves to mash up the different decades of denim in one outfit. Here she wears vintage Levi's of the '60s-70's which flare at the ankle with a 1960's Lee jacket complete with Gas Crisis patches '70s patches and a Harley Davidson hand painted logo. The belt and "chaos pouch" are her homage to the '80s/90's --"as I am a child of the 1980's."

Kelly Harrington
Photo by Stephanie Sian Smith

Kelly Harrington, a London trend forecaster and designer for H&M has had an obsession with denim since high school; some of which she still wears. "Part of the thrill for me is the story behind the purchase. You'll often find me scouring flea markets around the globe trying to find my next piece." Her kimono is from an antique market in YoYogi park in Tokyo, her vintage Levi's 501 jeans are customized by Japanese brand From Bonum -- they are hand patched with antique French fabric by two craftsmen in the store making them extra special.

Lauren Yates
Photo by Eric Kvatec

In the Asia and Australia section of the book is Lauren Yates, of Bangkok , who writes a blog called Ponytail Journal. As a Thai-Chinese-British-Australian she is keen on history and is a "hopeless romantic in some respects." Her clothing tells a story -- the jacket is of blue Hmong origin dated back at least one hundred years judging by the coins that are sewn into the breast, a gift of a collector friend. The pants are antique from Laos -- a combination of handwoven silk, silk embroidery, and an organic fiber dyed in indigo.

Jane Herman Bishop
Photo by Eric Kvatec 

Two of the most interesting anecdotes involve designer Katherine Hamnett who invented stonewashing in the late '70s only to realize the process had a negative impact on the environment by silting up rivers: "there are empty places in Mexico where there were pumice mountains. Ten thousand-plus people die a year from accidental pesticide poisoning in conventional cotton agriculture and regular elastane is not a sustainable fiber." Another story I enjoyed was of Jo Sindle, designer, stylist and owner of Goodhood Store in London who bought a vintage Levi's jacket in Ibiza. A few months later she realized that there was a perfectly fitted bullet tucked into the red tab (it had been there for years) until it was confiscated at airport customs! "They actually thought I was a terrorist threat because of it!"



- Laurel Marcus

Thursday, March 22, 2018

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

March Madness

There are a number of things that make me MAD. But I prefer not to dwell on the negative but rather focus on the positive side of things. These are some of the things that I am particularly ‘mad’ about at the moment:

‘Faux’ Real


All photos Vogue.com

More and more designers are foregoing real furs in favor of faux and while it has been increasingly hard to tell the real from faux, on the fall 2018 runway of Givenchy, now designed by Clare Waight Keller, the faux furs were especially fantastic and really appealing.


Dries Van Noten’s Patterned Boots



Two of the big stories on the runways of the fall winter 2018 ready-to-wear collections, which ended in Paris earlier in March, were boots and patterns. Dries Van Noten’s patterned boots, which sometimes matched, sometimes clashed with his Art Brut patterned ensembles, stood out.


Bad Hair Don’t Care!



With all the fabulous looking scarves, hoods, caps, fedoras, berets, balaclavas and hats shown on recent runways for day and for evening as at Saint Laurent, worrying about having a bad hair day (or spending hours at the hair salon) may be a thing of the past. In many cases, the headgear not only completely covered the hair, but practically obscured the face. FYI, Oh, and yes, I am also 'mad' about head to toe black, which has never looked better after so much color!


Demna Gvasalia’s Sweet Spot



After two seasons at the helm of Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia has finally got it together with a collection for the revered label that was perhaps his most normal, less exaggerated to date. The emphasis was on controlled volume and refined, razor sharp tailoring most often played out in classic menswear patterns. His use of high tech computer molded tailoring resulted in coats and jackets made of one layer of fabric and only two side seams (no darts, no construction). Pretty fabulous.


The Moncler Genius Project



The common nylon puffer is a ubiquitous unisex streetwear item and an indispensable one at that, thanks to the winter that absolutely refuses to go away. This season in Milan, Moncler took this standard fare item and elevated it with their Moncler Genius Project titled, “A Republic of Imagination”. Of the 7 installations, Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli’s museum worthy, dramatic, and evening appropriate versions truly stood out. Genius indeed.


Leopard



We can never get enough of leopard and this season, there will literally be something in leopard for everyone. It was not only used conventionally (handbags, boots, traditional belted coats included), but in more surprising, sportier ways like at R13.


Kara Bags



What is there not to love about a collection of minimal clutches, satchels, shoulder bags, belt bags, backpacks made in NYC (Chinatown to be exact), completely devoid of logos (logos shmogos) or obvious distracting hardware, that are smart, chic, simple, easy to use, of high quality, and well-priced to boot (most fall in the $275 - $395 range)? Most are made of polished cowhide leather but there are shearling versions as well. For more information, go to www.karastore.com


Bags That Match Coats



If you are going to carry a big roomy bag, it might as well match your coat and look fabulous as they did at Sies Marjan (in glossy patent) and Victoria Beckham for fall/winter 2018.


Vans Checkered Past (and present)



If you, like me, are a fan of Van’s iconic unisex checkerboard slip-ons in off white and black, but always wanted a version in bright white, you are now in luck with their updated mixed checkerboard iteration. And at $55, you can’t go wrong.


November Rain’s Stylish Rain Ponchos



Capacious capes and ponchos were all over recent runways, most notably at Ferragamo, Derek Lam, Givenchy, but you don’t have to wait months to get them; November Rain’s stylish ponchos are available right now. Designed in Australia, they are made using ecologically sound waterless printing methods, and thanks to heat sealed seams, are completely waterproof. Available in a number of solids and prints, they are one size fits all, $59.


LOOT: MAD About Jewelry



The Museum of Arts and Design’s annual and wildly popular exhibition and sale (www.madmuseum.org), now in its 18th edition,- has become known as THE ultimate 5 day pop up shop for contemporary artist-made jewelry representing more than 54 emerging and acclaimed international jewelry artists from 21 countries. It’s like a jewelry “League of Nations” right here on Columbus Circle.

Each year, the LOOT Award is presented to luminaries in the field of jewelry, including artists, collectors, and designers. This annual prize is in keeping with the long-standing commitment of the Museum of Arts and Design to presenting jewelry as an art form. This year they will honor writer, producer, and philanthropist Loreen Arbus, whose career achievements include becoming the first woman to head programming for a major television network; Carolee Lee, former CEO and founder of Carolee Designs and AccessCircles; and collectors Karen and Michael Rotenberg. The LOOT 2018 Opening Benefit will take place on Monday, April 16th from 4:30 to 8:00pm. The evening’s events include first access for patrons to meet the 2018 LOOT artists and acquire their designs, a cocktail hour and reception, as well as a dinner honoring the 2018 LOOT Award recipients. The dinner begins at 7:30pm.


Stuart Weitzman White Irises Loafer



I have to admit that I am obsessed with white shoes. In my opinion, they make everything, especially an all-black ensemble, look that much better. There are endless choices in every category but one shoe in particular, has really caught my eye:Stuart Weitzman’s Irises loafer, a modified mule with a holdover quarter, in white textured leather, with a crystal fringe embellishment and sculptural block heel, $498.


The Idiosyncratic, Exuberant Personal Style of Iris Apfel


Iris Apfel windows at Bergdorf Goodman

I dare even the most minimal amongst us to take a trip to Bergdorf Goodman, which is celebrating ‘All Things Iris’ through March 26th (smashing 5th Avenue windows included), and NOT be inspired to break out the color and pile on the accessories. The tireless, ageless fashion icon who has spent most of her life collecting everything from fashion and accessories to art and textiles, continues to inspire all age groups (she even has her own Barbie doll to prove it) and will be honored with the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Fashion, on May 11.

You gotta love her wise, sage quotes on personal style which were taken from her new book, “Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon” and are posted throughout the store. Among my favorites:

“When you don’t dress like everyone else you don’t have to think like everyone else.”
“I don’t have any rules because I’d only be breaking them!”
“If you’re not RISKING you’re not LIVING.”
“You don’t find out who are unless you work at it.”
“Listen to your inner muse and Take a Chance.”
“Color can raise the dead.”
“You have to be INTERESTED to be INTERESTING.”
“Why do I wear such large glasses? The bigger to see you with my dear.”
“Traveling makes life rich and I like a good adventure.”
“Why not wear something that says ‘Here I am TODAY!’”




- Marilyn Kirschner