Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Wednesdays at Michael's by Diane Clehane

Author Sherry Amatenstein Explains Why We're All Going Crazy

Diane Clehane & Sherry Amatenstein
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Did you know that May was National Mental Health Awareness month? Neither did I, but this week’s interview with Sherry Amatenstein, the New York City-based therapist, author and editor of How Does That Make You Feel True Confessions From Both Sides of the Therapy Couch (Seal Press) seemed particularly timely given the insane news cycle of celebrity implosions and, of course, pretty much everything going on in Washington, DC. I knew we were going to have plenty to talk about when I asked Sherry what she thought of the extraordinarily anti-social and downright scary behavior we’ve seen from celebrities and politicians in the past year, and she said, “My philosophy is everyone is crazy.” Alrighty then, let get down to it.

In a former life, Sherry was an editor at Hearst and ivillage and has written for many publications and websites including New York, The Washington Post, Observer, Reader’s Digest, Brides and Marie Claire. She is also the author of The Q&A Dating Book, Love Lessons From Bad Breakups and The Complete Marriage Counselor. “Working for so long as a journalist was great preparation for becoming a therapist. In publishing, you’re supposed to be a blank slate, as a therapist that’s true too. You have to be an active listener for both,” she said. After 9/11 (she was a volunteer at Ground Zero), Sherry decided to make a life change. She spent two years volunteering at a suicide hotline. Then she went back to school to become a therapist. “Being a therapist was something I always wanted to do,” she told me between bites of lobster salad. “I wanted to do something more meaningful.” Besides working on her books, Sherry still writes articles and recently penned a piece for on men’s feelings towards the Time’s Up movement.

As the child of Holocaust survivors (“My father was at Auschwitz. He watched his parents and little sister walk to the gas chamber, and my mother was in a work camp”), she understands trauma and has channeled that empathy through some of her work. She was an interviewer for Steven Spielberg’s USC Shoah, a foundation dedicated to taking audio-visual testimony from Holocaust survivors. “It left me with a feeling of amazement about the resilience of the human spirit,” she said.

I asked how she would describe a therapist’s role and she said, “A good therapist isn’t there to give advice, sometimes I do, but really, therapists are there to help the person help themselves.” Since it’s impossible to come up with a definitive list of traits that make up a good therapist for everyone, I asked her to tell me something a bad therapist would do. “Someone once asked me, ‘Is it normal for my therapist to ask me to pick up her dry cleaning?’” In case you were wondering, the answer is no. I was surprised to learn that therapists do turn down patients. “If I can’t stomach [the person], I tell them I wouldn’t be a good therapist for them and recommend someone else. It’s only happened once or twice.” I’m thinking judging by her visceral reaction to Harvey Weinstein – “He’s sick!” He best not come looking for help. And if his defense team foists a ‘sex addiction’ defense, Sherry isn’t buying it. When I asked her if that is a real addiction she didn’t miss a beat. “I’ve not seen any evidence supporting that.”

Sherry describes Donald Trump as “narcissistic with sociopathic tendencies and no conscience at all.” She told me Trump was a huge (no pun intended) source of anxiety for many people she came into contact with after the election. “A lot of people cried after he was elected. Everyone was shell-shocked. I did free support groups for women who were deeply triggered by him and had a hard time after he won.”

All of this, said Sherry, has put the state of the country’s collective mental health “on life support.” She explained it this way: “There is an undercurrent of fear and people are scared. When that happens, it’s easy not to focus on your stuff and lash out. People should not push their emotions down. It’s so uncomfortable to sit with fear, depression, and uncertainty. When you’re scared [of your issues], it’s easy to focus on other stuff. The divisiveness is toxic. We need to recognize that everyone is just another person no matter what side [politically] they’re on.”

I asked Sherry, who mostly treats adults but sees some teenagers, if the topics of conversation that come up with her young patients are any different from the things we worried about as kids. “When we were twelve-years-old, we thought, ‘Nothing is going to hurt me.’ These kids don’t feel that way because they know that isn’t true.” A relative of Sherry’s was at Parkland school at the time of the shooting. As traumatic as that event was, she told me the students’ reactions “was the first thing that gave me hope in a long time” adding “those kids as still young and not as beaten down as we are so that believe they can change things.”

I told her one of the most upsetting moments I’ve ever had as a parent came the day after the Parkland shooting when my 13-year-old daughter broke down in tears at breakfast and told me she was afraid to go to school. What is a parent supposed to do at a time like that? “You have to let kids talk,” she said. “They need to be heard. You can’t trivialize their feelings. This is real.”

Actually, said Sherry, “We’re having trouble listening to different points of view.” But there sure is a lot of talking. “The 24/7 news cycle of sensationalism and fear and social media have made it really difficult for a lot of people – especially people with mental health issues. Everyone is so reactive; it’s like emotional bumper cars.” She advises a “really limited” use of social media if you’re struggling with an emotional issue. “It’s very important because people are just comparing themselves to the lives of others they see and thinking cyber relationships are real relationships. Social media addiction is a real thing, and it’s dangerous.”

With so many television therapists in the mix these days, I had to get Sherry’s take on some of my favorites. Billions’ Dr. Wendy Rhodes (“She’s so manipulative”), the tortured soul-slash-shrink played by Gabriel Byrne on the late, lamented In Treatment (“He definitely had issues, but he did a lot of good, too”) and Lorraine Bracco as Tony Soprano’s therapist on The Sopranos (“She crossed a lot of boundaries”). We both agreed that the caring, no-nonsense therapist that helped the abused wife played so brilliantly by Nicole Kidman on Big Little Lies was “very realistic, and she really did help [that character].”

Speaking of Hollywood, Sherry is currently researching her next book which will be about celebrities and their mental health issues. No shortage of material there. “So if Kanye wants to call, I’m available!” Maybe she should reach out on Twitter.

Busy Sherry is also co-leading a writing weekend at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York from June 8 through the 10th with Amy Ferris and Blair Glaser. “We did it last summer and got asked back,” she said. “It’s a weekend of writing, laughing, finding our power to no longer be cowed and find our truth. It’s all about sisterhood and creativity and self-empowerment. We still have a few spaces left!”

So what’s her best advice for coping during this incredibly anxiety-producing time? “Life is short. We don’t know what’s going to happen at any time, so don’t put off things you want to do,” she said. “People tell me they just want to ‘be happy’ as if they’re going to reach this summit and be happy. It’s the moments that make us happy. You have to grab them whenever you can.”

Seen & Heard Around the Room

Teri Agins threw a birthday lunch on Table One for her boyfriend, Paul Hands and it looked like a lot of fun. A little birdie told me Paul is a native of  Glasgow, Scotland and is the chief technology officer at Annum Health, here in New York, where he has lived since 2016. Paul’s sister Frances Jack, flew over from Glasgow to toast her brother on the milestone birthday Also in attendance: Joan Kron, Bud Konheim (owner of Nicole Miller), Teri’s sister Genie Agins, her husband Chris Nunes and their dear friends Peter Greenough and Christine Bates.

Christine Taylor with “a CNN reporter” on Table Two…. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong (looking better than ever) with Galvanized Media CEO David Zinczenko. The guys were having a catch-up lunch since Joe is in town from Texas. Good to have you back, Mr. Mayor… PR scion Steven Rubenstein on Four… Mitch Rosenthal on Five… Andrew Stein on Six.

Moving On

Bookseller Glenn Horowitz at his usual perch, Table Seven… PMK BNC co-chairman and CEO Cindi Berger on Nine … Sonia Muckle on Eleven… Barry Frey on Twelve…Tom Rogers on Fifteen… genConnect’s Nancy Spears on Seventeen.

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

The Frick Spring Garden Party Draws Ladies in Their Finest Threads

The Crowd
All photos Lieba Nesis
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The Frick Spring Garden Party for Fellows and Young Fellows took place Wednesday, May 30, 2018, with cocktails from 6:30-10:00 PM at The Frick Museum. This is one of the big three annual shindigs held by the Museum and more than 600 people attended.  As I looked around, the crowd reminded me of attendees at the recent royal wedding with beautiful and elegant ladies in creative hats and fancy dresses and gowns.

Paola Bacchini and Joanna Fisher

In fact, the fashion was superior with the elite of New York ranging from 20 to 90 years old all coming to enjoy the beautiful weather and socialize before they head to Europe and the Hamptons for the summer.  Some of my favorite dressed guests included philanthropists: Joanna Fisher, Maria and Ken Fishel, Jenny Lenz, Paola Bacchini, Toby and Larry Milstein, and Francesca Beal.

Anna Salzman and Jenny Lenz

Jenny Lenz, 27, the daughter of powerhouse Real Estate broker, Dolly Lenz, who is slated to take over her mother's thriving firm and become the next big thing in Real Estate, just returned from Australia where she and her mother spoke in front of 4,000 attendees. Jenny is a member of the Frick and said their events were her favorite because of the eclectic mix of people ranging from artists and art collectors to businessmen and students.

Alison Marschalk, Johanna Collins-Wood, Frederica Tompkins and Lacary Sharpe

This is one of the few times during the year where guests can view magnificent works of art from the permanent collection and the special exhibition galleries, as well as explore the mansion's rarely seen second floor.  The night was a bit cool and guests who were dressed in flimsy floral flocks were jealously eyeing my leather and fur jacket. As the waiters served hors-d'oeuvres of mushroom tarts and crab cakes the guests enjoyed the jazz band playing under the cherry blossom trees.

Left to right: Larry and Toby Milstein, Xavier Salomon and Dylan Giostra

Chief Curator of the Frick, Xavier Salomon, explained to me how important this event was as it gathers members and devotees of the Museum from all different generations. This evening was also celebrating the opening of the exhibition of Italian artist Antonio Canova whose sculpture of George Washington from 1820 was on view. Canova is regarded as the greatest of the Neoclassical artists who were inspired by the Baroque and classical revival.

Left to right: Chris and Francesca Beal, Barbara Reuter and Bill Williams

After he unveiled this great masterpiece to significant acclaim in 1821 a fire swept through the State Capitol reducing the statue to burnt fragments. The show displays the most accurate replica of what the destroyed marble would have looked like as well as bringing together, for the first time, the twenty objects utilized to create the statue. This was the only item Canova produced for America and one of the first ever to pay tribute to George Washington. Salomon who has been Chief Curator for four years said this exhibition took him two years to complete.

Left to right: Kristina Alexandra, Maria Fishel, Hyewon Miller and Jenia Kovalyuk

Being Chief Curator of the Frick is a highly coveted job as the museum, which was established in 1935, remains one of the preeminent small art museums in the world with a collection of old master paintings and fine furniture. Henry Frick intended the mansion to eventually become a museum and stipulated in his will that works of art that belonged to him could not be lent out. Some of the art on view include Jean Honore Fragonard's masterpiece "The Progress of Love" three paintings by Johannes Vermeer including the renowned "Mistress and Maid" and two paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael including "Quay at Amsterdam."

Left to right: Irene Vukovic, Srdjan Vukovic, and Whitney Whitaker

Its' temporary exhibits have featured the magnificent Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and Fabritius's "The Goldfinch" which were exhibited in 2013. The Frick's simple design and glorious layout are breathtakingly beautiful. After the DJ played some tunes and Rice Krispie treats and tiramisu bites were served, guests were informed the Museum would be closing at 10 PM.

Left to right: Alexandra and Tina Rosner

I always find it hard to tear myself away from this elaborate edifice as I sit daydreaming about the kind of parties that must have occurred here in the 1900's with guests in their best attire dancing the night away to jazz and ragtime music. Before I lost myself completely, a guard tapped me on the shoulder and I found myself exiting this sanctuary heading out onto the noisy streets of New York.

- Lieba Nesis

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Men and Florals -The New Paradigm

James Harden cover of GQ
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As the MeToo movement gains unstoppable momentum, the effects are reverberating in the fashion industry with men choosing to dress more colorfully than women. As women demand equal treatment, the men are doing the same by choosing daring "outfits" usually reserved for females. Hence, we are seeing a pendulum shift from outrageously sexy clothing on women to more serious, streamlined designs on some of our most cherished female risk takers who now wear pantsuits and midi-dresses.

Lady Gaga

The formerly outrageous Lady Gaga now looks like an uptight character from "Mad Men." Beyonce, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie continually choose more covered up looks than they did in their raunchier pasts. The star of May's Met Gala was hands down Jared Leto who showed up in a blue Gucci design that wowed the entire crowd. Besides being extremely apropos to the religious theme, he also ushered in the ascendancy of men into the halls of fashion stardom.

Jared Leto at the Met Gala
Photo: Pop Sugar

In years past, men were practically invisible at the Gala and barely worthy of a glance. However, this year there were a host of men who received at least as much attention as the women including the boldly dressed Stephen Colbert, the stylish Trevor Noah in Balmain, the dashing Chadwick Boseman in Versace and the debonair Donald Glover in Gucci. Even the ordinarily staid Tom Brady wore a black Versace jacket adorned with gold embroidery.

Harry Styles In Gucci

As women choose to wear black and more severe colors and designs to achieve more credibility men are conversely going all out in their sartorial choices. Showing up in a plain black tuxedo to an awards event is beginning to become unthinkable and will probably get you on a "most boring" dressed list.

French Montana and Two Chainz wear $10,000 Gucci coat

In the old days, few prominent designers were willing to go all out in menswear due to a nonexistent audience. Since Alessandro Michele took over the helms of Gucci in 2015, he has made menswear as prominent as womenswear with rappers DJ Khaled, ASAP Rocky, 2 Chainz and Future making Gucci their new uniform. In the past these men would be called "metrosexuals" now they are merely heterosexuals.

Cavaliers In Thom Browne
Photo: the New York Times

Recognizing this dominant trend GQ put style and basketball star James Harden on its May cover entitled "The New Era Of Wild Style... and Other Men Who Wear it Well." Harden dons a $6,000 floral Gucci ensemble for the cover-imagine the absolute ridicule Michael Jordan would have had to endure if he wore floral shorts. It's about time men were able to have some fun with fashion without being decimated for their bold choices. In fact, in April the Cleveland Cavaliers chose to don coordinated Thom Browne made-to-measure suits, ties, shoes and bags when they entered the arena in their playoff game against the Pacers.

Russell Westbrook 
Lebron James recently told the New York Times, "expressing myself through fashion is such an important part of my N.B.A. experience... Using the tunnel walk to express yourself, say what you feel that is a very cool change my generation brought to the game." Lebron admitted to enjoying the paparazzi attention as he employs numerous stylists to prepare each look.

Russell Westbrook Style Drivers book

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Golden State's Kevin Durant have become as famous for their fashion as they are for their athleticism. Westbrook recently designed a collection for Barneys and released a book of his outfits and inspirations. Gucci's Men's 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection shows a purple crystal embroidered bomber for $5,250, A Snow White sweater with Sequins for $5,200 and a floral legging for $600-sequins, flowers, bunnies, and cartoon characters for men is undoubtedly unchartered territory. Moreover, the exorbitant prices indicate men are willing to spend on fashion in previously unthinkable ways.

Indeed, there will be men who will and should steer clear of this trend. Hopefully, we will never see Mark Zuckerberg in a floral Gucci tuxedo or Ted Cruz in a "Blind for Love" Gucci sweater meeting Mike Pence in a Bunny cardigan. However, as rappers and sports icons continue to wear bold clothing, they will undoubtedly be mimicked by their adoring fan base.  As this trend continues, it is only a matter of time before global fashion houses begin pouring resources into their men's collections.

I am looking forward to a future where men start complaining that they are sick of being asked who they are wearing on the red carpet instead of being taken seriously for their copious talent.

- Lieba Nesis

Monday, May 28, 2018

New York Fashion Cool-Aid® by Laurel Marcus

"Made for Walking" Takes A Stroll Through the History of the Boot

More info/purchase
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If, like me, you can trace your formative years through footwear, particularly “boot-wear,” this book may be of interest. Made for Walking: A Modest History of the Fashion Boot by Andy Peake, who writes a blog of the same name, is an Oxford scholar’s look at the last hundred years of boot trends, what influences them, who wore them and why. If you are expecting a biography of Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 hit of almost the same title – this isn’t that, although the singer does get several mentions and a devoted sidebar including this gem.  Her father’s longtime collaborator Lee Hazlewood advised her to “sing like a 14-year old who f*cks truck drivers” but ended up, thanks to her “shameless swagger,” sounding more like a woman who drives a truck.

Brigitte Bardot 1968, Grenada, Spain

“I’ve always been interested in history, particularly social history, and I’m also interested in design. Accessory design is fascinating because things like shoes, bags, and hats have a huge impact on the overall look of an outfit. Of all these accessories, fashion boots are probably the ones that have received less than their fair share of coverage. That’s surprising because they have so many fascinating aspects: the gender paradox of a very masculine item becoming ultra-feminine, the fetishistic elements, the way they can make an outfit rustic or futuristic according to the style adopted. That’s where the social history comes in. In most fashion histories, boots don’t merit more than ‘popular in the sixties.’ I figured they deserved better than that,” reads the author’s forward.

Tall suede boots from the mail order company Kays 1973

This 176-page oversized paperback features photos from fashion magazine editorials, catalog pages, celebrity shots, infographics and charts on nearly every page, making it a cross between coffee table eye candy and semi-intellectual fashion fodder. For the first 60 or so pages the author focuses on schooling the reader in the difference between functional boots worn strictly for practicality during (snowy, rainy or cold) weather versus the gradual emergence of the fashion boot worn primarily for style through all four seasons. The British author who now lives in Greenwich, Ct. has a slightly dry, academic writing style, however, like many Englishmen (or maybe men in general) dwells at length on the sex appeal/fetishism of the female figure in boots. He does thank his wife and daughter for bearing with him while he devotes much of his time, shall we say, to “flesh out” the subject by working on this book.

Miss Hattie Klawans, a clerk in the office of the prohibition czar Lincoln Andrew wearing a pair of Russian boots

Although the popular 1920’s era Russian boot which suffered from fit, sagging and bunching issues emerged as a short-lived trend as did cuissardes (early flat-heeled over-the-knee styles initially worn by 17th- century “principal boys” who were girls acting on stage in young, male hero roles). Boots didn’t emerge again as a fashion trend until the 1960’s; a fact that “the first lady of shoe design” Beth Levine ascribes to the era of The Pill and women’s new found freedom and emancipation. All I knew as a 4th grader was that I needed a pair of those white rubber Go-Go “shoe” boots that I saw everywhere and on everyone (you couldn’t get them off me that entire year). These objects of my desire were no doubt originally influenced by the low calf length, flat white boots from Andre Courreges (popularized in 1964) as well as Pierre Cardin’s late ‘60s mod boot which accompanied his mod, space-age fashions. Yves Saint Laurent brought back the cuissarde in 1963’s alligator-skin thigh-high version for his autumn couture collection. By the end of the ‘60s, cuissardes became associated with Brigitte Bardot in her “Harley Davidson” days.

Tight-fitting leather buckled OTK boot -- early 1970's

By the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, new stretchable materials were introduced which made boots that could cling to the leg (I remember my first pair of brown leather knee-high boots which might have been from Etienne Aigner who made those iconic sandals everyone wore. I remember feeling so grown up)! These styles were adaptable to be worn with the ‘60s mini, as well as being “the antidote” to the otherwise “matronly” ‘70’s midi. A scary stat: before 1970 many boots were made so tight that doctors saw an increase in phlebitis from boot-related injuries. The fit was so extremely unforgiving on the calves that often one had to enlist the help of a friend to pull them on and off. By 1975 boots “grew” into a more loosened up style as young boot wearing girls aged up into boot buying women.

Frye Campus boot -- a 1970's icon

Knee-high boots of leather or less expensive, less durable human-made materials including PVC and DuPont Corfam, mainly meant to be disposable, were worn with styles such as gauchos and hot pants. By 1971 boots even spanned the summer months such as the Chelsea Cobbler Canvas or “Caning boot” with woven leather straps. When ponchos and pants came into fashion, along with vests, scarves, fringes and beads, boots adapted with the times.

Lace-up knee boot from the British company Dolcis - Mid 1990's

Casual versus dress boots are explored: from the Biba platform boot to the Frye Campus boot, to lace up Victorian boots, platform boots and the reemergence of the over-the-knee or thigh high boot. They were brought back from 1960’s oblivion by Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe in the late ‘70s and Chanel towards the end of the 1980’s. All are detailed here, often with quotes from renowned members of the fashion press Including the New York Times (and Lookonline) fashion critic Bernadine Morris.

Over-the-knee stacked wood heel boots (left, center) and platform boot with mini skirts

Here’s a historical fact that you might not know: platforms originated in Classical Greece, “where actors wore cork-soled platform sandals, called Kothorni, of differing heights to indicate the social status of their characters. In more recent times, during the eighteenth century, they were used to lift the wearer above the filth of the dirty city streets.” By the 20th century, platforms were strictly a fashion item.

Mid 1980's Baggy fit, turned down top boot

By the 1980’s boots were often made looser and with adjustable cuffs – they could be worn over the knee, at the knee or even slouched down at the lower calf. Mine was a versatile camel color worn day and night. Ankle boots were a favorite style with leggings or stirrup pants (I owned a pair of what I believe were called “pixie boots” in a metallic cherry red which also featured a low cuff). Jeans, leggings and eventually jeggings are tucked into higher equestrian riding or western boots as well.

No book on boots would be complete without a discussion of the 1990’s Pretty Woman phenomenon. Peake calls it “The Vivian Effect” -- worn by Julia Roberts in character as a hooker with a heart of gold which “gave that particular pair of boots a cinematic profile to rival Dorothy’s ruby slippers or Cinderella’s glass ones.”

One thing for sure: since the dawning of the new millennium and beyond, boots of all styles, heel heights, and thicknesses, toe boxes rounded, squared or pointed, ankle booties to thigh highs, all colors and materials are produced, purchased and worn. Most women today have a vast boot wardrobe -- some of them indeed made for walking – even if it’s just off to the store to buy yet another pair.

- Laurel Marcus

Sunday, May 27, 2018

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Something Royal’s Afoot!

You don't need a royal title to wear Versace beaded crown slippers

Versace Rock N’ Royalty velvet sneakers with a hand-embellished crown motif, $695. More info/purchase

It’s been just a little over one week since the historic Royal Wedding and like almost everyone else, I am taken with Meghan Markle. Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m somewhat obsessed. She not only has a new life, a new husband, a new family, and a new title (Duchess of Sussex), but she was just gifted with her very own coat of arms (really, how cool is that?)

The Duchess of Sussex's Coat of Arms

Designed by the College of Arms and approved by Queen Elizabeth, it is emblazoned with golden poppies from her home state of California, and wintersweet, which grows at her new residence, Kensington Palace. It has been said that the blue background of the shield itself represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the Golden State.

Alas, like the rest of us lowly commoners, I will never be given my own coat of arms (my closest association with royalty is that I have been called a ‘JAP’ at times lol). But that doesn’t mean I can’t wear a regal coat of arms, crown, or crest affixed to a pair of velvet slippers. I love the formal correctness and noble timeless elegance they evoke and in addition, they are a great alternative to more ordinary loafers or sneakers and would look great with jeans.

If you too, want to tap into your royal side, the following items are a good place to start.

Christian Louboutin Cadrilla  

Christian Louboutin Cadrilla Corazon 110 crest-embroidered pumps, $845 More info/purchase

Christian Louboutin Academy velvet sneakers

Christian Louboutin black velvet embroidered Miss Academy slip-on sneakers, $734.  More info/purchase

Shipton crested velvet slippers family crest

Shipton & Heneage London family crested velvet slippers (each pair is customized), $595. More info/purchase

Versace Icon Medusa velvet mule loafers

Versace Icon Medusa velvet mule loafer, $825  More info/purchase

For over 300 years, Belgian Shoes has made footwear for both men and women exclusively by hand and they pride themselves on their fine workmanship (they have a shop located at 110 east 55th street). If you want to transform their unisex and classic Midinette loafer, with its signature tiny bow ($450), into something more regal (it is available in a range of colors and materials - velvet included), they offer a variety of separate crests, crowns, and monograms which will instantly do the trick.
Among the selection:

Belgian Shoe red crown crest

The Red Crown, $85 More info/purchase

Belgian Shoe Leaf Crown Initial Crest

Leaf Crown Initial, $85 More info/purchase

Stubbs & Wootton green velvet mules

1990’s Stubbs & Wootton green velvet mules with embroidered crest, $395. More info/purchase

Stubbs & Wootton Snob men and women slippers

There is also a Stubbs & Wootton velvet slipper perfect for the man or woman in your life who may not be a prince, princess, duke, duchess, king or queen, but he or she is nonetheless a snob, $450- $495. More info/purchase

Stubbs & Wootton Screw You College Slippers

And they make a perfect one for that someone in your life who may not have a royal title but IS a royal pain in the neck, $450 - $495. More info/purchase

FYI, Stubbs & Wootton, which launched in Palm Beach in 1993, is known for having given the slipper its due recognition as an all-purpose shoe, and they are responsible for making evening slippers relevant once again. On their website, which has offerings for men, women, and children, you are invited to create a bespoke slipper to your own specifications.

- Marilyn Kirschner

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The View From LA by Merle Ginsberg

Cate Blanchett at the Cannes Film Festival

The 71st annual Festival de Cannes wrapped this past weekend, May 19, and all in all, film critics decreed it was a somewhat disappointing lightweight year for both heavyweight films – and heavyweight star presence on the Croisette. Part of that is that Netflix dropped out, partly because many of the biggest stars are now working in television. And of course, part of it is that the French love to complain – and have matured into experts in the art of disappointment. However, as far as fashion’s concerned, it might have been Cannes’ best year ever. And how could it fail, with Cate Blanchett as jury president, Kristen Stewart as a juror – and representative of Chanel – and Lea Seydoux, another star juror, a face – and body – of Louis Vuitton.

Cannes 2018 jury president Cate Blanchett, and jurors Kristen Stewart and Lea Seydoux
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Many refer to Cannes as “Cannes Fashion Week” – and that’s accurate, in the same way, Los Angeles has “Oscar Fashion Week” – and “Awards Season Fashion Season.” In Cannes, it’s ten days in mid-May of the most incredible eveningwear you’re eyes will ever pop over – the Oscars not even on steroids, but on A grade crack cocaine. All of Stewart and Seydoux’s Chanel and Vuitton looks were couture, respectively - and both are young and shapely enough to rock just about everything. But it was 49 years old – and the most stunning of them all – Cate Blanchett, who, even as the reigning best-dressed woman in the world (her two Oscars only outdo the honor), also made her incredible (and wildly diverse) looks up until now -- Valentino (remember the yellow with burgundy belt Valentino when she won her first Oscars), Dior (that backless butterfly dress she wore to the 1999 Oscars), Balenciaga, Givenchy, Armani, Christopher Kane, YS

Stella McCartney pink suit

For her first photocall at Cannes – a daytime opportunity for the paparazzi to go crazy and earn a buck or two – she wore one of the Duchess of Sussex’s favorite designers: Stella McCartney. How drop dead chic of Cate to don a suit – a masculine tailored affair, representative as her authority as Jury President – and pink, the most feminine color of all. Check out that nipped waist – it looks shaped like the famed Dior Bar jacket. And to femme it up, even more, she chose Stella stilettos in a slightly darker tone. I love the layered necklaces in the décolletage. And the hair and light makeup add to the feminine factor. She makes a tight dress look demode’.

The Stella McCartney day suit vs. Cate’s recycled Golden Globe Armani

Cate started off her many red carpet Cannes sojourns up the Palais steps by recycling the black intricate lace Armani Prive’ she wore when she picked up her Golden Globe f(for Blue Jasmine). Interesting idea to pull off at Cannes – and on opening night, of all things. Sure, it shows a concern for ecology related to fashion – but that ’s contradicted by all the new couture clothes the nights she wore after. No? Yes? Oh, well, who cares? It was an excellent effort, a lovely dress, and it shows a trend a lot of actresses (and Catherine Middleton) to recycle high fashion.

Loewe F/W 18 viscose suit with piping

Cate was running to screenings every day – she had to see every film. But of course, she was aware of being photographed wherever she went – and she and stylist Elizabeth Stewart were well prepared. This Loewe suit (she’s got a suit fetish – very modern – and her character in the upcoming Oceans 8 wears a lot of suits) is from the F/W 2018 collection (this lady loves a lookbook!). Black viscose wool with ghost-like piping – a kind of weird fabric for a suit, which is what makes it so chic. This is a real standout look – it’s not quiet – but Cate’s significant presence – quiet and still as it is – is never overshadowed by her clothes. Eye-catching as they are.

Mary Katrantzou couture gown

For the May 10th premiere of the film Cold War, Cate absolutely outdid every splendiferous thing she has ever worn – and showed up in this Lacroix-like asymmetrical high/low hem pouf dress in the most exquisite fabric, by Mary Katrantzou. It was seriously one of those breath-stopping fashion moments we all live for – and rarely get (Cardi B isn't going to cut it.) It took Katrantzou six months to construct the dress – three weeks were spent just on applying beading and crystals. It’s an adaptation of several of the British Katrantzou’s S/S 18 looks: a paint by numbers print, a black and white print and the floral that’s splashed over the skirt. I Instagrammed it, calling it Best Cannes Dress Ever – and got a lot of likes and agreements. Having covered many a red carpet gown/dress for the last twenty years for the likes of WWD, W, Bazaar, DailyFrontRow and The Hollywood Reporter, I’d have to say – it’s my favorite red carpet dress of all time. That includes Nicole Kidman’s chinoiserie Dior Oscar gown by Galliano, Uma Thurman’s violet Prada gown, and even iconic gowns by Audrey and Grace.

Armani Prive'

On May 12, Cate donned another black Armani Prive’ – and we know she and Giorgio Armani are longtime friends since he designed her clothes for Hannah. This gown is striking in its shape, satin fabrication, bow waist, for its one shoulder swirl – and for Cate’s fabulous shoulders. Her skin’s so pale it sheens, high contrast to the black. Note the awesome earrings. And boy, her glam squad knows how to make hair and makeup work with a gown.

Givenchy Haute Couture S/S 18 by Claire Waight Keller

For the May 14th premiere of Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman (which took one of Cannes’ top prizes), Cate switched to Givenchy – Claire Waight Keller being another one of Duchess Meghan’s favorite (wedding) designers. It’s haute couture from S/S18, and after the Katrantzou, it’s my favorite look of her amazing Cannes wardrobe. Two pieces, it’s a fine silk black top with an open back, and a tiered skirt in what Givenchy called “Mystères d'un Jardin de Nuit" hand painted degrade’ in fully pleated organza, with a black velvet belt. Love a two-piece evening look – and that skirt is so festive, has such excellent color contrast –a simple piece with an elaborate rainbow fluffy one. Perfection.

Armani Prive’

For the May 15th Trophee Chopard, it was Giorgio Armani Prive’ again, a perfect white silk stark gown. Reminds us a little of Meghan’s McCartney wedding column. Only slender women can pull this silhouette off – though Kim Kardashian would not agree.

Givenchy Haute Couture bustier with trouser look

Okay, how killer is this? On May 17th, it was Givenchy Haute Couture again, a S/S18 look of a black 3-D bustier of pleated bonded plumetis (meaning: fabric with raised dots) and silk tulle, paired with flared shiny wool pin-striped trousers and a black velvet belt. Doesn’t this look like something Emma Stone would wear? It’s so modern and youthful – and surprising. Emma would do a much simpler version – Cate goes for the frouf here – and contrasts it with chic trousers. All the looks are diverse from each other – and unusual designers thrown in, like Loewe and Katrantzou. It would seem that it has no continuity – but its throughline is Cate’s almost throwaway chic –she wears every look like it’s her athleisurewear. As I’ve always said – she wears the dress (or trousers) – it doesn’t wear her. Better than anybody.

- Merle Ginsberg