Thursday, February 28, 2019

New York Fashion Cool-Aid by Laurel Marcus

Aisle or Red Carpet? Hollywood Designer Mark Zunino Has New York Trunk Show

Mark Zunino & models in his showroom
Showroom Photos: Laurel Marcus - Click images for full-size views

Hot off designing three looks worn at the Oscars, Mark Zunino presented his Spring/Summer 2020 collection at Bridal Reflections on Fifth Avenue with a press brunch yesterday. This event was to kick off a week of his trunk show at the salon (through March 3), which in 2018 became the exclusive retailer for Mark Zunino Atelier bridal and evening wear in the tri-state area. Of note: I spied famed “Say Yes to the Dress” seamstress Vera Skenderis (also formerly a fixture at Kleinfeld’s) who currently works her magic at this beautiful salon located across the street from the now shuttered Lord & Taylor.

Sam Elliott & Katharine Ross wearing Zunino design

Zunino looked none the worse for wear although he and his assistant/ right hand Breanna Rae had just flown in on the red-eye from L.A. “We had to wait to get the dresses back.  Actor Sam Elliott brought the gown and very expensive earrings ($88,000) that his wife (Katharine Ross) had worn in himself!” said Rae who was also responsible for packing and shipping the many sample gowns for this trunk show. While we mere mortals have to pay for our dresses those who can well afford to buy whatever they want get a custom made dress completely free on loan (not like they’re ever going to wear it again anyway but it may turn up on someone else).

Audrey Hilfiger in Zunino

Other Oscar attendees dressed by Zunino included model and Tommy niece Audrey Hilfiger who wore a silver fringed and beaded “flapper” number to the Elton John party (it previously made a turn on Ming-Na Wen at the 2018 premiere of “Crazy Rich Asians”) and ET’s Nischelle Turner whose blush beaded column gown attracted immediate attention by a would-be bride. “I got a phone call about two hours into the Oscars asking me if I could do that dress in white as a wedding gown,” said Zunino who was watching the show at home.

Showroom

This sort of thing is far from unusual according to Zunino, who I knew of as a young protégé of the late, great Nolan Miller of Dynasty fame (more on that shortly). “The red carpet is the most accessible influence -- it informs bridal – many brides are following red carpet trends,” he remarked. As seemingly 8-foot tall gorgeous blonde model Marla made her entrance on the salon red carpet  I gasped! The bedazzled bridal jumpsuit with beaded shoulder strands (Elvis meets Cher?) will (most likely) be worn in gunmetal by the host of the Country Music Awards (that would be Reba McEntire though the designer refused to name drop lest it create some bad juju). Of course, you never know for sure until you see it on the celeb at the event, as many a designer has come to realize the hard way. Since winning an Emmy in 1983 under the Nolan Miller label for the hit television show “Dynasty” (Miller handed it over to him saying “This is for you kid. You did the work”) he has designed for many A-listers including Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara, Serena Williams, Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, Scarlett Johansson and Beyoncé.


Who’s next on his wish list? “Rihanna” he quickly answered, “I love her unapologetic style.” Indeed he’s putting that out there in the universe as he once did to dress Queen B. “I was in New York and did an interview mentioning that I’d love to dress Beyoncé. When I arrived back in L.A. she showed up in my atelier.” When a CW channel remake of “Dynasty” became a reality, who do you think they called? Mark Zunino dressed Nicollete Sheridan as Alexis (she’s now leaving the show and the role may be recast), a blast from the past of my other favorite ‘80s nighttime soap “Knots Landing.”


It seems that the jump from celebrity evening wear to dressing a bride is not really even a hop. Being a bride is like being a celebrity – “it’s her day and her time to shine. Brides are the driving force behind my collection.” Any tips for wedding gown shopping? “Stay true to yourself,” he advises. “I can always tell on the bride’s face when friends or maybe an overzealous mother has taken over.  When the bride’s happy, everyone’s happy.”

Are there perhaps styles that certain figure types should stay clear of? “Any girl can wear anything as long as it’s proportioned right to their body. You can be sexy at any size. I’ve had very curvy girls who are all apologetic saying ‘I know it’s not easy to dress me’ but that’s not true.” Another interesting factoid: Zunino says he dresses 65% to 70% of the mothers-of-the-bride as well – one stop shopping is never a bad thing although it helps to have deep pockets. Bridal gowns start at $8k; evening wear at $6k, however most seemed priced well in the double digits at around $13k.

Mark Zunino & model Daphne

Model Daphne appeared in a white satin racer back gown with an A-line princess skirt embellished with a panel of large clear crystals – a very sleek, sophisticated “high fashion” silhouette. Marla accompanied her in a stunning scarlet red gown which Nischelle Turner wore to Elton John’s Oscar party last year while Ming-Na Wen wore it to the Tony’s. The gown will also be made in white for bridal wear.  “It’s so comfortable, you could wear it anywhere,” says Marla. “Okay, let’s go to Starbucks,” quipped the designer.

Zunino with Fashion Director Cristina DeMarco

Commenting on what he calls this year’s Oscars propensity for the “Rose Bowl float” dresses ( big poufy loofah lookalikes), – he’s not a fan. “Don’t get lost in what you’re wearing – the dress should compliment you.” Since there are three celebs who have recently gotten engaged Zunino presented sketches for possible wedding attire. “I used their essence and tried to take it to the next level,” he remarked. There’s Katy Perry, who he sees as dramatic, feminine, pink and princess-like, Heidi Klum -- also dramatic and “very head-to-toe with her look” who he sees as a Grecian goddess complete with a head turban, and Jennifer Lawrence, the elevated girl-next –door in a slenderizing column with ball gown sides and lilies of the valley in her hair.

Lastly, Bridal Reflections fashion director Cristina DeMarco and Zunino spoke of their successful partnership. Since both share an attention to detail, a no-rush-sit-and-listen to the client demeanor and a wish to provide excellent service, they seem truly in synch. Both agreed they could work together forever. I raised my mimosa to that!




- Laurel Marcus

Monday, February 25, 2019

Special Oscar Report

Oscars 2019: "THE LAST WORD" by Diane Clehane

Gaga & Cooper

The only thing people are really talking about after this year’s Oscars is Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. We are right there with you. But first, let’s get some housekeeping out of the way.

Having covered the Oscars for longer than I care to mention, I admit that I didn’t go into this year’s broadcast with high hopes. There were all kinds of reasons to think the show was going to be a disaster. All the off-stage drama surrounding this year’s awards that threatened to overshadow the proceedings was the result of several fires of the Academy’s own making. It started with the ill-conceived (and blatantly pandering) idea of giving out a new award for Most Popular Film which was quickly scuttled, then came the reversed announcement that only a selection of Best Original Song nominees would be performed which was followed by the ill-advised (and, yes, sidelined) decision to give out some awards such as those for editing and cinematography during commercial breaks.

In the midst of those missteps was the seemingly endless embarrassing predicament over who would host the show. Last December, two days after getting the gig, actor Kevin Hart stepped aside following an outcry erupted over past homophobic tweets. The Academy issued him an ultimatum: apologize or quit and the comedian chose the latter telling an interviewer he chose to pass on the apology “because I’ve addressed this several times.” Hart posted a photo of himself giving a punching bag a serious beating on Instagram during the broadcast. But no hard feelings, right?

So, after putting out several offers and being rebuffed (What Hollywood ego would possibly take on the job knowing they were the fifth or sixth choice?), the Academy announced it would go without a host for the first time since 1989. Given that this year’s broadcast came in at a relatively economical three hours and twenty minutes and an eclectic (to say the least) assortment of presenters kept things moving, it seems as if the powers that be just may have stumbled on the first real improvement in the show in a long time.

By opening with a performance from Queen or rather a modern-day iteration of the iconic rock band, it felt a bit like the Grammys when former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert performed a medley of covers (including “We Will Rock You” and “We are the Champions”) and rocked the theater with the rest of the band bringing more energy to the auditorium than any host could. The stars in the audience clearly enjoyed the mini-concert especially Javier Bardem (Christian Bale, not so much). At a time when most viewers are sick to death of this exhausting 24/7 news cycle, the band’s performance was a welcome respite from the usual political jokes and silly, scripted banter.

The Academy poked fun at itself by bringing out the first presenters Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph to present the Best Supporting Actress Award. “We are not your hosts, but we’re going to stand here a little too long so that the people who get USA Today tomorrow will think that we hosted,” said Fey before she handed out the evening’s first gold statuette to Regina King who gave an emotional acceptance speech directed towards her mother, who was her date for the evening. Parents and grandparents were the key figures in many acceptance speeches throughout the night which ranged from touching to tiresome.

I have no idea what the solution is, but people who are not famous (sorry, but it’s true) should not blather on and on if they are lucky enough to win an Oscar. And for Pete’s sake, if you come up as a pack, don’t have one-person hog this once in a lifetime moment while the other poor souls are forced to shout over the music used to play them off stage. This year, the Academy took it one step further and dimmed the stage lights on a few long-winded winners. Awkward, but oh so necessary. I vote for a trap door next year.

The first two hours of the show felt like a dress rehearsal as odd camera angles and a few backstage handlers occasionally wandered into view of the camera. The pacing was brisk but a tad choppy. And I must admit, there were an awful lot of people giving out awards whose names I’d be hard pressed to know. It really didn’t feel like the biggest night in Hollywood when the show was nearly half over. Except for Helen Mirren, who was inexplicably paired up with the very large, long haired guy from Aquaman, there was no sign of any other big star until Michael Keaton showed up to present the award for Best Editing almost an hour and a half into the broadcast.

Then it was finally time for the moment we have all been waiting for. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed, “Shallow,” the hit song from A Star is Born, and everything changed. Gaga and Cooper got up from their seats in the front row and holding hands, took to the stage. Gaga sat behind a piano while Cooper perched on a stool across from her. Their performance was shot upstage with the audience as the backdrop mirroring the stylistic feeling of their film. (Whoever thought of that, good on you!) After Gaga reached the song’s crescendo, Cooper walked around the piano, slid on to the bench beside her and slipped his hand around her waist. The two locked eyes and she gave him a look that would melt medal. Their faces were as close as they could be without kissing, but they were singing. The whole thing was even hotter than we anticipated. It felt as if we were witnessing an intimate moment between real-life lovers. When it was over, the audience gave them a standing ovation and at home, millions of people all over the world needed a cigarette. Twitter freaked out.

Gaga and Cooper’s crazy, off the charts chemistry has been well-documented throughout this awards season and has fueled plenty of talk that the pair are involved -- or about to be. Adding fuel to the fire, Gaga announced she and her fiancé, talent agent Christian Carino, had spilt last week. At the awards Cooper’s girlfriend, model Irina Shayk, sat between them and smiled gamely the entire time. A friend of mine suggested Shayk should get her own statuette for Best Performance at the Oscars. No argument there.

As expected, Gaga gave a passionate and tearful acceptance speech when “Shallow” was named Best Original Song thanking Cooper saying, “Bradley, there is not a single person on the planet that could’ve sang this song with me but you.” And then, “Thank you for believing in us.” Alrighty then.

Given his Golden Globe and SAG Award wins, it was no surprise Rami Malek took Best Actor for his career-making performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody” as Queen front man Freddie Mercury. Malek gave an articulate and heart-felt acceptance speech where he said he was a “first generation American” and the son of Egyptian immigrants. “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself,” he said. “The fact that I’m celebrating him and this story with you tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this.”

The evening’s biggest shocker came when Olivia Colman was announced as the winner in the Best Actress category. "It's genuinely quite stressful. This is hilarious, I've got an Oscar,” she said laughing and crying at the same time when she got to the stage.

Frontrunner Glenn Close, who chose a gold couture gown with a sweeping cape and train by Carolina Herrera, was seated front and center. We felt her pain. Having scooped up the Golden Globe, SAG Award and the Independent Spirit Award for her performance in The Wife (she was good; the film was not), she was all but a shoo-in for the Oscar. No one seemed more shocked than Colman herself who, in giving the best Oscar acceptance speech of all time, apologized to Close saying, “Glenn Close – you are my idol, and this is not how I wanted it to be.” She won me over for life for everything that she said including: “Any little girl who's practicing their speech on the telly - you never know! I used to work as a cleaner I used to love that job.” And then she blew a raspberry when told to wrap up. Love, love, love her.

Julia Roberts (who looks younger every time I see her) floated on stage to present the last award of the night for Best Picture. “Green Book,” the story of the unlikely friendship between a bigoted bouncer and a black musician, was the winner having garnered momentum as this awards season wore on. In an extremely competitive year, the Universal Pictures release bested a list of formidable challengers to take home the top prize besting the critical darling, “Roma.” Netflix reportedly spent more than $25 million campaigning for an Oscar for “Roma.” Producers all over Hollywood let out a collective sigh of relief when the studio picture beat back the competition from the subscription service-slash-studio that is poised to take over the world.

I loved that Roberts, the night’s biggest movie star in attendance, gave a sweet good-night to her children and a nod to Bradley Cooper’s mother, Gloria Campano. “I would like to say congratulations to all the nominees, and goodnight to Bradley Cooper’s mother and my children. And thank you for watching!” As far as I’m concerned Roberts can do the no-host hosting duties every year.

And oh yes, this year’s fashion show was better than expected. I especially loved the incredible jewelry. My 14-year-old daughter recognized the rock around Gaga’s neck as the ‘Tiffany diamond’ that is usually encased on the main floor of the Fifth Avenue store. Kudos to Cartier, Chopard, Bulgari and Harry Winston for some glittering beauties on the red carpet.

As for the clothes, my picks for ten best dressed are: Pretty Woman Julia Roberts (Elie Saab), Helen Mirren (Schiaparelli Haute Couture) Emilia Clarke (Balmain), Lucy Boynton (Rodarte), Lady Gaga (Alexander McQueen), Olivia Colman (Prada), Jennifer Lopez (Tom Ford), Brie Larson (Celine by Hedi Slimane), Ashley Graham (Zac Posen) and Allison Janney (Pamela Rolland).

A few parting thoughts …

The 2019 Academy Awards were notable for one particularly historic milestone – it marked the highest number of Oscars won by black women in the same year. The show’s overall tone was inclusive, inspirational and not overtly political. Well done.I love Mahershala Ali who won his second-Best Supporting ActorOscar in three years for his performance in “Green Book,” but I could have done without that beanie. Rami Malek was the night’s best dressed man in Saint Laurent by

Anthony Vaccarello. He and his costar and girlfriend Boynton were the Best Dressed Couple.

The surprise appearance of Bette Midler to sing the nominated song, “Where the Lost Things Go” did not work. Sorry, it didn’t. Emily Blunt brought me to tears with her version in “Mary Poppins Returns.” I don’t know why she wasn’t asked to sing it at the Oscars. That charming film got the short shrift this year.

And speaking of short shrift, Bradley Cooper may have been snubbed across the board during this awards season, but he may find some consolation in knowing there are millions of women (and plenty of men, I’m guessing) who went to bed last night hoping he would make a guest appearance in their dreams. And if this acting thing doesn’t work out, he could always join Gaga in her residency in Vegas. We’d pay big bucks to see that.

- End

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

The 2019 "Everyone Wins" Oscar Nominee Gift Bag

Gift bags display
Click image for full size view

The Galápagos Islands, Iceland, the Amazon or Costa Rica and Panama; which would you choose for an adventure vacation? That’s the happy dilemma that will face a select number of Hollywood A-listers who will be the lucky recipients of this year’s “Everyone Wins” Nominee Gift Bags. For the 17th year in a row, these ultimate swag bags are being independently produced by Distinctive Assets founder Lash Fary and his team in Los Angeles. Oscar nominees in the categories of Best Actor and Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress and Best Director will personally receive the gift bags this week, as Tinseltown prepares for the most prestigious night of the awards season.

“Every human being, regardless of career or fame, appreciates a great gift,” says Fary, so once again he and his crew have pulled together a collection of gifts that range from simply practical to exceedingly eclectic. In an effort to focus on the spirit of giving rather than the value of the gifts themselves, Distinctive Assets is not disclosing the total value of this year’s goody bag. “While this gift bag does always boast an impressive value, that is never our goal. A great gift has nothing to do with the cost,” Fary explains, “We understand the interest in the ‘wow’ number associated with this now-legendary gift bag, but we prefer to simply celebrate the fun and festive nature of the contents . . . no matter how big or small.”

There is truly something for everyone in this year’s “Everyone Wins” bag, and whatever happens at the Oscar ceremony on Sunday night, nominees like Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are sure to feel like winners as they delve into the contents of this opulent gift. In the words of Samuel L. Jackson, “The best thing about being famous is the free stuff.”

Here is a peak at what’s inside the bag…

CODA SIGNATURE
This gift box features Coda Signature’s premium edibles, topicals and concentrates. These handcrafted products can be found in more than 600 dispensaries across Colorado and will debut in California later this spring.
www.codasignature.com

INTERNATIONAL EXPEDITIONS
The nominee and a guest can choose 1 of 4 options – an adventure to Iceland, the Galapagos, the Amazon or Costa Rica & Panama. In addition to getting nose-to-nose with Galapagos sea lions or paddling along a peaceful Amazon creek, nominees will be spoiled with spa treatments, private chef-led Latin cooking lessons, and even secret celeb extensions in places like Quito or Lima! Depending on the trip they choose, the value ranges from $15,000-$20,000 per person.
www.ietravel.com

JARRITOS
The iconic Mexican soda, is committed to helping celebrities and their charitable causes and will be providing ample product for an event of their choosing. And Jarritos will be treating the nominees themselves to a Yeti Cooler full of various flavors for instant post-show gratification. Available in 11 great-tasting flavors.
www.jarritos.com

KALLIOPE NYC
Best-selling author and the nation’s leading phobia relief expert, Kalliope Barlis, helps you free yourself from bad memories and phobias in less than 30 minutes using mindfulness methods.
www.kalliope.nyc

DR. KONSTANTIN VASYUKEVICH
 Up to $30,000 of treatments and rejuvenation procedures including chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing, injectables/fillers, Botox and more at Dr. Konstantin's Luxe Upper East Side office.
 www.facialartistrymd.com

MOTA LOS ANGELES
Annual membership to MOTA Los Angeles, an exclusive, members-only cannabis-friendly social club for creatives, complete with high-end concierge & spa services and custom event programming. Membership includes access for member + 3 guests.
www.themotagroup.com

A. JUNOD ABSINTHE
Junod is a white absinthe handcrafted in the historical center of absinthe production at the Emile Pernot distillery in Pontarlier France.
www.ajunod.com

ALEXIS SELETZKY ― CELEBRITY TRAINER
Package of 10 Personal Training Sessions with one of Los Angeles’ premier trainers, Alexis Seletzky.
www.alexisfitnessla.com

AP4GOOD
100% organic cotton designer T-shirts featuring limited edition art motifs.
www.ap4good.com

ARTIST JOHN THOMAN STAINED GLASS PORTRAITS
One of a kind custom stained glass portrait created just for you by glass master and artist John Thoman.
www.jsj-a-touch-of-stained-glass.com

AVATON LUXURY VILLAS RESORT
Avaton Luxury Villas Resort, a proud member of Relais & Châteaux, is a stylish and contemporary beachfront escape overlooking the sparkling turquoise waters of Halkidiki, Greece. It consists of an exclusive collection of 16 villas.
www.avaton.com

BLUSH & WHIMSY MAGICAL COLOR CHANGING LIPSTICK
Our limited-edition rose gold lipstick, light pink flower, with strawberry scent was designed to celebrate YOU and letting your unique beauty shine. All products packaged and fulfilled by people with disabilities.
www.blushwhimsy.com

CBDRxSUPREME
CBDRxSupreme uses Organic full-spectrum CBD oil to improve health and longevity. The CBD Experience also includes a luxurious clinical facial using 1000 mg of infused organic CBD to replenish and nourish, resulting in a younger looking you!
www.cbdrxsupreme.com

CHOCOLATINES
Chocolatines’ newest collection in its Chocouture line, the Jewelry Box holds cocoa “jewels,” each handcrafted to perfection.
www.chocolatines.com

CLOSYS ORAL CARE
The Spa Kit for your Mouth.” CloSYS patented formula, ADA accepted specialty mouth rinse and toothpaste for exceptional gum teeth and breath protection. Gentlest. Oral Care. Ever.
 www.cloSYS.com

FLORA FARMS (Los Cabos, Mexico)
From Our Field to Your Table. Flora’s Field kitchen is about handmade food using our farm fresh
ingredients. We strive to only serve only what we make, raise and grow.
www.flora-farms.com

GOLDEN DOOR
A week (for two) of total mind, body and spirit renewal at the world’s #1 all-inclusive luxury wellness retreat.
www.goldendoor.com

GOOD GIRL CHOCOLATE
Good Girl Chocolate is gluten-free, dairy-free, and naturally sweetened. It will appeal to your sweet tooth, satisfy your chocolate craving, and as an added benefit, it is made with organic low-glycemic sweeteners.
www.goodgirlchocolate.com

HAPPIEST TEE
Luxury American-made t-shirts and sweatshirts that celebrate iconic happy places around the world like Los Angeles, NYC, London, Paris and Australia.
www.happiesttee.com.

HIGH BEAUTY
Realize your skin’s highest potential with our high five CANNABIS FACIAL MOISTURIZER and high expectations CANNABIS FACIAL OIL, revolutionary skin care powered by Cannabis sativa.
www.highbeauty.com.

INSTYTUTUM
This star-studded gift box includes our best and brightest products: Transforming Melting Cleanser, Resurfacing Glow Toner, Triple Action Peel, Flawless Pads, Anti-Wrinkle Brightening Serum, C- Illuminating 3D Moisturizer, Xceptional Flawless Cream, Truly Transforming Brightening Eye Cream, Flawless Skin Mask, Powerful Retinol and Flawless Inner Beauty Ageless Complex.
www.instytutum.com.

(Photo here)
IT’S A 10 HAIRCARE MIRACLE HAIR DRYER
Salon quality deserves the best, which is why we designed this hair dryer with the industry’s best components, from the 100% copper motor, to the ionic power output, your hair will be dry quicker, meaning less damage, a better shine, and ultimately healthier hair.
www.itsa10haircare.com.

KNOTTY FLOSS
Knotty Floss continues to be on the cutting edge of new and innovative dental health products to the consumer health market.
www.knotty-floss.com.

KUSSHI
The travel makeup bag reimagined. No more digging, no more mess. Just pure, protected, washable, organized, beauty.
www.kusshi.com.
LE CÉLINE
The whole luxury eyelashes collection by Le Céline. 15 products from our #DAILY, #PARTY and #LUXURY collection, 3 from our new #GODDESS collection and 2 #EQUIPMENT products from Le Céline Confidence & Star Appeal packed in a glamorous gold & black LE CÉLINE box.
 www.leceline.com.

LOVE IS STRONGER THAN HATE
Wear LOVE with our Love Is Stronger Than Hate tote bag and limited-edition shimmer heart T-shirt! Proceeds from every purchase will provide hope and healing to communities impacted by tragedy through our Stars of HOPE® therapeutic arts program and New York Says Thank You Foundation.
www.loveisstrongerthanhate.org

MILLIANNA
MILLIANNA accessories appeal to a wide
range of women and combine form with function. The company employs women from the World Relief Spokane refugee organization to make their pieces which provides these ladies with meaningful work while they resettle in the US.
www.millianna.com.

MISTER POOP
The Mister Poop Plunger is super cute, 100% fully functional, holds a spare roll of toilet paper, glows in the dark, is anti-microbial, and has a drip tray to keep your floor clean.
www.misterpoop.com.

3D WELLNESS RETREAT
Enjoy a luxurious weekend of rejuvenation, post award show season. Activities include: morning meditation, yoga, spa services, gourmet meals, an exclusive gifting suite and end the weekend with a cleansing ceremony with Shaman Soraya.
www.3dprmarketing.com 

MZ SKIN
 Lift & Lustre Golden Elixir Antioxidant Serum: This liquid gold, super-concentrated serum is rich in stem cells, botanical extracts and Hyaluronic Acid. The luxurious, silky formula deeply hydrates, protects against oxidative damage. Also includes Hydra-Bright Golden Eye Treatment Mask.
www.mzskin.com.

NANNETTE DE GASPÉ
NANNETTE DE GASPÉ’s Bain Noir is an ultra-relaxing and over-the-top bath soak treatment filled with loads of hemp-derived Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Extract which helps to soothe, revive and protect the skin while also destressing the mind and body. Feeling a little flat? Enter NANNETTE de GASPÉ’s Uplift Revealed TUSH ― the world’s first-to-market, non-invasive approach to curve enhancement! These luxurious, dry-printed Techstile infusers help re- shape the contours of the buttocks while restoring firmness, suppleness and bounce for a visually more sculpted tush.
The award-winning NANNETE de GASPÉ Youth Revealed Dry Techstile Treatment for the Face features a revolutionary dry-printed formulation and includes a unique blend of 87% powerful youth-restoring, brightening, and hydrating active ingredients and emollients that feed and nourish the skin for 6-8 hours following use.
www.nannettedegaspe.com.

NEST SEEKERS INTERNATIONAL
Poolside dinner prepared by a celebrity chef at one of Shawn Elliott's ultra-luxury listings for the nominee and their friends.
www.nestseekers.com.

OPTIMUM NUTRITION
Please enjoy the Optimum Nutrition Salted Toffee Crisp Bar for a high-protein, great-tasting snack!
www.optimumnutrition.com/en-us.

ORGANIC HAIR CARE
Gift Box includes Shampoo, Conditioner and Styling Products.
www.organichaircare.com.

OXYGENETIX
A one-year supply of revolutionary Oxygenating Foundation (breathable formula that promotes healing and provides complete coverage).
www.oxygenetix.com.

PEPPERIDGE FARM MILANO
Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, the perfect balance of crisp cookies and rich, luxurious chocolate for a truly indulgent treat.
https://www.pepperidgefarm.com/product-finder?category=2379

PETA ― AGENT FOR ANIMALS SPY PEN
The spy pen enables caring people on set to blow the whistle on animal abuse by filming it and then reporting it to PETA's confidential whistleblower hotline.
www.peta.org.

POSH PRETZELS
2 tier gourmet pretzel gift box from Posh Pretzels, which are unlike any other pretzels in the market.
www.poshpretzels.com
REIAN WILLIAMS FINE ART
Commissioned original work of art from a Master of Emotive Realism.
www.reianwilliamsfineart.com.

ROUGE MAPLE
Pure Organic Maple Syrup and Glamour Gourmet Gift Set: a selection of our best gourmet maple products with our delicious recipes for a sweet dinner!
www.rougemaple.com

SAFETY DOG LEASH
Safety attachment for any leash tethered to your wrist. Allows hands free!
www.safetydogleash.com.

SALIX LOTION
All-natural hair inhibiting lotion. It’s a laser hair removal alternative!
www.salixcare.com.

SOUL SHROPSHIRE
A candle designed to support well-being. A Soul Candle is a lifestyle choice.
www.soulcandles.co.uk.

SOUTHERN WICKED LEMONADE
An ALL-Natural, Gluten-free, Organically-sweetened full size (750ml) bottle of Southern Wicked Lemonade Moonshine. #WhyBehaveWhenYouCanBeWicked
https://www.wickedlemonade.com/

SUE PHILLIPS OF SCENTERPRISES
Unique bright, exuberant “FRESH & SPARKLING” deluxe Custom Fragrance in a refillable ‘swivel’ atomizer packaged in a black velvet sachet. Plus an invitation to visit THE SCENTARIUM, NYC’s first custom perfumery, to create a one-of-a-kind signature fragrance.
www.scenterprises.com.

TAPS FOR HOPE AFGHAN LAPIS BRACELET
Sponsored by TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the TAPS for Hope bracelet is an initiative of love and sacrifice benefiting families of fallen military. This beautiful, deep blue bracelet is crafted from Lapis Lazuli, (meaning Stone of Heaven), a precious stone mined from one of the world’s oldest gem mines in Afghanistan. The intention of the TAPS for Hope project is to bring together widows of war from America and Afghanistan to honor the service and sacrifice of their fallen heroes.
https://shop.taps.org/collections/afghan.

(Photo here)
THE BEAUTY BOOK FOR BRAIN CANCER
Collectable 300-page coffee table book. All money raised from the sale of The Beauty Book for Brain Cancer is donated between two charities: SNOG (Sydney Neurology Oncology Group) and HEADRUSH. Both are non-profit organizations, have no overhead and rely on donations for the much-needed research, to help find a cure.
http://www.thebeautybook.org/

THE GREEN GARMENTO
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-Rhonda Erb


Thursday, February 21, 2019

New York Fashion Cool-Aid by Laurel Marcus

"Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving" Brings La Casa Azul to Brooklyn

Frida Kahlo in Blue Satin Blouse, 1939,
by Nickolas Muray
Click images for full-size views

The exhibition now at the Brooklyn Museum through May 12, illustrates the dichotomy of the famous “uni-browed” artist. “There was a difference in how she considered herself internally and how she presented herself to the world,” said Lisa Small, Senior Curator of European Art during a private tour sponsored by Sotheby’s Preferred. The exhibition is a hybrid of the 2012 Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City and the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 2018 “Making Herself Up” which has been “Brooklynized,” according to Small.

Necklace with Ornamental Slide, Necklace with 1903 Twenty-Dollar Coin, Necklace with Pendant
Long gold chains known as Torzales (twine)
Photos by Laurel Marcus

Garments, photographs, jewelry, personal items such as cosmetics, and paintings of Frida’s were stored upon her death in 1954 by Kahlo’s husband, renowned artist Diego Rivera, at their home “Casa Azul” with instructions that they could not be shown until 15 years after his death which occurred in 1957. These items became further enshrouded in secrecy as the executor of the estate Dolores Olmedo (one of Diego’s rumored dalliances) kept everything locked up until her death in 2002. Finally, nearly a half-century later the doors and closets hiding these treasures were unlocked, and everything was cataloged and inventoried at the Casa Azul Museum before going on the road to London and now for the first time in the U.S.

Dress made from Christening Gown with Vestigial Sleeve

The exhibition is arranged thematically rather than chronologically, which I don’t ordinarily like; however, in this case, it makes sense and is relatively easy to follow. Beginning with a section called “Roots,” Kahlo’s close relationship with her German photographer father Guillermo is illustrated with the many photos he took of her. She was influenced by his career to learn everything about photography including the technical side of it. She also learned to pose in front of the camera – “the gaze she returns is the same as in her later self-portraits,” said Small. That constant, steady gaze is also seen in the popular color-saturated photos taken by her lover Nickolas Muray, of which there are many striking examples.

Plaster Corset painted and decorated by Frida Kahlo

Almost from the beginning, Kahlo was cursed with ill health. When she was six she developed polio leaving one leg shorter and thinner; at 18 she was involved in a near-fatal traffic accident in which her spine was broken in several places, and a metal rod went through her pelvis. The rest of her life she was basically “living while dying,” resulting in many surgeries, long periods of prescribed bed rest (which she didn’t always follow), dozens of prosthetic devices and near constant pain.

Self Portrait as a Tehuana 1943

Another interesting dichotomy centers on Kahlo’s religious beliefs. Although her racially mixed Indigenous and Spanish mother was a devout Catholic, Frida rejected Catholicism while using the Catholic visual iconography in votive paintings (known as Ex Votos). She embraced Communism as can be seen in the “Art & Revolution” section where she proclaims “I am a Communist being,” even attempting to change her birthday from 1907 to 1910 to symbolize the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. Rivera and Kahlo’s shared love of Communism was one of the major forces keeping them together – though they both strayed from the marriage with other partners – divorcing in 1939 yet remarrying in 1940. Despite the mutual dalliances, they were “the most important person in each other’s life,” according to Small.

Tehuana outfit with Portraits by Nickolas Muray in the background

Kahlo had a love/hate relationship with America or “Gringolandia” as she called it. Accompanying her husband on his commissioned artist tour, she discovered San Francisco, Detroit, and New York. She later had a show of her own at the Julian Levy Gallery on West 57th St. While in S.F., wearing her Tehuana style of colorful dress, as she always did to show solidarity with Mexico she remarked: “The gringas think I’m the most amazing thing.”

Rise of Another Rivera
Vogue  Paris 1938

Vogue even did a spread on her style. During the tour, Small pointed out that some of the garments had paint on them – “She wore them to paint, whether someone was coming to take her picture or not. They were not a costume to her.”

Sketches of the Statue of Liberty

As for New York, Kahlo’s sketches of the Statue of Liberty show the icon holding a bag of money rather than a torch – parallel symbolism perhaps to Rivera’s commissioned mural work of Rockefeller Center in which he inserted images of Lenin, which he would not remove, ultimately getting him fired. Although the couple supported Workers of the World for worker’s rights and other Communist organizations they were living nicely, commanding a good income despite the Great Depression of the ‘30s. When Trotsky was exiled to Mexico, he and his wife came to stay for two years at the Casa Azul while Rivera and Kahlo moved into an adjoining building on the estate.

An outfit worn by Frida Kahlo

The “Disability and Creativity” section displays Kahlo’s lifetime battle with her health. Initially wanting to study to be a doctor she realized she wasn’t going to be able to be able to do that and turned to art, even painting self-portraits while on her back with a mirror while confined to her bed. After suffering a miscarriage after a failed abortion in 1932 (apparently, she was very conflicted about whether to have children) her art became more personal. She painted a broken column on her plaster corset symbolizing her broken spine and a child in her womb.

Prosthetic leg device

In the year before her death, she wore a prosthetic leg which she painted and placed a bell on following a to-the-knee amputation due to gangrene. All of these orthopedic support devices of leather, steel, and plaster, as well as her body deformities, could be better camouflaged with the looser boxy clothing and long skirts that she favored.

Far left: Huipil made from plain handwoven cloth like the one Kahlo is buried in, Third from left: Skirt possibly acquired from San Francisco's Chinatown worn with shawl finished with hand-formed cotton balls

The last room of the exhibition is definitely the most dramatic with several cases of her dresses and rebozos (shawls) on display. Another example of how she liked the “finer things in life” is shown here with a Chinese embroidered silk textile used on a skirt that she bought in San Francisco. She would often have a long flounce of lace or muslin added to the hem of her skirts to cover her leg.

Appearances Can Be Deceiving sketch
Undated 

The title “Appearances Can Be Deceiving” is a loose English translation of what is written in Spanish in Kahlo’s handwriting on the bottom of an undated charcoal and colored pencil on paper sketch. Here the artist gives us a sad glimpse of what is hidden underneath her outward festive presentation -- exposing the painted plaster corset and butterfly covered shrunken leg shrouding her broken body.




- Laurel Marcus

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Musings on Karl & Chanel: The Chanel Mystique

Virginie Viard, Karl Lagerfeld, and Hudson Kroenig, Karl's godson. 
Photo by Landon Nordeman for The New York Times

Fashion is 24/7 particularly for those of us involved in the fashion business, and particularly during collection time. But on the heels of the recent passing of two 85 year old fashion icons Lee Radziwill and Karl Lagerfeld, smack dab in the middle of the 2019 fall winter runway shows, there has been even more of a focus and interest.

But of course, Karl was not just a fashion icon; he was the most prolific, revered, influential designer of his time and the creative director of the one of the most iconic and successful luxury brands in fashion which he completely transformed. We will never see another one like Karl and since hearing the news, we have all had a chance to reflect on his singular brilliance, enormous talent, uncanny ability to connect the dots between high fashion and popular culture, and his sphere of influence which knew no bounds.

It’s not surprising that there has been so much said and written about Karl and Chanel and what his passing means to fashion and the luxury business. Karl was Coco incarnate. They became one in the same. In fact, it’s almost easy to forget that there was an actual Coco Chanel because Karl was such an embodiment, down to the rigorously edited black and white uniform: the white shirts with the starched high collars, the black ties with the jeweled stick pins, the perfectly tailored black jackets, skinny black jeans, and black boots

As for the Chanel Mystique: is there any other fashion label whose house codes are as timeless and as instantly recognizable? The quilted bag, the gold chain belt, the piped cardigan, the tweed suit, the cap toe pump, ropes of pearls, the little black dress, and the camelia are such universal and identifiable symbols of chic, many fashion fans mourned the Chanel designer by taking pictures of themselves in their favorite pieces and posted them on Instagram.

And they continue  to be interpreted and re-interpreted not only at Chanel, but by such designers as Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe, Balmain, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, and Brock Collection who had an entire group of tweed suits and dresses for fall 2019. Then there is Marc Jacobs who has been continually and unabashedly influenced by Chanel and especially, Chanel in the 80’s, when Karl first took over. In fact, it’s been reported that Marc wanted the job that Karl eventually got and he has been known to wear Chanel jackets -women’s size 12 to be exact- to high profile outings. That’s about as good as an endorsement as one can get.

But it’s easy to robotically knock off Chanel’s signature house codes as exemplified by mass market chains like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara. What’s not so easy is to actually breathe new life into them, make them modern and relevant, give them a living and breathing soul, AND make them alluring objects of desire. There is no question that it was only Karl endorsed sneakers for his fall 2014 ready-to-wear collection (turning the runway into a chic super market), that women were seduced enough to wear them 24/7 (and spend a small fortune on them).

This was what Karl excelled at and there’s no question that much of it can be attributed to his charisma: his rock star, larger than life image and personality.  By comparison, his successor, Virginie Viard, who held the position of director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio, has no social media following and is a relative unknown to all but those at Chanel and a handful of fashion insiders. She is a woman who apparently prefers to stay in the background (she admitted that a big part of her job was keeping Karl “happy”) and said that she shuns high heels because she is already tall and as she put it, “prefers not to be noticed.” Well, like it not Ms. Viard, you are being noticed now. You had better get used to it.

According to one of the many profiles written about her since Tuesday’s appointment, Virginie thought that Chanel was “old” when she was growing up. But when asked by a journalist for Madame Figaro in 2017 what makes a “Chanel girl” her reply was, “As I have always been a Chanel girl, I don’t know how to be anything else”. I thought that was a great response because you don’t become a “Chanel girl” simply by donning a Chanel jacket and cap toe pumps or wearing black and white. That would be far too easy. It’s all about having a certain attitude, and an inherent synergy which cannot be taught. The same way Karl Lagerfeld’s talent could not be taught. It just was.

Virginie, who is in her 50’s, has been Karl’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years. He referred to her as both his right and left hand and they have apparently worked very well together. Most importantly, she has the complete endorsement of Alain Wertheimer, the billionaire co-owner of the house of Chanel, who is banking on her to continue on with Coco and Karl’s vision of Chanel, so she is obviously off to a good start. Still, she is an unproven quantity, and a lot is riding on her appointment.

Fashion is big business and if revenues begin to drop, so will she. You know that famous phrase from The Godfather, “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business”? Well, that certainly comes to mind. Maybe the still unemployed Phoebe Philo, who people had been talking about as Karl’s replacement (especially after Chanel moved its global headquarters to her hometown of London) shouldn’t give up hope just yet. The creative director of Celine from 2008 to 2018 was known for her uncomplicated style and sense of freedom. She has a proven track record, knew how to create ‘IT’ bags, and constantly challenged existing notions and created a new prototype for what is feminine, beautiful, attractive much like Coco herself.

Another name that had been mentioned was Hedi Slimane, before he took the job at Celine. But I have to say that if there was ever a great time for Chanel, which was founded by a woman (a rule breaking one at that), to be passed to another woman it is now.







- Marilyn Kirschner

Sunday, February 17, 2019

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

What Would Lee Wear? The Enduring Style of the Late Lee Radziwell

Lee Radziwell on the Cover of T

There will never be another Jackie O, but like her iconic sister, Lee Radziwell, who passed away in New York on Friday at the age of 85, mastered the art of making easy look elegant, AND elegant look easy. She was undeniably one of the chicest women alive, and she managed to look completely of the moment and relevant without looking like she was trying too hard, or trying too hard to look young. Not an easy feat (try that if you are lucky enough to reach her age!)

Whenever I saw pictures of Lee out and about (whether in New York or Paris), I was always struck by how perfect she always looked. She was unapologetically chic, stylish, and utterly fashionable, but was never a fashion victim. She wore the clothes and they didn’t wear her. If she was 'on' trend, it was only because the trend completely suited her, and was in sync with her own personal style. She always chose wisely, she completely got it, and always nailed it. One could do a lot worse than to follow her lead. All too many women seem to be clueless in terms of what is flattering, chic, or appropriate (to the situation, the weather, their bodies, their ages, etc.) Lee and her sister always understood the importance of the word 'appropriate' as it applied to themselves and to fashion, and they long embodied the idea of great personal style (past, present, and future).

At the age of 79, Lee graced Deborah Needleman's first redesigned cover of "T": The New York Times Style Magazine which debuted on February 17th, 2013 with the appropriately stark cover lines: "True Elegance". Instead of a young, happening, hip, of the moment celebrity or model for the cover, Ms. Needleman wisely chose Lee, photographed by Mario Sorrenti. There was a corresponding feature on Ms. Radziwill inside with images also taken by Mario. In describing her choice, Ms. Needleman said at the time, "I think we’re sort of post-everything. We’re post-race, post-feminist, but I feel like we’re not quite post-age. And we should be". "Everything is so chaotic and noisy and bloggy and she represents a kind of elegance." Well, 6 years later and things have gotten much noisier, thanks in large part to Instagram.

The notion of paring down was at the heart of her aesthetic which had served as inspiration for such designers as Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, and Michael Kors, who once dedicated an entire collection to "the Lee Radziwill look". Pictures of Lee and Jackie, grace the walls of many of Michael’s stores. With Studio 54 behind him, I would not be in the least bit surprised if his next collection is an homage to her chic enduring style and her refined elegance. While the words chic, refined, elegant and tasteful don’t precisely sum up the overall tone of New York Fashion Week which just ended, they do apply to some collections, and there were definitely things that I could imagine Lee wearing.

Ralph Lauren spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear

I think Ralph Lauren’s spring 2019 collection would have been right up her alley; classic, classy, sporty yet dressed up. The black sequined stretch tulle t-shirt and black matte viscose long pleated skirt would have suited Lee to a ‘t.’

Ralph Lauren spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Lee loved fitted evening jackets and chose pieces that did not overpower her small frame. Ralph’s metallic gold leather cropped jacket and black satin-crepe skirt would have worked perfectly for her.

Brandon Maxwell fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Brandon Maxwell’s collection was similarly minimal, sporty and luxurious and had an ease to it that defined Lee’s fashion persona. And she loved dressing in black and white so I could envision her wearing his ivory satin cape blouse and black wide legged trousers.

Brandon Maxwell fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Another good choice would be his tailored white tuxedo jacket, white silk shirt, and black trousers.

Oscar de la Renta fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

This Oscar de la Renta long white silk gown with an attached deeply fringed scarf is the epitome of understated, easy glamour.

The Row fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

The luxurious minimalism of The Row would have suited Lee just fine (particularly the pieces that were not overpowering). This strapless dress reminded me of a Halston number I had seen her photographed in.

Jason Wu fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Lee loved red. Jason Wu’s knee-length red organza dress with petal detailing around the neck is simple yet impactful.

Tory Burch fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

She also loved smart, tailored coats, like this glen plaid belted trench and pant from Tory Burch.

Theory fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Theory’s simple brown leather trench and ivory turtleneck dress are about as underdone and unfussy as one can get, yet chic as heck!

Tom Ford fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

Tom Ford’s brown velvet jacket, khaki silk shirt, and army green satin trousers exemplify Lee’s throwaway chic, luxe sportif fashion persona. I don’t know if she would have necessarily accessorized with purple satin platforms, but nonetheless, the look is very her.

Tom Ford fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

She loved abbreviated jackets so I could also see her in Tom’s charcoal faux fur bomber jacket and black satin trouser pants.

Tom Ford fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear

And she was confident enough, and modern enough, to pull off his liquid silver plunge front gown with massive chain adornment.




-Marilyn Kirschner

Saturday, February 16, 2019

New York Fashion Week Fall 2019 Review

 From the Sublime to the Ridiculous! - by Marilyn Kirschner

Michael Kors Fall 2019 Ready-To-Wear
Click images for full-size views
Photo: Vogue.com

New York Fashion Week has morphed so noticeably from its inception in 1993 that it is almost unrecognizable to seasoned industry insiders who were there from the start. Just ask Fern Mallis, the woman who created NYFW in the first place. She remarked last September that she had not heard of 99% of the designers whose invites she was receiving. This season, Fern was given a ‘Standing Room” seat assignment at Nihl's menswear fashion show. The press team was obviously so young and unseasoned; they hadn’t a clue who SHE was.  There was a time way back when, that New York Fashion Week was ruled by big brands; the big gun designers were not only household names, they needed only one name to identify themselves.

Khaite
Photo: The Impression

Boy have things changed; there is a new generation of talent, many of whom are still unknown to all but plugged in fashion insiders. Names like Sies Marjan, Sandy Liang, Marina Moscone, Brock Collection, Vaquera, Chromat, Dirty Pineapple, Self- Portrait, R-13, Gypsy Sport, and Khaite which was founded in 2017, and instantly became a fashion insider’s go to label owing to Catherine Holstein’s innate ability to reinvent and elevate pragmatic wardrobe basics, often with a military undertone. Catherine staged her first formal runway show inside St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn this season and used the opportunity to present her new line of capacious bags, belts, and great looking boots (I couldn’t help but seeing vestiges of Phoebe Philo).

Eckhaus Latta
Photo: Vogue.com

Leading the pack is Eckhuas Latta. This design team which is part of a new generation of designers working at the intersection of fashion and art had what was widely considered to be a breakout collection this season. They may have been the subject of an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art, “Echkaus Latta: Possessed” which ran through last October, but they are not yet known to the masses (although that is sure to change in the future). Fall 2019 was wonderfully unconventional, eccentric, gender bending, and highly inventive; which makes it thoroughly modern and relevant.

Tomo Koizumi
Photo: Vogue.com

Of course, the biggest surprise moment of the week, and a show that had everyone talking, was the debut presentation of Tokyo based costume designer Tomo Koizumi who never even studied fashion design. His 3-D collection of poufy “loofah” like designs was shown in a rainbow of mouthwatering color combinations; something that was seen on other runways but none as dramatic as his. Tomo was fortunate to have Marc Jacobs and super stylist Katie Grand, who discovered him on the internet, as guardian angels. The show was held in the basement of Marc Jacobs’ store on Madison Avenue and 60th street and Pat McGrath did the dramatic makeup. Not a bad way to start and yes, it was sublime.

Marc Jacobs
Photo: The Impression

But, forgetting all the new, young blood, you can’t count the ‘big guns’ like Marc Jacobs out. The designer once again put the exclamation mark on the week with an exceptionally well done and ebullient show at the Park Avenue Armory that spoke volumes (literally) about an elegant, couture like respect for the past (with plenty of nods to his hero Yves Saint Laurent) but at the same time, was far more controlled, and pared down than in the past. The models were given a completely natural look courtesy Pat McGrath and the only accessories other than the footwear were Stephen Jones’ small caps (some with feathers) and the ankle socks and glittery hose. This should make the hosiery market happy.

Marc Jacobs
Photo: The Impression 

This was a decidedly dressed up collection of daywear and eveningwear and Marc has clearly moved on from his beloved Grunge; there was nary a flat, Doc Marten boot in sight, though vestiges were found on other runways this past week. Instead there were high heeled boots (some laced up), classic pumps and sandals, almost all shown with the aforementioned hosiery. There were fabulous oversized woolen coats and sweeping capes, face framing high ruffled collars (a huge trend this week), wide legged trouser pants (some were part of natty suits), shredded tulle dresses, and an explosion of feathers, many of which are destined for the Red Carpet. The ageless Christy Turlington in that ‘Black Swan’ worthy black feathered gown? Sublime!

Michael Kors
Photo: Vogue.com

And then there was Michael, who has expanded his empire, renamed it Capri Holdings (the vacation island of Capri is his favorite place in the world which should tell you something). He is still going strong, happy and smiling, and he wants everyone to do this same (and dance!). His upbeat, crowd pleasing show, held at 10 a.m. at Cipriani Wall Street (a venue more synonymous with black tie evening soirees) on the last day of NYFW could have been called “The Last Days of Disco”.


Michael Kors
Photo: Vogue.com

It was an homage to his days at Studio 54 in the 70’s and a real mash up; it literally had everything AND the kitchen sink (sort of like looking back at Michael’s greatest hits all in one show). It was an over the top hodgepodge, accessorized to the hilt, and there was so much going on (maribou, fringe, feathers, metallics, snakeskin, patchwork leather, natty menswear fabrics, sleeping bag coats); you did not know where to look. Ridiculously flashy, down to the Barry Manilow finale. Yup, but it worked.

Ralph Lauren 
Photo: Landon Nordeman for The New York Times

Ralph, the elder statesman who celebrated his 50th anniversary in September, continues to create the sort of classic, refined, luxurious American sportswear that appeals to many women. He transformed the main floor of his magnificent Beaux-Arts mansion at 888 Madison Avenue into Ralph’s Café where guests enjoyed coffee and pastry while taking in his spring 2019 collection. It was an elegant study in black, white, and gold (lots of gold!) and an emphasis on tailoring, military and nautical touches, and languid dresses. Actually, it was so ridiculously refined and so perfect in that every hair in place Upper East Side sort of way, I actually wished it was a little more disheveled and messed up lol.

Telfar
Photo: The Impression

Ralph’s civilized, rarified world could not be more diametrically opposed to that of Telfar Clemens. Telfar’s gritty and chaotic “Country” themed fashion show cum concert was held at Irving Plaza (which was turned into a mosh pit). Models did not walk a runway but literally fell into the jam packed audience and crowd surfed. Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous. Or is the other way around? I guess that’s all subjective lol. In any case, this dichotomy perfect illustrates the yin yang of fashion. Right now, there is a palpable push and pull between the young and the old, the old and the new, the conventional and unconventional, the traditional and untraditional (you can’t get more untraditional than Telfar, Chromat or Gypsy Sport for that matter).

Pantsuits, like this one from Proenza Schouler, were especially strong this season
Photo: Vogue.com

There has been a lot of talk about the demise of NYFW, especially after Thom Browne decamped to Paris a few seasons ago. Raf Simons’ departure from Calvin Klein at the end of last year did not help, nor the fact that Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss was a no show this season, or that Rodarte held their terrific show on the West Coast. But there were still worthy collections, high moments, and interesting things happening on the runways and presentations. There may be many changes afoot with regards to NYFW but what has definitely not changed is that it is a mixed bag with different points of view and approaches; a week filled with ups and downs. Of course, that is all subjective, no?

Among the things I considered to be sublime:

The Row
Photo: Vogue.com

Almost everything at The Row fits the bill in my opinion but this season that would specifically be their focus on the waist. As the late L’Wren Scott once observed. “Men understand it as long as it has a waist”.

Proenza Schouler
Photo: The Impression

In a season of stellar outerwear, the graphic ivory and black trench at Proenza Schouler stood out. It’s a keeper!

Vera Wang
Photo: Vogue.com 

I can’t help but get that warm and fuzzy feeling from Vera Wang’s charcoal gray faux fur coat that fully reverses to a lining of enormous silver paillettes.

Tom Ford
Photo: The Impression

I was similarly taken by Tom Ford’s luscious faux furs (coats and hats) which were shown in unexpected colors like pale lilac. And the designer’s velvet strong shouldered jackets, turtlenecks, and satin trousers in luscious orchid like colors (red, pink, purple) float my boat.

Brock Collection
Photo: The Impression

I love the way Brock Collections’ lace up boots in floral brocade and nubby tweed matched the ensembles they were shown with.

Jeremy Scott
Photo: Vogue.com

Jeremy Scott’s collection of bold black and white designs (in collaboration with artist Aleksandra Mir), was inspired by the never ending tabloid news. His clever solution of how to deal with the horrors and harsh reality of tabloid news? Instead of reading about it, wear it!

Greta Constantine
Photo: Vogue.com

Greta Constantine’s long sleeved silver sequined bodysuit layered beneath a raffia gown is definitely not for everyone. Designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong were inspired by Dubai this season thus everything was voluminous, covered up, modest, and uber glamorous.

Eckhaus Latta
Photo: The Impression

I loved the inventive way Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta transformed beaded pieces (most commonly found as car and taxi seat covers) into something almost couture like. It was a brilliant artisanal touch.

Eckhaus Latta
Photo: The Impression

Their collaboration with Uggs was similarly brilliant. The design duo worked together with Uggs on a collection of footwear (which includes an interesting hybrid of a court pump and a mule), and two cozy coats. They managed to take something that was once considered to be the ultimate faux pas (Uggs) and transform it into something quite chic. Who are you calling “Ugg”ly now?

Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous. Or in this case, the other way around!

Click here for our New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer & Fall/Winter Reports going back to 2003 written by Marilyn Kirschner and others by Bernadine Morris.