Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row

Monday, September 8, 2014


Hiding In Plain Sight … Younger, Cooler, Sexier; True Luxe Design Slant Pops Everywhere At New York City’s Hot Summer Shows

Everything was all about a totally alluring design story; embracing an unabashed sense of hipness, richness and sexiness, all mixed together with a magnificent array of multi-fantastical jewels with all of the bells, whistles, trimmings, et al, amid all of the shine and sparkle, going on throughout July 2014 editions of the New York City JA Show at The Jacob Javits Center and, of course, Luxury Prive, held for the first time at the posh, Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

JA SCOOP: Here, contrary to the regular premise of “all that glitters is gold”, when thinking about what defines fine jewelry, (not to mention the changing customer profile of the target woman or man who wants the “now”, “new”; latest and greatest in these high-end pieces) the show’s New Designer Gallery; featuring Young Designers and Inner Circle galleria sections, absolutely focused on a youthful, uniquely different story, with lots more than the de rigueur mainstream gold , silver, platinum and the like, in the mix, across many of the new collections. Glittering here were lots of nouveau, forward, innovative mixes of fanciful, different trend stories (see below), in terms of opulent and colorful diamonds, most notably and more often than not, seen in an array of unusual cuts and faceted detailing; multi-colored stones, pearls (small and huge in size; many worked solo; and, or all mixed up with a dizzying array of precious stones, etc. Trend Stories by and large, threaded from classical and haute modern, through to Brooklyn hipster, to Antique and Vintage Collectible, all the way through to Ethnic and Royal.

Rina Limor's Use of Color and a Simple Shape Makes a Beautiful Pair of Earrings and 
Defines the "Trend!"

Here, absolutely on point and on target: The very specific and brand new Design, Style and Color Trends, as seen at The JA Show and Luxury Prive; all of the totally delightful, scintillating, youthful, sharp; must-have looks of the moment and of the season: 

: No matter if small and dainty or huge and brazen, every shape, size and color is around and fabulous. Think about lots of old-school cuts, brilliants, interesting faceting, etc. Coming Up Rosy story is important here, with rose gold fast becoming the new darling of choice to pair up with all types of diamonds, real or faux and everything in between.

Hekate... Greeks Loving Coronet Diamonds!

THE NATURALS: Nature is it and nature is all around us. Most beautiful butterflies, flowers, birds, snakes, fish, jungle animals, every kind of flying, walking, swimming critter make a very special appearance in every kind of design motif imaginable.

Tasha R.'s Flower - Sculpted to be Light as Petal

Bluemoonstone Earrings - So Natural the Tides Change with Them

Bees - Oprah's *Favorite* Giveaway, Now for Your Ears from Blackbird

GOLD, GOLD, GOLD: Color, color, color. Single hues or multi-mixtures across nearly every design palette; multitude of contrasting and, or complimentary, in-between hues. Multiplicity of super-soft pastels, sweet and tart candy shadings; all the way through to neutrals and zany ultra-brights; everything and anything rendered in varied gems, enamels, metals, pearls, et al.

Vianna Brasil's Colors and Gold Grabbed ADWB'S Eye and Heart!


TRES BIZARRE: Odd and underground (think contemporary and vintage looks here) mixtures of dark and sensual (black on black on navy blue, for example) across more than just a mere few of bracelets, rings, brooches, earrings, and the like. Unexpected varieties, embracing intricate renderings of rubber, diamonds, pearls, silver, platinum, and more; lots of cool, mixed metals; worked alone, or wrapped, twisted, meshed together, stacked, layered, etc.

Shawn Ames - This Piece Causes Two Questions:
1) What is it?
2) Where can I get it? 

WITCHES AND WARLOCKS: Directional ear-wear is rising up and over the top. While hoops are still all around, the biggest news comes into play, in terms of the more directional ear-cuff story, rendered by many designers, in every metal, material, etc. imaginable; then accented and encrusted with all kinds of diamonds, gemstones, spikes, accents, etc.

Dilamani's Gemstone Linked Bracelet - Even Hermoine and Ginny Want this Bracelet

ETHNIC AND ROYAL MYSTERY: Here, many designers are opting for more and more huge, eye-popping, seductively colored, over-the-top, mixed metal, jewel-encrusted, etc., short and longest necklaces, multi-size cuffs, bangles, bracelets, toe and finer rings, etc., mostly slathered all over with just about every kind of everything, taken from the luxury gem world. Think of putting many of these elaborate pieces together, a la feelings of grandeur, taken from, far-off, romantic lands; Tibet, India, Morocco, Africa, et al; inner-and-outer tropical, paradise islands, and so on; also important are The Courts and Nobility of Royal France, England, Rome, and the like, where all of the dandified ladies and gentleman (today and throughout centuries past) have always coveted and adorned themselves in the best; most glorious, rich, multi-layered jewels of the world.

Ankit's Aura Bracelet, a Piece of Royalty

PEARLS, PEARLS, PEARLS: Cherished for excellence, rarity, beauty, and sensual image since ancient times through to modern day, pearls are favored by many designers, in terms of a heavy love affair with this precious gem; every size, shape, color; young, fresh and cool. Homage to the sophisticated fashion girl with an eye on owning and wearing the richness and opulence of natural and overtly dyed colors; anything goes; long or shorter strands; chokers, bracelets, earrings, rings et al; adornments and mixes of everything; notably gold and silver overlays; embellishments of diamonds and super-duper gemstones.

"All the Lovely Pearls (Ah, Look at all the Lovely Pearls), Where do they all belong?
Yoko London's Pearls Belong on ADWB!

Emiko Pearls' Better Take on the Hummingbird and Flower

: Masculine, decidedly bold and sexy, jewelry for the menswear story is everywhere, stylized and delicious in a myriad of gold, silver, platinum, diamonds; mixed metals, multi gems, et al, are stylized, smooth, rough; across the board in lots of big, bold, characteristically sexy bracelets, cuffs, rings, neckpieces, cuffs, and the like. Encrusted and jeweled silver and gold pens, pencils, bowls, desk and bedroom accessories complete the story in this category.

Bali Designs by Robert Manse: Style, Fashion, and Masculinity. Fist Pumps Need Not Apply!

SO LUSCIOUS AT LUXURY PRIVE: This boutique-style show, which made a move for the first time over to The Waldorf Astoria, definitely set the tone for sophistication, glamour, dazzle, sparkle, and chi-chi style, right across the board. With a well-edited and tightly-knit group of cool, young, new designers, right along with the de rigueur, well-known companies in the mix, editors and buyers were able to get up-close-and-personal with all of the dazzling gemstones, throughout the run of the show, as well as during the exclusive, press and blogger preview, held on the grand ballroom’s second tier balcony level. Key Trends from the show embraced a generous sampling of all kinds of contemporary and vintage-inspired jewels, accessories, home d├ęcor, et al – from the most simple to the fun and whimsical; straight through to the over-the-top, celebrity, Red Carpet designs; all geared to the discerning woman and man, with an eye on the best hip, luxe designs. For this editor, the story was all about the big, buxom cuff, charm and bangle bracelets, single and multi-stone cocktail, wedding and engagement rings (the bigger the better); earrings (especially those that wrapped around the ear, or sensually swooped around the face); necklaces, pendants, sexy cufflinks, chains, tie bars, and the like, were absolutely fabulous. Naturally, the desirable precious metals were here; 14k, 18, 22k, white, rose and yellow gold; palladium and platinum; sterling silver, of course; rendered solo or married with sparkly mixes of eclectic stones, the ilk of fine white, and, or fancy colored diamonds, rubies, multi-colored sapphires, pearls galore (Keshi and Baroque, for example), pink tourmaline, morganite, topaz, tanzanite, rhodolite garnet, black spinel, etc. Playing off on the old adage, “the Devil is in the details”, more than just a few designers focused on strong textural applications; braiding, weaving, etc., as well as a myriad of intricate faceting and filigree techniques. While the lovely and gracious nature, floral and fanciful themes were everywhere, there were lots of mystifying captivating designs, with names, such as “Meteorite”, “Star Wars”, “Hekate”, “Shooting Star”, “Elliptical Elegance”, “Firework”, etc.

The Mazza Company - Chunky, Not Clunky

Nothing Says "I Love You" Like Engraved Precious Metal.
Heather Moore's Piece Makes the Literal Statement

A Wreath Bracelet by Thereyos Vassiliki - Something Far Better for Every Olympian!

--ADWB for C&C

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Picking Daisies

We all know about so-called celebrity designers. One day they’re busy promoting their collections and the next, they’re out of business. With the possible exception of Jessica Simpson most haven’t a clue.

Therefore when I was invited to celebrate Daisy Fuentes ten-year collaboration with Kohl’s. Daisy was Kohl’s very first exclusive brand and has become a match made in fashion heaven. Over the past decade the line has expanded from women’s apparel into petites, plus sizes, intimate apparel, jewelry, eyewear, accessories and home.

Viewing the fall/holiday collection I can see why the brand is so successful. Forget about prices (retail ranges from $18-$68), the clothes were very attractive and made well. I especially liked the ponte knit dresses in black or burgundy. Simple, chic and timeless.

Also terrific were Daisy’s knits. If I was younger I’d opt for a cable knit flared dress (very Alaia) available in teal or white. The complete collection will be in-store October/November in all Kohl’s stores nationwide.

Happy shopping, C&C.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Day Tripper

Think NYC is the only place for the fashion savvy to shop? Think again. With apologies to the Beatles song, day tripping can yield some interesting finds, and all within an easy commute by rail for those without a car.

I started my hunt in nearby Westfield New Jersey, a hop and a skip on NJ Transit – no car necessary as the station is a short walk to the main shopping and eating drag. While many retailers cater to a mostly preppy crowd a bit of hunting unearthed some true gems. BETTY GALLAGHER ANTIQUES on Broad Street offered a lovely selection of antique jewelry at reasonable prices in amongst her collection of bric-a-brac. The park across the way is a good place to recover from your spending spree.

I also found a great source for really inexpensive costume jewelry at ANAIS BOUTIQUE. While most of the items are geared towards a Gen-X crowd, there were some cute nautical themed enamel bracelets and rings in bright summer colors.

After a much needed rest stop at The Turning Point restaurant (fab food and real lemonade). It was time to continue my hunt. At PATRICIA & PAUL on Elm Street I found a lovely assortment of olive oils, balsamic vinegars, jams and other culinary goodies plus imported teas, bath and body products. If I ever need a gift basket hostess gift or cookbook (ha, that will be the day), I’ll head here.

Saving the best for last, I made my way over to Broad Street and THE FARMHOUSE STORE. I could have spent all day combing the two-story furniture, jewelry and gift boutique. Highlights included a unique mermaid motif necklace, fun retro inspired glassware, tote bags, printed linen dish towels and coordinating cutlery. Prices range from cheap and cheerful to expensive (but worth every penny). The owners have fantastic taste and a great eye for what’s new and wonderful. This boutique was a real find.

Every couple of years I make an hour trip on Metro North up to Cold Spring, a charming village on the Hudson River. Talk about vintage/antique collector’s paradise. Just walking up the main street leads to a variety of shops and boutiques. For vintage costume jewelry and knickknacks this town is a collector’s heaven. Believe it or not, I found the prices overall less than the flea markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Two of my favorite dealers were Ann Cohen of HEAVENLY TREASURES and the good people at BIJOU GALLERIES. Both offered a terrific selection of designer vintage costume jewelry - lots of ‘40s ‘50s and ‘60s pins, bracelets etc. Also keep a lookout throughout the town for genuine Bakelite jewelry. There were still bargains to be had at the various dealers’ stalls.

Cold Spring is a great place to find Fiesta ware, vintage shoes (I saw a pair of ‘60s Hermes croc pumps) and inexpensive handbags, plus antique books, furniture and anything else you can think of. In addition there’s a wealth of charming restaurants to satisfy all tastes and prices and even a short trolley ride that leaves every 15 minutes and circles through the town and beyond. I think the price has jumped up to a quarter! You can also picnic by the water if you’re too broke from shopping to eat out, but do sample the homemade ice cream emporium.

So while summer’s in full swing, get out of town! C&C.