Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row

Thursday, April 24, 2014

THE JEWELRY SHOW


I was intrigued when I happened to spot an ad for The Jewelry Show at the Pratt Mansions on Fifth Avenue. This two-day event (opened to the public) featured gorgeous antique, estate, vintage, costume and designer jewelry and vintage handbags. So naturally I had to see what all the fuss was about since I'm a sucker for vintage anything. 

While the show featured primarily fine jewelry from various vendors around the country, I zeroed in on Gem De La Gem, the only vendor showcasing gorgeous vintage Hermes scarves and a small selection of designer handbags and fabulous high end costume jewelry. I loved the cuff bracelets and the unique and bold necklaces. 

For info on upcoming antique and jewelry shows go to www.jmkshows.com. For dates and locations. C&C.

Monday, April 21, 2014

SEARS FALL 2014 FASHION EVENT


Let me make it clear right now, I don¹t normally shop at Sears because frankly I prefer a more high fashion look (but at a great price). However, when I got an invite to preview the fall collections I decided it was time to see what¹s what. And I’m glad I did. Some lines are aimed strictly at the very young such as the Seventeen Collection, Joe Boxer etc. Surprisingly I did find some terrific office and late day apparel and accessories in the Kardashian Kollection. Who knew? 

I particularly liked the red crepe, long sleeved crop top that shows just a sliver of skin and the matching mid-calf pencil skirt. Also nice were the simple body con dresses (think Victoria Beckham) that were on target in terms of styling and price. The Kardashian handbag line was perfect for the woman on the go. I liked the roomy satchels, the envelope bags with nice hardware and the Chanel-inspired handbags ­ all chic and affordable. 

Bongo, while aimed primarily at the Gen X crowd offered some terrific items that I’d like to own myself. You must check out the fun intarsia sweaters (I’m a sucker for intarsia) that look expensive but aren’t. Also trendy, the camo separates for easy weekend wear. 

At Metaphor there’s a twist on the classics best exemplified by the leather trimmed coats available in red or black tweed. 

There’s a lot more to the Sears fall lineup including very nice costume jewelry, men’s wear and much more so don¹t turn up your nose ­ it’s not crap, just very well priced, stylish merchandise. I have spoken! 

Until next time, C&C.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

STOP THE PRESS


I came across a fab jewelry line during fashion week called RAJE. Designer Randy Luna's basically unisex collection has a definite Game of Thrones feeling. Bold brass neckpieces and bracelets call to mind the Middle Ages in a striking way. Personally I could live in his chunky leather and brass cuff but so could any of my make friends. This collection isn't for the shrinking violet and I loved it! Find Randy at www.rajestyles.com.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

EDIT


Wow! There's nothing I like better than to find a new source for rtw and accessories. On my last foray to the Javits Center I discovered  EDIT, a carefully curated fashion event within the regular  accessory/rtw shows I normally attend there. The idea behind this new show is to provide a showcase for new and exciting fashion forward resources to meet the press and buyers all in one compact place.


Some of the key trends for fall include surface relief, rough textures, coated fabrics, minimalism, linear shapes, ethnic influences, embroidery and beading, armor like tailoring, digital prints,  translucent materials, color-blocking, and sportswear silhouettes.  Making a selection from a multitude of terrific resources wasn¹t easy, but a few were really outstanding. HANDKERCHIEF blew me away with its focus on avant garde yet infinitely wearable fashions. I'm a sucker for trompe l'oeil effects and a faux collared blue wool, 3/4 coat with giant patch pockets that unzip to form accordian pleats is fabulously practical. Think of it, no more need to carry a handbag! More cheeky is a structured white wool coat with the silhouette of a magician's hand pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It¹s in contrasting black and takes up practically the whole front of the coat. Handkerchief even offers a cross body "magician-hat" leather bag with detachable white rabbit coin purse. Or look at the complete collection, go to www.x-tige.com.


At FUTURE SHOCK the message was graphic shapes with black white and grey the dominating color scheme. Your best bet would be the zip front coats in charcoal with contrasting sleeves and the schoolgirl knife pleated white or black skirts.

I was impressed with ELIZABETH ROBERTS collection. It¹s perfect for the professional woman but offers just that extra bit of edge. For example, a charcoal and black belted, quilted moto jacket is sleek and just long enough to cover the tush for a flattering line. Roberts offers a sophisticates twist on the camouflage print in a sleek brown/sand/black pencil skirt. Even the classic peacoat is freshened up.  It's nipped in the waist and double breasted and has with contrast color banded sleeves. It looks great with a coordinating softly pleated skirt with contrast waistband.

Toronto-based designer DENNIS MEROTTO offered a fresh modern perspective that caught my eye. Particularly effective were his outerwear pieces, especially the cotton/wool knit coat in black/cream, and a lush alpaca blend draped full length coat. For late day go for the cross tucked and belted printed silk satin dress also available in maxi length. Not cheap by any means but if you¹re looking for that special item for your wardrobe check out the collection at
www.dennismerotto.com.

ASKALICE (yes that¹s the correct spelling) is a new shoe resource to tap into. Think high fashion/bridge prices! Classic styles are reinterpreted such as darling booties, pumps, and flats that feature unique color blocking, mesh, zippers, cuffs and Velcro closures. My favorite - the black pyramid heeled ankle boot with side gusset. Go to www.askaliceshoes.com.

Getting back to rtw, I spotted a charming collection from Denmark called GANNI. I loved the ladylike black/white houndstooth dress with pleated skirt, an easy blouson cashmere mélange v-neck dress, but especially the glamorous and cozy wrap coat in baroque rose. For more go to
www.ganni.com

Definitely aimed at the fashion forward trendsetter under thirty is BIG PARK. Seoul-based designer Park Youn Soo offered up a striking, fun line of separates, jackets and outerwear pieces in leather, wool and rabbit fur. Shapely jackets, flippy skirts and oversized pullovers in poly/cotton blends looked terrific. Find more at www.parkyounsoo3.com.  All in all Edit was a terrific show and I can't wait for the next.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Accessory Highlights: Fall 2014


As you've probably figured out by now, writing about accessories is one of my favorite things to do. While covering the rtw portion of the shows is important to give you a hint of the trends to come, there's also a lot of other stuff that happens during that week and the one following. Trade shows, and press events are a great way to find new as well as established accessory resources. This go round I want to focus on handbags since we never can have enough, n'est pas?

SHANA LUTHER HANDBAGS is a two-year old resource that is manufactured right here in Brooklyn. The designs are modern, clean and impressed me with the quality craftsmanship. For me, Shana¹s capacious leather totes have style to spare and are worth checking out. The "William" tote will hold everything you need for work or weekend shopping. Find more great styles at www.shanaluther.com.

Another handbag designer making totes is BAXTER DESIGNS. These have a totally different look and will appeal to the hip, more bohemian customer. The luxury totes (and clutches) are made in designer fabrics with silk linings and come in an assortment of fabulous prints and a wide range of colors. Check them out at www.BaxterDesigns.com.



Calling All Bohemians... Baxter is on Line One!
Photo Credit: M. McKenzie

I skipped over the rtw during RAOUL's fashion week presentation. Instead I zeroed in on the range of handbags on display. I loved the black/white graphic looks with touches of red, while the use of luxurious leathers, calf hair and quilting touches made me a convert. Now if only I could afford one of Raoul's top quality designer bags!

RAOUL'S RTW - Amazing, Right?


C&C Says: "Raoul's Bags Stopped the Show..."
At least for her!



Photo Credit: M. McKenzie


Speaking of designer bags, DRESSAGE was a collection to drool over. Made in Italy (natch), the heritage embodies the finest combination of materials and textures. Each bag is a chic yet refined work of art. In addition to classic handbags there were weekend carryall pieces geared to both sexes. Save up for one of these beauties since the styling throughout is timeless and made to last a lifetime. If you love the "Hermes" aesthetic you will die for one of these handbags. Check them out at www.DressageCollection.com.

JOANNA MAXHAM is a name I had not heard of before now. So I'm certainly glad that I stumbled across her beautifully crafted handbag collection. These designs are perfect for the uptown girl who wants a bag that's both stylish and roomy enough to carry all her everyday crap (and that includes just about everyone I know). I loved the convertible pleated satchel with raised handle detailing in paprika calf leather with ribbed satin lining. Clutch bags are in and Joanna does an oversized envelope version with wide contrasting band. It's offered in white calf with dark taupe band and paprika with cognac. A winner in either color way. Visit online at www.joannamaxham.com

Regardless of Faith, C&C Believes Joanna Maxham Knows Best What to do with a Fatted Calf:  Make Amazing Bags!




 Photo Credit:  Joanna Maxham




That's enough to get your shopping juices flowing. Next up I'll review a brand new trade show entry called Edit. Stay tuned. C&C

Friday, March 14, 2014

THE TENTS THEY ARE A CHANGING: Fall Fashions 2014

With apologies to Bob Dylan, the Fashion Week showings at the Lincoln Center Tents left me less than excited. No, it had nothing to do with the designers, but the look and ambiance of the venue. Supposedly, in an effort to project a more upscale feeling (and eliminate the so-called riff-raff, ­(bloggers, hanger's-on, etc.) from attending the shows, the invites were sent to the top fashion editors and major celebs. These were easily spotted by the proliferation of sky-high stilettos and summery dresses worn without regard as to the piles of snow and freezing cold that lasted all week. As for the tent itself, the redesigned look could be categorized as funeral parlor chic, thanks to the black wall coverings and overall bare look. But enough bitching, since I did manage to attend a few shows ­ some terrific, some just so so. Here's a quick rundown of some of the highlights:

RUFFIAN explored a "monastic opulence, tailored volume and lavish sumptuousness," according to their press release. To me the collection riffed on the Game of Thrones renaissance costumes updated for today. I loved a dramatic black double crepe dress with ivory inserts and ruff collar in ivory silk. A watteau back dress in chartreuse and blush double duchess satin was simply gorgeous as was a blouse in a pixilated floral digital print silk crepe de chine worn under a metallic boucle blazer with black piping and skirt in metallic brocade. Now, that's what I call suiting!

At RICHARD CHAI LOVE I spotted some wearable outfits with pizzazz. Starting with a petrol green shaped jacket, skinny trousers worn with an onyx sheer tissue jersey turtleneck (a la St. Laurent), and a dramatic bordeaux/onyx floral jacquard shawl collar midi coat thrown over sage/onyx floral jacquard slouchy trousers. What a concept! Actual winter clothes that made sense.

Another collection designed with grown-ups in mind was TOME. I thought that the double felt and double face wool gab coats were elegant but the outstanding pieces were the cocktail numbers, Two that come to mind, the black lace and pink lame shirt with a black silk embroidered skirt and a black lace dress with silver lame lining worn with a mink stole trimmed with shearling Not your ladies old fashioned 1950's style, but modern and sleek. Also modern and very very special was the DENNIS BASSO collection. To pay the mortgage or to buy a gorgeous luxury occasion outfit, that is the question? For me, the answer is simple. Not a chance in hell! However, a girl can dream and dream I did (and drool) over a black/white chinchilla coat tossed over a sequin tweed lace dress. For casual days there was a Russian barguzin sable coat with emerald silk twill blouse and trousers. I also swooned over Basso's Sapphire alligator,broadtail and sable coat worn atop a hand painted brushstroke cocktail dress. I could go on and on....

For another take on fur I went to see ADEAM. Tokyo born, New York raised designer Hanako's collection melded the delicacy of Japan with a carefree ruggedness- perfect for today's women. Standouts included a mink and nappa leather biker coat trimmed in white atop cropped tailored pants and the mink snood that accessorized a leather collared shirt and pleated maxi skirt. The leather banded pink off the shoulder simple shift dress got a fresh look when worn with astrakhan cut-out booties.

DESIQUAL's collection was a mixed bag and directed more towards warmer climates. As the show notes stated, "Desigual is getting back to basics with a personal collection that reflects the enduring optimism found in our hometown Barcelona." In addition to lots of rich colors like violet, hunter, burgundy etc I noted lots of black and white combos. While daywear was slanted more towards the very young, almost any age could wear the terrific evening wear. I loved the silk maxi dress with artisan embroidered gold sequins in a baroque motif and the ecru jacket also embroidered with same. However, the back and sleeves were in gold lame. This was paired with gold/bronze lame straight trousers.

As I folded my tent metaphorically speaking, what better way to end fashion week with one of my favorite designers, ANNA SUI. I personally felt that this was her strongest collection to date. The mood (and with Anna there's always a theme) was 1920's louche, jazz age mixed with old Hollywood/Shanghai Anna Mae Wong glamour. The knockout number for me was the black fox dragon boa slung over a long black velvet dress with beaded phoenix embroidery. All that was missing was a long cigarette holder and a martini cocktail! I could go on and on but I feel it's time to say farewell to the fall 2014 runway shows.

Next up, more fall/winter accessories. Stay tuned, C&C.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Summertime and the Living is Easy

Yes, I know that you were expecting a blog on the fall fashion shows that just ended but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to tell you about the summer 2014 ANN TAYLOR press event that I recently attended. 

In short I was bowled over by the terrific apparel and accessories – and don’t even get me started on the shoes which were fab! If you love creamy neutrals mixed with hits of bright red and navy this is the collection for you. I have my eye on the one button seersucker jacket and matching crop pants, an anchor sweater atop  rope print shorts and the darling nappa leather block heeled sandals and the perfectly chic linen tote with leather trim. Whoever styled the  models did a terrific job coordinating the outfits perfectly from the cross body bags and canvas belted clutch, to the rope and link bracelets and ankle wrap pumps.

While it seems as if spring let alone summer will never come it can’t hurt to get ahead of the fashion game and with Ann Taylor’s latest collection you’ll be a step up on the competition without breaking the bank.