Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fine Jewelry Trends

The invitation said “you’re cordially invited to attend a luncheon sponsored by the Jewelry Information Center at the Russian Samovar restaurant.” The reason for the event was to thank us members of the fashion press for our coverage of the jewelry industry. Immediately thoughts of overflowing goody bags danced in my head. Alas, it was not to be, however the luncheon was a fun affair with honest-to-goodness authentic Russian food in an atmosphere that would have done a Chekhov heroine proud.

Face it folks, in this slumping economy, the last thing any woman needs is another piece of jewelry or a new watch. But guess what, not everything has to cost an arm and a leg and designers have taken note of that fact. Therefore many have rediscovered the inherent beauty in sterling silver. Combining sterling with gold is a hot way to keep costs down. We’ll see silver blackened, textured or paired with gold in the months to come. But get this, according to the experts at, gold is one of the best investments today, second only to the Swiss franc. Sure beats putting money in a low rate CD!

O.K. Lets get down to the upcoming trends for fall/winter 2008 – 2009 according to the experts at JIC: Oversized necklaces are important (we’ve all seen the expensive clunkers that have appeared in the mags), but in the fine jewelry arena, look for snake-like chain link, triple strand beauties; mesh webbing bib shaped precious metal styles; intertwined chain link necklaces; and modern chunky Riviere necklaces (made to look like a river of gemstones) crafted from affordable semi-precious colored stones clustered together.

Check out this multi-strand 24 karat gold necklace by Gurhan. Fall/winter is under control!

Big, bold blackened and bejeweled cuff bracelets, especially blackened sterling silver versions are hot, hot, hot! These are often accented with mostly cabochon, milky and opaque gem stones. More expensive versions will feature rose-cut diamonds. For those for whom money is no object, black gemstones paired with high carat gold is sure to attract envious glances.

Alex Soldier's cuff bracelet... I can feel it embracing my wrist like a long lost... wait this is a fashion blog not some romantic drivel. Just gaze upon it longingly until you get one.

They’re ba-a-ck! Big gold hoop earrings, that is. Concentric circles floating in the center of an outer hoop is a major trend. For those who want more bling for their buck, there are bigger and bolder pave diamond versions in shades that range from black, and brown, to champagne and cognac.

Daniel K's white and black diamond hoop earrings... gorgeous.
And I resisted inserting the cliche blond/hoop earring joke...

I adore personally rings and for the last couple of seasons I’ve noticed a return to the classic cocktail ring. When I want a hit of fun color and a bit of sizzle I shop for big, dramatic (costume jewelry) versions, mainly found at thrift stores, tag sales and consignment shops. For the real deal, this season cocktail rings are crafted without using large gemstones. Large discs made from precious metals with interesting treatments sit atop the finger for a ‘60s Mod look. Clusters of small gemstones form a dramatic compilation cocktail ring. For a more avant-garde look, solid carved gemstones feature a hole for the finger. I’ve seen a few of these beauties and I WANT ONE!

Got Rocks? This is Todd Reed's cabochon cut gemstone and rough cut diamond with gold ring. Not only is it gorgeous, it is a wonderful self-defense instrument the TSA won't confiscate.

Alright, deep breath, I’m calm now, but I have to admit, that nothing really beats the feeling that I get wearing a great piece of fine jewelry. So, go ahead, indulge. It’s good for the soul and this season it doesn’t have to break the bank and when fads fade, style remains. I have spoken!

Until next time C&C.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Skin Trade

Every once in a while I get to vicariously live the good life. And that's what I did recently when I received an invite to Pevonia Botanica's luxury eco-retreat to launch the brand's products. This is an elite spa line that offers over 150 specialized home care products and more than 100 professional in-spa treatments at locations worldwide. The idea? To provide effective skincare solutions for both women and men.

By now you know that eco-friendly has become the buzz word in beauty with many brands jumping on the bandwagon. Botanica's spa collection is on that wave length with paraben, alcohol, lanolin, mineral oil and PABA-free ingredients plus stuff that's good for the skin. OK so a lot of brands make claims, but to actually be present to witness a demonstration is another story. Instead of the usual press hard sell, I and the other beauty editors who attended the event got to see first-hand the efficacy of Pevonia's latest offerings. Spread out on massage tables were four lucky volunteers – not pros just real people that offered to be guinea pigs for the various treatments. Personally, I loved the sybaritic delights of the Tropicale De-Aging Body System as I gazed longingly at the prone figure of a woman reaping the benefits of a (delicious smelling) papaya-pineapple crème fraiche body wrap and de-aging saltmousse massage, but I have to admit, the guy being pampered with an Age-Defying Caviar Balm – his first ever facial experience – looked as if he achieved a state of nirvana.

I'm not going to go into all the details of the products in the collection, but I will say that I was impressed by the (granted, immediate) results that I witnessed and I only wish that my skin looked half as refreshed.

All in all, this was a smart presentation from a pr standpoint, as the setting, a plant-filled rooftop terrace overlooking the Hudson River, open smoothie bar and healthy lunch buffet that reinforced the "good-for-you" lifestyle worked its magic on me, not to mention the goody bag filled with loot which I'm eager to try, unfortunately sans masseuse or facialist to actually do the pampering. Oh well, you can't have it all.

If you're interested in finding out more info on the spa locations/products, visit or call 1-800-PEVONIA.

That's all for now, next up, a fancy schmancy press luncheon. C&C.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pet Peeves

It’s time to get stuff off my chest. I just finished reading the August issue of Vogue magazine – “The Age(less) Issue”. On page 84 the contributors are asked what they love about their age. While I thought most of the answers were spot on, my blood pressure skyrocketed when I read Creative Director Grace Coddington’s reply, “Indulging in expensive clothes – cheaper ones don’t look good on an older person.”

Now unless I’m mistaken, most women don’t have access to Vogue’s closet or Donald Trump’s bank account. I guess what this means is that we should all stay home or better yet skip the rent, or invest in designer clothes. And while we’re on the subject of age-appropriateness, Ms. Coddington may want to rethink her Alice in Wonderland hair.

My other and all-time pet peeves are:

1. Worn, distressed, faded, torn or whiskered blue jeans, unless you are: a) a farmer; b) a ranchhand; c) homeless. Why in God’s green earth do you want to look like a bag lady?

2. Flip flops. I don’t care if they’re trendy Havianas or cheap 99 cent store versions, they shouldn’t be worn anywhere but the beach or the park - definitely not to the theater, office or downtown.

And finally, no matter what you think, any stiletto heal over three inches isn’t a pretty sight. Especially the latest crop which look more like lethal weapons than shoes. I have yet to see any woman wearing a pair who didn’t look like she wasn’t counting the distance to the nearest podiatrist. Pain isn’t sexy.

Now you know where I stand on a few things. I’d like to know what your pet peeves are.

Until next time,


Friday, July 18, 2008

Heat Wave

Hello again to all of you in cyberspace. The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising, we're having a heat wave. That's no excuse to lounge by the air conditioner when your fave fashionista has been hitting the pavement in search of hot items that will give you the most BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!

Do you secretly covet the preppy old money look? Nothing to be ashamed of, as these clothes have stood the test of time. My take? Skip the overpriced Ralph Lauren/Lacoste polo shirts. Instead head to SoHo and Uniqlo on lower Broadway where I found fabulous waffle weave polo shirts on sale for $5.90 down from almost thirty bucks. This Japanese owned retailer is always spot on with great sportswear and these tops are going fast so get moving. They also have them for men but only small sizes are left.

Practically across the street between Broadway /Broome is Pearl River Market a terrific Chinese department store. Savvy shoppers should grab the cotton (very vintage-looking) floral print slides, a steal at $3.00. A few more coins will net you darling satin brocade ballet flats in pretty colors that will work right through early fall.

Moving uptown we made a pit stop at Forever 21 - always good for a quick look-see. This go round I snagged a black/white vinyl coated cotton print satchel. OK, so no one will mistake it for a Prada, but I'll wear it with my blk/white Carolina Herrera sheath dress and voila, Crap and Couture! Also noteworthy were the abstract printed airy cotton swingy skirts. Perfect with a simple tee for those dog days.

Some of my best bargain hunting was done further afield… Old Lyme, Connecticut to be precise. A girl's got to get away sometime, n'est pas? Anyway, I found a fabulous consignment shop called Treasures. And while I could have furnished my whole apartment with this shop's very affordable and fabulous furniture etc (yeah right, like I'd actually spend money on anything I couldn't wear), I naturally zeroed in on the RtW and accessory section. In addition to a charming vintage enamel flower pin and some statement making silver cuff bracelets there was also a gorgeous leopard muff in pristine condition and a steal at $125. Before you get on your soap box and place a call to PETA, remember, this cat died a long time ago and I'm just as vehement when it comes to protecting endangered species. Unless you beat me to it, I just might have to make another trip to Old Lyme. So, buy fur in summer? My fashion rule number 1 is that a smart shopper never buys in season only, when some of the best buys are found year round. Tip: When looking for a fur coat, check out your favorite thrift shops in late Feb/March for the best deals. That's how I snagged a vintage Donald Brooks cross-dyed mink jacket for the price of 15 Starbucks lattes. On an entirely different note, let me throw in a bit of culture. While in Connecticut, I stopped off in Guilford, also home to many great resale shops and boutiques, and checked out the Greene Art Gallery at 29 Whitfield Street. Here I fell in love with some marvelous new works, particularly the landscapes in oils and watercolors. The prices won't break the bank and the quality of the pieces was very high. Worth checking out.

Sometimes you really can get something for nothing and don't we all love that. My latest coup was found at the Duane Reade drugstore on Fifth Ave and 43rd street, where I happened upon their Skin Wellness Center (actually many of the larger Duane Reade stores have one). Who knew? What happens is this. You sit down and a technician – in my case a pro named Maria- runs a fancy schmancy gadget over your face, analyzing the skin while you look at the enlarged results on a computer screen. In my case the pics resembled nothing so much as my ostrich skin handbag, but not as supple. Maria then ticked off the results, oily t-zone, dehydrated, sun damage, yada, yada, yada and then handed me a bunch of skin care product samples geared to my skin type. The whole process takes less than five minutes –perfect for a quick lunch hour fix- and best of all there was no sales push.

Here's something that's strictly for the guys although he might have to wait till fall for these hot items – Michael Jordan's latest collection of cool sneakers. My favorites are the Jordan PHLY Legend in white/varsity red/cement gray, and his Jordan Blasé in baroque brown/hay/lt bone. And here's a tip for you girls. If your shoe size is less that an 8 ½ you can get the Jordan "look" from his kids footwear line. I plan on getting a pair to wear with my black Italian designer pantsuit and hitting the pavement in stylish comfort.

If you have any comments, I'd love to hear from you, until next time, C&C.

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row