Friday, January 30, 2009

Pacific Overtures

It's that time of year again when we gear up for the fall fashion shows. So, little by little, the events start happening and while I get lots (yeah right) of invites I did respond to an interesting event last week. I, along with a couple of friends shlepped downtown to a cocktail party and fashion show sponsored by the Japanese External Trade Organization, etc, etc.

Now, why I think that this might be of interest to any of you out there in cyber space is because JAPAN FASHION WEEK IN NEW YORK – that's the title - showed spring apparel. That means that if you shlep down to SoHo, you can actually check out the merch for yourself at these participating retailers: Opening Ceremony, Theory, Tribeca Issey Miyake, Aloha Rag, and Destination N.Y.

So here's the deal. First of all, the venue was packed with various press, minor celebs (Sylvia Miles, who really does go to the opening of a postage stamp), the fashion victim who thinks wearing a silver fedora with a chain mail(?) drape/curtain, passes for style, and the usual guests of the designers, all swilling down the free plonk and sushi. Here's an insider tip: always stand near the entrance to whatever passes for the kitchen and you're assured of getting first dibs on the food.
I must give kudos to MAO pr who planned this whole event since they gave me a front row seat for the fashion show!

Out of the thirteen designers who showed, I singled out the following names; GV.GV. who offered up a cute zip front black crepe dress; HIDENOBU YASUI had easy pinstripe wide leg trousers; LEP LUSS did a chic double breasted, belted dress over slim pants that was part of an elegant, wearable collection; MINT DESIGNS had a great idea. They accessorized their fun rainwear with quirky "hats" perched at an angle in the shape of dinosaurs like a kid's origami cutouts. I loved the beige on white print big rain shirt with gathered sides.

In case you think I overlooked the menswear stuff, think again. SATORU TANAKA showed a nifty sky blue linen, zip front bomber jacket over simple chino pants, all part of a cool, casual collection.
That’s it. So, if you're interested in what's happening with these young, fresh names, check out their stuff at the afore mentioned retailers until February 1st so get going.

Next up, notes from the back row, fall '09 fashion shows/happenings/events…Until then, sayonara, C & C.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Waist Not Want Not

In case you didn't lose the weight you gained during the holidays I have some more suggestions for updating your spring wardrobe. And unless you're naturally thin/gorgeous/work/ out religiously, accessories are the way to go, so what's a little extra pudge? Remember, these resources won't be in-store till February so save those pennies for the good stuff and skip the over hyped winter sales.

VSP (VANESSA SWAROVSKI PIEDRA): This is a jewelry designer, heiress to the famous Austrian Swarovski crystal company who has just launched her own fabulous collection. From her "Masters and Renaissance" range I flipped for the Birth of Venus pendant. It's a crystal pendant encased in hand-forged tumbago (whatever that means) with cut crystal detail, suspended from a gold link chain. It's like wearing a replica of Botticelli's masterpiece. For more info on retailers, etc. contact Lee Makofsky at 973 744 0707 or lee.mako@bhgpr.com.

KENNETH COLE: Want a fashion-forward shoe that won't break the bank? Check out Cole's stunning range of gem accented sandals. Much more wearable than the trendy gladiator sandal is the satin/metallic thong in bronze, silver or light gold. Also chic is a metallic pewter jeweled thong. Both can do double duty day or night.

For more details on retail outlets call Daniel Denefrio at 212 830-6871 or email him at ddenefrio@kennethcole.com.

OPHELIE HATS: One of my favorite millinery lines that won't make you look like your grandmother. For spring go for the cute, ladylike retro modified pillbox hat (very Mad Men '60s) in an abstract print jersey or one of the fabulous headbands that bridge the gap for those who don't want to wear a real hat. For more details: corinne@opheliehats,com.

SALDARINI: Leave it to the Italians to come up with a fresh take on the tote bag. Already known for its gorgeous scarves and shawls, this firm has branched out into fashion accessories. You absolutely must buy one of the chic, pastel striped canvas totes with leather handles and inside zipper. It's a cross between a roomy tote with an espadrille (the bottom is trimmed with rope just like the espadrille's sole) and voila, this is the result, the "Sea and Be Seen" bag. Find out more at: www.saldarini-italy.com.

ELAINE TIRNER: Another great handbag resource for spring that won't set you back a bundle. Color is in and the brighter the better so go for Turner's clutch bag in white lux grasscloth or natural woven basketweave with detachable chain from her Provence line. It's trimmed with matte embossed croc leather and has a bamboo closure. Colors are teal, raspberry or coral. There's also a nice version of the Kelly bag with bamboo handle offered in the same materials/colors. Go to; www.elaineturner.com or call 212 239-8966 for list of retailers.

For more immediate gratification, check out this unique resource I found at one of the accessory trade shows. MODERN TIBET is where I scooped up a drop dead gorgeous silver cuff bracelet in a sculpted snake design and centered with a carved yak bone cabochon. I got the one with the long life symbol but the are many others to choose from.

You'll find a terrific selection of bone bead necklaces, lots of bracelets, rings, clothing and more. The store is located at 103 Sullivan Street or email for more info at www.moderntibet.com.

That's all for now on the fashion front. Talk to you soon, C&C.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Think Spring

I’m typing this with frozen fingers at what has been the coldest day of the year so far. Where’s global warming when you need it? Just kidding folks, but I find that the best way to keep warm (next to a trip to some tropic island) is to think about spring fashion merchandise.

Now while the January issue of Vogue lists an $830 Goyard bag as the perfect item to carry one’s laptop, I personally think that there are much better ways to spend your money during a recession. That said, and I can’t stress this enough, put your cash into accessories. It’s still the best way to stretch your fashion dollars. And if you’re like me, you SHOPPED SMART FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Therefore I expect you have a few coins left to treat yourself to that special accessory item.

The stuff on my list won’t be in stores till Feb at the earliest (the fashion mags are touting resort merch) but it’s never too early to jumpstart your spring wardrobe plans. First of all, these are the key accessories to focus on: statement necklaces, gypsy earrings, clutches, turquoise stones, gladiator footwear, strappy city sandals, summer boots (talk about a contradiction in terms) and shoulder bags. I could go on but that should hold you for now. My next scouring trip will take me to the major accessory trade shows and I’ll keep you posted on the goods and more.

CINDA B: I flipped for this Atlanta-based line of machine-washable, water resistant travel bags, totes and accessories. Not only are they lightweight - think easy breezy carry-on bags - the newest patterns are simply gorgeous, especially her Bella Fiore and Casablanca groups. Check out the entire collection at www.cindab.com

CASSAVOY & COMPANY: Also out of Atlanta, this jewelry company offers limited production and one-of-a-kind designs. Aptly named “Back to Nature” the spring focus is on trees, leaves and flowers and the pieces are fashioned in sterling, 18K gold, precious gemstones beads and something I’ve never heard of - 18K bimetal. It’s a thin sheet of gold fused to a thicker sheet of sterling silver. It gives off the richness of gold but at an affordable price! And that’s what we all want now. I loved the delicate oxidized flower gypsy earrings and matching pendant but you might prefer the bold triple strand flower necklace in oxidized sterling, 18K bimetal, semi-precious, and glass beads. Cassavoy can be found at www.cassavoyandco.com

KAY JAY COLLECTION: This is a really special collection and worth spending money on. It’s a unique line of nomadic clutch bags made from antique Asian tapestries. Each bag is fashioned from recycled hand woven (by women in Afghanistan) fabrics, accented with tribal hand hammered jewelry, jade, or ancient coins. We’re talking one-of a kind here folks! For more items go to www.kayjaycollection.com

CLARA KASAVINA: While not cheap by any means, if you’re in the market for a stunning clutch, forget Judith Leiber, this line is right up your alley (especially if you saved a bundle by hitting the sales for those holiday gifts). You already know that skin is in so opt for one of Clara’s gorgeous, jewel framed python clutches. My fave is “Tatiana” in soft pink with drop-in chain. While you’re at it, note the new jewelry collection, especially the range of hoop earrings. My choice would be the pave hoop clips. The collection is repped by Theresa Barone at the ITEM showroom. You can reach her at theresa4item@aolc.om

MARK EDGE: I flipped for this eco-friendly jewelry line the designer calls “Ecovintage.” The collection comprises handcrafted one-of-a-kind pieces fashioned from reclaimed metals and wood, old stock chains and fittings, and vintage crystals. There’s a lot of great bold, unisex stuff here and as Mark put it, “green is the new bling.” Sure to start a conversation is a vintage pistol pendant attached to a vintage and plated gold link chain necklace. More delicate is the turquoise/petrified wood/quartz/cloisonné vintage charm bracelet. To view the entire collection, log on to www.markedge.com

DONALD J. PLINER: We could almost resent Donald Pliner and his wife for being one of the most gorgeous (not to mention, nicest and talented) couples around. For spring, “The Donald” has a terrific range of city sandals, long on fashion and comfort. Let’s face it. Who can really walk in some of those designer clod-hoppers that give women the appearance of club feet? I’m sorry, but those monstrosities are just too ugly for words. Opt instead for the elegant mock croc buckled sandals with chunky heels and criss-cross straps in bright red or his high-heeled ankle strapped, bright metallic number. Don’t overlook the chic range of bags, especially the light as air faux python hobo. To view the whole shebang, go to www.donaldjpliner.com

Normally, I would be shlepping around town to check out what’s newsworthy in stores, but frankly, everything is picked over, on sale, or just plain too boring to write about. So, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all and to all good shopping in 2009!

Cheers, C&C

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row