Friday, March 5, 2010

Fashion Week Perks, or why it pays to be an editor.

Guess what? It’s not all about the runway shows folks. No siree, editors and press get invites to off site venues for some (much appreciated) pampering and other goodies. Here are some of the fashion week perks that I took advantage of. My week got off to a great start with a door to door car service from Mercedes-Benz to Robert Verdi’s exclusive Luxe Laboratory. You probably all know top stylist Robert Verdi from his hit show on LOGO. Anyhow, The loft setting, decorated with various designer products from the furniture to the accessories was gorgeous, the lunch delicious (OK more healthy than tasty), but the best part were the manicures, make-up, blowouts and the personalized products, I got to design and custom order my very own pair of Vans sneakers, Land’s End boat tote check out the exclusive shapewear from sponsor ShaToBu, Pick out a nail polish from newcomers Ginger+Liz, take home samples from Phyto hair care company and order a pair of the coolest jeans from Rock & Republic. To top it off, everyone received a huge canvas tote filled to the brim with great stuff – AND WE LOVE STUFF! Another nice break during fashion week came courtesy of LA based leading private sale site HauteLook who hosted an editor’s lounge at the Bryant Park Hotel. Here, I sampled the snacks, got my make-up redone (at this stage, nothing really helps) with products from Jouer cosmetics and got a lovely gift bag from Exhale Spa. Every day, guests of the lounge were also able to win a variety of giveaways that represented the range of brands found on HauteLook. Did I win anything? Yeah right, that will be the day. Towards the end of the week I headed over to the Daily Spa for a much needed break. And I wasn’t the only editor that felt that way as the townhouse was packed. The crush was worth it as I sampled fantastic cappuccinos and cupcakes (gotta keep the strength up), had a manicure and just chilled. If I had booked in advance I woulda, coulda, shoulda had a massage, but by the end of a week of shows, I’m brain dead. That’s it for fall/winter 2010 Fashion Week and the shows in the Bryant Park tents. Next September the circus moves to Lincoln Center. Happy shopping, until next time, C&C.

Notes from the Back Row... again!

Now that I’ve brought you up to date on Fall accessories I thought I’d riff on some of my favorite collections that were shown during Fashion Week in and around the tents.

Stop me if I sound like a broken record when I tell you that there are millions of ways to check out the shows, so you don’t need me to rehash everything. However, since I think I have better taste than 90% of the “fashionistas” out there, here’s what I thought were some of the most interesting, beautiful (and mostly expensive) designer collections.

NANETTE LEPORE: I’ve got to hand it to her, this was a fabulous collection full of gorgeous jewel toned velvets, interesting fabric mixes (think a sheepskin coat tossed over a beaded dress), a wonderful copper plaid coat and some great sweaters.

STEPHEN BURROWS: This capsule collection shown in his showroom was his best to date and drew out the big guns of fashion. Tops on my hit parade was Burrows Audrey Hepburnish little black dress and a sensuously draped gown in wine jersey with an accent of burnished gold at the shoulder.

UNITED BAMBOO: My absolute favorite sweaters came from this collection. You must have the mohair numbers in subtly muted shades. This is also the place for great pea coats and an aviator jacket in navy wool inspired by the sophisticated women of the 1930s era.

ADAM LIPPES: This young designer offered wearable, sportswear looks with that extra something special. How cool would it be to wear his shearling trimmed charcoal etched stripe pea coat over the washed charmeuse tank and silver grey lambswool/angora birdseye pant, or the caramel leather pleated back tank dress, not to mention the olive waxed cotton hooded anorak lined in coyote? Adam showed this last piece over a sequin embroidered crepe de chine dress that wowed the crowd.

ADRIENNE VITTADINI: Always wearable, always saleable, always right on target fashion-wise without going overboard into Lady Gaga-land. Here’s what I want – her ‘60s influenced little black wool/cashmere dress with trompe l’oeil, a witty detail that also turns up on a cardigan in sage heather. It’s worn over a navy tank and aubergine knit skirt. The latter colors are worked to great effect in Vittadini’s plaid silk jacquard loosely belted balmaccan and cigarette pants.

Subtle and Fashionable: You in Adrienne Vittadini



SEARS/Kmart: If your fashion budget’s tight, when in doubt, do without. And with these collections you don’t have to. Sure, the fabrics aren’t the most expensive and the styling isn’t high, high fashion, but for goodness sake, don’t dismiss the clothes out of hand. I personally will head out to the burbs for the great looking vivid magenta wool coat (perfect atop my charcoal grey Chanel pleat skirt) and the chunky grey short sleeved cardigan (that I’ll wear over my skinny black turtleneck from and cream color Valentino trousers). There you have it, my version of crap and couture. It works for me and it can work for you.

PORTS 1961: Here’s where it gets tricky. By now you probably know that Ports is one of my favorite designer collections. However, this time around I could barely catch a glimpse of the models as they paraded down the runway due to the fact that an editor to my left spent the whole time standing and taking pics on her cell phone practically in my face. Not a cool move when one is already relegated to the back row where there was no run of show. What I did manage to catch a glimpse of looked terrific. Judging by the “art moderne” backdrop and the fact that the models I saw wore very chic ‘20s style neutral color leather cloche hats and the clean lines of the early pieces (at least from the shoulders up), I’d say that creative director Tia Cibani has another hit on her hands or maybe I’m just prejudiced.

To sum the shows up here’s what to buy: a great chunky sweater, a new coat (Marc Jacobs has one of the best), a pair of low heels (that means you), a soft slouchy handbag, a statement necklace, and the rest is up to you.

SPRING 2010 Jewelry, Bags, Shoes: More is More!

Before I get into the fall fashion week circus, I want to review the hot jewelry trends for spring summer. Piling the stuff on still seems to be the way to go, but if you don’t want to opt for the more is more look I suggest that you invest in a necklace. It could be an embellished bib style, multi-strand choker or a long chain with or without a pendant but either way you ‘ll get a fresh look that will take you into fall /winter. These are some of the standout resources that you should check out:

DETRA KAY JEWELRY DESIGN (detrakay@bellsouth.net) pieces put the emphasis on natural materials. Ms. Kay works with semi-precious stones, gold, silver, and vintage pieces and objects that result in exotic, ethnic, classic, floral or unique must have items. My faves include her Thai silver floral choker and the mother-of-pearl necklace consisting of flat drops, gold leaves and a vermeil clasp. I also liked the concept behind REAL JEWELS. (real-jewels.com.) The collection combines lovely designs with respect for our planets resources. Everything’s made in the U.S. of 100% recycled precious metals, conflict free diamonds and fair trade sustainable gems and every piece is embellished with a signature fair trade natural green peridot tag. I’d check out the silver necklace with lacey pendant (sort of an ethnic feel) but there’s lots to choose from.

Also offering some stunning necklaces is LAUREN ADAMS. This is the one to hit for bright colors and graceful prints fashioned into enamel and metal. Personally I’d suggest the gorgeous turquoise centered white enamel pendant necklace from her “Eilat” group but I gotta tell you that the coordinating cocktail ring and bangle are to die for. Other groups to check out include the “Cameo Rome” and “Lady Luck” collections. Look for this resource in better specialty stores.

Want something with more of an ethnic modern vibe, then check out BOTTICELLI’S NIECE (www.botticellisniece.com). What worked for me was the short gold “double flake” necklace on a black double cord and the “Mariner link” bracelet - offered in both gold or silver – on a knotted leather strap. It’s bold, chunky and will work nicely with all of your Gucci/Hermes (ha, as if) wardrobe.

Now that we’ve taken care of spring let’s move on to summer shall we? At the recent press event for Ann Taylor LOFT, there were some adorable items (not to mention some terrific sportswear pieces). Number one on my must-have list is the striking black beaded bib necklace. Sure it’s not dirt cheap at $89.50 but this piece offers the most bang for the buck. Another cute bib necklace features grey chiffon on a silver link chain.

GERARD YOSCA is always on my fashion radar and I’ve been a collector of his jewelry for many moons. Yes I know, his prices aren’t cheap but you get what you pay for (at least in his case) in terms of elegant styling and quality, not to mention longevity. Let’s get down to business – I personally like the oxidized copper necklace with “fire coral” stones from his “Native American” range, but let’s be real, all his stuff is gorgeous. On a totally different wavelength is PIXELMODA. (www.pixelmoda.com,) I’m talking about a watch! It’s a brand new digital time piece fashioned in ultra light, high silicone rubber. We’re talking about an ergonomically shaped bracelet style that comes in over 39 colors (and at a retail price of $20 bucks you can afford to buy in multiples) and three sizes.

Watchbands? PixelModa says your time is up!

Moving on to Fall 2010, I found another fabulous accessory resource that combines the best of neckwear with jewelry. VESPERS (Vespersnewyork@aol.com) is also a brand spanking new collection made right here in New York. It’s almost too hard to describe the intricate draping of exquisite fabrics with chains, etc. Any one of Vesper’s pieces will make the simplest dress standout! I adored everything!

Speaking of fall, there are some terrific footwear resources to note. Among my favorites: EMU, the Australian sheepskin collection could easily give Ugg a run for the money. In addition to the sporty jackets and knits was the “Illoura” below the knee boot with adjustable vintage leather belt with antique metal details and the lace-up “Tundra” boots. Boots continue to be a major trend so keep your eyes peeled for Stephen Kelian’s signature woven leather riding boot. This French firm is at the moment only available in Europe but hopes run high that a savvy US retailer will order the collection.

Let’s talk about shoes. It’s high time you stepped out of those ridiculous sky high platform stilettos and into low heels. On trend are ballerinas (of course) and the spiffy lace-up spectators. These two styles will be found at every price level and should be on your shopping list.

Let’s say you’ve bought a closet full of shoes, now it’s time to add a handbag to your shopping list. If big is your thing, then L.A.M.B. has two great options. From the “Dunkirk” range I’d buy the army green pigsuede hobo. It’s rugged, casually chic and will hold a ton of stuff. For more flash check out the lamb logo pvc tote In blk/white/red from the “Signature” group, or get it in the vivid graffiti print.

L.A.M.B. Gets It, You Should, Too!



Only LOVE MOSCHINO could come up with the idea of making a tote bag in satin, adding chain handles and gold hardware closure in the shape of a clothespin and offering it in 14 colors! It’s very tongue-in-chic and a real eye catcher. Also roomy is Moschino’s brown suede handbag, trimmed with tassels from the “Happy Hippy” group.

New to the handbag game is NANETTE LEPORE who showed a handsome collection in a variety of leathers, from lizard embossed lambskin to a cheetah print Italian haircalf and more. Styles range from convertible satchesl and totes, to hobos and darling little framed cross body bags. You’ve got to figure on spending around $500 bucks (give or take), but compared to some of the other “designer” junk out there at double or triple the price, Lepore’s bags offer good value for the money.

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row