Monday, September 26, 2011

SPRING 2012: More Notes From the Back Row

Get out your sunglasses girls cause you’re going to need them next spring if the recent collections are anything to go by. We’re talking neon colors that will probably glow in the dark. Great if you plan on being the best dressed jogger at midnight. At NANETTE LEPORE the citron cotton blazer and pleated skirt was just one of many neon brights she showed. I’d skip the tangerine numbers and go for a lovely deep sea blue pique sundress instead or even one of the gorgeous hibiscus print swimsuits.

Colors also popped at MILLY but not quite day glo. Instead there were some lovely (and flattering) separates and dresses. But what I especially loved were the colorful handbags and the cheeky printed patent boat shoes that Milly designed for Topsider.

J.CREW’S walk through presentation was a hot ticket and justifiably so. The way the separates were put together was genius. If I must single out some pieces I’d have to opt for the white sequined cardigan (very Chanel) piped in red/navy worn over a denim shirt and the lime sweater with a beaded skirt, plus any of the khaki shorts. So start working on those legs girls because shorts are definitely on trend for spring.

Speaking of shorts, CALLULA LILLIBELLE showed a cute slouchy pair in an ivory pin dot paired with an ivory dot lace tank and a pink jacquard oversized jacket. Shorts also appeared at TRACY REESE. Perfect for summer is her pearl lace edged cardigan and shorts and the khaki color cardigan over buttercup blouse and leather shorts. For a designer known for her feminine dresses these were a refreshing departure.

The shows weren’t all about neon colors. Also trending were the plethora of prints and color blocking. MIMI PLANGE showed exquisite Victorian floral prints in a strong, focused collection. My picks include the silk twill draped front trapunto stitched blouse in an oversized floral shown with satin gabardine cropped pants and the silk faille color blocked bustier paired with a high-waisted full silk twill skirt with oversized floral and tulle.

Mimi Plange's Beautifies Spring 2012
Is it clothing or art?  Doesn't matter, C&C loves it!

GABRIELA MOYA drew inspiration from the vibrantly colored paintings of Carlos Rodriguez Cardenas and used them for her deceptively simple separates. This is a designer to watch. She’s still young and has a way to go but remember her name. At ALI RO (seen at the Coterie, but I just had to include them) there were gorgeous Pucci inspired prints in silk jersey that brought back memories of the ‘60s and my originals which I stupidly gave away! SOB!

TOMMY HILFIGER was a winner in my book. Not only did he hit on all the key trends, there was something for all ages from tweens to my age (which is none of your business). Where do I start? How about his colorful glen plaid outerwear pieces, the butter soft leather wrap skirt in red and the popover shirtdress in yellow. There wasn’t a dud in the whole collection and judging by the audience’s reaction, the crowd of top tier editors and retailers agreed with me.

Strictly for grownups were a couple of sophisticated collections. SON JUNG WAN showed a lovely group in soft neutrals. Very ladies who lunch was her cream cotton dress with snakeskin waist detail and the tan sequined tank atop a full skirt in raw silk. My favorite number at NORMAN AMBROSE was his lovely peachy copper colored box pleat dress. It was youthful and could have stepped out of the society pages of a Slim Aarons book.

Also noteworthy, PORSCHE’s stunning white leather belted jacket and the perfect shirtwaist dress in dove grey unlined buttery soft suede. These items must be seen up close to really appreciate their impeccable detailing and design elements..

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the one menswear show I attended, at the Empire Hotel’s rooftop lounge. NAUTICA’s sexy all-American models looked great in the “Sailing Club” and “Monterey” separates. Tops in my book, the white nylon waterproof parka over slim white jeans, the blue/white striped cargo shirt and whimsical white cotton signal flag shorts and a yellow coated cotton toggle jacket over stone cotton cargo pants.

C&C Can't Wait Until Memorial Day to Unwrap Nautica's Treat!

There you have it, my take on the actual shows at Lincoln Center (and since I didn’t get invited to all that many) I concentrated on the Lounges in and around the Lincoln Center. Between you and me, these breaks make fashion week less of a chore and more of a real pleasure. Not only did I get to relax, snack, drink wine, have a massage, pedicure, makeup and hair redo and facial (and boy did I look absolutely gorgeous, for me that is), I also got to check out some fabulous accessories, footwear, skin care products and much more. So, eat your heart out, these were the places I went and the goodies I checked out. I started out at the Empire Hotel (a great place with a friendly staff that I’d recommend to my out of town friends in a heartbeat. 

First up, the EDITE Showroom where I zeroed in on the gorgeous handbags by JACQUES FATH. Unusual colors, interesting hardware and perfectly structured bags set my heart racing. I also wouldn’t turn down any of STACY CHANG’s clean separates, especially her ivory linen blazer and paper bag waist shorts.

Jacques Fath Bags Rocked Crap and Couture!


Stacy Chang Makes Simple and Clean Oh So Fashionable

Normally I’m not a big fan of silver jewelry but when I saw the D.R. JULIENNE collection of one-of-a-kind pieces I was hooked. Bold, gorgeous and slightly art deco inspired (at least the bracelet I coveted was), this line is not for the shy violet but for the woman who wants to make a statement. To see more of Edite’s lines go to

Next on my agenda was a stop at the ALLURE lounge where ESSIE manicures were one of the lures as was the cup of Krup’s coffee. Thus fortified I moseyed over to the KIBOOTS collection of, naturally, boots. These however were a combination of ethnic kilim fabric and rugged leather. The look was a trendy hybrid of the cowboy boot with a lot more pizazz thrown in.

Well shod and fed I moseyed over to the GBK style lounge presented by pr cutie Anna Martin. The standouts here were the handsome unisex watches from CROTON (they look like major investment timepieces but are really affordable. Another interesting was HARPUTS unique one-size-all interchangeable black jacket in the finest Loro Piano wool. For my tired tootsies there was the line of packable ballet flats by SOLE DISCRETION. This lounge was where I had a rejuvenating skin tightening facial (took all of ten minutes) from SKIN MEDICA and got STRIVECTIN’s SD Eye Concentrate that I’m using faithfully day and night. 

Just Married... Just Shopping!

At the ARTISTRY lounge editors were treated to Artistry’s personalized skin consultations, not to mention wonderful massages and make-up touch-ups.

I went crazy as did all the other editors who crammed into LIA SOPHIA’s lounge to check out the debut of the “Boudika” red carpet collection. OMG, this direct sales fashion jewelry company showcased some of the boldest, eye catching pieces. Any time I wear one of their bracelets I get stopped by strangers wanting to know what I’m wearing. Check out the whole collection at the company’s web site, My fave piece from the new line is dramatic horn cuff hinged, matte gold cuff with black diamond crystals and lapis and carnelian resin but you can’t go wrong with anything from the Boudika collection.

Lia Sophia - Jewelry So Stunning it Makes Strangers Talk in New York!

While I’m on the subject of jewelry I must mention FENTON’s presentation at the swanky 4 Seasons Restaurant. The champagne was flowing and the semi precious necklaces and bracelets were to die for. I wouldn’t turn down the duster necklace in silver and silk rope with 24K gold plated crystals and pearls, or the pair of silver cuffs in pave jasper, turquoise, agate and coral beads. The holidays are coming, I’m just saying…

Sadly I dragged my body away from the Empire Hotel and to the DAILY BEAUTY BAR at the Townhouse Spa for some pampering. In my case that meant a CND shellac pedicure that left my toesies with a mirror finish and true to its promise, 14 days of perfect wear. And that’s the way to end another round of fashion week shows.

Until next time, C&C

Friday, September 23, 2011

Talbots Loves Some Crap & Couture

Yesterday we received the best e-mail from Talbots, Inc.'s Mara Drivas.

Here is what she wrote:

My name is Mara Drivas. I am reaching out to you on behalf of...the Talbots Public Relations department.

We love Crap and Couture and would like to add you to the database of our favorite websites and blogs.

Woo-hoo!  Talbots will be getting some e-mails from us!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Beauty Is As Beauty Does

Speaking from my viewpoint as the new editor-at-large at Crap & Couture, and as a seasoned fashion editor and journalist who has seen it all (and done it all) so to speak, across the fashion industry (wholesale and retail) for lo these many years, it is always wonderful and fun for me to give a “First View” report on a new clothing collection, in particular, a new clothing collection which hasn’t been critiqued, pulled apart and written about to death by other fashion editors.

Perhaps, and even more importantly, my desire to get the first peek at, and then be able to be one of the first to write about a new collection, is really piqued when the collection is not only defined as couture and is specifically designed for and targeted to women who are not necessarily very young and very tiny, but fulfills its promise by serving up beautiful, shapely, modern, eleganza pieces for the real American woman, who wears size 10 to size 20.

And, so it goes with the RODAN collection, designed by Fabrizio Babino, and just launched for Spring/Summer 2012, in New York City. The 25-piece capsule grouping serves up all of what is usually expected from a couture collection, in terms of sumptuous fabrication, abundant detailing, well-tailored shape, sexy silhouette, and all of the trimmings that make high ticket items such as these, couture by the very nature of these kinds of things.

According to Babino, “our target market is ageless; she wears anywhere from a size 10 to a size 20. She is the couture client, and as such, she demands all of the finest qualities that every client demands when shopping especially for couture clothing.”

Now, if all of this sounds unusual, particularly since so many shoppers (and retailers, as well) in major metropolitan fashion cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the like, are more often than not used to seeing (and understanding) haute fashion in small size clothing, Babino says, “this is not a plus size collection as most shoppers and retailers are used to seeing. We are truly showcasing an extension of the runway collection. What we are offering the couture woman who is not that size zero, is authentic fashion styling right off any American or European designer runway. We fit the real, American size woman, who is really a size 14 or 16, with the high-fashion, designer look that she knows and loves; Gianfranco Ferre, John Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, for example. And, we are giving her this type of modern, sophisticated couture fashion with all of the haute trimmings; beautiful fabrics, fine detailing; color aside from simply black; nothing matronly, nothing shapeless, just sexy, beautiful pieces across the board.”

Citing the collection as “gold range, couture clothing”, Babino points to the heart of the collection; chic, ultra-stylized pieces, all done up in a range of natural fiber fabrics, such as cotton, silk, chiffon and organza, worked into shapely silhouettes, each of which can be mixed, matched and worn easily from day into evening. Further to the point that the collection as a whole is noteworthy, there are, for this editor, five particular looks that stand out, and being a kind editor even bring you pictures so you can see for yourself:

The groovy, Mod-inspired, stretch cotton flower embroidered jacket ($1,495)

Silk-blend shantung pleated trench ($1,775)


Eyelet cotton jacket ($995), paired with stretch cotton pleated skirt ($695)

Pleated silk, slit-front gown with braided belting ($2,215)

Silk striped asymmetric top ($610), worn with eyelet cotton pleated skirt ($695).

See you at Fashion Week!

– ADWB for C&C

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Man Oh Man: Spring Menswear Report

Surprise, surprise, I’m blogging about menswear for all you metrosexuals out there. Besides, I was curious about what the whole trade show experience would be like as opposed to the women’s shows. Boy what a difference a gender makes! Talk about low key and civilized , the MRKET NY trade show at the Javits Center was a pleasure from start to finish. Guys that attended were treated to complimentary barber services provided by Spiff for Men. Personally I would have loved the relaxing massage on offer but duty called.

One of the reasons that I wanted to check out the show was that a lot of women tend to “borrow” stuff from their significant other’s closets so I figured that there would be some interesting items in some of the collections that we would want for ourselves. In no particular order the following resources are just a sampling of the many noteworthy brands exhibiting.

R&G ( is a collection from New Zealand sure to interest the guy who has outgrown Abercrombie & Fitch in terms of age, taste and quality. The brand’s key strengths are shirting, knitwear and pants. We’re talking great fabrics here sourced from around the world (attention ladies, the checked shirts are to die for), plus pants that are cut to fit the average man and not some super skinny fashion model. I also wouldn’t turn down one of the carry on Italian leather luggage items.

TORI RICHARD ( is a brand a little closer to home, Hawaii to be exact. This firm may have started out 50 years ago as just a manufacturer of Hawaiian shirts but boy has it grown to encompass a complete range of apparel for both sexes.

Say yes to either the updated classic cotton lawn “London Garden” long sleeve shirt in navy or the “Year of the Dragon” silk blend short sleeved shirt in paprika with an embroidered dragon on the back – perfect for the trendy guy.

BORSALINO ( is one of the top names in men’s headwear and for my money showed some of the most exciting hats at the show. Personally I flipped for the classic panamas that look great on women as well, but what really knocked my socks off was the high crowned white straw topper in with a black band and “Fashion Balooons” (yes that’s the spelling) cartoon characters design! Totally crazy and definitely a conversation piece.

BARBOUR ( is a name everyone knows by now but there’s more to the collection than just the ubiquitous waxed barn jacket and wellies. I just had to check out the spring/summer accessory range. So listen up ladies and grab one of the Liberty print “Beaufort” cartridge bags, leather trimmed totes or my personal fave, a waxed cotton “Union Jack” printed messenger bag with buckle fastening and adjustable shoulder strap from the Unisex collection. If he wants something a little more butch, get it in the new camouflage print.

MARGARITAVILLE ( is a terrific resource for casual separates like the reversible solid to plaid poplin shorts, the cotton pique rugby polo shirts, French terry hoodies and a snazzy cotton/linen enzyme washed blazer, while his better half might want to filch one of the vintage print cotton poplin shirts.

JOHN LAING (, a Scottish cashmere brand that I’ve never personally heard of but I plan on keeping this firm in my fashion radar from now on. In addition to the men’s sweaters there are some of the most gorgeous ladies pieces as well. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water. For example I crave the v-neck 3 color blocked pullover, a ¾ sleeved 4 color bateau neck pullover and all of the 8 color striped sweaters. From the men’s line I wouldn’t pass up the cashmere cardigan with pockets and suede elbow patches. Just saying…

WOOLRICH ( has been creating comfy casual, functional clothing inspired by the outdoors since 1830 so you know that they must be doing something right. Yes there’s some great stuff for men, yada,yada,yada but let’s focus on the women’s spring collection from the “Vintage Outdoor” range. My picks include the cotton crackle was shapely plaid shirt with patch pockets, the Fairisle jersey, zip front cardigan with striped sleeves and the drawstring waist Capris.

ROYAL HIGHNIES ( offers some 400 thread count pima cotton sleepwear and loungewear for men and women. The story began with the quest to create the perfect boxer short to house the “family jewels” hence the cute name. The company has since gone on to produce elegant men’s robes, tees, ladies nightgowns, tank tops, tunics and pants.

I could go on and on so I’ll just sum up my finds with a summary of some of the other brands to check out” GHURKA’s new travel goods from the Voyager collection, WISECRACKER’s alligator duffels, suitcases and satchels, MARCO FEDERICI’s gorgeous Italian leather and snakeskin belts, AMERICAN ESSENTIALS silk/cotton jersey sleepwear, PENROSE LONDON’s sophisticated neck ties and cuff links and HUSH PUPPIES hip and trendy canvas/leather loafers and the two-tone nubuck updated boat shoe. That’s all for now. It’s back to the ladies next time around! C&C

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row