Thursday, November 29, 2012

Are You Jaded?

No, I don’t mean blasé. I’m referring to one of the chicest jewelry boutiques in Manhattan. Jaded Jewels is a little treasure trove on the upper east side where the discerning shopper will find lots of goodies from high end costume jewelry to semi precious gems at every price range. 

I recently attended an event at the shop whose purpose was to introduce the “Treasures of Umbria”, jewelry designs by ten visionary Italian artisans from that region. The (drool worthy) collections ranged from all out glam, to sophisticated and delicate. Specialized jewelry techniques such as filigree, pave, open lattice work, stone and (my favorite) coral carving was on display throughout the various collections. 

Maybe it was the glass of proseco that clouded my judgment but I was very tempted to buy, buy and buy some more. What struck my fancy was the eye popping aquamarine cocktail ring by Enrico Morbidoni of Spoleto Gioielli. Maurizio Tini of Granduca Gioielli also impressed me with his undulating gold plated sterling ring accented with semi-precious cabochon stones. Very free form and perfect for the woman who wants a more modern, yet timeless design. Perhaps my all -time favorite pieces were crafted by Pietro Cona for Conart. Since I’m a collector of blackamoor jewelry his hand crafted one-of-a-kind carved coral and jeweled blackamoor pendant and the carved turquoise earrings made my mouth water. No description can do these pieces justice. For these and other fabulous pieces by a group of the most talented artisans, you must stop by the boutique at 1048 Madison Avenue at 80th Street and see for yourself. In addition, Jaded just launched its own wholesale division, Jaded Studio above the shop to reach a wider audience. 

Until next time, shop till you drop, C &C.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reviving a Classic

Once upon a time, every budding fashionista’s wardrobe consisted of Ann Fogarty dresses, Pappagallo shoes, Kimberly knits and Etienne Aigner handbags. The latter, a New York made staple since 1950!

Fast forward many decades ahead and this fashion maven is happy to report that Etienne Aigner is back and better than ever with a classic brand that has a whole new lease on life. Yours truly made the trek to the new showroom to view the gorgeous spring collection. While I have fond memories of my original sporty cordovan leather and linen handbag, the depth and breath of the new stuff took my breath away (translation, I want everything).

Let us start off with the bags. I get palpitations just thinking about Vachetta leather trimmed smooth leather totes, the small epic satchel, a large grain pebble leather satchel and a vintage inspired large gusseted satchel in the classic glazed leather /linen combo. Ah memories!

 Etienne Aigner - His Bags Make C&C's Heart BEAT!

Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie
Moving on to footwear, my eye was immediately struck by a pair of perforated cap toe oxfords in butter soft leather called the “Bedford”. Offered in four color-ways my first choice would be a honeydew/ivory combo followed by a pair in softest blush. For summer I’d opt for the “Tonne” slip-on in coral suede or natural linen trimmed in black cow leather. 

Loving the Shoes, Still Obsessed with the Bags!
Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

After handbags and shoes what do girls covet most? Jewelry of course and Aigner showed a terrific collection. Top of my fashion chart is the sporty (think very Hermes looking) leather horn closure bracelet, the hinged water snake bangles and a drop dead gorgeous chunky block necklace in oxidized brass with coral vein stones. It’s bold and beautiful, The chunky block ring with white mother of pearl and coral on brass is another striking find.

Last but not least, we come to RTW. And boy does Aigner deliver. From silk crepe to suede and cotton poplin, the look is easy breezy and sophisticated. If I had to narrow it down to my fave pieces, number one would be the button down shirtdress with pleat detailing at the waist, in a tonal marble print (like Florentine marbelized paper) poplin. Over this I’d toss a cropped double breasted cotton/spandex trench jacket in khaki with petal suede trim and I’d be good to go.

 Aigner's Shirtdress - Smooth Classic Style... oh, look another fab BAG!
Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

My descriptions have just scratched the surface but if you can hold out till early next year, Etienne Aigner’s flagship boutique will make its debut, so start saving those pennies. I adored this brand in the late ‘50s ( I was a mere child) and I’m still a fan!

Friday, October 5, 2012

SPRING 2013: Notes From the Back Row and Beyond

The spring fashion shows are over and all the attendant hoopla that goes with the territory. Running from the tents to the “lounges” and the off-site shows is no picnic but a fashionistas work is never done. I’m not going to bother you with my thoughts on the major designers since their collections were all over the papers, websites and blogs and you’ve probably formed your own opinions by now. Instead I want to focus on some of the names you might not be familiar with, not to mention some of the interesting brands I checked out at the various lounges set up in the Empire Hotel during that week. 

It was a blast from the past at MARIMEKKO’s runway show. Not only were the familiar bold and brilliant prints back, the models included some of the past decades most celebrated names, including Carmen and Carol Alt, which just goes to prove that Marimekko’s clothes work on all ages. I especially loved the black and white separates, the sophisticated v-back shift dresses and a most surprisingly, a simple double breasted pea jacket in solid navy. Printed Converse sneaks added a cute touch to the outfits. 

VIVIENNE TAM’s press release stated that the “inspiration for spring is based on the five elements of Chinese cosmology –metal, wood, water, fire and earth.” Whatever! Personally I got a strong Bauhaus vibe from the collection. Bold, graphic patterns in some cases combining triangles with circles or waves with squares added up to a strikingly modern whole. I felt like I was stepping into a 1920’s Tamara Lempicka painting. Outstanding was Tam’s black cotton hexagonal cutwork dress, the silver printed cotton denim trench and the black patent leather shell with triangle print pants. Adding to collection was her new jewelry collaboration with TSL Jewellery. Standout pieces included her yellow gold hexagonal necklace, a gold and jade necklace and the black gold earrings. 

TIA CIBANI, formerly the creative director at Ports 1961 debuted her capsule spring collection in an informal setting. To here her tell it the collection was based on a dreamy, modern fantasy with an emphasis on structure and draping. Fabrics were a standout. I loved the fluid ombre printed chiffon, double faced wools, silk lames and linen/cotton blends. While not for every one the collection will appeal to the woman who has a strong sense of self and a unique way of dressing. Highlighted for me was Cibani’s navy blanket stripe kimono sleeve trapeze coat layered over white poplin shell with navy silk faille wide leg trousers.

Tia Cibani's Coat is a C&C Classic!
Photo Credit M. McKenzie

Models were placed in various vignettes at the (heavily attended) VERONICA BEARD presentation. The free flowing wine made my passage through the crowds bearable and the classic free spirited American sportswear vibe throughout made for an enjoyable experience. Her jackets really made an impression, especially the umber naked lambskin motorway piece and a lovely washed celadon linen convertible jacket. The latter looked cool over a tile print tunic and pleated shorts. 

Veronica Beard's Lambskin Jacket Softens the Look 
of Even the Hardest Motorcycle Club Members

Photo Credit M. McKenzie

While there was no booze, only Coconut water at WHIT’s tropical island themed presentation, the clothes more than made up for the lack of rum drinks. Easy, breezy cool clothes will appeal equally to the downtown girl as well as the uptown preppy. There were stripes, batiks and campy prints galore but for my money I’d opt for the navy bandeau top with peplum batik skirt or any one of Whit’s striped separates. And no, I’m not too old to wear these so just cool it!

C&C Calls it:  Bandeau is Back, and Front!

Photo Credit M. McKenzie

Cesar Galindo hit a home run with the debut of his CZAR collection. I was impressed with the easy, fluid shapes, the gorgeous color palette and the total wearability. I drooled over the tangerine stretch viscose sculpted cap sleeve dress, the persimmon matte jersey draped tank over copper sequin pants and the fabulous chartreuse silk capelet dress. While the show could have used a little editing, on the whole this collection was a winner so keep on the lookout for where the collection will turn up next spring.

CZAR - Anastasia Would Approve!
Photo Credits Tom Concordia

Possibly my favorite show of all was RUFFIAN. The two Brooklyn-based designers offered an homage to their borough with a tongue-in-chic riff on the classic toile print within the context of Williamsburg, their neighborhood. This was a perfect balance of baroque with hipster. Looking especially great was a blue/white cotton ticking stripe coat, cotton lawn shirt and sheer leggings in the Williamsburg toile print silk georgette. Also totally cool, the bow blouse in yellow toile silk georgette, under painter overalls in ivory metallic silk. Basically. I want to own everything! 

Have to admit that I was underwhelmed by ANNA SUI this spring. Her collection reminded me a bit too much of Betsey Johnson’s girly-girls with a bit of punk, biker chick and grunge thrown in. A bit too trailer trash for me.  However there was one outfit that I liked and it featured a coral/cream tweed jacket over a pretty coral mixed print dress. Better luck next season, I know you’re very talented. 

Now on to the good stuff. As you know, every season there are press lounges hosted by PR and special event firms and magazines at the Empire Hotel and the Mandarin Oriental. Editors have a chance to unwind over snacks, coffee wine etc. while getting a manicure, mini facial and massage. Kind of hard to beat this pampering and I’m certainly not one to pass up an opportunity to indulge in any beauty treatments. And speaking of beauty, HARD CANDY gifted the press with some of the brand’s best selling cosmetic items. No time for a manicure? Try imPRESS press-on nails by BROADWAY NAILS. Tried the product and the results were professional looking with no messy drying time or chipping.

C&C Pampering:  Hard Candy and Broadway Nails!

 Photo Credits M. McKenzie

All of the above brands were displayed at the GBK Lounge. In addition there were some standout accessory and rtw lines. My top picks were G WEAR, a fashion company that’s committed to recycling while providing a quality product. I selected a terrific hand sewn 100% cotton tee with cute fashion figure appliqué on the back. The line takes the classic tee to a whole other level. BLINKZGEAR (Try saying that fast), offered cool urban messenger bags with graphic designed zip out front covers. I guarantee that you can stuff a week’s worth of s—t in each one and still have room to spare.

GBK Lounge - C&C's Top Picks of the Up and Comers!

 Photo Credits M. McKenzie

My next stop was the Daily Style Sessions Lounge (Suite) atop the Empire Hotel. Snacks, a personalized tote and drinks were the order of the day but I must give a shout out to the OASIS DAY SPA’s massage therapist, Angela Loften who poked and pummeled my body into a state of nirvana. Run, don’t walk to one of their locations for the best massage of your life! HANES gave editors a fabulous pair of Blackout Convert-a-tights that offer two looks in one by converting tights into leggings. Pretty nifty idea! 

C&C is a Blacked-Out Convert...
for Hanes!
Photo Credit M. McKenzie

PIXI cosmetics introduced us to the Clos du Bois Rouge Cosmetique line of red wine inspired cosmetics. I’ve already sampled the nail polish and liquid blusher and have become a fan.

Clos du Bois - Red, Red Wine for Red, Red Nails!
Just Remember Which Bottle is for the Nails
Photo Credit M. McKenzie

Daily Style's Personalized Totes - C&C Approved Swag Containment System!

Photo Credit M. McKenzie

At the Allure lounge I zeroed in on the cheeky socks from DA-SEIN. As the press release stated the brand’s aim is not to reinvent socks but to challenge preconceived opinions about how to make a great pair the center of attention. On of my all time fave skin care brands is SKINMEDICA. While I’ll never have that English rose porcelain complexion, using this company’s cleansing, toning and moisturizing products goes a long way towards making me look human. I can’t wait to try the latest offerings that I scooped up during fashion week.

Da-Sein's Insane Socks!
Photo Credit M. McKenzie

SkinMedica Keeps C&C Looking At Her Best Second "C"
Photo Credit M. McKenzie

There were other interesting happenings going on at the Empire Hotel. First there was the CYGALLE Healing Spa event and another great massage plus some very healthy juice drinks and giftys. For this dedicated shoe maven there was IVY KIRZHNER and her brand new affordably priced collection. My top pick for next summer (or a mid winter cruise, ha) has to be the Egyptian inspired sandals with intricate enamel embellishment. Simply gorgeous as was the rest of the very fashion forward collection.

Ivy Kirzhner: Helping Those Who Can't Dance Walk Like an Egyptian
Photo Credit M. McKenzie

GOTHAM SKINCARE offered a terrific three-day event during fashion week and it was worth the trek to 346 West 57th Street to this new spa where I was offered a choice of treatments. I opted for a beta hydroxy facial peel that resulted in baby soft skin. Definitely checkout this spa. The service was attentive and the offerings top notch. 

So I ended the week all buffed and polished and loaded down with goody bags (yes we all want them, so cool it) that will take me weeks to go through, especially the cosmetics but I’ll keep you posted if I love the results. 

I can’t end this blog without giving a shout out to the ACADEMY of ART UNIVERSITY’s graduate fashion show. I was floored by the professionalism and beauty of the various collections. I loved Tanja Milutinovic’s ladylike chic approach, the beautiful tailoring produced by Stephina Touch, the chic attitude apparent in Iglika Vasileva Matthews designs, and Yanfei Fan’s simply terrific collection. Overall, the future looks bright for fashion if these young designers are anything to go by. These are the names to keep an eye on.

C&C Is Closely Watching Two from AAU:

Yanfei Fan
Stephina Touch
Photo Credits:  PhotoEvents NYC
That’s all for now, talk to you soon, C&C. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Neighborhood Watch: West Side Story

It’s been a while since I ventured to the west side and typical for Manhattan, there have been a number of retail newcomers (plus some I just overlooked).

I want to call your attention to the following:

MORE & MORE ANTIQUES at 378 Amsterdam Avenue is a treasure trove of collectibles, vintage and new costume jewelry, plus it’s the perfect place to root out a housewarming or hostess gift. For more info and store hours, call 212-580-8404. I love, love this shop.

PIPPIN VINTAGE JEWELRY at 313 Columbus Avenue isn’t exactly a newcomer (and they have two other boutiques on the west side further downtown). Since it’s within spitting distance of the 77th street flea market I just had to stop in for a looksee. In addition to some stunning necklaces, etc the boutique also has a nice selection of vintage hats and handbags and everything was fairly priced. Definitely worth checking out. 212-787-2200.

Technically the following doesn’t exactly fit the category since FRESH PAIR’s “It’s Time for a Change” was a two day pop up store on west 57th street. The idea was to celebrate the online retailer in recognition of the 10th anniversary of National Underwear Day (who knew there was such a day)? is the leading online underwear retailer and go to sources for expert advice on men’s and women’s underwear and intimate apparel. Dozens of styles worn by gorgeous, young male and female models lined the tiny shop And passersby were invited to stop by for an expert bra fitting, refreshments, music and free giveaways plus advice from the style pros. 

Freshpair - Models Not Included


Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

For more info go to If you can’t find what you want here you’re in trouble and I can’t help you!

Talk to you après Fashion Week C&C.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Better Than Sex???

Duh! Shoe shopping, or to be more specific in my case shoe “looking.” I get heart palpitations just thinking about the FFANY (NY Fashion Footwear Association) trade show I recently attended. I happily spent the day scoping out the latest spring styles and footwear trends.

Pastels were a major trend in dressy as well as casual styles and sandals. Nautical inspirations, bold florals stood out as did hot bursts of color (think yellow and shots of neon bright shades), while textures such as snake prints and touches of cork added a sophisticated touch. For more conservative shoppers creamy neutral tones in buttery soft leathers and suede look good.

Unfortunately there’s no end in sight to sky high platforms and wedges, but at least the chunkier heel is back in fashion. Never fear though, ballet flats, espadrilles, loafers and sporty oxfords have attained classic status.

I could go on and on about all the gorgeous stuff I saw but instead I’ve decided to narrow my list down to a single pair of shoes from each of the brands I personally (in my dreams) want to shop, so here goes: 

  • MATISSE’s neon bright canvas lace-up platform espadrille; 

  • ATHENA ALEXANDER’s woven leather thong on a cork sole; 

  • The retro inspired lace-up pointy toed oxfords with contrast color piping and laces from BRONX; 

  • DIBA’s cork ballet flat with patent toe cap; 
  • NINE WEST’s perfect round toe pump in a bright floral patent;
  • BRUNATE’s ladylike tasseled moccasin in stamped camel/putty/yellow suede; 

  • ARA’s perfect yellow driving loafer; 

  • The pale pearlized suede ballerina by Aussie brand BLOch; 

  • CLAUDIA CIUTI’s woven leather ankle strapped low wedge sandal with back zip; 

  • MANAS’s darling blue suede ankle boot with elastic gussets; 
Photo Credit: ebp studio

  • Adreamy yellow linen Mary Jane flat with matte snake strap from MUGNAI; 
Photo Credit: ebp studio

  • DIZZY’s black patent jelly ballerina with white camellia trim; 

  • FRENCH SOLE’s take on the iconic Roger Vivier buckled flat in white, blue or beige with gold tone buckle and sculpted heel; 

  • FRATELLI ROSSETTI’s leather “penny loafer” inspired thong sandal with gold tone hardware detail and finally 

  • The nautical navy/white tie front skimmer by ROCKPORT.

In case you didn’t notice, There is no mention of sky high stiletto platform shoes, (since I have fabulous taste), but if you want to kill yourself while looking club footed, be my guest.

Now that I’ve listed all the fabulous footwear finds the next step is to get a bigger shoe closet (another pipe dream)! In the meantime, start thinking Spring as most of these brands will hit the stores before you know it. 

P.S. If you can’t wait that long check out the great looking dalmatian patterned hair calf ballerinas and ankle booties in store RIGHT NOW at JOE FRESH at 1055 Mad Ave! Happy shopping kiddies.

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row