Friday, March 30, 2012

Basso Takes a Trip

Having known Dennis Basso for a long time – I worked for him when he was a young, hungry fur designer, just starting out; way long before he became a designer to the rich and famous, with a ritzy Madison Avenue boutique, and big fame and bigger money, generated from the sales of his faux fur garments and more recently, his ready-to-wear, often seen one of the most well-known Home Shopping Television Networks. Following Basso’s career as I have through the years, I am always surprised by what he seems to have up his sleeve for each new collection, not only because he seems to come up with exciting furs and clothing season after season, but also because of how he makes his “ladies who lunch” swoon each and every time a new piece hits the catwalk. Plus, there is always Basso’s ongoing love affair with editors – from the venerable, super-glossy magazines to new websites, blogs and the like – that has kept him top of mind, since his days as fur designer for the House of Ben Kahn. Truth be told, Basso always was, and always will be, a showman. Never one to be shy and retiring, his big personality; in stature, voice and design sensibility, makes who he is and what he does, something quite special.

For Fall, Winter 2012, Basso takes a ride on The Orient Express, as he conjures up visions of grand travel, luxury, mysterious destinations, fabulous women, swathed in furs, beautiful clothing and opulent jewels. The color palette for the furs and clothing includes taupe, de rigeuer black, gray, white, navy, and a not-seen-before shade of opal, along with the introduction of a strong shade of Cayenne as a strong accent color.

Basso always treats his furs as important, but there is that special twist of a light, airy, playful feeling; cashmere linings, oversized hoods, toggle closures, for example. Russian Sable, Broadtail, Ermine, Lynx, Chinchilla and Fox stand on their own, or designed in more unexpected combinations. Broadtail trench coats are seen trapunto-stitched or backed with cashmere, to create a more luxurious, double-face look.

Either as a companion to the outre aura of the furs, or worn solo, hand-beaded evening gowns sparkle plenty with Swarovski crystal accents and glass beading. Silhouettes embrace the body by way of wrapped waistlines, trapeze shapes and fitted sheaths; many of which are seen embroidered for cocktail time, or done up in cashmere for day. Richest fabrics, such as gazar, silk-satin, georgette and organza, move and flow with the wearer. 

Basso Hits All the Furry Notes!

 
 
Photos by M. McKenzie

As Basso notes in his run-of-show: “So, I took the journey and translated that feeling of glamorous evenings and special days for today’s modern, international woman who wants to feel feminine and romantic.” –ADWB, C&C editor-at-large





Ice is Nice



Looking for a bargain? Check out IceLink, a Swiss-based luxury timepiece and jewelry collection. There aren’t many places where you can find a fashion forward item for under $100 bucks. If you’ve had it with neon brights check out IceLink’s stainless steel based unisex bone bangle bracelet with yellow gold plated rivets, retail $99.00, or the stainless steel ring with ceramic interior and rings for $79.00. In white ceramic the sizes are 5-9 including half sizes and in the black, 5-13 including half sizes as well. Both items are bold, striking, totally modern yet timeless.

Icelink - Brain-freezing Couture at Smoldering Prices!
 

Until next time, C&C

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fashion Alert


If you’re planning a late winter getaway and feel the need to shop (after all I can’t expect you to go cold turkey) why not hit Luxury Avenue, a specialized shopping destination in Cancun and Los Cabos, Mexico? Not only do they carry all the major name designer boutiques Luxury Avenue offers VIP concierge service, image consulting and most important of all, a champagne bar. Sun, sand, shopping! What more do you want?
C&C asks:  When in Mexico, Why This...
When You Have This?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GENTLEMENS AGREEMENT: Fall 2012 Accessories

Now that I’ve given you my thoughts on Fashion Week and the ladies it’s time to give the guys a break, so for all you male fashion plates I decided to check out the latest fall accessories at the MRKET trade show held in the Javits Center.

Let’s face it, most of you aren’t going to run out and buy a whole new wardrobe but you just might want to update your look with a new pair of gloves, carryall, tie, shirt, briefcase or hat, etc. While there I even managed to scope out the latest in grooming products from AMERICAN CREW. The brand’s latest offerings are focused on styling gels from light hold to firm (I’m thinking super glue strength here) and everything in between. Seems you gents are just as vain as we ladies are.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to the nitty gritty or those lines that stood out. EMANUEL BERG is the first place I’d send my better half if he wanted the finest in made-to-measure shirts. This family owned company offers an enormous range of different fabrics, collar and cuff styles and embroidered monograms in 20 colors and 8 different fonts. I mean, talk about exclusivity and pure luxury. In addition there’s a gorgeous selection for the ladies as well offered in crisp cottons and silk that struck my eye and with the range of almost 800 (that’s not a typo) different fabrics Emanuel Berg can deliver true array of shirts and blouses.

Now that we’ve settled on the shirt we must move on to a custom-crafted carryall to pack it in and LIBERO FERRERO has a beauty called the Oak & Eddon bag. This classically understated vegetable tanned leather bag is sophisticated and fully functional. It features a padded internal laptop sleeve and roomy pockets and is a perfect choice for the business traveler with adjustable shoulder strap and accommodation for a 20” laptop. Looking for something more casual, then checkout the Duffle, in black cherry, ink or hickory leather trimmed grey wool. The best part of the collection? Every item is made in the U.S. See what all the shouting’s about at www.LiberoFerrero.com.

MOORE & GILES also wowed me with their vegetable tanned leather bags, wallets, portfolios, briefcases etc in the Legacy collection. There are also some terrific sporty totes, shoulder bags and practical and pretty clutch wallets that feature a vintage floral pattern on the inside. I want this in either the sierra red, gold or purple. Another great collection to check out at www.mooreandgiles.com.
While it’s hard to go wrong with anything that GHURKA produces I fell in love with their 21” weekend Cavalier duffle. Sure you can have it in classic leather but why not go for one of the highland plaids or the sophisticated grey houndstooth. Naturally all have leather handles and trim. Fall in love with the collection at www.ghurka.com

No Matter How Good the Plaid Ghurka Looks, 
TSA Will Still Make You Surrender Your Kukri Before Boarding
Photo Provided By Ghurka

For 180 years, WOOLRICH the original outdoor clothing company has had a reputation for quality, reliable clothing and accessories that endure. The fall 2012 accessory collection continues this tradition with understated (never trendy) gloves, socks, footwear, bags, belts, hats and wallets. You name, they’ve got it. For some reason I tend to gravitate towards the bags (no surprise there). This season my eye fell on the Allegheny double field bag in red/black buffalo check wool. It features four exterior pockets and adjustable bridle leather shoulder strap, top handle and trim. The matching check knit hat gives off a downtown cool vibe.


If You Keep a Kukri in Your Ghurka, Keep a Wilkinson in your Woolrich

Photo Provided By Woolrich

I spotted one of the handsomest laptop computer bags from Montreal-based company, FULLUM & HOLT. In Italian vegetable tanned leather and Vachetta leather, this stunner can be opened flat with two-way zip closure and collapsible handles. The interior has a padded sleeve, key hook and compartments to accommodate documents, phone and keys. It’s available in black and tan. Also noteworthy is an Italian leather iPad book-style case with signature tab closure and convertible handle that can adjust to lie flat or be hand held. For more info go to
www.fullumandholt.com or www.fullumboutique.com.

That’s it for now, C&C

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Austin Powers in the House


When a groovy evite (very Union Jack in its look and feel) hit this editor’s email, right before Fashion Week began, touting Stacy Lomman’s “Modern World” collection, the date went right into the “not to be missed” part of the agenda. Knowing Lomman and covering her first two clothing collections, it was significant in 2012 that her name and reputation appeared to be on the rise, especially since she had been nominated (and became one of the finalists for) the Women’s ready-to-Wear category in The Fashion Group International’s 15th Annual Rising Star Awards (unfortunately she was not one of the winners in the category), handed out in January 2012, at the star-studded Awards Ceremony, held at Cipriani 42nd Street. But, let me not digress.

Always on the lookout for the next, big thing to rear up and rock-and-roll during Fashion Week, all editors (including yours truly) want to be on the fringe of the “new, now, next”. So, it was only natural and fitting to want to attend Lomman’s showing on the last day of Fashion Week (Thursday, 2/16/12) at Loft 33 in midtown Manhattan.

Arriving a few minutes before show-time, and having to climb several flights of rickety stairs to the 4th floor (the elevator was out of order or something like that) where the show was being held, the promise of a fantabulous, l960’s Mod inspired collection seemed exciting and possibly different from everything else that had come before. In the end, the promise came across as partly right and partly wrong.

For some reason, as with young designers who show in this way (Guerrilla style, mostly), there are reasons to preclude a timely beginning, but that, as we say in the industry, is kind of, sort of expected. And, why the crowd was thin (few editors in attendance, overall) is still a mystery, not only because Lomman is a new and different face in the crowd, but also because of that important nomination. Perhaps many of the invited guests simply did not do their homework on Lomman (who she is and what she does, and all of that), or perhaps they simply had something or someplace better to do or go. But, be that as it may, the show went on.

Although some of the models here did not fit the theme of the collection as well as one might have liked, the hair (Cassi Hurd, You’nique Chic) and make-up (Rieko Shiba and Amy Park) were right on; same for Lomman’s music and styling, which made sense, since who could know the look, feel and ambience of the collection better than its young createur. Speaking of the clothing, most pieces on this runway nicely filled the bill and totally hit the mark. So, for the thirteen looks which comprised this collection, the majority were winners. For example, the black double face long coat with knit sleeves, wool jumbo hounds-tooth shorts, hand-knit black and white baby alpaca scarf looked totally cool. The grey haze jacket with black trim and matching pencil skirt popped as if the ensemble came straight out of a l960’s glossy magazine editorial, featuring Jean Shrimpton, photographed by David Bailey. The royal gabardine racer back dress with red trim was super, paired with shocking lipstick red shorty boots. The faux ostrich, full-length sleeveless vest with black and white stripe charmeuse lining, worn with red double face wool mini dress with cut-outs seemed so perfect for a date with Austin Powers, while the finale piece; a black crepe back satin dress with ribbon Union Jack back detail brought back memories of lusting after every British rock and roll group every American girl loved and dreamed about lo those many years ago (this editor included).

Rock and Roll, Brit Pop, The Spy Who Shagged Me, Call Them What You Want... ADWB Calls Stacy Lomman "Fantabulous!" 







"Guess What I'm Thinking?"
 All Photos Credit:  Randy Brooke

For her finale walk down the runway, Lomman herself echoed the feeling of the show, especially when it came to her “Modern World” t-shirt and short booties. Indeed, quite a “Modern World”. – ADWB, C&C editor-at-large

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Subterranean





During Fashion Week, big, glitzed-up runway shows are the “it” thing for many designers, big and small, as well as for the majority of the fashion cognoscenti; at least so far as the Lincoln Center scene goes. But, as with everything else, there are exceptions to the rule, as evidenced by the growing number of designers who opted to show their collections at The Box, a relatively small, intimate space, nestled discreetly within The Tents at LC.

In a wise move, Rochambeau chose to show their very edgy, very dark and very off-the-beat menswear grouping at The Box, where the weirdly lit setting (no stage; eerie-scary, “Once Upon A Time” forest d├ęcor; moss and rocks hanging from the ceiling and strewn about the stage) ebbed and flowed around the cool, grunge-of-the-moment clothing and the strange-looking, long-haired and bald models. As editors and photographers swirled around the scene, the general consensus seemed to be that for real, Rochambeau’s show was just where it needed to be.
Rochambeau (www.rochambeau.us.com), named after the French word for the game, “rock-paper-scissors”, was launched in 2007 by designers, Laurence Chandler and Joshua Cooper, both of whom hail from families with roots in print and graphic design. After a scant four years in business, Rochambeau had an array of big-name international stores carrying its clothing, and was tapped by MAC Cosmetics and Milk Studio, as one of the few designer collections to show a Fall/Winter 2011 Collection during New York Fashion Week. In September 2011, Rochambeau was picked by Jenne Lombardo, Global Fashion Director of W Hotels, to participate in the third season of The Fashion Next Program which fosters and supports emerging designers during Fashion Week and beyond, which brought the company full circle to its February 2012 FW showing at Lincoln Center. With an eye on a decidedly eclectic design motif, Chandler and Cooper serve up lots of under-and-over layering, in tandem with unexpected mixtures of classical fabrics (jerseys and knits), mixed in with textural and truly masculine hides and skins. The result is a mighty exciting line-up of clothes that run the gamut from sports and active-wear (yes, active-wear) all the way through to a new kind of dress-wear, the majority of which seems well-suited for a select group of those sexy, super-duper guys who want to make a pretty specific statement about who they are and how they want to dress; no fear here, obviously. So, with all of that being said, and following along that path, the color palette, naturally, has to be what it is - muted and drab (black, charcoal, greige and russet, for example). Ditto for the minimalist, sharply fitted blazers, pants and trousers, worked in all kinds of offbeat interpretations (waist folded and tapered; cropped and long harem pleated; pleat seamed; long layered short; high-waisted, drop-crotch, and, well, you get the point). 

 Rochambeau - Standout in Any Modern Dystopia





Photos Credit: Charlotte Manchester 
All in all, the entire show worked, specifically in terms of showing off the clothes to the best advantage. A nod here to fashion stylist, Nicholas Grasa, who pulled everything together just right, not only when it came to how the clothes looked, but also for all of the sexy, black boots that all of the models wore, and the long, black leather pouches and pendants, which were wrapped seductively around some of the models’ necks. Oui, j’adore. – ADWB, editor-at-large, C&C

Cavallini’s Cosmic Peep Show


Yeah, yeah, every editor and fashionista out there knows well that Fashion Week is the time to be all sexed up; “Hot In New York”, so to speak. This season, of course, is no exception, especially when it comes to the super- voyeuristic Peep Show -- aptly called, “Risque Business: Luxury legwear Designed to Thrill” – done as a walk-through at Lincoln Center’s Box Gallery, by the legwear designer, Emilio Cavallini.

With an obvious eye on inciting a woman’s sexual fantasies, Cavallini opted for a “cinema verite” style of peeping tom look into the sensual and provocative world of a woman behind closed doors. Starting off the presentation in the darkened gallery, a line-up of live, blank-faced models, showed off the new hosiery and bodywear offerings. Soon after, the models left the stage, as a short film, entitled “Risque Business at the Florence Excelsior Hotel”, began to play on a huge, overhead screen. The film’s story line portrayed an obviously uninhibited woman with very short blond hair – obviously on some kind of holiday or retreat in Italy - enjoying herself on a bed, in her hotel room, after shopping at the Emilio Cavallini boutique. She tries on and then tosses on the floor, pair after pair of sexy tights and bodywear, as she falls into her own fantasy world of soft core pleasure, oblivious to everything around her, except the sensual pleasure of caressing her body with complete abandon and delight. As the film closes, the woman gets up from the bed, and leaves the room, dressed in nothing but a lacy, black, see-through catsuit.
Cavallini Channels Betty Page to Your Legs!





 Photos Credit:  M. McKenzie
Watching the film, it is evident that Cavallini loves black, especially prevalent evidenced by so many of the pieces shown in that hotel room; floral lace and exaggerated fishnet tights, bodysuits and thigh-highs, seamed sheers with “tattoo” motifs, “shredded tights with matching skin-tight bandeaus, and the like. But, even with this being said, and while not seen on-screen, the designer still manages to have lots of fun with more whimsical pieces, such as tights and leggings, featuring optical graphics with bold stripes and big, wild dots with 3-D effects, right along with “Borrowed-from-the-boys” textile patters in plaid, chevron, houndstooth and argyle. It does not seem to be any accident that this collection is meant to channel Betty Page, the notoriously sexy, 1950’s pin-up model, while exploring the sexual freedom and fantasies of all modern women, for as Cavallini explains, “Bettie Page was the ultimate femme fatale, inciting the fantasies of men and women, at a time when ‘nice girls’ would not dare to look like that or act like that.” Well, in 2012, nice (and not so nice) girls certainly do want to look and act like that, and from the looks of this designer’s presentation and collection, those girls are going to get their way. – ADWB, C&C editor-at-large

Friday, March 2, 2012

Jewels Just For The Rich and Famous? Think Again.

How fabulous for editors and celebrities to be able to relax and recharge during the insanity of Fashion Week, yet still be able to get a peek at a new collection of glossy baubles, bangles and beads, all within one convenient place at The Empire Hotel; just a hop, skip and jump away from Lincoln Center. In this case, Lia Sophia, always a most glamorous and generous host, invited C&C editors (and many other fashionistas and celebs) to the company’s very aptly named (and hot ticket, Fashion Week destination) - “Social Fashion Suite” – to meet, greet, eat, drink, and most importantly, to have the chance to preview capsule looks from the extremely well-priced Zingara Red Carpet Collection, along with a well-edited line-up from the company’s Spring, Summer 2012 catalog.

C&C in Zingara!
 
Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie
It is always interesting to note that a family-owned company such as Lia Sophia, who positions itself as “the global leader in direct sales fashion jewelry”, sold to consumers through an international network of independent saleswomen -“CEO’s of their own businesses”, as it were - serves up high-quality, fashion-forward baubles, bangles and beads, seemingly fit for movie stars and high rollers - .within the pages of its seasonal catalogs, and higher-end Red Carpet Collection, all at affordable, down-to-earth price points.

For this editor-at-large, in particular, thinking about the jewels that Lia Sophia showed during this season’s edition of Fashion Week, everything was right on point. Going with the “Fashion Gets Fun Again” theme, offerings from the Spring, Summer catalog (200 new pieces here), pop up across eleven style breakouts, including themes such as “Fresh Picked”, “Culture Club”, “The Layered Look”, “How Sweet It Is”, “Modern Summer” and “Make Me Blush”. Each story makes its own statement for big and bold or scaled-back statement pieces, rendered in a wide range of neon bright accents or rich jewel tones; in single pieces or multiples that are always easily wearable and mix-and-match. For those who like to wear their jewelry all layered up, there are neat ensembles and sets, most of which appear perfectly suited for a broad mix of jewelry lovers, no matter if the customer is classical or hyper-trendy.


Summer Lovin' in Lia Sophia!
Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

On the other side of the coin is the sexy and offbeat Zingara Red Carpet line, which, according to the catalog’s liner notes, showcases “a mix of Bohemian Exoticism and Jet-Set Luxe”. Inspired by chic destinations around the world, Zingara features richest colors, ornate designs and exceptional detailing. Highlights here: Sari bracelets, to wear alone or stacked up the arm; each priced at $250, in clear-cut crystals with a variety of colored resins and enamels, worked in matte gold, or antique gold and silver; the array of ab fab Electra Necklaces, worked up in clear cut crystals with antique silver ($500), in clear cut crystals and teal resin with matte silver or tangerine resin in matte gold (each $450). Ditto for the Agape Cuff Bracelet, with clear cut crystals and tangerine resin in matte gold ($300), Mirela Rings in clear cut crystals, embellished in various resins and antique silver or gold ($175-$200), Cosima, Fortuna and Alexia Earrings in mixes of clear cut crystals, matte silver, antique gold and the like ($100-$150). Obviously, Lia Sophia knows and understands what its customers want and love when it comes to jewelry. The same appears to be true for how the company knows and understands what editors and celebrities want and love, especially during Fashion Week; i.e., a comfy place to hang out, grab a snack, have a drink, and look at some pretty nice gems. 

Around the Neck and Off the Wrist, Zingara!
Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

Well done, Lia Sophia, well done. ADWB, C&C’s editor-at-large

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row