Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Let’s be clear about one thing, I never wear blue jeans! It’s not that I have anything against denim, it’s just that I can’t stand the look of worn, faded, distressed or otherwise torn jeans, it literally makes me sick. That said, I was invited to preview the fall collection from HENRY & BELLE, a Chicago-based jean brand that’s been around since 1931 (so you know they’re doing something right). Yes, they carry the classic blue denim jeans but it was a super skinny, coated pair available in bronze or sable that got my juices flowing. Dressed up or down these add a fresh new look and can work day or night with the right tops.

Henry & Belle - Jeans for All, Even the Jean-ophobes! 

Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

Other winners included the ethnic pattern in autumnal shades of gold, a black on black baroque version and the black side stripe (great for elongating the leg) pant with zipper detail in petrol grey. There’s a lot more to choose from but if you’re looking for something different and chic check out this brand. The best part – with every sale at Henry & Belle, a portion is set aside for charitable causes. You are entitled to be part of this by choosing the cause that will receive a donation on your behalf. 

Henry & Belle's Options - Better Looking Than Wall Street's


Visit henryandbelle.com/rag to learn about the causes, then enter your purchase code to voice your choice. Once you’ve done that, the company will make it possible for you to hear directly from the individuals it supports. Pretty terrific, no? Consider me converted. Until next time, C&C.

Monday, April 15, 2013

True Couture

We all know that there’s a lot of crap out there so when I chance upon some really top of the line stuff I feel obligated to pass on the info to you.

Remember Kathy Ireland, the ex model? Well, guess what. Not only is she famous for designing furniture, et al, now she’s into designing top quality cashmere apparel. KATHY IRELAND for BRODIE CASHMERE just launched a fall collection of sweaters, accessories, tunics, wraps etc fashioned from the finest Mongolian yarn offered in wonderfully subtle colors and in sizes ranging from s through xl. Let’s face it, cashmere is the king of knits and this debut collection is spot on for style and quality.

Why not dress up that understated cashmere ensemble with a bit of bling. Nothing garish you understand just a bit of subtle sparkle.

Enter BOMBAY JEWELLERY - with two "L's" and its delicate diamond collection. I fell in love with the range of its "Naturally Pink" diamond rings, particularly the designs that featured stones of one carat or less. Sometimes less truly is more as this collection proves. Bombay Jewels also offers delicate drop earrings, studs and more but it’s the rings that stand out. Not cheap by any means but worth the money. What’s that old saying, diamonds are a girl’s best friend? How true! 

Pink Rocks, Pink Rocks, Pink Rocks!  Bombay Jewellery's Pink Diamond Ring 
is C&C's Favorite Rock Star!

**Thank you, Ana Martins PR for Letting C&C See Bombay Jewellery!

Now that I’ve dressed you it’s time to add the finishing touch and that’s French perfume, bien sur! HAYARI PARIS is the newest collection of luxury fragrances from the couture house of Nabil Hayari, a Parisian fashion designer. Let me tell you right off the bat, I’m very particular when it comes to perfumes and the packaging. 

Hayari - Beautiful Perfume, Elegantly Contained!

Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

I want a fragrance and bottle design that will stand the test of time since I save the prettiest bottles. Hayari is offering three gorgeous scents that I would happily purchase. “Goldy” reflects a warm, powdery, woody glow and is a blend of jasmine and orange blossom, sandalwood and cedar. “Broderie” (my favorite) features lily and gardenia, complemented by sandalwood, amber and patchouli. “Only for Her” blends grapefruit, Egyptian jasmine, peony and magnolia, with hints of sandalwood, patchouli and vanilla. So far the fragrances are available exclusively a C.O. Bigelow in Manhattan and retail for $145 for a 1.7 oz bottle. For more info go to www.bigelowchemist.com.

Now that I’ve taken care of your appearance why not go all the way and make your living arrangements “couture” as well? Enter LALIQUE and the introduction of a brand new collection of Art deco-inspired furniture, interior design accessories and –wait for it – luxury bed linens. Internationally renowned designers, Lady Tina Green and Piero Mingarelli have created the entire Lalique Maison collection produced by master craftsmen in black or white lacquer or ebony wood detailed with the magnificent crystal that the brand is famous for.

Lalique - At Home and at Rest 

Photo Credits:  M. McKenzie

Before you get carried away let’s go back down to earth since the prices are definitely in the couture category but a girl can dream. Why not settle for a piece of Lalique jewelry or perhaps a small vase or perfume flacon? In any case it doesn’t cost anything to dream so stop by the Lalique boutique and start training your eye. Couture isn’t always about price so why settle for crap?

 Until next time, C & C.

SHOW and TELL: Part II

Fashion week is officially over but the hunt for great design continues. I checked out the trade shows and reviewed my notes on the two fashion lounges, (the Daily Suite at the Stone Rose and Nolcha media brunch event at the Yotel). It’s not always easy to separate the wheat from the chaff but I found enough talent to pass on the news to you. 

By now you can probably guess that I have a passion for accessories (and shoes) since it’s one of the easiest ways to update your wardrobe without breaking the bank. A pretty bauble can do just that and I found GLITTERINGS bold and beautiful cocktail rings fit the bill nicely. From the Rock Envy range each stunning ring is designed to illuminate the Swarovski crystals in a contemporary setting. The collection also includes pendants and earrings but I prefer the contemporary look of the rings.

Glitterings' Rock Envy Line - Jealousy Comes in More Colors than Green!

Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

JILL ZARIN’s extensive jewelry collection offers a more classic appeal, especially the Central Park and Chinatown groups. There are a variety of pendants suspended from delicate gold chains which I’d like to see worn in multiples.

 Team Jill:  Still Wanting to Hang Things... Better Now That is Fab Jewelry!

Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

Necklaces continue to be the most coveted jewelry accessory and the variety offered at AMY DELSON JEWELRY took my breath away. We’re talking semi precious stones , Czech glass, vintage gold, coins and polished brass just to give you an idea of what’s on offer. From a simple textured brass choker on a gold plated chain to and onyx, crystal and silver three strand necklace, this collection has it all. 

If you’re into bracelets they have them as well to order with or without charms. 

You know that I tend to go on and on about handbags and I have no plans to stop now since I found two terrific new lines. JESS RIZZUTI produces her handbags right here in good old NYC while designing each pattern by hand. Not too shabby! Te collection for fall ranges from eco friendly clutches created from wood cork to polished leather satchels and embossed metallic croc clutch bags. This is a very boutique collection that’s aimed at the fashion individualist. For a spectacular occasion MARJORIE RENNER PARIS is a must have resource for the ultimate minaudiere. I flipped for her geometric shapes, exotic woods and hand painted patterns. To find out more abut this magnificent collection go to www.facebook.com/MarjorieRennerParis

Who knew that ISSEY MIYAKE made handbags? I didn’t until I spotted his Bao Bao collection at the Coterie trade show. These bags are unlike anything you or I have seen before and just as eye catching. 

Composed of polyvinyl chloride on a polyester base, these prism shaped shoppers, flap over clutches and handbags come in a variety of colors as well as platinum and black. Leave it to the Japanese to come up with something so original and striking. 

I understand that necklaces are taking center stage now but I personally love bracelets ( a girl can’t have too many to my way of 

thinking) and LA based design firm, PRESH happens to fit my lifestyle perfectly. Can’t afford an Hermes cuff, but want that elegant classic look, then this line’s for you. Designer Nicole Apostoli’s high quality designs are timeless and just sporty enough. I adored her leather bands adorned with whimsical charms but especially the wide brown (or black) leather bracelet with gold tone plaque engraved with a meaningful phrase or word. 

Presh - Band Together, Right Now!

Photo Credit:  Presh Designer Collective

In addition , for every piece sold, one pair of shoes is donated to someone in need through the shoe charity Soles4Soles. That gives you another reason to shop her line. Check her out at www.presh.net

But enough about accessories for now. I did find a terrific collection that I’m passing along to you. MAYLA is a rtw line out of Stockholm believe it or not ( who knew that the land of deeply depressing murder mysteries could come up with a darling tongue in cheek collection.) The fall 2013 ‘s theme is Hitchcock’s The Birds! 

Except for a fabulous black silk crew neck sweater with Bates Motel vacancy in white across the front that’s sure to cause comment, the rest of the inspiration is more subtly done. For instance, there are tiny black bird on blue ground separates and dresses and sweaters that are charming. For more on the collection go to www.mayla

Until next time, C&C

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row