Monday, April 28, 2014

In the Red


Every year I look forward to attending the Fall press event at pr firm Red Light. It’s always easier to get a handle on the latest fashions when I can see every line they represent in one central location. While not every collection captured my interest, there was enough great merchandise to report on.

I might as well begin with handbags since the right one can make or break an outfit. ANAT MARIN’s collection skews toward boho chic. My picks include the hair calf clutch with turquoise accent on the flap, the matte faux croc handbags and a fab snakeskin oversized satchel ­ great for work or weekend getaways. Find more info at www.anatmarin.com.

Anat Marin Puts the Accent on the Flap
Photo Credit: M. McKenzie

For ladylike dressing there’s HUTCH. I found a charming range of dresses in their exclusive prints and a gorgeous color blocked brushed wool blend topcoat. It’s also available in grey/black/metallic dot gold. Perfect for cocktails is the subtle gold leopard jacquard sleeveless sheath and a perfect choice for any age. www.hutch-design.com

Hutch's Topcoat Blocks-Out the Rest! 
Photo Credit: M. McKenzie

DARLING always offers pretty, feminine dresses and separates and this go round was no exception. I particularly love the Œ50s inspired blue lace sheath (very Dolce and Gabbana) that was a standout among a strong collection. 

Darling's Classic Style Keeps C&C's Feet in Two Centuries.
 Photo Credit: M. McKenzie

At FOREVER UNIQUE I like the faux leather trendy short jackets. There’s a zip trimmed fit and flared version that is very reminiscent of Thierry Mugler and the Œ80s. I personally prefer a bit more “today” so I must mention a gorgeous black/white houndstooth princess line dress that I must own! It even has side pockets.

Forever Unique - Debate Black and White as Much as You Want, Pockets Win Hands' Down!
 Photo Credit: M. McKenzie

Like Darling, SEE U SOON is a London-based rtw firm. What stands out for me is a chic, sophisticated one-button coat in camel wool that could easily pass for Celine’s trendsetting version that’s been the hit of the fall runway. At least, this one is affordable and just as elegant.

 Dat Coat!
C&C Photobombing See U Soon's Offering.
Photo Credit: M. McKenzie
 
Leave it to the Canadians to come up with interesting cold weather clothes. Montreal-based DEX offers a terrific group of clingy knits and roomy sweaters. I love all the ones that combined textures, patterns and interesting weaves. The offbeat color palette make this collection even more unique and eye catching. 

Dex Makes the Cosby Sweater Relevant and Stylish!
Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

Another Canadian brand is FREED & FREED. This is a 4th generation family owned firm so you know that they must be doing something right to stay in business so long. I drooled over gorgeous English tweed parkas, jackets and multi season coats with fur-trimmed hoods. Each item is beautifully finished both inside and out. Sure you’ll pay for quality but every coat will last forever and look great in the process. P.S. they also carry men’s outerwear as well in case you’re so inclined. 

Freed & Freed - Canadians Know How to Weather a Long Winter:  Look Fabulous!

 Photo Credit: M. McKenzie

Last but definitely not least is my favorite collection, CWB (Comes With Baggage), a line of carefully curated vintage clutch bags. What sets them apart are the messages written in script on the front of each clutch. The sayings are very tongue-in-cheek and can range anywhere from “What are you bitches lookin’ at?” to “White is the new black.” Carrying one of these will definitely turn heads and isn't that what we all want to do? 

See more at www.ComesWithBagage.com.

CWB - Your Baggage Now Comes With Its Own Set of Issues!
Photo Credit: M. McKenzie


Thursday, April 24, 2014

THE JEWELRY SHOW


I was intrigued when I happened to spot an ad for The Jewelry Show at the Pratt Mansions on Fifth Avenue. This two-day event (opened to the public) featured gorgeous antique, estate, vintage, costume and designer jewelry and vintage handbags. So naturally I had to see what all the fuss was about since I'm a sucker for vintage anything. 

While the show featured primarily fine jewelry from various vendors around the country, I zeroed in on Gem De La Gem, the only vendor showcasing gorgeous vintage Hermes scarves and a small selection of designer handbags and fabulous high end costume jewelry. I loved the cuff bracelets and the unique and bold necklaces. 

For info on upcoming antique and jewelry shows go to www.jmkshows.com. For dates and locations. C&C.

Monday, April 21, 2014

SEARS FALL 2014 FASHION EVENT


Let me make it clear right now, I don¹t normally shop at Sears because frankly I prefer a more high fashion look (but at a great price). However, when I got an invite to preview the fall collections I decided it was time to see what¹s what. And I’m glad I did. Some lines are aimed strictly at the very young such as the Seventeen Collection, Joe Boxer etc. Surprisingly I did find some terrific office and late day apparel and accessories in the Kardashian Kollection. Who knew? 

I particularly liked the red crepe, long sleeved crop top that shows just a sliver of skin and the matching mid-calf pencil skirt. Also nice were the simple body con dresses (think Victoria Beckham) that were on target in terms of styling and price. The Kardashian handbag line was perfect for the woman on the go. I liked the roomy satchels, the envelope bags with nice hardware and the Chanel-inspired handbags ­ all chic and affordable. 

Bongo, while aimed primarily at the Gen X crowd offered some terrific items that I’d like to own myself. You must check out the fun intarsia sweaters (I’m a sucker for intarsia) that look expensive but aren’t. Also trendy, the camo separates for easy weekend wear. 

At Metaphor there’s a twist on the classics best exemplified by the leather trimmed coats available in red or black tweed. 

There’s a lot more to the Sears fall lineup including very nice costume jewelry, men’s wear and much more so don¹t turn up your nose ­ it’s not crap, just very well priced, stylish merchandise. I have spoken! 

Until next time, C&C.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stop the Press


I came across a fab jewelry line during fashion week called RAJE. Designer Randy Luna's basically unisex collection has a definite Game of Thrones feeling. Bold brass neckpieces and bracelets call to mind the Middle Ages in a striking way. Personally I could live in his chunky leather and brass cuff but so could any of my make friends. This collection isn't for the shrinking violet and I loved it! Find Randy at www.rajestyles.com.

RAJE - Jewelry for All, Including Red and Purple Wedding Attendees


Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Edit


Wow! There's nothing I like better than to find a new source for rtw and accessories. On my last foray to the Javits Center I discovered  EDIT, a carefully curated fashion event within the regular  accessory/rtw shows I normally attend there. The idea behind this new show is to provide a showcase for new and exciting fashion forward resources to meet the press and buyers all in one compact place.

Some of the key trends for fall include surface relief, rough textures, coated fabrics, minimalism, linear shapes, ethnic influences, embroidery and beading, armor like tailoring, digital prints,  translucent materials, color-blocking, and sportswear silhouettes.  Making a selection from a multitude of terrific resources wasn¹t easy, but a few were really outstanding. HANDKERCHIEF blew me away with its focus on avant garde yet infinitely wearable fashions. I'm a sucker for trompe l'oeil effects and a faux collared blue wool, 3/4 coat with giant patch pockets that unzip to form accordian pleats is fabulously practical. Think of it, no more need to carry a handbag! More cheeky is a structured white wool coat with the silhouette of a magician's hand pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It¹s in contrasting black and takes up practically the whole front of the coat. Handkerchief even offers a cross body "magician-hat" leather bag with detachable white rabbit coin purse. Or look at the complete collection, go to www.x-tige.com.

At FUTURE SHOCK the message was graphic shapes with black white and grey the dominating color scheme. Your best bet would be the zip front coats in charcoal with contrasting sleeves and the schoolgirl knife pleated white or black skirts.

I was impressed with ELIZABETH ROBERTS collection. It¹s perfect for the professional woman but offers just that extra bit of edge. For example, a charcoal and black belted, quilted moto jacket is sleek and just long enough to cover the tush for a flattering line. Roberts offers a sophisticates twist on the camouflage print in a sleek brown/sand/black pencil skirt. Even the classic peacoat is freshened up.  It's nipped in the waist and double breasted and has with contrast color banded sleeves. It looks great with a coordinating softly pleated skirt with contrast waistband.

Toronto-based designer DENNIS MEROTTO offered a fresh modern perspective that caught my eye. Particularly effective were his outerwear pieces, especially the cotton/wool knit coat in black/cream, and a lush alpaca blend draped full length coat. For late day go for the cross tucked and belted printed silk satin dress also available in maxi length. Not cheap by any means but if you¹re looking for that special item for your wardrobe check out the collection at
www.dennismerotto.com.

ASKALICE (yes that¹s the correct spelling) is a new shoe resource to tap into. Think high fashion/bridge prices! Classic styles are reinterpreted such as darling booties, pumps, and flats that feature unique color blocking, mesh, zippers, cuffs and Velcro closures. My favorite - the black pyramid heeled ankle boot with side gusset. Go to www.askaliceshoes.com.

Getting back to rtw, I spotted a charming collection from Denmark called GANNI. I loved the ladylike black/white houndstooth dress with pleated skirt, an easy blouson cashmere mélange v-neck dress, but especially the glamorous and cozy wrap coat in baroque rose. For more go to
www.ganni.com

Definitely aimed at the fashion forward trendsetter under thirty is BIG PARK. Seoul-based designer Park Youn Soo offered up a striking, fun line of separates, jackets and outerwear pieces in leather, wool and rabbit fur. Shapely jackets, flippy skirts and oversized pullovers in poly/cotton blends looked terrific. Find more at www.parkyounsoo3.com.  All in all Edit was a terrific show and I can't wait for the next.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Accessory Highlights: Fall 2014


As you've probably figured out by now, writing about accessories is one of my favorite things to do. While covering the rtw portion of the shows is important to give you a hint of the trends to come, there's also a lot of other stuff that happens during that week and the one following. Trade shows, and press events are a great way to find new as well as established accessory resources. This go round I want to focus on handbags since we never can have enough, n'est pas?

SHANA LUTHER HANDBAGS is a two-year old resource that is manufactured right here in Brooklyn. The designs are modern, clean and impressed me with the quality craftsmanship. For me, Shana¹s capacious leather totes have style to spare and are worth checking out. The "William" tote will hold everything you need for work or weekend shopping. Find more great styles at www.shanaluther.com.

Another handbag designer making totes is BAXTER DESIGNS. These have a totally different look and will appeal to the hip, more bohemian customer. The luxury totes (and clutches) are made in designer fabrics with silk linings and come in an assortment of fabulous prints and a wide range of colors. Check them out at www.BaxterDesigns.com.




Calling All Bohemians... Baxter is on Line One!
Photo Credit: M. McKenzie

I skipped over the rtw during RAOUL's fashion week presentation. Instead I zeroed in on the range of handbags on display. I loved the black/white graphic looks with touches of red, while the use of luxurious leathers, calf hair and quilting touches made me a convert. Now if only I could afford one of Raoul's top quality designer bags!

RAOUL'S RTW - Amazing, Right?


C&C Says: "Raoul's Bags Stopped the Show..."
At least for her!



Photo Credit: M. McKenzie


Speaking of designer bags, DRESSAGE was a collection to drool over. Made in Italy (natch), the heritage embodies the finest combination of materials and textures. Each bag is a chic yet refined work of art. In addition to classic handbags there were weekend carryall pieces geared to both sexes. Save up for one of these beauties since the styling throughout is timeless and made to last a lifetime. If you love the "Hermes" aesthetic you will die for one of these handbags. Check them out at www.DressageCollection.com.

JOANNA MAXHAM is a name I had not heard of before now. So I'm certainly glad that I stumbled across her beautifully crafted handbag collection. These designs are perfect for the uptown girl who wants a bag that's both stylish and roomy enough to carry all her everyday crap (and that includes just about everyone I know). I loved the convertible pleated satchel with raised handle detailing in paprika calf leather with ribbed satin lining. Clutch bags are in and Joanna does an oversized envelope version with wide contrasting band. It's offered in white calf with black or dark taupe bands and paprika with cognac. A winner in either color way. Visit online at www.joannamaxham.com

Regardless of Faith, C&C Believes Joanna Maxham Knows Best What to do with a Fatted Calf:  Make Amazing Bags!




 Photo Credit:  Joanna Maxham




That's enough to get your shopping juices flowing. Next up I'll review a brand new trade show entry called Edit. Stay tuned. C&C

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row