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True Fashion – The Legend of Lady White Snake, Starring Daphne Guinness

15 Feb

Text, Vivian Kelly

Reported by Vivian Kelly and Laura Wood

Photograph of Daphne Guinness by Markus Klinko & Indrani

WHAT: a Grade-A platinum fashion moment at 172 Norfolk Street, NYC

It’s taken me two days to fully digest the events of Sunday night. It’s not often I get a dose of pure undiluted high octane fashion.

Laura and I arrived at the Angel Orensanz Foundation for Contemporary Art at 10:00p.m. on the dot. THIS was NOT something either of us wanted to miss a second of. We had high hopes for this event, in part due to two days worth of experiencing the polished sterility of the Lincoln Center Venues and the accompanying jitters of sucking down one too many cans of  free Diet Pepsi. We were actually look forward to visiting Alphabet City as the Lower East Side is the only remaining vestige of “NYC Eighties cool” that still survives. Going down there is fun and makes me feel 25 again.

The Angel Orensanz venue is the artist’s creation and is a cross between a Russian Orthodox Church and a nightclub, in other words, Limelight, when it just started and was THE place to go and dance until 2:00a.m. before going off to Florent in MeatPacking to have something to eat before trying to score a taxi willing to take us back to Laura’s apartment in the Village.

It was obvious from the moment we entered that this was “a happening”. First, there were the photographs – giant sized ones of Daphne Guinness posing in her astounding McQueen Couture, which she wore in the film. Catwoman has nothing on Daphne who was dressed up as a high fashion villainess in a red catsuit and insanely high heels. I’ll need to win Powerball to scratch this itch as I mentally “bought” four of the photographs that would look amazing in  The Fashion Examiner office and  fireplace room. Total cost for four of Markus Klinko & Indrani’s fabulous photos of Daphne = $160,000. These photos really DO “combine story-telling with cutting-edge fashion”.

Next, we ambled over to the well-stocked bar – no yukky plastic glasses here – and sat down in a padded bamboo gilt chair just as Daphne made her entrance in an incredible chainmail gown and a head ornament loaded with what I’m assuming were probably actually diamonds rather than Swarovski Crystals.

The film itself was genius – a cross between a poetry reading and a couture fashion show. It may sound odd, but it was spectacular. On our way out, Laura stopped to chat with a young female editor to get her take. Like us, she was blown away and was going to Google the film and read Neil Gaiman’s poem. The point of the film though, was the EXPERIENCE and it got a 10/10 on that score. After this visual feast, we got an auditory one – a performance by the very talented Viva Girls, who were perched like a row of angels in blue ball gowns to the right of the massive screen.

The grand finale to the event was a capsule collection of gowns from the new Genghis Khan collection designed by GK Reid. We loved the hooded one and his concept of transformative styling and dressing – something we can totally get behind.

SO, which of Markus Klinko & Idrani’s photographs of Daphne Guinness would YOU like to take home with you?

Daphne in her Chain mail Couture


Unique Jewelry at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum Store: Heidi Design

2 Dec

Text, Vivian Kelly

I’ve belonged to the Aldrich off and on over the years. I’m in an “on” period now and suspect it’s going to last this time, largely due to my meeting with the Museum’s Gift Store Manager/Curator, Lise Sharfin.

Lise is a talented curator and tastemaker who selects the most compelling collections.She has a BFA and an MFA and is a studio artist herself with an extensive retail management background, which combines both sensibilities. This positions her to inform her selections in the most interesting way possible.

She’s got a knack for selecting the unusual and there’s the jewelry, that’s got interesting historical references attached to it.

 Some examples Lise gives to illustrate her point include: Judith Ripka =classism,  Temple St Claire =Florentine Renaissance, and Eddie Borgo = Punk.”

This does not mean that if you can’t afford the above there aren’t other great options if you don’t want to spend thousands. There are collections such as Leslie Janson‘s repurposed vintage line and Bay Area based Heidi Metal Design, in the $200-400 range that are unique and bold and keepers in your jewelry box. The designer, Heidi Nahser Fink is the Jewelry Designer, her Design Studio is Heidi Metal Design is a consummate craftsman in  who’s studied goldsmithing and a self-taught silversmith. Her designs are inspired by Medieval and Elizabethan jewelry. She created the Scepter and Ring for the “Red Queen” in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonder Land.

Lise is always sourcing for new and interesting additions for the Museum Store, but you can be sure that the jewelry selected will reintroduce different areas within a contemporary context, which is an entry point for the audience to understand the jewelry. Secondary to that it’s all about their beauty, their craftsmanship, and the price point.”

Watch the video below, in which Lise talks about some of the jewelry she has selected for the Aldrich’s Store, and don’t forget to jump on line and knock-off  some Holiday Shopping!

For more information about the Museum Store, contact Lise Sharfin at

To learn more about the Aldrich, visit

Hair Heaven – Leonard Zagami’s “Camelot at Dawn” Coupe

1 Dec

Text, Vivian Kelly

Anne Garside’s coffee table book, Camelot at Dawn delivered a sorely needed fashion moment in the midst of the disheartening 8 day power outage. The photos shot by Orlando Suero, were ones I’d never seen before.


Most of the photos we see of Jacqueline Kennedy are of her as as the First Lady or in her later incarnation as the mysterious “Jackie O”, dodging paparazzo  Ron Gallela.

The images of  Jacqueline Kennedy and her husband, shot in May 1954, in Georgetown, have that “easy” American style that put US fashion designers on the map. I related to Jackie’s khaki capris, striped shirt and flats, because that’s my daily uniform, but that hair! The short wavy haircut she had combined with bubblegum pearl necklaces and large gold clip earrings got my heart racing.  Like turned to love when I got to the image of her lighting the candles for her first formal dinner party. The white strapless evening gown was stunning combined with the famous three strand pearl necklace and the haircut. I could get the necklace at Carolee but the hair – not so easy.

Jackie, before her first formal dinner party, Georgetown, 1954. Photo by Orlando Suero.

The only two guys who would really “get” this obsession were Anthony Palermo and Leonard Zagami. Off to New York I went to go show them the book and hopefully to walk out with a modern day version of this cut. If you’re not familiar with their work, have a look at their blog, and you’ll see what I mean by “editorial”.

While sitting in Leonard’s chair, getting my so-so short coupe transformed into a modern day version of Jackie Kennedy’s 1954 cut, Anthony [Leonard] came by to chat in between a barrage of color clients. I come to A-L for the outstanding hair services but even more so for their company; we share a mutual passion for hair that can transform you and can make you feel like your favorite fashion icon.

and Leonard [right], my go-to editorial hair gurus”]“Have you seen the Vogue covers book” asked Anthony. “Uh, no…” I confessed, feeling decidedly out of it but happy I had something new to get inspired about, while getting the haircut of my dreams. An added bonus was that Leonard told me about his Uncle, Salvatore Zagami, a noted sculptor/artist who brought works from his personal collection for the Salon’s FNO party back in September. Luckily for me, he left some of them in the salon and I enjoyed them as Leonard worked on my hair.

A Salvatore Zagami Sculpture, photographed by Anthony Palermo.

Considering my hair is finer than Jackie’s the cut I walked out with was as close as I could get. Leonard suggested playing with a strong mousse, such as Nexxus Mouse Plus Volumizing Styler. The key was to scrunch my hair to create the waves I wanted. Perfect, AND easy.

Leonard's modern version of Jackie Kennedy's 1954 Hairdo

Hair is like fashion. As with fashion, as soon as a collection is done, the question  “what’s next?” arises. As I got up, I asked Anthony about “the next step. Maybe the Lady Diana cut?” His eyes lit up and he said, “and maybe blonde too?”

Princess Diana's Short Haircut


Over the Holidays, we’re going to Foxwoods. While the others at the poker tables, I’ll be at the Lady Diana Retrospective, studying her hair and style. On a world tour, the exhibition “Diana, A Celebration” stops Sept. 16 through Jan. 15 at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket. Graeme Murtonand Nick Grossmark, art handlers for the Althorp Estate in England,  installed the iconic gown worn by Diana at her 1981 wedding to Charles, Prince of Wales.

Art handlers Nick Grossmark (black gloves) and Graeme Murton (white gloves) travel to each tour stop for "Diana, A Celebration," responsible for setting up the exhibition (wearing gloves to prevent damage). The duo are standing next to Diana's iconic ivory silk and lace wedding gown.

After that experience, I’ll undoubtedly have  a Lady Di moment and head back to the A-L Salon to make my vision a reality, with a lot of help from my friends there.

The Lumete EyeWear Collection – Glasses as Unique as Fine Jewelry

30 Oct

Text, Vivian Kelly

Right after NYFW, there are the trade shows, the big ones at the Piers and Javitz and the smaller Capsule show, staged in an art gallery in the West Twenties. I made the trek with new fashion friend, LA based Nathaniel Smith. We’d met at the BING Lounge in the sumptuous Mandarin Oriental Hotel, after I admired his unique custom handbag on display there. His new label is called Tradesrogue, an artisan leather house.

That Saturday at Capsule, we talked with and saw a few dozen vendors and their collections. One of our outstanding finds was the Lumete EyeWear line. There was a swirl of activity around their table so we went to investigate.

Lumete is an interesting name so is their mission statement.

“Lumete (prounounced “lou-met”) is derived from the words lumen and amulet. The Renaissance alchemical concept of Lumen Naturae refers to the light hidden in all matter, which alchemists believed could be released and transformed through their work. An amulet is an object used for protection and luck. Eyeglasses are beautiful amulets that adorn your face, protect your eyes, and help you see clearly. Metaphorically, they connect your inner vision and your perception of the world.” 

The two -woman team [Clara Herrera and Barbara Warren] we met, combine two key elements – art and commerce. Clara [the creative’s ] resume includes working as Creative Director and product designer for The Sarut Group, and photography editor for MTV Networks and The New York Sun.

Barbara [the business brains], worked as a hedge fund attorney for Wall Street law firms Fried Frank and White & Case. The two happened to be  neighbors, and decided to collaborate on something they were both passionate about.

A few questions we got answered were: How Do you know a pair of frames are really handmade?

Answer: Look for a core wire in the stems. If you see the wire, you know that they are handmade.

This is important because you’d THINK that if you pay upwards of $350 for a pair of designer frames, that of COURSE they are handmade. Wrong, they are not, and buyer beware. Some big names who license out to eyewear conglomerates don’t always deliver the quality you’d expect at the prices they charge.

Although Clara and Barbara seem low key, they’ve made impressive progress with their fledgling line. At the time of the show, their innovative but practical frames are available in 18 doors, thanks to support from some blogging heavy hitters such as The Cherry blossom girl, Gala Darling and support from style maker Dita Von Teese and a following of  indie bands, who like to wear their Lumets while performing.

These frames are not for you if you tend to toss your glasses carelessly on the counter or the floor of your car. Buy a pair of these and as the Lumete girls said, “you’ll come to consider them to be like jewelry”.

Lumete Eyewear Co Contact info:

tel:  212 477 8066

119 Mott St., Ste. 4, New York, NY 10013

Lisa Perry’s Modern Take on the Iconic Pan Am Stewie

22 Sep

Text, Vivian Kelly

The Right Time and the Right Place: “The Pan Am Era”, circa 1963

My NYFW mates, Mark Behnke, Men’s Editor for Fashion Tribes and “Video Vixen” Lisa Johnson, Editor in Chief of Lisa Johnson Fitness, couldn’t wait to meet the crew of “The Real Stewardesses of Pan Am”. Unfortunately, by the time we raced over from the Donna Karan store and the Marissa Berenson Book signing, our targets had flown the coop. We still got our Pan Am Stewie fix though, as there were models dressed in the blue retro uniform handing out airplane snacks and beverages. Once we fueled-up, we settled in and started exploring the all white store. I was transported back to the early Sixties, a period in time I’m utterly enamored with. I actually DID fly Pan Am in 1963, but as an 11 month old infant, sadly I don’t remember much. Ten years later, I caught the end of the “Pan Am Era” jetstream, when I flew Pan Am , New York to Paris, and had one of the best meals of my young life -on a plane! What I remember even more than the food was how utterly beautiful the stewardesses were, with their little hats, perfect figures and immaculate hair and makeup. Barbie couldn’t hold a candle to them. Years later, when the airlines changed their title to “flight attendant”, the glamour left the building. They may as well have called them “air waitresses”.

The Lisa Perry store is a like a very cool apartment you want to spend the day in so you can look at all the coffee table books, [such as Airline], study the Roy Lichtenstein prints on the wall and try on each and every one of the colorful Sixties’ style dresses hanging on the fixtures. For a fashionista who’s enamored of this era, it’s like being deposited into a wonderful penny candy store where you want to try everything on but don’t know where to start.

A Japanese businessman was holding the last Pan Am logoed bag Lisa had designed. He couldn’t decide if he should buy it. It wasn’t leather, but it was “a great design and a wonderful piece of retro. My wife will kill me if I buy this, but…”

I encouraged him, “If you don’t buy it tonight, you’re going to kick yourself later. There won’t be any more, and you know that once you see the show, you’ll want it even more. You can tell your wife you’ll share it with her.”

He bought it.

On our way out, my initial disappointed on missing the cast evaporated when we got to chat with Lisa Perry herself about the Limited Edition bags she’d designed for FNO and to commune about our shared love for this legendary time in history.

Ms. Perry told us her collaboration with the highly anticipated TV show, The Real Stewardesses of Pan Am was suggested to her by Vogue magazine. When I asked if she would design a Pan Am suit she laughed and said she could design a whole collection based on that but only after researching the original suits. Stay tuned for the upcoming show episodes and for Ms. Perry’s Pan Am inspired suits. If the limited edition bags she put out are any indication [most were snapped up on FNO] of the success of this future collection, then she’ll have a gang-busters hit on her hands, as will ABC.

Boo! Meet your scariest bad guy at the Aldrich Museum’s “Barrier and Trigger” Installation by Type A

11 Jul

Text, Vivian Kelly

As I make my final preparations for the babes and bikinis trip to Miami [Mercedes Benz Miami Fashion Week Swim] I wanted to discuss something a little more high brow. The Culture Vulture in me loves one of the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art’s latest exhibits – TRIGGER by Type A.

 We made sure to meet the artists who created this installation, Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin [together, they = Type A]
which addressed the topic of fear – a universal emotion, if there ever was one.

Type A’s  installation had us hooked so much so that we were the last to leave, after a nice chat with the artists and Aldrich’s Exhibition Director, Richard Klein.

The purpose of the project, the duo explained, was “to explore the reasons Americans feel the need to arm themselves.” This mixed-media installation is comprised of an ongoing series of targets, 35 x 23 inches arranged in neat rows which simulate the feeling of actually being in a target range.

FE friend, Helmut Brenner and I compared notes and came to the conclusion that the “bad guys” in the target range posters reminded us of the scariest stereotypes from our favorite Seventies’ cop shows an movies: Kojak, Mannix, The French Connection.

Richard Klein’s poster was the #1 seller in May.

We were each fascinated for different reasons. Helmut, a businessman who runs the Brenner Foundation] liked how the artists had combined notoriously non-paying art with a very commercial endeavor. The photographic images the artists produced  have actually been printed and sold as commercial gun targets by Law Enforcement Targets, Inc., a Minnesota-based company.

Me – I loved seeing all of my scariest bad guys all in one place and facing up to them and finally – FINALLY – putting those bogeymen to rest. It may sound silly, but the walk through was cathartic.

We’re all afraid of SOMETHING. Maybe it’s of the sketchy/scary guy hanging out in a phone booth, or a Rottweiler walking down the street with what “must be”  drug-dealers. Maybe your bogeyman is more “out there” .  Perhaps  it’s something out of “Night of the Living Dead”?

This is worth a walk-through. You have until December 31 to face-up to your scariest baddie.*If one of the targets really strikes your fancy, you can order one of your very own through Law Enforcement Targets, Inc.

To learn more about Type A, visit the

Grooving on Graffiti: Crash Matos at Tumi

11 Apr

Text, Vivian Kelly

Some things in life grow on you. One of those things, for me, is graffiti. As a child growing up in the secluded enclave of Old Greenwich, CT, it was SCARY and EXCITING to ride into the City and to see the subway cars our Metro North train passed on 125th Street. They were completely covered in graffiti. The scary part was 125th Street, which equaled the wanton corruption I saw on films such as “The French Connection” and the Bond classic, “Live and Let Die”. Some of the best actors to hit the silver screen made appearances in these two period blockbusters: Gene Hackman, and Roger Moore and Jane Seymour.

James Bond, Starring Jane Seymour and Roger Moore

Graffiti was glamorous too and appealed to the rich trust funders who hung out with Andy Warhol and patronized Jean- Michel Basquiat. Uptown fashion designer, Douglas Hannant, even created an evening gown, years later. His fall 2010 collection could be called “the Basquiat Collection”. It was influenced by the artists’ work and was the designer’s  hommage to the early Eighties downtown scene and a long-ago unforgettable party he attended, according to a source. I don’t doubt it, having attended just such a party back then, with every other person in attendance boasting credentials such as “assistant to Patrick Demarchelier, a model who walked for Steven Sprouse”, etc. etc.

These days, graffiti is ubiquitous and can border on pretension. I ran into a reclusive graffiti artist, manning his booth on Union Square. He had some riveting designs, of an eye, hand-painted on “boy-beater” tees. He was uninterested in conversation until I handed over twenty-odd dollars for one of his designs. Even then, “no photographs”. My friend, uber-twitter-er, Lisa Johnson, drolly commented, “With that attitude, we’ll probably be seeing him at the next NYFW”.

Upon receiving her facebook message, I chuckled, half-soaked, while waiting for the X-Town bus on 14th Street and shot her a response back.

“YES, chances are good that we will be seeing this guy in September.”