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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.

The HUNT – Deja Vu – Pucci, Chloe and More

20 Jun

Text, Vivian Kelly

You already know that I’m a fan and frequent shopper at Déjà Vu’s Portchester, NY location for many reasons.


Designer junkies, everything there is designer – no Talbott’s or Ann Taylor or Banana Republic, thank you. Instead it’s Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Chloe etc etc.


Price matters. I’m one for finding a diamond in the rough and bestowing it with some TLC [repairs]. If I wanted something that was in mint condition, I’d buy it at full retail. That however goes against my Yankee thrifty streak and my checkbook just can’t afford it anyhow. Sometimes, though, the item is mint – like the Chloe bag in the Video below.

  1. THE SALES STAFF, ie: Inga and Regina

Inga is a gem. She’s someone who could “sell ice to Eskimos” and she knows how to layer a sale like the sharpest sales associates at Bergdorf. The mark of a great sales person is that they do not allow you to spend your money on something that doesn’t suit you. THAT is called building a long term relationship.

The owner, Regina, knows her fashion and helped me identify a phoney Chanel bag I bought at a vintage fair with the understanding that it was the real deal. It took Regina 5 seconds to determine that it was not.  With her verdict, came 4 things that were “wrong” with the bag.

Although I was heart-broken, I recovered after she showed me a puffy navy nylon Chanel – a Lily Allen cocoon bag. She reduced the price a bit and a few weeks later, I owned a REAL Chanel. It’s currently my favorite bag.

Most recently, I dropped in to see if there were any long flowy dresses on the floor or an amazing bag. Paydirt, on both scores.

In the Video below, Inga shows-off a mint Chloe bag with whipstitch detail and a vintage Pucci dress that’s ideal for my upcoming Miami trip.


6 Dec



QUESTION: What’s the gift that’s never “wrong” for that special girl or woman in your life?

Back in late October, we attended the SAKS FIFTH AVENUE BLOGGER BREAKFAST, in which Saks’ Fashion Merchandising and Communications team partnered with some of their top resources to showcase some of the best bags for fall, Holiday, and Resort 2009.
Teens are strong candidates for Contemporary Market products. We encourage all teens [and tween girls] to give some SERIOUS thought to an upgrade. Forget Juicy Couture and Coach and TRADE UP – now! You can actually pick up a MARC by MARC JACOBS Mini Cosmetic or Pouch bag for $48 and $58, respectively
An actual handbag [“the Little Tate” will run you $158] and there are many more offerings for under $300 – what a mid-range Coach would cost you.

That Saks was focusing on the CONTEMPORARY market and proved beyond a doubt that you can get a great bag from some of the best designers for under $500.

As we arrived at the tail end, we didn’t do the event justice and hit everyone. What we did see and love were: Marc by Marc Jacobs, Rebecca Minkoff and Jane Marvel.
MARC JACOBS became a player in the accessories market when he went high profile in the fall of 1997. That’s when he joined mega-brand, LOUIS VUITTON, and gave the house a radical and much-needed face lift. Some of his biggest hits were in the area of handbags – he just keeps them coming, season after season. Add to this, his win at the 2006 CFDA Awards as “Accessories Designer of the year”, and you’ve got one of the best bag men walking the earth. Why WOULDN’T you buy a bag from this man, especially at these kind of price points? This season, he’s right on trend with colorful pieces including the of the moment purple. The warm gold hardware gives these “entry point” bags a decidedly upscale look.
Visit Marc’s official website, Marc Jacobs to learn more about the man and his brand.

REBECCA MINKOFF started off as a clothing designer but really hit her stride when she designed “the Morning After” bag for her buddy, JENNA ELFMAN. The bag was an immediate smash hit and she continues to make it with different twists every season. Our pick for the Holidays is the “mini Morning After” in purple. The bag’s a winner, combining an of-the-moment color with a classic silhouette, earning it a long term spot in your closet. Ms. Elfman’s not the only celebrity fan. The list includes Hollywood and fashion’s hottest “it girls”: Agyness Deyn, Blake Lively, Sarah Jessica Parker.
We made a bee-line for her neon patent leather ones as soon as we spotted them on the tables. Santa Baby – we’d like one in shocking pink and one in sharpie yellow. Thanks!
To view all of Rebecca’s designs, visit Rebecca Minkoff

OTHER RESOURCES [for next time!]
Botkier, Koorba, Stuart Weitzman, Elizabeth & James, Frye, Rag & Bone, Chan Luu, Belle by Siegerson Morrison, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Foley & Corinna

To view all of Saks’ offerings, visit SAKS FIFTH AVENUE


For press inquiries, contact the Krupp Group, tel. 212-462-4014

>Be & D – the new handbag and shoe collection – spring 2010

14 Sep


TIME & PLACE: Friday, September 11, 2009, 1:00p.m.
35 West 36th Street – the studio/showroom/factory
To clarify, Be & D = Designers Be Inthavong and Steve Dumain.
The intoxicating smell of expensive leather hits you when you get off at the 10th floor at the West 36th Street showroom [the workroom is right there, in the back].
The first thing we spotted was the black grommet GARBO bag which started the Be& D craze @ 4 years back. Clients range from wealthy society ladies and their teen daughters to household names of starlets who make the pages of IN TOUCH on a weekly basis. Most recently, GOSSIP GIRL’S Serena (Blake Lively) is seen carrying the same Be & D Cosette satchel in Green Python (below), $1490, which you can pick up exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue.

About ½ of the styles are made from lamb, and there’s some washed denim – a continuation of the mixed media program from the beginning.
Steve was on hand to preview the collection to the press and launched right into the trends. He jumped nimbly from editor to editor in the small showroom highlighting some of his latest styles as the editors kept piling in.


#1.The return of the bucket bag
#2. The fanny pack
#3.The twist hobo
#4. The little black square bag with a silver chain that “reminds me of the Alien movies in the eighties”.
#5. Faded Denim. Don’t even think eighties distressed denim this is as Rachel Zoe would say, “on a whole other level”. This denim is soft and has a soft cloudlike quality to it.
The bags have a sculptural quality, which is explained by the fact that Steve studied sculpture before he teamed up with Be and got into handbags. We loved them all but our fave was the WOODSTOCK bag in elephant gray a style carried over from spring ’09.
Another great pieces is the relaunched Garbo tote pared down for spring/summer with the big nickel studs on the sides.

FE: What’s your biggest selling point?

STEVE: My concept was to make luxury that was serious but still really light-hearted and fun. I don’t ever want someone to feel stodgy about their fashion.

FE: Who’s wearing you? What’s the line’s big strength?

STEVE: Women 18 – 80. We’re very tactile – it’s either super soft or super bumpy.
My background is in sculpture, international finance. I lived in South America and created vintage luggage.

FE: We haven’t had a chance to meet Be. What is his role?

STEVE: Be comes from a family who made silk in Laos for 20 years. He came here when he was 10. He did jewelry with his mother, and worked in textile design. The family was selling silk to Loro Piana.
We started 5 ½ years ago out of our loft in Brooklyn. We were literally shipping Bergdorf out of our loft, no elevator!

FE With your background, it sounds as if you have the business side covered.

STEVE: My dad covers that and so does Be’s.

There are the “butta soft” shoes in everything from flats to neutrals, some of the best with the house’s now-famous grommet work.
The shoes are made in Italy, this season is the first time there’s a shoe cruise collection.

The belts in Steven’s office caught our eye and we left proudly wearing our new Hermes orange skinny belt that we renamed “the Cartier Love bracelet” belt.

Steven enjoys a good collaboration and he and Be have teamed up with some of the best in the business.
Past collaborations include: Diane Von Furstenberg and Ruffian. Going forward, there are projects with Doo Ri and Rachel Roy. We look forward to seeing the results!

To view more styles from Be&D, visit