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New URL! Come on Over – Miss YOU!

21 Mar

Hi All!

In case you missed it the first time around, this is the new URL so when you come here – please get rid of the “wordpress” part of the address – you don’t need it anymore.

Here’s the new URL to bookmark : )

THE NEW URL IS: http://www.thefashionexaminer.com

Your subscriptions are GREATLY valued. p/s click the SUBSCRIBE button after entering you email on the new site and you’re good to go!

I’m posting every other day as usual and lots of good stories for spring 2012.

THANKS!

Cheers,

Vivian Kelly

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FE Friend Sofia Bak Reports From The Trenches at LONDON Fashion Week: Day 1 of LFW

19 Feb


Text, Sofia Bak
Images Sourced by Vivian Kelly. from designscene.net
Up like bullet at 7, throw on Lako Bukia, Onna Ehrlich-Bell and mom’s black vintage Zorro hat. Running late for the 9am show…as always…lovely new assistant Anna Komolova saves a seat…Antoni & Alison wake everyone up with loud crazy music and a concept to switch your brain into gear…loved 1 dress…out on the street to shoot for Vogue Italia…street style photographers outnumber possible models…I finally find 1…10 more want to shoot her…mostly ended up shooting other street stylers all day…but felt like I got shot more than I shot them…it’s the blue dip dyed hair. Speaking of which…the only street style trend I’m seeing so far is coloured hair…seemed like practically everyone had a splash of colour this season. Took a break with tea & cake at Orla Kiely presentation where models were showing off outfits at a 50’s style dance…did they book the ones who could dance or teach them? Beautiful, romantic…oooh macaroons! Run in at the last minute for (friend) Francesca Marotta debut show, stunned by the Italian widows, bloody tears, great acting skills on the models and lace…lace…lace. Turned away with a seated ticket for Bora Aksu show. Weird. How did they manage to organise that?! Brilliant casting at Felder Felder, lovely to see my girl from Kiev Fashion Days – Alla Kostromichova opening...great prints and new knits. Love. Watched another brilliant fashion film by Ada Zanditon. Found incredible footwear architect Julian Hakes at the exhibitions…shot man in a Another photo by Diamondo Christofilatex woman: Pandemonia…dying by the time Jena Theo show rolled in…but loved every piece. Would buy 99% of it…it’s like they thought…what does Sofia like to wear…baggy black tops and skinny jeans it is.
Photographed by Diamando Christofi, Contributing Editor, London, at Designscene.net
Now hating my life because all I want to do is pass out but I have 468 photos and 98 e-mails to go through (99 by the time I finished this…damn now it’s 101). And you always ask me if I’m LOOKING FORWARD to fashion week and if I’m going to any PARTIES. This is just day 1…in a NUTSHELL!

Think Pink! H&M’s

25 Jan

Text, Vivian Kelly

After having completed my request emails thanks to The Fashion List put together my panel for the AAU “Fashion and the Social Media”, and registered for the IFB Conference on February 8, I started to think about what to wear to NYFW.

My usual in-the-country outfit consists of dark jeans, black leather Superga sneaks, Jack Wills socks, a cotton tee or LaCoste polo and a couple of cashmere sweater layers.

I’ll have to do a little more for NYFW but wasn’t terribly inspired until happening on p. 72. of Harper’s Bazaar February 2012 issue. The page is part of the “Smart Shopping” section and is titled, “Rose Parade”

The text goes like this:

Rose Parade

Pretty? Always. But 

These PERFECT PINKS

also have a little bite.

While I could never envision myself wearing and not toppling in a pair of Yves Saint Laurent shoes [$1,095], they DID make me consider wearing my blush pink ballet slippers out – weather permitting.

The Phillip Lim jumpsuit [$795] reminded me that oh yeah, I DO have a pair of pale pink Banana Republic chinos I scooped up last summer at a consignment shop in Newport, RI.

A Night Out – Holiday Cheer W/ Shiseido at Town & Country’s Visionnaire 5th Avenue Apartment

20 Dec

Text, Vivian Kelly

Last week, I was the “plus one” for a swank event co-sponsored by Town & Country and Shiseido. Contributor Laura Wood and I were there for a veritable laundry list of reasons:

– to chat with her friend, Connor Raus, a digital strategist ad the Creative Director of Digitature and to watch him in action, filming host and stylist, Luciene Salomone

– to check out the decorated apartment

– to watch the Shiseido presentation of the Future Solution LX line, of which I was already a fan. [ Kaplow PR had gifted me Bio- Performance Advanced Super Revitalizing Cream which feels insanely rich and luxurious, even at 6:30 in the morning when I’ve only got one eye lid open. A few colleagues have told me how “rested” I looked recently.]

The event invite promised ” a lip touch-up” which sealed the deal as I can’t ever pass up an opportunity to find a new shade of lipstick, never mind the 30+ tubes of lipsticks and glosses piled behind me on the FE home office shelf.

An added bonus to the affair was to wander about the lovely apartment and to peruse the gorgeous Rizzoli coffee table books. I’ve got MM Personal: From the Private Archive of Marilyn Monroe on its way to me for some much anticipated holiday reading.

Below, a video of host, Luciene Salome discussing the events of the evening.

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

Assouline + Judith Ripka = 1 Great Combo and Contest You Need to Enter

4 Oct

Text, Vivian Kelly

Contests. Been there, done that. Right? Wrong. Walking out of CVS early last Friday morning on a milk run, I scanned my receipt as the register belched out a sheaf of coupons for stuff I don’t want or need: Pampers, box hair color, Doritos – ugh and a come-on of a contest:

“WIN $1,000 – CALL 1-800-998-4396”.

I tossed the receipt out on the way out.

Me, I’d rather pay attention to a contest that gives me a shot at something I care about – like the one posted here. This contest involves beautiful coffee table books that speak of my lifestyle and love for travel and culture [Assouline] and insanely beautiful fine jewelry [Judith Ripka].

A decade or so ago, I had the honor of interviewing Judith herself, on the phone, for a trade jewelry publication I was writing for. What impressed me was her passion for her craft and how sure she was that what she did was “right”, whether or not it happened to be [or not be] “in fashion”. Her jewelry is at once understated but spectacular with a tiny unexpected twist to it.

Since then, the Judith Ripka company has expanded and become a major player at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, has a beautiful shop on 61st and Madison, another in Bal Harbour and at Saks Fifth Avenues nationwide. There’s even a nicer priced Judith Ripka for QVC line.

READ ON, TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CLOSING DAYS OF THIS CONTEST AND HURRY UP AND ENTER TO WIN!

Who WOULDN’T want these delicious “Eclipse” earrings – candy to jewelry-holics such as myself.

There’s a consolation prize, if you don’t win, you can still pick up a copy of her new book, Judith Ripka by Judith, now available at  Assouline stores and online at Assouline.com

HERE, are the contest “deets”.

WHAT:  an exciting Social Media contest where we will be giving away a pair of Eclipse earrings ($625 value) and a signed edition of the new book.

ABOUT THE PRIZE: Ripka’s dazzling Eclipse earrings were featured on Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things episode in November 2010 and are the perfect gift for any special woman in your life, or for yourself.

WHEN: The contest will launch on Friday, September 30th (the same day that the book will be available on http://www.assouline.com) and run through Friday, October 7th.

WHERE: It will live on Assouline’s Facebook Page and Judith Ripka’s Facebook Page.

*Don’t forget to  ‘Like’ both pages to be qualified!

HOW [to win]: Contestants are asked to answer, “How do these earrings reflect your personal style?”

Submit  YOUR answer to judithripka@assouline.com. The winner will be judged on creativity and originality and will be informed the week of October 9th by email.

Gwen Stefani’s s/s2012 L.A.M.B. Collection – When Fashion by a Celebrity is a Good Thing

29 Sep

Text, Vivian Kelly

Celebrities have a bad rap in the fashion business. I’d taken a skeptical stance on the idea of the notion of celebrity as fashion designer, since the days when Kathie Lee Gifford “designed” a line for Wal-Mart, followed by legions of demi celebs such as Paris Hilton who capitalized on their fame to produce shoddy garments they themselves would never actually wear. The fact that THEY themselves wore Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta etc etc. said it all.

There are exceptions however, that show that celebrities CAN [in conjunction with the right team] produce a credible fashion line. The first time I witnessed this was while attending a Justin Timberlake concert at Mohegan Sun, soon after his “Future Sex/Love Sounds” tour hit. Joe Zee did an amazing job styling him and Justin carried that white suit as well as John Travolta did his in “Saturday Night Fever”.

IT wasn’t William Rast, but I recall being stupefied when mid-way through the show, he sang a ballad in a plaid William Rast shirt and jeans. That night, I began reconsidering the celebrity as fashion designer issue and resolved to actually READ the WWD articles about Celebrity X designing a fashion line to see if others besides Justin were getting it right.

Good news. In the ranks of the “getting it right” are Justin Timberlake/William Rast, the Olsen Twins/Elizabeth and James, and the subject of this post, Gwen Stefani/L.A.M.B. Until this NYFW, the closest I got to Gwen’s line was seeing pieces at Nordstrom’s on the floor. I liked what I saw and longed to see her next collection in its entirety to see if she continued to follow-through on her branding message ie: herself  = a fun yet sophisticated version of cool.

A key ingredient for a brand’s success is to create an identity and to stick with your DNA. Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana hit gold early in their career with the severe look of elderly Italian women clad in black crossed with sexy corsets and animal print that showed their idealized woman; one who possesses an intriguing angel-devil personality.

Gwen Stefani has similarly created a believable personality for her L.A.M.B line. She is known as a pop star who mixes classic glamour with funky contemporary clothing resulting in a mix that is the modern equivalent of Eighties’ pop star, Cyndi Lauper. Although physically these two don’t resemble one another, they share that irresistible “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” spirit that I’ve loved since Ms. Lauper debuted it in 1983 on MTV.

This season was my first L.A.M.B. show. I’m calling it a “show” even though technically, it was a presentation, set in the “Box” space – my favorite of the Lincoln Center Fashion Week venues as there’s usually little to no waiting, you can get as close as you want to the clothes and the models obligingly pose for shots.

The presentation was scheduled to start at 2:30p.m, but you wouldn’t have known that from the crowd assembled in the holding area when I arrived at 2:20. Normally tardy editors were in line waiting, snaked around the length of the tent to get what I guessed would be only a very quick glimpse of the latest L.A.M.B. collection and hopefully a look at the chanteuse cum fashion designer herself. [Ms. Stefani was not there, sigh.]

I  wiggled to the front of the 4-deep crowd huddled around the models posing on the white blocks, to scan the 23 looks. There was herringbone plaid, a leather moto jacket, some fun Ikat prints and quite a bit of Noir Jewelry; in short, no huge deviations from the brand’s DNA. Just an hour earlier at lunch with Scott French and Meredith Garcia of The Fashion List at Pain Quotidian, we all agreed that the best designers like writers find their voice and stick with it. Their customers appreciate this; can count on them to deliver the goods. Make no mistake – consistency is not boring, it is an asset.

A few months ago, a stroll on the floor at Nordstrom’s Westchester Mall verified this. Marc Jacobs Mark by Marc and L.A.M.B. stood out, because they didn’t need any store signage to identify them. That odd but adorable tweak like a teeny tiny print on a puff sleeve blouse- must be Marc. Black and white herringbone jackets and red accents? Must be L.A.M.B. – it was.

With all of this in the back of my mind, once finally, inside the Box, my first glimpse revealed black and white, this time as an Ikat print top worn with brown herringbone shorts accessorized with a skinny red belt, and towering platform sandals in black, red and cobalt – very Eighties!

The rock and roll portion of the brand was most apparent in the accessories, hair and makeup, namely a leather and gold shark tooth necklace heavily kohled eyes, straight black brows and a two- tone “Pebbles” from The Flintstones hairdo.

Many of the editors in the Tents were wearing this same up-do, minus the volume and two-tone.

Ms.Stefani hit the preppy trend square on with a v-front cream tennis sweater but unlike the one from your parents’ country club, this one is minus the unflattering bulk. The L.A.M.B sweater boasts fine knit gage stitching, which make it an ideal transition piece. These days, transition pieces are where it’s at. What could be better than playing a set of tennis, taking a shower, putting on the same sweater that you walked on the Courts with and getting-on with your day? There’s something for everyone here, and even one piece will up the fun quotient of your spring wardrobe.