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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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Christian Siriano Comes Into His Own

12 Feb

Reported by Laura Wood

Text, Vivian Kelly and Laura Wood

When Christian Siriano burst onto the scene after becoming the winner of Project Runway’s 4th season. Back then, he was known for his foppy hair do, “fierceness”, wild prints and penchant for ruffles.

Laura already loved bats [the real ones, not the ones in “Twilight”], and she was wowed by the bat inspiration at Christian’s latest runway show. We already know that Twilight’s Kristen Stewart is a fan, but so is Gabourey Sibide of “Precious” who while considerably larger than the waify Stewart, looked great in his designs.

Now to the clothes – in a word, breathtaking.

Satin Bat Vein Dress from Style.com Slideshow, the fall 2012 Show

Almost uniformly, the flow of the clothes as they moved down the runway gave Laura chills. It was a great collection, starting with the opening platinum crepe satin bat vein dress, which set the tone for the whole show. Subtle elegance showed a new found sophistication and self confidence in this very talented American fashion designer. As always, Laura is on the lookout for clothes that fit real women, ie: those who have curves and aren’t 5’11”. Like all the top designers, Siriano seems to fully understand that a winning collection is one in which the women wear the clothes not the other way around.

Later, Laura found a tried and true substitution to her vintage Michael Kors  Eighties’ batwing dress, exit #13, a wing sleeve sheath dress, which actually more suited to her now that she’s in her Forties.

Siriano still retains his sense of drama but he’s in charge of the drama this time and that bears out in his masterful designs like look #9, the faux fox infinity scarf which got “oohs” from Laura’s neighbors. Because it was paired with The very simple knit turtleneck and silk tuxedo trouser underneath set it off perfectly.

He made sure to include some Academy Award contenders including a black beaded scalloped gown and a wing sleeve evening gown. The trend for beaded gowns on the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards has already been set. We’d love love to see this gown on Berenice Bejo, who was really cute in “The Artist”.

Our vote for “most versatile dress” goes to #22, the burgundy silk sheath dress with flight neckline.

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.

Mad Men Costume Designer Janie Bryant Reveals How To Use Carolee Jewelry to Get the Look

25 Oct

Text, Vivian Kelly

Are you a “Betty-Jackie” or a “Joan-Marilyn”? Mad Men Costume Designer, Janie Bryant shares a few key accessory styling tips to enhance your look.

Janie Bryant, recently had a public appearance, hosted by Carolee jewelry,  at Bloomingdale’s Century City in Los Angeles.  Style expert Janie met with customers and provided jewelry and fashion advice on “How to become your own leading lady!”

Not being on the West Coast at the time, I couldn’t go, but I got to correspond with her via email and I’m going to pick up a copy of her new book, which she recently released.  THE FASHION FILE Advice, Tips and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of MADMEN, provides tips based on Janie’s “Mad Men” style trends. In it, she teaches her readers how to create different moods and reveal a bit about their personality through accessories… “It’s the surest cure-all for wardrobe ennui.”

I’ve been a fan of Mad Men, since last summer, when checked into a motel at Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, just to score some much needed down time. A mild case of insomnia turned out to be a big plus when I stumbled onto the show, which I’d been intending to watch for months. I never left the room until check-out at 11a.m. the next day as I lay on the bed gobbling up episode after episode of Mad Men and a pot of hotel room coffee. After 4 episodes, I came to a few conclusions:

-“Joan” looks hottest in her most covered up dresses- no hiding those amazing curves

– “Betty” is my favorite in character and looks fresh and tailored and classically beautiful.

I started studying Betty’s look on hulu [no AMC at home], and fell back in love with camel cashmere and pearls.

My Mad Men “moment” came when Joan’s secretary pool were talking about whether they were “ a Jackie” or “ a Marilyn”. Although that was over 40 years ago, these 2 categories are still alive and very relevant today. In case you missed the episode, Betty is a Jackie, and Joan is a Marilyn.

I’ve always been “a Jackie”, even when I bleached my hair Marilyn white years ago, wanting to see if I could bust out of my “type”.

Not possible – it takes more than a hair color change.

The sort of jewelry, fragrance, and dress all contribute to your J or M category. I started studying the characters’ outfits and decided that they were too retro for my every day look, but maybe copying details such as hairstyle and jewelry would give me the effect I was after. When Gina DiDomenico’s of Paul Wilmot Communications emailed me about Janie explaining how to get the character’s style with a few accessories, it was the answer to this fashion prayer.

Follow this LINK to watch a video of Janie Bryant offering her unique fashion and styling tips

Thanks to Gina, I got my most pressing questions for Janie about “Mad Men Style” answered.

Below, the Q&A 1.     Which character did you first want to work on? Why?

JANIE BRYANT: From the moment I read the script, I loved all of the characters. They each have their own story and costume nuances—I’m lucky to be able to design for them all!

2.  **We’re fascinated with the past now, particularly the Sixties: Mad Men, The Real Stewardesses of Pan Am.  What do you think it is about this period that fascinates us so much?

J.B. People feel nostalgia for a time when they could dress for occasions.  They want to feel the everyday glamour that is so characteristic of the 1960s and incorporate this into their everyday lives.

3.     How can we incorporate aspects of “Mad Men” dressing into our wardrobes?  For women?

J.B. A classic shirtwaist dress or sheath dress are great silhouettes to incorporate into your wardrobe.  Match your shoes to your handbag and don’t forget to layer those pearls, ladies!  You could even add white leather wrist gloves for a fun little touch—any length will do!

4. P/s suggest a Carolee piece for the principle characters: Joan, and Betty, in particular. 

J.B. It is simply the best for Betty, so strands of ladylike pearls would be my choice for her.  For a little drama in Joan’s life, a broach makes such a statement!

Endnote: Today, I went to Lord & Taylor and purchased my first “Betty-Jackie” Carolee piece; a 16″ pearl necklace, which I’ll be wearing daily.As for my Joan-Mrailyn friends, this Art Deco crystal broach would be stunning on you!

Shiseido’s Breast Cancer Initiative – “Iron Maiden” – a Pink You Can Embrace

24 Oct

Pucker-up!

October is Breast Cancer Month and it’s still not too late to contribute to this very worthy cause. Last year, I bought a set of pink mixing bowls and an ice cream scoop but the prospect of buying cosmetics is far more interesting. I found-out about Shiseido’s “Iron Maiden” lipstick in an email sent to me by Kaplow PR. Terrific! Here is a way for those of you who haven’t contributed yet to do so in a fun and easy way.

For the fifth consecutive year, Shiseido Cosmetics America is partnering with Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) to support their philanthropic arm, Cancer and Careers, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer and Careers is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting working women living with cancer.

Shiseido will donate $5 to Cancer and Careers for every unit of Shiseido Makeup Shimmering Rouge Lipstick in Iron Maiden (RS308) sold throughout the month of October.

The Shimmering Rouge Lipstick in Iron Maiden (RS308) retails for $25 and is available for purchase at http://www.shiseido.com.

While you’re shopping, also take a minute and check-out my favorite new eyeshadows– Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eyecolor, created by makeup master, Dick Page. Click on his name to link to Shiseido’s YouTube Video in which Dick demos how to use PK302 – “Magnolia” in a pretty and completely wearable way.

My picks areL PK 302- Magnolia, VI305- Purple Dawn and BR709 – Sable – the one in the pic below, I applied with my fingers, which Dick told me was okay to do. They glide on and unlike the old cream shadows, stay put on your lid – no ugly creasing- all day long.

Farah Angsana- When Less Really IS More

10 Oct

Text, Vivian Kelly

A few weeks ago, while in Town [NYC] to check-out Douglas Hannant’s new PINK collection, I had a number of interesting conversations. One of these was with an industry insider, M, whom I’ve known for 20 years, and whose opinions I respect. We had been rehashing a few of the recent NYFW Shows. Farah Angsana, an eveningwear designer came up.

I remarked that I’d been following her for 4 or so years ago, starting back when I attended the now defunct Mercedes Benz LA Fashion Weeks at Culver City, CA. She and Kevin Hall were consistently among the best shows there. Ms. Angsana knew how to shape a beautiful bodice – which reminded me of Nineties designer, Donald Deal – who may have missed his calling. HE should have been working with movie costume designer Edith Head. Together, they would have designed some utterly unforgettable gowns for Grace Kelly, similar to the stunning aqua one she wore in To Catch a Thief (1955).

Prior to seeing the butterscotch ruffled ball gown in this collection, I had associated the words, “beading” and “bling” with Ms. Angasana’s evening gown designs. This gown showed her ability to deliver design that is understated and elegant and that whispers rather than shouts. Designs such as these play better in the Box’s Art Gallery setting rather than on a runway with blaring music in the big tent’s stadium-like venue.

“Sometimes less is more, said my friend, M. It really worked better for her  showing in the Box than having a big runway show.”

She’s right. I admittedly only saw a few of the looks before rushing off to the next show, but was impressed by the elegant looks I did catch. In our short interview, Ms. Angsana said that she was inspired by a recent trip to Asia and numerous visits to art galleries and museums in which she was sparked by the gorgeous fabrics and embroidery treatment she admired there.

Watch the video below, to hear the details.

Makeup Madness! Neiman Marcus’ Ken Downing and his Metier de Beaute Lip and Nail Duos

7 Oct

Text, Vivian Kelly

One way to follow fashion before making any major wardrobe decisions is to pick up some new makeup. This may sound ridiculously simplistic, but there’s nothing like a new nail and lip color to punch-up your look in record time.

While chatting with Neiman’s charismatic fashion director, Ken Downing, during the recent Mercedes-Benz NYFW Shows, he told us that he is dabbling in cosmetics – as if he doesn’t already have enough on his plate! “SO, I asked, WHAT is the hot color? I usually only buy lipstick and nail polish.”

“Bordeaux – it’s all about that, although I did a gorgeous flame orange for summer.”

As he says, on the NM site, “It’s MINE! It’s WINE! And it’s FABULOUS! My latest color collaboration with Le Metier Beaute creates the new Twin Set. Lips matching nails, never fails, in a season of Lady Chic glamour. ” 

Click on the video to hear what else Ken has to say about fall and spring fashions, who he loves at NYFW and about his makeup collaboration with Metier de Beaute, exclusively for Neiman Marcus.

I investigated online at Neiman’s website and at the counter. Of course, I had to try all three lipsticks on and walked away, unable to decide which of the three sets in the Bordeaux Collection I would take home with me. Would it be “Red My lips”, or “I’m Worn This Way” or “It’s Mine! It’s Wine!”

The website decided it for me. I’m going with his latest – a new creme lipgloss called “In the Know Bordeaux” and “Im Worn This Way” because I have to have the nail polish!