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Tadashi Shoji Fall 2012 Backstage- “Shanghai” Collection”

19 Apr

Text and Videos, Vivian Kelly


This City served as a source of inspiration last season for society designer, Douglas Hannant. This season, designer Tadashi Shoji drew inspiration from past and present Shanghai to deliver a beautiful collection that stars such as Olivia Spencer, will continue to love and wear.

For more Tadashi Shoji,

To read more and to view my backstage video interview, click here for the full story on my new URL.



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 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.

Shanghai Express – Douglas Hannant’s Shanghai Fantasy

22 Jan

Text, Vivian Kelly

Sometimes a show is more than just a show. I reminded myself of this as I sat down [finally] to register for Mercedes-Benz NYFW, and to go over the list of shows on The Fashion List. The task is easier as I’ve already got a list of GO-TO shows – the ones Deborah Hughes Inc. and Paul Wilmot Communications are producing.

One of my favorites last season was Douglas Hannant’s Shanghai inspired collection, which gave me the opportunity to indulge in a historical fantasy – being present at one of those members-only soirees in the American Consulate in the 1930’s.

There’s a book in the works that will be published by another favorite – Assouline Publishing as well. Douglas got the inspiration for the collection by viewing the black and white photographs the author shared with him a few months before the show. The images of the author’s grandparents daily lives in the upper echelons of 1930’s Shanghai society got Douglas’s creative juices flowing and the resulting collection was nothing short of inspired.

Enjoy the video of  my interview backstage with Douglas.

Lyn Devon’s Spring 2012 Collection – Luxe and Classic With a Twist

6 Nov

Reported by Laura Wood

Text, Laura Wood and Vivian Kelly

Viv and I agreed that although we have very different body types [I’m petite and curvy, she’s lean and fine-boned],we have the same personal taste when it comes to clothing construction; simple shapes cut in beautiful fabrics. It makes sense that she pulls inspiration from icons such as: Audrey Hepburn, Claire McCardell and Geoffrey Beene.

Lyn Devon is the kind of designer who has what I’m looking for. My favorite dress from her spring 2012 collection was a modern take on a Forties’s dress – a gray tweed sleeveless with a plunging V-neck trimmed in yellow -an unexpected twist. It’s fresh, but not overdone. There are polka dresses too, that are fun and have a nostalgic twist that make them more than just a grouping of cute picnic dresses.

I spoke with Lyn at the presentation, and was immediately floored by the beautiful fabrics which the house has specially designed for them. The fabrics are beautiful and substantial feeling. Below, some of our favorites, but you need to get to a retailer that carries Lyn Devon and try a few on to see for yourself!

*Shopping: Neiman Marcus online,, Louis – Boston, Lyn Devon Studio – NYC and more.

For  a complete listing, visit Lyn


12 Feb


Text, Vivian G. Kelly VanZutphen

By now, you’ve all doubtless heard that British designer, Alexander McQueen, was found dead yesterday in his home in London. I’m at NY Fashion Week and the news hit the fashion community harder than the snowstorm we got pummeled with the night before.

PLEASE, take the time to read a few articles on him, starting with the pieces that ran today, Friday, Feb. 12th, on
This is just the first in what is sure to be an avalanche of articles on the man who was dubbed, ” the London-born ‘enfant terrible’ fashion designer”.
Years ago, in the mid-nineties, while at Michael Kors, I was across the street at the Onward Kashiyama offices and the buzz there was electric. Why? Because “Lee” was in the offices. Back then, I was shyer than I am today and didn’t summon-up the gumption to ask PR, Pierre Rougier, for an introduction. I’m not the star-struck type, and as Grace Coddington said in “The September Issue” don’t really care for celebrities. In my book, McQueen was a raw talent, a diamond in the rough, and I desperately wanted to meet someone who had this quality.
McQueen was different – even back then, relatively early in his career, this was a man who had “it”. By it, I mean RARE UNDILUTED TALENT. He was a real artist, he didn’t “just” make clothes and turn a nice profit at Neiman’s.
McQueen was that rare animal – a creative and commercial success.

Today, I have two regrets when I think of him:
1. That I didn’t ask Pierre for an intro. I did however, spot him in the hall from only a yard or so away.

2. That we will no longer be able to delight and be inspired by the collections he will never produce.

The cause of his death and the speculation that surrounds it is unimportant. The REAL question is this:

We’re of the mind that once the original creative genius is gone, it’s time to close the doors forever,as unfortunately, Blass, Halston and Pucci failed to do. Maybe, if we’re lucky, years from now, someone else will be able to step-in, as Karl Lagerfeld so famously did at Chanel, and breathe life back into the house of McQueen. For now, it’s too soon.