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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.



Costello Tagliapietra’s Flattering Fashion for the Modern Woman: The Fall 2012 Collection

21 Feb

Text, Vivian Kelly and Laura Wood

Reported by Laura Wood – Thursday, Feb. 9, Milk Studios, NYC

This season the guys had a lot of prints [for them] using their eco-friendly airdye technology. The first look came out and I knew that I was at a Costello Tagliapietra and I felt that although the colors were strong, they would suit a lot of colorings. The plunging V-neck and flutter sleeve were easy-sexy and that’s what you go to C.T. for.

Look #5 from the fall 2012 Collection, photo by Alessandro Garofalo/

Look #5, the Costello Tagliapietra fall'12 Runway Show

Look #5 was an easy transitional reversible coat in chartreuse and orange, perfect for when you can’t just go out in your dress and meet even extend to chillier summer days.

Although some of the prints included editorial eye-popping colors, Laura loved the sophisticated print of look #8. The skillful construction minimizes what you want to hide and maximizes the curves you want to highlight.

Costello Tagliapietra Look # 8 The Perfect Dress

Costello Tagliapietra Look #9 - the Medieval Hooded Theme

In look #9 they address the hooded theme of the season. After looking at this coat, we can’t wait to throw-away our hats. The hoods are reminiscent of the ones people wore in Medieval Times which were a hooded cloak, not to be mistaken with a sweat shirt hoodie.

Although Vivian loved the skinny pants we agreed that #15, the high waist park pleated trouser is a necessary wardrobe staple whether you’re a size 2 or 12.

Costello Tagliapietra Look #15 The Essential Bark Pant

They offered five evening gowns, and our favorite was look #26 – a lavender sheath with beautiful draping and just enough sheen to be glamorous without being overdone.

Costello Gown Look #26, Our Favorite Evening Option From The fall '12 Collection

Bravo Costello Tagliapietra! You did it again.

Maria Maria Maria! [Sharapova] – That Is, Styled by Leonard Zagami For NYFW

17 Feb

STORY, Anthony Palermo

Preface,by Vivian Kelly

I’ve always admired  gorgeous women with long blonde locks since I was 5 years old, starting with Goldilocks and  later, Princess Aurora, Farrah Fawcett Majors, Marilyn Monroe and more recently, Blake Lively and Maria Sharapova. Family friend, William, then a Dutch University Student, and now a KLM pilot, jokingly showed me an image of Maria Sharapova on his iphone, casually calling her “my girlfriend” and then laughing when I believed him – for a second.

Apparently, we weren’t the only ones to think Maria was something really special.

This season, at NYFW, Maria was front row at some of New York’s biggest shows. Below, Anthony Palermo, tells us how his ALS partner, Leonard Zagami, created some fresh looks for the gorgeous tennis star. I’ve featured the one she sported at the Marc Jacobs show.

And, now… here’s Anthony!

“Mercedes Benz Fashion week is always filled with fabulous people. These Fall RTW 2012 collections were more about the who’s who in the front row. One of our all time favorites , Maria Sharapova , knows how to make an entrance and cause a frenzy on the court, but the real commotion starts when she is spotted at all the hottest shows!  Celebrity make up artist  and  friend of the AnthonyLeonard Salon ,  Andie Markoe -Byrne, teamed up with  Leonard Zagami, Creative Director of ALS,  to complete Maria ’s looks for the shows.

Read on as Leonard explains look 1 of the 3 looks he gave the grand slammer for this very fashionable NYC Week!

AT Marc Jacobs:

Maria , seen here with famed photographer  Patrick Demarchelier and his wife Mia , had a slightly pinned back side part . “I used Super Shine Cream by Oribe   to get a sleek look with out it being too overdone” says Zagami. ” I also used a Kent Brush ( for fine hair) to help smooth down fly-aways”. Maria usually  parts her hair in the middle so this was a great change for her!

To read and see all 3, go to anthonyleonardsalonblog. There, you’ll find out how Leonard styled her for her appearances at Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta. If you’re sitting next to Anna [Wintour], you had BETTER be on your game! Thanks to Leonard, Maria looked every bit the star she is.

Bowery Hotel + Dominic Louis = Modern Medieval Luxe

11 Feb

Text, Vivian Kelly and Laura Wood

This was the last show of the evening and we almost didn’t go but thanks to the ridiculous self-created chaos at Milk Studio we scrapped our plans to stay for Erickson Beamon, M. Patmos, and John Bartlett. Lucky for us, we’d gotten our interview with John early on – [thanks Ross from the Deborah Hughes team!].

Chaos Outside Milk Studio, Thursday Night, 9:20p.m. - No one's getting in at this point!

We heard later from Tracy E. Hopkins of that the only way she and her friends were able to stay inside until the 9:00p.m. doors open time was by convincing the security guys who were manning the Libertine show was to let them stay in the building thus avoiding the Studio54-esque lines that extended way past Jeffrey’s.

A cab ride later we entered one of our favorite venues, the ski lodge like atmosphere of the Bowery Hotel’s private party space complete with roaring fire, medieval tapestries, and moroccan tiled floor. The only fly in the ointment was that it was a cash bar but that was offset by the complimentary bobble water bottles.We even posed for them and the bobble is in our bags now at all times.

This Versus the Line At Milk - Where Would YOU rather be?

As far as the clothes – a pleasant surprise; the more we looked the more we liked.  The first impression is how wonderfully the clothes fit with the atmosphere of the venue ie: a perfect presentation. On the way back to the Club, we reflected how these wonderfully constructed clothes would not have have fared as well on a traditional runway. These clothes needed to be examined close-up in order to fully appreciate the detail.

The "everything dress" at Dominic Louis

My Contributor, Laura Wood, and Ellen Sears, AAU Online Director of the Fashion School all loved and agreed we would wear the black knit sweater dress. This dress takes into account the idea of season-less dressing which is particularly relevant these days as the weather is so unpredictable. Paired with a a long sleeve top and with a coat, its good to go for a cold 30F day like today. It works just as well in 40-60 degree weather worn on its own with little ballet flats or high sandals.

There were several pieces with hoods for men and women that had were reminiscent of the hooded cloaks worn in Medieval times. A cloak seems like a fresh alternative to a coat. The most spectacular piece was two piece ensemble combined hard and soft. The breast plate-like shell top was intricately worked leather. The more you looked the more of the design you noticed, just as you would a finely carved sword handle. It may be highly “editorial” [translation – not for everyday] but we wanted it anyhow.

Last but not least, we stopped on the way out to admire the art house photogpraphs, especially the one of the fierce guy wearing a ball-gown skirt.

Note to Designers for next season – we’ll go to see anyone who shows here!

Fresh New Talent at NYFW – Samantha Pleet’s s/s2012 Collection

1 Oct

Samantha Pleet – a Brooklyn Family Affair- one to watch

Text, Laura Wood & Vivian Kelly

“When you put it [a SP dress] on, it drapes and conforms to your body. It’s all about the designs conforming to peoples’ bodies and working with their figures.”

– Designer Samantha Pleet –

We obtained the above quote after Laura attended  Ms. Pleet’s s/s2012 NYFW event; a cross between a show and a presentation in a loft space. The models came out and posed on cubes for a while  to be replaced by a new group for the crowd to study and snap some pics.

From a human-interest angle, we loved the “family affair” aspect of this collection. The designer’s Father enthusiastically greeted guests. It was obvious that this young designer has her Dad’s unconditional support. That, paired with the flowing champagne gave the whole thing a fun, bubbly upbeat vibe, which suits the clothes we saw to a T. The family theme goes further. Samantha’s husband designed the fabrics, all of these original prints are exclusive to the Samantha Pleet line.  Our favorites were pieces that used the unique prints with traditional silhouettes.

The trompe d’oeil prints made the already small model’s waist look as if it were two inches wide in the “feather suit” – a stylish one piece maillot. Other favorite were the sleeveless fly away dress, immortal dress, shadow cape and the chronical blazer and novel shorts. The overall effect was eye-catching without being costume-y.

Shortly after NYFW, we walked the Capsule Trade Show and got to meet Samantha, who was showing the collection to an enthusiastic crowd of buyers. Despite the non-stop pace she’s been keeping over the past few months, she took some time out to talk to us one on one about her design aesthetic and unique fashions.

Click on the Video below to hear our interview.

For more information on this exciting new designer and her designs, visit her stylishly indie website, Samantha Pleet.

Sebago’s Artisan Collection – Tradition Meets Innovative Style

26 Sep

You say “Tomatoe” I say “Tomahto”. The same goes with the shoe brand name, SEBAGO. No matter which way you elect to pronounce it, Sebago is a great brand. Sometime during NYFW, I fell into a huge clothing rut – I no longer knew what I wanted to wear, and despite a stuffed walk-in closet at home, nothing looked right. As I sat in Robert Verdi’s Luxe Laboratory, looking at the Sebago display, the answer came to me- preppy dressing.

By this, I mean how we used to dress in the late Seventies in Middle School and at Greenwich High. There was a uniform and it transitioned me into my freshman year at Duke. The early Eighties were a throwback period to conservatism. Ronald Reagan had just been elected President, and it was good to look WASP, ie: subtly rich. At this same time, Lisa Birnbach’s Preppy Handbook came out and served as the how-to get the look of affluence.

Key to the look is the boat shoe and the penny loafer. Anyone in Middle School who didn’t have Dock or Top Siders was a social outcast. One had a rounded toe, the other a square toe, and either was acceptable, as long as they were by Sperry. Only those most tuned into fashion back then knew that the ORIGINAL boat shoe was actually manufactured by SEBAGO, in 1946.  Friend, R. Scott French, fashion designer and co-owner of The Fashion List, was one of the few who KNEW. Little good this did him as his less enlightened Baltimore classmates kept insisting that his Sebago docks were “wrong” and their Sperrys were “right”.

Once at Duke, I swapped my topsiders for penny loafers in cordovan and wore them with jeans and some of my Mother’s tweed blazers and a prize Diana Vreeland red tweed blazer [with suede elbow patches]through fall and early winter.

Years later, I remembered my beloved topsiders and loafers while flipping through the September 2011 People’s Special Fashion Issue, with the blaring headline, “Kate’s Style Secrets!”. On p. 51 lay the answer to my “Whatever Do I Wear?” crisis. There, at the top of the page, were a pair of Sebago “Bala” mocassins, with an oily wax finish that looked great with Kate’s J Brand jeans and a simple button down shirt.

Years later, at the Luxe Lab, I learned from Tracee Yang, Harrison & Shriftman’s PR Rep, that today’s Sebagos are all hand made in the Dominican Republic.  They’ve kept the original designs we love but they’ve added some great fashion twists, by collaborating with artists such as Stash, an innovator in urban design who exhibited alongside the late Keith Haring, when he was 17 years old. Since then, he’s added a commercial aspect to his work, by collaborating with Nike and A Bathing Ape. We loved his short moc/boot that laces up and has a bit of spatter treatment to toughen up this beloved preppy staple.

Another noteworthy collaboration is with the Filson, a “better outdoor clothing company” that was established in 1897 in Seattle, by C.C. Filson, a former railroad conductor. His fledgling outdoor clothing store took off thanks to the Great Klondike Gold Rush [1897-9].

Sebago has mixed Filson’s oil tint cloths with Sebago leathers, most notably in a ruggedly handsome bag that’s also very practical. The bags are available exclusively in Bloomingdales’ selected NYC, Santa Monica, LA, and 59th Street.

Sure to be an editorial success are the women’s collection with Kimmie Smith, who’s known for her “nuvo glam style”. She’s already done a small collection for fall that’s being well received, but lookout for the spring collection, which will be available online in February and March. You’ll have to wait until then to pickup her irresistible colorful docksides.

For now, if you’re a guy, or shopping for one, you’re in luck. There’s a nice assortment of styles at the Sebago popup store at Saks 5th Ave. on the 7th floor. The salesmen there couldn’t be nicer. Seeing I was near tears after slogging through the rain to discover Saks isn’t yet carrying the Plaza and Bala Sebagos I wanted, they directed me to East 34th Street. It was there, thanks to them, that I finally scored, at Orva Shoes, just like they said, at 34 West 34th Street.

Now, I just have to wait until late October, for my pair of “Balas” to come in. I’ve just put in my order for the first tall boot I’ve bought in years – the Saranac, which has a stylish tweed panel offsetting the rich light brown leather and a practical lug sole.

The Costello Tagliapietra s/s2012 Show – an Exercise in Consistency

21 Sep

Text, Vivian Kelly and Laura Wood

One of the reasons we love Costello Tagliapietra is for their consistency. That may sound boring, but far from it. You know that when you go to one of Jeffrey and Robert’s shows you will see beautiful easy clothes in sumptuous fabrics that are meant for a woman, not a girl. That is not say that the clothes are by any means matronly. The designs are sexy but in subtle way, thanks to the fit. Take the flutter sleeve orange dress with a Japanese cherry blossom print on it.

Unlike so many things that hit the runway, you can see yourself wearing this. In fact, we we sat there watching and wondering,  “Why AREN’T we wearing these dresses right NOW? The dresses [ a favorite with Vogue]  hit right above the knee, which is part of the new non-slut look – a backwash against an avalanche of short rompers that most real women can never wear unless they happen to  enjoy being ridiculed.

Costello is known for their great dresses, but don’t ignore the few pants that they do offer. We’re in love with the orange cherry blossom wrap front top and matching loose pants. The pants are something new onto themselves – they’ve got the chicness of a capri and the comfort of a harem pant.

Yes, the prints are floral, but because the backdrop is muted, you could wear them in both summer AND fall. The collection has the added bonus of not being overtly spring or fall and works well for women who travel  year-round in different climates. You can wear these pieces in New York in spring and in a Southern climate in the late fall months. Props to these designers for understanding that they are designing for real women who want great clothes but don’t want to switch-out their wardrobe and start from scratch each and every season.