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The Rebeccas: Rebecca Taylor and Rebecca Minkoff and Their Fall 2012 Collections

24 Feb

Text, Vivian Kelly and Laura Wood

Friday, Feb 10

Rebecca Taylor and Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Taylor

The impression we had was based on our knowledge that Rebecca Taylor  is a seasoned pro and knows how to put together a cohesive collection. That was underlined by seeing newer designer Rebecca Minkoff’s collection immediately afterwards. Our strongest impression was that Ms. Minkoff’s collection didn’t hold together as a cohesive collection lacking a central theme.

Ms. Taylor’s clothes this season are layered and asymmetrical. We liked #4, an elegant take on a long tee shirt and leggings. You get the ease of the former but with the festiveness of sequins and chiffon you could wear to a party.

Rebecca Taylor's Look #4 from the fall 2012 Collection Show

Rebecca Taylor's Velvet Burn-Out Dress, Look #18 from the fall 2012 collection show

Number 18, a velvet burn out dress is for anyone who wants just a little bit of asymmetric.

Ziggy Stardust Wallpaper - David Bowie

Rebecca Minkoff’s Opening Look – Touches of Ziggy Stardust

Rebecca Minkoff's Look #18 from her fall 2012 collection show

Look 27, an ivory boucle sweater and quilted leather skirt is cute but only on the skinniest girl. The asymmetric layered look isn’t for everyone but Ms. Taylor works it with a sure hand.

Rebecca Minkoff

Looks 1 and 3 in the “Galaxy Sequin” segment at Rebecca Minkoff had shades of Ziggy Stardust and seemed ideal for the aspiring LA starlet.

From that point on, although it was obvious that the collection had distinct themes, they were dispersed unevenly. First you see eye-popping neon color with gray and then appears again in look 18 and then in 20 and disappears. We liked this grouping and wished it had been presented together and she did a good job toning down summer brights with gray making it suitable for fall. Look 18 had some nice separates you use in both spring and fall.


True Fashion – The Legend of Lady White Snake, Starring Daphne Guinness

15 Feb

Text, Vivian Kelly

Reported by Vivian Kelly and Laura Wood

Photograph of Daphne Guinness by Markus Klinko & Indrani

WHAT: a Grade-A platinum fashion moment at 172 Norfolk Street, NYC

It’s taken me two days to fully digest the events of Sunday night. It’s not often I get a dose of pure undiluted high octane fashion.

Laura and I arrived at the Angel Orensanz Foundation for Contemporary Art at 10:00p.m. on the dot. THIS was NOT something either of us wanted to miss a second of. We had high hopes for this event, in part due to two days worth of experiencing the polished sterility of the Lincoln Center Venues and the accompanying jitters of sucking down one too many cans of  free Diet Pepsi. We were actually look forward to visiting Alphabet City as the Lower East Side is the only remaining vestige of “NYC Eighties cool” that still survives. Going down there is fun and makes me feel 25 again.

The Angel Orensanz venue is the artist’s creation and is a cross between a Russian Orthodox Church and a nightclub, in other words, Limelight, when it just started and was THE place to go and dance until 2:00a.m. before going off to Florent in MeatPacking to have something to eat before trying to score a taxi willing to take us back to Laura’s apartment in the Village.

It was obvious from the moment we entered that this was “a happening”. First, there were the photographs – giant sized ones of Daphne Guinness posing in her astounding McQueen Couture, which she wore in the film. Catwoman has nothing on Daphne who was dressed up as a high fashion villainess in a red catsuit and insanely high heels. I’ll need to win Powerball to scratch this itch as I mentally “bought” four of the photographs that would look amazing in  The Fashion Examiner office and  fireplace room. Total cost for four of Markus Klinko & Indrani’s fabulous photos of Daphne = $160,000. These photos really DO “combine story-telling with cutting-edge fashion”.

Next, we ambled over to the well-stocked bar – no yukky plastic glasses here – and sat down in a padded bamboo gilt chair just as Daphne made her entrance in an incredible chainmail gown and a head ornament loaded with what I’m assuming were probably actually diamonds rather than Swarovski Crystals.

The film itself was genius – a cross between a poetry reading and a couture fashion show. It may sound odd, but it was spectacular. On our way out, Laura stopped to chat with a young female editor to get her take. Like us, she was blown away and was going to Google the film and read Neil Gaiman’s poem. The point of the film though, was the EXPERIENCE and it got a 10/10 on that score. After this visual feast, we got an auditory one – a performance by the very talented Viva Girls, who were perched like a row of angels in blue ball gowns to the right of the massive screen.

The grand finale to the event was a capsule collection of gowns from the new Genghis Khan collection designed by GK Reid. We loved the hooded one and his concept of transformative styling and dressing – something we can totally get behind.

SO, which of Markus Klinko & Idrani’s photographs of Daphne Guinness would YOU like to take home with you?

Daphne in her Chain mail Couture

Tadashi Shoji Spring 2012 Show at Lincoln Center

15 Sep

Text, Vivian Kelly

This collection’s floral theme was in evidence before the show even started. I had enough time pre-show to inspect the head of the runway, which usually just has the designer’s name and/or logo projected onto it. That’s basic but a bit ho-hum after about 10 shows, so it was refreshing to see the green sprig and floral backdrop, which had us thinking, “spring, flowers”.

From the preview, I already knew that the tulip was a focal point of inspiration, but  the preview sketch didn’t prepare me for how beautiful the tie dye short sleeve bellskirted dresses would be and how the colors so closely mimicked  the pigmentation of an actual tulip bloom.

This was the strongest grouping, but there was a lot more for both day and evening dressing that was also noteworthy. The multiple tiered chiffon and tulle dresses  were simple, beautiful, and simply beautiful. Next came dresses in marigold yellow, carnation, peony pin and one sublime print – a kind of broken-up floral. Designers such as Shoji, Mara Hoffman and Custo Dalmau have been using these digitized prints for a while now to create prints that suggest a specific flower or object and make an interesting alternative to a straight-forward print. It’s no wonder that young stylish celebs such as Blake Lively wear Tadashi Shoji to events where they know they’ll be photographed from every possible angle and have to look perfect. I’d like to see her in this yellow one-shoulder dress.

Touches such as ruffled necklines that imitated crushed flowers further attested to the Mr. Shoji’s creative prowess and technical skills. There were one shoulder designs that were both pretty and refined and not the least bit Eighties retro. The designer departed from floral at the end and showed gown after gown in the season’s nude for evening, which demonstrated his shirring and draping technical skill, as they defined the models’ busts and waists in the most flattering way possible.

The finale floral gown though, took the cake. It was a combination of  everything that was right with this collection:  the floral print. draping, ruching, one-shoulder and flowing fabric that looked as light as air.  Thanks to this collection, spring/summer 2012 NY is a season that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

>The Duckie Brown fall 2011 Show: Ruminating Backstage With the Duckies

23 Feb


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Text, Vivian Kelly

“Is this a ‘men’s collection” or a “women’s collection?”
Like Steven Cox, 1/2 of the Duckie Brown label, I find the question rather, well… dated. Perhaps a better word would be, “anachronistic””.
Back in the early Eighties, we had Grace Jones and Brigitte Nielsen. They looked FAN-TAS-TIC. They made the point that you could be masculine AND feminine – all at once. Both sported looks such as white “wife beaters” and “men’s” black tuxes in now-iconic photographs. They helped spout the notion of “androgyny” which photographic legend, Helmut Newton, helped to make fashionable.
Another famous example is Bianca Jagger, back in her Studio 54 Days. Her most famous outfit was a white PANTsuit. In the Seventies though, it was considered “daring” to wear pants to work.

Then-Vogue Editor, Grace Mirabella, was considered to be “daring” to propose this as “a work option”. As I later learned, as one of her Assistants, in the early Nineties, Miss Mirabella meant what she said. I cannot recall a SINGLe day she did not walk into the office in slacks. Her favorites were: Geoffrey Beene, Calvin, and Bill Blass, not necessarily in that order.

Even in the mid-Eighties, when I was going on my first job interviews, I wore SKIRTS – no question. Pants, were not really an option.
The whole topic seems ridiculous in retrospect. Just a year earlier, I’d gone on a road-trip to UVA [The University of Virginia] for a weekend of party hopping. The scene I lived out that weekend was straight out of Tommy Hilfigger’s tailgate glossy ads. What’s interesting is that when you inspect it closely, “preppy style” can ALSO, like “East Village Punk”, look quite uni-sexual. We college co-eds were from a dozen or so different colleges and universities but we all looked like the frat boys whose parties we attended.
The uniform: Lacoste shirt [untucked], Levi jeans [unwashed and stiff] and Sperry Top or Docksiders. Sounds limiting? Not really, when you consider how many different colors the Gator shirt was available in.
Okay, I made-up that word, “unisexual”. At the end of the day though, most of us are looking for clothes that we, as people, can just wear.
-The “wife beater tank
-Converse “Chuck Taylors”
-A really WELL CUT pair of trousers – Duckie Brown! Oftentimes, they will be black.
– Levi’s original 501’s. You need to break them in, it just takes time. Be patient.
-A Woolrich red and black buffalo plaid jacket
-Docksiders, the originals.

So, why can’t a man wear women’s clothes and vice-versa? Duckie designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver ponder the question in our pre-show interview, here.

>The Farah Angsana and Mara Hoffman s/s2011 Collections

22 Sep

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In the last few seasons that FARAH ANGSANA has been showing at NYFW, she has evolved into an eveningwear designer to be reckoned with.

I’ve been following Farah since the days when she and Kevan Hall were the star attractions at MBFW [Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week] LA. With the right Public Relations Firm, Paul Wilmot, at her side, Farah’s realizing her potential. Now that she’s got the right representation behind her, she continues to hone her craft while staying true to her signature look, which she told me post-show
is also her mantra, ” sexy, elegant, NEVER vulgar”.

Like nearly every designer out there, she’s got an eye on producing some Red Carpet looks, but she’s also got some great day looks for the soigné woman who as Tom Ford pointed-out, is willing to put time and energy into looking great.

Farah had lots of cocktail looks to choose from. There was a gorgeous pink and green chiffon print that’s stunning, in both the long and short versions. The Red carpet bid came when she showed the gold lame Oscar statuette gown.
My favorite though, was the finale mini dress I’d like to see the likes of Natalie Portman or Carrie Mulligan in. The green draped silk chiffon Kebaya mini dress embroidered with gold thread and Swarovski crystals was a feat of craftsmanship, and earned her a well-deserved round of applause.

I then shifted gears from an evening wear mind set to day wear, and went a few miles South, down to Pier 59, to go see what one of my favorite daywear and swim designers, MARA HOFFMAN, had in store for s/s2011. While Farah clearly designs with the Red Carpet in mind, Mara Hoffman’s demographic is something entirely different. You see a diversity of stars as different as Jennifer Lopez
and Lauren Conrad,
rocking their respective Mara Hoffmans, but even more importantly, you see a lot of non-celebs wearing it too.
The true barometer of a brand’s success is if the question, “are people (other than the models, celebrities and public relations team) wearing it?” Looking around the crowded presentation space, I glimpsed over a dozen cool women, some tall, some short, wearing Mara Hoffman. They weren’t celebrities who were paid to attend and to wear Mara Hoffman. They were real women wearing these clothes because they love how they look in them.

Upon entering the Pier 59 space, we were treated to vacation-themed vignettes
complete with calypso music, palm trees and Mara’s bright batik prints. It’s tricky to design a good print, and Mara’s one of the best when it comes to creating a winning print. As ‘Ari’ of Entourage is won’t to say, “it’s all good”.
I fixated on the stunning red batik print.
Wanna wanna! I left, mentally planning-out how I’d coordinate that piece with other items in my wardrobe for my spring break trip to the Mexican Riviera post the fall 2011 NY shows.

To view the gallery of looks from the Farah Angasana s/s2011 show, visit