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Fashion + Film + Fashion Icon Daphne Guinness = Genghis Khan Collection / Premiere Screening of “The Legend of Lady White Snake”

10 Feb

Text, Vivian Kelly

Topic- Daphne Daphne Daphne!

Daphne Strikes  A Pose For MAC Cosmetics

Genghis Khan Collection / Premiere Screening of “The Legend of Lady White Snake”

I’m obsessed. Daphne Guinness is the subject of this latest fashion obsession.  I “went there” and asked friend, Anthony Palermo, of the Anthony Leonard Salon to dye my hair as blonde as it would go. After two bleaching blasts in the past 12 weeks, I’m there, with the exception of the black skunk stripes Daphne sports. I’m not ready for that as such a couture look requires wearing 5 inch heels and vintage McQueen couture, which would be fun but just not within my reach just yet.

In the meantime, I’m buying up pieces of Daphne’s capsule collection created for MAC Cosmetics. Thus far, I carry the following around in my Volvo [while in the Country] or in my leather Birkin-esque satchel [while in NYC]: “Fling” Eye Brow Pencil – THE perfect shade for you platinum blondes out there who don’t want to mess about with powders and brushes

Cremesheen LipGlass in “Richly Reserved”

Next to buy between shows are:

Pro Longwear LipCreme in “Approaching Storm”– I struck out at the Grand Central station location – they sold the 6 tube they’d been allotted.

“Red Dwarf” [a maybe]

Blush Ombre in “Azalea Blossom”.

Thankfully, in NYC there are ample opportunities to snatch up some MAC Cosmetics – almost as many as getting my frozen mocha frappe fix at MACDonalds.

Once I’ve scooped up the remaining Daphne pieces, I’ll be ready to attend one of my top 3 events of this NYFW – The screening of THE LEGEND OF LADY WHITE SNAKE, starring Daphne, co-written by the white hot Neil Gaiman and Bernard Henri Levy and directed by Indrani.

The premiere is Sunday night at 10p.m. with a write-up and more images to follow post-event.

Last Thoughts: FIT did what I heard was a wonderful exhibit of Daphne’s clothes. I’ve posted a few images here. Which one is YOUR favorite?


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.

The Callula Lillibelle s/s2012 Show at the Box, Lincoln Center

19 Sep

Text, Vivian Kelly

It was early in the morning, mid-way through NYFW, and in the dash from our West 56th Street hotel to the Lincoln Center tents to go backstage for Callula Lillibelle, no time for some sorely needed coffee. The lobby at Lincoln Center was weirdly empty, but Neiman Marcus’ Fashion Director, Ken Downing was there, Starbucks in hand, and we stopped by to chat and to get a bead on what one of fashion’s sharpest forcasters thought of the New York s/s2012 season so far. I mentioned we were on our way to chat with William Calvert, backstage at Callula Lillibele.

“Is it Neiman’s?” Ken asked us as Mark [Behnke, of Fashion Tribes],whiled- away those few pleasant moments before hitting backstage.

Good question. I replied, “Hm, well there was a great coat I saw last time.”

“Honey, it takes more than one coat to be in Neiman Marcus” he joked. It struck me then, how hard his job is. I kept that question in mind a few minutes later, as I watched the models get into their looks and pose on the white backdrop backstage, presumably for the lookbook that would be in stores for spring.

I finally actually “met” the designer, William Calvert, after an aborted attempt to record our phone conversation a few months earlier, in which he told me that C.L. had a few winning silhouettes that worked well from size 2-12 and that he worked on tweaking the winning formula each season. I botched that interview, but this describes Callula’s mission – to make women look good and to as the French so aptly put it, “look comfortable in their skin”, and to be proud of their curves.

During our backstage interview, that took place in front of the scrim where the models were posting for the look book, William said “Callula Lillibelle is primarily a dress collection” and in answer to our other question, “it sells at Saks”. Unsurprisingly, the strongest looks were dresses such as the lemon/silver stretch tweed boatneck one that would look as good on a curvy woman as on the size zero models posing in the Box presentation.Best in show was the white “Penelope Cruz” – that had a beautiful wrap front bodice, that was both glamorous and practical.

While pointing to the models posing in front of him , he told  us that he was inspired by strong curvy fashion icons such as Sofia Lauren, Penelope Cruz, Beyonce and Rihanna. Clients and fans include curvy ladies such as Oprah and Gayle King.

There were though, non-dress looks that stood-out, such as the right-on-trend pink jacquard jacket over an ivory dot lace tank and ivory pin dot slouchy shorts. It seems that grown women really WILL be wearing shorts to work, after all. Both looked great with a pair of chic Stuart Weitzman pumps.



To answer Ken’s question, [“Is it Neiman’s?”], we concurred that Callula is a solid collection that is perfectly placed at Saks, rather than Neiman’s which houses cutting edge design and where shoppers go to find what they expect to see on the pages of US Vogue. The Neiman’s woman is one who counts fashion and her wardrobe in her top three life priorities. Neiman’s top customers have Ken on speed dial.

By contrast, Saks and Callula are more mellow in their approach to fashion. This brand offers an excellent fit and the fact that the designs do not vary radically from season to season is reassuring to women who want some style but who don’t want a whole new wardrobe each and every season. This collection fits her lifestyle, as while she enjoys her fashion, she doesn’t want [or need] it delivered at warp speed. She paces herself with easy to wear fashions such as Callula. Fashion and her wardrobe are important but rank lower on the priority list, and like Saks, there is a sense of decorum in her attitude. Despite the year-round throng of tourists and buzz, the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship continues to maintain the air of stately dignity when well-to-do ladies shopped there on their way to lunch and their choice of gloves was an important matter. Similarly, Callula also possesses that gracious sensibility but there’s no better way to experience it than to slip on one of William’s dresses and to see for yourself.

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.

>Let the NYFW Previews Begin!

6 Feb


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The shows are less than a week away and the previews are pouring in. Flattering, yes, and definitely a tad overwhelming when it comes to the planning part of the operation that’s called “NYFW”.
When Daniel Silver, 1/2 of Duckie Brown and I walked down the endless stairs from Studio 385 he got me thinking [really] about which designers REALLY ARE my favorites.
“You must have some favorites” he stated. 
“Well yes, Duckie Brown, obviously, I laughed.” 
Daniel’s question got me thinking on my way back to my car in the ChinaTown lot. Yes, I love Duckie Brown, but what else did I really care about?
The shows I look forward to seeing are the “smaller” and more “avant-garde” ones, even though they take place in New York, not Paris. As they’re in New York, they should thus be “commercial”. I’m sure my faves sell some clothes as they’re still around and not road kill on the path of “used to be” designers. What makes the ones that most intrigue me stand out is the element of surprise.
I’ve got a few preview shots of some of these shows, and in some cases just a hard copy invite to share.
On the list
Duckie Brown
Number Lab [new to me, but I loved the invite, so I’m curious]
Toni Francesc
Jeremy Scott
Academy of Art University [there’s always a minimum of one “wow” student showing at this
Douglas Hannant

Number Lab pulled together a bunch of words that made me want to go and see for myself:  

CHIAROSCURO // Zaha Hadid’s BERGISEL Structure

Douglas Hannant is having an event held in his honor by Geoffrey Bradfield to celebrate the launch of Douglas Hannant De Robert Piguet.
Jeremy Scott? You just never know what he has in store. I’ve been a fan since his long-ago “Walk Like An Egyptian” collection.
ANDREW BUCKLER’s theme for fall 2011 is “anonymous art” and the idea that “the urban arts and artists [use] the streets as a medium to communicate messages. Anonymous art fuels discussion as the artist questions the conventions of art.”

Spaniard Toni Toni Francesc has as his pre-show teaser: 

Phoenix: “Immortality and Renewal”

The image of a chic woman dressed in a drapey white blouse and sporting a Fedora and bright red lips doesn’t necessarily remind me of a phoenix, but that’s an outfit I’d like to wear, and that’s a great starting point.

>Packing for NYFW/10-Day Trip to Paree

26 Jan

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Nowadays, life is much ore homogenized. I used to rail against it, hated to see a McDonalds deface the Champs Elysee.
‘What, I asked, was the point of driving through America when everything now looks the same?’
Earlier this winter, I was in New Hampshire and then a week later, in Orlando. While on the road in my rental, seeking-out consignment stores, I had a sense of déjà vu. No mater where I was, there were strip mall centers with Applebee’s, McDonalds, Blockbuster, Staples, and Dunkin Donuts.

It just occurred to me though, that this homogenization could be a GOOD thing when it comes to travel. For the past few years, whether I’ve been packing for a week to attend LA Fashion Week, or NYFW or for 10 days in Paris, the contents of my suitcase are pretty much THE SAME.
This does NOT mean that I’m a boring dresser though.
It’s inevitable that I have to check my bag. A duffle-worth of clothes for a week away just doesn’t cut it. All that’s happened when I tried that “less is more” approach was that I had to buy a few things to supplement what I wish I hadn’t left behind.

Here are the items that are going in my rollie brown and white suitcase for NYFW/10 days in Paris.

There are a few ways to cheat, first and foremost being to wear as much as possible while traveling to your destination. Wear your heaviest coat, shoe/boot, and layer as much as possible.
In my case, that means I’ll wear: a black concert tee [The Runaways], with a heavy black turtleneck by UnderArmour, a black cashmere tee shirt and an oversize black cashmere Zoran hoodie over that. On the bottom, comfy jeans by Converse/John Varvatos, thick fuzzy sock and black Prada military lace up Boots. The outer layer is either a vintage fox coat or a dark brown subzero weight Lands End down coat that goes to midcalf. My head will be toasty warm with a navy/white pull on Under Armour fleece cap, and an orange plaid Burberry scarf will protect my neck.
A pair of REALLY warm gloves is on my shopping list, and a trip over to Dick’s Sporting Goods is on my list to fill in that gap.

In the suitcase, I always pack the shoes FIRST, as they take-up the most space. As the weather is nasty, and I’ll be on the streets a lot, the list is streamlined down to the aforementioned Prada boots, a shorter pair of gray square toed Miu Mix ankle boots with a flat driving sole, Chanel tan and black ballet slippers, black canvas Chuck Taylor sneaks, and a pair of J. Crew platform grosgrain flip-flops for the hotel room.
Next, underwear, 2 PJS and my thicker than thick Missoni hooded robe.

As far as clothes, Jeans rule the day. I limit it to 3 pair, and a pair of gray thin wale cords, a few Petit Bateau tees, short and long sleeves [red/white and navy/white].

Sweaters and jackets are the most important and a chance to have a little fun with the wardrobe. That doesn’t mean you’re not packing the basics – always a large space in the suitcase for them.
THE BASICS ARE…a black cashmere tee, a black merino or cashmere crewneck, a huge turtleneck [black and one in a fun color], sweater vests, and one LBD. My winter one is a long sleeve wool knee length number that looks very much like the dress Jacqueline Bessette was photographed wearing at a long ago MET ball.
Take two jackets, but make sure one is black. The other one can be tweed and if you’re lucky it’s got CHANEL on the label.
Accessories are where you can have a little fun. Scarves and necklaces take very little space and give your clothes a bit of individuality. Recently, I’ve become interested in pins, such as the “Duchess of Windsor” ones I wrote about in a Carolee Post last month.
All in all, the above will get you through your trip and if you hate black, just choose another neutral. All of the above black pieces can be subbed with all navy, or camel, or white pieces.
Bon Voyage, and see you at the shows!

>Backstage Interview with Daniel Vosovic

11 Sep

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Daniel Vosovic’s heroine, let’s call her a modern day version of ‘Martha in Edward Albee’s play, ‘Virginia Woolf’ thrown into the wilderness. Makes sense that her clothes would be mud, bark and leaf colored and that she’d be stomping down a dirt runway in thick soled platform wedges. But, hey it’s fashion, and that entails fantasy and so it makes sense that the heels are high, and that the brows are perfectly groomed. Fittingly, the jackets are well cut and that the slashes on the silver oilleakprint dresses are well placed, making Daniel’s ‘Martha’ look anything BUT a mess.