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Tadashi Shoji Fall 2012 Backstage- “Shanghai” Collection”

19 Apr

Text and Videos, Vivian Kelly

SHANGAI

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, http://goo.gl/otPrn

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

Enjoy!

Papillon Pups Work their Doggie Couture His-N-Her Outfits

6 Jan

Text, Vivian Kelly

Introducing… Phoebe and Pepito!

I used to be one of those people who did some major eyerolling when I read in WWD that fashion designer x, and fashion designer y were expanding their global brands to include doggie couture. Really? A bleu marine [navy blue] leather Hermes collar with palladium hardware sells for $390 on luxury-shops.com. It’s beautiful yes, but rather austere, and not to mention, expensive.

My attitude adjusted after doing some shopping with my Mother for her 1st dog, a sweet black Pomeranian named ‘Mona’. She had an outfit for every occasion. There were even mini Wellington boots, but my favorite was a hand knit shocking pink sweater which looked Steven Sprouse-ish.

That was nothing. The REALLY fashionable dog wears made to measure couture. Shockingly, it’s not nose-bleedingly expensive. This weekend, after a couple of cups of java, watch my interview with Wendy Curran and her two Papillons, Phoebe and Pepito aka Pete. In it, Wendy discusses the history of the breed and reveals a few of her sources to get adorable outfits for the duo. Wendy sourced Phoebe’s flirty dress on Ebay [@ $30] and Pepito’s Country Squire coat is from Fox&Hounds [$40]. The theme for the gear they’re wearing in tomorrow’s video is “holiday” but it could also work beautifully for Valentine’s Day next month.

Warning: Once you start cruising Fox&Hounds, you may get sucked-in as it’s part of the Sherpa Pet Group, which consists of 8 collections.

In case the sky’s the limit, you could look into the $3million+ necklace featured in The National Enquirer, modeled by a very lucky Papillon pup. As someone who follows the ‘Columbo’ [Peter Falk’s iconic detective], I’ve got “just another question, please”. HOW, does a tiny dog wear this 52-carat necklace that consists of 1,600 hand-set diamonds AND a 7 -carat centerpiece stone without toppling over on his/her little nose? If money is no object, as it was [not] for Marie Antoinette, and you and your Papillon pup can share, then maybe Ava’s necklace is something your precious needs to have too.

* Check-in tomorrow for my video interview with Wendy, featuring Phoebe and Pepito featuring their chic yet eminently accessible couture duds.

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.

Gwen Stefani’s s/s2012 L.A.M.B. Collection – When Fashion by a Celebrity is a Good Thing

29 Sep

Text, Vivian Kelly

Celebrities have a bad rap in the fashion business. I’d taken a skeptical stance on the idea of the notion of celebrity as fashion designer, since the days when Kathie Lee Gifford “designed” a line for Wal-Mart, followed by legions of demi celebs such as Paris Hilton who capitalized on their fame to produce shoddy garments they themselves would never actually wear. The fact that THEY themselves wore Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta etc etc. said it all.

There are exceptions however, that show that celebrities CAN [in conjunction with the right team] produce a credible fashion line. The first time I witnessed this was while attending a Justin Timberlake concert at Mohegan Sun, soon after his “Future Sex/Love Sounds” tour hit. Joe Zee did an amazing job styling him and Justin carried that white suit as well as John Travolta did his in “Saturday Night Fever”.

IT wasn’t William Rast, but I recall being stupefied when mid-way through the show, he sang a ballad in a plaid William Rast shirt and jeans. That night, I began reconsidering the celebrity as fashion designer issue and resolved to actually READ the WWD articles about Celebrity X designing a fashion line to see if others besides Justin were getting it right.

Good news. In the ranks of the “getting it right” are Justin Timberlake/William Rast, the Olsen Twins/Elizabeth and James, and the subject of this post, Gwen Stefani/L.A.M.B. Until this NYFW, the closest I got to Gwen’s line was seeing pieces at Nordstrom’s on the floor. I liked what I saw and longed to see her next collection in its entirety to see if she continued to follow-through on her branding message ie: herself  = a fun yet sophisticated version of cool.

A key ingredient for a brand’s success is to create an identity and to stick with your DNA. Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana hit gold early in their career with the severe look of elderly Italian women clad in black crossed with sexy corsets and animal print that showed their idealized woman; one who possesses an intriguing angel-devil personality.

Gwen Stefani has similarly created a believable personality for her L.A.M.B line. She is known as a pop star who mixes classic glamour with funky contemporary clothing resulting in a mix that is the modern equivalent of Eighties’ pop star, Cyndi Lauper. Although physically these two don’t resemble one another, they share that irresistible “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” spirit that I’ve loved since Ms. Lauper debuted it in 1983 on MTV.

This season was my first L.A.M.B. show. I’m calling it a “show” even though technically, it was a presentation, set in the “Box” space – my favorite of the Lincoln Center Fashion Week venues as there’s usually little to no waiting, you can get as close as you want to the clothes and the models obligingly pose for shots.

The presentation was scheduled to start at 2:30p.m, but you wouldn’t have known that from the crowd assembled in the holding area when I arrived at 2:20. Normally tardy editors were in line waiting, snaked around the length of the tent to get what I guessed would be only a very quick glimpse of the latest L.A.M.B. collection and hopefully a look at the chanteuse cum fashion designer herself. [Ms. Stefani was not there, sigh.]

I  wiggled to the front of the 4-deep crowd huddled around the models posing on the white blocks, to scan the 23 looks. There was herringbone plaid, a leather moto jacket, some fun Ikat prints and quite a bit of Noir Jewelry; in short, no huge deviations from the brand’s DNA. Just an hour earlier at lunch with Scott French and Meredith Garcia of The Fashion List at Pain Quotidian, we all agreed that the best designers like writers find their voice and stick with it. Their customers appreciate this; can count on them to deliver the goods. Make no mistake – consistency is not boring, it is an asset.

A few months ago, a stroll on the floor at Nordstrom’s Westchester Mall verified this. Marc Jacobs Mark by Marc and L.A.M.B. stood out, because they didn’t need any store signage to identify them. That odd but adorable tweak like a teeny tiny print on a puff sleeve blouse- must be Marc. Black and white herringbone jackets and red accents? Must be L.A.M.B. – it was.

With all of this in the back of my mind, once finally, inside the Box, my first glimpse revealed black and white, this time as an Ikat print top worn with brown herringbone shorts accessorized with a skinny red belt, and towering platform sandals in black, red and cobalt – very Eighties!

The rock and roll portion of the brand was most apparent in the accessories, hair and makeup, namely a leather and gold shark tooth necklace heavily kohled eyes, straight black brows and a two- tone “Pebbles” from The Flintstones hairdo.

Many of the editors in the Tents were wearing this same up-do, minus the volume and two-tone.

Ms.Stefani hit the preppy trend square on with a v-front cream tennis sweater but unlike the one from your parents’ country club, this one is minus the unflattering bulk. The L.A.M.B sweater boasts fine knit gage stitching, which make it an ideal transition piece. These days, transition pieces are where it’s at. What could be better than playing a set of tennis, taking a shower, putting on the same sweater that you walked on the Courts with and getting-on with your day? There’s something for everyone here, and even one piece will up the fun quotient of your spring wardrobe.

>Packing for NYFW/10-Day Trip to Paree- the new "5 Easy Pieces"

2 Mar

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TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
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!

 

 

 

 

 

>Packing for NYFW/10-Day Trip to Paree

26 Jan

> var addthis_config = {“data_track_clickback”:true}; Bookmark and Share

TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
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!

>TheFE Reviews Tom Ford’s ‘A Single Man’

13 Jul

>

TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY

The first words that came to my mind while watching this were, ‘haunting and moving’. Ford succeeds in establishing a deep personal connection regardless of your sexual orientation. Sex actually, has to my surprise, very little to do with what’s at the core of this movie. To summarize, COLIN FIRTH, plays the lead character – a man who’ s emotionally adrift once his partner of 16 years suddenly dies.
While he predictably goes down the road of contemplating a few flings with handsome boys 20 years his junior, and even a liaison with his best female friend [JULIANNE MOORE], nothing can replace the big gaping hole in his heart.
In a heart-wrenching twist of fate, on his last day of life, Firth decides to let go of his past, after a moonlight swim with his handsome student. The shocker comes when Firth falls asleep [alone] only to wake-up to die of a heart attack.
I’ll admit I had preconceived notions, namely that this film would be slick and glossy, as Ford himself appears. Perhaps though, that’s just what lays on the surface, and as with the film, there’s much more below the glossy surface image Ford presents to the world.
While I’m still hoping Ford will come back and design for Gucci again, I’m also hoping he’ll continue to make films such as this.
TWO THUMBS UP