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Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel: Part 1

28 Mar

Text and Video, Vivian Kelly

The Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Tour was as well organized as a military operation. As a blogger, I waited with the other bloggers invited, perched on a ledge,  two yards away from VS Angels Candice Swanepoel and Erin Heatherton. Each of us had 3 minutes with the Supermodels.

To read this post in its entirety, please visit and bookmark our new URL:


See you there!





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?

Mark Cross’s Iconic “Box Bag” – a Grace Kelly Fave Is Back For Us to Enjoy in 2012

31 Jan

The Inimitable Grace Kelly Holding Her Grace Box Bag in Rear Window

Text, Vivian Kelly

Last Friday, I had an unexpected break from teaching and zoomed over to one of my favorite local designer consignment stores, Bring N Buy, to see if I could score a Friday feel good deal. While hanging out with co-owner, Tina Hassenstein, and discussing the upcoming NYFW, I internally mulled over if I really wanted  the brown LV monogram bag on the shelf. It DID have the boxy structured shape I love but… I left, sans bag.
Later that day, while at my home office desk, a pitch came in from the HL Group’s Maria Bui,  about a special launch event – “Collection 1” by Mark Cross exclusively for Barney’s NY.

There, embedded in the message was a range of gorgeous little boxy bags as clean and elegant as a die hard Minimalist could wish for.

Mark Cross’s reappearance on the fashion radar screen is interesting on a couple of levels.

Firstly, I’m not sure where Barney’s is headed creatively these days. My last visit during the holidays was a bit dismaying – over-stuffed racks, a shoe sale in which shoes and boots were strewn all over the department rather than contained on racks as they are at Neiman’s and Lord & Taylor. My friend, Anthony Palermo, felt similarly when we chatted about it last month as he bleached out my hair.  

That said, a collaboration such as this one is a step in the right direction, something that smacks of “the old Barney’s” of yesteryear, when Gene Pressman was in charge. In the Nineties, Barney’s was the place where you went for fashion items you could not find anywhere else. Their highly edited merch was the reason you went to Barney’s.

Secondly, the bags in the Mark Cross collection have an elegant retro vibe and come in boxy geometric designs. Better still, this accessories company has a wonderful pedigree, thanks largely to its longtime designer Gerald Butler and  his wife Sara, who passed away in 1964 and 1975, respectively. The company reopened in 2010.

Thirdly, the brand is associated with one of my favorite fashion icons. One of the bags in the Barney’s exclusive is the modern day version of “Grace Box”, the bag that Gerald Butler created for Grace Kelly to wear in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Grace’s little bag became so famous that the company eventually produced it for their customers to be able to have a little bit of Grace’s “very sleek and classic style” in their life.

Lastly, Mark Cross [and designer, Gerald Butler] have a rich artistic history that spans across several artistic disciplines: accessory design, literature and ballet. Gerald and Sara Murphy were people I would have loved to have met.  If the wacky Dr. Emmett Brown’s DeLorean Flux Capacitator actually worked, I’d beg him to hitch a ride on it to go back to the Forties and join them for cocktails and a chat about what they were working on next.

Dr. Emmett Brown and his Delorean Flux Capacitator

Here, a little more of this venerable brand’s history

Mark Cross was originally established as a saddler and harness-maker – bought by the Murphy family in 1875. Gerald & Sara Murphy were good friends with literary legends such as: F Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway and Dorothy Parker. Fitzgerald dedicated his novel “Tender is the Night” to Sara and Gerald. The main characters in the book, Dick and Nicole Diver, are partly inspired by Sara and Gerald. THIS is true-blue glamour, with a capital G.

Product info:
Debuting exclusively at Barney’s, to arrive in stores by 1/30/12 (Barney’s NY,

Pricing: $1,495 – 2,350

If Mark Cross continues to do more collaborations such as this one, count me in as a Mark Cross fan.

Farah Angsana- When Less Really IS More

10 Oct

Text, Vivian Kelly

A few weeks ago, while in Town [NYC] to check-out Douglas Hannant’s new PINK collection, I had a number of interesting conversations. One of these was with an industry insider, M, whom I’ve known for 20 years, and whose opinions I respect. We had been rehashing a few of the recent NYFW Shows. Farah Angsana, an eveningwear designer came up.

I remarked that I’d been following her for 4 or so years ago, starting back when I attended the now defunct Mercedes Benz LA Fashion Weeks at Culver City, CA. She and Kevin Hall were consistently among the best shows there. Ms. Angsana knew how to shape a beautiful bodice – which reminded me of Nineties designer, Donald Deal – who may have missed his calling. HE should have been working with movie costume designer Edith Head. Together, they would have designed some utterly unforgettable gowns for Grace Kelly, similar to the stunning aqua one she wore in To Catch a Thief (1955).

Prior to seeing the butterscotch ruffled ball gown in this collection, I had associated the words, “beading” and “bling” with Ms. Angasana’s evening gown designs. This gown showed her ability to deliver design that is understated and elegant and that whispers rather than shouts. Designs such as these play better in the Box’s Art Gallery setting rather than on a runway with blaring music in the big tent’s stadium-like venue.

“Sometimes less is more, said my friend, M. It really worked better for her  showing in the Box than having a big runway show.”

She’s right. I admittedly only saw a few of the looks before rushing off to the next show, but was impressed by the elegant looks I did catch. In our short interview, Ms. Angsana said that she was inspired by a recent trip to Asia and numerous visits to art galleries and museums in which she was sparked by the gorgeous fabrics and embroidery treatment she admired there.

Watch the video below, to hear the details.

The Duckie Brown s/s2012 Fashion Show at Industria Superstudios

10 Sep

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Studio 5, around 1:30p.m.

Text, Vivian Kelly

Here we were at Industria Superstudios, with lighting so beautiful that it can’t be duplicated in Lincoln Center, no matter how skilled the lighting techs are. Yeah, it’s out of the way, an after some internal grousing in the cab on the way, I snapped out of it because I already knew that it was a good collection and I’d go anywhere the Duckies were doing a show.

The theme – [ I knew from the August preview, so I didn’t have to guess] – was young toughs from  London’s East End who inspired Steven on a recent trip to London. The boy-men had side parted school lad hair morphed with a Russian gangster attitude, which said, “Do not look at me and do not mess with me.”

The real boys walking the London streets wear slouchy tracksuits. This dapper Duckie group wears tracksuits in silk rip stop nylon, some with hoods.  Some even wore rose print short sets, which on anyone else, done by anyone else would have seemed ridiculous.

The opposite was true here. If you’re equipped with the right attitude, you can wear anything you wish and it will look right.

The only real surprise was the absence of Mrs. Brown, as Daniel had me try on a gorgeous scrunchy cream leather jacket in the softest leather ever.

She was there in spirit however, as some of her sensibility leaked into the latest Duckie men’s collection.  Maybe next season, but in the meantime, I’m glad I was “good” at the preview and only looked at the leather jacket on Mrs. Brown’s rack because there’s nothing like a formal introduction to what I strongly suspect will become one of my favorite women’s brands.

NYFW – Uptown and Downtown Girls: the Eleanor Lambert cocktail party and the Astonish Magazine Launch

9 Sep

Text, Vivian Kelly + Laura Wood

“Women with Access” – that’s the phrase long-time gal pal and fellow blogger, Judi Ecochard, posed to me in an early a.m. phone conversation as we discussed where we’d been the first night of the s/s/2012 NYFW.

My contributor, Laura Wood and I split the evening in two. I took uptown and she took downtown.

With so many shows and events [and that’s not even taking into account, FNO] – fashion’s night out – NYFW has truly become the survival of the fittest and a divide and conquer proposition.

We arrived into town and had barely had the time to drop our bags at the CC[Cornell Club] before we split-up and started our bi-annual marathon coverage race.

Uptown took me to a swank cocktail party down the street from the Lincoln Center Tents, on the 10th floor of the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse . The event – a cocktail party and book signing to celebrate friend John Tiffany’s new book, Eleanor Lambert: Still Here and was underwritten by Swarovski.

I’m a fan of fashion history but John is a true fashion historian and had the privilege of working for the grande dame.

In the book, he explores the legendary PR maven’s career and her accomplishments, which include launching Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, Halston, creating “the best dressed list” to holding a fashion show for American designers at Versailles. That one production finally gave American fashion designers some respect with their French counterparts.

As I waited for my date of the evening, the stylish Ellen Sears, AAU’s Director of online Fashion to arrive, I amused myself by observing the NY socials wafting in and out of the elevators, including the CFDA’s CEO, Steven Kolb, and Warris, a fashion designer/socialite. Outside, the weather was frankly horrendous, but the rain didn’t stop anyone from donning their stilettos and newest fall outfits and the room was packed to capacity.

AT about the same time, DOWNTOWN, Laura was fighting her way through the crowd at the Astonish Magazine launch party at the Gansevoort Park Avenue on 28th and Park. They tried to combine the magazine launch with a fashion show of Phuong My’s designs. Theoretically, it was a good idea – how could you complain about hanging out at the Gansevoort Park Avenue?

It was well attended, but chaotic and even those with assigned seats got bumped. Laura can’t comment on the clothes as the space was packed like a can of sardines. That’s par for the course. What was NOT acceptable was the general mass confusion and the fact that the girl handing out the magazines “didn’t know what the people responsible for creating the magazine looked like” so she couldn’t even get a post show interview.

The sponsor side fared better they really came through and we enjoyed a delicious cocktail featuring Sakiri vodka [with ginger ale and lemon] and the Luxx Chocolat dark chocolate squares. Laura, a chocolate aficionado, on a scale of 1-10, at least a 9+.

In the end, it was a little too much like The Great Gatsby in which you had a fine time but felt dissatisfied as you left, never having met the host.

Rambo’s Beauty Picks: Rambo loves GUCCI’s “Flora” fragrance

6 Sep


Edited by V.K.

VK and I have been looking for a fragrance for her to wear – for a really long time, as in before I came on the scene and became TheFE’s official mascot!

Before I came and helped-out, she had lots of expert help and guidance – that cool guy, Levi Pharaoh, the PR for MIN New York and Uncle Mark [Behnke] who’s the Managing Editor of Basenotes.

In the end, she finally figured it out after I suggested she go to Lord & Taylor and try a bunch of fragrances without paying attention which famous name was associated with it.

[I told her Chanel No. 5 had a cool bottle but was too strong for her. Too bad she wasted her time anyhow and tried it out, only to find that the new “lighter” version smelled like cheap soap on her.]. YAWN…

I know – I told her not to go for the name, but I DO love GUCCI, especially old-school like the Jackie bag and the run horsebits because they’re shiny. I also love our friend, Essie [Weingarten’s] name for one of her nail polishes, “Guchi Muchi Puchi”. ME-OWW!

She came home that day – hours later – after my daytime 5 hour nap – and showed me a pretty white box.

Before BFF Ollie and I came over to investigate, we hopped onto the Internet and found a really good write-up on the fragrancebouquet blog. We finally did some NEt research because Ollie almost got knocked-out by some of the stuff we’ve been collecting over the years. Check-out Ollie, on the job.

ANyhow, here is why I approve of GUCCI “Flora” as VK’s new scent

1. It has great history. The write-up on Fragrance Bouquet said that  it was inspired by Grace Kelly – and she’s one of our all-time fashion icon faves!

2.  Frida Gianini is cool – maybe even better than Tom Ford was at doing the Gucci thing

3. Frida’s also smaaaart, she brought-back the scarf print Grace wore in the s/s2009 collection. I saw a pair of ballet flats with it at Deja Vu on THE HUNT. Maybe we should have jumped on that….

4. It smells nice but it’s not “too too”. I hate when people come over and stink up my space with obnoxious fragrances. Once, I even had to run to my attic sanctuary – it was soooo bad.

5. Oh yeah, back to the box. It’s pretty! and it’s just big enough for me to curl up and sleep inside the top part. All this talk of sleeping and the pre-NY Fashion Week activity has me EX-haus-ted but I’ll be back next week after I meet some pretty models backstage and tell you what to do with your hair and makeup for spring.  Ta ta!