Tag Archives: Douglas Hannant

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, http://goo.gl/otPrn

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



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.

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.

Rambo’s Picks – Week of July 25, Tales of a Beauty Editor at Large

29 Jul

Text, Rambo

Edited by: VK

I feel sorry for humans, because try as they might, they’ll never have lashes as long and beautiful as my whiskers or hair that’s as soft as my platinum  gray colored fur, but I love them because they just keep on trying.

I applaud my owner for finally finding a hair color that succeeds in leaving her hair ALMOST as soft as mine. Before VK found John Frieda’s color mousse, every time she colored her hair I’d run to the garage to get away from the NASTY chemical smell, and I don’t like the garage – I’m afraid of the raccoon monster who sometimes breaks in to eat out of my dry food out of the big bag in there.

Last weekend, I discovered the solution to at-home hair coloring for you guys and girls who don’t want to deal with a trip to the salon and would rather hang at home coloring with your favorite cat. It’s called John Frieda’s Precision Foam Colour. We liked the 5N shade – medium brown.

WHY Rambo loves John Frieda’s Foam Colour- the 5

1.  It’s mouse – oops! Mousse and fun to put in your hair, kind of looks like you sprayed a whole can of that delish whipped cream on your head. Yum.

2. It’s designer hair color and as I’m a fashion writer’s cat, I like designer anything. After all, I spent my first year of life rolling around in Fashion Week swag: MAC Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Douglas Hannant fragrance…. Makes me purr!

3. It smells nice. You wouldn’t believe how nasty some of the hair color VK has tried-out in our bathroom smells. That Clairol she bought had me hightailing it out of the room even though I was curious and wanted to watch. Peuw!

4. It made VK’s hair glossy, almost like mine– everyone who comes over oohs and aahs about my shiny coat. [Just between us, her hair was looking wiry and I hate this word – frizzy – even, before I discovered this mousse color.] Shhh!

5. I found it at CVS – one of our go-to places for beauty because there’s so much fun beauty stuff, AND it was on sale for $9.99. Even at the regular $14.99, it’s a paws-up. Like Cybill [Shepherd] said, “Because I’m worth it”. Right?

I’m signing-off now ‘cause I’ve got to tunnel through the mascaras we’re trying to pick the best one for you guys next week.

Ciao Meow!


Prom is the Bomb!

1 May

Text, Vivian Kelly

Twenty years ago, dressing as if it were one’s wedding day for one’s High School Prom was not even imaginable. Back then, prom was a rather SILLY EVENT WHERE IT WAS OKAY TO WEAR A LITTLE COCKTAIL DRESS that was probably purchased at a bridal boutique, and most likely an ugly shade of pink or teal.

Take the 1986 John Hughes classic, “Pretty in Pink”.

Remember? In it, ‘Andie’ slashes the beautiful vintage dress her alternative friend, Annie Potts, ‘Iona’ gives her and combines it with the ugly pink one Dad gifts her. The result = the most memorable prom dress ever. At the time, the reworked dress was unique and daring. Most girls, lamentably attended prom in candy confections like the pink creampuff Andie ripped-up.

The stakes for promwear have gone up, aided and abetted by such seminal events as the Wills-Kate wedding. The R.W. contributed to prom fever, but prom as pre-wedding has been a reality for quite a while.

A few weeks ago, I wandered into **VINTAGE!, an upscale vintage and consignment boutique in Bedford Hills, NY to find some sunglasses, and walked out in a state of shock, and the concept for this post.

The newsflash: Well-to-do private school girls were dropping a couple of $$thou on vintage Oscar de la Renta. Vintage! gets its clothes and accessories from Hollywood  – namely celebrities and film sets.  For prom? Was the owner joking?

Not at all. From January – June, Laura Herlihy, a former Oscar de la Renta staffer, is booked solid [sometimes even double-booked] Monday – Friday for “prom appointments”.  I dawdled, in hopes of witnessing the appointment, prolonging my debate between the rectangular blue D&Gs or the red ovals. [I left with the D&Gs but am returning for the reds as they’re right on trend now.]

The two girls arrived, on time, for their appointment.

Question: Since when do privileged American teens arrive on time for anything?

Answer: When it matters to them. Prom, I concluded, mattered.

Both girls sported short shorts, long starlet hair and bodies and designer handbags. They each needed 2 gowns for prom – 1 for the actual prom, the other for the after-party. Cocktail dresses were not an option. The jewelry seemed to be fairly understated, perhaps a pair of the Carolee* faux diamond clip-ons for that vintage Cartier-Old Hollywood look that’s so popular on the Red Carpet now. The shoes would be Red Carpet worthy: Louboutin, Manolos, or Choos.

Not everyone though, can spend on this level though.

A few days later – down South – Fifi’s  Designer Consignment Shop, Durham, NC.  Although prom is “huge” here too, the girls here wear cocktail dresses, according to the Manager.  My candidate and theirs’ – ***a champagne ombre BCBG cocktail dress with some sparkly paillette work on the front – no extra bling needed. This little dress reminded me of Hailee Steinfeld, in her Marchesa dress at the Oscars. The girl who wears the BCBG to her prom will look elegant but “her age”.

Last stop, The Fashion Exchange, in Newtown, CT, on the Northernmost reaches of Fairfield County. Here, the look was gowns as well, two on average, for the big night. The choices were less elevated, think BCBG rather than Oscar. The owner, Janet, emphasized the importance of “blingy accessories”. The case and wall next to the register was as dazzling as the Caribbean noontime sun. The most in demand pieces were hair ornaments to decorate updos, big cocktail rings and Harry Winston-like bracelets of faux ice. Although the F.E. is an upscale shop, a dress can run in a reasonable  $100 price range, topping out around $600.

One big resemblance with a first wedding, Janet notes, is that the Mother is often the more excited of the two. This was eerily similar to big first weddings, in which Mom typically takes over and inflates a “small wedding” to a huge spectacle with a cast of hundreds and a final price tag bordering on 6 figures.

Janet and I ended our conversation, talking about what else – the Royal Wedding. Kate, did it right, and used her long-time stylist James Pryce of the Richard Ward Salon, and allegedly did her own makeup.

She took it up a notch by applying makeup that was just a shade darker, for the biggest [at least, public] day of her life. How many girls do you know who would do that? Love it!

“She looked like herself,” said Janet. THAT girls, is the key. Fine to book an appointment with your favorite hair and makeup team, but if you don’t usually wear an up do in your day-to-day, better to stick with a more polished version of your usual look, as Kate did.

Lastly, take a cue from one of fashion’s most legendary icons, Coco Chanel

Before you go out, look at yourself – hard – in the mirror. If something looks ‘too much’ take it off. Maybe even take one more thing off.

To think of it, the only jewelry Kate, a real live Duchess and Queen to be, wore was the nature-inspired Robinson Pelham earrings, the Lady Di Sapphire ring, and the diamond Cartier “Halo” tiara, borrowed from the Queen. Bling like this is acceptable for her one and only wedding.

Tiaras for the prom – NO. Reserve that thrill for your wedding.


*Did you participate in the Carolee Prom earring give-away? If not, I’ve still got 1 pair left to gift.

HINT: These, BTW, make for a spectacular Mother’s Day gift if you haven’t gotten one for Maman yet.

**At this time, Vintage! does not have a website. It is a division of the Antiques Marketplace, Inc.

Tel: 914-242-9846.

***This is not the BCBG dress at Fifi’s as no photographs are allowed, but it’s similar.