Tag Archives: Grace Kelly

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, barneys.com)

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.

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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.

TheFE Loves the Natural Look -MiN New York’s ProEnzyme Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub and Lumene Finland’s Time Freeze Eye Perfecting Treatment

14 Mar

Text, Vivian Kelly

Lately, I’ve been on a kick about “going natural”. This does NOT mean that I’m advocating a no-grooming approach to beauty – not by any means. After attending a swanky launch party for Douglas Hannant at the Payne Whitney on Fifth Ave., I have to agree with my friend, Debby DeMontford’s assessment. Debby is one of the most outspoken and funniest writers I know and you should read her on her site, Crap and Couture. Talk about saying it like it is! I love her for this.

Watch the short video clip of her take on Botox, and Fillers from the party to see what she means.

‘The faces are mostly crap and the clothes are mostly couture.”

I laughed, but she got me thinking very seriously about whether I wanted to continue to march down that road OR if I’d just do what my inner compass kept nagging me to do – “age gracefully and naturally”.

Grace Kelly would have looked ridiculous and desperate if she’d tried to hold on to the youthful beauty she possessed which was immortalized in “To Catch a Thief” and her other Hitchcock flicks. Thank goodness she allowed herself to mature from a Hollywood Starlet to an older but still beautiful International Jet Setter and Princess.

This post is just the beginning, of the conversation I’ve started with you readers trying to answer the question – “natural, or ….not?”. As I keep talking to beauty and fashion folk, I’m simultaneously trying out products that hold potential of delivering some real results. So far, I’ve found a few products that really work – without scary side effects.

For some at-home microdermabrasion, rather than a session at the dermatologist’s, there’s MiN New York‘s ProEnzyme Trio AntiAging Facial Scrub. As Levi Pharaoh promised when he put some samples in my bag, “you will love this”. I do, and use it daily. After rinsing, the L’Oreal Youth Code Day Lotion w/ 30 SPF actually feels as if it’s penetrating my skin. Once the tube runs out, I may just splurge and see if the FOUND Cosmetics SARPA serum  MiN carries for $225 a jar really does erase wrinkles. The description is certainly intriguing. “FOUND Sarpa Wrinkle Reducing Serum is a beneficial potion formulated with a peptide that imitates the venom of the Viper of the Temple of the Azure Cloud or Tropidolaemus wagleri.Swiss scientists studied this snake and produced biotechnologically one of the most precious peptides of all time. This peptide is safe and won’t bite you.” IMITATES is the key here. A Botox injection IS actually venom ie: poison and a few $100 more to boot. The cream’s looking like a value from this perspective.

Ditto for Lumene’s Time Freeze which actually does banish undereye puffiness. The potent combo of heather, Metabiotics, Resveratrol and plant proteins feels cool – but no sting.

Lumene Finland's Time Freeze

Another area that causes much anxiety in my household is break-outs. Because my skin is thin and prone to rosacea, I’m terrified when the occasional blemish turns-up on my face. Not dealing with it is not an option and neither is covering it with concealer. Happily, MenScience Androceuticals has a genius zit zapper called Acne Spot Repair. It doesn’t sting or leave the area with an ugly whitish residue like some of the harsher alternatives [like Pro-Active] do. It’s also good for those nasty little blackheads that tend to lodge on the side of your nose no matter how diligent you are with your daily skincare regimen.

Menscience Androceuticals Acne Spot Repair, $21

The fourth product I’m crazy about is a lipstick, and it’s cheap! Maybelline‘s “Moon Beam” #950 is Limited Edition and is one of the top shades for spring. This one’s meant for a day you want to wear the sheerest beige but don’t want goopy gloss. This lipstick is moist and much more attractive than dabbing Vaseline on your lips. Hurry and get it though, because the mini-display at my local Walgreens featuring Christy Turlington was already half empty.

Next up, Nail Queen, Essie Weingarten talks to us about why natural nails are the best way to go and what colors to wear when the weather heats up.

Any guesses on what her personal shades are?