Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Time to Shine

The holidays means gifts, decorations and lots of parties. Sequins and glitter are the perfect way to spruce up last year's outfit or just give you that extra twinkle. Whether you'd like to add some luster to a little black dress or go for a full on glamour girl gleam, here are some recommendations for adding a little sparkle to your holiday season.

Touch of Tinsel Clockwise from top left: Crushed Glitter Satin Clutch,
jcrew.com; Hair Clip, H&M ; Stone Mesh Bracelet, coach.com;
Kat Von D Lightning Sheer Lip Gloss, sephora.com; Cala Sequin
  Heel, ralphlauren.comYellow Dream Dangle earrings, Sterling
Silver Flower Bud earrings, both available at jewelryartdesigns.com

Clockwise from top left: Amici Accessories Sequin Fedora,
nordstrom.com; Sequin Belt, H&M ; Sephora Brand Glitter Spray, 
amazon.comChristian Louboutin Straratata 140 Glitter Sandals,
mytheresa.com ; Make Up Forever Glitter, sephora.com

 Maximum Wattage Left to right: Fast Sequin Dress, frenchconnection.com;
  Gryphon Silver Sequin Short-sleeve Mini Dress, 25park.com


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What is the Impact of Sustainable Fashion?

The Fashion Summit is taking place in Copenhagen this week along with the Global Climate Change talks and is organized by the Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical (NICE), an organization dedicated to more sustainable business practices in fashion. The summit features fashion shows from sustainable designers, as well as talks given by fashion industry leaders like Julie Gilhart, Senior VP and Fashion Director of Barneys, Christian Kemp-Griffin, CEO of Edun, Ingrid Schullström, Head of CSR at H&M, and others, about the importance of raising eco-awareness in fashion. It's wonderful to see so many major fashion companies acknowledging that the industry does need to change and adopt more environmentally-friendly business practices. The only thing that is noticeably absent during the summit is that despite the call for companies to embrace sustainability, no speaker has actually addressed what is meant by the phrase "sustainable fashion." Sustainability in the fashion industry is more than just using eco fabrics: the whole process by which apparel is produced contributes a great deal of pollution and waste, from textile dying through to the transportation of a finished garment, and it is the reduction of this waste and pollution that will be at the core of fashion's contribution to the environment.

Sustainable Fashion from Saurabh Sethi on Vimeo.

This video by Saurabh Sethi does an excellent job of illustrating what effects fashion has on the environment and the difference that the application of more sustainable methods can make in each step of the apparel manufacturing process.

The current interest in the environment is a good thing. The best way to make a contribution in fashion is to promote the idea that a fundamental interest in preserving the environment is itself fashionable.”

Giorgio Armani

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Barneys’ Julie Gilhart to Fashion Industry: Do Things Differently to Save Our Planet

by Jasmin Malik Chua, 12/11/09 for Ecouterre

For Julie Gilhart, senior vice president of Barneys New York, fashion has always been a reflection of our times. And in the past 18 years she’s been with the luxury retailer, Gilhart has seen many changes. “The big change now is that we must do things differently in order to save our planet, both from an environmental perspective and a humanitarian one,” she said on Wednesday at the Fashion Summit in Copenhagen, which coincided with Day 3 of the UN Climate Change Conference. “We need to work hard to make the business of fashion consciously cool, yet at the same time, not lose profitability.”

Gilhart admitted that about five years ago, she started feeling disillusioned about her industry. “I felt for the most part it was wasteful and money-driven,” she said, adding that the millions of dollars that went to producing fashion shows could feed a lot of starving people.

We need to work to make fashion consciously cool, yet not lose profitability

It took Al Gore’s game-changing documentary and a meeting with the Dalai Lama to present Gilhart with a new fashion mission, but one that had to be grounded in reality. “Barneys was my employer,” she said, “and as a retailer, we needed to create business to sell merchandise and make a profit.”

Discussions with the Barneys CEO led to the store’s “Have a Green Holiday” campaign, and for every tree-shaped, 22-carat gold necklace sold, the store planted 100 trees. “It doesn’t sound like a radical idea now,” Gilhart said, “but in 2007, in the high-end luxury market, it was.”

The story continues at Ecouterre

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

French Vogue Cover Pokes Fun At Not So Funny Past

"The only reason I got the cover of
French Vogue was because Yves Saint
called up and told them
he'd pull his ads if they didn't.
So of course I got the cover."

Naomi Campbell, February 2008


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Suno Resort 2010

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Virtual Dressing Room by Zugara

Fashionista is a new application developed by interactive marketing and advertising agency Zugara that hopes to give online shoppers the ability to virtually try on clothing using a laptop and a webcam. The video above explains how it works.

This is definitely the most realistic way to see how clothing will look on your body on any website, and the initial set up with a marker ensures a more accurate placement of the garment. A big part of the appeal of Fashionista is the hands-free navigation, which allows the user to feel as though they are actually shopping and not just scrolling through images on a site. The Virtual Dressing room is definitely innovative, but it will be for e-commerce sites to determine whether or not it actually contributes to any increase in sales: will it this application really make a big difference in terms of convincing shoppers to buy things that they wouldn't otherwise?

Go to tobi.com to try it for yourself

Friday, November 20, 2009

Anaikka Jewelry

Anaikka is taking the phrase "statement necklace" to the next level. The line of apparel and accessories which will launch this spring in stores around the world features distinctive handmade jewelry from India that is both edgy and luxurious; a nod to both tradition and modern dressing. In addition to bracelets and necklaces, there are also more unexpected pieces like a silver harness (below) that crosses at the chest. Like all of the other jewelry from Anaikka, it compliments the clean silhouettes of the clothing in the collection.

If you can't wait until spring to get your hands on some of these one-of-a-kind accessories, Anaikka will be having a Spring 2010 Accessories Trunk Show at Henri Bendel 712 Fifth Avenue this Sunday November 22 and Monday November 23 from 12-8PM

All photos courtesy of Anaikka

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Digitized Luxury

Scott Galloway presents during the
Innovation Forum on Friday, November 6th.

From fashionweekdaily.com

Scott Galloway of LuxuryLab weighs in on the e-commerce in the luxury marketplace

Thursday, November 12, 2009

(NEW YORK) In an industry where so much seems tenuous, e-commerce in the luxury fashion world has gained tremendous momentum. New York University marketing professor and Red Envelope founder Scott Galloway recognizes this reality, and along with other members of the NYU think tank LuxuryLab, has ranked 109 luxury companies according to their "Digital IQ Index." Within the ranking system, companies can fall anywhere from "Genius," to "Average," or the unfortunate "Feeble" category. Taking the title as most digitally competent is Apple, followed by BMW. However, fashion labels Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren are in the top 8 overall. So what does this all really mean, and what can we expect to see in the future? Last week, LuxuryLab held an Innovation Forum to address issues affecting the luxury marketplace, and we caught up with Galloway who weighed in and demystified the numbers.

Why was luxury world initially so reluctant to go digital?
Necessity is the mother of innovation, and the luxury sector's staggering growth up until September of last year led to a general lack of urgency and skepticism around a new medium that posed risks. Understandable. Why take these risks when what you are doing is working so well?

How will smaller to mid-size brands have an advantage over the larger labels when it comes to new media? Which brands, specifically, are examples of this?

You could call the 1990s the decade of the "flagship" store. Brands built temples on Fifth Avenue, Rodeo Drive, et cetera and consumers responded and embraced the channel. No matter how creative or innovative, a brand simply needs millions in capital to build these stores. On the web, it's now become less capital intensive and more innovation intensive. So a brand like Tory Burch that has embraced social media and has a great site can begin to get traction faster as the barriers to competing with her bigger competitors have come down. However, to be clear, great brands with a lot of resources and a willingness to embrace risk and the Internet is the ultimate cocktail (e.g., LVMH and Ralph Lauren).

"The Art of the Trench" social microsite by Burberry allows
users to upload photos of themselves and comment on and share images of others

How much influence do social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook really have?
A lot.Gen Y is starting to use Facebook and Twitter as their starting page for the Internet. So having a broad, well-managed presence on these platforms is better than renting an audience in magazines or television, as you own them--they are your evangelists and want more info. The top referral (upstream sites) for most luxury brands is search (Google, Yahoo!), however social media sites are now in the top 10 of referral for over 50% of luxury brands. It's likely that in say three years the most heavily-trafficked sites will be the sites with the greatest following on social media sites.

Can you explain the success of companies like Gilt Groupe?
Whenever companies try to avoid or refuse consumer needs, other companies fill the void. Luxury brands were left with huge inventories due to the recession, but did not have the technology or the will to create flash sales competencies in house. Gilt, Hautelook and RueLaLa have seized the opportunity and are now worth more than 80% of the companies whose brands they carry.

In terms of the importance of e-commerce in the luxury world, where do you see this heading in the future?
Up, up, and away. Within five years I believe the category leaders will be doing 20-30% of their sales online and it will be their most profitable channel. We've reached a tipping point. Consumers want the access, and luxury brands have, finally, embraced the medium and are innovating.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"...People are aware that the planet is a precious thing, just as luxury should be precious, and the two thoughts should be put together so that everything that we're creating in a truly luxurious world should be things that have roots in sustainability."

Suzy Menkes Fashion Editor International Herald Tribune

CFDA Fund Top 10 Finalists

Who do you think should win?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spat On: How to Make that Old Shoe Look New Again

Spats are leather or cloth coverings that can be strapped onto the upper part of a shoe and a clever way to give a plain pair of shoes a makeover. This nifty accessory can be found in almost every shape, color and fabric on Etsy, and some seller's even take custom orders. Below is a list of my faves all from Etsy.

Ivory Leather Flower Spat by Joia Couture
Ivory Leather Flower Spats by joiacouture

Turquoise Leather Viviana Cut Out Spats by Ashes and Empires

Royal Blue Leather Spat from Leather Made Nice

Lisette Herringbone Spats with Brass Studs & Scallop
detail by Ashes and Empire

Gizelle Herringbone Spats with Leather Ruffles
& Buttons by Ashes and Empires

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Can Adults Wear Stella McCartney for Gap Kids?

The answer is YES!

The ladies of UK fashion magazine Grazia do us all a favor by attempting to squeeze into some of the best pieces from Stella McCartney's just-released collaboration with Gap Kids in this clip above.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Luxe Laptops by Douglas Little

High-tech meets high-fashion in a new collaboration between Dell and D.L. & Co. creative director Douglas Little. The designer has created a limited-edition line of opulent Adamo laptop skins, which evoke various “Tales of Technology”—working with Bergdorf Goodman’s senior director of visual presentation, David Hoey, to enhance each computer’s concept with a dazzling display in the store’s famed Fifth Avenue windows. Little spoke with us about the project.

Ultimate Temptation

“This one’s obviously based on Eve, the apple, and the snake,” says Little about the biblically inspired Swarovski serpent. “Michael Schmidt, a costume designer who does Cher, Madonna, and Grace Jones, collaborated with me on this.”

Reshaping Technology

“This is caiman crocodile skin, which we pieced together,” says Little. “We just used its shape to make the corsetry. It’s all hand-stitched and embellished with black-diamond Swarovski crystals.”

Divine Design

“This laptop is about chemical symbolism and the idea of the beginning and the ending; it’s about creation,” says Little. “I wanted to use a primitive concept that had a lot of historical research as the basis but also that felt like a lush brooch and very relevant to what’s currently happening in fashion.” Its accompanying window includes a trio of hoop-skirted mannequins styled after Russian nesting dolls.

The Princess and the PC

“The story of the Princess and the Pea is that the princess is the only one who can feel the pea underneath her mattresses, so this speaks to the idea that this is the slimmest laptop available,” Little reveals about this laser-etched mother-of-pearl design.

Enter to win one of the limited edition Adamo's here

Photos: Dell

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Uniform Project:
Ingenious Fashion Philanthropy

The Uniform Project Trailer from The Uniform Project on Vimeo.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Than Just News

Maybe in response to mounting economic pressures or perhaps to delay the looming threat of paid content, some online publications have created partnerships with retailers and set up shop. Whatever the reason, this allows readers to shop instantly while browsing blog posts and editorial spreads. Hopefully, it will allow content to remain free, as well as provide a much-needed source of revenue for sites trying to make up for steep cuts in paid advertising. Here's a taste of where you can find your news and shopping in the same place.

telegraph online shop

Telegraph Online

There's a new FASHION SHOP in the fashion section of the Telegraph Online site which offers visitors a chance to shop as they browse through fashion news and events. The Fashion Shop includes products from sites like Net-a-Porter and farfetch and does not directly sell any of the merchandise. The best feature is the celebrity look, which are products suggested based on a photograph of a well-dressed celeb. These images are very current, updated often and feature relevant fashion trends. There are also scrolling products at the bottom of the page for the indecisive. Overall, this a good destination for the casual online shopper that enjoys product suggestions and celebrity fashion. Not recommended however, for the more savvy online shopper as the search feature leaves much to be desired.

style.com shopping


Like the Telegraph Fashion Shop, the shopping section of Style.com is full of stylish apparel, accessories and beauty products from a variety of online retailers. What sets the style.com shopping section apart is the unbeatable editorial content. Whether browsing "Shop the Look," blog posts or shop by trend, that style.com magazine feel is never lost: the benefit is that the content is now more valuable, because one can take advantage of the style advice buy purchasing products instantly. Also, the search feature is amazing, with every imaginable way to search through the sizable inventory of must-have items.

anothermag online shop
AnOther Magazine

The AnOther Mag online store features chic design products, especially the limited edition pieces done by Gareth Pugh and Raf Simmons. The site has large detailed images of each product, as well as a zoom feature, but the offering is extremely limited. Hopefully they will expand in the future,as the clean design makes it easy to use and the site has the potential to become more of an online store instead of a design bodega.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eco Karl

"It’s Coco Ecolo, ecology can be chic. No? One can use natural fabrics and learn from nature."

Karl Lagerfeld

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ok...So This Isn't Exactly About Fashion

Photographer Matthew Sandager has created this photo-roman (animated still photographs) with text from French poet Jacques Prévert and featuring Paul Marlow, designer of the menswear label Loden-Dager. It's a lovely little video and the clothes are Loden-Dager (of course!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Valentino Spring/Summer 2010

The Emperor's Creed

"I always say I am here to make women look beautiful and not like fools or crazy fashion victims."

(in Time Magazine)

Valentino Spring/Summer 1989

Photos of the Moment | Alexander McQueen

By Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, from The Moment blog

Alexander McQueen’s Primordial Reveries

AFP /Getty Images

Fashion is all about renewal, Alexander McQueen reminded us at his fashion show Tuesday night. But it is all about spectacle as well, lest anyone take the collection – with its reptilian encrustations – at face value.

Titled “Plato’s Atlantis”, the performance opened with a video of a naked woman writhing in the sand with snakes. Two robotic arms with video cameras glided up and down the runway, gyrating like snakes, streaming the show live on the designer’s website.

The opening styles were silk dresses with reptilian patterns in shades of green, brown and gold. Large flaps folded over the shoulders and around the hips. Turquoise jewels embroidered on waists and turtlenecks resembled scales. The models’ feet were encased in ankle boots with the most extreme platforms of Paris fashion week. The result didn’t look anything like a shoe.

As the video screen played images of a nude woman floating in water, the show shifted into aquatic looks. Blues and greens replaced the desert tones. A sensible gray dress was cut away across the chest and back to reveal swirls of turquoise.

Gray and black leather dresses looked like rubber – more futuristic than the vintage-looking leather on many other runways during the past week. Models wore masks plastered on to the bridge of their noses and their temples, giving them angular and alien-like profiles. . .

Alexander McQueen

Photos of the Moment | Karl Lagerfeld

By Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, from The Moment blog

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More of the Sapeurs

Voilà Les Sapeurs

Check out photographer Daniele Tamagni's book, Gentlemen of Bacongo, which features photographs of men part of a subculture devoted to stylish dressing in Congo. The Sapeurs, as they call themselves, is derived from SAPE, an acronym for the movement itself, Société des Ambianceurs et Persons Élégants. The word sape, perhaps not accidentally, also means “to dress with elegance and style” in French.

Putting African Style on the Page

A fashion layout in Arise, one of Africa's new style magazines. The publication strives for the same quality standards as other international titles.
Published: October 1, 2009

Sub-Saharan Africa doesn’t bring to mind the image of a woman with perfectly manicured nails flipping through glossy magazines in search of the latest handbag or celebrity haircut. Yet such women are there, and in far greater numbers than the media’s portrayal of Africa might suggest.

In wealthy neighborhoods of Lagos; Nairobi; Luanda, Angola; Dakar, Senegal, and the like, ladies of leisure, successful businesswomen and aspirational middle-income housewives make up an attractive demographic that, in the past, relied on international fashion magazines for style and beauty information.

But in the past few years, while Condé Nast, Hearst and Hachette Filipacchi were expanding throughout Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, a handful of African publishers was busy staking claims to this publishing territory. The result has been a wave of new glossies, like Arise, Haute, Helm and True Love, that put an African spin on fashion.

“Honestly, upwardly mobile African readers are crying out for this magazine,” says Helen Jennings, editor of Arise, a monthly style title started late last year by the Nigerian media tycoon Nduka Obaigbena, who also owns the country’s leading newspaper, This Day. “Because the local magazines aren’t as high end or progressive, and no other international titles speak directly to an African readership, Arise has really caused a stir.”

Arise occupies a unique position among magazines in English-speaking Africa as it alone packages both pan-African and global content, producing a provocative blend that Ms. Jennings calls “afropolitan.”

With a reported circulation of about 60,000 and averaging about 140 pages a month, the magazine is distributed to seven other African countries and around Europe and North America. In its no-expense-spared fashion shoots, clothes by African designers are paired with global brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Loewe and Ralph Lauren using popular black international models like Oluchi Onweagba and Rahma Mohamed.

Interviews with high-profile black celebrities, like the singer-songwriters Akon and VV Brown, and others, appeal to global advertisers. Tommy Hilfiger, Juicy Couture, Graff, L’Oreal and Lacoste are all represented in the magazine’s pages — and their prestige has helped pull in ads from fashion brands based in Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania.

But Arise’s embrace of glamour and celebrity is tempered by a nod to the underground and an appreciation of irreverent reportage. A recent issue included a saucy exposé of African WAGs (the British acronym for wives and girlfriends of soccer players) that appeared alongside quirky items about Ugandan skateboarders, a multimedia prodigy from Ivory Coast and the leather-wearing biker subculture that grew up in Soweto after apartheid.

Read the rest of the article at newyorktimes.com

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Did the Recession Kill the Runway Show?

"I mean I'm an 80's girl- I like a show to be a show."

Louise Wilson, Central Saint Martins

A post on "The Moment" New York Times' blog about Alexander de Betak, aka "Fellini of Fashion", reminded me that even though beautiful clothes are lovely to look at, the best part of any fashion week is the actual shows. In past seasons we enjoyed Hussein Chalayan's models making furniture into clothes, Galliano's Russian snow tunnel and just about any of the spectacular Dior runway shows. All of these are some of de Betak's masterpieces, and the list goes on.

My favorite of all time: Viktor & Rolf Spring 2005, Flowerbomb

Rick Owens Goes for Pretty

From Models to Magazines, Cataloguing the Fashion Industry

MyFDB’s Dior section, featuring Jessica Stam’s Spring 2007 campaign, MyFDB.com

Do you remember that Dior campaign that featured Jessica Stam in a vibrant pink dress against an abstract background of the same color? What year was that? Answer: It was the Dior Spring/Summer 2007 campaign, which appeared in Vogue’s July 2007 issue.

Until recently, there have been few options for fashion obsessives to track down a memorable ad from seasons past. A new start-up, My Fashion Database, has stepped into the breach. In scope and ambition, its most similar comparison is film database IMDB.com. Like IMDB, MyFDB.com catalogs the fashion industry in multiple ways, from the personal (you can look up model Chanel Iman and find her recent covers as well as her campaign work) to the team effort (it compiles makeup artists, manicurists and hairstylist credits in addition to editors, photographers and brands). The publications section has full layouts of magazines, including ads and editorials, so you can confirm that Madonna’s Louis Vuitton ad ran in the October 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, which also featured a Banana Republic ad and a quirky Halloween editorial.

For all the vicarious thrills of having Vogue, Allure and luxury brand images in one central place, the effort started out as way to help industry people connect, like a fashion industry LinkedIn. The idea came about two years ago when former male model, now MyFDB.com CEO Keith Britton,tried to come up with an alternative to sending out his clips via messenger. The site is backed by private angel investors, but the company is not disclosing amounts invested or citing names. . .

Lanvin Isn't Giving Up on Modern Elegance

Saturday, October 3, 2009

For Australia’s Sosume Clothing, 4 Eco-Designers Are Better Than 1

by Jasmin Malik Chua, 10/03/09

Sosume Clothing

Not one but four designers man the helm of Sosume Clothing, a nascent Australian eco-fashion label that started with one Melbourne chap but grew to include another Aussie and a pair of New Yorkers. Designed with its native environment in mind, Sosume—a play on the phrase “so sue me”—comprises easy, tissue-thin basics made from Modal (derived from beechwood) and Tencel (eucalyptus pulp), both of which impart a breathability that is vital during Australia’s oppressive summer months.

Sosume Clothing


Having four opinionated voices isn’t the easiest of arrangements, admits Alex Trimmer, the brand’s director, who works with Paulina Petkoksi, Rachel Kozub, and Wil Fry. “It can be very difficult at times,” he says.

Eventually, however, it all comes together. “I outline how I think we could utilize the fabric through different forms and shapes,” says Trimmer. “The girls and Wil come in at this point with their knowledge of design and garment construction and together, the four of us sketch up many silhouettes as we desire, and we piece together the collection.”

Sosume Clothing


The decision to use manufactured cellulosic fibers over organic cotton was very deliberate, and considering Australia’s widespread water woes, incredibly apt. Modal requires only a tenth of the water used in cotton production, according to Trimmer.

Modal requires only a tenth of the water used in cotton production.

“Some people are skeptical of the chemicals used in producing these modern fibers and rightly so,” he says. “I was skeptical at first but soon realised that if you choose the right mills then you are free of burden. I use mills that have closed looped cycles and use naturally occurring chemicals in the process.” Another plus: 3 percent of proceeds go to donated to two Australian land-conservation organizations: The Bush Heritage Fund and The Wilderness Society.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Nau Apparel’s Selling Strategy: ‘Pay Half Now, Pay The Rest Later’

By Elva Ramirez

Eco-friendly outdoorsy clothing company Nau has quietly rolled out Changing Room, an online-only payment option in which customers pay half of the full price upfront, then have 30 days to pay off the rest. You could call it a test drive, or, as the company prefers to call it, “premium layaway.”

Either way, it’s a way to get $350 jackets into customers’ hands.

The idea was first formed at the Portland-based company when executives tried to come up with a way to lure online customers into buying a new winter jacket. “It seemed like a great opportunity to convert customers that are looking at us or have heard about the brand but don’t have the ability to touch and feel [the products],” Nau CEO Gordon Seabury says. “There’s an extremely high level of confidence that they will be satisfied and never want to give the product back.”

At check out, customers are billed for half the price of selected Changing Room styles. After 30 days, if the customer has not returned the clothes, the rest is charged to their credit card. Returns within 30 days are credited for all costs incurred. The inaugural program, which is scheduled to end Oct. 31, includes four women’s and four men’s looks which range from $265 - $450. If customers respond well to the program, the company plans on turning it into a permanent feature, with a rotating set of styles available. The 50% offer doesn’t apply to in-store purchases; this is an outreach specifically to the online customer, who may be hesitating over buying a jacket they’ve haven’t tried on.

There are risks of fraud if someone decides to cancel their credit card before paying in full, but Seabury says that the company has several checks to monitor those who won’t pay. He also says the company’s sustainability and recycled material branding attract a socially-responsible customer base. “We’re hoping most people will be good and [fraud] won’t be a problem,” Seabury say.

But what about the idea of layaway tarnishing the brand’s high-end image (prices range from $100 cotton tops to $350 trench coats)? Nau’s CEO notes that before credit cards became ubiquitous, layaway programs were prestigious. “Whether it was a diamond ring or some other really special purchase that you truly wanted but couldn’t afford, you made a commitment to it,” Seabury says. ” The concept of this luxury layaway program was the foundation of our thinking.”

Readers, will “luxury layaway” entice you to buy high-end clothes online?

When the Recession Walks the Runway

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Classic Balenciaga, Subtle Innovation

Balenciaga Spring/Summer '10 nymag.com

For the Spring/Summer '10 Balenciaga collection, Nicolas Ghesquière harkened back to his past collections with trademarks like graphic shapes and skin tight pants, but the collection also featured some forward-thinking elements. One of the most innovative features was not necessarily visible: its use of sustainable materials. The inspiration for the clothes was to create something "very graphic...urban," Ghesquière explains, but also full of contradictions; using very bright and very dark colors, hard and soft materials, as well as a mix of industrial and organic fabrics. He combined synthetics such as nylon, pressure-printed jersey and 3-D ‘foam’ with more natural elements like hand-woven leather, ostrich-skin, and silk. The collection also included vegetable-dyed and organic fabrics but, Ghesquière points out, these organic ingredients are meant to be a part of his creative vision and not necessarily a commentary a on eco fashion.

Balenciaga Spring/Summer '03 style.com

Listen to Nicolas Ghesquière's thoughts on his latest collection here

Milan Fashion Week Re-cap

Monday, September 28, 2009

Alber Elbaz Speaks at UNESCO

“Do you know anyone who wants to be a seamstress? Do you know anyone who wants to be a tailor? I don’t, either. But I do know many people who want to be models, and not only models, but supermodels. This is the game today: Be famous, and do it really, really fast.”

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Preview Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2010


The D&G Women's collection for Summer 2010, inspired by the British woman, elaborates the classic cowboy wardrobe in order to dress urban cowgirls. Suede and perforated leather was used with romantic white lace, chiffon and Mickey or Minnie Mouse printed

Runway Now or Later?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Best of the Rest: Top London Shows Of the Week

By Erin Donnelly for refinery29.com

Time to bust out the aspirin and throw on our "I Survived Fashion Week" T-shirt. As London Fashion Week comes to an end, we reflect on a memorable season that gave us a bridal Dree Hemingway at Henry Holland, a Flintstones acid trip at Jeremy Scott, and enough Geldof sister sightings to last us a century. We've already recapped the best shows from the weekend, but the following shows from Monday and Tuesday also provided plenty of lusting—and here's the cream of the crumpet.

Burberry Prorsum


The classic Brit label's much-anticipated return to the motherland didn't disappoint, and neither did the front row lineup consisting of Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, and Mary-Kate Olsen. Sticking to spring's popular neutrals with shots of pistachio, lilac, lemongrass, butter yellow, icy blue, and baby pink, Christopher Bailey delivered gorgeously draped skirts and dresses mixed with belted cardigans and glimmering tops. The iconic Burberry trench, meanwhile, got a more youthful and feminine revamping thanks to a slimmer and sleeker cut and ultra-glam ruched and metallic details. Please, sir, can we have some more?

Images from Style.com.

Peter Pilotto


The explosive prints we've come to associate with Peter Pilotto seemed more sublime and sophisticated this season. Our hearts yearned for the fitted orange- and blue-flecked snakeskin trench that kicked off the show, along with graphic print tops and frocks generated by images of fireworks (how's that for explosive?). A moody palette of silvery grays and blues blended seamlessly with more intense hues, once again providing the perfect antidote to the standard little black dress. If we can get our hands on some snakeskin pants, we'll be happy campers come spring.

Images from Style.com.

Christopher Kane


Move over, Dorothy. Gingham (yes, gingham) got its fashion groove back thanks to a series of easy day-to-night dresses featuring pleats, well-placed slits and cutouts, sheer panels, and sexy bustier-style details. Kane's palette of navy, white, chocolate brown, robin's egg blue, and pale pink felt just right for spring, especially when paired with an antiquey rose print. Though as a whole the collection felt sweet and dainty, gals can find street-smart and sophisticated looks to chew on, too.

Images from Style.com.

Josh Goot


Goot's autumn/winter 2009 collection was one of our favorites from last season, and it's reassuring to see that the Australian designer hasn't lost his momentum. One of the most vibrant collections of the season, Goot's spring line showcased an '80s-esque, beachy kaleidoscope of scarlet, orange, turquoise, candy pink, lime green, and peach mixed in with black and white polka dots. Think Pucci, but younger and juicier.

Images from Style.com.

Jonathan Saunders


The little white dress is a perennial spring staple, and one with endless opportunities for reinterpretation. That's just what Saunders did for his spring 2010 collection, showcasing airy but edgy pale frocks bisected by sheer cutouts and smeared with screen-printed streaks of color. Saunders' knack for color blocking also reared its head, resulting in a perfectly lovely one-shoulder minidress split into taupe, pale blue, cream, and the petal-pink panels.

Images from Style.com.

Five minutes with Max Osterweis (another Mrs. Obama fave)

By Sarah Haight from "W Editor's Blog"

Portrait: Sarah Elliott
Count Max Osterweis among the handful of young designers whose careers have been kick-started by Michelle Obama. The San Francisco native and former screenwriter, 34, started his clothing line, Suno, last year, a culmination of many years of travel to Kenya's Lamu Island, where his mother has a retreat ("she went on a safari and didn't come home," says Osterweis, who named the line after his mom). Using traditional Kenyan textiles and local seamstresses, Osterweis has created an ethnic and entirely modern collection. The basis of the line is the fabric—the bolts of printed cloth called kangas—which African women buy in pairs to wear, for instance, as a dress and baby-sling, or a skirt and headscarf, even as pajamas that they share with their partners. One of those kangas, made into a blouse, turned up on the First Lady at an event in his hometown last spring.

You worked in film up until about two years ago—how did you make the leap to designer?

The first time I went to Kenya I just started collecting them. I was thinking about making some skirts and dresses for my girlfriend, who had seen the kangas. I said, "Oh, yeah I'll make you something," but never got around to it. And then I was thinking about doing something in Kenya and the post- election violence in 2007. I think that at a certain point when I thought about making 50 or 60 dresses for friends, it turned out that it was going to cost me a lot of money. So I thought maybe I should make 150 of them and sell half of them. And then, it still didn't make any sort of financial sense, so I thought, I should actually take a leap and try and start a business. I'd just finished working on a script, and had some time on my hands.

A Look from Suno fall 2009.
What has been the biggest challenge?

There are lots. Initially we used two little workshops [in Kenya]... and [one] didn't have a generator, there were regular power outages. So made the decision to turn that workshop into a cutting factory. The other workshop was started by an Irishwoman who had been a costumer for the Royal Opera in London. She married a man in Kenya and moved there and started training tailors the day she got there. Since we started with her, she's now built a second workshop on her grounds to accommodate us and has more than doubled her workforce.

These kangas have sayings written on them, correct?

An aphorism—usually about social or sexual politics. And women will buy them based on the aphorism, rather than the print. Like... "There's a new hen in town, watch your roosters." And one I chose for Spring 2010 is, "A ripe mango is best eaten slowly." So they're usually messages from women to men, or from women to other women, and in Swahili.

Who are the people behind these aphorisms?

I think they're mostly men. Because I have yet to meet a female factory owner for kangas.

Michelle Obama wore one of your shirts this spring—was that a surprise?

Well, we brought the collection to Paris during the shows in February, and Ikram [Goldman of Chicago's Ikram] happened to be a friend of a very good friend of mine, so she came over to dinner. And we happened to have the collection sitting on my front couch. Ikram bought a bunch of stuff, right then and there.

So Michelle has a couple of your designs?

At this point, as far as I know, she's worn one piece. But I know [Michelle] bought 5 pieces [from Ikram], and I didn't know that until she'd actually worn something. It was kind of wonderful.

Kimberly White/GettyImages

Burberry Prorsum

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009