Archive for the Blog Category
COLOR: The best cure for cold sunless days and/or months of snow-blindness is something new and shiny. A beacon of color capable of creating tingling effervescent bubbles of joy at a glance. A madly invigorating Cobalt Blue handbag or a Scarlett Cashmere wrap to transform last year’s coat with a dramatic swirl of luxury and color.
Orange. Carrots. Persimmon. Pumpkin. Papaya. It’s all about Vitamin A this season. There’s an orange or a squash for every taste. Try it. Don’t be afraid. No one ever died from wearing orange shoes. Narcisco Rodriguez Coat. DVF Scarf. Anna Hindmarch Novelty Bags. Aperlai Shoes. Barbara Casasola Skirts. Jenni Kanye Dorsay Flats. Gucci Coat.
Emerald. Hunter. Evergreen. Green is the color of balance and harmony. Growth. Spring. Renewal. Rebirth. Money… Green restores energy and protects it from being depleted. Will it do the same for our bank account? Don’t know. But believing is essential to making anything happen. Wear green. What harm could it do? Christian Soriano Coat. Tory Burch Earrings. Green Zoya Nail enamel. Nina Ricci Cardigan. Rebecca Minkoff Mini tote. Uggs Sequin Booties.
Gray. It’s one of the most sophisticated colors. Why? Gray is almost never done as a flat dyed color. It’s usually a heather yarn that’s used to make knits t-shirts and sweaters and grey flannel. These yarns are twisted with white or natural so the color does not look flat. Heather and flannel yarns make even lower quality fabric look better. Hinge Poodle Cardigan. Talbots Snake Embossed Pump. Target Merona Cardigan. Kenneth Cole Slip On. Grey Lela Rose Zip Apart Coat. Life Stride Riding Boot. Alexander Wang Bag. Vince Sweater Back Coat.
Reflective. If you’re one of those people who can’t walk buy a mirror without a quick glance at numero uno, you’ll love what’s happening this season. Clothes, bags, shoes and jewels are gleaming mirrors in which to reflect upon the meaning of ______________ (fill in the blank). Chico’s Foiled Knit Cardigan. Topshop Pumps. Vince Camuto Sliver Tote. Kate Spade Necklace. Donald Pliner Cowboy Boots. Mary McFadden Vintage Duster. Mephisto Ballet Flats.
Gold. Lots of in-your-face opulence for Fall. Gold coats. Gold day wear. Expect lots of gold accessories. Jewelry is a no-brainer but also shoes and bags. Neiman Marcus Gold Duster. Ana Khouri Earrings. Herve Van Der Straeten Necklace. Milly Cross-body Bag. Fallon Link Bracelet. Kotur Minaudiere La Cage Bag. Tory Burch Flats. Tretorn Rubber Boots. Chico’s Black & Gold Stripe Jacket.
Accessories: Life without accessories. Cake without icing. PB without J. Peanuts without salt. THE one word to describe the direction of accessories for Fall 2014 is EXTREME. As in BIG. Glasses. Handbags. Jewelry. Hats. Statement makers. Oh how I LOVE this one!!!!
A Touch of Whimsy. There’s a lot of minimalism out there right now. The clothes are grown up. But just to remind us that we can’t take fashion too seriously. We have the option of adding a little fantasy. It’s the no-calorie equivalent of wearing one of those great big colorful lollipops. Corn Flakes NEVER go out of style! Charlotte Olympia Shoes. Burberry Hand-painted Bag. Anya Hindmarch Bags. Meredith Wendell Bags
Extreme heels. Recently I exited the DKNY store on Madison Ave. and ended up behind a woman in REALLY HIGH heels. She texted. She teetered. And down she went. Could have been a nose bleed. Or a crack in the sidewalk. They say heels get sexier with every inch. But what’s sexy about falling on your butt on a busy street? Six inches is extreme. But three (or four) is not. You don’t have to wear them all the time. Just once in a while.
Flats. Perhaps as an antidote to the extreme heel. Loafers, ballets, and slip-ons look new because of the slightly pointy toe. So chic. Think Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O.
Menswear shoes. I happen to be a BIG BIG fan. Wing tips. Oxfords. Saddle shoes. Love. Love. Love. They are not for everyone but they are a staple of my wardrobe and I’m a happy shoe shopper these days. Acne Studios Ankle Boots. Kenneth Cole Embossed Flat. Nine West Smoking Slippers. Salvatore Ferragamo Ballerinas
Erikson Beamon Necklace and Earrings. Greybird Bracelet. Alexis Bittar Cuff and Hinged Collar. Topshop Collar and Pony Earrings. Nordstrom Cuff Bracelet. HSN Bajalia Necklace and Bracelet. Greybird Necklace. Topshop Chunky Links Necklace. Anthropologie Bracelet and Earrings and Necklace.
The fashion equivalent of the wheel was invented long ago. If we’re all wearing space suits in 50 years, they will have been inspired by some aspect of 20th century design. Judy Jetson. Star Trek. A walk on the moon. Sooo last century. And the flatter the world gets the more innovation it takes to knock up off our feet.
And so it is with fashion.
What’s new is new again.
You can’t do the same thing season after season. Well you can. And most successful companies do. Best sellers are repeated. And repeated. And repeated. BUT every season starts with the question, “What’s New?” It becomes a creative recycling of ideas.
The trends listed here are the ones most likely to influence what we will see at retail this season. The opinions are my own. I try to stay unbiased but some things are just so ripe for comment that I can’t help myself.
The High-Low hem. AKA the Angled hem. There are so few ways to make this look good and so many ways to make it look really goofy. Like a trend that tried too hard. Even if you invest in a designer version, don’t plan to wear it next year. It’ll probably have the life cycle of a mayfly. It’s the fashion equivalent of the mullet. Turq Tunic Metro Style ($24, for those who can’t resist a trend).
Knit Dressing. Women have been in love with knit dressing since the death of the girdle. Each decade after its demise knit has given us more and more comfort dressing. What’s not to like about having our cake and eating it too? Head to toe knits aren’t just for working out. This season they will be polished and sophisticated. Piazza Sempione Dress. Prana Hooded Dress. Eileen Fisher long cardigan. Eileen Fisher knit dressing.
Menswear. Can’t go wrong here. Well cut suits and separates can accentuate the positive and hide lots of sins. They’ve been doing this for men for over a century. To do this they have to fit right. If you don’t have a good tailor, find one. On a woman menswear tailoring can be SOOO sexy and chic. A diaphanous silk or cashmere scarf, a scarlet suede pump or a sharp clutch adds a feminizing element.
Ann Taylor Jacket and Pant. Talbot’s Print Blouse. CP Shades Tunic/Dress. Stella McCartney Glen Plaid Blazer. Damon & Drapers Tweed Jacket. Cole Haan Scarlet Suede Pump. Zac Posen Bag for Saks off 5th.
Coats. Ponchos. Raincoats. Robe Coats (a la Hugh Hefner). Shearling. Duvet Covers. This wardrobe essential is one of the hottest items of the season. After the monstrous winter we had many designers worked their magic on coats. That’s where the similarity ends though. There are many diverse, creative ways to keep chicly warm this winter. Utilitarian? Yes. Boring fashion afterthought. NO!!!
Ralph Lauren packable puffer. Michael Kors packable puffer. Rad Hourani blanket wrap. Sacai Luck Tribal Wrap. Burberry Knit Jacquard Coat. North Style Blanket Jacket. Valentino Stripe Blanket Coat. Chico’s Sweater Coat.
Ski Chic|Fairisle|Nordic. Granny probably knitted you one years ago. Keep it. Because she made it. But if this style floats your boat, find something updated this season. Tommy Hilfiger will probably do this to death. It’s right up his alley.
Fur. What happened to PETA? Suddenly real fur is everywhere. Some designers, like Stella McCartney, take a stand against it and hold steady. I LOVE her for that. The others are styling it as though it was just another fabric. Giving fur color, cut and styling that goes WAY beyond the prim stoles and matronly mink coats our mothers wore. If you’re going to do Fur, FAKE it. For a lot of reasons. Style. Price. Conscience. Fabulous Fakes Panther Print. Chico’s Faux Suede Vest. Ainea Faux Fur Animal Print. Chico’s Zebra Sweater Vest.
Feathers. Why oh why do birds have to die so we can channel burlesque queens? A feather in your cap is one thing, but feathering your booty is another. Vintage Cocktail Bag. Sondra Roberts Evening Bag. Milly Coat. Yours Plus Feather Print Maxi Dress. Wayf Feather Print Tunic/Dress Nordstrom.
Tapestry. Jackets, coats, bags and prints. Tapestry hasn’t looked this good since Scarlett O’Hara wore the drapes
Alice & Olivia Coat. Burberry Tapestry Bag. Tapestry Carpetbag. Vintage Jacket (Etsy). Nine West Slip-on Shoes. Norm Thompson Jacket. Vintage Evening Bag (Ebay).
Fairy Tales. Once upon a time. Every girl a princess and every toad a prince. Life is hard on princesses sometimes. Fairy Godmothers go missing. Princes turn out to be toads. But we never stop wishing for Happily Ever After. ‛Optimism’ is always in style. Modern day princesses will love the girly details. Floral prints and embroideries, feminine dresses and blouses in sheers or silks and jerseys that drape softly on the body. Tracy Reese Dress. Boston Proper Floral Chiffon. Ted Baker Cross-body Bag. Tracy Reese Shirt. Lane Bryant Lace Dress. Diane Von Furstenberg Dress.
The 60s. The clothes were fun and funny. The politics were not. Same as always. The granny glasses and granny dresses weren’t so bad. But the micro minis and free-loving flower children probably made granny choke on her teeth. Let’s just get past all that. The chic A-line dresses and cool graphic prints made the transition from then to now. With style. All it takes is a modern designer’s practiced eye and imagination.
Chloe Pants. Talbots Dress. Chico’s Jacket. Vera Bradley Handbag. DVF Dress & Pant
Optical. These prints can be scary or chic. Which is true of a lot of what gets worn. Optical illusions can induce euphoric states of mediation or cringe-inducing seasickness. Somewhere in between there will be designers who interpret optical prints that a person can wear without getting lost in a “Where’s Waldo” nightmare. My money is on Diane Von Furstenberg. DVF Tunic. DVF Sweater. Talbots Dress.
Gauchos and Ponchos. I love the way they sound together.
Gauchos are the wide leg pants showing up for Fall 2014. They looked great on the runway. How will they do at retail? That remains to be seen. Ponchos have good shot because they are so understandable when done in sweater knits. I’d probably resist wearing ponchos and gauchos together. Even though it worked for Juan Valdez. Chico’s Solid Poncho Top. Orvis Split Skirt. Pucci Poncho. Chico’s Poncho. Novica Poncho. St. John’s Slim Gauchos.
Animal prints. I feel like I write this one every season. They’re practically always IN. Because they SELL! Everyone ‛gets’ leopard and zebra prints. They’ll probably wear out before they go out of style. I’m a big fan. But lately I‘m more inclined to animal print accessories than clothes. Feels more modern. But totally your call.
Chico’s Shirt. J Crew Rain boot. Talbots Bag. Nina Ricci Fake Fur Coat.
FYI. This season’s animal prints also feature the whole beast. Owls. Tigers. Fish. Teddy Bears…What looks tongue-in-cheek chic on young hipsters, can look goofy on anyone over 25. Something about this look reminds me of reindeer sweaters and crazy aunts. Dolce & Gabana Owl Dress.
Color & Accessories: Fall 2014. You CAN’T forget the shoes. And Bags. And JEWELS!
In India, land of lavish exotic jewelry, the idea of birthstones is sooo…western. In their Vedic jewelry tradition nine gemstones are assigned to nine planets. You select your jewelry according to what part of your life needs a tune-up.
For instance, if you’re interested in achieving fame and commanding power, you wear a ruby. If your memory needs a jog you might boost your brain power by wearing an emerald.
Even though Indian weddings are notorious for being sumptuous jewel fests, you’d never find an emerald anywhere near an Indian bride, as the gems are said to interfere with conjugal relations.
Ancient scholars have traced the idea of birthstones back to the Breastplate of Aaron in the book of Exodus. His vestment was a religious garment made with twelve colors representing the twelve tribes of Israel. A corresponding gemstone was attributed to each color and set across the garment in four rows of three: sardius (carnelian), topaz and carbuncle (garnet); emerald, sapphire and diamond; ligure (orange zircon), agate and amethyst; and beryl, onyx and jasper.
Each of the twelve gemstones was said to have special powers associated with a corresponding astrological sign, and that wearing these stones at the right time would have therapeutic or protective benefits. It was common to collect all twelve stones and wear them in planetary rotation or when one felt the need for a particular power boost.
The modern birthstone list was put together in 1912 when the National Association of Jewelers created the list by assigning gems to months. It didn’t change until 2002 when the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) declared tanzanite to be a December birthstone, though turquoise and zircon were already designated as such. The Jewelers of America liked the idea and made the overtly commercial statement,
“JA sees the addition of tanzanite for December as a way to build business. Any step that helps retailers sell more jewelry is a good one.”
In 2006 Tanzanite One, a large tanzanite mining company, designated the stone “everyone’s” birthstone and suggested that it be given as a gift to all babies at birth. Their advertising slogan, “Be born to tanzanite.” No ancient wisdom. No shamanism. No mystical powers declared. What’s a gem without a story? Just another rock…
Some days it’s OK to go off the rails. A girl can’t always be wearing her big girl hat and polishing her goody two shoes. How much fun is that?
OK, so I got a few emails after my last post about Retrograde Mercury. Yes, the concept may seem “out there” which is what makes it so juicy. Sooo much more interesting than a booooring post about what Blake Lively is wearing.
Here’s how it goes: there’s meaning in the universe and we make jewelry, the way we marry these facts is by making jewelry that has some meaning behind it. (:
My stepmother once befriended Natasha, a funny fascinating lady in her 90s who lived near my grandmother. The woman used to be a nightclub singer: in her day she was called a chanteuse. She had the stories that went with the whole romantic notion. Even at 94 she looked the part. In her nightclub appearances she always wore pearls with her fancy gowns. I saw the old photos of her with men who looked like rich patrons and some that reminded me of Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire.
In 1992 she died and donated her estate to charity. Catherine, my stepmother bought the pearls for me. It was the perfect gift and the thing I LOVED the most was the history the pearls carried. In fact the story was in much better shape than the pearls, which were badly stained and needed restringing.
I took them to a jeweler for refurbishing who marveled at the layers of soil he deemed to be makeup, perfume and nicotine. Fabulous! The story was confirmed by real evidence. I like to imagine they were a gift from one of her smitten patrons.
Pearls with stories are the best kind. If yours are new, start infusing them with your stories right away. If they are white or natural colored pearls they will darken slightly with age and wear. This is not dirt that can be rinsed away; it’s the patina that comes with the stories.
For Your Pearl PLEASURE: How To Take Care of Your Pearls
Coco Chanel had an eye for playboys and a knack for identifying impoverished royalty with useful talents. A stream of penniless nobles and notorious cads with fat wallets marched through her boudoir. Many of which contributed to her success and her legend.
Fulcodi de Verdura was an Italian Duke with noticeable artistic talent and limited finances, a textbook example of Chanel potential. She hired him to design textiles then asked him to re-design several of the jewels given to her by her ex-lovers. It was the beginning of a historical partnership.
The jewels he created for her became the hallmark of her iconic jewelry collection. The Maltese crosses and Byzantine themes are still considered classic Chanel. The pieces were big bold statements with eye-popping colored gemstones: Verdura is credited with being the first to mix colored gemstones with gold. The Verdura style was much copied then and still is today.
Verdura moved to NY in 1939 and opened a small salon on Fifth Ave backed by Cole Porter and Vincent Astor. He sold his business and retired in 1973 leaving thousands of sketches to the new owner. His designs are still made and sold from the New York salon and at high end jewelry and specialty stores.
Many vintage Verdura pieces will be on sale this month at Masterpiece, the annual art, antiques and jewelry show that runs from June 27 through July 3, 2013 in London.
Practicing Wishful Thinking
Verdura, whether new or vintage, doesn’t come cheap. These are baubles with serious heritage. So if they are out of reach to own, consider finding inspiration in gazing at them in print. Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler
She was said to be shrewd, calculating and a great beauty as well. BUT her enduring legend is her ability to use her wit and charm to facilitate powerful political and personal connections.
Cleopatra VII Philopator was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. She married BOTH of her brothers, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. Her parents were also siblings. They did things differently then.
She co-ruled with her brothers until she learned they were conspiring to overthrow her and successfully turned the tables to emerge the sole ruler. At the same time she dissolved her marriage contracts, started amassing her own fortune, and forged impressive liaisons with other powerful leaders.
If Cleopatra were writing her top 5 tips for success, they might look like this:
- Learn to work with what you’ve got, beauty, brains, wit, charm, motivation: you don’t need them all, a couple will do nicely. It’s how you USE them that counts.
- Mix business with pleasure, especially if you enjoy both. If you don’t enjoy both then start now to make some positive changes in that direction.
- Dress for success. If you don’t have time to swath yourself in silk, put some decent jewelry on. If the jewels are BIG enough, no one will notice your old khakis!
- Know who’s on your side and who’s out to grab your throne. A girl NEEDS allies she can trust.
- LOVE big but don’t let it blind you, inhibit you, or throw you off your path.