Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TheFind Guest Post: Rocker Inspired Fur Vests

fur_vest

Fur vests are a functional and fun accessory for fall. A fur vest, real or faux, can add a layer of luxurious warmth. This has been one of my 'uniforms' for cool weather dressing, and this year I'll be pairing my faux fur vest with black skinny jeans and my black cashmere Stella McCartney sweaters. There are many shades and styles of fur vest, many inspired by the glam rocker trend. Some are long and can be belted. Others are shorter and zip or buckle up the front. Look for embellished and beaded fur vests as well.

From 3.1 Phillip Lim, this black dyed lamb fur vest (top left, $1,500.00 at NeimanMarcus.com) is a gorgeous splurge. Made in Italy the v-neck vest is embellished with rhinestones and takes this whole fur vest trend to a new level of luxe wintertime style. The asymmetric and artfully crafted knitted lamb fur vest from Karl Donoghue (top right, $1275 at Intermix.com) is knit with individual fluffy curls of lamb fur. The wide folded collar can be left open or folded up and buttoned to keep you warm and cozy during the chilliest of days. Gryphon's "Rocker Vest" (lower right, $725.00 at Shopbop.com) is made of faux fur, has an open front and is cut to fall above the waist. Accentuated at the neckline with metal beads, this vest makes a nice contrast to an all black outfit or simple black t-shirt. Inside this vest you'll find striped lining. Reasonably priced at $198, French Connection's "Fast Big Foot" Faux Fur Vest, from Bloomingales.com gets you the most faux fur for your dollar. Long with an open placket this lined vest looks great worn open or belted. Pair with a simple tee, dark sweater or black leggings and platform booties.

Save 20% on your purchases with Coupon Codes from Bloomingdales from TheFind.com's new coupon site

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops

Object of Desire: Alexander Wang Anya Booties

Being a New Yorker, I have a lot--possibly too much--black in my closet, particularly when it comes to blazers, skirts, pants, and boots. Counting everything from booties to knee-high boots, I'd estimate that I have at least 10 pairs, most of which I do routinely wear, and this year I will probably buy at least another pair. (Because, hey, they're all different!) My last few purchases have been booties, which I've found work with both pants and skirts, and while I have a patent Sigerson Morrison and a cutout Loeffler Randall, what I don't have is a great platform bootie. Which is why Alexander Wang's Anya booties are totally perfect. The 5-inch heel will put me over 6 feet tall and elongate my legs in this season's ultra-skinny pants, while the 1.25-inch platform will help with the comfort issue. The sculpted heel is ultra-hot, and the pleating gives the bootie an interesting texture, avoiding the fin-like effect that some booties can have on one's feet. In fact, the only thing that's not perfect about them is the price: $590. However, unlike Wang's drool-worthy handbags, they aren't sold out everywhere, which at least makes them attainable--and in light of how much a pair of Louboutins or YSL shoes costs, $600 for boots almost seems downright reasonable. The Anya boots are also available on Wang's newly-launched e-commerce site in black or in chalk, with a forward-thinking clear heel (a look that's been showing up all over the spring runways). Hey, what's another pair of black boots when I already own 10?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MasstigeWatch!

This week's big news is that French icon Sonia Rykiel will design two lines for H&M [subscription required]: The first collection, of holiday lingerie, will hit 1,500 H&M stores (and 90-odd Sonia Rykiel boutiques) worldwide on December 5th; the second, featuring knitwear and accessories for women and girls, drops in 250 H&M stores February 20th. While I am definitely more excited about the later collection than the lingerie--H&M doesn't make bras in my size, although I'm assuming there will be some coquettish nighties and undies--this is definitely good news, as Rykiel has a très Parisienne sense of style that I feel really hasn't had much exposure stateside (she has only two stores in the U.S., in New York and Boston). H&M's designer collaborations also tend to be more well made than, say, Target's. The only downside: They sell out like hotcakes. (Sonia Rykiel photo from WWD.com)

Speaking of H&M, Nitrolicious has images of the entire Jimmy Choo H&M women's collection. While I certainly don't agree with this blogger, the collection is definitely a bit...flashy. But fabulously so. I actually think the clothes might be more interesting than the shoes; I'm particularly taken with the slit-up-to-there black maxi dress pictured at right. I also would not mind getting my hands on those over-the-knee boots. But, then again, I am not fond of queuing up for hours in Midtown. If you are, Jimmy Choo for H&M hits stores November 14th.

Fashionista reports that Mark Fast will design a line for Topshop; if you weren't following London Fashion Week news last week, Fast quickly created a publicity frenzy by sending several "plus size" models down the runway (and by "plus size", I mean approximately a U.S. size 10). His uber-sexy open-work dresses (bodycon, as the British say) will hit stores sometime next spring.

And speaking of Topshop, I stopped by the store on Saturday to see if they had any Christopher Kane left; to my surprise, they had a ton, and it was all front and center as soon as you walked into the store. The line is not cheap: The most inexpensive item is an embellished scarf for $60, and the more intricate dresses and shoes go above $300. This may be particularly distressing to you if you are not a fan of synthetic fabrics (a few items are cotton, but most are nylon or polyester). However, everything is very intricately detailed with crystals, grommets, and mirrored pailettes, and I was impressed with the fit of everything I tried on (except for the crocodile T-shirt, which was cut so huge, I was swimming even in a size 4). My favorite piece was the eyelet skirt; I think I might go back later this week to get it. I also liked the crocodile dress, but I don't know how keen I am on having a menacing animal's mouth at the level of my you-know-what.

Finally, WWD published an article at the end of Fashion Week, instigating that Jean-Paul Gaultier may be next in Target's Designer Collaboration series [subscription required], although no one would confirm that, and as of now, there haven't been any follow-ups. Still, I would estimate that 100% of the rumors about Target's masstige collaborations leaked to WWD turn out to be true, so barring any major disasters, I think we can safely say this one is a sure thing. Normally I would be very excited about this, but considering how unpredictable the quality of Target's merchandise can be, I will reserve judgment until I see actual product.

UPDATE: I forgot two totally relevant bits of information! The first is that Jil Sander's collection for Uniqlo hits stores tomorrow, October 1st! I knew I was forgetting something very important! The second is that fashionista-favorite Ruffian is designing a line for Anthropologie [subscription required]. It's called Mise en Scene, includes both clothing and housewares, and will hit 55 Anthropologie stores in November.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The week in shopping

Perennial denim fave 7 For All Mankind is hosting its first official sample sale, with denim, accessories, and more for men & women at delightfully low prices--starting at $65 on Friday and lowering $10 each day as the sale progresses. I suggest registering in advance here. 10/2–10/4; 10-8; Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 5th fl.

W Hotels the Store is clearing out jewelry, accessories, and other gift-worthy products at up to 75% off. 9/30–10/3; 10-7, 10-4 Sat.; 265 W. 37th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

Clothingline is hosting a brief Tory Burch sale this week, featuring samples and slight irregulars in clothing, shoes, and bags. No word on pricing yet. 9/29-10/1; 10-7; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Ted Rossi handbags and jewelry (mostly exotic skin and leather-based) is up to 60% off. 9/30-10/2; 10-7; 15 E. 30th St. (5th & Madison Aves.), ste. 300.

Loro Piana cashmere knits, outwear, clothing and accessories for women and men are on major sale. Bolts of fabric will also be available. Credit cards only. 10/4-10/8; 9-6:30, 9-5 Thurs.; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Score a sexy look from Luca Luca for up to 90% off. 9/29–10/4; 8:30-7 Thurs. & Fri., 11-5 Sat. & Sun.; 19 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 4th fl.

Gussy up your apartment with modern furniture and lighting, respectively, from Vitra and Artemide at up to 75% off. 10/3-10/4; 10-5; 29 9th Ave. (13 & 14th Sts.).

Select jewelry is 20% off at Catherine Angiel's fall sale. Through 10/5; noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 43 Greenwich Ave. (at Charles St.).

Paula Varsalona is clearing out bridal gowns--plus bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride dresses--for up to 75% off. No appointment necessary. Through 10/3; 10-6 weekdays, 10-3 Sat.; 1375 Broadway (at 37th St.), 5th fl.

Select fall merch is now 30% off at BCBG.

Cheryl Shops fave Bing Bang by Anna Sheffield is having a sale, and with items at 50% off, they're only a bit more than her Target line!

Revolve Clothing has more than 2,000 items on sale for 45%-75% off, so what are you waiting for?

At Alessi's Time is Money event, all watches, clocks, and timers are 20% off through 10/10.

Popular Logico and Tolomeo lamps are 33% off at high-end Italian lighting store Artemide. Through 9/30; 46 Grand St. (Broome & Grand Sts.).

Get 15% off any Old Navy purchase of $75 or more, plus free shipping with ONPLUS15 through 10/8.

Jeans and pants are buy one, get one 50% off at Delia*s.

Use code LAYER25 for 25% off your purchase at Tobi.com through 9/30.

Take 20% off all outerwear at Alloy.com through 10/15--no promo code needed.

Buy one Change Your Spots, get another one free at blissworld.com through 10/4.

Take 25% off your entire purchase at gap.com with code SAVE25 at checkout through 9/30.

TheFind Guest Post: Let it Rain - Luxe Detailed Trench Coats

luxe-trench-coats

Unlike many people, I actually look forward to a rainy day now and then. The reason is that I love to wear my Burberry trench and Hunter wellies. These two items of clothing were created to endure the most blustery of days and have stood the test of time against the elements. I figured these classics can withstand the rainy season in the Scottish Highlands then they would be durable for rainy days in California. I love the element of utility for these staples of my wardrobe. Because looking arriving well dressed is and prepared is half the battle of any occasion.

Yes, the trench is a wardrobe essential everyone should own. But if you're looking for something more extravagant check out these luxe, quirky, studded shiny and even black-tie worthy trench coats if you are so inspired to upgrade from your classic Burberry raincoat. If you're stepping out for a formal evening or just want to make a grand entrance this Beaded Trench Coat (Upper left, $889 at NeimanMarcus.com) is perfect. The 3/4 sleeves, tie waist and full skirt make it the perfect cover up for your best LBD. Roberto Cavalli is known for over the top detailing and this Studded wool trench coat, (Upper right. $3,195 at Net-a-Porter) is no exception. The off white wool trench is embellished with burnished metal studs and features a tie waist, oversized lapels and slit side pockets. If you love the classic detailing of Burberry but want to take your trench to the outer limits, this may be your dream coat. The Quilted Leather Trench Coat (Bottom right. $2,395 at Burberry.com) is made of quilted lambskin leather and features buttonable gunflaps on both chests as well as branded metal buttons and a self-belt. For the English eccentric in all of us, the Aquascutum Madame Bovary checked trench coat (bottom left $1,595 Net-a-Porter). The taffeta wrap-around coat features the signature check print, oversized draped lapels, an asymmetric hem and a quirky black bow. The entire coat can be folded up into a neat little pouch for travel or to toss into your tote, just in case.

Save with coupon codes for Saks.com from TheFind.com’s Coupon site.

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New York Fashion Week in Review: Top Ten Trends

Citrus Colors
Black, white, gray, and taupe made a starring role this season with many designers playing it safe, but for those who used color, bright orange and lemon yellow made the strongest statement. (Rosa Cha, below)


Cropped Tops
Unlike the lower-belly-baring looks of the late '90s, these hearken back to the first half of that decade--think Kelly, Brenda, and Donna of the original 90210. For good measure (and the most flattering look), pair with higher-waisted bottoms. (Vena Cava, below)


Bike Shorts
Speaking of early-'90s comebacks, bike shorts are the logical next step after leggings. I saw everything from knee-length versions layered under skirts to ruched, tailored styles worn with jackets or blouses. (Nicole Miller, below)


Japan
Obi belts and kimono sleeves appeared everywhere from Marc Jacobs to Chado Ralph Rucci, and while exotic in many ways, it's a silhouette that's widely flattering on many body types. (Ports 1961, below)


Cutouts
An understated--yet still sexy--way to show skin for spring, cutouts popped up allover the body, some with mesh or lace insets, and others totally bare for an even more daring look. (Max Azria, below)


Petals
Spring also brought out the ultrafeminine in some designers; many shows featured several looks with skirts (or entire dresses) that looked like they were made out of flower petals. (Dennis Basso, below)


Biker Lite
Looks like leather will be sticking around for spring, but in cropped silhouettes, pastel colors, and ultralight, washed finishes. (Yigal Azrouel, below)


Pegged Pants
A lot of women probably think they can't wear pleated pants with a tapered, ankle-length leg. But considering I saw a pair on nearly every runway, I'd be willing to bet there's a style out there for everybody. (Julie Haus, below)



Embellished Necklines
Who needs jewelry when you have a highly decorated gown? Perhaps a reaction against ostentatious jewelry in these harsh economic times, these frocks leave the adornment to the dressmaker. (Badgley Mischka, below)


Strong Shoulders
Get used to '80s shoulder pads--they're here to stay for another season at least, the better to balance out boyfriend blazers and body-conscious dresses. (Tibi, below)

New York Fashion Week in Review: My Favorite Shows

Of the 35 shows I saw, here are my personal favorite ten, in no particular order.

Vena Cava
Airy chiffon dresses and quirky prints meet leather pants and punky details to create a downtown girl's ultimate wardrobe.


Rad Hourani
Without regard to season or trend, Rad further refines his signature look of boxy biker jackets and skinny pants.


Tibi
With bright colors, pretty prints, and a Guns N Roses soundtrack, Tibi delivered a breath of fresh spring air.



Yigal Azrouel

The draped jersey dresses, pegged trousers, and washed leather jackets of my dreams.


Toni Maticevski
With artfully shredded tulle and sooty colors, decaying glamour has never looked more beautiful.


Max Azria
It looks like Max Azria has found a strong voice for his signature line: an edgy minimalist sophisticate.


Rebecca Minkoff
Totally on-trend, wearable looks that gave a nod to early-'90s Versace and the Supermodels.


Chado Ralph Rucci
Impeccable from start to finish, with an incredible regard for a woman's body, a gorgeous collection that twisted and turned around the spine.


Nicole Miller
The perfect juxtaposition between techno-sleek structure versus soft fluidity.


Ports 1961
A lovely voyage to Japan, rendered in gorgeous fabrics and shapes that effortlessly floated away from the body.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New York Fashion Week in Review: By the Numbers

Shows attended: 35
Shows Mina attended: 3
Shows I didn't get into due to overcrowding: 1 (Christian Siriano, again)
Shows Mina didn't get into due to overcrowding: 2
Percentage of these overcrowded shows that were during the weekend: 100%
Shows I didn't quite make it to: 17
Parties attended: 0
Parties I was invited to: 12
Tent shows: 19
Off-site shows: 16
"Presentations": 8
Ideal number of shows per day: 5
Shows at which my name and website was printed on the back of my chair: 1
Shows where I received swag: 9
Official Fashion Week press bags received: 0
Days before actual start of Fashion Week in which press office ran out of press bag vouchers: 1
Alcoholic beverages consumed in the tents: 1
McDonald's coffee beverages consumed in the tents: approximately 14
Le Petit Ecolier biscuits consumed (stealthily) in the tents: approximately 8
Handwritten thank-you notes received: 1
Pounds gained/lost: -2
Days after the end of Fashion Week until my traditional cold showed up: 4

Chocheng Spring 2010

Where & When: Thursday, September 17th at 6 p.m., the Salon, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: Chocheng took a 180-degree turn from the fussy, '80s-inspired suits and gowns he showed last season, in favor of a much cleaner, minimal collection in a strict black and white color palette that truly showcased the artistry of his design. He kept the adornments simple--architectural, uniform ruffle trim along the neckline or front--the better to highlight his expertly cut sheath dresses and gorgeously draped jackets. This was one of the few shows I saw this season in which the audience broke out in spontaneous applause--particularly for a strapless turquoise gown toward the end, modeled by Behati Prinsloo--and with what appeared to be many clients in attendance, I think Chocheng can expect to have a successful spring.
Standout Look: While I enjoyed watching all the variations on a theme that came down the runway, the series of flouncy, draped capelets were among my favorite looks. I especially liked how the volume of the jacket contrasts with the short, fitted pencil skirt.
Bonus Points: As I neared the end of Fashion Week, I was a little sad to not see one of my favorite models, Coco Rocha, in any of the shows I attended. But, lo and behold, she closed this show in dramatic fashion, in a très ladylike bridal gown.
Where to Buy: Chocheng atelier, 49-51 E. 63rd St.

Trias Spring 2010

Where & When: Thursday, September 17th at 3 p.m., the Promenade, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: There is much ado made over the balance between art and commerce that modern designers grapple with. If a collection is too conceptual and artistic, it's often unwearable, and thus women won't buy it; if it's too commercial, fashion insiders turn up their nose at it for being unimaginative, and there's also the chance that, especially if it's something we've seen before, women won't buy it. That said, I don't think anyone will be mistaking Joaquin Trias for a commercial designer. The very architectural designs hovered around the hips like inverted cones; skirts, pants, shorts and dresses were incredibly structured and, at times, stiff. While there's something to be said for picking a silhouette and sticking with it--as well as for the purity of one's artistic vision--a designer should take into consideration the fact that women actually have to wear the clothes being presented, and given the difficulty the models seemed to have walking in the super-fitted pencil skirts (as well as the fact that very few women can stand to add extra bulk at the hips), they did not make a strong case for wearability. It may be a dirty word, but without the commercial aspect of fashion, there can be no artistic one.
Standout Look: This dress reminded me of the Guggenheim Museum uptown and was one of the more flattering iterations of the designer's concept. I can almost see Lady Gaga wearing it in a few years, if she decides to enter a more minimal period.
Bonus Points: The models deserve extra props for walking in both restrictively tight inverted pencil skirts and what appeared to be ill-fitting 5-inch d'Orsay stilettos.
Where to Buy: Email international@joaquintrias.com for information.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The week in shopping

Slane & Slane's luxe silver, gold, and freshwater pearl jewelry is 50%-70% off. Through 9/24; 10-6 Wed., 10-7 Thurs.; 48 W. 25th St. (6th Ave. & Broadway), 11th fl.

Private label and lingerie brands like Huit and Princesse TamTam are up to 80% off at Only Hearts' annual sample sale. 9/24-9/27; 11-7:30 Thurs., 11-8 Fri., 11-6:30 Sat., 11-6 Sun.; 386 Columbus Ave. (at 78th St.).

Get a head start on your fall wardrobe at Built by Wendy's sample sale, where items are chiefly under $150. 9/25-9/27; 10-8, noon-6 Sun.; 46 N. 6th St. (Wythe & Kent Sts.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Great Neck, NY's Steven Dann is bringing a selection of shoes and bags by Givenchy, Valentino, Giuseppe Zanotti, and more into the city for 75% off. 9/24–10/4; 220 Lafayette St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

Luxe cashmeres are $99, men's button-downs are $140, and women's cocktails dresses are $99-$299 at Domenico Vacca. 9/22–9/24; 10-6; 14 E. 60th St. (5th & Madison Aves.), ste. 900.

Elegant, impeccably made suits and dresses from spring/summer 2008 are 70% off at Chocheng's sample sale. 9/24-9/26; 11-7, 11-5 Sat.; 51 E. 63rd St. (Madison & Park Aves.).

Baccarat jewelry is up to 70% off at their sample sale. 9/24-9/25; 10-5; 625 Madison Ave. (58th & 59th Sts.), 2nd fl.

Echo of the Dreamer and Mars & Valentine are teaming up for a joint sale, where designer jewelry is 50%-75% off (now $10-$520). Through 9/26; 10-6, 11-4 Sat.; 242 W. 30th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 14th fl.

IT USA has Just Cavalli, Galliano, GF Ferre, Malo, and C'N'C Costume National for at least 70% off. Find men's and women's clothing and accessories. Through 9/27; 11-7, 11-5 Sun.; 17 Battery Place South (West Side Highway & Washington St.), 5th fl.

Prive's fall sample sale has men's and women's apparel (sorry, that's all the info I have at this point). 9/24-9/27; 10:30-7; Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave. (15th & 16th Sts.).

In honor of Satya's 6-year anniversary, take 20% off all purchases for one day only, 9/24, with code SJBDAY09 at checkout.

Spend $175 on fragrance or cosmetics and get a goodie-filled bag at Barneys 9/24-9/26.

Take an additional 20% off all sale merch at Gap with code EXTRA20 through 9/25.

Get 15% off your shoe or handbag purchase of $150 or more at Piperlime with code PL15off150 9/23-9/27.

L'Occitane is offering all manner of gifts with purchase if you buy Immortelle Divine Cream (use code DIVINE), Immortelle Precious Cream (use code PRECIOUS), or Immortelle Very Precious Cream (use code IMMORTELLE). Click here to shop.

Free People is having an excellent sale, including including fall markdowns.

Use code 78479933 to take $20 off a $75 order from Martin + Osa through 9/30.

Use code ONSAVESOME for 20% off an purchase of $100 or more at Old Navy through 9/24.

Get 15% off bliss and remede products at blissworld.com with promo code 099908 9/23-9/29.

Receive a metallic Stephanie Johnson bag filled with beauty samples plus free shipping with $75 beauty purchase at Saks! Use code Megawatt through 9/27. Or, spend $450 and get a $100 gift card or spend $1,000 and get a $250 gift card with code SAKSGIFT9 when you shop women's contemporary apparel through 9/27.

At BCBG's fall event, use code FALLEVENT09 at checkout for 20% off your purchase 9/23-9/25.

TheFind Guest Post: Gather It Up with Ruffled Blouses for Fall

ruffles

Ruffles add a feminine touch to fall dressing and I love the look. The romantic look of ruffles adorns blouses, boots and even clutch handbags with a classic touch of frill to enhance your own personal style. Ruffle fronted blouses are a pretty look for daytime and look amazing with a tweed or all black pencil skirt. High waisted pencil skirts look fresh when paired with a wide belt and pretty ruffled shirt in a neutral shade. The 3/4 sleeve and full sleeve is a nice complement to a ruffled front blouse. Two standout ruffled blouses include the Cascading Ruffle Print Blouse ($100 at Ann Taylor ), and Kate Spade's ruffle silk blouse ($275 at Nordstrom.com). Also taking on the ruffle trend are fall boots. It can soften the look of leather boots and booties. I've got my eye on these Marc by Marc Jacobs Ruffle suede knee-high boots ($790 at Net-a-Porter), Would look amazing with an all black sheath for night as well. In the ankle boot department, check out these too cute Easy Rider Izzie Ruffled Nappa Booties ($395 at NeimanMarcus.com). The 'butterfly' ruffle is a nice touch and you can work your jewelry to coordinate with the gold trim edging. A ruffled clutch like this one from Lane Bryant ($39.50 at LaneBryant.com) would be a nice addition to a more conservative buttoned down look for day or paired with an over-sized Alexander Wang tee and skinny jeans for your weekend outings.

Save 25% off $125 or 30% off at Ann Taylor from TheFind.com's Coupon site.

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops

Friday, September 18, 2009

Two more reviews coming next week!

I have to leave for an out-of-town wedding, but next week I will post my final two reviews (Trias and Chocheng), as well as my traditional end-of-Fashion Week recaps. Plus, weekly sales will be back on Tuesday, when I return. I hope you enjoyed my coverage--this was definitely my best Fashion Week yet!

Norma Kamali Spring 2010

Where & When: Thursday, September 17th at 11 a.m., Apple Store Soho
Runway Recap: Pretty much everything about the fashion industry is exclusionary, from the idealization of thinness to the strict hierarchy of seating at fashion shows. So it's incredibly revolutionary for an esteemed designer like Norma Kamali to embrace what she calls "the Democratization of Fashion." In a 25-minute presentation in the Apple Store, Kamali set the stage for her innovative new way of interacting with the customer: She's introducing a shoppable iPhone application, designing a $250-and-under collection for eBay, and offering a new way of shopping, in which customers can order looks from her website and try them for free for 48 hours before keeping (or returning) them. And, of course, there's her masstige line with Wal-Mart, in which most looks are under $30. Lined up on Greene Street under clear umbrellas (a downpour had just started), models posed in designs from all three collections--Wal-Mart, eBay, and OMO Normal Kamali--holding signs conveniently telling you where to purchase each look. Kamali tends to have a rotating stable of signature looks--the jersey dress, the sleeping-bag coat, the parachute-silk dress--but she tweaks the silhouettes ever so slightly, ensuring that they remain fresh season after season.
Standout Look: It was hard to choose a favorite look because there were so many great ones--particularly a series of red and black-and-white striped jersey dresses for eBay--but I loved this series of pieces for OMO, made out of sweatshirt material. The sleeveless blazer and cropped, pleated pants are totally on trend, and the cropped take on the sleeping-bag coat is a new interpretation of a classic.
Bonus Points: The models deserve a special shoutout for being such good sports in the rain, but Norma Kamali deserves the most praise, for being so visionary in terms of the relationship between technology and fashion.
Where to Buy: All looks can be purchased respectively at NormaKamaliCollection.com, NormaKamaliBay.com, Walmart.com, or on the Norma Kamali iPhone application.

Maria Pinto Spring 2010

Where & When: Wednesday, September 16th from 6-9 p.m., Banchet Flowers
Runway Recap: The Meatpacking District's Banchet Flowers served as an ideal backdrop to showcase Pinto's spring collection, which was inspired by Argentine Tango and featured intricate chiffon rosettes and beaded frocks evocative of a madcap garden party. But while she can obviously make a pretty dress, Pinto does tailoring well too, with sharply cut wool jackets and suits. The bright neon colors were a season or two behind, but since Pinto lives in Chicago, where sometimes trends are a bit slow to arrive, I'll give her a pass on that.
Standout Look: Since Pinto was a favorite of Michelle Obama's on the campaign trail, I spent the whole presentation thinking, "What would MObama wear?" I think I found my answer in this badass, and yet incredibly elegant, leather sheath dress.
Bonus Points: The venue was packed, which is always an encouraging sign. I also appreciated the useful gift bag, which contained Moroccan hair oil, a little makeup, and a gift certificate to Completely Bare
Where to Buy: Maria Pinto Boutique at 135 N. Jefferson in Chicago.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kimberly Ovitz Spring 2010

Where & When: Wednesday, September 16th from 5-8 p.m., Milk Studios
Runway Recap: Kimberly Ovitz's last name precedes her, and while it would be easy to assume that it's opened doors for the young designer (and it probably has, to some extent), Ovitz has a strong sense of what cool young women want to wear, and her collection was hip yet accessible. Silhouettes varied from long and lean to short and draped, and while at first glance it might seem like a lack of focus, Ovitz knows that her customer needs a variety of dresses--a fitted zip-front sheath and liquid metallic number for the clubs, a sleeveless coatdress and a fluid striped wrap number for work. There was definitely a West Coast vibe to the collection, with shorts figuring prominently in several looks, but we New Yorkers could certainly benefit from a little relaxation. Another presentation at which I found myself shopping while reporting, Kimberly Ovitz is definitely a designer to watch.
Standout Look: An alternative to the party dress, this softly draped liquid metallic cardigan, layered over a black top and skinny pants, looks incredibly cool and could work for everything from dinner to a concert. Suddenly it seems like your wardrobe is missing one, doesn't it?
Bonus Points: I missed him entirely, but apparently Martin Scorsese was there! Also, I will reiterate how much I love the ease and informal nature of presentations, especially at (the relatively serene) Milk Studios.
Where to Buy: Click here for store locations.

Milly by Michelle Smith Spring 2010

Where & When: Wednesday, September 16th at 3 p.m., the Promenade, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: Milly's designer Michelle Smith tends to dabble in the retro looks of the '50s and '60s, but updated for the modern girl. And while her signature metallic jacquards still turned up yesterday in polished sheath dresses, kicky miniskirts, and chic, boxy cropped jackets, a definitely punky vibe crept into this collection, proving that apparently no designer is immune to the charms of the '80s. Nevertheless, the references were subtle--the Milly girl is more feminine than fashion victim, after all--and the freshest looks in the lineup were a series of flirty black dresses, many featuring gold embellishment or styled with gold jewelry. Milly's customers surely have a closet full of the label's candy-colored feminine dresses; come spring, looks like they'll be adding a different kind of classic to the mix.
Standout Look: There were lots of great LBDs at Milly, but this one-shoulder style was my favorite, with a flattering fit and flirty tiered ruffles at the shoulder.
Bonus Points: In one of the most fitting celebrity-designer pairings of the week, the adorable Alison Brie, who plays Trudy Campbell on Mad Men, was in the front row. I also loved the delightfully Euro music, which included "Baby Baby Baby" by Make the Girl Dance.
Where to Buy: Find a location near you here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Toni Francesc Spring 2010

Where & When: Tuesday, September 15th at 9 p.m., the Salon, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: Toni Francesc is the only 9 p.m. show I attended during Fashion Week, and it came at the end of a very long day; I went primarily because I had an assigned seat, and also out of curiosity--Francesc is a Spanish designer showing in New York for the first time. His collection was inspired by the "poetry of water," and in case we missed the rhapsodic program notes, the show started with a several-minutes-long film depicting water in its various states. I'm sure this was intended to set a mood, but since I had a glass of wine while waiting to get into the venue, all it did was make me have to pee. Once the actual show started--to the sound of dripping water, which did nothing to help my bladder situation--we were treated to droopily draped dresses in drab colors; apparently in Francesc's world, the water is murky. This point was further driven by the strange lighting design: While in many shows the lights are so bright that you almost need sunglasses, it was so dark in this show that I had trouble seeing the looks at all. The situation was not helped, either, by the fact that there was no run-of-show sheet included in the packet of materials, so I can't even tell you what any of the fabrics were. What I can tell you is that many of the dresses, skirts, and pants seemed to be suffering from an overabundance of fabric around the hips, and if it doesn't look good on a size-2 model, it's not going to be flattering on a "real" woman either. Do Spanish women not have hips?
Standout Look: This trenchcoat was one of the more structured pieces in the show, and it helped tone down the volume of the fluttery charmeuse top and bubble-like shorts.
Bonus Points: The gift bag, strangely, was one of the best I've received this season, with a T-shirt, Tous makeup, and multiple Spanish haircare samples inside.
Where to Buy: The Toni Francesc boutique in Barcelona, Spain

Tibi Spring 2010

Where & When: Tuesday, September 15th at 7 p.m., the Promenade, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: Going into a Tibi show, you always know there will be great prints; the question is from whence designer Amy Smilovic will draw her inspiration. For spring, she was thinking Great Expectations, set in the early '90s and starring the Supermodels, and if that sounds like a random mishmash, all you need to know is that it worked. Smilovic developed a garden motif throughout, from abstract floral prints in soft pastels to pailette floral details decorating a dress to a gorgeous silk chiffon skirt that looked like it was made out of lilac petals. Other than in the names of the garments (Tatiana slip top, Evangelista miniskirt), I didn't always see the Supermodel influence, except for the subtle early-'90s vibe that came across in strong shoulders and cutaway-back crop tops. Thankfully, you don't have to be a Supermodel to wear these looks--the great thing about Tibi is how wearable it is, and this collection was no exception.
Standout Look: Of all the pretty garden and floral prints, this pretty abstract one was my favorite, especially because the sweet, soft look of the print was an interesting, innovative choice for such a structured, sleek dress--with a strong shape like this, you're not in danger of looking too girly.
Bonus Points: The top models in this show--Arlenis Sosa, Behati Prinsloo, and Bruna Tenorio, among others--stomped down the runway at breakneck speed to Guns N Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine." It was the closest I've seen to models actually jogging in their five-inch heels; now we know how they stay in shape.
Where to Buy: Visit Tibi.com for locations.

Dennis Basso Spring 2010

Where & When: Tuesday, September 15th at 3 p.m., the Promenade, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: Dennis Basso has been providing fur coats for society ladies since the '80s; I was a bit puzzled as to why he was showing a spring collection, but it looks like he'd like to be dressing his clients as well. I think the pretty, colorful party dresses that he sent down the runway will definitely do the trick. Inspired by Degas' ballerinas, Basso incorporated iridescent fabrics--ranging from gold to midnight blue to watercolor floral prints--as well as asymmetrical one-shoulder necklines and full, dancer-like skirts. Yes, there was fur: It turned up in swingy short-sleeved coats and adorable shrugs, all of which will keep the chill away on cool spring nights. Degas' ballerinas may not have worn fur, but Basso's certainly will.
Standout Look: In a season where there has been much discussion about designers skimping on fabrics in order to lower prices, Basso's dresses looked expensive (and probably will be). This iridescent purple style photographed beautifully, as did many of the dresses, an important consideration for those planning on wearing these looks during the social season.
Bonus Points: I ended up sitting with my fellow blogger The Shophound, and we spent the show trying to gauge the reactions of the Botoxed ladies-who-lunch sitting across the aisle from us. Also in the front row: Joan Rivers, Carol Alt, Beverly Johnson, and Mary Louise Parker.
Where to Buy: Dennis Basso boutiques worldwide; click here to find one near you.

Max Azria Spring 2010

Where & When: Tuesday, September 15th at 2 p.m., the Tent, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: Of Max Azria's three brands, his namesake line tends to get lost in the shuffle; BCBG's customer is young and trendy, and Herve Leger's is skinny and rich, but Max Azria, the mid-priced line, has wavered on whether it wanted to be as accessible as the former or as luxe as the latter. Thankfully, it appears Azria and his wife Lubov have found their direction with minimal, clean shapes in quietly luxurious fabrics like silk crepe and georgette. But lest you think the neutrally colored collection was boring, the Azrias finished their garments with asymmetrical slashes highlighting various points of the body, metallic cage overlay, and lattice-like beaded detailing. Perhaps the strongest counterpoint to BCBG and Leger was the silhouette, fluidly skimming the body instead of hugging it tightly. It was all very mature and sophisticated, but quietly sexy too, and after this strong showing, I'd say Max Azria the label has finally found its identity.
Standout Look: The tightly edited show included a bunch of dresses that I'm sure we'll soon see on the red carpet, but my favorite was this ethereal taupe crepe look--the industrial-looking metal cage detail at the yoke was an interesting contrast to the flowing crepe fabric.
Bonus Points: This was the most celeb-packed front row I'd seen yet, with Leigh Lezark, Kelly Rowland, Tinsley Mortimer, Katrina Bowden (from 30 Rock), gymnast Nastia Liukin, Lucy Liu, and Mickey Rourke (yes, Mickey Rourke) representing.
Where to Buy: Click here for store locations.

Badgley Mischka Spring 2010

Where & When: Tuesday, September 15th at 10 a.m., the Tent, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: Sometimes designers play it safe with basic black and white; sometimes they take risks with outrageous bursts of color; and sometimes they do both, which was the story at today's Badgley Mischka show. Following the usual runway-show progression of day looks, transitioning into dramatic evening gowns, the duo started with work-friendly cotton tweed ensembles, shantung jackets, and matte jersey dresses with the odd swimsuit or bright red dress sprinkled throughout. The stars of the show, however, were the evening gowns: Badgley Mischka generally sticks to a slim, streamlined silhouette that doesn't detract from the ornate beading, sequins, lace detail, or whatever embellishment they choose to utilize. There were many glamorous looks that I'm sure we'll see on the red carpet at the Emmys on Sunday.
Standout Look: While Badgley Mischka's black gowns are always stunners, they can also do color quite well too. The shocking pink hue of this one is bold to begin with, but the delicate beading at the cap sleeves and hips doesn't result in sensory overload; in fact, it's the perfect complement.
Bonus Points: My seat afforded me a perfect view of Ugly Betty's Mark Indelicato (Betty's nephew), who looked mildly pained when the Real Housewives' Bethenny Frankel and Kelly Bensimon sat down next to him and proceeded to have a heated conversation until the show started. Also, Fran Drescher, Kara DioGuardi, Shanae Grimes, Kim Kardashian, and Kelly Rowland were all reportedly there, although I didn't see any of them.
Where to Buy: Visit BadgleyMischka.com for stores.

Gottex Spring 2010

Where & When: Monday, September 14th at 7 p.m., the Tent, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: In Gottex's program notes, they state the line is taking "a modern direction without forsaking its DNA." Gone are the crazy accessories like turbans and swaths of chiffon--a step in the right direction--but Gottex's swimsuits still sport an exotic, somewhat over-the-top look, rendering them unsuitable (pun intended) for anything but lounging around the pool or yacht and looking fabulous. And, for the most part, the suits were fabulous, particularly a series of cobalt blue bohemian looks and the sleek, sequined black styles at the end. Two notes of caution, however: the '80s, high-cut styles and gathered, diaper-like bikini bottoms need to be banished--they're neither flattering nor modern.
Standout Look: There is nothing at all practical about a white swimsuit--especially a high-necked, short-sleeved one--but practicality is a concern that doesn't exist in the world of Gottex, and thus this gathered-front style with side cutouts was a showstopper, especially with the faux-coral neckline.
Bonus Points: Gottex really stepped up its game this season with its models--I spotted top girls Arlenis Sosa (pictured here), Abbey Lee and Sessilee Lopez.
Where to Buy: Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and a department store near you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kai Milla Spring 2010

Where & When: Monday, September 14th at 6 p.m., Museum of Art & Design
Runway Recap: When people find out I write a shopping blog, they love to either ask me where to find something specific, or to complain about how they have a hard time shopping for clothes. The latter complaint tends to come specifically from women of a certain age. Which brings me to a paradox of the fashion industry: designers love to design for the lithe bodies of young women, but the women who can actually afford designer clothes tend to be in their 30s and up, ages at which, well, not everything looks best short and skintight. So, if you're reading this and happen to have money to spend on flattering, ladylike clothes, I suggest you look up Kai Milla. Her designs are body-conscious enough, but detailed in such a way as to be flattering--they emphasize the body, rather than flaunt it. Many of her dresses have sleeves, which many women clamor for, and while she showed some shorter hems, most covered the knee. With a focus on solid colors and black-and-white prints, a floral silk chiffon jacket and one-shouldered gown warmed up the collection with soft color. Ladylike, yes, but definitely not dowdy.
Standout Look: Evening looks are always showstoppers, but since the modern woman spends the bulk of her time at work, daytime looks are always key. This printed cotton dress has a slim shape that won't overwhelm any figure, plus the draping across the hips helps camouflage any problem areas. You could wear it to the office, then out to dinner afterward, and really, what more could you ask for?
Bonus Points: The newly reopened Museum of Art and Design provided an interesting backdrop for a fashion show; the models (all of whom were non-white, by the way) cleverly entered the exhibition space from the elevator.
Where to Buy: Visit KaiMilla.com for store locations.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rad Hourani Spring 2010

Where & When: Monday, September 14th at 4 p.m., Milk Studios
Runway Recap: In the year and a half since I last saw a Rad Hourani show, the Canadian stylist-turned-designer has developed quite a following among the fashion cool kids, many of whom packed his show this afternoon (I spotted everyone from Susie Bubble to Elle's Kate Lanphear in the audience). Spring is not too different from fall in Hourani's androgynous futuristic-biker world; vests replaced motorcycle jackets (although there were some of those also), skinny pants were shredded along the front or were replaced entirely with knee-length bike shorts. The biggest shift in his silhouette came in the women's looks, which featured hump-like watteau backs, often made from a jumble of fabric tacked onto the upper back. A little weird, yes, but in Hourani's hands, it all looked appropriately cool.
Standout Look: In perhaps an homage to Michael Jackson, a lot of Hourani's pants, tops, and jackets were finished with silver chain trim. In the case of this jacket, the trim elevated the motorcycle style to an even cooler, futuristic place. The volume (and watteau back) of the jacket helps to counteract the sleek, skinny look of bike shorts (and, yes, bike shorts are back--they've been everywhere this season).
Bonus Points: Considering what a hot ticket this show was, it's a miracle I even got in. I'll leave it at that.
Where to Buy: Click here for info.

Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2010


Where & When: Monday, September 14th from 2-3:30, Metropolitan Pavilion
Runway Recap: For lovers of Rebecca Minkoff's Morning-After and Devotte bags, the good news is that she's branching out into ready-to-wear, so you can be a head-to-toe Rebecca Minkoff girl. (Well, not quite toe--she hasn't launched footwear. Yet.) The even better news is that the clothes range from cute and girly to full-on sexy, and they'll retail at a contemporary price point, putting them in an affordable league. The spring collection had a very strong early-'90s Versace vibe, with leopard prints, buckle details, corset tops, exaggerated shoulders, and lace insets; according to the program notes, Minkoff was inspired by Tim Burton and Peter Lindbergh's photographs of the supermodels. There was definitely a slightly aggressive edge to the collection--the shoulder pads, yes, and also some leather pieces and buckled bondage pants--but sweetheart necklines and fuller skirts softened many of the looks.
Standout Look: In the look on the right, the sweetness of the ruffled top balances out the rougher, fashion-forward vibe of the pleated leather skirt. I think it's a perfect ensemble to wear with this leopard-accented Morning After Bag.
Bonus Points: The gift bag included a nice big bottle of hairspray, as well as an awesome Rebecca Minkoff leather bracelet with pyramid studs. Also, apparently Gerard Butler was there, but I didn't see him, unfortunately.
Where to Buy: Shop online or find a store near you here.

Loris Diran Spring 2010

When & Where: Monday, September 14th at 2 p.m., the Altman Building
Runway Recap: Inspired by childhood memories of Coney Island, Diran infused his spring collection with a bright poppy, teal, and yellow color palette, while exaggerated puffs, poufs, peplums, and draping highlighted different parts of the body. While some looks suffered from droopy-fabric syndrome, smart clients will snap up the paperbag-waist skirts and fluttery blouses for women and tipped shirts, jackets, and sweaters for men. Judging by the enthusiastic response of the audience, however, I don't think any of the items will be a tough sell.
Standout Look: This dress featured exaggerated, highly puffed sleeves, which could be clownish if done poorly, but they were perfectly sculpted in an almost futuristic way, and when paired with the sleekness of the zip-front sheath dress, the two shapes perfectly complemented each other.
Bonus Points: The models walked slowly enough that I had time to take photos, take notes, and follow along the run-of-show sheet, and in spite of this, the show was only slightly longer than usual. Yes, it's exciting to have models stomp down the runway at breakneck speed, but slow and steady wins the race.
Where to Buy: Loris Diran boutique, 3 E. 1st St. (at Bowery).

Malan Breton Spring 2010

Where & When: Monday, September 14th at 11 a.m., Metropolitan Pavilion
Runway Recap: In the glamorously frozen-in-time world of Malan Breton, polished ladies wear lace sheath dresses, taffeta skirts, and organza blouses, and now, with Breton's introduction of menswear, their male counterparts have joined the retro party in a parade of metallic silk three-piece suits. The collection was inspired by the ballet--at various points in the show, a pantless male and tutu-ed female dancer broke out into pirouettes and arabesques, to the applause of the audience--but except for a tulle-overlay dress at the end, the ballerina influence was barely discernible. Much more successful were the men's suits, sharp and well cut, that came down the runway in both bright, bold colors and groovy metallics. Breton is a natural at the neo-debonair aesthetic; perhaps because of his unique persona, menswear makes even more sense than his womenswear ever has--he's selling his own lifestyle, and it's a fabulous one.
Standout Look: It will take a bold man to wear this bright red three-piece suit, but this look was so unique and magnetic, it's a wonder why more men don't own one in this color. (I also enjoyed the slightly metallic electric blue sport coat behind it.)
Bonus Points: There were gimmicks galore in this show--a live orchestra provided the music, Alex from the Real Housewives of New York sat front row, and Ben & Holly from the first season of Make Me A Supermodel walked in the show, not to mention the runway ballet--but the packed audience ate it all up, giving Breton an enthusiastic response during his bow.
Where to Buy: Visit MalanBreton.com for more information.

Custo Barcelona Spring 2010


Where & When: Sunday, September 13th at 8 p.m., the Tent, Bryant Park
Runway Recap: After being shut out of a couple shows on this day, it was a wonderous occasion being let past the mobs and into the Tent for Custo Barcelona. Though at first I was standing in the back row, I managed to fenegal my way into a seat in the fourth row! The Spring 2010 collection was a mosaic of textures and vibrant colors, flowing capes and long fringe, patterns, and playful motifs. I have to say, if I were a man I'm not sure I would be daring enough to wear those loud patterned blazers, but in the context of a fashion show they looked stunning. Many of the ladies' outfits were sleeveless with elaborate chokers attached to the bodice. I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking.
Standout Look: A bowl-cut model sporting a one-shoulder dress that was an unlikely concoction of elements that somehow works together (sort of like Tom Cruise's face). It's possible I was merely in love with the model. There was another great look straight out of Nerd Central with manpris that I've posted a photo of here...pass the slide ruler please.
Bonus Points: I received a ginormous waterproof souvenir tote bag which I plan on using to haul groceries around the city.
Where to Buy: You can purchase Custo Barcelona here.
Postscript: I just realized that I leered at Brandon Davis (oil heir, a la Lindsay Lohan) at the show because I thought he looked like a d-bag. In general, not much of a celebrity presence at this show.