Thursday, September 30, 2010

New shopping news! Post-Fashion Week edition

I am not naturally a networky person, but lately I've been forcing myself to go out and about and meet other bloggers. And I am proud of myself for doing quite a bit of schmoozing during Fashion Week--it's always nice to run into now-familiar faces when you're out and about attending various press events.

At the IFB conference, I met the cutie Midtown Girl. She and I both taped a video for TheFind, explaining their new ShopLike feature, which is officially launching next week. I'm not going to post the video, because it's embarrassing, but basically, it's a way for you to shop your friends' favorite stores and brands--a more social way of using TheFind's super-awesome search technology, if you will. If you want to ShopLike me, however, you need to become a fan of Cheryl Shops on Facebook, and I will post more about this (including details and a how-to) next week.

I attended a launch event for I-Ella.com, which is a new website that's a cross between eBay and Rent the Runway. You can buy, borrow, swap, sell, or lend items from your closet--the key being that I-Ella is very selective with its membership, so you aren't getting random sketchy people selling knockoffs; ideally, the members are stylish, honorable women just like yourself. And speaking of honorable, a percentage of each transaction goes to a charitable organization (listing an item is free; if it sells, I-ELLA takes a 10% fee, 10% of which goes to a charity). There's a celebrity element as well, with boldface names donating their wares for charity; currently, Whitney Port's castoffs are on sale through October 8. As for the rest of the merch, it is a rather stylish mix, with dresses from 3.1 Phillip Lim, shoes from Givenchy, and bags from Balenciaga, Hermes, and YSL, among others, and prices range from not bad to quite reasonable. (A Balenciaga bag for $750? Yes, please!) Sadly, there's no link that I can share with you, but if you're interested, email me & I'll send you an invite.

While at the I-Ella launch, I met the super-stylish Ehmonie of What's Haute and Liana of Guiltless Purse, which is like manna from heaven if you love handbags--they sell designers like Alexander McQueen and Lambertson Truex on down to Linea Pelle and Botkier, and everything is at least 50% off. It's like a sample sale website in that they have super-limited quantities of everything, but unlike the Gilts and Rue La Las of the world, you don't need an invite to join, and perhaps best of all, shipping is free! As with any sample sale websites, check back often for new products.

I wrapped up Fashion Week at the Style Coalition party at the Hudson Hotel, where, among others, I met Kat from Corportette, which is a great blog for those of you who work in Midtown high-rises and the like. (And, coincidentally, it turns out Kat and I went to college together, although we didn't know each other then--a phenomenon that happens more often than not, considering I went to a mid-sized but well-regarded Midwestern university that tends to produce overachievers. Not that I'm one of them.) I also met Apar From My Nines, which is an incredibly genius website--it shops the sample sale websites for you, telling you what are the best deals, picking out great finds under $100, and allowing you to shop by designer, gender, item, and so on. Membership is free, with no referral required (yay!), but if you'd like to help support Cheryl Shops, feel free to click here. I also super-briefly met Divya from Send the Trend, which is a fun way to shop for accessories--you take a quiz, they match you with items you'll like based on your results, and then everything is $29.99. Easy, right? I'm always interested to hear about new websites and ways to shop--after all, you never know what will be the next Gilt Groupe.

And those are all my new friends from Fashion Week! Please check out their blogs & sites, and of course everyone is on Twitter, if you're into it. Aside from finding out about all these great new sites, I'm just happy to have more friends to talk to at blogger events! Yay for networking!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In These Shoes: AllSaints Eos Boots

Introducing a new weekly feature here at Cheryl Shops: In These Shoes, in which I highlight a new pair of desirable, well, shoes. After much thought, I've decided shoes are my favorite thing to buy--they're generally not a huge financial commitment, and no matter how fat or ugly or gross you might be feeling, shoes never make you feel bad about yourself (in fact, they make you feel pretty effing fantastic)--and there are definitely enough pairs out there that I don't feel like I'll ever run out of material (if I do, maybe I'll switch to bags). I will highlight shoes of all price ranges, from Jessica Simpson to Manolo Blahnik, some on sale, some full-price. The common denominator is that these are shoes that I love, and that I think you will love.

The inaugural pair of shoes featured here is the
Eos Boot
from AllSaints Spitalfields. If you haven't yet been to their store on Broadway in NYC, I'd highly recommend checking it out. It's a curious mix of biker and Victorian, but the chain is British, and somehow it all works. The prices are reasonable, the quality is good, and the clothes are unique but very trend-conscious. Which brings me to the Eos boots--the buckled design gives a nod to another British import (Vivienne Westwood's iconic pirate boots), but the cutout design, complete with madcap cantilevered heel, is a bit sexier. They're a great transitional shoe too--half boot, half pump, and perfect for this 65-degrees-one-day, 90-degrees-the-next weather we've been having. Then again, if that means I can continue wearing awesome shoes like these infinitely, then I would be okay with that.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sample Sale of the Week: J.Crew shoes & accessories

People bitch about their draconian coat-check and try-on policies, but Clothingline holds a special place in my heart, as it's where I've found some of my best sample-sale finds ever (case in point: a pair of leather and cashmere Daryl K collection trousers for $25). Some of their marquee names draw the ka-ray-zee shoppers, but their sales are almost always worth checking out. This week they have J.Crew shoes & accessories (including jewelry!) for men & women. All sizes are available, and they'll be restocking daily. Expect crowds; hope for amazing bargains. 9/28-10/1; 10-7; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

PLUS: If you're in more of a charitable mood, stop by DKNY's Madison Avenue flagship on Thursday evening to hear author Marlo Donato Parmelee read from her memoir, Awkward Bitch, My Life with MS. Make a purchase and you'll receive a 10% discount, plus DKNY will donate 10% of the evening's proceeds to the NYC - Southern NY chapter of the National MS Society. 9/30; 6-8 p.m.; 655 Madison Ave. (at 60th St.).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New York Fashion Week in Review: Top Trends

The Little White Dress
If you don't have one of these in your closet, spring is the time to stock up. [Tibi, below]


Minimalism
The Phoebe Philo effect hits New York, with a generally pleasing effect. [Kaelen, below]


'70s
The anti-minimalism look, also perfect for summer. [Tracy Reese, below]


Flares
Related to the '70s trend, the standout pants of the season had a high rise, a slim fit, and a groovy flared leg. [Monique Lhuillier, below]


Overalls
Yep, they're back. The next step after jumpsuits, just be sure to keep both straps fastened. [Vena Cava, below]


Midcalf Skirts
The anti-mini (and not-quite-maxi), these are great for tall gals. (Then again, what isn't?) [Tory Burch, below]


Sheer Layers
Finally, a way to wear transparency: Pile 'em on and float through summer. [Nicole Miller, below]


Orange
Spice up hot weather with warm citrus tones, plus coral and magenta too. [Nanette Lepore, below]

New York Fashion Week in Review: My Favorite Shows

In no particular order, my favorite shows of the season.

Vena Cava
Cool, colorblocked looks inspired by the Memphis movement but made modern in softer colors and silks.


DKNY
New York dressing by way of Paris, with tailored pieces, bright colors, ruffles galore, and a strong sense of optimism.


BCBG Max Azria
In a week where little white dresses were de rigeur, these were some of the best. Bon chic, bon genre indeed.


Tory Burch
Groovy seventies bohemian flavor by way of the Upper East Side--plus killer bags and shoes too.


Nanette Lepore
Colorful, joyful, carefree, and completely wearable too.


Nicole Miller
A wearable take on sheer layers, mixed in with tailored pieces, sexy cutouts, and harness details.


Jonathan Simkhai
Too-cool-for-school clothes from a designer to watch.


Chado Ralph Rucci
From heartbeat-embroidered horsehair to new pieces in cotton, the most breathtakingly beautiful clothes of the week.

New York Fashion Week in Review: By the Numbers

Shows I attended: 34
Shows Mina attended: 5
Shows we didn't quite make it to: 19
Tent shows: 25
Off-site shows: 14
Presentations: 12
Shows with swag: 5
Percentage decrease in swag from last season: -42%
Official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week press bags received: 1 (!)
Seasons since I last received a press bag: 3
Day on which I discovered you could scan your press pass and get your seating assignments for the day all at once: 2
Day on which I fell down the courtyard stairs: 6
People who witnessed this: roughly 30
Times a photographer asked me if I was ok: 5
Free manicures received in the tents: 1
Alcoholic beverages consumed in the tents: approximately 10
Alcoholic beverages consumed off-site: 3
Caffeinated beverages consumed in the tents: 0
DHL cookies consumed: 20 (or thereabouts)
Pounds gained/lost: -2
Ailments caught: 0 (yay!)

TheFind Guest Post: Step Up Your Denim Collection With a Pair of Pegged Jeans



If you can't remember the last time pegged pants were popular, I don't blame you. The 90s trend definitely seemed like a fad that would be done and buried, never to grace the racks again (much less shopping sites!). But like the most unexpectedly successful resurrected trends, the pirate look is back in, revamped, and more chic than ever. Despite the fact that pegged pants are a little tougher to pull off than your average skinny jean or cropped denim pair -- anyone with less than mile-long legs should be cautious -- I suppose it was only a matter of time before the season's cropped trouser and "boyfriend" styles evolved into this familiar old favorite!

If you like the pegged-and-cuffed look but want something a little more slimming and streamlined, go for a skinny pair like these 'Josefina' 7 jeans or these Pilcro Cohort Corduroys, which incorporate the look in a way that's not quite so exaggerated. If you're not afraid to jump right off the plank, this chambray pair by Cheap Monday has an ultra-relaxed look that can be dressed up with some fierce heels! Or opt for a happy medium with a boyfriend style jean like these from ASOS, which are cute with a pair of lace-up boots!

-Alex Gambardella

Save on Pegged Denim Jeans at Revolve Clothing from TheFind's coupon site

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2011

The days before Fashion Week are always a roller coaster--the fear I won't get invited to anything exciting, the anxiety of waiting, the exhilaration when invites do arrive, and the crush of rejection when events are "already at capacity."I hit one of these highs when my invitation to Chado Ralph Rucci arrived; like last season, the spring show was to be held in Rucci's Soho atelier. However, less than a week later, the show was cancelled due to the illness of the company's president, and I was crushed. My luck changed, however, when Rucci's press representative contacted me and invited me to the showroom for an appointment. I happily accepted, figuring I would at least get to take a look at the clothes amidst other journalists, buyers, clients, and the like. Instead, I got a personal, hour-long tour of the collection from Ralph's lovely sister, Rosina. At which point I stepped outside my body and let my soul drift, angel-like, above Rucci's heavenly clothes.

As I've noted in the past, Chado customers tend to be of the older and moneyed variety (Rucci wisely makes clothes cut appropriately for the women who can actually afford them), but for spring he's courting a, shall we say, newer audience with more casual, cost-conscious pieces in cotton. There was the most chic dolman-sleeve jumpsuit I've ever seen, a classic safari suit, and even cotton jeans (yes, Chado makes jeans). I noted one dress was "entry-level Chado," which Rosina said she'd tell Ralph, at which point I nearly, in the Rachel Zoe sense of the word, died. This cotton dress was one of my favorites in the collection--it appears casual at first, but upon closer look, you see it's inset with topstitched and braided suede. It is, as they say, quietly luxurious. There was also a series of cotton canvas coats, with seams finished so beautifully, they looked as good from the inside as they did on the outside (a sentiment sure to please one of my old Parsons professors, who was a stickler for French seams).


Part of what makes me admire Rucci so much is that he does incredibly innovative things with fabric. This lovely taupe duchesse satin coat below is, believe it or not, waterproof. That's right--this is the fanciest raincoat you will ever see. The detail shot in the middle is a jacket made from a tapestry fabric that Rucci found at the D&D building; he placed it perfectly so that the temple was in the center of the back. And the look far below was another one of my favorites in the collection--the jacket consisted of double-faced wool crepe pieces suspended in silk tulle, which had the effect of looking like it was in mid-explosion.


The spring collection was inspired chiefly by sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, whose deconstructed spherical shapes turned up as broken spheres and jagged bits in Rucci's work. You can see the effect in the close-up shot below of the "worm suit"--the suit appears to be split into pieces, with sharp little bars holding it all together. And this showstopper of an orange dress spiraled around the body, beginning with the hand-knotted bodice and unraveling into the asymmetrical taffeta skirt.


Of course, there were familiar Chado themes on display, particularly the skeleton motif in this dress below. And have you ever seen a better-looking tailored suit? Both pieces feature Rucci's signature horsehair insets, which, this season, were embroidered with a jagged pattern reminiscent of EKGs. Both elements are a bit dark in nature, which fascinates me--I love finding beauty in slightly macabre things.


I was so impressed with the detail on everything that Rosina took me on a tour of the workroom, where I saw Rucci's patternmakers, finishers, and embroiderers, as well as sewers and cutters, all hard at work on the fall collection, due to the stores and clients shortly. In a world where nearly everything is manufactured in developing countries nowadays, it was rather amazing--and encouraging--to see that everything is made in-house at Chado, from the breathtaking ballgowns to, yes, those jeans. It was enough to inspire me to start saving up for my own "entry-level Chado."

Chado Ralph Rucci is sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and select Neiman Marcus stores. All images courtesy of Chado Ralph Rucci.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sample Sales of the Week: Battle of the Retro Warehouse Sales

Two furniture and design companies, both retro, and yet so different from each other. If you're into fun, kitsch, and Hollywood regency, head on over to Bushwick for Jonathan Adler's warehouse sale, its first in its new location. You'll find kookily endearing furniture, pottery, rugs, accessories, and more for up to 70% off retail. 9/24-9/26; 10-7 Fri. & Sat., noon-5 Sun.; 513 Irving Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn.

But if you're more of a classicist-minimalist, DWR is more your style, and so you can score sleek reissued classics at their New Jersey Annex for an extra 20%-70% off warehouse prices. To further entice you, there's a free shuttle leaving the 408 W. 14th Street store in the Meatpacking District at 10, noon, 2, and 4; return shuttles will leave the Annex at 11, 1, 3, and 6. You can get furniture delivered (or take it on the bus if you're able), but it must leave the store that day. 9/25-9/26; 10-6 Sat., 11-6 Sun.; 55 Hartz Way, Secaucas, NJ.

Spring 2011 remainder quickies: Pamella Roland, Gottex, Adrienne Vittadini, Loris Diran & Rebecca Moses

Pamella Roland
I generally love presentations, because you can get in and out in under 20 minutes (usually), however, they tend to work better for less showy clothing. I really wished that Pamella Roland, who makes age-appropriate sportswear and lovely red-carpet gowns, had elected to show on the runway instead, because I felt that her elegant clothes weren't getting the attention they deserved. That's because Roland throws quite a good party--I ran into one of my favorite fellow bloggers, The Shophound, and spotted Hilary Swank (!), Lori Loughlin, Denise Richards, and Ramona Singer (from Real Housewives) in the crowd. And not only did this packed soiree have alcohol, but it had hors d'oeuvres too (if you go to enough fashion events, you realize how rare an occurrence food is). But why was I here? Oh yes, the clothes. They were inspired by Roland's trip to the Greek Isles, and my favorite section featured gowns in rich blues evocative of the Aegean Sea (and, helpfully, the program notes featured travel tips). However, next time I'd recommend not throwing a bash so good that it upstages the clothes.

Loris Diran
Loris Diran, on the other hand, makes clothes that are perfectly suited to a presentation, and watching his sun-faded, pastel spring collection slowly spin around on a huge turntable was the perfect way to experience it. A softer take on the neutral trend that was everywhere this season, Diran's collection was wearable and feminine yet directional too.

Gottex
There has always been a certain amount of spectacle involved in Gottex's fashion shows; like the Victoria's Secret "fashion show," wearability is not the point. However, while VS gets top-notch talent (okay, Gottex had Karolina Kurkova and Crystal Renn, who, by the way, is maybe a size 8) and a prime-time TV special, Gottex just seems incredibly out of touch with reality. Swimsuits sported weird peplums, super-high-cut legs, or ostentatious gemstones; looks were styled with exaggerated sun visors and campy chiffon capes. Not to mention, if you actually wore any of these swimsuits, you'd end up with comically patterned tan lines. If none of these suits was actually intended to be worn, and since the audience seemed to be filled with non-industry folk, like the investment bankers sitting behind me, I'm not quite sure what the point was.

Adrienne Vittadini
When I was younger, I had a pair of magenta cabbage-rose-print denim shorts by Adrienne Vittadini, and I wore the hell out of them. (Hey, it was the '80s.) The new design director, Kristiina Salminen, has clearly been plumbing the archives for ideas, because a series of floral-print looks totally took me back to 1988. The collection seemed geared toward the career gal, with lots of office-friendly shirtdresses and reliable cardigans. Judging by the number of executives in the space, expect this line to hit a mid-tier department store near you soon.

Rebecca Moses
Also a purveyor of wearable fashion, Rebecca Moses ran a coquettish thread through her spring collection, with bows here, leopard print there, and wearable looks throughout. Hemlines hit everywhere from above the knee to floor length, but sweet styling like mixed prints and exaggerated jewelry kept the collection youthful. I especially liked the daytime satin pieces and the cropped pegged pants. Everything was just on the flirty side of feminine, which, if you ask me, is where most girls want to be.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bebe Spring 2011

Where & When: Tuesday, September 14th at 7:00pm, Metropolitan Pavilion.
Presentation Recap: The Metropolitan Pavilion proved itself a logistical nightmare, even for a NYFW venue. There were lines out the door a half hour after start time and a second round of lines inside, but media got to cut through. An inordinate number of vendors inside giving away some decent free swag created some difficulty when I only wished to navigate to the runway. Once seated, it quickly hit me that the audience here seemed to be lacking an overall air of class, but I tried my best to block out their vapid comments ("Ohmigod, these models are -so- skinny. Like, somebody feed them?") and focused on the show at hand.

The show itself didn't actually start till an hour after it was scheduled to. Bebe's spring runway show boasted wispy floral chiffon dresses, gowns with lace cutouts, beige fabrics, and oversized handbags. Blazers were cropped short and skirt hems were asymmetrical with angled layers. I can't say I was terribly starry-eyed, but I could see myself wearing a couple of their more conservative frocks.
Standout Look: One particularly amusing theme in this collection was what I would call "sexy work wear" - midriff-exposing outfits that clearly would never fly in an actual office. One of the most entertaining showcased a fringe bandeau under a blazer (see above).
Bonus Points: Basketball stars and C-list celebrities littered the audience. Of them, Ron Artest of the LA Lakers and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, as well as Universal Motown singer Kat DeLuna.

Where to Buy: Click here to view collection.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nanette Lepore Spring 2011

Where & When: Wednesday, September 15 at 11 a.m., the Studio, Lincoln Center
Runway Recap: Lepore dedicated her collection to her mom, who recently passed away, and, as a mama-lovin' girl myself, I instantly teared up. (Then again, I am also exhausted and thus a little emotional anyway.) Nevertheless, her collection today was an absolutely joyful burst of color--tangerine, coral, and plum--with vintage-inspired elements and a beachy summer feel (a mood set by the introduction of swimwear at the beginning of the show). Lepore clearly thought about her customer and what she needs to wear, from the aforementioned swimwear to pretty blouses and relaxed trousers for work, a stunning sequined shirtdress for night, and fluid overalls (yes, overalls) for the weekend. There's been a lot of buzz this week about "wearable" clothes; Lepore's aren't just wearable, though--they're mood-altering too. Stuff like this makes you excited to get dressed in the morning.
Standout Look: This was the second look to come down the runway, and it was the first to make me really perk up in my seat. It's one of the happiest party dresses I've seen this week, and what's better than opening up your closet to see something like this greeting you?
Bonus Points: There was a star-studded front row--Stanley Tucci, Kristen Chenowith, Natasha Bedingfield, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Aida Turturro--but what was really cool was the live music from former Fugee John Forté (and that everyone received a CD with the music featured in the show).
Where to Buy: Click here for stores.

Tory Burch Spring 2011

Where & When: Wednesday, September 15 at 9 a.m., the Studio, Lincoln Center
Runway Recap: The two main stories this Fashion Week have been Minimalism and '70s; count Tory Burch in the latter camp. Her spring collection was a colorful mix, incorporating bright orange, canary yellow, and pale pink, with navy, khaki, and cream mixed in--and as with all of her collections, it was the perfect combination of preppy, ladylike, and bohemian. There were work-friendly collarless jackets and silk blouses, weekend-perfect linen dresses, and even some sequins for nighttime. The '70s influence came across in colorful peasant dresses, midcalf skirts (the new length for spring), flared trousers, and even a Baja pullover (remember those?). Also on display: her bags, shoes, and jewelry, all of which are sure to please Tory loyalists and maybe convert a few new fans.
Standout Look: There were so many appealing looks in this collection, but I kept going back to this model in the printed blouse, yellow flared pants, and leather-and-canvas purse (which I am truly in love with). I had counted myself firmly in the skinny-pants camp, but these are the pair that just might make me a flare-leg convert.
Bonus Points: Instead of doing a presentation in the cramped Box space, Tory opted for the larger Studio with, miracle of miracles, a raised runway. And just when I thought things couldn't get any better, Kanye West and Anna Wintour arrived (not together), and Tory herself gave them a tour of the collection. Here's the photographic proof.
Where to Buy: Click here for stores.

Tibi Spring 2011

Where & When: Tuesday, September 14 at 7 p.m., the Stage, Lincoln Center
Runway Recap: Tibi shows are always one of my favorites of Fashion Week--it's a line I actually wear, especially when it comes to party dresses. Designer Amy Smilovic tends to be liberal with her colors and prints, with a strong inspiration each season from art or literature or theatre. Spring, according to the program notes was "about beauty and classics with a thoroughly modern twist," and my first impression was that it was a bit...neutral. For the most part, Smilovic favored solids with tonal details, crochet, or intricate laser-cut patterns; like many shows this week, there were a lot of little white dresses, but also some strong red, purple, and yellow looks. For the print lovers, there was a nice crinkled paisley dress, but with all the details, it was obvious Smilovic was trying something new for spring--maybe Tibi loyalists should too.
Standout Look: In looking through my film, I realized there were a lot of great spring coats in this collection, something we don't always see enough of on the runway. This one is a black-and-white leopard print, which hopefully we won't be sick of by spring (I don't think we will, as the color scheme makes it look fresh again).
Bonus Points: The soundtrack included the Pixies' "La La Love You" (an interesting choice), and my current favorite song of the moment, Robyn's "Dancing on My Own." Plus, everyone in the tent (even standing attendees) got a free tote bag--a nice democratic touch in these days of front-row-only swag.
Where to Buy: Click here for store locations.

Dennis Basso Spring 2011

When & Where: Tuesday, September 14 at 3 p.m., the Stage, Lincoln Center
Runway Recap: Basso picked up from where he left off with the ballerina theme from last spring (which I loved), but took it to a Judy Jetson–like level of futurism. The shimmery metallic fabrics were interesting, but the midriff-baring cutouts, random flounces, and supershort full skirts made everything look a bit costumey. The rare bits of fur (mostly in shrugs) and more sophisticated gowns seemed better suited to Basso's loyal clientele. The audience, however, seemed to like what they saw: They gave the designer a standing ovation.
Standout Look: This horsehair gown was dramatic and diaphanous, and the buttery nude color made it seem all the more luxurious. It should be noted, this gown was almost to the model's waist by the time she hit the end of the runway; she yanked it up and soldiered on.
Bonus Points: Somewhat unexpectedly, Basso used a very diverse lineup of models.
Where to Buy: Visit dennisbasso.com for store locations.

Badgley Mischka Spring 2011

Where & When: Tuesday, September 14 at 10 a.m., the Theatre, Lincoln Center
Runway Recap: Minimalism may be the buzzword of the spring 2011 collections, but one place you definitely won't find it is at Badgley Mischka. Which is completely fine with me, especially when they continue to turn out such otherworldly, glamorous clothes. Spring 2011 took on a garden theme, as set by the video screen that served as a backdrop, with floral appliqués and sequined motifs in cool, icy pastels, as well as white, spring's neutral of choice. The truly innovative aspect of the show is that Badgley Mischka combined their signature and Mark + James lines all into one show, blurring the lines between couture and contemporary. After all, it's how real women dress.
Standout Look: This is a couture-line tulle top, decorated with crystals, and worn over a Mark + James tank and denim shorts, the ultimate definition of high-low, and it looked incredibly fresh.
Bonus Points: The celeb-studded front row featured Kelly Rowland, Lala Vasquez, Beth Ostrowsky, Kelly Bensimon, Gabrielle Union, and Kristen Cavallari.
Where to Buy: Click here for stores.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spring 2011 contemporary quickies: Twinkle by Wenlan and Jonathan Simkhai

Twinkle by Wenlan
For spring, Wenlan Chia was inspired by novelist Haruki Murakami, who's one of my favorite authors--and if you're unfamiliar with his work, it's very surreal, so I didn't quite know what to expect (for example, two of the characters in one of his books are Colonel Sanders and Johnnie Walker). Thankfully, Chia interpreted it loosely, focusing on the awkwardly beautiful heroines of Murakami's books. In an adorable presentation, in which models pretended to read books, play chess, and knit, they showed off Chia's latest round of feminine dresses and separates, this time in black, dusty mauve, and deep sapphire blue. Special details like open-work necklines, cutouts, and exposed zippers retained just enough edge--Wenlan's looks are consistently girly, but always with a quirky-cool edge.

Jonathan Simkhai
In his second-ever Fashion Week presentation, Jonathan Skimkhai rounded up a bunch of reform-school girls, mixing sports-jersey-like tops and varsity cardigans with '50s-inspired dirndl or pencil skirts (some in leather!), pleated shorts, and skinny-slouchy pants. The styling was fantastic, as was the Hall & Oates music playing in the background; but even taken out of the Rizzo-esque context, there were a lot of strong pieces, like the leather bustier dress and the plaid shorts, that one doesn't have to be a bad girl to wear.

Monique Lhuillier Spring 2011

Where & When: Monday, September 13 at 3 p.m., the Stage, Lincoln Center
Runway Recap: It was a veritable garden of earthly delights at Monique Lhuillier's spring show. We all know her wedding gowns, but Lhuillier also does a steady business in all kinds of dresses, from chic daytime sheaths to red carpet stunners--and there was certainly a lot to please her ladies-who-lunch clientele. The theme was Garden of Eden, and what came down the runway was simply beautiful: floral print, glittering gold, blazing red, and even vivid green dresses. Pretty is what Lhuillier does best, and it's nice to see her embrace it with such passion. Expect these dresses to dominate the red carpet come awards season.
Standout Look: The only blue dress in the bunch, this one stands out for its nearly over-the-top petal skirt. Lhuillier noted that the collection came to her in a dream; with dresses like this, you can see why.
Bonus Points: The celeb-packed front row had Brad Goreski (better known as Rachel Zoe's assistant), Jessica Lowndes from 90210, chef Giada De Laurentiis, Perrey Reeves from Entourage, Emma Roberts, Gilmore Girl Alexis Bledel, Olivia Palermo (who I saw nearly everywhere on Monday), and Maggie Grace, i.e. Shannon from Lost. Whew!
Where to Buy: Visit moniquelhuillier.com for store locations.

Tracy Reese Spring 2011

Where & When: Monday, September 13 at 1 p.m., the Studio, Lincoln Center
Runway Recap: On Sunday and Monday, a new trend started to emerge as a fun alternative to the rampant minimalism: 1970s. And as soon as Tracy Reese's models bounded down the runway with their center-parted hair, oversized glasses, and floppy hats, it was clear we were in for one groovy trip. Thankfully, however, Reese was restrained with the '70s references--there were ethnic prints and floor-sweeping cutout maxi dresses, but there was also a lot of black, white, and nude to temper the mix. Reese was inspired by the notion of traveling, and a lot of the prints carried a global-chic vibe, but still with her trademark femininity--and accessibility.
Standout Look: For those who turn to Reese for party frocks, there were a lot of great options, including this versatile tribal-print strapless dress that combined a worldly motif with a sweet fit-and-flare shape.
Bonus Points: With a veritable U.N. of models, Reese's show was one of the most diverse I've seen so far this week.
Where to Buy: Click here for stores.

Carlos Miele Spring 2011

Where & When: Monday, September 13 at 11 a.m., the Stage, Lincoln Center
Runway Recap: Designers' show notes are always entertaining--sometimes they give true insight into the collection, sometimes they're totally bizarre and conceptual. Miele's stated that he was inspired by butterflies and their lack of boundaries, which, as far as show notes go, was pretty straightforward. The theme came across both literally (colorful butterfly-print dresses) and more abstractly, in expertly fitted gowns with simple lines radiating from the hip and a sequined bolero featured a pattern that echoed butterfly wings. Miele's designs often project a sexy-tough air, but this was one of his softest, prettiest collections in recent memory, and the change of pace was lovely.
Standout Look: It was exhilarating to see the many ways in which Miele interpreted the butterfly theme, but my favorite was this coral silk sheath dress, trailing a gorgeous swath of ruffle like a wing flapping in the air. And get ready to wear this color--an orangey-red--because it's been all over the runways this week.
Bonus Points: Brazilian star Bebel Gilberto performed a bossa-nova cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" live. I'm still not sure what a song about rebellion had to do with the butterfly theme (the program notes mention that Miele "does not see walls in life"), but it was a novelty nonetheless.
Where to Buy: Click here for stores.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spring 2011 Men's Quickies: Buckler, Mik Cire & Perry Ellis

Buckler
If you are a guy and you want to look good, I'd suggest heading straight to Buckler. Seriously, these are some of the coolest clothes for dudes, and that's why I keep going to Andrew Buckler's show, in spite of the fact that I don't really cover menswear at Cheryl Shops. For spring, Buckler was inspired by Bauhaus and the 1924 Olympics, which translated into slim cropped pants, sleeveless trench coats, and some lightly textured knits. I have a feeling the harem pants and underwear-as-outerwear long-john pants won't catch on, but for guys who complain about summer heat, there were quite a few good-looking pairs of shorts, perfectly cut to be not too baggy, not too skinny.

Mik Cire Eric Kim
Ok, I just realized that Mik Cire is Eric Kim backwards. Anyway, Eric Kim is another men's designer that I've followed for a few seasons now--he used to design Monarchy, a Los Angeles label that has since devolved into a Jersey Shore aesthetic. Mik Cire is far more sophisticated, with layering-friendly tees, jackets, and lightweight sweaters in a chiefly neutral palette--I picture hot young actors wearing these clothes to auditions. The superslim leather jackets deserve a special callout, although I was particulary taken with the slim cargo pants and actually cool-looking plaid shorts (pictured here) as well. And, it should be noted, a completely random mix of celebs were in the front row: Alan Cumming, Shannon Elizabeth, Perry Farrell, and Mr. & Ms. Jay from America's Next Top Model.

Perry Ellis
The first thing I noticed at the Perry Ellis show was that the male models walked at such a breakneck speed, they were nearly running down the runway. The second was that the models were much beefier and, well, American-looking than in the other men's events, which is fitting, because Perry Ellis is definitely an all-American kind of label. For spring 2011, the Perry Ellis guy will be wearing bright orange and peach mixed with powder blue, although the wardrobe staples like trench coats and blazers came in a more understated series of khaki, navy, and black. The rows of retail executives seated directly across from me had huge grins throughout the show, which means the line will sell. Now, back to those models--the reward for sitting through 45 looks (which, however, did move at a good clip) was the final run-through, in which they changed into swim trunks, many without shirts. Good news: the six-pack is alive and well. Also, bonus points for the music, a very indie mix of The Drums, Beach House, and Best Coast.