May 27, 2011

The Reef Krakoff Story

Last month's New Yorker has a great story on the story of how designer Reef Krakoff began his career at Coach (after working at Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger), and the story behind his newish eponymous line.
Coach has been a top-ranked accessories brand in the United States for more than a decade. Thirty-six per cent of the premium handbags sold in this country have a Coach label on them.
"Frankly, I go into one of the stores now and I don't see one bag that I like" - Miles Cahn, the founder of Coach
Read the full story on newyorker.com.

March 23, 2011

Anna in WSJ. Magazine

She's been editor of the American edition of Vogue since 1988, and by now it has become commonplace to call her the most powerful woman in fashion. But her influence is much broader than it appears in her fun-house-mirror caricature: a brittle despot in round Chanel sunglasses who rules the world around her through impeccable taste, terror and sarcasm. It is hidden within an intricate web of powerful friends and allies, many of whom she's worked with for decades. That web spans the U.S., out to Hollywood, down to Washington, and across both oceans. Imperious as she may appear, she's really more impresario than empress.

The unusual part, say her intimates, is that there's never a direct quid pro quo. On the other hand, if Wintour does ask for something, there aren't two possible answers. "If I get a request for something I don't want to do," says Marc Jacobs, "first I get an email, then a phone call from someone at Vogue, and now I don't even bother to say no—I know the next call is from her."

"With all the new media outlets out there, with all the noise, a voice of authority and calm like Vogue becomes more important than ever. The more eyes on fashion, the more opinions about fashion, the more exploration of fashion around the world, the better it is for Vogue. Vogue is like Nike or Coca-Cola—this huge global brand. I want to enhance it, I want to protect it, and I want it to be part of the conversation."
 

March 10, 2011

Trends Trends Trends

Read about my favorite Milan Fashion Week trends on Front Row Mag!

March 1, 2011

Sometimes, it's in the details

I'm not sure if I love everything in the Fall Dolce & Gabbana collection - it feels at times like a discombobulated mash up between menswear-inspired tailoring and sexy dresses. But I do love the details - the fun sequined accessories and chic leather bags.

February 20, 2011

Yigal Azrouel Fall 2011: What I Want To Wear Right Now

Young, preppy, fresh silhouettes in bold colors. Softened through furs, knits and layering. Masculine without being too structured.



February 19, 2011

Last Summer: Rodarte in Venice

I had to hand-carry this Rodarte look from a car onto the Venice Beach boardwalk...hence...very lovely. Although I'd have to say it looked a lot better on Lindsey Wixson than it did on the street.

February 12, 2011

Reading Material: What Happens Next

A very interesting interview on Style.com with Carine Roitfeld a week after she left French Vogue. 

ON FREELANCING
It’s strange for me to come back here to New York during the fashion show season and not to be the editor in chief of French Vogue. Of course, I’ve done it before when I was just a freelancer, but ten years is a long time. It’s like 20 times I came here for the shows, and suddenly I’m not the editor in chief. That’s a custom, so it’s hard to now be a freelance editor. But it’s exciting, too.
[For the last ten years] I didn’t have a lot of time to think about the big picture or how fashion is going to be in some years. Now it’s a good moment for me to think about fashion for today, because a lot of things have changed, and when you’re working you don’t see all these things changing. But when you stop, you can see it. You have to understand the new way of working with fashion.
 ON STREET FASHION
...it’s true that, when you go to a show now, the photographers are more interested sometimes in the dress or the jacket you’re wearing than to photograph the show, and I think this is totally wrong. It’s an honor and you smile to the people. But is it normal? I think there is something a bit weird, that more people want to see these looks than want to see what John Galliano or Dolce & Gabbana did for the show.
 ON MAGAZINES
In general terms, do you see a positive future for magazines?
I think it will be very difficult for a lot of magazines, because now you see so many things on the Internet right away and you cannot be as quick as the Internet. Maybe some magazines will stay, but they have to be very beautiful, like collector’s items…Today we have to think differently. [Take] globalization. Ten years ago we never thought we were going to have a Vogue in China, and it’s one of the most successful Vogues, so if you’re not moving, you’re dead. Maybe it’s about going to other countries, to find another way to be interesting in fashion, to talk to a wider audience.
THE INTERNET
Any interest in working on the Internet?
I’m not an Internet [girl]. I’m not writing on blogs. I’m not a Facebook girl. Even though there is a fake Facebook with my name, it’s not me. I’m not on Twitter, it’s not me. But I think if I’m not going on the Internet, I’m going to totally disappear, because the future is the Internet. It’s very difficult for me to work on the Internet, but maybe I will find a way. I think this is very, very important.
GOLDEN HANDCUFFS
People say, “Why did you leave French Vogue? It’s crazy.” But I say, I always liked challenge. When Tom Ford asked me to consult for Gucci, I had never consulted in my life. I didn’t know what consulting was, and look, we made something amazing. I have a lot of ideas coming, and it’s more exciting than getting older in your golden cage.
Read the full article here.

February 10, 2011

And so it begins...

Snapshot: NYFW Fall 2011 collections. Gary Graham. Tribeca. February 9, 2011.

February 2, 2011

Lanvin Jewelry

How stunning is this Spring Lanvin collar necklace that I ran across this weekend? They make the best jewelry, and beautifully crafted to boot.

January 20, 2011

Repeating the obvious. But it's a point worth repeating.

Ironic that while work experience has never been more important, it has also never been more impossible to sustain, particularly in London. Only the wealthy can afford to do unpaid work when there are bills to pay, so increasingly only the wealthy seem to end up doing work experience. Certainly I have noticed this in the fashion industry: I realise I'm not the first to point out that an internship on a glossy magazine has become like some sort of finishing school for the posh. 

Even among the less wealthy, students still have to rely on the bank of mum and dad to finance their internships, placing more pressure on parents already cash-strapped from funding three years' worth of university education. As usual, the poorest and least supported suffer, unable to prove their worth, however high it might be.
 From the fashion editor of the London Evening Standard.

January 18, 2011

The end of an era? Tao Comme Des Garcons Label to End

WWD reports today that the Spring Summer 2011 collection will be the last one for this Comme des Garcons brand, Tao. I've requested it a bit for shoots, but it's pretty conceptual and hard for the average woman to wear, so I can understand why in this age of red carpet appearances and celebrity endorsements, they might decide to close it. It's not every designer that can show a collection inspired by Miss Honey, the drag queen! Tao Kurihara, we look forward to seeing what you will be up to next!

January 17, 2011

Stylist Mel Ottenberg Interviewed by Style.com

“Style,” as Jean Cocteau said, “is a simple way of saying complicated things.” And so it might be said that stylist Mel Ottenberg’s job is to find that simple way of saying something complicated. A button undone, a cuff rolled just so, the particular way a particular belt is slung over a particular dress: A good stylist makes these kinds of choices seem inevitable, and uses them to impart heaps of information about fashion, about the vibe on the street and the mood of the nation, and about how to look, now. “You’re kind of a medium,” explains Ottenberg...“You’re doing your own appropriation of this ‘thing,’ that’s how you bring the style into it. That’s hard to talk about, and it’s pretty much subliminal,” he adds. “I don’t want the style to be noticed, per se. I just want the kid who’s reading the magazine to think, wow, that looks great.”
"...styling is one of those careers where you’re kind of struggling until one day, you aren’t. [...] There was this constant feeling of, OK, maybe now everything gets easier. But it didn’t, not for a while. In retrospect, I think that’s good—I had a lot of opportunities to try things out, make a few mistakes, and so by the time some really high-stakes gigs came along, I was ready for them."
I have a feeling I'm going to like this new series from Style.com's Style File blog, Behind the Scenesters. Low key yet so informative and interesting. Can't wait to see more!

Read the full interview HERE.

January 14, 2011

Ah, Canadian Magazines

"Just as traditional movie stardom is threatened by the reality meteors, so will the rarefied air of Wintour grow too thin to sustain life." 
I have many issues with this article by National Post writer Leanne Delap, former editor of Fashion, currently Canada's largest fashion magazine. But her main point that I imagine she is making with the article is that magazine editors are becoming more personable and available, which is true. 

I disagree strongly when she writes "being a bitch is so last season," however, because I don't think that it is fair of Delap to imply that editors like Vreeland and Wintour (who is referenced at length in the article) were about "being a bitch." Being firm and mysterious and demanding of your staff is not necessarily a bad thing, accessible or not.

Read the full article here, and let me know what you think.

Orange Crush: Backstage at Karen Walker's Spring 2011 Show

Loving all this orange, and the happy models!

Walt Disney Signature by Noir Jewelry

I never thought I would want a Disney-branded product. Ever. But this Noir Jewelry designed bracelet (inspired by the cartoon classic Fantasia) for Walt Disney Signature is pretty amazing. [Note: I'm wearing it upside down because it fits my wrists better that way.]

Definitely a splurge, but if you're interested you can buy it online here!

January 8, 2011

Happy New Year!

Easter Island snapshots, 2011.
Sometimes, it's nice to get away. Far, far away.





December 16, 2010

Some Thoughts on a Career in Fashion

When you're 22, work is all about passion. Money is irrelevant -- more than that, it's vulgar. Be creatively fulfilled or bust! When you're 29 turning 30, however, living in Manhattan on a fashion magazine writer's salary goes from romantic to irresponsible to untenable pretty quickly.
Read the full post here. Johanna Cox was the winner of the reality TV show Stylista, and worked at Elle for almost two years.

Food for thought, indeed.

November 17, 2010

Alexis Bittar Spring 2011

Love love love, as usual! [Photos by me.]
A great monochromatic necklace and choker combination.

Camel Crush

View the full story at Front Row Mag. Shot by James Kachan.

November 12, 2010

The State of Fashion

"Young designers are now the focus of a New York City initiative to provide mentors and new retail concepts. Others are trying to save the garment district, where many factories have closed or laid off workers and raised prices. Fabric costs are up, especially for cotton, and just about everyone who deals with manufacturing in China knows you can’t get a minimum of anything: 1,000 blouses maybe, but not 100. Department stores threaten to cancel orders if a delivery is late. Meanwhile fast-fashion companies reap the rewards of being nimble and democratic while grabbing the ideas of others. Prestige labels hold on to their heritage. And consumers wonder: Where’s your app?" - Cathy Horyn
Again, why she's my favorite fashion scribe. Full story here.

October 31, 2010

Fashion In Real Life


With all of the talk about the influence of the Internet and technology on fashion consumption and media over the last decade, it's still amazing to me that sometimes we can still be surprised by our other senses. Sometimes, looking at a garment in real life is the only way to really understand the quality level, construction methods involved, and the designer's genius. As convenient as looking at a photo on Style.com can be, or fun to see a look on the runway, there's nothing quite like the process of actually touching a garment, turning it inside out, and trying it on (either yourself or on a model)!

I had seen the photos of Christopher Kane's Spring 2011 collection online more than once, and heard all the raves from editors and critics about his use of bold colors and sharp silhouettes. But I didn't fall in love with the pieces until I had the chance to look at a skirt on a photo shoot last week and realized that the neon leather was actually LASERCUT and that the negative space was where the leather had been cut away. I had assumed that the neon pattern had been screen printed onto a dark background, and was quite impressed with the level of workmanship in person.

Now, how to save up for one of these beauties...

October 17, 2010

Spring Summer 2011 Accessories

Some of my favorite accessories for Spring. Can't wait! All things I would actually purchase and wear...

Alexander Wang cutout booties
 Brian Atwood flats
 Christian Louboutin tie dye leather bag
 Kate Spade leather bag

3.1 Phillip Lim platforms
Tommy Hilfiger colorblock heels

October 15, 2010

No More Bargains??


The outlet concept took off in the 1970s, when VF (VFC), the world's biggest apparel maker, began letting shoppers rummage through cardboard boxes of its excess hosiery at its mills, says Linda Humphers, editor-in-chief of Value Retail News. About the same time, Nordstrom opened the first Rack in the basement of its Seattle flagship store to get rid of its leftover shoes. Outlet malls proliferated in the early 1990s. By 2008, the U.S. had almost 13,000 stores in outlet centers, and everyone from Anne Klein (JNY) to Kenneth Cole (KCP) to Elie Tahari had hopped on the trend.
This past week, I bought an amazing silk jacket (albeit missing a few buttons, which I will have to get replaced) from Oscar de la Renta for about 94% off of the manufacturer's suggested retail price. I found this bargain at a Neiman Marcus Last Call store in Austin, TX. These kinds of deals, however, will become increasingly rare, according to an article I just read today from Bloomberg Businessweek.

Entitled "Why Luxury Goods Are Scarce at Outlet Malls," the article examines in brief the conundrum facing discount retailers today - how to fill stores with discounted products worth buying when there are so many "off-price" retailers and retail outlets (including websites such as Bluefly and Gilt) to compete for the same remainders, luxury stores are cutting back on stock in general, and many outlet stores have cheaper merchandise specifically made for them instead of selling the same quality and designs that are offered at regular retail.
Not long ago, the upscale outlet was a secret weapon for fashionistas seeking leftover Dolce & Gabbana dresses at 75 percent off. Over 30 years ago, almost all the clothes at upscale outlets came from the main locations of tony retailers like Nordstrom (JWN). Now as little as 10 percent is made up of designer goods actually sold at upscale retail stores...At Saks' Off 5th stores, 10 percent to 20 percent of the merchandise is clearance from Saks' full-priced stores, about 20 percent is Off 5th store-label goods, and most of the rest is made for the chain by vendors, says spokeswoman Julia Bentley.
Takes away a bit of the magic, doesn't it? Knowing that 80 or 90% of the merchandise at these stores weren't actually marked down so much as just priced a little lower than the "suggested" retail price. Then what will happen to our outlet malls, discount stores, and sample sales? How will the American consumer face the new retail landscape....

All I know is that I'm not returning that Oscar jacket!

September 22, 2010

Helmut Lang Accessories

How incredible are these leather goods? I need the brown ones!

Photos from Vogue.com.

 

September 12, 2010

National Affairs

Over the years, Italy learned the difficult lesson that it could no longer compete with China on price. And so, its business class dreamed, Italy would sell quality, not quantity. [...] And then, China came here [to Prato]. Chinese laborers, first a few immigrants, then tens of thousands, began settling in Prato in the late 1980s. They transformed the textile hub into a low-end garment manufacturing capital — enriching many, stoking resentment and prompting recent crackdowns that in turn have brought cries of bigotry and hypocrisy.
Thanks to a fashion production course offered at Ryerson University a few years ago, I've been quite aware of the way fashion merchandise is labeled - and the subtle difference of seeing something that is "Made in France" versus (for example) "Materials Made in France" or "Assembled in France." The labeling of country of manufacture and origin is important for tax and import / export purposes as goods move around the world, but in the last few decades this information has also helped to guide consumers -for better or for worse- to determine the relative quality of their purchase. The assumption of course is that labor and materials are better in European countries with a long and storied history of fashion production, such as Italy and France, compared to goods manufactured in countries such as India and China.
 This New York Times article brings up a new issue that I had never considered or heard about, however. Besides the issues of illegal labourers and dodgy business practices that the article touches on, what intrigues me is the question of what happens to country of origin in the age of globalisation and an increasingly nomadic work force? Does it still make sense for us as manufacturers and consumers to generalize and grade product using these outdated markers of quality that can be so easily manipulated?

September 4, 2010

Asian Designers in America

I was interviewing an old boss last week in Toronto, a well-known Filipino-Canadian designer who's been around for over a decade, and in our conversation we talked a little about the prevalence of  Asian-American fashion designers today compared to when he started designing. This hasn't been a phenomenon so much in Canada, but were were both astounded and proud to see so many Asian designers succeeding in a real way, and having a presence in the media.

In today's New York Times, there is a story about this very trend, entitled "Asian-Americans Climb Fashion Ladder." It's an interesting read, although perhaps in retrospect a little too similar to this WSJ article on the same topic from 2009.

[There is] an important demographic shift on Seventh Avenue. At the Fashion Week that begins here on Thursday, many of the most promising new designers are of Asian descent...names that are increasingly likely to represent the future of fashion. [...] The rise of Asian designers in America has actually come in several smaller waves, including one that marked the emergence of Anna Sui and Vera Wang in the 1980s. In the last few years, however, as a new generation of designers has asserted itself in New York, Asian-Americans have been at the forefront. In 1995, there were only about 10 Asian-American members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Today there are at least 35. 

Eric Wilson writes that there are two possible explanations for this shift:

First:

Major design schools around the world have seen an influx of Asian-American and Asian-born students since the 1990s, partly through their own recruitment efforts in countries with rapidly developing fashion industries, like South Korea and Japan, and partly because of changing attitudes in those countries about fashion careers.

And secondly:
This has happened largely for the same reason that the New York fashion industry, through the ’80s, was populated most visibly by designers of Jewish heritage, like Calvin Klein, Ms. Karan, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Mr. Kors. Throughout the 20th century, generations of Jewish immigrants had created a thriving garment district in New York, first as laborers, then as factory owners, manufacturers, retailers and, eventually, as designers. Many of today’s Asian-American designers say they experienced a similar evolution from the factory to the catwalk, since some of their parents and grandparents were once involved in the production of clothes. 

These are both compelling agreements, but regardless of the reasons and rationales, having worked with numerous Korean and Chinese owned (and staffed) factories in downtown Toronto and midtown New York, and studied fashion design alongside a plethora of Asian students (born in North American and abroad) at Ryerson University, it's exciting to see that the face of the industry at large is starting to reflect the ethnic makeup of the behind the scenes population in some small way! Now if only there were more females in the mix...

September 2, 2010

Sally Singer on Fashion

People think that if they buy classics -- a trench coat, or a V-neck sweater or a great pair of flat boots -- they're safe because they've invested in things that are gonna last 20 years. But within six months, it's the wrong V-neck or the wrong flat boot, because suddenly the line is wrong. Fashion people are stimulated by proportion shifting -- getting taller, getting thinner. Hemlines go up, hemlines go down. Shoes get wacky, shoes get clunky, shoes get skinny. The fastest things to date are those classics, cause it's just proportions laid bare. There's nothing else going on. If you had invested in a feathered chubby or an incredible crinoline, it's never going to go out of style. I think the most eccentric things are the things that last the longest.
A very interesting interview with Sally Singer, Editor of T Magazine, from Paper magazine.

Read the rest.

August 24, 2010

Now and Then

[Nina Garcia's book is the] latest example of how Ms. Garcia is building her own brand by stretching the parameters of what a fashion editor is.
It’s a complicated time for the grandes dames atop the mastheads of fashion magazines. They face an advertising base shaken by a lingering recession, and the rise of bloggers and Web-savvy fashionistas...who are eating away at the once-uncontested influence of magazine editors to shape trends.  
“The fashion editor as it used to be has changed,” Ms. Garcia said, over lunch in the cafeteria at the Hearst Tower on West 57th Street, where Marie Claire is published. [...] “Now you have to wear many hats, and whoever tells you differently is wrong. Now you’re on TV, whether you want it or not.” 
An interesting if not very analytical look from the New York Times at Nina Garcia's career up close and also the role of fashion editors in today's media landscape. 

Editors as brands are an area of interest to me, because it's a fairly recent phenomenon (at least away from the top of the masthead) and one which is both very logical and yet impractical, in my opinion. On the one hand, it's amazing publicity and critically important for the media outlet to have photogenic, telegenic, articulate brand ambassadors out and about, taking over responsibilities beyond market work, writing, styling, and editing. On the other hand, the irony and reality is that all those TV segments, reality show episodes, reader events and additional pr-generating activities are extremely time-consuming, which may in some cases take time away from the initial editing workload.

The bottom line, though, is that these branding activities create added value for the employer, while empowering editors to become highly visible and individual entities for readers, and therefore much more difficult to replace. We imagine these shifts are here to stay.

Dear readers, how many mastheads have you memorized? Can you match the junior market editors to their Sartorialist snaps?

August 22, 2010

In Bloom

I'm loving this editorial from the September issue of Numero!! Makes me want to reenact the whole thing next spring at the Cherry Blossom festival in Brooklyn...just kidding!!


Source

PS. What my normal cherry blossom photos look like!

August 19, 2010

Fashion GPS Takes Over the World

As they move to Lincoln Center, the runway shows, which will take place from Sept. 9 to Sept. 16, are turning the invitation and check-in process over to a computer system. Instead of creating lavishly designed paper invitations, many fashion houses will send email invitations and bar-coded confirmations. If all goes according to plan, guests won't have to swarm around clipboard-wielding assistants but will line up at airport-style kiosks to receive their seating assignments.
The new technology is designed to make admitting guests faster and more orderly—and possibly more resistant to gate-crashers. But with thousands of fashionistas using the system for the first time, it also may introduce more confusion, as well as the possibility of computer glitches delaying guests.
I'm really interested to see how this experiment at New York Fashion Week will pan out. No more gate grashers? Or chaos?

I've always liked getting the hard invitations, but carrying them around was always a pain. Fashion GPS revolutionized the way that samples and also rsvp'ing for events has happened in the past few years, and this may be another point of no return for the industry. Stay tuned!

Source: WSJ

August 15, 2010

Shop Til You Drop

This week, for work, I literally had to spend days (I know, poor me) and days shopping. Online, in department stores, and at boutiques throughout New York City. There were firm guidelines of what to look out for, but almost no budget...and the most interesting thing about the entire exercise was it allowed me to get a glimpse into how differently the wealthy shop compared to the way that I (and most of my friends) do. While these perks might seem common to you, dear reader, they are not part of my normal shopping experience.

Instead of messy sale racks and long queues for crowded sample sales, there are private dressing rooms, cool glasses of ice water served with a slice of lime on a silver tray, and a tailor and multiple sales staff attending to your every need. Sizes not on the floor are procured instantly, whether from the stock room or shipped overnight from the Chicago boutique. At select designer boutiques, regulars can be heard requesting that their favorite items be made in alternative fabrics, colors, patterns.

Besides being exceedingly pleasant, the experience made me really wonder about the rise of e-commerce within the luxury sector. Finally, I understand first-hand the hesitation that so many designers and fashion houses had (and that some still hold) about selling their wares online. As lovely as sites like Net-A-Porter and Barneys.com are, for the most dedicated clientele the experience can't exactly compare to the attention and assistance they are given when they stop by their favorite boutique. No matter how pretty the shipping box may be.

August 8, 2010

Dream a Little Dream of Me

One of the most interesting look books I've seen in a while, from Them Atelier. Who cares if you can't see the clothes when the models look so dreamy?
More and source.