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!