Thursday, March 29, 2007

LA Fashion Week: Kevan Hall's Fall 2007 Runway show

Timestamp: Thursday, March 22, 2007, 8:30pm
Show rating: ++

By Vivian G. Kelly

Photographs courtesy of Kevan Hall

Perhaps Mr. Hall was inspired by our recent trip to France as members of the delegation who attended the Study Tour of French Design, Luxury Industries and Intellectual Property, organized by L’Ambassadeur, Jean-David Levitte and his superb staff. Fittingly, the pre-runway music was a voiceover by Captain Tod Hallman and First Purser Danielle Cooper
exhorting their passengers to fasten their seatbelts and put up their tray tables before takeoff.

Mr. Hall’s woman is a lady, and this season, she’s enamored of the glamorous forties. There was a tailored ruby herringbone transit suit, with sharp shoulders and loose elbow-length sleeves. Lana Marks accessorized the daywear with crocodile tote bags and briefcases. The structured pieces perfectly complemented the refined clothes. The navy and bronze polka dot v-front dress drew applause from the capacity crowd, its large waist-defining sash a welcome alternative to the usual wide leather belts we’ve been seeing everywhere else for fall. It’s a cinch to see why Mr. Hall was tapped to design the Halston line a few years ago. His white fur hoodie and white trousers is a great day to evening outfit that has that unmistakable Halston easiness which made the latter one of the first designer superstars.

It is in eveningwear though, that Mr. Hall has and continues to make a splash. He showed a dusty lavender gown with an intricate satin ribbon waist, which supports the most recent trend of toned-down eveningwear. It wasn’t hard to visualize some of these numbers hitting the Golden Globe ad Oscar Red Carpets. Who wouldn’t love his emerald ombre silk chiffon halter dress? The only ornamentation you need is the sequin straps on the dress. Pair it as Mr. Hall did with Wolford semi-opaque black hose and black patent heels, and you’ll be the belle of the ball. Hall can also work wonders with taffeta, his malachite one shoulder silk crepe gown with silk taffeta wing and his changante bronze and amber tie front gown demonstrate his prowess with tricky evening fabrics. Who ever thought that a taffeta ball gown could be modern and not in the least bit stuffy?

Long ago, the legendary Diana Vreeland told us to “think pink”. Mr. Hall must have had the iconic Mrs. V. on his mind, there were five bright pink gowns that made pink seems like a great new option for evening dressing.

Mr. Hall’s presentation would have been even better with more clearly defined vignettes. Michael Kors is an example of a fashion designer who consistently chooses a theme, and delivers strong vignettes within the show, always staying within the theme stated on the cover of his run of show. The result is a collection of memorable runway presentations such as "Palm Bitch" that fashionistas still refer to years later. Unfortunately, this vital editing skill, is often not taught at fashion institutions and designers are tasked with having to learn it on the job.

It’s clear that Mr. Hall is focused on building his brand; he’s moved beyond just wanting to put on a good show for his fans. *As California Apparel News recently reported, Mr. Hall is “in the process of signing and researching various licenses for accessories, jewelry, handbags, and shoes.” A licensed diffusion line is rumored to be in the works. We’re looking forward to see his continuing upward progression.

[* From an article by Erin Barajas, March 10-22 2007 edition, California Apparel News.]

Monday, March 26, 2007

Lands' End Summer Chic

LANDS’ END-Summer Chic Garb for the Entire Family

Text and photos by J. Ecochard

Prepster favorite Lands’ End ( has expanded its appeal way beyond the hallowed halls of posh boarding schools. The durable tote bags cut from sturdy canvas and trimmed in nautically inspired shades-are still huge sellers. But the new tropically tinged, feminine lingerie separates and sorbet smooth, pastel colored baby gear…should attract non-sailors to the line. And lets face it…American men wear flattering board shorts…and women, enduring maillots and matching sarongs for dips in the ocean or relaxing by the pool. And Lands’ End reliably delivers deeply saturated hues, (deep sea blue, sparkling turquoise, fire engine red), that brightly update the classically cut summer attire for Spring 2007.

Posted and edited by J. Ecochard

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Guess Bags Fall 2007 Preview Collection

Guess Bags-Delicious!
Text and Photographs by J. Ecochard

The Fall 2007 Runways exhibited a trend among some youth oriented designers-that recognized the maturation of their targeted customers. Meaning, the ladies now have jobs, husbands, mortgages etc…and a slew of different wardrobe needs that require looking professional and pulled together.

Paul Marciano, the marketing/design genius behind the Guess labels and the brilliant B&W print ads that launched Anna Nicole Smith (and a gazillion Anna wannabes, look wise), has successfully launched an accessories line chock full of yummy leather and canvas vinyl handbags, clutches and satchels…that manages to look luxe and at an affordable price point ($75-$125). Featuring the perfect amount of stylish silver and gold hardware (via a reworked “G” signature buckles, grommets and clasps), roomy side pockets for Ipods, sturdy double straps for hauling gear and crafted from luscious burnished copper, black and gold leathers (that manage to look classy, not tacky), the Fall 2007 Guess offerings are sure to give other “affordable luxury” lines substantial competition for retail dollars. Even women, who would never think of buying the garb featured on those nubile models in the print ads, will be attracted to the grown up styles. And mercifully, even the printed fabric bags don’t scream out LOGO! click here for GUESS

HairMax miracle hair growth comb event at Bruno Jamais Supper Club

HAIRMAX- a “hair loss treatment in a healthy new light.”

Text and photos by J. Ecochard

We all know the demographics…the baby boomer generation is booming. So while there are countless numbers of products aimed at keeping this segment of the population looking young, very few actually work; hence, the expression, ‘hope in a jar.’

Needless to say, when Lexington International LLC launched HAIRMAX LaserComb, a handheld laser device promoting hair growth in males, a collective group of skeptical eyes, probably rolled over with a significant, ‘whatever’ shrug of the shoulders. But blessed with FDA clearance- based on four separate clinical studies showing an increase in the average number of terminal (thick) hairs-eyes are now glued to the Hairmax LaserComb website (, the sole retail outlet for this amazing medical laser instrument that’s a cinch to use and only requires a daily 10-15 minute application for results. No wonder the New York introduction party at the exclusive Bruno Jamais restaurant was packed to the gills…with spot on look-alikes demo-ing the products. All ladies and gents suffer from loss of hair as they age (at least where one wants the hair)…and a 21st century brush like product for discreet home usage, sure beats the pain and expense of the antiquated 20th century solution, hair plugs.

Posted and edited by J. Ecochard

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Andrew Buckler's "Close Encounters" show - NY, Fall07

Andrew Buckler

Timestamp: Saturday, February 3, 5pm
The Andrew Buckler “Close Encounters” runway show at Bryant Park
The verdict: ++

By Vivian G. Kelly
Photographs by J. Ecochard

The Andrew Buckler runway show: the first half
On his invitation, Mr. Buckler promised, “close encounters” [of the third kind?] He drew inspiration from “anatomical muscular illustrations whose medical influence inspires a cleaner refined look.” Fused with a sci-fi edge and you have one heck of a presentation that captivated us from start to finish. Sometimes fashion IS pure theatre, and Mr. Buckler set the stage well, while waiting for the show to start, the background music sounded like a satellite transmission, and the lights at the foot of the runway look like those of a flying saucer’s. All this made us feel as if we were on the set of “X-Files”.

Molly Jackson’s glass jewelry was extraordinary and contributed to the rock n roll meets cyber world vibe. We loved the glass gauntlets trimmed with red patent leather straps that worked well with the “Bladerunner” porcupine styled hair. The accessories and hairdos may have been futuristic, but the clothing collection was filled with beautiful, [mostly black] jackets well-dressed guys would want to wear in the here and now. Best was the skinny black suit [we miss you, Helmut!] a charcoal cashmere cardigan, and a multi-ply rose and gray cashmere sweater.

The half-time show: [NY Fashion Week is like the Superbowl of Fashion for American Designers] we were treated to a cabaret performance featuring a Liza Minelli [20 years ago] and a bevy of mail models who sauntered down the runway in Andrew Buckler signature underwear and “sexy bastard” argyle socks - only for those with self-confidence and a sense of humour.

The second half: The designer got serious and showed some great pieces like a black and white silkscreen leopard tee and women who “borrow” their boyfriend’s shredded black Patty Smith?? SP style sweaters won’t ever give them back.
Buckler also debuted his new “Winklepicker” shoe line. These utlra-pointy laceups based on the veddy proper English laceup. Available in sparkly gold, matte gold, camel/orange and cobalt.

Lingerie Americas Fall 2007 Preview

The Lingerie Americas New York Show, Feb. 2007

Text and photos by J. Ecochard

If there’s anything to persuade today’s young Hollywood types to give up their often photographed ‘in commando’ ways…meaning, wearing no underwear…it would have to be a stroll through the aisles of this lingerie packed trade show.

The 200+ purveyors of lingerie, sleepwear and shapewear covered a host of sensuous cuts and fabrics for all body types. Beginning with high-end brands such as Aubade, La Perla, Le Mystere and Huit, these Europeans showed stunning neutrals and jeweled tones pieces made from lace, silk and mixed fabric (cotton, spandex, lycra etc) in well cut bras, thongs, bikinis and briefs. As to be expected when the undergarbs are still made in the Continent’s own factories, the fit and finishes (less frilly than past seasons) are superb.

America’s own luxe designs included super sexy silk bras and thongs from New York’s line Vagin Pouvoir. Additionally, big fashion labels like Donna Karan, Vera Wang, Betsey Johnson and Badgley Mischka have all licensed their names, creating lingerie brands that would work well under the fashions being shown concurrently on the runways during New York’s Spring 2007 Fashion Week.

In the shape/bodywear category, whatever part of one’s physique needs holding in or emphasizing, there were plenty of solutions on display.NuBra continues to help women defy the laws of gravity with its tropical hued and neutral toned seamless bra cups sans straps. Spanx sheer wool/spandex leggings and hosiery in cocoa brown, navy and black offer just the right amount of control without feeling bound up like a sausage. Nursing moms feeling feminine despite baby spit-ups should check out the simply glam nursing bras in black and white zebra print from Glamourmom or the plush Italian fabric bras from Bella Materna, that offer all the support and freedom, nursing or pregnant women need. And ladies craving the absolute most divinely comfortable fitted lace cami, short sleeve tee or string bikini, should seek out Kura, an extensive bodywear line made from breathable, super combed Turkish cottons.

Lastly, in the just plain fun category, Shirley of Hollywood, a multi-generation family owned business of accessibly priced, sensuous garments debuted colorful intimate apparel designs with lots of sparkles and sheer chiffon fabrics in regular and plus sizes. Lornnie Louie's silk vintage inspired prints transformed tap pants, bras and even aprons…into garbs that could work as sleep or day wear. And Canada’s Ginch Gonch had pistol toting male and female models walking about in cute blue and white plaid cotton briefs with bright red waistbands that work for the young at heart, if not physique.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Carolina Herrera Fashion Show review - Fall 2007

The date and time: Monday, February 5, 2007, 10:35am
The Carolina Herrera runway show, the Tent, Bryant Park
The verdict: ++

By Vivian G. Kelly

Photographs courtesy of Getty Images

Ms. Herrera is always smartly sophisticated, a quality that alas is missing from our culture’s current zeitgeist. We're living in a culture in which women seem to aspire to model themselves on the vacuous Paris Hilton and to dress in infantile baby doll styles.
Meanwhile at Herrera, her customers can look forward to luxurious pieces that include a brown mink Audrey Style jacket [remember her ski outfit in XXX?] and a silver snakeskin sheath dress with an open keyhole neckline for cocktails and a sweet round neck dove gray dress with Cossack sleeves and fabric rosettes covering the buttons on the back. PETA is apparently not a concern here, as fur is part of the sophisticated jet-setters wardrobe regardless of PETA’s initiatives. The gray fur scarves looked beautiful over a sheer blouse and wide trousers, as did the belted brown cardigan with a wide coyote collar. We spotted a cozy chocolate brown cable cardigan [also seen at Bruce over the weekend]. For evening, we loved the navy crochet v-neck dress with empire waistline for a young girl and the high neck sheath for a more mature cal. Evening was very toned down, and we’d love to own the grape and black organza fil coupe raindrop gown as well as a pair of the dark brown big sunglasses. Congratulations to Ms. Herrera for her strongest collection yet.

Monday, March 5, 2007

French sensation, Gerard Darel

Gerard Darel-France’s It Bag w/o the Tourists.

By J. Ecochard

Everyone emulates the way the French women dress…the scarves draped just so, the luxe skirt or top, very expensive but worn forever. And so… there are a plethora of French designers who design these garments and accoutrements-that are not worn by the masses, but by those in the know.

Gerard Darel a 25 year veteran of France’s accessories scene, has taken control of this year’s “It Bag” mantel with the 24 Heures Drape Satchel, aka the “Charlotte,” in honor of his muse (and daughter of Jane Birkin-Hermes bag acclaim)) Charlotte Gainsbourg. Available in sensuous buttery leathers, hip snakeskin and metallics, knobby knits or plush velvets, this bag as well as Darel’s smaller clutch designs, work as hauling basics for sophisticated urbanites and the country dwellers who demand the best in craftsmanship.

Similarly the women’s clothing line acknowledges the feminine desire for clothes that are chic; cut from quality fabrics and that effortlessly work with the key pieces that are already in one’s wardrobe. Accordingly, the go with anything, timeless trench coat features luxurious embellishments such as fur cuffs and collars while skinny jeans atop stilettos, tailored and tapered striped cotton shirts stylized with wide cuffs and spread collars and supple warm leather, belted jackets – contribute to the label’s mantra of affordable luxury. No wonder, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman have snatched up the line. (www.gerarddarel