Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Narciso Rodriguez Men's Fragrance

By J. Ecochard

Master of minimalist seamed fashion Narciso Rodriguez- is gearing up for a (no doubt) fly off the shelves launch of his complex, heady men’s fragrance line, aptly titled for him. Though the official debut at Saks Fifth Avenue is not until October...the overall two-year development process is understandable, given the depth and originality of la odeur-a swoon inducing mix of exotic Egyptian musk oil and patchouli, aromatic violet and lavender, sensual amber and spicy pink peppercorn (by celebrated perfumer Francis Kurkdjian). This is a unique, virile aroma made for grown-ups (think Clive Owen in Croupier … though he's already 'taken' by another brand).

Plus for for him is not a light-hearted masculine version of Narciso's luscious ladies’ scent, for her. Accordingly, the packaging is striking... cleverly made from clear and smoky gray glass that is tinted from the inside (inspired by Chinese snuff bottles). Thus, modernist lovers will be happy with the way the oil parfum, eau de toilette and other ancillary products, effortlessly blend with their uncluttered shelves.

But even pack-rats of both sexes, will find a spot on their boudoirs for him...it's that tempting an intoxication!

(photo courtesy of Narciso Rodriguez)

Monday, May 28, 2007

NEIMAN MARCUS' accessory picks for Fall 07


Text by Vivian G. Kelly, with contributions by J. Ecochard
Photographs by J. Ecochard, Richard Spiegel

TIMESTAMP: Tuesday, May 8, 2007



LED BY: KENNETH J. DOWNING, Senior Vice President, Fashion Director for Neiman Marcus. As his title implies, Ken sets the direction for the store after attending countless fashion shows around the world every season. We love him [and Neiman’s Accessory Director, SANDRA WILSON who was also on hand] for their eagle eyes in identifying and translating the season’s trends in a wearable way. Ken and Sandra and the rest of the Neiman Fashion and Buying Team are merchants who appreciate the art form of fine design, a rare quality in a retailer.

The pieces on display in the penthouse represented the best of the latest trends as they’re all exciting, wearable and have that bit of edge that make them objects to covet. Ken gave us his take on the season before walking us through the spacious suite that was more tightly edited than past seasons, making it easier to view the key trend pieces.
Of special interest were some surprising new color directions.
Below, Ken’s view on what you need to know for Fall 2007 to make your buying decisions once the merch starts rolling into the stores.

KEN ON FALL 07: “It is about the return to the modern polished woman. It was the most important message, which is the new cool.
The message is HOW to dress up, and that begins with the jacket: there is the man-tailored Spencer type shape, the short A-line jacket, and so many more shapes to consider. What’s even better is to wear the jacket with a matched bottom. Also of note is the sleeve: 3/4 bracelets, and the glove.
In fact, the glove is now A NECESSITY: over the elbow, especially in brown, black, metallic.”

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION FOR FALL: Nostalgic references such as the Paul Poiret exhibit at the met that just opened, Art Deco, Nan Kempner, and some slimmer 30’s references at Gucci.



MOST IMPORTANT COLOR OF THE SEASON: GRAY: from pearl to deep gray which almost looks like black.

NEWEST WAY TO WEAR IT: metallic + grays together

TO TRY: Gold framed necklaces with gray hematite.


Starting with John Galliano at the Couture

HOT PINK seen months later in New York at Diane Von Furstenberg by way of a hot pink Think of it as the season’s punch color.

HOW TO WEAR COLOR: Have fun with it! Pull out all the crayola colors in the crayon box and wear them all together.
If you who can’t step-away from your black palette, don’t worry, black is a constant. This season, consider some items in black patent to update your look.


MORE STRUCTURE – most important is the polished structured jackets.
Shoe wise, we’re finally moving away from the platform, good news for models and civilians alike. Its shape had evolved into something that was so wildly exaggerated and difficult to walk in that even professional runway models were struggling.

The bootie with an upturned toe is the shoe to have. It’s like a pump that morphed itself into a boot.

The pump is back whether it’s round toed, or thin and elongated with a pointed toe as seen at Chanel couture. Pair it with shiny lacquered Wolford tights as Karl Lagerfeld did for his show. According to Ken, the only designers who didn’t show tights on the runway were Stella McCartney and Dolce & Gabbana, resulting in “a bare leg that looked rather jarring.”

EXOTIC SKINS: Go with the idea of the return to polish. It could be python, mock crock, crock embossed on patent leather, or fur sheared to look like crocodile.

OMBRE [think of watercolor dissipating from dark to light] will be a story going forward and already appeared by way of ombre minks at Alberta Ferreti.

TRIM: unexpectedly, there was sequin for day.

JEWELRY : Ken and Sandra love cuffs and bracelets. Frida Giannini at Gucci sent-out her models with over the elbow gloves and bracelets worn over them, fabulous!

BELTS BACK OFF: They’re thinner in line with fall’s more refined silhouette

THE BEST FOR LAST Taking luxury to a new reference.
Price: $4,175, by special order

Fall 2007 merchandise will begin arriving at Neiman’s late June.
Merchandise available at Neiman Marcus.com

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Visage Visions

Text-Written/Edited and Photos by J. Ecochard

The new trends in beauty, like those detected on the Fall 2007 fashion runways, are geared towards a more sophisticated customer... with less over-the-top glittery frills ...but with more polished panache for around the clock wear.

At the annual trade show, The Make-up Show NYC 2007, (sponsored by beauty innovators - The Powder Group), the latest, multi-tasking beauty products soon to appear on retail shelves… did double duty as either skin care treatments -or as tools to mitigate the microscopic effects of HD television. And yes, the goods really do work to neutralize the march of time, dermis-wise, like wrinkles, blotchy, uneven tone and sagging skin.

Two minerals based make-up lines, Iredale Mineral Cosmetics and Color FX , offered 100% pure, talc and scent free, anti-inflammatory mineral powder foundations in assorted global shades. They offer great coverage for all skin types, an SPF 18 or SPF 15 ‘natural’ UVB and UVA sunblock protection respectively, and contain no synthetic ingredients. Iredale also launched a men’s bronzer, H/E, for undetectable chemical free coverage. Its matte finish differs from the female goods’ subtle shimmer…but masks imperfections of both genders for hours while still looking fresh.

Cover FX, developed as a corrective cosmetic for scarred hospital patients, introduced makeup pros to the line’s creamy foundation base, pure mineral powder base and the Skincare FX, the 1st “Cosmeceutical Primer-Treatment and Priming Serum” that seems to float on the skin at the same time as filling in lines. (Available nationwide at Nordstrom’s).

It’s obvious that airbrush foundations, spray highlighters, and air brow and eye shadows are destined for the mainstream …with makeup artists expanding its use beyond HD television performers and special events (like weddings), to create everyday optical illusions of perfection. Several manufacturers including Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Temptu, Kett and Aircraft Cosmetics offered airbrush systems plus head spinning kaleidoscopic assortments of liquid potions for a flawless visage that not only offers hours of rub proof coverage, but often contain cocktails of skin enhancing anti- oxidant treats. And though there are liquid foundation products out on the market claiming to provide high def quality coverage, there is really nothing quite as good as an airbrush wand, misting microscopic drops on the skin. Some demonstrators at the show were even adept at self-application. For most of us however, training and experience are mandatory…and equipment costs go for several hundred buckaroos. This perfection may be worth it however, given the high price of premium cosmetics.

Naturally, the tradeshow proffered the fantasy that spectacularly inventive special effects make-up conjures up. There were several eye catching body art displays trolling the aisles, courtesy of ‘the Picasso of body art’, John Vargus of Vargas Bodypainting, Mehron Cosmetics and Temptu (remember the fab Absolut Vodka print ad of a nude, tattooed guy and Demi’s pregnant bod on the cover of Vanity Fair?). And the booths of cosmetic lines MAC Pro and Make-Up Forever were perpetually packed as both seemed the editorial favorites of makeup pros who love their dense pigmented eye shadows of rainbow colors, versatile foundations and flirty false eyelashes. For longer lasting feathery sweeps, Xtreme Lashes eyelash extensions, are pricey (typically $200-$350 depending on the salon)…but last 3-5 weeks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Look Ma-More Gifts!

Or Just Another Excuse To Shop
Text by J. Ecochard

Dating back to the birth of Hallmark, the gift-giving American tradition…of conjuring up a celebratory day... is still going strong. Quel surprise!

But even if you are not a mother…you can indulge a bit on May 13th. After all, owning a pet (or pet rock) and being a female qualifies.

For the arty types who turn up their noses at mass production, online boutique The Nomad Eye proffers one of a kind hand crafted jewelry, clothing and accessories with a modern style. Or if mom bemoans her boring wall space –an altered digital image, with vibrant splashes of red, by French artist Cyrille Margarit adds pizazz to empty expanses. www.artman-agency.com

Tired of watching mom’s archeological search for her MP3 buried deep in her bag? Adorable, shimmery gold metallic quilted cases from Fashion Nation should eliminate the search. Or snag a pair of fit anywhere, rainbow colored star speakers to attach for pump up the volume accoustics. www.merkuryinnovations.com

Another way to make life easier for hardworking mothers…is to take a load off her feet with an appointment at Eneslow's humongous shoe emporium –where a consultant will accurately measure every nook and cranny of her peds and customize JUST FOR HER- the innards of multi-tasking shoes from Dansk, Reebok or aptly named Masai Barefoot Technology…without changing the outward appearance of these surprisingly stylish brands. www.eneslow.com

And for the gifts that keep on giving, Jerrod Blandino’s- Too Faced Cosmetics genius Love Lisa Beauty Battle Box ensemble (lush lip glosses, two eye shadows and a glowing duo face shimmer) and gorgeous guaranteed Tanning Bed in a Tube- magically creates realistic sunless tans without the damage. Inspired by his sister and her battle with skin cancer. 42% of net proceeds go to The Melanoma Research Foundation. www.toofaced.com, www.melanoma.org

In the same spirit Mother’s Day procrastinators can redeem themselves by escorting mom to curly hair savior Christo’s- monthly seminars at his Fifth venue, NYC salon, featuring hair tips and oodles of products from the Curlisto artistic team. Not only will this salon make you for in love with your hair, (no matter what type), but it's inspiring to learn about Christo's genuine support for the important work of Iris House…an organization dedicated to the needs of HIV/Aids infected women. www.curlisto.com, www.irishouse.org

Still stumped for a Mother's Day splurge? The supremely elegant Mrs. Strong notecards, engraved with an eco- delicate bamboo stalk...might be the most thoughtful gift ever. It will certainly come in handy for all those thank-you notes a gal likes to send. www.mrsstrong.com

Images by author of Christos at his luxe salon... or courtesy of The Nomad Eye, Too Faced Cosmetics, FashionNation, Eneslow
Posted and edited by J. Ecochard