Monday, November 26, 2007

AROUND THE TOWN: Pre-Thanksgiving events of note in New York City

Text, Vivian G. Kelly

The Reem Acra doll signing at FAO Schwartz
Timestamp: Friday, October 26th, 12 noon
Location: FAO’s flagship, 5th Avenue and 59th Street, 2nd floor, the Barbie Salon

Sometimes, designers do collaborations that are a bit more light-hearted.
We caught up for a moment with Reem Acra at the tail end of a personal appearance she did at FAO Schwartz’ flagship, where she was signing the boxes of the new Reem Acra Bride Barbie Doll. There wasn’t a single child to be found at the event, but there WAS a long line of women who qued up for the privilege of meeting Reem. When asked if she believed that Barbie was still relevant, Ms. Acra smiled broadly and declared, “Barbie is still very relevant!” “It’s every girl’s dream to design a gown for Barbie.”
The new Platinum Label doll retails for $179.95, about 1/20 the price of the actual life-size gown.

Barbie’s gown is an actual Reem Acra design that brides have worn and can order. It’s a great example of Ms. Acra’s skill in being able to design for every body type, a key component to her phenomenal success in the bridal market.

Image of Reem Acra, courtesy of Reem Acra
Image of the Reem Acra Platinum Bride Barbie Doll, courtesy of Mattel

The Target Virtual Fashion Show
Timestamp: November, 6th, 10:00am
Location: Grand Central Station, 42nd Street, NYC

Images, Albert Ferreira/
Group shot [from left]: Mossimo, Dominique Cohen, Liz Lange, Erin Fetherston, Isaac Mizrahi, Keenan Duffty
It was an odd sight to witness – a pack of photographers shooting an animated video rather than live models. What seems new today has a way of becoming S.O.P. [standard operating procedure] tomorrow. We may have witnessed the way of the future, a new way to do a fashion show with far fewer costs: no models, no hair, no makeup, no dressers.
The headless models in the show were amusing and it worked because we didn’t become distracted by the girls and focused exclusively on the clothing and accessories shown. This is after all, the point of a fashion show.

Best moment: Designer Keenan Duffty’s virtual rock band wearing the Bowie by Keanan Duffty collection, which is on fire and was almost completely sold out by show time.
Keenan spoke to us afterwards about working with the legendary David Bowie:

LYRA MAG: You’re in a band yourself with Clem Burke [Blondie], Glen Matlock [Sex Pistols] and Earl Slick [David Bowie].
What was it like working with a rock legend?

KEANAN DUFFTY: Everything clichéd that’s been said about David is true, it was totally a pleasure working with him.

LM: Did you have access to him?

KD: Absolutely. For this collection we collaborated on pieces that were inspired by his Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit. There’s a shirt for $24.99 and an exclusive CD for Target.

LM: Good to see the collection’s blowing-out! Will we be seeing you at Fashion Week in February?

KD: Yes, we missed last time because our band had gigs during NY Fashion Week. The new collection is more subdued and tailored, as that’s the direction I’m going in now – more “grown-up”.

The Bowie by Keanan Duffty line is available at Target until December 24, 2007.

Accessory Alert: Target GO Designer, Dominique Cohen creates a “great luxury rocking look”
Dominique was wearing 2 substantial adjustable necklaces that looked far pricier than the $90 they go for at retail.
It’s apparent by the luxurious detail work, that she’s accustomed to designing high-end jewelry. Some notable details: hand-dyed 100% silk ribbons, lace-covered beads

Dominique Cohen for Target has been in stores since August and will be available until March 2008. Hurry-up though, as customers are grabbing onto a good thing and buying not just one D.C. piece; they’re buying them in multiples!
Says Dominique, “This is the ultimate compliment”.
What she loves about working with Target: the opportunity to reach young [teen] customers and to start building brand loyalty with them at a young age.

In parting, she offered a few fashion do’s and don’t:
mix Dominique Cohen for Target with luxury leather goods.
Don’t: mix Dominique Cohen for Target with her $500 - $50,000 jewelry.
Do: wear same collection jewelry in multiples.

Coming soon : Next month Dominique will be launching her New Madison Avenue Store where you can pickup her designs, this time in 18K yellow gold as well as some luxury leather goods.

The Bruno Jamais 5th Anniversary Celebration/Party
Timestamp: Tuesday, November 6th, 4:30 until ??
Location: The Bruno Jamais Supper Club
24 East 81st Street, NYC

Bruno Jamais and Katherine M. Rothman CEO of KMR Communications, Inc threw open the doors of the European style supper club to fete the Club’s 5th Anniversary Celebration. The evening featured hors d’oeuvres, champagne and wine courtesy of Champagne Paul Goerg and MetroWine respectively.
Our table also enjoyed our new favorite vodka, Christiania Vodka . This Norwegian vodka is better than the much touted Grey Goose and about $10 cheaper when you go to pick up a bottle at the liquor store. Christiania is currently produced at the venerable Arcus Distillery in Norway by a recipe that includes six-times column distillation, 4 generations of charcoal filtration and a unique aeration process, which eliminates the last impurities.
It’s almost a shame to pollute this smooth vodka with mixers, but if you must, it makes for an excellent Cosmopolitan, which one of the bartenders at Bruno’s whipped up for us.

The restaurant was transformed into an art gallery for the evening featuring the works of famed French Artist Cyrille Margarit whose celebrity clients and subjects have included Russell Simons, Ivana Trump, Madonna, and Bruce Willis. Guests had the opportunity to enter a raffle to win luxe goodies such as a $25,000 necklace courtesy of Suz Andreasen Couture, and a $5,000 gift certificate Bradford Rowley Portraits. $1,600 was raised through the raffle and 100% of all proceeds will benefit the charity
VIPS present included: Czech Republic Trade Commissioner Thomas Hart, Fox Five Chief Meteorologist Nick Gregory, and La Goulue Restaurant’s general manager Steven Jauffrineau.
Image of Christiana vodka bottle, courtesy of Pam Bristow LLC
Images of Bruno Jamais Invitation, and group photo [from left]: Cyrille Margarit, Katherine Rothman,Bruno Jamais, Metrowine CEP Patrick Baughier, courtesy of KMR Communications, Inc
Ph: 212 396-3444

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Land’s End = New Beginnings!

Text/ Images by J. Ecochard

We love rooting for the underdog. It’s a great American tradition.

Not that Land’s End ever was down for the full count. It’s just that the likes of Nike, Under Armour, J. Crew, Abercrombie and Fitch etc…seem able to adapt their collections for 21st century lifestyles.

Let alone those eye catching capsule collections at Target, H&M etc.

But…the Spring/Summer 2008 Press Preview for Land’s End had our heads spinning in Linda Blair Exorcist amazement. Building on the smart (and chic) winter Chevron Jackets and performance ready skiwear that should be huge hits for Land’s End…we postulate that the anonymous design teams ensconced in the Wisconsin company headquarters have queried hard core athletes, Little League teams, punk surfer dudes, weekend golf hackers, etc and asked them all what that wanted in activewear clothes. And implemented the answers.

As in…hidden pockets in the women’s tennis skorts and men’s tennis shorts for balls waiting for an overhead smash and nifty tee holders and extra pockets on the crisp golf shorts that'll keep handicap scores on the down-low.

As in…rash guards, detachable goggle clips and tear away pocket straps on the solids and tie die cool summery colored swim trunks and board shorts for boys…for the perfect Hang Ten.

As in…a marvelous will fit any size girl swim collection in pretty pastels and splashy florals featuring a mermaid tail hoodie, swim capris, Swim Mini® skirts, quick drying swim shorts and scrunched back tankinis-in quick dry, spf+ fabrics.

As in…aerodynamically designed water and windproof fabrics cut into cropped tops with extra back pockets and comfy padded stretch shorts for mountain bikers hitting the trails.

As in… a brand new Cardio Collection for cross trainers with Iron man visions that features moisture wicking, anti-bacterial technology in stylish but functionally supportive designs.

Can we have one of everything?

We were particularly impressed with the seemingly endless swimwear options for ladies - like the adjustable (for less or more coverage) slenderizing deep cranberry maillot-the long-lasting Airfit dark blue and black one piece made of recycled materials- and a more fashion forward black and white print halter top bikini. New maternity styles, supportive bra options and every cut imaginable coordinate with idiot-proof matching flipflops, beach towels with built in speakers for MP3s, totes and cover-ups.

Guys will love the beach to boardwalk ease of quick drying swimwear with handy cargo pockets and mesh lining… and the volley ball Supplex® nylon shorts with inner drawstrings and side vents. Finally, a casually correct coordinating polo and/or short sleeve forgiving button down, and water rugged sandals are all that’s needed for day to night attire. After all, why lug around clothes…when free hands are needed to carry coolers packed with a few frosty ones.

The top to toe collections for the whole family as always include a too cute baby ensembles of clothes, sun hats, and diaper bags in soft blues and pale pinks…and an expanded apparel line of Palm Beach perfect garb for the whole family in saturated hues of sunny yellow, deep sea blues, chino beige, delicate florals, and patriotic nautical stripes.

And like that company from Maine, Land’s End is furnishing the outdoor lifestyle with a collection of Adirondack chairs, sofas and expandable tables- plus durable cotton canvas cushions.

It’s a smart move…and one we think will have customers flocking to Land’s End shops across the country.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Patricia Field and Mattel's Partners' Perfect!

Patricia Field

Patricia Field Loves Barbie®

Text/Images of Barbie® Launch by J. Ecochard
Merchandise Images Courtesy of Mattel™

We were thinking of the Blackgama adage, “What becomes a legend most?” the other night when attending the festive launch of the eclectic über stylist Patricia Field's (of Sex in The City fame) dolled up, unapologetically fun collection of clothing and accessories for Mattel’s Barbie™ .

The answer is… the legend just keeps on fashionably going.

At the predominately “Painkiller Pink” tinted House of Field’s boutique on the Bowery in the NYC’s hip downtown neighborhood, two different women’s contemporary lines debuted that will have Barbie® fans and Field’s cult followers ringing the register.

For glamourish gals the Barbie Luxe™ by Patricia Field™ on display came in four striking themes of Black and White Tapestry Print, Gold and Pewter quilted Barbie® pattern, a retro Barbie® and a pony tailed Barbie® silhouette logos. We could definitely see ourselves or our too cool for school teenage nieces wanting to scoop up these prints on the affordable classic zip-up jackets and hoodies, bold metallic embroidered and faux croc handbags, adorable little black dresses, thermal printed tops, and sparkling jewelry. This collection is also available at Macy’s East .

Between bites of sugar laden marshmallows and pink M&M’s, we also had a chance to admire the models strolling through the boutique. Ready for a night of clubbing, these edgy ladies were attired in Barbie Wear™ by Patricia Field (available at Hot Topic stores)-a Junior collection of stretchy black minis, T shirts and accessories that surely makes the iconic Barbie ready for 2008.

It should be noted that the “Ken” bartenders were/are not available for purchase.

Scenes For Charity

Text/Images of Designers For Darfur Benefit by J. Ecochard

The fashion and cosmetic industries have always been about the latest trends, the hottest supermodels, the must have handbags, the ne plus ultra gowns worn by an “it” celebrities…and just about everything else devoted to outer appearances. Yet, the glamorous sides of these companies have always had other more altruistic angles…namely, the enormous amount of money and time donated to worthy charities that have positive global impact.

Recently we spent some time at two local hotspots that kindly donated their spaces for worthy causes. In Miami’s trendy South Beach, the always jammed Shore Club hosted a reception/silent auction for Charity:Water . Founded by former event planner Scott Harrison, this non-profit organization builds safe, clean water and basic sanitation systems in impoverished communities. Having spent time in environments where a child’s entire day is spent securing water …instead of attending school, we know that a functioning village well can truly be a life changing necessity.

The red hot Socialista in NYC similarly opened its swank retro-Cuban lounge for the New York Coalition For Darfur . Several celebs like Don Cheadle and George Clooney, and organizations like Designers for Darfur… have done way more than just lend their names to educate the public about this ongoing tragedy and to secure funds earmarked for food and medical relief desperately needed by Sudanese refugees. It is incredulous that so soon after the horrors of nearby Rwanda, that another African genocide is currently occurring. A twist for those in the fashion industry is that China is Sudan’s largest foreign investor and trade partner (think oil), the largest provider of weapons and chief diplomatic sponsor preventing UN deployment of protective forces.

To get the attendees talking, Sagatiba Pura Cachaca Rum from Brazil was generously flowing. Our favorite touch was the DJ Josh Link who's motto "if you can't dance to this, you ain't got no business having feet" is spot-on!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007


Time Stamp: Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Location: The Dooney & Bourke showroom
601 West 26th Street, NYC, The Forbidden Zone

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Richard Spiegel

Dooney Carves Out a Fresh New Image for Itself

Admittedly, until we made it to the spring 2008 preview, we hadn’t paid much attention to Dooney’s recent endeavors towards modernization. Their preppy all weather leather structured handbags with the Duck company crest prominently displayed on an elliptical leather tag were wildly popular in the seventies and eighties. If a woman wasn’t carrying a Coach Bag on her shoulder, she was carrying a Dooney.

Our pre-preview visit to the glossy boutique in the tony Westchester Mall brought us squarely into the present. There were of course, logoed bags [they sell] but there were also some great red/black/white zebra and giraffe prints bags that the salesman confirmed were the store’s best sellers.

At the spring 2008 preview
*Dooney maintains a gorgeous showroom deep in the Forbidden Zone, in one of Fashion’s most prestigious addresses – 601 W 26th Street. We still remember tripping over a sarcophagus at that address pre-911. We’d accidentally stumbled into an art storage space next to the makeshift runway in the space 100 yards away where WINK was showing that season for a long-ago NY Fashion Week.

Dooney’s Showroom was filled with a mouthwatering display of colorful bags in many different leather textures – a far cry from “all weather” leather.
Dooney’s Andrea Mathewson led us through the many groupings starting with the company’s high end ALTO Collection, This sophisticated collection is only available in Dooney & Bourke boutiques and retails for up to $1,200 for an oversize satchel, large enough to fit your laptop.
We can’t say enough about the new Limited Edition items on the line. This season, Dooney has collaborated with starlet Hayden Panettiere [nominated for a Grammy in 1999 for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for A Bug's Life.] The line sports a large HP metallic logo tag and is already on backorder.
New also this season: the Chiara bag, available in both gold and silver in a moderate price range, [around $400]. Also available in metallic, a little tissue holder and ultra-chic jewelry box.

What we loved: the new patent leather “Ashley” satchels available in just about every color of the rainbow. Our favorite: the patent leather bag with metallic handles. The shiny jewel toned bags are the perfect complement to the jewel toned clothes that were on the runways.

Also of note: the hot pink medium sac in pearlized leather with a twist strap.
Last but not least: Animal prints! Save some of your holiday budget until the spring deliveries start coming to the stores in January. We’ve all read numerous accounts of the madness Robert Cavalli’s limited edition collection for H&M engendered earlier this month when it hit only 500 stores, worldwide. Mr. Cavalli’s known as the king of animal prints and the madness that ensued in H&M locations around the world proved once and for all that women love their animal prints. Dooney’s medium sacs and oversize watches in pink/green and black/white zebra are sure to be a hit at retail this spring. We missed out on the Cavalli craze, but we’ll make up for it by picking-up one of Dooney &Bourke’s zebra watches in January.
Endnote to Dooney Duck lovers: The Dooney & Bourke duck is alive and well, but he’s gone into hiding! He’s hidden in the metalwork, but don’t look for him in the Alto Collection pieces.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Best of Bridal Couture spring 2008

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Photography, J. Ecochard
Description of photographs:

-Gown w/ green ruffled trim, Paula Varsalona
-Strapless w/ floral embroidery, Claire Pettibone
-Gown w/ veil, Romona Keveza
-Models in pastel off the shoulder gowns, Priscilla of Boston
-Models in lace dresses, Monique Lhuillier
-Tiered strapless ivory gown, Lela Rose
-strapless cocktail dress and long gown, Priscilla of Boston

HERE COMES THE BRIDE, but she’s not all dressed in white. Well,not really. Most brides are choosing ivory or champagne over the traditional white the doll on your wedding cake wears. They're also opting for strapless [a trend that's just not going away] and seeking gowns that are more Ready to Wear [RTW] in nature.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to buy one of Reem Acra’s gowns, she has some incredible pastel colored gowns the color of sugared almonds. Romona Keveza also had some gorgeous pastel gowns in her couture collection for fashion minded brides who are open to something a little different.
Monique Lhuillier and Lela Rose design and delight us with their feminine RTW designs and they did the same when it came to bridal. The word that popped into our heads while watching Ms. Lhuillier’s bridal show was “fashion” not “bridal”.

While at the Wedding's Couture show at the Waldorf Towers, we dropped in on Lela Rose and were thrilled to see some great destination gowns and dresses that double as bridal and a great occasion dress.
Inspiration: "To make burlap couture"
The focus: Body type rather than age
Best dress: We've featured her strapless column gown with multiple tiers that mimic the tiers on a wedding cake.
Price range: $3,995 to around $10,000 for a custom gown

Paula Varsalona, has been designing wedding gowns for decades. While adjusting a hem of one of her gowns, she remarked that she was “the Vera Wang of the Eighties” and is generally acknowledged as the bridal designer who came up with the ever popular “crumb catcher” bodice. The “crumb catcher” bodice looks very much like a fan. As other top couture bridal designers, Paula follows the RTW market with interest and there are carry-overs from that market into the designs in bridal. For 2008, there’s the baby doll and the bubble.

We're longtime fans of Romona Keveza's. Kudos to this 3-time winner of the Couture Bridal Award for "Classic Designer of the Year" for her more modestly priced "Legends" diffusion line. The line is as its name implies, inspired by timeless fashion icons such as Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, and Audrey Hepburn. Legends offers a bride to be a wide choice of options from an easily packable destination dress to one for a full-on Cathedral wedding. Ms. Keveza started her carer selling and designing gowns at her own specialty stores in Canada and D.C., selling designer RTW to high profile clients including Jackie Onassis. Designs from Ms. Keveza's exclusive "Romona Keveza Collection" are a boon to glamorous red carpet regulars such as Marissa Tomei, Julia Roberts, and Mary Hart.

Claire Pettibone has slews of fans who live for her lingerie collection. Some will surely look to her for a bridal gown. . Said Ms. Pettibone in a backstage interview, "I strive to make the anti-cupcake gown. Bridal should be timeless. You shouldn't know when the wedding picture was taken."
Inspirations this season include: Lalique, Erte, Poiret, and the Ballet Russes. Her romantic panne velvets look wonderful as lingerie AND looked equally great fashioned into retro inspired bridal gowns. LANCOME Paris' star makeup artist, Gucci Westman, created a sultry face using Lancome's "enchantment" lip pencil with "cerise" blush to fill in the lip. The hair by Diego Americo for REDKEN 5th Avenue NYC started with Clara Bow but with texture.
The lines are blurring and more importantly, bridal is becoming more fashionable.