Thursday, January 31, 2008


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Backstage images, J. Ecochard
Runway images, J. Grossman courtesy of

DATE: Monday, January 21, 2008

THE PLACE: The Piers, the Northern Tip of the Forbidden Zone, 12th Avenue & 55th Street, NYC


We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Many times, the best show is the one that goes on backstage rather than on the catwalk. Where else can you see some of the world’s top male models clustered about, one of them with a beautiful tattoo [an homage to artist Salvatore Dali that took over a year to complete]?
Another plus – the opportunity to talk to the fashion designer and find out what was actually on their mind when they designed the collection.

Buckler Backgrounder:
Every season, Mr. Buckler comes-up with a compelling inspiration; we love the line sheets he and People’s Revolution Public Relations work up and put on the seats. Note to everyone else doing a show – it makes things easier for the audience.

For Resort/Spring 2008, Mr. Buckler drew inspiration is drawn from Bond meets Monty Python, “a Brit Loyalist edge; an obscure mix of Sean Connery`s 60’s Bond character eyeing Ursula Andrews’ Bond Girl. “
What that meant: Bond-esque slim evening suites, detective raincoats, swim trunks and Sixties sharpness blended with the Eighties acid colors.


Designer Andrew Buckler backstage answered a few leading questions while making some final adjustments.

LYRA MAG: What’s the inspiration for fall?

ANDREW BUCKLER: Fantasy meets surrealism, think of Shakespeare’s a Midsummer’s Night Dream. Surrealism is everywhere, in film [Lord of the Rings] in art [the works of Salvatore Dali], and in the cities I visit.

LYRA: Why did you show at ENK a week before NY Fashion Week?

A. Buckler: It was quite an easy decision. IMG doing the shows here is quite a pioneering move, but we’re holding hands with ENK, IMG and all our buyers. Sales are important, and our buyers are in town for the ENK Collective so they can see the show, it’s convenient for them.

Show stylist GINO TAVERNARO, who could pass for a member of a rock band, has an impressive resume, which includes 9 years as a Neiman Marcus buyer.
“What ‘s most notable, says Mr. Tavernano, is the energy in details such as the jewelry by Molly Jackson” [whom he met at a party outside Boston.]
Mr. Tavernano is an excellent stylist, who has the knack of finding wonderful resources, which include Molly Jackson whose pieces are made of pulled Pyrex glass.

BEAUTY NOTES: It’s not often there’s this much to say about the hair and makeup at a men’s show.
Lead hair, John Warren from the Rizzieri Salon led the RUSK Artistic Team in a Dali-esque inspired hair fantasy. One model had hair pieces attached to his head and resembled a 9 point Buck, another’s hair looked like a Viking’s helmet, On exiting, we saw a few others with peacock feathers attached to the napes of their necks.
Makeup artist, Mark Edio and The Smashbox Cosmetics Team did their part in contributing to the fantasy. Models sported super smudgy charcoal eye shadow that screamed, “Don’t mess with ME”. Others had painted on executioners’ eye masks. The effect was disturbingly sinister.

Model, Ger Duany, kicked things off in a “Model 400 Black Storm Trooper” [coat]. Add to that, a sumptuous black fur hat with earflaps, and you’ve got a great opening look.
Exit #7, a long charcoal jacket, vest, and pleated corduroys gave off a very proper English “Members Only” vibe.
The Buckler man, can also look very East End, in a wine “nuts & bolts” moto jacket or very Sixties Carnaby Street while wearing Exit #34, a black velvet cropper jacket and matching pants.

Rotenier’s brass chain hula skirts secured with a thick hip slung leather belt, and the long brass chains secured to thick leather bracelets.

Although the collection’s theme is “fantasy”, it’s filled with some very wearable and reasonably priced items such as the gorgeous hand knit espresso “smock sweater”[$180 wholesale]and thick enough to double as outerwear. It’s” doing very well”, according to Buckler’s, VP of sales & merchandising, Marina Leichuk.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, J. Ecochard

WHEN: Monday, January 21, 2008, Martin Luther King Jr. Day

THE PLACE: The Piers, the Southern Tip of the Forbidden Zone, 12th Avenue & 55th Street, NYC

The year, some of the menswear designers showing in NYC for fall 08 fashion week decided to band together and show as a group, down at the Piers, a week ahead of with the rest of the men’s and women’s designers during the official NY Fashion Week, Feb. 1-8. Among them were Yoko Devereaux and *Buckler [covered in our next post].
In PRINCIPAL, we loved the idea of an early men’s’ showing. We fondly remember “back in the day” when the men [designers] had their own fashion week and the women had their own as well. What worked was that it helped set a more leisurely tone to the proceedings for editors and photographers running around from show A to show B and back to shows C-Z. The running around comes into play as not everyone shows at Bryant Park, the official venue. Add to that, the win/lose situation of trying to decide WHICH of the 2-4 shows in a certain timeslot is more relevant to your coverage.
We say “in principal” because only a handful of designers threw in their hat and showed early at the ENK/Piers location on Jan. 20-21. In fact, several cancelled, electing to show next week at the GQ W/THE CFDA party on Wednesday, January 30th,.

Pre-show, a few words from ENK’s Elise Kroll and the IMG’s Fern Mallis, their first collaborative effort to put together a men’s fashion week “to showcase the new young design talent out of NY.”
6:00pm – The Yoko Devereaux Runway Show
The line sheet on our seats showed only 17 looks and reminded us of early John Bartlett, with the tortoise sexy nerd reading specs, skinny flood pants and sneakers not laced all the way up. This nerd though, has a bit of LA or is it Brit boy? glam to him, with his loosely fitted hoodies in soft washed out camel and sage.
Said Mr. Salzer at the Post-show cocktail party, “Yoko Devereaux, is sportswear driven, set in an urban landscape. Many people describe it as ‘about a guy who travels between LA and the UK.’”
– Exit #8 grey double-breasted jacket with a jaunty black bowler hat closely followed by exit #13, a very shrunken navy and black wool herringbone suit.

- The ongoing collaboration with artist Charles Lutz. All graphics in this collection incorporate direct imagery from Mr. Lutz’s most recent selection of work.
Hopefully, they’ll adjust the length of the funnel pants to a more wearable length for the guys who are buying at retail.

Yoko Devereaux is available at The Yoko Devereaux boutique [338 Broadway, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn], and at specialty and better department stores nationwide,


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images all, Judith Ecochard except for group portrait, courtesy of Harrison & Schriftman PR


WHEN: Wednesday, January 13th, 5:00pm

WHERE: Starlight Studios

WHY: Because we can always use another fashion-forward contemporary clothing and accessory resource that retails at H&M prices!


THE US PLAN: Remember those social study/history classes in Middle School when you learned about “manifest destiny”? That’s similar to Ms. Plastinina’s plans for her brand in the US. She will start her US rollout in Manhattan, in more than one location, and rightfully so. These days, with the over-crowded marketplace and vendors screaming for attention, the hard reality is that you have to be willing to spend some money to build a brand, The necessary package includes: the services of a top of the line PR firm – check – she’s retained Harrison & Shriftman, a top strategic consultant – she’s got none other than the legendary Marvin Traub of Marvin Traub Associates, storefronts in prime real estate space – check – she’ll be opening in Soho, NYC and in the trend Robertson Avenue area in LA. Last but not least, there’s bound to be an advertising campaign, which reflects the designer’s undiluted vision of his/her brand. We look forward to seeing when it breaks.


Sergei Plastinin, is the main creator and financier behind his daughter's line. He’s also the co-founder and shareholder of Russian dairy and fruit company Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods, publicly traded company [NYSE: WBD] with a market capitalization of $4.4 billion.

He founded Kira Plastinina, in 2006. So far there are 20 stores in Russia, [nine in Moscow] and $20+ million in sales in the first year. 20 more stores are scheduled to open in the next 12 months.

Starting in spring 2008, Mr. Plastinin plans to expand globally beginning in the U.S. The brand will open ten to twelve stores in New York and Los Angeles and an additional fifty stores stateside in the next three years. The first stores will open in downtown NYC [Houston and Broadway] and in LA’s trendy Third Street Promenade.

Lots of pink and pastels with plenty of sequin embellishement. A perfect example – Ms. Plastinina’s party frock – a short pink and silver sequined tank dress over a white tee.
While the all-pink styled “dream bedroom” and fun designs at the party spoke of a lighthearted teenage girl, Ms. Plastinina appears to be taking her namesake company quite seriously. She will be spending the summer studying at Central St. Martin’s College in London, an excellent idea for someone who plans on making a career in fashion design.

Saturday, January 26, 2008



Text, All Photos by J. Ecochard
Except Jack Black

Freezing temps and a cool economic landscape greeted the Collective/Blue menswear trade shows that took over NY’s Piers this past week (January 20-22).

Nevertheless, several enticing guy friendly trends are sure to get American consumers in a buying mood in an iffy retail environment:

Artesian, Technical, Upscale and ‘Sustainable’ Innovations in Fabrics…taking cues from athletic performance wear

Brands repositioned as “luxury” to counter a rising Euro/weakening US $

“Eco” Driven mind-set including limiting carbon imprints via environmental-friendly manufacturing/delivery processes

Creative, Slimmer silhouettes interspersed with thick exotic wools/cashmere knits

Masculine Accessories and Grooming Products geared towards the travel set

Highlights from the hundreds of hopeful sellers -which confirmed our belief that guys’ threads are better made than the female equivalent- include:

The dress for success, impossibly luxe Italian sock brand Bresciani. This 40 year old, family owned company… is the exclusive manufacturer for Bergdorf Goodman (by Bresciani) and Brioni lines, as well their own. Bresciani’s ultra chic socks woven from 100% vicuña fiber clock in at a staggering (to us) 2500 Euros ($3724) and are cleverly packaged in a hand-crafted briarwood box. Less expensive yarn blends of sumptuous wool, silk and vicuña, and solid cashmere are available in 48 sock colors, including the ‘hot’ Fall tones of burnt earth, orange, and natural shades. Divine!

Famous in France, Le Coq Sportif is re-gearing its American drive, focusing on hip sneakers and stylish “uniquely French” street wear inspired by their athletic offerings that dominate the European rugby, soccer, and race car worlds. When we chatted with the staff, several buyers from trendy urban footwear stores literally stopped in their tracks at the display of the 80’s old school “Dynatec” and “Retro”styles (with a sock-like fit) and the sparkling metallic leather Olympic line (in iconic Olympic rings’ colors-black, red, green, blue, white… with a 50th anniversary patch)… all produced in limited editions.

Clothing wise, best sellers from overseas being sold in the states include the artistic “Magneto” hooded sweat shirts in a classic silhouette, blouson cut “Marsala” satin nylon track jackets (women’s) and “Mars” (men’s)… and a the old school track jacket “Mariol.” Comfy washed cotton fabric outfit well-finished tees and striped polos-and round out the collection. All garb features the enduring Rooster” logo. Very modern

Morgan Grays team wins the hearts of burly rugged types as well as elegant refined effete with there durable hand-crafted, high-end buffalo leather (from media mogul/conservationist Ted Turner’s Buffalo ranch) vintage styled hooded backpacks, overnighters, and power gym bags neatly stacked in front of an humongous bright red All-American GMC Truck.

Other handsome offerings include plush leather cushions...and the lightweight with padded shoulder straps topped “Milford” line of masculine messenger bags cut from waterproof (via earth-friendly beeswax, not chemical goo) 100% organic canvas that are lined in suede, and handsomely trimmed in vegetable dyed black bison leather. The affable designer Stewart Grays and co-founder Morgan M. Molthop point out that their line is inspired “by historical events, famous people, masculine colors…and are made to last, woven from one thirty-two bonded yarn.” Completely made in the USA… weekender satchels retail from $900 while handsome racing stripe imprinted wallets, campaign trays, travel kits and leather cigar holder’s starting at $65. It’s no surprise to us that chic outlets like Stanley Korshak, Fred Segal, Neiman’s and Harvey Nichols stock the brand.

Golfers are probably familiar with Jack Black sunscreens but this men’s grooming line is expanding its distribution to other points where dudes congregate. Smart.

With no added fragrances, the multi-functional, easy to use products are perfect for the man on the go. Bestsellers “All-over Wash,” the conditioning “Beard Lube” and soothing “Industrial Strength Hand Healer” plus an airline security friendly portable “Jet Set Traveler” kit (with cleanser, facial scrub, shaving lather, and SPF20+moisturizer) will probably do extremely well in a retail environment where tight-fisted consumers continue to splurge on grooming/beauty goods.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Richard Spiegel

WHERE: The spring 2008, ENK Shows, Pier 94, West 55th Street

Since Badgley Mischka restructured their business and signed on with Iconix, they’ve
had the good fortune to partner with the affable Franco Franchi , the President of Franchi, a high end handbag manufacturer. The Franchi label evening bags we spotted in the Franchi booth are also by the way, absolutely Red Carpet worthy.

Mr. Franchi was the first to sign on and do a license with Badgley Mischka. Many licensing deals have followed: sunglasses, swimsuits, but this one remains solidly in the top three.
Mr. Franchi pointed out the harmony between the designers’ efforts on the clothing and accessory fronts, and this handsome handbag line is consistent with the duo’s high standards, as are the majority of their other licensed products.

As with Badgley Mischka RTW, there are two differently priced lines.

1. THE PLATINUM LINE – bags that are intended for everyday and come-in at a reasonable price point.
2. THE COUTURE LINE – we can’t say enough about this deluxe line. Prior to our ENK visit, we’d already featured a small black crystal beaded clutch in our recent coverage of the Neiman Marcus spring 2008 preview.
BEST IN SHOW: the canary yellow patent large handbag and clutch with a Roger Vivier style buckle.
We left impressed, as many licenses fall short, and just don’t reflect the high standards of their namesake brand.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, courtesy of Geo Art and Eco Skin

WHEN: Wednesday, January 12, 2008

THE LINE: GEO ART’s “Go Green Collection:

Kudos to environmentally conscious designer, Cynthia Gale, for creating this lovely eco capsule collection and to Fatima Fidan, Sales and Marketing whiz for her extensive research before she recommended that GEO ART team up with CENYC [the council for the Environment of NY City].


1. THE PIECES ARE MADE OF 70-80% RECYCLED SILVER. It’s not the 100% you might expect because it’s very hard to guarantee 100% of this, or anything, for that matter.

The hook-up with CENYC came at a good time. While CENYC is still located in Mayor Bloomberg’s office, and is politically funded, it’s a sad fact that the enthusiasm and funding for all things NYC that surged after 9-11 has noticeably diminished.

THE NEXT STEP: Geo Art will be at the spa show, where they’ll show the increasingly popular SPINNING RING.
*TREND ALERT: According to Ms.Fidan, the men’s accessories market has grown a whopping 15% in 2007. Word is, this # will increase in 2008.

ECOSKIN by Sandy Skinner
Ms.Skinner is uniquely poised to create a sexy line, she was after all the President of the hot LA label, Tart, a collection that ranges from cute and girly to hot and vampy. Under her watch, the line was all of that AND, comfortable.
She’s recently taken on a new challenge, to bring that winning combination to her new Eco fashion Company, ECO SKIN. Although it’s early days, after a visiting with her at ENK in New York, and in her LA showroom, we’re happy to report that it’s showing every sign of taking off.

Sandy’s is quite simple – sexy first, eco second.
Says Sandy, “I want to be fashion-forward that is also green. I just want to be as hot and sexy as everybody else, not just ‘green.”

CELEBRITY MUSE: CAMERON DIAZ. It’s harder to think of anyone who looks consistently sexy in photographs AND has a green conscience to boot.

Sandy also gamely answered THE $40,000 question on everyone’s lips about ECO:

“IT [ECO] will merge into the mainstream more over time, and become part of what the consumer expects.”

IT’S IN THE DETAILS: All the buttons are made from coconuts that fell off the tree.

BAMBOO is a grass that is 100% naturally grown. It requires no pesticides, insecticides or fertilizers. It’s also one of the world’s best sustainable resources, as well as the world’s FASTEST growing plant. This is a grass that benefits from mowing, just like the one that grows in your front yard; it grows back stronger after the 3rd cutting. Bamboo takes in 400% more greenhouse gases and produces 35% more oxygen than standing trees. The by-product is good old oxygen. Add to that, the fact that bamboo is 100% biodegradable and whisks away moisture and keeps you dry, just like the sports-intended Under Armour second skins that get us through those long hard New England winters.
From there, they harvest the pulp and voila, it’s woven into a fabric.

As you’ve guessed, silky smooth bamboo is the undisputed star here.
The knits: bamboo, tencel, spandex
The wovens: $100% bamboo
Wholesale prices:[approximate]
Tops $62-78
Long dresses $84-134

For SUMMER: [deliveries are May and June]
Like the accessories as seen at Neiman’s Accessories preview, brights! Sandy went into color gradually, beginning with some sherbet colors.

Our favorite: the pink and multi-colored.
BONUS BROWNIE POINTS for the buttons, which come from coconuts that fell of the tree. It’s hard to get more eco than that!

STORES: Planet Blue, LA
DELIVERIES begin in March and go through June

Friday, January 18, 2008

SPRING + MERCER Women's Collection

Text, Images by J. ECOCHARD

There is nothing like a turn-around opportunity that gets the Wall Streeters, retail types, and us… all worked up.

Obviously, it takes brains, vision, and the wherewithal to execute. So we were happily impressed to meet the Creative Director of the Hampshire Group, Patrick Groenendaal-who has the pedigree (Parsons, designer stints)-smarts, and drive to “invigorate” the one-year old Spring & Mercer’s line of women’s contemporary sportswear.

The Spring/Summer 2008 press preview that took place in the company’s showroom yesterday (January 17th) on West 40th Street, NYC conjured up lessons learned in our graduate school marketing class on Brand Building 101. Spring & Mercer’s emphasis on touchable fabrics, durable construction, stylish cuts and hand crafted details – at the disposable Forever 21 price points….gets an “A.” No wonder big stores like Macy’s, Bloomies and Nordstrom’s carry the line.

Except Spring + Mercer’s are 'to have and to hold.' The garb, all priced under $100, won’t fall apart!

Patrick is the ideal spokesperson for the clothes. Citing the Art Deco-Deauville Resort milieu as inspiration for the classic black and white separates in silky smooth prima cotton, drape perfect rayon and featherweight linen, he wanted to deliver “feminine seperates...without compromising on quality.”

We feel Coco Chanel herself would approve of the striking solids and nautically chic stripes of the pieces that were as “fully fashioned” (meaning varied stitch sizes on seams for a fitted shape) as more expensive brands.

Another group of sunny, upbeat solids were referred to as “the Brady Bunch goes to the Hamptons” collection. We were particularly wowed by a Gigi-esque bright yellow short sleeve cardigan/jacket with just enough swing… and the ruffled, gathered sleeve details of another. Sleeveless cotton tops with gently gathered necklines were deftly decorated with white and black buttons across the front as well as one in the back as a functional closure. Nice touch.

More saturated earth tones and a colorful tribal ikat pattern for cooler temps were used in adorable dresses and tops that will bridge wardrobes from summer to fall.

And mercifully, most body types will look a-okay in all of the aforementioned.

We think we will be hearing a lot more from Spring + Mercer. It works.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Spring/Summer 2008 Previews –Continued

Text, Photos by J. ECOCHARD

A twenty-minute runway show can build buzz for established brands but a showroom jaunt offers intimate intros to newer lines.

On a recent visit to a PR’s girly pink Garment Center’s locale, a group of simply stunning exotic skin (croc, Napa leather, alligator) carryalls grabbed our eyeballs as soon as we walked in. Our moment of we want it all NOW was ignited by the under the radar, made in Italy, luxe line Alina.

Sprouting from seeds planted by two Cuban-born sisters, Alina Garcia and Yamilia Halfon (who now reside in Houston TX) the exclusive Alina bags are classically shaped, not architectural mysteries that hold nothing. The glorious samples we saw- a sunny bright orange ostrichTremezzo” shoulder bag with tasteful gold hardware, and a roomy burnished metallic creamy brown/beige ostrichRyl” shoulder bag…are knockouts.

More thoughts?

Effortlessly channeling the timeless elegance of a fashion icons Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, Alina’s clutches, handbags, and satchels command attention without the screaming tacky initials or graffiti smeared touches of similarly priced ‘exclusive’ brands that will-of course- date in a New York minute.

Customer Code Red!

Women whose self-esteem isn’t tied up with an obvious “name” will appreciate the superior construction, handy, multi-pocketed interiors, and premium quality of materials in these Lone State keepers.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, all by Judith Ecochard except for image of Ganesha, by Richard Spiegel

WHAT: Neiman’s 411 on what accessories you’ll crave for spring 2008

WHERE: The Penthouse of the Chambers Hotel, 15 West 56 Street, NYC

As always, the executive fashion team at Neiman’s led by Sandra Wilson, Neiman’s Accessories Fashion Director for the Neiman-Marcus stores skillfully narrow down the key accessory trends [for spring 2008] to the most basic of equations.
The Aladdin’s cave of delights in the penthouse was styled by the incomparable Sandra and Neiman’s Fashion Director, Ken Downing. Sandra and Barbara Merlino, Neiman’s Communications Manager, took us through the two levels of well-edited goodies at the penthouse suite in the Chambers Hotel.

For spring 2008, it all boils down to 4 basic equations
1. Color + color = spring
2. Color + artistry = spring
3. Color + feminine = spring
4. Color + global = spring

While Prada, Fendi, Chanel, Gucci, Vivier are consistently among our favorite resources, we’ve also high lighted a few other spectacular finds, below.

THIS is the biggest story by far:
THINK: an explosion of color, with hot pink front and center!

Color’s not just bright, it’s shiny too, and the strongest pieces were in
-Patent leather.
Says Ms. Wilson, “We feel very strongly about patent [white, pink] from Nancy Gonzales.”
We also loved Prada’s take in Lilly Pulitzer green with a gold frog clasp.

Other important colors: blues and greens, especially AQUA

-Color blocking looks new again, as it pertains to shoes, in black and white.

Okay, it’s been around for a few seasons, but looks fresh in colored variations as at
Diane Von Furstenberg in bright green.

News bite: This is the first time DVF is doing shoes, which will retail between $ 300-500.

DEGRADE/OMBRE AND CROC both continue to perform.

OVERSIZED SUNGLASSES- Stick with the big, plastic models we’ve embraced for 2+ seasons, but why not try a pink or amber hued pair instead of basic blacks.

NEW: COLORFUL JEWELRY: Exclusive to Neiman : some irresistible pieces by Gurhan, Konstantino, known for his gorgeous engraved pieces, and David Yurman with special enhancers [exclusive to NM.]

2.COLOR + ARTISTRY was well represented on the suite’s stair case and landing.
Barbara Merlino took over the upstairs portion of the tour, which included the staircase, landing, bedroom and bathroom, fleshing out the rest of spring’s must-know equations.

Impossible NOT to mention: the “Ganesha” [the Hindu Elephant Deity]. It got 3 orders on the preview day when Neiman’s 100 best customers were treated to the same preview we got later that week. At LYRA MAG, we think Neiman’s strategy of inviting top customers preview is just great!

As we’ve stated in numerous prior posts, the boys at Badgley Mischka have been very busy in the studio, and that includes the new, updated jewelry designs Neiman’s plucked from their latest collection.

TOP PIECES: the chunky shorter necklace [new for them], and a large bronze slouchy bag with a gorgeous turquoise and bronze medallion.


Few will be able to resist what we’re calling “Expensive Confections”.
Best in category:
-The $4200 Judith Leiber cupcake evening purse.

*JEWELRY TREND 411: OVERSIZED is where it’s at.
Sandra suggests:
*Wear them BIG, and either together or one on each arm.”

We love: the spectacular turquoise and 18carat oversize cuff by Ippolita and Matthew Laurenza’s precious enameled jewelry designs as seen in Bergdorf’s vitrine.

Always the innovator, PRADA has come out with a very special piece only available this spring – fantastical pumps with resin rose petal heels.

More COLOR + FEMININE In the bathroom

GOLD RUSH: Gold bags, gold shoes, gold jewelry, gold zippers, even bronze has a lot of gold in it, look for rose gold too.

Top piece: Jocelyn’s little cut out leather rose gold bolero with dusty pink lining for $425.
A fitting top note: the new ELLE fragrance by YSL to go with the new metallic color block structured bag.

4. COLOR + GLOBAL: was laid out on the huge bed upstairs.
Ethnic influences [African, Indian, and tribal] are very strong.
Editorial darling, Phillip Lim has a new accessory line called Phillip Lim 3.1. Sandra and Barbara love “the large affordably luxurious tote with all the right details, sturdy handles, side pockets with stripes.”

Of note AND very affordable: Tory Burch’s new oversize patent leather totes retailing for $200-300. By early December, they were already doing “extremely well at Bergdorfs and available in a large assortment of colors.

ECO FRIENDLY: the all-nylon Stella McCartney taupe bag with navy blue trim.
It was encouraging to see a leading designer make the cut; hopefully more will follow, on the heels of the eco fashion movement kicked off by Mercedes Benz LA at the spring 2008 shows back in October.

DO: Make COLOR your first priority for spring. It’s about color over everything!
DON’T: wear black. Instead, make space for a lot of white and beige.



We love the ENK trade shows.

No hour long waits for press registration, friendly staff, no celebs, and no linebacker paparazzi trampling worker bees for photos of the Front Row.

Just aisle upon aisle of accessories and clothes that beckon for up close and personal views.

The Spring/Summer 2008 Accessories Circuit visited NYC last week that saw warm, sunny skies take the drudge out of the hike to the Piers Convention space ensconced on the mighty Hudson.

Once inside, it didn’t take long to stop us in our tracks. Clever Carriage, an ultra-sophisticated, luxe handbag, tote, carry-all line that we cannot believe we missed in earlier reviews, was hands down the highlight.

Luckily we squeezed in a chat with the lovely South African born, “Head Coachman” Kim Tania Issacsohn. …in her perpetually packed booth. She noted that her clients (of 11 years running) are “cultured women with a high taste levelsl that want something different and unique.” Each bag, as it is, “has a clever story”- is painstakingly hand crafted with panache, and is definitely “not your mama’s hippie bag.”

For Summer 2008, some of our favorites had a Safari theme with handbags of eye-popping exotic skins such as a bright red croc tote, a pinkish clutch with subtle gold hardware closures, and python carryalls. Arts and crafts elements were found in a neutral tone beige/brown/black raffia satchel with handmade natural wicker trim, an earthy African Kuba cloth tote, and a durable black or white braided carryall made of recycled rubber. Clever!

Clever Carriage is a line that is the essence of trends for Spring/Summer 2008. Designers continue to dial down the bling factor of two years ago, with more classic architectural shapes for bags that appeal to a wealthy, 35+ year old customer. Textures or trims distinguished one line from another-as seen in the leather button, limited edition white tote and delicate flower petal butterfly attachments on the plush ivory leather satchel (also limited edition) by newcomer Jessica Jensen.

Additionally, most displays featured neutral tone (black, white, beige, brown) wear with anything- satchels of exotic skins or buttery smooth leather. Patent leather, still popular at GogoGears travel totes and padded laptop sleeves (in shiny “oil,” “army,” and “leather lime” green colors)---was not as ubiquitous as in seasons past.

And the splashy floral prints and the neon bright colors of last year’s looks were largely absent, giving way to soft pastel sorbet smooth tones or the always popular leopard print bags.