Monday, April 28, 2008


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images of collection, J. Ecochard
Image of Dana Delaney, courtesy of Romona Keveza

Time/Place: Couture Bridal Weekend, Sunday, April 13, @ noon
The Helmsley Palace Towers, 53rd floor

Romona Keveza showed her latest collection in a new pared down setting. While we liked the splendidly baroque suite she’s had in years past at the Waldorf Towers, the new collection really complemented her stylish, pared down designs.
Ms. Keveza consistently proposes designs that are flattering and with just the necessary amount of tweak to excite nervous brides who don’t want to make a mistake in their choice of gown. The proof - she’s grown her business to the point that she’s selling to 110 accounts worldwide. What she always provides is classic timeless detailing with rich fabrics that has made her a go-to designer for many brides who want to look beautiful rather than risk looking cutting edge. Think Town & Country rather than Vogue Italia. In fact, her gowns have appeared on the cover of Town & Country. Ms. Keveza is a 3-time winner of the Couture Bridal Award for “Classic Designer of the Year.” Her designs also make great special occasion dresses. Dana Dalaney of “Desperate Housewives” wore a black taffeta dress with matching shawl designed by Romona to the latest SAG Awards.

As always, the charming Ms. Keveza gave us a short explanation of what she had in mind for her 2 collections: Legends and Romona Keveza Collection.
This season, she said, she was feeling “more pared down”. The silhouettes, she explained, would correspondingly be more light and playful and she promised a whole new twist on what the Mother of the Bride would be wearing.
The inspiration? “It’s all about the brides, Romona enthused to the group [mostly buyers]. It’s really fascinating about what brides are wanting. You’re not giving your brides enough credit, the thing you don’t think won’t sell, sells first, dare to dare!”


As usual she kicked off with Legends, a range of classic well-priced separates and dresses. The opening number, an ivory crumb catcher strapless Al-line could well have been a cocktail dress, as could the white lace strapless that followed.
Even the longer dresses had a bare minimum of extras on it; the detailing was a simple satin ribbon securing a sheer overskirt or a narrow white bead “belt” on a lace one-shoulder trumpet gown.
We’ve always loved that Ms. Keveza’s Legends line really lives up to its promise, “that you can wear the pieces after your wedding day”. The separates in pure white and cream, especially the strapless pieces could do double duty with a black or colored skirt or trousers months or years later.
A Mother of the Bride can now dress just like her daughter, only in black. This season, Ms. Keveza is offering the same A-line dresses for her in black. While we liked them in white, they were smashing in black, especially the black Valenciennes column with matching shrug. For that matter, a more daring bride might just decide to get married in black rather than white. Perhaps even most daring was the amethyst purple crumb catcher ball gown for brides who love color and don’t mind being “untraditional”.
Retail prices: $2,137.40 – 3,737.50

The right fabric can render a simply beautiful gown “amazing” as was the case when Ms. Keveza elected to use white Point D’Esprit for her signature sweetheart ruched neckline ball gown [RK880]. The gown was frothy, airy and eminently romantic.
For the sophisticated bride there’s the Hollywood pearl V-neck [Gown RK885] that ‘s an updated version of Marilyn Monroe at her finest. Done up in another color, or even a deeper hue of ivory, it would make a strong candidate for the red carpet.
Ms. K didn’t forsake embellishment altogether though, as there will always be brides who desire an all-out wedding gown such as [Gown RK889], a silk shantung taffeta with dramatic ruffles spilling out from the chapel train. As it so happens, RK889 is one of Ms. Keveza’s best sellers.
Retail prices: $3,875 – 9,237.50

The pared-down look extended to the hair and makeup, key parts of a bridal look. The models’ hair was worn simply, straight ironed. Makeup was pretty but minimal as were the small bouquets of white roses.
Minimal and understated struck just the right note with us at a time where even brides may be feeling the pinch of the rollercoaster economy we're in.

To see more of Romona Keveza’s designs, visit the official website

THE DOCTOR GOLDFADEN SKINCARE LINE – Preventative + Restorative Skincare, developed by Dermatologist DOCTOR GOLDFADEN

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Product Images, from
Image of Dr. Goldfaden from www.lef.orgmagazine

DR. G’s MISSION STATEMENT: "My ultimate goal is to allow people to have a relatively simple skin care regimen that allows them to both prevent skin damage and restore their skin to what it was when they were younger."

As far as we’re concerned, DR. GARY GOLDFADEN is THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN POTION. His UNIFY Daily Complex for redness correction is the magic bullet that ELIMINATES ROSACEA. While there are far bigger problems going on in the world today than our mild case of rosacea, it bothered us. It continued to be a nuisance UNTIL we discovered Dr. Goldfaden’s products, thanks to Peoples’ Revolution Public Relations.
Prior to trying the Dr’s skincare line, we’d gone the route of RX vitamin creams, [Metro-Gel – a vitamin A cream] as well as many different well-known commercial brands. We won’t even begin to touch on all of the green-toned cover sticks we tried and abandoned, that did little to improve our condition.
When People’s Revolution suggested Dr. Goldfaden’s rosacea remedy, we resolved to try it on a long-term basis [more than 30 days]. 30 days is the average minimum length of time the skincare specialists at the many counters we’ve interviewed say it takes to give a product a fair shake.

Dr. Goldfaden has over 40 years under his belt spent treating his patients who have suffered damage to the skin courtesy of the harsh Florida sun. He’s an expert in treating common day-to-day problems such as early aging, wrinkling, and cancers. He came to the conclusion that the major mistakes people make on a daily basis are:

-Abusing their skin as a result of smoking or tanning
- Letting their skin problems go on for too long untreated
- Not following an appropriate skin care regimen

He set about looking for “ the secret ingredient”, something that would be consistent throughout his product lines. He noticed that his mother-in-law, who lived into her 90's, smoked, ate poorly, and treated her skin inappropriately, astonishingly had no real signs of aging. Her aide, who happened to be South African, had been giving her large quantities of red tea to drink.

Red tea also known as ROOIBOS, is one of the most potent known antioxidants. It contains high levels of SOD (super oxide dismutase.) SOD breaks down free radicals in the skin that are created by sun exposure, daily pollutants, and smoking.

The antioxidant powers of RED TEA are the foundation for Dr. G’s line. After much clinical testing, he arrived at a formula the combines the best of botanicals with the highest levels of potent nutriceutical solutions he used in his medical practices. Some of these: pure hyaluronic acid [a fine line filler], acetyl hexapeptitde-3 [combats deep facial lines] and ruby crystals [for micro-dermabrasion].
Once in possession of his breakthrough signature ingredient, Dr. Goldfaden created the Goldfaden product line. Dr. Goldfaden's red tea is organically grown in a small area in South Africa.

While we’re in love with UNIFY, we can’t stress enough that this is A SYSTEM, and you have to use the products accordingly.
In order for it to work, you have to CLEANSE and MOISTURIZE with these products, and only these products to get results, as we did religiously, for over 5 weeks.

What’s great about this line is that you can tailor it specifically to your unique needs. With that in mind, we created a combo we hoped would address fine lines non-stop dryness, and rosacea.

DAILY CLEANSER is a multi-tasker - it removes impurities and makeup.

DAILY SCRUB removes dead surface skin and made our dry skin feel considerably less dehydrated.


1. PURE POWER Red Tea Antioxidant Complex – creates a protective antioxidant barrier
2. UNLINE Daily complex for diminishing lines – the medical-grade serum provides the benefits of Botox®
3.UNIFY Daily complex for redness correction – contains the sun-blocking agent, Titanium Dioxide
4. The 3-IN-1 DAILY MOISTURIZER is an antioxidant treatment for normal/combo skin, & added moisture to our skin, which felt taut after applying the powerful serums.

ADD-ONS – Once a week, we scrubbed with POWER SCRUB – a deep penetrating exfoliant composed of Ruby crystals.

For really dry days, RESURRECTION – an Intensive nutrient moisture serum came to the rescue, and felt intensely healing and moisturizing.
Resurrection is a MUST for those days you’re traveling. We keep RESURRECTION in our travel bag while flying and apply it mid-flight, and a few hours after getting off the plane and having a shower.

The above may seem like a lot of products, but whenever we balked, we thought about all the time we saved not having to apply concealer, liquid makeup and powder to try and look “fresh-faced”. We recommend Dr. Goldfaden’s couture skin care line to anyone who wants to make a serious commitment to their skin at home. While we’re not promising we wouldn’t consider some surgery down the road, Dr. G’s line has put off that eventuality for a few more years. Thanks, Dr. G!

Daily Cleanser, 8 oz., $55
Daily Scrub, 2 oz., $65
Pure Power, 1 oz, $125
Unline, 1 oz. $125
Unify, 1 oz., $85
Power Scrub, 2 oz., $95
Resurrection, 1 oz, $125
For more information and pricing and to view additional products on the line, visit the official website,



Text, Images by J. Ecochard
April 23rd, Mid-Town Manhattan

We met the dapper Patrick Groenendaal, Design Creative Director of giant Hampshire Group - last year at the Spring 2008 Spring + Mercer women’s press preview.

Since then, the company has moved to a new multi-storied showroom on 41st Street- that's a sleek mix of cool modern (cement floors, high ceilings) and warm (original brick walls liberated from layers of plaster).

And as Groenendaal points out, this autumnal palette toss became the inspiration for the colors of the very, very affordable Spring + Mercer’s men’s knitwear.

Our visit’s first glimpse of the spacious, natural light filled entrance room got us curious. Since we prefer intimate press previews as a way to get to know a collection…we were eager to see what the inner rooms revealed.

We were not disappointed. A simple, effective tableau of glossy mannequins standing and ensconced on clear Philippe Starck Louis XIV chairs…and a live dude (!) allowed an up close inspection of the Fair Isles, Houndstooth, Argyle, and solid patterned collection. Amusingly, the ‘men’ were styled in their underwear-“a fusion of uptown and downtown” according to Groenendaal.

What is no surprise to us is the tip-top quality of the line. The 100% cashmere (retail around $175) and cotton cashmeres (around $65) are richly textured and feel way more expensive. Hand finished touches abound- as do fully-fashioned stitching (varied stitch lengths to assure perfect arm and shoulder fits).

Highlights include the off center “great twist on the zip neck” belonging to a fog grey pullover, the burnished aluminum snap buttons on a cozy Bordeaux pull-over, the wide cuff sleeves hipsters will appreciate, flattering cuts more conservative guys will covet… and a plush thick cable wool crewneck that significant others will borrow.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


April 22nd, 2008
201 Mulberry Street, NYC 6PM

“Responsible Innovation Comes To Everyday Life”

Images, Text by J. Ecochard

We are native NYers/Big Apple residents-so turning on a tap and recycling are everyday no-brainers.

But we've ventured abroad to poor "developing" countries and witnessed the scourges of modern civilization; an unbelievable American sized floating toxic mess made of discarded garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean…and plastic water bottles clogging what would be fresh water gathering wells in just about every continent we’ve ever been in (which is all of them).

So on Earth Day we were filled with “yeah… but.”

As in, yes that nifty satchel is cruelty free BUT it’s made of a fossil fuel derived “old” carbon PVC material-dredged up from the earth’s burial grounds for dead dinosaurs.

As in, yes that chi-chi organic cotton tee, denim jeans, or day dress spared the soil of pesticides BUT still sucked up massive amounts of fresh water to grow, and left quite the carbon footprint when factoring in transportation (of raw and finished goods) and energy needed to manufacture the fabric and garb.

As in, yes those glossy magazines all have “green” issues full of inspiring stories and helpful hints BUT they weren’t even printed on recycled paper.

The aforementioned reminds of the annual meeting of a mega large environmental group we went to in Tullum, Mexico…where the heavy hitting, check-writing Board members arrived in their fuel devouring private jets (not even gifting a coach crunched staffer a ride).

So no one's perfect. But we applaud the small steps...and hope everyone starts sticking their feet out.

Ingeo™ -the joint venture (NatureWorks LLC) between agri-moguls Cargill (a company we know from our commodities days as the biggest traders in the hogs & aggie pits)… and Japan’s Teijin Ltd.- falls into the ‘yeah…but’ category. It reminds us of Clorox Corporation (bleach maven), who devoured earthy brand Burt Bees… and launched a line of “green” products.

What Ingeo™ is exactly- is a rather extensive line of 100% man made materials derived from plant sugars transformed into Natureworks® biopolymer-with end results such as deluxe fabrics (that perform and feel better than anything else)… and lifestyle products like plastics (bottles, containers, home wares, and computer covers), packaging, furniture fillers etc.

This is nearly all good as the plants are obviously 100% renewable (though not at the moment grown organically), less fossil fuel is used in production of these materials- with less green house gases being emitted to produce (60%!)…and with more potential recovery options (recycling, re-usable) available.

We missed the panel discussion headed up by model/ environmentalist Elettra Weidemann (who worked with pal Shalom Harlow- outfitted in a gasp inducing Giambattista Valli black lace confection made of Inegeo™ material in EarthPledge’s Runway Fashion show this past February).

We did, however-visit the clean, open space gallery to see/feel trendy attire made form Ingeo™ fabrics…and to grab meaningful face time with Steve Davies, Global Marketing Director of NatureWorks LLC and Giusy Bettoni-a fabrics’ innovator and all around nice person.

Davies acknowledged that Ingeo™ plastics are “industrially compostable in a controlled environment” (a yeah)…but “toss it on the side of the road”- it lingers. We also knew about the decades old plastic grading system from 1 to 6 (turn over a soda bottle for a sample) –to distinguish types of plastic (recycle-able or not). However, Davies enlightened us on #7 plastics, a catch-all for all the newer materials on the market-and the inadequacies of the ratings system that needs to join the 21st century.

Bettoni is part founder of the well-sourced C.L.A.S.S. textiles showroom that we met at the House of Organic Fashion show during New York’s Fall 2008 Fashion Week. She is admirably convinced that “a T-shirt can help change the world” because as noted in the company hand-outs… Ingeo™ bio-materials “outperform PET fabrics for breathability, comfort and insulation, are hypo-allergetic, are easy care…and offer the potential for more disposable options.”

And we clap out loud and say yeah to fashion designers DDCLAB, Elisa Jimenez, Marithé+Francois Girbaud, Monecouture by Daniela Barba, Christine Chang and Scott Amen – a 2008 graduating class of Parsons for deftly creating outfits using Ingeo™ did furniture innovator Cappellini in a ‘we want to take it home’ modern chair.

Plus eveningwear talent Maggie Norris devised an eco-collection using Inegeo™ fabrics-which should make several appearance at Red Carpet events given her celeb following.

On a final note-the fierce blown-up pics (ie an insane surreal pile of discarded cell phones) from internationally acclaimed photographic artist Chris Jordan were eye-popping. His series titled “Running the Numbers” graphically depicts “the staggering statistics that define our mass consumption”-and is projected on the gallery walls.

And all of this makes us :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Time & Place: 10:30am, Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The Starlight Building, 601 West 26th Street
Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, J. Ecochard

Dooney & Bourke’s Andrea Mathewson, took us through the spacious showroom filled with carefully edited groupings of the Norwalk, CT based company’s latest collection.
For Fall 2008, the phrase that best describes the various collections is
“PULLED TOGETHER”. No matter which fabrication you choose, there are options available so that you can match everything up, from you wallet to your handbag, to your travel roller bag.
Ms. Mathewson started with the most editorial item on the line – the Limited Edition appliqué patent leather sac that looked great in brown and white. If you’re craving color, not to worry, there will be many different color combinations to choose from come fall.
Last season, we fell in like with Hayden Panetierre’s [the Company’s current IT Girl] and her Hayden Bag, especially the one in white patent leather. Good news for Hayden fans, the Heroes starlet will remain the company spokesperson through the end of 2008. You still have a chance to get a Hayden this fall if you missed out for spring. Better still, the Hayden will also be available in a new smaller size for fall.

The MOST EXPENSIVE bag in the room award goes to the framed buckle traveler in a luxurious calf hair zebra print. The traveler and the satchel bags have a glamorous shape, meaning they’re large enough and they hug your body, as do many of the larger bags on the line. It’s hard to find a bag that fits our space requirements that doesn’t look too boxy. One of the things Ms. Mathewson made sure was incorporated in these bags was an inner compartment large enough for a Blackberry or I phone.
The Cavallino is a special collection and will be available exclusively at Dooney & Bourke boutiques. Price upon request.

Patent onto itself isn’t a new story, but done in this sumptuous plum patent, it’s newsworthy. Dooney’s always been great about offering totes of all shapes and sizes, East-West bags, North-South bags, you name it. Our pick is the Aqua Bag, an East West bag with some nice hardware detailing on the base of the shoulder strap. This bag is a variation on the Company’s ever-popular top zip bucket bag, that has been, “refashioned”, giving it a fresh new look. Another of Dooney’s strongest selling points is that they offer many different options. If you don’t care from plum, the patent bags come in sophisticated Bordeaux as well as a Red Carpet red.
If you’re going for a very pulled together look, there are even some beautiful quilted gloves to match in plum patent.
For a super, pulled together look that reminds us of the ever-chic Valerie Salembier, Senior Vice President/Publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, you can invest in a patent rolling tote [$895], a bucket bag and a top zip clutch, in mink. With this set, hands-down, you’ll be the most stylish woman at the airport.
Bags in the patent collection retail prices start at $145 topping out at $500 for the full sized Hayden Bag.

As always, ladies who lunch can turn to the ladylike shapes in the alto collection, offered in Brown Tmoro [“dark brown” in Italian]. Our pick from this group, the large zip zip satchel, that will look as good in Greenwich as it will on Park Avenue.
Prices for the Alto Collection: $250 - $525.
The Large zip zip satchel: $495.

For those of you Connecticut types out there who love your classic all weather leather, a bag from the new Shiny leather collection is just the right update for your collection.
It looks like all weather leather, but it’s got sheen to it [especially in purple] and feels deliciously supple.

THE CROCO COLLECTION – Classic and contemporary
The pressed calf leather collection really grabbed us. In the spirit of being pulled together, we recommend the Maurizia Bag in cognac with an elegant Tmoro trim and shoulder strap.
In this collection is THE PERFECT GIFT FOR UNDER $100 – The world shopping Journal, a little book with a cognac “croco” cover gives the scoop on the best shopping in London, Paris, and Milan. At $65, this is the ideal gift for someone who loves to shop and who travels extensively. If you’re feeling really generous, you can gift a special someone the Journal tucked into one of the 11 bags in the Croco collection.


If you’ve got a sophisticated streak, this little subdivision of patent bags in pearlized silver is right for you. This grouping is bound to make a splash in warm weather destinations such as Boca Raton and Palm Beach.


Gone are the days when animal prints were “racy” and “edgy”. They’ve become modern day classics. We loved Dooney’s spring’s giraffe and zebra prints. The pink and green zebra got thumbs up from Fashion Celebrity Stylist and personality, Finola Hughes.
For fall, there’s an attractive leopard collection trimmed in brown Tmoro patent that gives this classic print a little edge.

Last but not least, is the incredibly well priced Crossword Collection. This “Cindy” tote comes in both large and medium sizes. Both retail for $195. With 8 color ways to choose from, this easy tote will be a crowd pleaser with the suburban set. We left the showroom with a small mystery, unsolved. No one knows who “Cindy” is. Our best guess – Cindy Crawford, the original “supermodel”.

For additional information, visit Dooney & Bourke’s website,


Text, Images by J. Ecochard
and courtesy of Chocolate Bar & Photographers Limited Editions' websites

April 22, EARTH DAY 7:00 PM
West 25th Street NYC

The official Earth Day ran smack in the middle of a week full of eco-events. It’s great that organic products and lifestyles are mainstream (IMHO), but frankly the over, (mis)-use of the word “green” is making us cross-eyed.

So it was a relief to take a quick spin through Workhouse Publicity’s Workhouse Wonderland- to start a night of agenda-less light-hearted fun.

Spilling off the service elevator, we made a bee-line for the purely addictive choc/pretzel samples from Allison Nelson's Chocolate Bar- an ingenious candy company that operates espresso-like bars…but for chocoholics (located in upscale retail sites like Henri Bendel’s).

Then, buzzed but thirsty we graciously accepted a glass of sparkling rosé poured by Vito Polosa, the effervescent co- owner of the romantically snug, “in” Italian restaurant Aroma Kitchen and Wine Bar…located near the hipster’s destination, Bowery Hotel on East 4th Street.

Next up (and in the spirit of everyday Earth Days) it was great to see the new line LOVE is ORANIC DENIM's of 100% organic jeans for kids in adorably snazzy styles. We also got the scoop on cheeky, sexy fashion label/store House de Lux (it’s motto is a twist on the funkster icon George Clinton’s declaration “Free your mind and your ass will follow”) … new line of separates.

Created by a former Philosophy Professor, designer S. Hamady’s creedo that “fashion conveys no rules” harks back to the freeness of labels Fiorucci and Patricia Field’s back in her pre-“Sex in The City” days…with her original 8th Street store brimming with Heatherette-type boys glamming it up for a night at Danceteria (with then emerging star, Madonna).

The samples hanging on the racks, that included looks for adults, were snazzy…with the right touch of bling for the X, Y, and Z generations.

We finished off our tour of Workhouse's loft on an artistically inclined note when we were introduced to a revitalized concept on how to add some collectable oomph to our apartment’s walls.

Remembering the failed attempts of the Web 1.0 era’s Internet e-commerce art sites, Photographers Limited Editions avoids the pitfalls with a smart business of bringing engaging images from big names in the biz- directly to the consumer. The web store is divided by categories of limited editions and signed by artists’ offerings of the hottest new and veteran award winning shutterbugs of the 21st century- like the revered Timothy White, Arthur Elgort, Mark Baptiste, and Rankin.

Reasonably priced (if you don’t believe us, check out the red hot sums scorching the auction scene), we think this Web 2.0 will make it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

JOSEPH ABBOUD® COMPONENTS – a new menswear collection that has the right mix of Mass AND Class

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, J. Ecochard

Time & Place: mid-afternoon, Wednesday, April 23rd, at the Studio and offices on West 41st Street

We loved the easy presentation that Atelier Creative Services helped arrange that perfectly showcased the new Joseph Abboud® Components men’s sportswear label. The label was officially unveiled a few months earlier, back in February at MAGIC in Las Vegas.

The tableau of male models posed in the entrance of the showroom made a statement from the get go. Presentations such as these are our favorite way to view a collection. Unlike a traditional runway show, at a presentation, you can ask the models how the clothes fit and have a close look at the details. We were lucky enough to get a run through of the new Joseph Abboud®Components line with ALAN NEEDLEMAN, the Vice President of design.

LYRA MAG: What is Components all about?

ALAN NEEDLEMAN: It’s the spirit of what Joseph would do but made available at a traditional department store prices. We were thinking, English Country Gentlemen, light”.

LYRA MAG: Who is he targeting with this line?

ALAN NEEDLEMAN: Joseph kept the same demographic, the 35-50-something year old guy who has excellent taste but isn’t keen on keeping up with all the trends.

LYRA MAG: At first glance, it looks very Joseph Abboud, there’s lots of brown.

ALAN NEEDLEMAN: We kept to the Abboud color palette, lots of brown and some olive too.

LYRA MAG: Frankly, we’re amazed by the price points, and very pleasantly surprised.

ALAN NEEDLEMAN: Yes there’s very good value here. The bonded wool [“double face” in designer speak] blazer retails at $275. It’s also those little extras, like outerwear cuffs on a blazer that add value and interest.

With other pieces such as the bonded wool blazer and our favorite, a 3 gage lambswool cable sweater with a fun animal friendly faux fur lining, we predict that Components is going to do well at retail, even in these rough times. The sweater retails for under $200, and at that price point, customers may not hesitate to pick it up in all 3 colors.

Available at traditional department stores beginning 7/25, when the first delivery hits the retail floor. Mr. Needleman is well aware that today’s consumer has become used to fast deliveries, partially due to masstige retailers such as H&M and Target who seem to have a new shipment on the floor every time you blink. For that reason, Components will have one delivery per month, “to introduce a new color palette and to keep things fresh.”

For more information on Joseph Abboud®Components, tel: 212.822.3100


TEXT, IMAGES J. Ecochard

We were intrigued by an evite to a “Bloggers Preview” at the downtown NYC JuJú Showroom because:

It was an acknowledgement by the fashion community that scoops online pre-date print reads…BY MONTHS!!!!!

Plus the name is French (we are 50% too) – and we already follow one client, Willow-a women’s designer from Australia who showed to a packed house during New York’s Fashion Week this past February. A striking Fall 2008 look that caught our eyes at the time-and again in the showroom- is the last look struttin’ down the runway- a wool felt A-line dress with draped high neck detail and mirror beading (Look #24).

Entering the spacious showroom escorted by the smart Erin Fischer -we are toute de suite awestruck by the over the top, sparkling extravaganzas masterminded by Manish Aurora, a UK/India based designer- who clearly sources his native India’s affinity for sizzling pop colors, and intricate hand embroidered and beaded details.

We feel Aurora’s creations, including accessories/sky-high shoes… and a “toned down” Resort Line (which we did not get to see) will probably draw yeahs and nays, editorial speaking. As in thumbs up-Paper, thumbs down-Town and Country (IMHO).

No matter if certain ensembles were a bit much for us, Aurora’s thought patterns (warrior inspired Fall 2008 runway show, collaborations with avant-garde Japanese artist Kelichi Tanaami, Crystallized™-Swarovski Elements, and Casadei for shoes) are complex and refreshing.

And like French designer Kenzo and Italy’s Moschino-this joie de vivre take on fashion mixed with surrealistic touches is not destined for the backs of those who do not want to be noticed!!!!


Compared to Anna fav-Doo Ri, New York based Thuy Diep serves up a sophisticated collection of well cut, “casual chic-romantic understated” expertly tailored separates and coats. The fabric quality of wools and silk are tops, clearly European-and explains the “affordable” Designer prices (Retail around $300-$900). We loved the silk, sleeveless teal green/blue tab dress with slouchy side pockets, a brown tweed funnel trapeze cross-seamed coat dress with slimming black insets, a bat-wing mustard silk blouse, and a royal purple frame collar dress.

And only honesty prevented us from walking out with Thuy’s leather ruched fingerless opera length gloves adorning our arms.

Thuy’s draping/patterning skills were probably perfected while toiling for top designers Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen and Peter Som- before branching out on her own. Most fashionistas will think “United Bamboo” at first glance.

This is a significant designer-and given her business background we feel Thuy’s line has already earned its sea legs.

JuJú also carries the erudite elegant ruffled scarves and feather light chiffon scalloped wraps… by American designer Maria Pinto.

New to us was the design “incubator” collective Thrive. Based in LA, the brand has a “subdued sense of androgynous” (their words) fused with Parisian punched up sophisticated touches- that are anything but California formal (denim jeans).

A few key looks by participating talent, Ben Cho shine, particularly a romantic grey silk blouse with ruffled hems that reveals like flower petals (Autumn/Winter 2008) and an adorable light grey cotton dress with gathered hems and a ribbed waist defining band - from the Spring 2008 looks…that reminded us of 1980’s Norma Kamali comfy performance wear as street-wear credo. No wonder keys pieces were out on loan to forward thinking magazines.

Lastly, we are going to keep an eye on London cobbler Olivia Morris a talent who anoints the collection we saw with names that begin with “F.”

We loved the edgy Mary Jane with double t-straps in patent teal (Filly), the oversized bows on a pair of patent flats (Funny) and the dark wooden heel strikingly embedded into the soles of glam black patent boots (Farah).

Classics with a twist.