Friday, November 28, 2008

THE ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY spring 2009 runway show at Bryant Park

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Randy Brooke, Courtesy of Academy of Art University

ACADEMY OF ART has the distinction of being the ONLY fashion school that shows on the New York Runway. Each season, a handful of students are selected to showcase their designs to the fashion community of retailers and press. Also in the audience are prospective AAU students and their parents. Recently, the excitement level has escalated and the buzz in the air at this show was palpable.
The lucky students who got to come to New York and show their collections this year to a packed house that included Saks' Michael Fink and ANTM [America's Next Top Model] host, Nigel Barker in the front row. The varying aesthetics made for a great overall show mix.


*Jamie Cole [her second time, this time as a solo act]
*Elena Akoulova
*Eric Tan and Karina Cordiale
*Tara Bradley
*Anne Jones & Michelle Clarke
*Daniel Emir Armosilla
*Desiree Daniels
*Ali Khan & Sook-Yeong Kwong
*Kara Laricks
*Johanna Hatzenbuehler
*Warot Subsrisunjai & Michael Feeney

As it's Jamie Cole's second time on the New York runways, we spent our backstage time chatting with her to find out how life was treating her after having been one of the three subjects on MTV TRUE LIFE I'M GOING TO FASHION WEEK.

Jaime is an AAU 2008 MFA Menswear and Textile Designer who was born in Meriden, CT and graduated from Lasell College (Newton, MA) BS in Fashion Design – 2004. She’s graduating this year from Academy [of Art University (San Francisco, CA)] with an MFA in Menswear and Textile Design.

Her motto: “Street art and style always have inspired me to make clothing.”

We’d met Jaime at a preview at the Flatotel in February 2008, 2 days before the AAU runway show at Bryant Park. At that time, we observed her backstage being filmed by MTV watching her watch the show which included a menswear collection she and textile designer, Young Jun Ryu, collaborated on. Upon graduating, Young accepted the job as a textile designer for GM [General Motors] he told us he was considering when we interviewed him at the Flatotel.

SIX MONTHS LATER, at the spring 2009 shows,
Jaime presented her own menswear collection inspired by street art and music. Influences of primitive art of the Northwest Indians are shown through her textile designs and the totem pole shape in her silhouette. Her 6-piece collection was sponsored by Cone Denim. Pieces ranged from a white printed cotton poncho and pant to a white cotton tank and over-dyed cotton pant.

This time, when we spoke with Jaime, it was in a more relaxed setting, as there weren't MTV camera crew video-ing every word.
LYRA MAG: You looked great on MTV, you have real on-camera presence.

JAIME: Thanks, after a while, I just forgot they were there. It was easier in a way, because I was still in school and not facing the pressure of looking for a job, as I am now since I’m graduating this year. In a way, it mattered less.

LYRA MAG: It’s been 6 months since that AAU show in New York and about that long since the MTV episode aired. What we all want to know – has it changed your life?

JAMIE: Yes and no. Yes in that friends call me all the time and say, “Omigod, I saw you on MTV!” No, in that it hasn’t landed me a hard job offer, but it has stirred-up some interest.

LYRA MAG: That’s kind of disappointing, the job part, but it can’t have hurt to have done the show.

JAIME: Yeah, it all helps, everything like this you do that tells people you’re out there is a plus.


ELENA AKOULOVA - her linen dresses were a hit with Michael Fink, VP Women's Fashion Director of Saks Fifth Avenue. Mr. Fink wants to keep in touch when she eventually goes into production.

TARA BRADLEY - is fulltime at Catherine Malandrino

MICHELLE CLARK - is currently doing an internship with Diane Von Furstenberg and will be on staff fulltime at Abercrombie & Fitch in January. She is the textile designer for the melted mylar pieces in the collaborative collection with Anne Jones.

MIKE FEENEY'S acrylic shoulder piece from April SF show is worn by Lady Gaga in her "Poker Face" video. Mike's acrylic accessories for WAROT SUBSRISUNJAI in the NY Show.

To read more about Academy of Art, visit

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



Words, Judith Ecochard, Images Courtesy of the Designer

Our July jaunt to experience the sizzling fashion/art/music scene in Berlin, Germany was an eye- popping experience. The city was buzzing with new talent nutured by 11 major fashion schools, government subsidies, and a copious amount of cheap (relatively speaking) rents…particularly in areas that used to be behind the Wall.

One collection we didn’t see in person…but will make a note to for sure…is the Berlin based women’s label, Bo Van Melskens, designed by the Danish Sarah Elbo. The fairly newish fashion brand takes summery cues from Jeanne Moreau in The Lovers and Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face-with one posh “Designer Dress” (instead of a multi-piece assortment) - that shows off a gal’s curves.

We think the fitted seamed bodice with flattering knee length, full skirt silhouette hits the right note between a vintage frock and 21st century outfit.

Fetching and FUN.

What also works: the deep neckline that show off the elegant and sensuous collarbone---a style that works on ladies of all sizes.

The “Designer Dress” comes in five versions of either fine silk or 100% cotton---in a neutral color palette of black, grays and white. Our fav is the light silver one decorated with silver fabric flowers.

PLUS: A touch of the homespun permeates each piece…all customized with 50 years old cotton strips of fabrics incorporated into each dress…fabrics courtesy of Elbo’s patchwork specialist Grandmother.

RETAIL: In Europe…and if we’re lucky, we can see the unique mobile “black box” show- deliverable on request - complete with a special soundtrack…on our return trip.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Tulle & Cloth Logic Adore Vintage spring 2009 fashion show

Text, Casi Densmore-Koon
Edited by Vivian G. Kelly

Images, Dan Lecca, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

TIME & PLACE: October 16th @ 4pm,
LA Fashion Week at Smash box, Studios, the spring 2009 collection.
The tulle women's collection was conceived by design duo JENNIFER SMITH and AMOUSHKA SCOTT. The women were brought together by the desire to preserve past trends and by their love of travel.
WHAT THEY SHOWED: pants, tops, skirts and dresses, outwear & chic separates.
Vintage fashion, flowers, architecture, as well as indie art shows and local boutiques.

LYRA MAG: Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for the Spring 2009 Collection?

TULLE: We were inspired by images of vintage bicycles, boats, and the idea of spring fever and love at first sight.

CLOTH LOGIC: It was inspired in part by launch of Cloth Logic and Spring fever in the Ivy League school campus of Boston. I was really taken back by a picture I saw of a couple walking, holding hands through a Boston school campus after a spring rain. In the background architectural elements of the old brick, ornately detailed buildings were so rich with hues of wet red brick and deep grays, the blue sky, with slight passing gray clouds and the lush green of new grass and blooming green and brown buds of trees waking from a winter sleep. I incorporated all those colors into this collection.The blue and deep taupe gray I used on preppy bodies of hooded windbreakers and waterproof poplin trenches and baracuda jackets, again with striped accents under collar and pockets. I used cool vintage geometric prints for the linings.

LYRA MAG: What can we look forward to in this collection? Who do you see wearing it?

TULLE: We are known for our bold usage of color and vintage inspired aesthetic. For spring 09, we brought a modern edge to the collection with pops of orange, yellow, fuchsia, and teal. We loved the high waist for short, flirty skirts, tulip and paper bag shapes, and cropped stovepipe pants.
The Tulle girl is confident, intelligent and creative. She expresses herself through her own personal style. She appreciates quality and detail, but doesn't necessarily want to spend a fortune to get what she wants.

CLOTH LOGIC: We're targeting a young creative professional, age ranging between 18-30.
The Cloth Logic guy likes and appreciates good design and is attentive to details, but does not have a lot of money to buy expensive clothes. OUR retail prices range between $50-$80.00 for sweaters and $65-$110.00 for jackets. To give you an example our woolen coats retail for $130.00

LYRA MAG: What influenced you to bring in menswear to the collection?

TULLE: Men deserve to express themselves through clothing just as much as women do, but there aren't really a lot of affordable options out there.

CLOTH LOGIC: Tulle's success inspired us to follow a similar philosophy for Cloth Logic - to bring high quality design with an affordable price tag. Cloth Logic is designed by Leon Shpayer.
Retail prices range from around $40-$60 for a top to around $100 for a wool coat.
The Line is now being sold in boutiques all over the world, some of the LA boutiques include UnaMae's, Clover and Ananda.
They’ve recently launched a new lower priced line called TULLETTE- she is the slightly younger, more playful and girly kid sister of Tulle.

Also in the works - extensive development of organic and recycled fabrics ranging from wools, cottons, bamboo, polyester etc. They're integrating domestic production and eco-friendly fabrics into both lines Some manufacturing will be domestic as well, “made in LA”.


The palette; avocado, sangria, blush, marigold, pearl, lagoon and scarlet. A high point in the collection: the jackets that were beautifully executed to perfection, such as a short Navy Trench, the Capes, and a Black Barracuda Jacket, to name just a few.
Some favorites in the women’s line:
Exit #1: The "marina pant" which channeled Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn and the fist 8 looks of the show, which was very strong.
THE VERDICT This collection offered the perfect blend of vintage chic and is effortlessly cohesive.

END NOTE: We were able to get a few vintage inspired "Happy Days" long sleeve 3 button sweaters that seemed to be unisex and a few marigold seamless camis from their new collection. Both can easily be paired with jeans for a relaxed chic look.

Friday, November 21, 2008



69th Regiment Armory, NYC - November 20th, 2008

Last night, the nation’s economic ‘morale’ was decidedly low -the financial markets, ugh…but the moods of attendees at the SAMUEL WAXMAN CANCER FOUNDATION BENEFIT were noticeably upbeat.

And it wasn’t just the consumption of alcohol by some, and/or a knockout performance by the iconic rock group, Steely Dan that kept spirits going higher and higher.

Or the self-deprecating, comedic remarks delivered by Guest MC, Chevy Chase to get the crowd in a generous spending mood…that did the trick.

Rather, it was the hopeful updates on the battle to find cures for cancer- delivered by leading light, Scientific Director - Samuel Waxman MD himself…as well as the order to “let it rip” delivered by Chairman of the Board, Michael Nierenberg - that gave the well-dressed crowd a reason to bid up on unique auction items… and to positively party on.

WHAT: To quote from the 2008 Annual Report:

“Our vision is a world where cancer treatment doesn’t disrupt lives, it just saves them.”

Founded thirty-two years ago by friends and grateful patients of Dr. Samuel Waxman, the eponymous named Foundation financially backs concept driven scientific research, promising strategies and “visionary investigations of reprogramming cancer cells at the molecular level.”

With one huge success to date- a virtual cure for acute promyelocytic leukemia, the Foundation now supports 60 scientists at premier institutions across the globe, via its INSTITUTE WITHOUT WALLS. This high IQ confab of scientists, Nobel Prize winners and/or cutting edge researchers who dare to dream- are all on the same page with this innovative approach to “reprogram chaotically growing cancer cells to behave normally, called “differentiation therapy.”

“It’s very exciting what the Waxman Foundation does,” noted Executive Director Merle Duskin Kallas-who we luckily had a few minutes to chat with.

“88 Cents of every dollar raised goes to research (87 cents) and education (1 cent)” Kallas pointed out.

IMHO: The administrative overhead is astonishingly (impressively) low for a 501©(3).

As the dedicated Kallas sagely added: “It has to be…how else can you cure cancer?”

A masterful ‘performance’ by Sotheby’s Hugh Hildesley - aided by two adorable Golden Retriever puppies, and such “ultimate” experiences as a drum set and lesson- auctioned off in person (!) by Joey Kramer from the legendary band Aerosmith ($27,000!), a VIP dinner for four at the hip Waverly Inn with Chevy and Jayni Chase ($20,000)!) etc…got hearts pumping, hands up and bids flying.

PLUS: The live auction garnered major buckeroos, including outright donations to meet the substantial $1.5 million challenge grant by the Board of Trustees (funds that will 100% go directly to research-BTW).

But it was the legendary duo of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, aka Steely Dan…their top-notch band (the drummer is FIERCE), and back-up singing trio - that got the crowd on their feet as soon as the first chord was struck.

Including the multi-talented Tamara Tunie-who dresses down in her role on Law and Order SVU-as the smart Medical Examiner, Dr. Melinda Warner.

Hey 19!

We didn’t stay for the after-party set by The Lost Trailers…but would have if we were- like a decade younger.

And needless to say, we look forward to the day when this benefit for “the Waxman” is essentially, a 'rally the troops'- victory celebration… for winning the war on cancer.


Log onto CHARITY BUZZ NOW- and bid on once in a lifetime prizes like a “we’d give almost anything to attend” the historic Inauguration of President-elect Obama-in VIP seats… plus assorted meet and greet functions… AND tickets to the Inaugural Balls that matter.


Words, Images by Judith Ecochard

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
“Before” and “After” images, Richard Spiegel
Images of the Rock & Republic spring 2009 show, Dan Lecca courtesy of Mercedes Benz
Image of Linda Kaufman, from

A few weeks ago, we spent our lunch hour with LINDA KAUFMAN, a freelance makeup artist, who was demo-ing Rock & Republic’s new makeup line.
We hadn’t heard of it until Linda told us she would be at Bloomingdale’s Soho, educating shoppers about the brand. When we arrived, we were in for a BIG surprise – the line is huge, and we hope that we’ll be seeing some wide scale advertising to promote this cool new line that’s sure to hit with teens and twenty-somethings who want to look like a rock star.
The luxurious packaging, even the cardboard containers are shiny
THE NAMES: Jet set anyone?
Villa, Private Jet, penthouse, chenille, cashmere, satin.

These are named after all our favorite fashion icon:
Eve, Audrey, Sophia, Cleopatra, Jezebel.
They’re also all tinted with SPF 20, caffeine stimulates the circulation.
*Tip: Always go with something a tiny bit warmer if in doubt and goes on well with a sponge, brush, or your fingers.
It goes on almost with a powdery finish – one less step, since you don’t need a traditional foundation and powder when you use this.
What you do need, though is an ILLUMINATOR like “TRICKERY” or “JEZEBEL”. These have the tiniest of reflective particles that are visible only in broad sunlight. The effect is best used to highlight your cheekbones. Go easy with this one.

This is your holiday gifting idea.
The best part is the made for gifting packaging. You only need to give one and it’s a fine gift in its chrome-lidded top with the R&R insignia on black patent leather.
Your friend will probably get hooked and want some more to add to her compact table.

Price: 1 eye shadow retails for $28.

This feels moist but not wet.
We liked “Quickie and “Conquest” – in the peach family

Linda used the super pigment-y lip-gloss [unusual for a gloss, which means you can use a very little amount for day. You can apply it “normally” and achieve an editorial candy apple look.
OUR PICK: “Drama queen”, a dusty rose with some gold flecks in it. This color is strong enough to wear on days you just want to wear mascara, a lip-gloss, and nothing else.
They’re selling the brushes from $27 - $65.
*Linda says that you should buy a brush by how it FEELS. Some of her best are actually synthetic.

-The lip glosses, “for their amazing pigment
-Eyeshadow in “lawsuit” which is a green with all brown – brings out your eyes no matter which color they are.
-The powder blushes – because they’re pigment-y with fun colors, like “kinky”, X-rated”.
- The PRIMER: “Audrey” for light skins, “SOPHIA” for darker skins

Linda finished applying the makeup by 1pm and stayed put until 8:30PM when we took it all off.
The biggest surprise – the eyeshadow didn’t fade, at all.

At this time, the line is available at Bloomingdales & Henri Bendel




Words, Images by Judith Ecochard

WHO: Music/business entrepreneur and yoga enthusiast Russell Simmons, the multi-talented hip-hop artist LL Cool J, and edgy magician David Blaine hosted a packed house of well -dressed guys, chic/sleek gals, celebs less the entourages- plus an effortless blend of with genetically blessed models, special guest Miss Africa USA Nyasha Zimucha, fellow musicians like Erykah Badu, O’Neal McKnight…and co-hosts African Angel Ambassador Nicola Breytenbach-Steiner, and Benjamin Steiner.

WHAT: “The Diamond Empowerment Fund is a non-profit international organization founded in 2007 by Russell Simmons, individuals in the diamond and jewelry industries, and others who are committed to the empowerment of Africa. D.E.F.’s mission is to raise money to support education initiatives that develop and empower economically disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource.”

WHERE: The brand new “eco” GREENHOUSE nightclub in NYC…a 6000 sq. ft Leeds Certified (pending?) …with low impact everything like sustainable Bamboo walls, low-flow water consumption in bathrooms (lather up with Brad Pitt’s Fair Trade Soap), and we assume low energy heating system that was barely operational last night.

Seriously, we saw “smoke” coming out of our mouths when we got there early for the press check.

Mercifully, the space got packed, people got moving, drinks were flowing, and we still didn’t take off our winter coats…but our teeth stopped chattering.

ADDED PLUS: Delish Hors D’oeuvres from Via dei Mille, an awesome, AWESOME sound and LED light system taken full advantage of by DJ Cassidy- who had all the music heavy weights bopping away to the infectious beats.

And us…but we still kept our coats on. Poor coat check person…no tips!

BEST DRESSED: LL Cool J…attired, we assume, in his upscale, urban Todd Smith clothing line that debuted during NY Fashion’s Week.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Log on to CHARITY BUZZ... and bid on such eye candy confections like Neil Lane Diamond and Platinum Leaf Earrings, or once in a lifetime jaunts like a Las Vegas Escape including rooms at the plush Palms Hotel, eats at N9NE Steakhouse & fun at The Playboy Club.


Donate $200 or more and receive a complimentary Simmons Jewelry Co. Green Bracelet of Malachite with a One Karat Rough Diamond-the symbol of D.E.F.’s cause.


Donate $250 or more-and receive a complimentary sapphire and pave diamond bracelet set in sterling silver, donated by Zale Corp. to benefit D.E.F.