Wednesday, September 30, 2009



Astor Place Hair
2 Astor Place at Broadway, NYC

New York Fashion Week 7PM 9/13/2009]
Words, Images Judith Ecochard

We were so impressed with a showroom preview of the men’s label Commonwealth Utilities, that we soooooo looked forward to a runway show.

At the epitome of a hip punk NY Salon…Astor Place Hair…that amazingly, we have never been to.

And with NY Rangers, former Vogue intern Sean Avery signed on as a power play front line with label mates Brit Anthony Keegan and Aussie Richard Christiansen…the show was maybe even more packed than usual.

The RTW show was very cleverly staged…with some models ensconced on the barber chairs getting a trim…before getting a spin and eventually struttin’ the makeshift catwalk down the center of the salon…alternating with the backstage dudes.

We thought the strong points were definitely what attired the guys from the waist up…a grey WESLY blazer in tonal seersucker, terrific dress shirts, tanks in white modal/pima cotton (probably very comfy), handsome Howard trench in dark grey linen.

The “in” cardigan-- here, the WILFRED in dark grey cotton---is a staple in men’s wardrobes now.

Silhouettes were slim, regardless of the build of the model…

Additionally, there were ensembles with fitted (tight) to the knee shorts paired with a jacket…a casual suit in a way…and a look that dominated the female runways last year.

A tough look to pull off, we think…but the dapper black pinstripe cotton pants, paired with a solid NATHAN peacoat, and the HICHAM jean in a gray flat coated denim...are modern basics guys from all over the editorial spectrum would wear.

We are curious as to what Avery thought of the entire collection… will there be a slightly different (roomier) cut- when delivered the stores. We feel this label will go far.

BONUS POINTS: The pre – show bubbly and the post show creamy coffee gelato (ice cream?).



50 Rockefeller Plaza, NYC

September 29, 2009 8:00 PM

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Well, we thought, no wonder the innovative retailer Anthropologie- does so well.

Keith Johnson, their buyer at large so-to-speak -of handicrafts, textiles, furniture and antiques--- that wonderfully outfit the stores…managed to capture his adventures on tape. The TV series about his quest for the unusual, titled –MAN SHOPS GLOBE- airing October 7th at 10PM ET- on the Sundance Channel.

We had met the man of honor at the Leifsdottir Spring 2010 Presentation…during NY Fashion Week…so we knew that the series will “truly change the way that you look at the world around you.”

And no, it’s not a how to on bargaining (though that comes into play, particularly in the Parisian episode ---quelle surprise----), but features the “hunt” for objects, old and new, lovingly crafted ---and of course, sourced from the familiar and remote locales across the globe.

The eight-part, half hour series just got the green light for a second season…we confirmed last night!

Good thing we knew what the President of Urban Outfitters (parent of Anthropologie) looked like because we never would have found him in this crowd. Glen Senk, Johnson’s partner, (“...the guiding force in my life”) …looking very dapper in a wonderful suit (not Anthropologie, we presume)---has no special plans for the official airing on television.

Senk has seen the entire series, naturally. He introduced us to MAN SHOPS GLOBE’s Director/Producer Jeremy Simmons---who gave us a chuckle when he remarked he has no plans to watch his oeuvre on television, period.

LUCKY LONDON: Anthropologie opens across the Pond (158 Regent Street) in October !

ADDED PLUS: Proceeds from the evening’s sales benefited the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design. (AICAD)

SPECIAL THANKS. Stella Artois (served in proper glasses).


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen Library

West 44th Street, NYC

3:00 PM

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

How appropriate that Araks Yeramyan’s latest collection of separates debuted in a tableau vivant format-amidst a traditional library setting. (Open Stacks Books!!!).

The 13 ensembles of daywear, initially appeared “very proper” as styled on the models.

Closer inspection of the materials and details revealed that the gals who wear this label could easily be the coolest gals on the planet. And the smart ones as well. Hello retailers.

We prefer a presentation…but could have really appreciated the textiles used…silk cotton, linen, terry cotton etc - and tailoring/draping skills of Araks - from moving mannequins.

One winner-a pretty flower print dress with delicate, lingerie like pintucks--that give the frock shape.

Our favorite look is the creamy beige (“Buff”) linen skort dress (we know this from the run of show…the model was sitting when we were there)….effortlessly paired with a terra cotton cashmere cardigan with horn buttons. On the model, the sporty attire was made a bit more glam with a gold necklace from House of Lavande.

And as the color palette is cohesive, so much of this collection is easily mix and match/layerable basics…particulary the double breasted blazers and the live in everyday “Rainbow Oatmeal Cotton drawstring athletic Pant.” (Pictured above).

Certainly the model lounging around in subtly sophisticated outfit must’ve been thrilled with this comfy selection.


Monday, September 28, 2009




September 22, 2009


Words, Images Judith Ecochard

We thought the sophisticated, very elegant and modern RTW Summer 2010 runway show by Dorothee Schumacher (-Singhoff), celebrating the 20th anniversary of her eponymous label, was the ideal way to start Berlin’s Fashion Week.

Yet, it’s only when we made a sojourn to see the collection at the tastefully, hip Gramercy Park Hotel, did we fully appreciate the clever details, textiles, design flourishes…AND the amazing woman behind this Manheim, Germany based label.

PLUS: Assigned to the nether regions for the show, we didn’t see the shoes at all. Now, we finally got an up close look and tactile-wise experienced those fab accessories too.


Dorothee Schumacher was raised in Düsseldorf, and got her fashion education/training via the high-end Italian and French textile industries.

(Which explains why the exclusive fabrics used in her collections are outstanding, unique to the label…and why “they come to me because we have built a relationship.”).

Returning to Germany in the 80’s ---when women in the work force blended in, wardrobe wise with their male co-workers - Schumacher launched a shirt collection that stood “in pure opposition to the strict business look…to be better men”

“I had the feeling that there was something missing on the market,” she noted.

The contemporary collection grew organically, “with the aim of presenting women as beautiful and multi-facetted figures…an approach to life.”

In a tailored suit, for example, “…it is okay to show off we are different, more interesting, more unforgettable.”


After our wide-ranging chat with the designer on the lushly planted terrace overlooking Gramercy Park…we would say that the soul of this company is truly emblematic of its leading light.

A strong woman, that has “a life’---who travels, works, raises a family (or not), who has a sense of self…and appreciates the “classic femininity and fashionable avant-garde with a heart” of the designs.


The 350 piece collection covers the day to night wardrobe needs of a wide swath of worldly females…from knitwear, blouses, and easy to wear frocks…to plush leather bags, belts, shoes/sandals and travel accessories.

Naturally, the entire lineup was not on display in the hotel suite…but we did see some of our favorite runway ensembles up close casually hung on garment racks…and adorning a model recruited for the occasion.

Our want it now garment is the exquisite gold sequin bodice dress that is a genius top off to a deliciously slouchy cargo style silky bottom, with two oversized pockets that lay perfectly flat.

There is a plethora of hand-crafted in... the “mosaic of contrasts” in shapes and materials.

Hardware elements (silver buckles on a sleeveless top) play off the soft silk of fabric of a tank.

The popular twin sets and jacket pockets are delicately finished at the hems with ribbons .

Hand pleating shapes a scooped neckline.

The decidedly girly bows and amusing butterfly brooches that are a theme throughout the collection--- are ideal foils for the high tech touches.

The soft color palette of “Floral Green, Soft Bleached Blue, Dusty Khaki, Creamy Rose” etc. reminded us of the Arizona desert. But here too, the sparkling metallic sheen from sequins provide extra oomph…

…as does the obvious quality of the luxe napa leathers (cut in a zippered motorbike as well as a wear anywhere blazer), the sensuous feel of the flower printed silks boho tunics, the light as air sheerness of chiffon.

Yes, ladies…this is what one’s pays for.

Silhouette wise, contrasts also play a role…from the casual sportiness of cargo/harem pants, “voluminous dresses with figure flattering belts,” to slimly fashioned skirt suits. Think - the sexy secretary finally earned AND got a promotion.


The butterfly adorned flat strappy sandals and comfy (really) platforms with durable tractor soles attractively finish off any ensemble…including the ‘what we wear all the time’ denim. (Schumacher makes high end jeans too).

Handbags run the gamut…from clutch, to totes and shoulder bags…with tasteful grommets that make the haulers modern…offset with the signature oversized bows.

Mixed materials, contrast stitching, and quality construction are readily apparent. Even to an untrained eye.


European designers have a sensibility…that is slightly different than their counterparts across the Pond. IMHO.

“A women’s soul is international,” Schumacher pointed out to us…in response to our query about sells best, where.

“We all have the same dreams.” And mostly similar wardrobe needs.

“It’s not the age of the woman, but the soul,” Schumacher reiterated when we mused about her customers. “She has life in her heart…freedom and strength too.”

True. The “same piece can be worn any way,” she added ----the tops all work with jeans as well as evening skirts, the materials travel well, and in a nutshell…are “correct and sophisticated…and can be expressed with accessories.”

“If I see someone, I can see her in my clothes.”

And we feel Schumacher’s no nonsense attitude fused with romantic sensibilities spawns a refreshing MO…celebrity dressing is not a priority.

Very European.

Like the late 20’s something Schumacher employee we met who had worked for the company at its German headquarters…and was leaving for South America adventures with her boyfriend.

“It was her decision to travel,” Schumacher proudly pointed out…she (the employee) is a hard worker with her own identity” And clearly the type of gal that is a template for Schumacher designs...including the feminine travel accessories that can be carried in rugged rumpsacks..


We both agree---“Carla
Bruni (-Sarkozy) is a WOW.”



Most of the Spring/Summer collection ships in early winter. Store locations (600+) span the globe, including Takashimaya NYC, Ultimo, Chicago, Lane Crawford, Hong Kong, Jofre, Barcelona, Harrods, London, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Auckland.

See web site for current boutiques and department stores.

Sunday, September 27, 2009



WORDS Judith Ecochard

Retail merchandise turns a pretty pink every October, as fashion and beauty companies offer limited editions…with proceeds going to worthy 501 (c)3s…as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (education/research/benefits).

Two of our favs arrived in our inbox.


The best haircut we ever had, we are so not kidding…was on the last day of NY’s Fashion Week…at the Warren-Tricomi Salon.

Besides the fact that we practically fell asleep in those plush massage chairs as we had our hair washed (hint---get a double wash cause the head massage that goes with it cannot possibly last too long)…

J. Ecochard

…we only trust salons where a meaningful portion of the stylists have long locks -done right.

Because that means to us that healthy hair is as important an MO- as getting a trim.

Thanks Aurora who snipped our- at first wet -then dry hair to perfection.

WE KNOW: When we got back to the Bryant Park Tents for the last show (for us) –the Getty Images photog told us whatever we did to our hair, keep it up.

We are happy to see that The Plaza Beauty Boutique by Warren-Tricomi- has two specials in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month:

Cult favorite Revitalash lash-strengthening formula dishes out a complimentary mascara and a Pink Ribbon Cosmetic Bag with purchase. (Portion of proceeds to the cause).

Accessory designer Lucia Tristao attractive headband subtly adorned with a pink ribbon and secured with a rhinestone band…with 20% of the proceeds to Breast Cancer Awareness programs in the hopes of contributing to the cure.


Rebecca Taylor has designed a special and really nice feminine silk ruffle blouse to raise $s for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation (TNBC) – a foundation dedicated to raising awareness and funding research specifically aimed at this aggressive subtype of breast cancer that affects mostly young and Afro-American women.

ADDED PLUS; 100% of proceeds go to the TNBC Foundation

AVAILABLE $225 exclusively at SHOPBOP



East 79th Street, NYC

September 17th, 2009

Words : Judith Ecochard

An invite from “the father of modern adventure travel” Richard Bangs to preview his latest American Public Television special ADVENTURES WITH PURPOSE: ASSAM INDIA: QUEST for the ONE-HORNED RHINO ----enticed like another New York Fashion Week RTW catwalk romp couldn’t possibly.


Entering the historic Explorers Club in Manhattan’s Upper Eastside gave us goose bumps…and not because there was this dead stuffed grizzly posed in the corner, snarl in tact.

But partially because this non-profit org. “Promoting Field Sciences and Exploration Since 1904” ---with the Mt. Everest ‘conqueror’ Sir Edmund Hillary as honorary chair in perpetuity (he died in 2008)---is dedicated to preserving the “vital instinct to explore” -----which we feel also means preserving the planet’s threatened animal/bird species, not shooting it (anymore).

And more partially because raconteur Richard Bangs, founder of what is now the oldest/largest adventure travel operator Mountain Travel/Sobek (their annual massive catalogue that’s dog-eared-like every other page)

is one of the coolest people we know.

No surprise but still a delight---the many conversations we had with the peeps gathered for the occasion.

Sponsored by the adventure/travel clothiers EX OFFICIO, the Ministry of Tourism –India, and Adventure Link (an online site that serves up the 411 on getting’ out and about to exotic locales)…

…this available on DVD special wonderfully highlights the rare species of rhinos- that nearly vanished from the earth 100 years ago.

What we love about the ADVENTURES WITH PURPOSE series (this installment is number six) is that viewing the docs inspires and educates. And of course this one makes us want to go to the remote state of Assam in northeast India- tomorrow.


The scenery (filmed in HDTV format) is stunning, and the tale of what went right with preserving the existence of this rare species, is a lesson that “can teach us about out world today.”

IMHO: Every school/public library should stock the DVD.



Friday, September 25, 2009




Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Blue skies and bright sunshine greeted the beginning of New York Fashion Week.

The weather was sooooo appropriate for the transporting presentation hosted by the chic French brand, Façonnable.

Call us biased, but the Europeans seem to GET the elegant sportswear category better than its counterparts across the Pond…

Meaning casual but au courant/dapper/stylish…not sloppy and in your face with the overblown logos.

Accordingly, it’s not a surprise that Façonnable, under a new creative talent, the fashion veteran Eric Wright “…is concentrating on its original DNA.”

Think “the magic of the Cote d’Azur “ of the mid 20th century… the posh Mediterranean yachting scene…the allure of al fresco dining in Monaco.

Not to worry though, these clothes work in urban settings too for subway/office warriors everywhere…


The well made, modern chic attire was displayed on racks and mannequins throughout the light filled- windowed showroom on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue…with models attired and “on display” one look at a time.

Right off, the bright colors of Nice, in the south of France, where Façonnable is based--- grabbed our eyeballs. Crisp whites, a wide palette of blues, rich reds, saturated yellows and oranges--- brightened up our day just by looking at the toned garments.

The feel of the clothes was impressive too…textiles used ranged from quality linen, to lightweight wools, silk and cotton fibers.

We loved the blazers, as did our guide, as “Eric is bringing to the collection…the amazing details.”

Tri-color shirts- with contrast linings for the effortlessly vogue touch of rolled up sleeves/collars- are versatile (work/play), comfortable- and soft to the touch.

Façonnable has revived its accessories line…including still popular ballet flats.

Lucky us, we introduced ourselves to a well -dressed gent – attired in a marine sea blue casual jacket (by Façonnable, natch).

Turns out the man in question, Lance Isham, is the Executive Chairman of the label and the- or one of- the brains behind selecting the VERY talented Wright to guide Façonnable forward- with respect paid to its revered heritage.

This former Vice Chairman of Ralph Lauren has known the “under the radar” Wright for years…

We were blown away when we learned that Façonnable’s prized employee- the Artistic Director (official title)---had toiled for KL by Karl Lagerfeld in New York -as Studio Director, moved to Paris for Karl Lagerfeld and Chloé, and then said buongiorno to Milan- as Design Director for both Fendi and Trussardi (at different times, of course). WOW.

After a glass of yummy champagne, we bid our adieus …very impressed.

AVAILABLE: The S/S 2010 ships Jan/Feb. 2010 to FAÇONNABLE STORES and in better department stores and boutiques.