Friday, January 30, 2009

NEW ACCESSORIES DISCOVERED AT THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

SCREAMER® HATS and SWANY® PERFORMANCE GLOVES & MITTENS

Park City Utah, January 20th

Words, Images Judith Ecochard and Images from SWANY® website.

Sunny skies and warm weather brought out attendees at Sundance’s annual Film Fest-who got up to watch Obama's swearing in.

At the Gibson Guitar Suite…we made connections with two terrific accessory lines that are completely different…one eco…and one gee whiz technology driven.

Actress Nia Long signing the Gibson Guitar to be auctioned off






SCREAMER®:

Hailing from Seattle, Screamers goes green for its latest Winter and Spring collections of warm hats that found BIG FAVOR with celebs dropping into to the exhibit.

Designer Kelly Kemp (a vet at the company who started in the warehouse) told us Screamers eco launch sprang from a desire “to source bamboo for hats.”


This family run biz (Jan and Steve Burkholder) is small in size but boasts a rainbow assortment of color options…and has a whole line custom hats too!







WHAT’S ECO HIP: For kids, Kemp told us- the lumberjack plaid hats with earflaps is it. Adult gals rocked the modified ribbed newsboy looks in grey/black.

And funny enough, the Fake Hair and Moosehead hats got a lot of wear when factored in with alcohol.

INFO:
SCREAMER HATS



SWANY®

We got schooled at the SWANY exhibit of ultra high tech performance gloves and mittens…and it wasn’t just that the acronym stood “FOR SELF FOR SOCIETY FOR THE WORLD.”

A clip in the New York Times generated a buying frenzy of the new G. Cell Bluetooth Glove-that has a fully integrated Bluetooth system …with handy call buttons and even voice activated (WOW) know-how is “the first hands free cell phone glove for skiing and snowboarding.”

-----It’s back listed (At $495).



We got to demo the performance mittens that are basically “built on the concept of a two in one glove” according to the congenial William V. Dzierson, Senior Vice President. ..with a leather outer shell and stretchy liner.

Microcapsules in the inner lining aid moisture wicking…while an ingenious spray made by Skintex™ is applied on said lining


We got a demo…with Skintex® sprayed on, rubbed on (lasts 5-6 outings) and viola, Instant warmth. Apparently Skintex® enables the lining to keep the heat via mechanical energy (moving around) and reflecting body heat.

We were thankful to have a pair of “Toaster” white leather glove/mittens combo…cause a week later… we went snowboarding in white out conditions…with three feet of the new fluffy stuff. Our hands kept warm throughout…and the handy zipped top that allowed us to use our fingers while strapping buckles…was a GIFT!

We felt ourselves wishing SWANY® made socks too!
SWANY®

Thursday, January 29, 2009

MISSION PLAYGROUND: ECO-FRIENDLY LIFESTYLE SEPARATES GETS BACK TO BASICS FOR FALL 2009







Words, Images Judith Ecochard











“The earth is our playground; our mission is to preserve it. This philosophy underlies our operations, from design to production to distribution. Through progressive design, globally mindful art and production practices, we are constantly mindful of the impact we have and want to share that with you. This means using sustainable materials whenever and wherever possible.”


Hey, why not get the quote right.

With those thoughts in mind, we met Mark McMahon, the congenial founder and prez of Mission Playground clothing line for men and women…that deserves a bravo for it’s above quoted mission, but also because it delivers style, cool graphics and eye-catching details… and wearable garbs that’s in demand.

We are back on track…closer to what we stand for –for Fall," McMahon notes. “It’s a tighter more focused collection using organics, hemps and recycled fabrics.”







Including recycled PET bottles morphing into a bird’s eye knit with technical attributes, 100% merino wool jersey, 100% organic cotton poplin, and exclusive to Mission Playground –a MIPAN regen recycled nylon from pre and post consumer waste.




We like the collection...alot... and feel that although the line oozes hipster…we think the market niche is wide. We’d wear it and we’re not cool…though like the retail veteran that he is, McMahon observes “…it’s more attitude than age.”















WHAT WE COVET

A women’s jacket made from 100% organic cotton lined with a recycled polar fleece with great overstitched detailing.

We also see the French terry /organic cotton/lycra in a fushia pink with a nice drawstring neck- working it at the beach as well as the office.










Our hands down top pic for ladies, however is the elegant draped cowl neck black 100% Merino Wool light as air, smooth as silk top with a terrific button detail-an unexpected back design of birds.






For guys… a gray jacket- pumped up with an urban slick imprint and a standup collar -is versatile enough for a trek through the woods…as well as a trek downtown.

Plaid button up shirts with back details, v-neck organic cotton tops and a splashy patterned hoodies…are also emblematic of McMahon’s “passion for the outdoors.”


FACTOID: The company icon is a droplet of water with two hands in cupping mode “nuturing nature/water without which we don’t survive.” Mark McMahon

Earth Tips are sewn into every item urging us to "Plant Your Car-bus, walk, or carpool..."

AND BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: a line of original vintage tee shirts the Roots Collection with quips like "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive.".


RETAIL INFO: MISSION PLAYGROUND

BOOT UP: KAMIK STEPS LIGHTLY WITH FALL 2009 RAINBOOTS







FRESH COLORS AND PRINTS + NEW LININGS

Salt Lake City Palace, January 23, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Kamik, a family owned, Montreal based biz innovatively paved the way for fun footwear that is appropriate for when the weather is decidedly wet and yech.











Credit paparazzi shots of celebs wearing the brand…and violà…instant must have street creds and a fashion frenzy.










For city and country types, the now 25% lighter rainboots feature the grip it on wet or dry surfaces- blown ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) soles and rubber outsoles and uppers in waterproof nylons. Fun colors and refreshed prints, coupled with affordability (prices are about $90 for quilted/flannel, $95 Felt Fleece, $150 Shearling Lined), will have gals stocking up to go all matchy/matchy with their attire.

















For us, the new low and high versions of the shearling snow collar/ shearling-lined mid and high boots can stylishly banish the winter chills. Other waterproof and insulated options include fleece-lined options with ribbed wool collars and a Chanel-esque quilted option in solid brown and black.















As noted by Catherine Cook, Kamik’s Marketing Director…the aforementioneds are “more of a fashion piece…and 100% recyclable.”

RETAIL INFO: Ship dates are approximately August 2009.
KAMIK

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CW-X: OUTER WEAR AND BASIC LAYERS FOR FALL 2009





WACOAL SPORTS SCIENCE CORPORATION's CUTTING EDGE COLLECTION OF COMPRESSION GARMENTS TAKES PERFORMANCE WEAR TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL

OUTDOOR RETAILER MARKET 2009, SALT LAKE CITY PALACE
Words and Bra Image, Judith Ecochard, rest from online site.




It was the futuristic black/white bra with a striking design amped up with a 5 part inner cup Targeted Support Web™ system –in a 4 way Cool Max™ stretch fabric---- that beckoned us into the booth of CW-X.

Based on technological research from Japan (which does not surprise us), this collection of super cool compression garments-a booming market-is backed by meaningful scientific studies, so we were told, and uses the latest in gee whiz fabrics that render our entire running wardrobe hopelessly outdated.

WHAT IT IS:
Taking a nod from the rehabilitative medical world where compression wrappings of limbs, a shoulder, etc is known to speed recovery from injury (ever have a lower back pain or sprained ankle?) by supporting muscles and joints, and also improving circulation…CW-X goes several steps further-with different garments for different needs….including those geared towards improving athletic performances.

All gender appropriate too-not the shrink it and pink it variety of women’s separates.

PLUS, compression garments now have a fashionable sleek and chic side thanks to advanced knitting machines, different fibers, thread counts, stitch densities etc. These make the garments tight in all the right spots …as measured by “millimeters of mercury” or mmHG.


Yeah our heads started spinning too.










We defer to the company website for the specifics of the different lines.

WHAT CW-X’s ALWAYS HAS

We were frankly blown away by the type of fabrics and constructive know how that goes into the line which TARGETs SUPPORT via the Conditioning Web™ targeted support system, XCCELERATEs RECOVERY -minimizing lactic acid build-up and muscle soreness, has 50+UV PROTECTION, boasts anti-bacterial properties via silver and titanium fiber technology, and moisture wicking properties via souped up textiles like Dri-Zone® Moisture Sensor Fabric and FIELDSENSOR™ polyester mesh.

We particularly were jazzed with the extensive use of Auto-Sensor® a nanotechnology fabric that aids moisture wicking and evaporation of sweat by dispersing wetness across the exterior fabric face while the right next to the skin temperature of the garment is constant.

Meaning warm in cool conditions and cool in warmer temps!!!!

THE SEPARATES:

New for Fall 2009 are insulating pieces-for cooler climes- to CW-X’s already fab lineup. And we liberally crib from the pr release to get it right.

First off is the men’s and women’s new Insulator Zip Vest, with flat seam construction, four-way stretch for comfort, and a locking-zip collar with a wind flap ($75).
The new 3/4-length tights- the Insulator Stabilyx Tights- have an articulated back to block snow, and a windproof, water repellent DiAPLEX front panel, as well as patented Conditioning Web targeted support for accelerated muscle recovery ($98).
The tights and vest can be worn as a high performance support base layer or as an outer layer depending upon temperatures and conditions.

Also new and in nifty colors are men’s/women’s tops including the long-sleeved Insulator Crew Neck ($82), and two new women-specific tops.

We like to demo the Insulator Cold Weather Bra that offers the same features and patented Targeted Support technology as the CW-X Sport Support bra, but is now made with the aforementioned Auto-Sensor fabric to keep out the winter chill ($45). There’s also a camisole length Ventilator Support Top that features a built-in Soft Support bra with moisture-wicking Coolmax fabric and a Healtha+ mesh back panel for breathability and comfort ($58).


Colors get refreshed too for Fall ’09 ---including the black/periwinkle women’s PerformX Tights ( $65) and black/rose pink VersatX Capri ($70), all-black Stabilyx Tights ( $98) and black Pro Tights with blue Conditioning Web ($97). The long-sleeved VersatX Web Top will be offered in white and light grey for men and women ($90), and the long-sleeved LiteFit Zip-T will be available in bluestone (men’s) and aqua (women’s) ($60).

Whew.



INFO: CW-X®

OUTDOOR RETAILER WINTER 2009 ROCKS UTAH WITH PEPPY FASHION SHOW


Canada Goose Storm Chaser Jacket: worn over the Lodge Down Jacket (M) and Camp Down Jacket (W)





NON-STOP STRUTTERS DOWN THE RUNWAY GETS IT GOING

Salt Lake City Palace

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21st, 2009


Images and Words, Judith Ecochard

The Outdoor Retailer Winter Tradeshow packed the SLC PALACE’s Grand Ballroom with buyers, exhibitors and media- for it’s first ever runway show, sponsored by Woolrich-makers of technical, casual and endurance apparel.

Egged on by a spirited group of dancers working their magic-“ High School Musical” style, the pumped up crowd was dazzled by athletic feats.

As veterans of runway shows, we - on the other hand - were even more impressed that the clothes were so flexible and pliant. Some of the separates- loaned by a large number of the exhibitors like our favs Canada Goose, Mountain Hard Wear and sustainable casual wear clothing line Aventura…were hard core winter wear.


Happily, the sponsor was estatic. To quote the official press release put out by Soar Communciations:


"The fashion show was a huge success for us," said Jerry Rinder, Vice President of sales and marketing for Woolrich. "It wasn't your typical fashion show. It brought the Woolrich Heritage line to life in an energetic and youthful way, and it brought buyers into our booth where we could discuss how we've updated our traditional products with technical fabrics and design."













WHAT'S NEW










The saturated bright- and deep jewel tone colors, slimmer silhouettes and sleeker styling, courtesy of technological advances in textiles, made mostly from recycled content (YEAH), that keeps wearers appropriately warm/cool with temperature control sensors- cutting edge capabilities… and with superior moisture wicking properties. Maybe that’s why the dancers barely broke a sweat.

The Michelin Man puffers and neon nonsense from yesterday are gone. And interestingly, not one piece ski outfits unlike all the jumpsuits we saw scattered all over the Spring 2009 Fashion shows.

IMHO: The performance wear exhibitors we saw…and the industry in general… compete more with the big box stores like H&M, Target, the Gap and Wal Mart---than with each other.

INFO: WOOLRICH

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

DR DOBBS™ NATURAL SKINCARE REMEDIES


HOLISTIC HEALING FOR EVERYONE

Words, Judith Ecochard
Images from the company website

The buzz from skincare/beauty lines these past few months…is the awareness and push away from preservatives like paraben…and other questionable ingredients.

That’s a good direction to take…but if we think about how our skin absorbs nearly everything we put on it...why not opt for the most natural to begin with… if it gets the job done?

Dr Dobbs is a new line of uncomplicated, natural skincare (90% or more) founded by a Texas lady, Joan Matera, who sources her doctor-laden family tree for inspiration when it comes to all things healthy for our skin.

Impressively, this modestly price line of treatments (from a .32 oz tin of coffee flavored Perk O’ Lips™ Lip Balm $3.69…topping out at $10.99 for an 8 oz glass mason jar of Ultra Relief Therapy--a soothing sea salt, lemon oil, rosemary and eucalyptus confection)…are produced with old-fashioned goodness mashed up with the quality ingredients like premium grade Mediterranean Olive Oil, Vitamin E, wheat germ oil etc.


And cool retro labels that’ll appeal to gals and guys alike.

Smart solutions to skin ailments include:

Happy Camper Soap-based on a centuries’ old remedy that calms the itch with soothing pine tar and tea tree oil fused with the natural anti-itch extracted from jewelweed plants. ($6.99),







Facial Glow Tomato Complexion Soap, a hand milled soap with natural lycopenes and AHAs from the tomato that neutralized our oily T-zone without stripping the rest of our skin ($6.99),







Enriched Apricot Bath Oil Treatment ($9.99) that we use a light skin moisturizer for our bod…it really smells terrific…with a hint of orange oil,






Nourishing Lotion with Buttermilk and Honey that sank right into our sensitive raw skin after a 6 hour outdoor hike in 25 degree weather---that miracles of miracles left no greasy residue ($9.99).

RETAIL: Just launched, we found the line available at DR DOBBS SKINCARE

PROJECT OR: OUTDOOR RETAILER MARKET’s REALITY SHOW HIT


Winner Ron Rod and supporter sipping the bubbly.





OUTDOOR RETAILER MARKET WINTER 2009, SALT LAKE CITY

January 25th, Salt Lake Palace Convention Center





Words, Images Judith Ecochard and courtesy of Outdoor Retailer Market

With an appreciative nod to Heidi Klum ‘s reality show wunderkind, last week’s huge OUTDOOR RETAILER MARKET WINTER 2009 had it’s own version of a grueling, 48 hour contest…challenging design students with the task of conjuring and stitching up a fashionable woman’s mid-layer garment that “embodied performance, technical, eco-friendly materials and creative design.”

Unlike the NYC version however, tradeshow attendees and exhibitors got to see the designers at work…with a room off the main floor given over to their respective ateliers. Needless to say, the pointed barbs that characterize the televised Project Runway…were not happening.

















But the high level of craftsmanship was there. IMHO-none of these outfits deserved a “You’re Out...Please Leave The Runway” comment.

In fact, we were impressed with all of the sketches, and use of source materials from 3M, CORDURA® Brand Fabrics, Coville, ITW Nexus, JRC Reflex, Lenzing, Nüwa Textiles, Outlast, Polartec, PrimaLoft, Schoeller Textil AG, Sympatex Technologies, United Knitting, Vermont Organic Fiber Company and YKK.








And we were really impressed that the group of contestants--- Curt Sousa, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising; Luba Lowry, Savannah College of Art and Design; Lucy Brooks, Fashion Institute of Technology, Stephanie Sandstrom, California College of the Art, and winner Ron Rod, a design student from Colorado State University…were able to focus and “make it work” with all the curious onlookers taking a peek.



















THE WINNER:
Ron Rod’s top prize ensemble, coined “The Rocker” is a part of the “wear your technology” theme that is catching on in the performance wear category.

Using technical and eco-friendly fabrics from Schoeller, ITW Nexus and United Knitting, Rod’s prototype jacket had a fully functioning Q10 System’s PANiQ intergrated sound system with a textile touch pad to control it all. Wow.

For luddites like us, the eye-catching diagnol stripes on the torso and hand warmer pockets were reason enough to want it now.

Congrats are in order for all of the contestants…

Monday, January 26, 2009

GET READY FOR A CLOSEUP! STAGE AND SET MAKEUP FINISH-SKINDINAVIA



HIGH DEFINITION MAKEUP HOLD

Words, Judith Ecochard

It never ceases to amaze us how the off the radar research/cosmetic companies manage to conjure up the most innovative treatments.

Ensconced in Boston, SKINDINAVIA is a biz that has the right stuff ...creating quite the buzz with makeup pros. FYI: the collection includes cleansers, moisturizers, primers and finishing sprays-that work as advertised.

WHAT’S NEW

Set to launch in February at a very few select makeup outlets like NYC's ALCONE, the Stage and Set Makeup Finish is the new genie in the bottle.

WHAT IT IS
The Stage and Set Makeup Finish is a liquid that gets spritzed on a made up face…and thanks to its chilling ability, magically holds the color and texture of the makeup for hours. It feels like a fine mist when applied…and then feels…well like nothing. We tried it and it felt completely weightless.

It not only holds but also aids the blending coverage of our liquid foundation- so we looked like we are born with flawless skin for hours. No discoloration! In fact the spray works with all types of formulations-including airbrush formulas, eye shadows, blushes, and concealers.

This should be a real hit with makeup pros charged with transforming television personalities into flawless creatures---under the scrutinizing camera lenses of HD and heat from stage lights.

STAGE AND SET MAKEUP FINISH is particularly necessary as live satellite feeds allow no time for PHOTOSHOPed perfection. Even regular consumers not camera bound- will appreciate the holding pattern of their makeup, especially on big days/nights.

We rejoice that our makeup meltdowns, and the unsightly ‘settling’ of makeup into lines and pores, and shine are now problems of the past. It even kept us looking fresh after a long day on the slopes...unlike our bods that were wiped out.

FACTOID: Store with your regular makeup, good for all skin types, is oil and paraben FREE…and has a shelf life of two+ years.
INFO: SKINDINAVIA

Friday, January 23, 2009

WE love short hair! HAIR Products that have your back in the arid winter months









Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Product mages from featured companies’ websites
Product Images from listed websites
Image of Victoria Beckham, from www.music.msn.com
Image of Cassi Hurd, courtesy of C.H.


Over the Holidays, we cut our hair ultra-short.
The inspiration - Victoria Beckham’s do as seen in our January 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
Over the years, hairdressers have warned us that “short hair can be HARDER to deal with than long hair”, pointing out that our thick unruly hair filled with cowlicks in the front would be tough to control.
That was then.
Today, there are some winning products out there that make it a cinch to maintain a glossy short coupe that adds that of-the-moment eighties edge to a basic black uniform.

BELOW OUR HAIR HEROES for winter 2009:
You can pick up all of these for @ $50, a small price to keep your cut looking great during the winter months.

SCRUPLES RECONSTRUCT LEAVE-IN INSTANT REPAIR
This leave in conditioner not only adds the promised “body & luster”, it ALSO calmed our dry winter scalp. Prior to use finding RECONSTRUCT, we kept rubbing our head to soothe the dryness that’s the unfortunate result of being inside and a victim of the dryness forced air heat brings with it. This weightless formula takes the place of your standard conditioner, great if you’re in a rush. After 2 weeks, our hair was noticeably shinier and healthier looking.
To buy, www.shopping.msn.com
Price: @ $9



MOORE UNIQUE DRY SCALP THERAPY MOISTURIZING SHAMPOO
It’s impossible to not have an itchy scalp being stuck indoors most of the winter. Here’s an alternative to Head & Shoulders, formulated by dermatologist Dr. Milton D. Moore.
To buy, www.mooreunique.com
Price: @ $9

KEUNE DISCONNECT MOLDING PASTE
This could also be called “the cowlick annihilator”. DISCONNECT is especially useful when you’re in between haircuts and need to push your short hair into a semblance of a style until the next cut.
To buy, www.ebeautywarehouse.com
Price: @ $17


ARROJO SHINE SPRAY/SPRAY LUMIERE – the finishing touch
Of the 3 products we road tested from Nick Arrojo’s eponymous hair care line, this was far and away the best.
A few spritzes of this, delivers just the right amount of gloss, not grease.
www.arrojoproduct.com


THE CUT
Hair and makeup stylist, CASSI HURD, recently moved to the Upper East Side, NYC and set up a mini at-home salon. This young Southern belle’s got a huge client list back in Virginia and her NY client list is growing steadily. Not only did we walk out with a “Posh” haircut, but also she and her roommate LINDA KAUFMAN, [also a film and makeup artist] gave us a lesson on how to duplicate Victoria Beckham’s plum-toned makeup, and plucked and darkened our eyebrows in the bargain.
THE MAKEUP
Lips – Michelle recommended, “Vacant”, a lip-gloss by Rock & Republic that “makes you look like one of those fabulously wealthy Upper East Side ladies out who look great even when they’re out walking the dog.”
Eyes – A combination of shadows from MAC:
www.rockandrepublic.com
To book an appointment with Cassi and/or Linda: cassihurd@yahoo.com
To view Cassi’s film & TV work visit www.modelmayhem.com