Friday, February 27, 2009

CONSTANCE WHITE: A CONVERSATION WITH eBay’S STYLE DIRECTOR



eBay SUITE: ROYALTON HOTEL, WEST 44th STREET, NYC

FEBRUARY 18th, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard



Our conversation with eBay’s knowledgeable and au courant Style Director, Constance White was a highlight of this past NY FASHION WEEK's activities.

We met up with this guru of all things sold with flair-on an afternoon where we looked forward to, CRAVED REALLY- an engaging conversation without any ear splitting music rockin' the background.

Ensconced in the spacious bright penthouse of the recently refurbished Royalton Hotel, we found White chatting with pals R.Scott French and Meredith Garcia (The Fashion List) and PR maven Linda Gaunt.

Revived with a quick jolt of java, we joined the conversation to find out White’s take on Spring fashion picks and eBay’s Green initiative.

LYRA MAG:
What do you think will be the hot eBay picks for the upcoming season?

WHITE:
What people are bidding on for Spring are (1) statement necklaces from prestige names like Kenneth Jay Lane and Tom Binns, (2) skinny jeans, (3)chunky heal shoes like platform and wedges, (4) footwear from big designer names like Christian Loubintin, (5)across the board sunglasses for men and women in styles like aviators, and by big designer names like Dolce & Gabanna and Marc Jacobs, (6) bags including clutches, chain handle or carry bags for day and evening, and (7) anything with the fringe look and the color fushia

LYRA MAG: What surprises you about what sells?

WHITE: Fur surprises me…how much is selling including chubbies, scarves, and fur lined coats. Also boyfriend jackets are selling.

LYRA MAG: What about the effect a young celeb has on online traffic when photographed in an emerging designer?

WHITE: eBay tracks the ascent of these celeb driven pieces ie what a Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Ritchie or Nicole Kidman wore to the Golden Globes. New labels that are not well known start cropping up, maybe 2-10 pieces by sellers.

LYRA MAG:
Any names?

WHITE:
Jason Wu and Rag & Bone.

LYRA MAG:
How has the Fashion industry changed?

LINDA GAUNT:
Social networking’s importance. You can’t just shoot a campaign and create the collateral…the channels are different-that’s where the change is.”

WHITE:
Fashion was TV driven and endorsed by magazines. Now there are so many ways to “pop.” Michelle Obama, she’s a celebrity.

The public relations strategy is/helps the business strategy…and overall educating the public… strategic information.”

LYRA MAG:
What about capsule collections…as soon as Victor & Rolf’s H & M collection hit, pieces were already online being bid up beyond their initial prices?

WHITE: It’s not as frenzied as it used to be…the older ones were nuts…Comme Des Garcon and the Karl Langerfeld’s collections (for H&M).

We also noted that it is a challenge selling clothes and shoes online but that eBay has sizing helpful charts... and sellers provide details and measurements. We also discussed fakes---and White brightly pointed out that by using PayPal, “you can get your money back, buy from sellers with good ratings.”

eBay’S GREEN INITTATIVE

What could be more eco than buying vintage, recycled or gently used clothes on eBay. Shoppers can even buy organic clothing or items made from sustainable materials by entering the search field accordingly.

From the press release we learned:
•Shopping online—through sites like eBay—produces less greenhouse
gases than shopping at the mall. Choose ground shipping for the most
planet friendly delivery option.
•The sale of used laptops on eBay in 2007 alone saved 69,000 tons of
C02—which has the same effect as saving 437 acres of forest in the
fight against global warming.
•The sale of used handbags on eBay over the last three years has
reduced greenhouse gases in an amount equivalent to planting
2.4million trees.
•The sale of used golf clubs on eBay over the last three years has
reduced greenhouse gases in an amount equivalent to taking 22,000
cars off the road for a year.
•eBay Inc. has the largest commercial solar panel installation in the city
of San Jose, CA and has been a carbon-neutral company since 2007.

FOR SALE:
The eBay suite was elegantly attired itself---with poshly clothed mannequins featuring vintage outfits from three popular sellers-Denise Zeide (Magnificent Vintage), Linda Lightman (Linda’s Stuff), and Ricky Serbin (Ricky's Exceptional Treasures).

We thought the YSL getup (a purple brocade jacket with palazzo pants from Ricky’s Exceptional Treasures was (is) a bargain, tagged at $500.



INFO: eBay

THE HIPPEST ACCESSORY: NINETEEN13



SEATTLE’S TATOO ARTIST LIVEN UP STANLEY BEVERAGE CONTAINERS

Words Judith Ecochard

Oudoor Retailer Market, SLC



We applaud all attempts at recycling plastic water bottles. Even the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week-Bryant Part Tents had recycling bins.

What’s really eco-chic though is carrying a re-usable water bottle filled with whatever…so we were jazzed to see the urban cool display at the iconic brand Stanley exhibitor’s stall…that proudly served up a “Not Your Grandpa’s Stanley.”

The new generation of drinkwear gear, Nineteen13 is “made for the mobile life…from city streets to the outdoors.”

Five cutting edge styles: a recycled and recyclable 16oz mug, a 24 oz BPA Free Water Bottle, a 24oz Stainless Steel Water Bottle, a 16 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Bottle and a 16oz Insulated Travel Mug---- all sport urban edgy graphics (snakes, winged skulls) in shades of, brown, beige, grey and black (of course)…with slashes of bold orange and red.








We think, this is the hippest way to go and felt positively happenin’ carrying our BPA Free Water Bottle around.






As noted in the press release:

“We have taken all that we have learned in the last 100 years and applied it to make a product that is relevant to an active lifestyle” explains Ken Mitchell, VP Marketing and Product Development.






A fitting tribute.


INFO: STANLEY

1909 VICTORINOX: MEN’S FALL/WINTER 2009







“VERRECHIA L’OFFICIEL HOMME”

February 18th, 2009, Midtown Manhattan

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

We greatly admired/coveted the upscale VICTORINOX’s RTW separates we previewed at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. The designer for this menswear label- Pierre-Henri Mattout, handsomely captured the “fashion meets function” mandate for the clothing line of the iconic Original Swiss Army Knife brand.







The 1909 VICTORINOX show in the Big Apple that we saw during New York’s Fashion Week “is for a very different customer than the other collection,” enthused Mattout---who graciously gave us a few minutes of his time after the runway display.

To our eyes, these garments are for a younger, hipper customer, one with an ‘American’ need for modern sportswear fused with streetwear edge plus dabs of European traditional slim silhouettes.








According to the program notes, Mattout was inspired by some Amish clothing unearthed in a vintage store and a serendipitous encounter with Amish teenagers in Times Square on a “rumspringa” year of livin’ the contemporary life away from home.









This translated into wearable looks in techy fabrics…like in a car coat length trench in wax cotton, padded slim fitting purple ski pants, and some tailored pieces in “mineral grey tones for utilitarian suiting…”

The second part of the collection turned casual in a blaze of autumnal colors as in heavy jersey trousers, with the cool detail of field padding emerging from the waists, long johns under long athletic shorts like old school skate/snowboarders, patchwork tees made from leftover scraps of fabrics, (yeah-eco)… and a very chic take on the American classic Varsity jacket that reminded us of the wares from the French label Hoon that is sold in Paris’ cutting edge boutique, Collette.


Accessories included wool caps and extra long scarves that we think will end up in gal pal wardrobes.

THE CROWD: Lot’s of French men of course, and fashion guru/pal Marc Jacobs.

AN OBSERVATION: We’ve been backstage plenty of times, but we have never seen so many men AND women go weak at the knees when meeting the debonair Mattout. Très amusant!


INFO: SWISS ARMY KNIFE

Thursday, February 26, 2009

VASSILISA AUTUMN/WINTER 2009




EMERGING LUXURY FOR INDIVIDUALS

Édité Showroom, Garment Center NYC February 25th, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

London based Vassilisa is a timeless romantic collection of elegant gowns and separates designed by the graceful Nadja Solovieva.





















For Autumn/Winter 2009 Solovieva is inspired by her rich native “Russian Orthodox architecture, and golden icons…and the shapes are like garments that Russian women wear under saraphin jumpers.

“I don’t look at trends…I look at fairy tales, mythologies, art, architecture…and bits and elements I find at flea markets,” Solovieva notes.












We loved the elegant gold fabrics that are used in cocktail length frocks and a Goddess like long gown with a lovely woven bodice.

“I design for two categories…young socialites in their 20’s…and clients in their late 30’s/40’s who want to look like no other.”


It’s clear Solovieva admires YSL because her painstakingly HAND SEWN clothes while luxe, have a definite bohemian edge.




INFO:
VASSILISA

FUN FACTOID: One model that strutted the runway for Project Runway finale last week…a 9AM show at the Bryant Park Tents…had to be there at 5AM.

DEVI KROELL: FALL/WINTER 2009




























REFINED TAILORING/KNOCKOUT CARRYALLS

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Devi Kroell’s sophmore outing is all about dressing the executive New York/DC women that work in corporations, the halls of Congress, or serve on charity boards.


















For versatile day to evening looks there are several appropriate attire options…a silk wool boucle jacket, a boxy black silk suit with origami flourishes, ruffled collars, and slim cigarette style pants paired with a chic shrunken jacket that had us thinking Gucci/Tom Ford. Our initial reaction was wow- this is how grown-up women dress.









For cocktail affairs there are a lot of rich shimmering jewel toned silk frocks with gentle draping/gatherings…both strapless and sleeveless.












The bags are stunning (duh) as in an oversized python shopper and foldover clutches.

The highlight, shoewise is the Joker Bootie “crafted with a hidden platform, a fierce and chic metal encasing detail on the architectural tubular heel…”

Kudos to the airbrush perfection of Temptu makeup artists.

INFO: DEVI KROELL

MARC BY MARC JACOBS: FALL/WINTER 2009






New York State Armory, Lexington Ave. NYC
February 17th, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard



Marc Jacobs proper is a highlight of Fashion Weeks anywhere. Period.

His more youthful second line Marc By Marc Jacobs is also watched as it is a coveted label to wear by like every tweener on up---that we know--- who wears clothes and cares about effortless cool style.









For us, it was kinda a trip on the wayback machine in terms of the garb. The vivid colors (teal, wine, red, lava black), prints (plaids, paisleys, bold striped scarves) textures (wool, tweeds, silks, cords, velvets) and general pulled together styling of the layered ensembles for gals/guys was exceptional---no wonder fashionistas drool over this collection. But it definitely took us back to the mid eighties for sure.










Like back to our school days in a lot of the looks---with some of the feminine silhouettes.







Especially the wide belted shaped not shrunken blazers …and knits with gentle ruffled hems, wool trousers, oversized shawls, long sleeve dresses with belted waists and little peaked puffed shoulders, lace up boots with colored tights/leggings, and warm top button overcoats that are gracefully nipped in slightly at the waist…and puff out in a slight A-line (like the ones we grew up in from Best & Company)… and lastly, the felt hat toppers.








Interestingly enough we wore tons of Perry Ellis by Mr. P.E himself...a label Jacobs worked for. Bummer we grew two inches in a way, we’d still be wearing the separates.

































THE MEN:









We didn’t know what to expect as no guy we hang out with/family members wears or even thinks about donning Marc By Marc Jacobs. But we think they’ll reconsider. We saw very handsome polished, tailored looks including terrif pullover sweaters and cardigans, wool blazers, an always need dark brown trench, overcoats that’ll work over a suit as well as a tees/denim, cuffed wool and cord pants, and tweed jackets. Without a thought to the label… guys will wear these clothes ...they're well made, elegant--- AND not old-fashioned.








An insane amount has been written about the event Marc Jacob’s--- but we saw a RTW runway show…that started on time…and was flawlessly executed. No drama except where it should be…on the models struttin’ down the runway.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

GRAEY: FALL 2009



ARTFUL INFLUENCES IN SILK


February 13th, 2009

We always make a point of covering emerging designers…and Janet Kim. A Harvard grad certainly is one.

Walking into an apartment development’s PH-we kinda felt like we were at a college reunion as we met alum from our alma mater Columbia, as well as other ivory tower schools.

Which means nothing in fashion.

What we liked best was the bold use of solid colors, clearly influenced by Kim’s knowledge of light and tone…maybe via all those Art History classes.

The capped and sleeveless frocks with color semi-circle shapes are our favorite. We think though, someone else should have sewn the samples…as the circles puckered along the rims and some other hems weren’t properly finished. And even under the GUNN Project Runway contestants know better than that.

A talent to watch….



Words, Images Judith Ecochard

INFO:
GRAEY

LEIFSDOTTIR FALL 2009



Garment Center, NYC February 18th, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard


The girly frilly Leifsdottir gal has gone moody romantic for Fall 2009.

She had help too---in the clever staged tableau vivant settings that featured banquet tables laden with precious lace and rich tapestries, candelabras, exotic sweets, fruits and objets trouvé…lit by overhead glowing torches.























Amidst this setting, the strolling, coy models looked as if they stepped out of the large ancestral canvases, Harry Potter style-----that line the oversized staircases of medieval castles…perfectly coiffed and glowingly made up in keeping with the theme of mysterious splendor.













But the clothes, naturally were for the 21st century.
























We had a lovely chat with Executive Design Director Johanna Uurasjarvi who cited her trip to the ancient monastery of Mont St Michelle, off the coast of Normandy, and the gothic architecture of old castles in general, full of gargoyles and griffins, as the jumping off point for “the magical quality” of her collection.





















As usual, the details and embellishments are outstanding including loads of finely woven lace –as on a onyx black dauphine lace dress, well stitched pleating, ruching and trims on lovely silk blouses and wool skirts, ruffled flares on finely knit cardigans, griffon printed inner linings, colors derived from old oil paintings and tapestries… “alchemy gold, crimson berry, bold floral prints” …and little brass buttons.










“There is a feminine element but with more of a modern attitude,” Uurasjarvi notes.








“Though my favorite part of the show was doing the hair…like the styles in oil paintings…really cool.”









FYI: Leifsdottir is part of the Anthropologie mothership---and available at higher end boutiques, Bloomingdales. Bergdorf’s and Nordstrum’s.





















INFO: LEIFSDOTTIR

ADDED BONUS: Felicity Huffman---a great stage actress (David Mamet /theater leading lady) and TV’s “Desperate Housewives” Lunette Scarvo---returns to NYC!!!!