Saturday, January 30, 2010


Glashütte Original is proud to introduce the 2010 Pre BaselWorld collection.

In 2010, the retro-sleek Senator Sixties Panorama Date handmade timepiece  is enhanced with a Panorama Date, a patented function of Glashutte Original.

Complete with a handsome Louisiana Black alligator band, the modern elegance of German design from the 1960s reflects the era of its origins--- and stands apart in a world of its own.

The PanoMaticLunar XL gets a new look in 2010, with a galvanized matte gray dial and stainless steel case.
Minimal, clean…AND timed on with the Caliber 90-02 automatic movement.

Its finely finished elements, the three-quarter plate, swan-neck fine adjustment,
Glashütte ribbing and sunburst decoration, characteristic of the fine art of mechanical watch making at Glashütte Original, are clearly visible through a sapphire crystal caseback.

Frankly, we prefer men’s watches…and would wear either of the above... everyday.

FYI: These stunning Saxony-made watch pieces have been  meticulously made  since 1845.


Friday, January 29, 2010



Outdoor Retailer, Salt Lake City, UTAH
Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Well, we did come off as a tad whine-y in our reply e-mail--- when we made an appointment with Columbia Sportswear…a premier outdoor performance wear/footwear brand.

BECAUSE: The rechargeable battery Bugathermo heated boot for men that launched in August 2009---with custom settings, Omni-Tech® (waterproof), Omni-Grip® (multi-terrain traction) and Techlite™ (lightweight performance that’s also shock absorbing and stabile)…just seemed more suited to our needs than the female equivalent…the Snow Hottie™…that’s perfectly urban friendly stylish…but we need the heat in the backwoods!

WELL: We were dazzled with the new attire and kickers set- to launch in the mid-summer…all designed to keep humans warm…even gals like us with no body heat to trap in a manner of speaking…we need it as an added feature.

The night before our appointment with Columbia…we attended a runway show featuring the latest looks from this outdoor apparel/footwear brand. We particularly perked up with the separates that featured the new Omni-Heat “revolutionary suite” of technologies…that took actual shape via form fitting, stylish (yes) attire--- with some showing off the inside, silver reflective lining.

So we got educated at our meeting. Apparently there are three components to the new OMNI-HEAT™ embedded Columbia sportswear.

Thermal Insulation---that impacts the bulk/warmth ratio ---a change from usual Michelin Man silhouettes. It’s a down-like synthetic that’s 20% warmer ounce per ounce-- than the real insulation made from goose feathers (“heat retention per gram”). And often made from 50% recycled materials.

A reflective lining (Thermal Reflection) that had us thinking space blankets that we always swath ourselves in after finishing a marathon. Columbia’s- is a proprietary dot matrix application on a breathable and moisture wicking membrane of base layers- that tricks out more wearable pieces…and can retain heat when you need it (on a chair lift, on a break at a mountain summit)…but can dispel excess heat during bouts of exertion. No wonder the Canadian freestyle team is outfitted with uniforms for the 2010 Winter Olympics with this ground-breaking textile treatment.

And what we were most keen on checking out…the MO of Thermal Electric…in the battery/electric powered boots. In this category we were thoroughly jazzed to get the 411 on the new rechargeable battery boots for M/W with a wiring system…snaked throughout the footbed--- that’s a simpler wiring system, super lightweight (we know, we lifted!!!), has great flex, and works at the push of a button.

The removable battery pack boots- with Omni-Heat™ lining (that silver, heat reflective lining aforementioned)…can be charged via a USB or electrical outlet…and dialed up or down for comfort.

BONUS POINTS: Gals get a heated boot that can be used with snowshoes…the Snowfall Thermo™…plus the new for dudes’ Bugathermo Techlite™. The original, utilitarian heated styles are still available too.

Of course, the above boots are primo priced ($250-$300)…but we think consumers will get it…as “the technology is visible”---and needed.

For outwear…the Kaleidascope Jacket with insulation of 50% polyester and 50% recycled
polyester…”boosts body heat without the bulk,” via OMNI-HEAT™ and features a 3-point interchange system (removable lining etc).Pictured-the inside scoop.

The new Heat Elite jacket (M/W) was getting good buzz from retailers at the show too. Hammering in the theme, warmth without the bulk, via OMNI-HEAT™ Thermal Reflective and Thermal Insulation technologies…the polyester fleece shell has the features we expect (underarm venting, comfort cuffs, security pockets), is water repellent (Omni-Shield Advanced Repellancy™)...and supposedly rivals “parka” type warmth in a sweater weight jacket.

We also previewed a collection of women’s work ready clothing that references the DNA of the brand ---while the design bumps up the fashion-y elements.

Layers are always the way to go for active lifestyles, and Columbia serves up good looking, pieces with techy performance features-- like quick dry, moisture wicking and stain repellancy.

WHAT ELSE: Ladies apparel is fashioned for all body types, with compression fitted and comfy loose (but NOT SLOPPY) options.

Case in point- yoga pants that’ll work as casual wear, anywhere. We also saw styles- with the thoughtful flourishes missing from similar attire conjured up by more mainstream lines…like back pocket for keys, and reflective tape trim (helpful for night rides/runs).

Our top pick: the drawstring hoodie tunic/dress…with handy pockets, easy pack/easy care, versatile functionality. We can wear this with our boots that work to protect against the elements…as well as with a pair of urban savvy pumps and blinged out---for a night on the town.


FYI: E–Commerce Ready…and also widely available.


We just saw Scarlett Johansson in Arthur Miller's "A View From A Bridge"...with one of our fav Liev Schreiber...

...and she did okay!

Another the face/body of Spanish label Mango, a hip and affordable line of attire and accessories for edgy urban gals/ the Spring/Summer campaign 2010 dubbed "retro-marine."

We think she looks the pics by Mario Sorrenti... and hairstyling and make-up--- by Bob Recine and Stéphane Marais, respectively.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


In Our Inbox...

By CUSTO DALMAU...a lush collection of graphics based around figurative, dreamlike and surreal images like jewels, diamonds, lips, perfume bottles, butterflies and feathers. Colors of gemstones, with intricate textile applications.


Honorable David Dinkins and Fay Ann Lee

January 26th, 2010 - Asia Society 725 Park Avenue, NYC

Words - Judith Ecochard
Images J. Ecochard and Courtesy of Patrick McMullan

A packed and well-dressed mix of celebs,

Kathleen Turner in Shanghai Tang

...politicos, actors and accomplished attendees turned out for the Big Apple opening of the romantic movie, “Falling From Grace.”

IMG's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week's Fern Mallis about to say hello...

We were very impressed with the mash-up of NY types as the film itself, is a reflection of how citizens hailing from various ethnic backgrounds mesh in love and work, conjuring up the similarities and striking cultural differences…in a comedic and dramatic way that grabs.

Actor Gale Harold Mugs for the camera

PLUS: Director, writer, and actress Fay Ann Lee conjured up “Falling For Grace” ----including distributing it herself (wow) as a proactive response to the lack of good roles for Asian American actors.

Actor Clem Cheug & Friend

FYI: It originally debuted (to six sold out screenings) at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival under the title “East Broadway.”

Whoopie Goldberg in Shanghai Tang

WHAT ELSE: The luxury fashion brand Shanghai Tang was one of the sponsors of the evening…and the many individuals attired in the glorious silks and sequin dresses by this design institution…looked amazing and nearly stole the show...


Tracy Stern in Shanghai Tang

Producer Michelle Botticelli in Shanghai Tang

Some New York "Housewives"

Hair Guru Edward Tricomi...designs his own clothes...with leather by LA based Anton.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Sustainable urban+outdoor apparel - integrated designs for the modern mobile life.

Outdoor Retailer Fall/Winter 2010, Salt Lake City, UTAH

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

NAU is an ideal apparel line for our lifestyle--- (and no, we don’t get freebies).

The multifaceted, minimalist and modern attire under the NAU label are stylishly urban sleek but have all the technical features that we expect from most of our performance wear that we swath on ourselves when pursuing challenging outdoor activities.

Sustainable textiles (i.e. certified organic cotton, recycled poly) are extensively used and the manufacturing process itself incorporates true environmental practices/awareness.

There are many, many active wear labels bumping up the style quota via color choices, fabric selections that allow for flattering silhouettes, and multi-use functionality. And the outdoor industry is a leader in eco practices…after all; this is the great OUTDOORS that drives us all.

But NAU’s MO (plus “beauty”) has been that way from day one.

This past Outdoor Retailer had NAU display mannequins out there on the well trafficked aisle- next to parent company, Horny Toad—a hip casual/travel wear line we will review later.

Every time we cruised by, we noticed attendees stopping to look at the separates on display.


For Fall/Winter 2010 the “classics with a lot of thoughtful design” techy features include a bumped up hip version of a men’s Shroud of Purrin lined blazer and a Dualist’s performance lifestyle blazer (men and woman).

Again it’s the details…like a collar that comes up and securely protects, a zipped front and back pocket (appreciated by bike riders), elongated sleeves that cover the top of hands.

The Decipher jacket for women has soft shell functionality but with lots of stretch for grabbing subway car or bike handle bars=== or to grab onto a boulder.

Another cool piece is the orange waterproof jacket (M),

and great fitting “simple” jeans that flatter without the over the top design features of other denim brands.

An incredibly lightweight down coat for gals is super warm (850g Down) that is water repellent and squish-able enough to pack down into a backpack, or suitcase.

A trench is a wardrobe “must”---and NAU’s version (Splendor) has a high collar that makes it an effective outdoor piece in all seasons...and it’s waterproof/breathable too


Shirts are lined for warmth but look just right in a business meeting under a blazer. And the pants, have that hip boyfriend fit---but can be worn shredding the slopes too--- or hiking the trails.

The last look we saw is a terrific option…the Rounding House dress. Why we love it…the round zippers define the shape and enhance a gal’s curves, the material is recycled and soft to the touch, easy clean/drip dry==== and travel proof.

This is the kind of chic dress we would stuff into our backpacks when trekking the world…and put on when we rejoin civilization for a glam meal…

And we know, we would look so fashionista fabulous.


Fall/Winter 2010 ships summer 2010.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


All the creative and STYLISH designs we saw…to answer the challenge to churn up a fashionable and versatile piece for gals…that can seamlessly go from rural mountain tops to urban streets…

...were truly fabulous. We would wear them all--- and are sure we would get boatloads of approving comments from the New York Fashion Week crowd we will soon mingle with. No doubt, all the contestants will be getting a bunch of valuable contacts via their efforts.

But this 2 day competition, modeled on the Project Runway drama on Lifetime Televison…did have a winner….

Faith Anderson, a (happy) design student from Philadelphia University.

We admired the architectural lines and slim, flattering silhouette (fitted waist) of Anderson's insulated outerwear jacket, "Pretty Straight."

Plus--- the dramatic high collar and removable hood ward off the elements as do the fabric choices… a Cordura nylon outer layer, glow-in-the-dark accent fabric from Schoeller®'s spirit collection, a Polartec® Polar Shield-lined collar, 3M Thinsulate™ anti microbial filler, Duraflex pull tabs and double zipper, and JRC Reflex pull tabs.

Calm Before The Storm...

Other participants, chosen from hundreds of portfolios submitted were John Hamilton, Purdue University; Christina Johnson, University of California, Davis; Mark Pimentel, Oregon State University and Lauren Price, Florida State University.

The judges this time out--- were a who’s who of the Outdoor Industry:

Pam Theodosakis, founder and design director of prAna; Alan Yiu, vice president, creative director and founder of Westcomb Outerwear, Inc.; Rita Nakouzi, director of Promostyl; Skip Yowell, co-founder of JanSport; Jesse Thompson of Industrial Alchemy Design House; and AnneMarie Furey, freelance designer.

SPECIAL THANKS:The presenting sponsor for Project OR Cycle 4 was 3M, with Hyperbola as the supporting sponsor.

Participating material suppliers included Brookwood, CORDURA, Cotton, King Tech, Nuwa, Polartec, Primaloft, Schoeller, Thermore, YKK and Woolrich.

Words…Judith Ecochard,
Images: Courtesy of Soars Communications and J. Ecochard



Outdoor Retailer Fall/Winter 2010 Salt Lake City, UTAH

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

A tip from a bunch of military guys, shopping the show for the Special Forces…gave us the impetus to check out NEMO®…a small (we were told -12 peeps!!!!!!!) New England based company that produces “the tents all the other companies are checking out.”

Up and Away...suspended from the ceiling...

We got a quick look -see the last day…and noticed that a Nemo’s “Tenshi” two person, all mountain tent was anointed “Editor’s Choice…” by the very respected Backcountry Magazine (MSRP $649).

And Nemo also got the nod from Backpacker Magazine.

WHAT’s SO COOL: NEMO’s AIR SUPPORTED TECHNOLOGY® (and we are quoting straight from the catalogue):

“…is a system of low pressure inflatable tubes, which we call airbeams, and lightweight pumps that provide a high performance alternative to traditional poles. Airbeams are made of two layers like a bicycle tube and tire. An outer layer provides the shape, strength and puncture resistance, and a thin replaceable inner blade holds the air.”

These are very good things to have---as the bouncy spring back- when we applied some serious pressure on the top of a tent on display---makes them way more stable in high wind conditions. Plus…setup is easier than with metal poles, and repairs, if need be, are less expensive. And, the tents can be packed into odd shaped compartments like the hull of kayak…and are lighter that tents with similar interior space.

Having experienced equipment failure while attempted to summit a mountain once (NO FUN)… most important for us--- is reliability. And our experience with Outdoor Retailer is that the military opts for the best in class gear ---cause failure is not an option.

BONUS POINTS: Leftover materials (rejects, outdated samples, donated fabrics) are repurposed into stylish (really---original details preserved)--- useful totes, wallets and backpacks under the clever “Ditto” moniker.


PRICES From $279-$699


“Enduring Comfort” for Casual Needs

Outdoor Retailer Fall/Winter 2010

Salt Lake City, UTAH

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

There is a reason we review so many sock lines…because if our feet are cold or clammy…our day is RUINED. And what covers our peds can make all the difference.

We made the acquaintance of a 100 year old brand Bridgedale, a company with a history of production in Newtownards, near Belfast in Northern Ireland…on the last day of the massive tradeshow, Outdoor Retailer.

What got our eyeballs immediately was the number of ‘task’ and gender specific—performance fit socks …meaning day hiking, back packing/trekking, multisport etc. for men and women.

What’s new for Fall 2010 (ships this summer) are the pretty snazzy line of bamboo/Cool max® super comfy, moisture wicking line of casual wear socks for gals on the go.

Crew height, the sock were tested out in the South Africa (where Bridgedale has a factory) and are specially knitted (specific fit) to stretch, support and breath---allowing woman’s narrower feet some colorful options to wear for day or travel---

And we note, a fashion-y option for one of the hot looks of the year---boots in all four seasons.

BONUS POINTS: We went on the company’s website and liked the environment commitment/awareness.

AVAILABLE: Worldwide…in the USA see GARMONT for info. MSRP: $18.95