Attention Shoe Addicts – Enter to win LOFT’s MUST-HAVE BOOTIE!!

And I must have it (so you know I’ve already entered). LOFT’s has announced a fabulous Spring Sweeps (ignore what’s going on outside). One of us (hope its me) will win a pair of LOFT’s MUST-HAVE BOOTIE, a stylish peep-toe.

LOFT Sweeps

 Recently seen in the pages of Vogue magazine, this flirty, lace-up pair combines the sturdy coolness of a chunky heel with the feminine allure of a peep-toe. So whether your life demands pencil skirts or denim leggings (or both), this Bootie is a shoe-in to become your chicest, most versatile mainstay.
Visit LOFT’s Facebook Fan Page to enter and to receive more information but hurry—the contest ends Sunday, February 6th!!!

PORTS 1961 Debuts Menswear Collection

Tia Cibani has answered the prayers of men everywhere by finally coming out with a Ports 1961 Menswear collection. The collection, which debut in Milan during Milan’s Men’s Fashion Week, was influenced by classical sculpture. “These are clothes molded to the man and sculpted like a second skin. We dress the self-aware urban gladiator, a man who chooses pure and noble materials to express his inner nature, a man who needs his clothes to be tough and ready for action, but relaxed and comfortable when he rests“, says Tia and Ian Hylton.

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The mood is über-masculine and fueled by the spirit of the renaissance, inspired in turn by classical art with its values of everlasting beauty, perfect proportion and harmony. Ports 1961 updates that mood with an exquisite freshness and a sophisticated contemporary feel. This season, Ports 1961’s menswear throws down the gauntlet to declare: from now on, only the best of everything…is good enough.

Tear Away the Wrapper Before Ingesting the Fashion

If you’re anything like me (and chances are that you’re probably not), you look out your window after waking up to a snowy winter morn and reflect on life’s most important questions. Questions like where are we going as a society, will I live to see another winter, where will life take me this year and most importantly, will I be dressed appropriately for it? Now I say you’re nothing like me since the first things that pop into my mind during rash decisions, hasty social movements, and sudden encounters are whether or not to complete the look. After the layers are peeled away is just as strong as with the layers still on. Or maybe you are like me. Maybe you remember important events throughout your life based on what you were wearing or what someone else was wearing and how well it was received. At any rate, if you’re anything like me you have a connection albeit a duty to fashion that just refuses to die. It’s this obligation, if you will, that keeps us tied to fashion as aforementioned through more than personal adornment grievances but life markers that shape culture and are immediate reflections of fiscal and societal times.


So here with a bit over a month left till the launch of the second Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at its new home at Lincoln Center, I reflect on this changing of the guards and the excitement behind it. What’s great about the new location more than anything is the excitement behind it. Last September there was an emergence of smaller designers, houses, and collectives that started out where many a major fashion brand once started out at. (You don’t believe me then zoom back to the September posts on this insightful blog and take a gander). There was a mix of the big and the small, the established and the “winging it”, the noteworthy and the “run that by me again”, but all were getting into the excitement.

Yet even with all this excitement, even the wow and the “huh?” came with a message. Fashion is multifaceted and multimedia. Check out these designers this blog’s Mistress of Media dug up to secure this thought. There were retail-friendly new guard tendencies at relatively new newcomer Andy and Debb.

Clearly a line for a young, fresh woman with a point of view that dabbles into classically shaped mini-dresses slightly askew with leather lattice overlays, shrunken geometry inspired lapels on jackets and sweet schoolboy collared shirts tucked into boy-short femininity. Shown as a presentation rather than a runway show was not only more affordable for a young house but it put you more in touch with the softness and delicacy of the fabrics that the brand seemed to be relaying

Then you have the divine Ms. Tracy Reese who runway presentation and presence at New York Fashion week have become synonymous with modern New York. The fresh faces on girls, the wonderful prints Ms. Reese has a penchant for, the easy to wear, retail-friendly, look-twice chic that makes this label a fashion darling. It was a collection that dived into the whimsical with an irreverent print combination and cool on-vacation chic all under the umbrella of sophisticated and sexy.

Now personally, although it’ll cost the other arm and half the other leg, I feel that if you are showing men’s and women’s then show them separately. Take for example the runway presentation of Guli. Did it need to be a show? No. The prints, silhouettes and accessorizing inspired by the Mideast and they were stronger than the need to see it on a runway.

While some of the silhouettes were interesting and techniques very beautiful, it would have been stronger had it been more to the American sense of fashion. For a newer designer, if the money is going to be invested efficiently then “Wow” is in your best interest otherwise balance and success can be achieved from other media means like a presentation complete with great complimenting interiors and sets depicting kazbah-like scenes like what I am almost certain was on the design mood board.

Rebecca Moses may have gotten the idea to stage a presentation right, but there needs to be more strength in her designs and themes to produce more of a heavy hit next time around. However, who knows, that may be what certain segments of the American market will lap up like water for the thirsty. Of note, her presentation was fresh in its artistry, like images floating off of a page and her shapes were relatable.

Ivana Helsinki gave an impressive runway debut that if she winds up showing again this February will be looked to by buyers and especially stylists. Her theme was one of being seaside or even shipwrecked with great shaped dresses and sportswear separates with nautical and ocean iconography adorned on them.

The rope boot (pictured above and in more detail below) is a key item for cheeky editorials.

I could go either way though as to whether or not she should have done a runway show or just presented but it was good to see the fluidity of the fabrics together with the rigidity yet pliability of the rope trimmings.

 

So now in a few weeks we can see how certain designers got it right or wrong, chose wisely or foolhardily and held it together or laid big eggs. At any rate, in a major election year with fiscal and social agendas on the table I’m sure the collections will be a reflection of how designers feel we should remain aware and connected through our expenditures or escape the madness through luxury. I just hope I’m carrying the right man bag come the first fall 2011 deliveries.

See you at the tents

Grand Re-Opening of H&M Soho I and Soho II

H&M has give their two Soho Locations a fresh new look. Both H&M Soho 1 (558 Broadway bet Prince and Spring sts) and H&M Soho 2 (515 Broadway bet Spring and Broome sts) stores have been given all new interiors and fixtures with Soho 2 expanding by getting an entire new level. “This location will now feature the young trend department, an exclusive lingerie section, and the casual sportswear collections for both men and women in addition to the Ladies’ and Men’s collections!”.

To celebrate of both grand re-openings, H&M Soho 2, along with Nylon Magazine, held an unveiling event last night a packed crowd who were more than ready to enjoy the 25% off H&M’s already affordable prices, cocktails (courtesy of Svedka Vodka), some yummy hors d’oeuvres and giftbags (I missed out on the giftbags because I was too busy shopping, so I couldn’t tell you what was in it)

Unfortunately, I didn’t walk out with much (I’m not talking about the giftbag) – my only purchase was a pair of Dark Denim Trousers. I had two basic Tunics but my friend proceeded to take both out of my hands and told me NO (I’m paraphrasing) and I saw this beautiful medium heavy double breasted jacket (see below)

but unfortunately, they were all size fours which is when considering the size of my “girls”. This gave birth to a was a slight temper tantrum….mostly a lot of “damning” – don’t you just love the pockets but there are other H&M’s so the hunt is on.

Anyway, to continue the Grand Re-opening celebrations, both H&M Soho locations offered an H&M T-shirt and Access to Fashion Pass valued from $10 to $300 to the first 200 shoppers in line at each location. One lucky winner at each location received an All Access Fashion Pass allowing them early entry to the store to shop before doors opened to the public.

Both store locations will be open Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

H&M was established in Sweden in 1947. Today there are around 2,000 H&M stores in 37 countries. H&M has a wide product range that is divided into a number of different concepts for women, men, teenagers, and children.

Pamella Roland Spring 2011 Collection

Usually a new designer comes roaring out the box with an over the top collection that leaves buyers and editors toting them as the next this or that. That’s all fine and well, but Helmut Lang was once quoted as saying that it can take a good 10 years for even a talented designer to make a mark. That’s may be due to the fact that it takes time to cultivate and consistently get it right in the public eye. This in turn creates a following from buyers and the public alike. That in turn creates sales and growth for the designer and their house.

Pamella Roland busted onto the design scene in 2002 as a designer who make sophisticated dresses that had the appeal of 80’s sophistication with the streamlined appeal of the 90’s. Add the youthful ease of the new millennium and Roland was instantly heralded as a talented designer on the rise to bring women back to lovely high occasion frocks that they would wear more than once. Her induction into the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is only one indication that her philanthropy and entrepreneurial backgrounds made a great pair for her hands-on design savvy. Just ask the A-list celebrities who don her clothing on the red carpet or simply check out the photos below from her spring 2011 presentation.

The Spring 2011 Pamela Rolland collection, inspired by her travels to the majestic beauty and allure of the Greek Isles, was filled with what she does best. Ms. Roland is an American designer and brings her aesthetic to her wonderfully tailored American sportswear and gowns alike. She has a knack for beautiful yet understated prints which she showed on chiffons in fire-burst orange prints that were as sexy as they were sweet.

She definitely turned up her red carpet ‘umph’ appeal with luminescent silver, black and white sequined and lame gowns and beautifully draped neutral tone ones as well. Her array of nude colored sportswear was an ultimately sell-able collection complete with embroidered cut-out shifts and coat dresses and draped trousers and mini-dresses and in vibrant navies and navy prints.

 

My particular favorite was a full length laser cut tiered navy gown that if I don’t see on someone on the red carpet in a few weeks, I’ll shout injustice.

Kudos to Ms. Rolland and her growth as a designer. Her choreographed rise is creating a broader path for her to go in many directions for the continued growth of her collection. Men’s maybe, kids maybe? Who knows. However, whatever the direction, expect more gorgeous dresses and for them to not be on the rack very long.

Several celebrities were in attendance to take in Pamella Roland’s vision including Hilary Swank, Lori Loughlin, Ramona Singer, Charlotte Ross, Gail Simmons, Denise Richards (not pictured), etc

 
 

DW

PHOTOS BY GLASGOW SKINNER AND FRED SLY PHOTOGRAPHY

Ports 1961 Spring 2011 Collection

It was my pleasure to see the Ports 1961 Spring 2011 collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, after getting a sneak peek of Fiona Cibani’s inspiration for this collection, the desert never looked so lovely. Tia Cibani took a backseat to her sister for this collection which featured dresses and separates in muted neutral colors – shell, greyish-blue, nutmeg and light grey mixed with vibrant gemstone colors – royal Amethyst, emerald green, cobalt blue with a few iridescent pieces in soft colors.

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The Ports 1961 Spring 2011 collection also featured prints, some subtle, like the tan dandelion (or looks like) print on the shell colored flowy looks below

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or the bolder prints such as the one below which reminds me of the low green shrubbery of the desert

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 Though I loved all the looks, especially the gemstone colored looks, like the beautiful one should draped amethyst dress and the emerald v-neck dress. These pieces (and several others from this collection) would happily fit perfectly in my closet

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Vassilios Kostetos Spring 2011 Collection

I remember towards the end of my elementary school experience, a good friend of mine got Nintendo and invited me over for a sleepover. While there, I was introduced to the wonderful world of Super Mario Brothers and the ever enticing Duck Hunt. Well one evening while I tried desperately to not look like a total scrub of a marksman, I noticed my friend’s dad had stopped to survey how well I was faring. After a lackluster umpteenth attempt I finally gave up only to hear his dad exclaim “Wow, you got more misses than hits.” This is kind of how I felt about the Spring/Summer 2011 showing of Vassilios Kostetos at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

There is no doubt that Mr. Kostetos has a talent for design. However, I believe that it must be cultivated into something that is well suited for the American market and how modern American men and women dress. I will also say that the misses were not in the execution or craftsmanship of the clothing but rather in the editing and planning. For starters, although I am well aware of the priceyness of the tent rental for Mercedes Benz Fashion week, it would have suited these collections better to be separated. Then after separating, both collections needed to have more building to make for a better more well rounded story. For example in the women-swear, I kept seeing beautiful Grecian inspired influences like dresses and jackets with panels that resembled armor; but I would like to see the concept expanded upon and developed more. Some standouts for the women-swear were chic lightweight printed semi sheer dresses that were breezy and well conceived and dresses that seemed like lightweight armor perfect for a young Hollywood starlet

It was the same with the adorned menswear; beautiful execution but the ideas needed modern cultivation to make it more American consumer friendly. In the menswear its was clearly the tapered jodhpur style of pant paired with the loose printed tees.

Understanding the American marketplace is essential for a new designer and with a bit more insight and molding (perhaps to be received from merchandisers) Mr. Kostetos will continue to be a talent to watch. see the finale below. DW

Perry Ellis Mens Spring/Summer 2011 Collection

So when did American men become so vain? I ask myself this as I survey all the different varieties of clothing and adornments for men to suck up like a hoover these days and I remember a time when you just had to own your navy blazer, a few work suits, sport jacket, a handful of dress shirts, coordinating slacks and a handful of ties. Don’t worry about color too much, just play it safe because your girlfriend or wife is undoubtedly going to upstage you anyway as you shrink and fade into her perfect little charge card carrying accessory.

So when did American men become so vain? When we realized that dressing with our fathers’ mentalities was becoming as fun and thrilling as watching a weevil bore a hole through his threadbare leisure suit. It’s become fun for men to play with cut, color, proportion, texture and finishings. Its become fun to merge fashion with tailoring while still paying homage to key rules (maybe even for the sake of rebellion, breaking a few). Its become fun for us men to use clothing to transport our minds back to the color of that drink or sunset in New England last summer or the print that readily reminds us why we lust after the Caribbean or love the New York City skyline at night. Women have long had these occasions in fashion, so now why not us too. I mean, after all, our brains move so quickly today and clothing is so personal that cars, electronics and liquor can’t be the only things to appeal to our ever growing senses.

Perry Ellis’ spring summer 2011 collection made me further wonder, when men began to look so natural in bright colors. The collection had a fresh resort kind of feeling to it and the colors made me think of what the modern cosmopolitan man might think of during the day in his mental travels outside the office. The cuts had hints of the 9 to 5 but in an easy, unobstructed and breezy way with unstructured slim jackets, easy lighthearted knits and comfortable plausible shorts and pants.

 
The colors took you straight to a resort with sea-foam greens, mints, sandy beiges, dusky oranges, strong corals and pops of white with a variety of grays. The outerwear was also fresh and made sense for updating a man’s closet for cool spring nights. This collection was built on separates in flattering proportions, a focus on small details like rounding off collars and playing with pocket placements and colors for a variety of skin tones from pasty to tanned to chocolate.

 
The show ended with a melange of swimwear that in my opinion, if the heat and trend tendency in New York this past summer was any indication, will be worn and look great as simple lightweight summer shorts. Women watch out! that battle for who’s accessorizing who grows on! see the finale below. DW