Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Folles Aux Kage

As we all diddle away at our day jobs—The Blackberrie, unfortunately, not being mine—we dream about what we want to be doing. What we could be doing. What we would be being if we weren’t held captive of our own cubicle. Okay, so I don’t actually sit in a cubicle—that was purely for dramatic affect—but you catch my drift.

This is exactly why we would like to salute Creations by Kage. After spending several years working in advertising and art buying, USC alum turned New Yorker, Kristin Holstein, decided she wanted to do something she truly enjoyed. So took some design classes at FIT and shortly after, Kage, a line of handbags reflecting her personal style, was born.

Her debut season, Spring/Summer 2007, is available now. The line is simple and compact, offering two styles; the Stormy tote for day, and the Jackson clutch for evening. Each style is available in five classic colors from saddle to midnight.

These bags are useful, wearable and still reasonably affordable. And the subtle preppy details—embossed Kage monogram and horseshoe charm—set them apart from the pack.

Final Word: With the alarming amount of wannabe fashionistas and the increasing ubiquity of Canal Street knock-offs, I have developed an aversion to any type of "It" bag. Buy these under-the-radar totes direct from the designer and maintain your personal panache. Contact Kristin at kage@creationsbykage.com.

Trend Alert! Return of the Flare???

We don’t normally document the everyday wardrobe choices of celebrities; plenty of other websites do such frivolity just fine. But it is our undeniable duty to announce when a trend so dear to our hearts has reappeared on the stems of tabloid princesses Lindsay, Ashley and Nicole in the span of one week.

Yes, these scandalous starlets have given up their skinny silhouettes and have emerged wearing not Superfines, not J Brands, not even Sass and Bides but (gasp) flared jeans!!! Did they discover these bygone blues under the heap of their (stylists’) bottomless closets? I for one sold my mounds of Mudds, Sevens and True Religions on Ebay years ago. Yes I owned Mudds. Or even more bewildering, did they actually purchase these in a modern day retail store?

From wherever these bell-bottoms have arisen, they are unmistakably here for all brilliant paprazzi flashbulbs to behold. And I have to admit, I’m intrigued. I didn’t think I was ready to give up my sea of skinny jeans, but perhaps I’m ready for a change.

Take note- if you dare to bring boot cuts back, think glam hippie. None of these modern day muses opted for low-rise mishaps a la 90s Britney. The look is reimagined in a slouchy fit with simple tops, platform shoes and a statement bag. But most important is attitude- chic nonchalance is a must to pull off the flared leg.

Final Word: Perhaps we underestimated the power of Rachel Zoe and without her sorceress stylist powers Miss Richie is truly lost. Perhaps this is simply a sartorial smack on fashion lemmings worldwide. Or perhaps these it-girls are onto something ingenious. Either way I’m into it. Now if only I could find that pair of Paris Blues…

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Contradictory Caravan Parks it on the UES

What started as a quirky retail concept, Caravan created some mild buzz in Spring 2005 when it launched the city’s first mobile boutique. Inspired by the pop-up stores saturating Soho retail, creator and owner Claudine Gumbel—one of the founders of Think PR—figured if retail could be temporary, it could also be mobile.

So she and her husband took a Winnebago, covered it in logos, added an AC and some contemporary clothing lines and just like that, Caravan was created.

The idea was that Caravan “brings the boutique to you,” parking in different neighborhoods throughout the city, or even, upon request, right outside your apartment.

Every Friday after work Caravan would be parked outside my office in Meatpacking, but I was never once tempted to crawl in. Maybe it’s because I get car-sick and suffer from slight claustrophobia, or maybe it’s because shopping in a trailer is just weird.

Either way, a year after the concept store’s inception, the Gumbels threw down some cash on actual rent and opened a second location in a storefront on Great Jones Street. Mobile no more, Caravan kept its name but lost its concept.

Just to make things even more blatantly amusing, Caravan recently opened a second stationary location on the Upper East Side. As if cross-over clientele from Great Jones Street to 91st & Lex wasn’t a contradiction enough, this outpost is attempting to capture the exclusivity of the neighborhood—or rather, the exclusivity that lives 20 blocks south and two avenues closer to the park—by setting up an “appointment only” shopping experience.

Wait, it gets better. You get an appointment by calling a secret phone number.

Are their Nieves Lavi or Rachel Pally dresses—which you can get at any Scoop or Intermix on any corner in this city—really so sought after? Even if they’re served up with complimentary Moet champagne and chocolates from Boule (that’s what they’ve listed as incentive to flock)?

I think not.

Note to self Claudine Gumbel, we know you were groomed in the world of PR where fickle fads rule supreme. But you can’t start with trailer trash chic is 2005 and decide you’re The Saks Club two years later.

Final Word: Caravan, 128 E. 91st Street. Secret phone number yet to be uncovered. And if you want a Shoshanna dress delivered to your doorstep, I hope you can wait til Spring since the orignal Caravan is in "hibernation" for the winter. Dang!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fashion Week Kick Off…From the Horses’ Mouths

Today, WWD revealed the inspiration behind many of the designer’s upcoming Fall 2007 collections that will show during Fashion week starting next Friday. It’s game time! And I’m not referring to the Colts-Bears match that inconveniently conflicts with Phillip Lim. (Fashionistas like football too!)

Here are a few sound bytes from New York designers and our interpretation of what the hell they’re talking about:

-Rachel Roy: “The strength of femininity through strong lines, soft touches and restrained finishings.” I predict this means more of her 1940s cuts, big shoulders, tiny waists with enough sex appeal to satisfy her Rocawear husband Damon Dash. Very Dita Von Teese meets Kimora Lee Simmons is what I’m picturing.

-Alexander Wang: “The volume and richness of Eighties hip-hop references (Run DMC and Public Enemy) meets Seventies Parisian Chic (Bianca Jagger in le smoking).” Yes!!!!! When has a designer EVER referenced Public Enemy?? I am very intrigued to see what this will bring. Perhaps an answer to our previous Urban Girl post? Is Mr. Wang trying to bring Flava Flav’s clock chain back?? Only time will tell. Ha.

-Derek Lam: “I drive past the Frank Gehry building on the West Side Highway every day on the way to work, which has all the hallmarks of Gehry’s work: a perfect combination of fluidity and structure and beautiful asymmetry.” Derek Lam drives?? Who knew anyone in this town did let alone a fashion desiger, sculptural lines and a modern crisp color palette. Hopefully sweet and feminine has had its day.

-Prouenza Schouler: “The psychology of dress is explored through handmade Rorschachs that leave the idea of “central motif” up to the viewer. Layering of sheer, diaphanous layers paired with layers of tailored suitings propose an idea of fashion on more cerebral and less frivolous grounds.” Bravo. Not counting their painful feeling of self-importance (Psychology of dress? Please.) I always applaud the push for cerebral fashion over frivolity. Especially when I feel if I see another babydoll or trapeze dress I may cry. Very excited for this one.

Final Word: Sure this is all speculation, with designers you never know what they’re going to pull out of that magic couture hat, but based on these few tidbits I have a feeling that New York wants to wow us this season, and based on the last few collections we’ve seen stateside, I hope they do.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Idol Worship

It Girl of The Week: Jennifer Hudson

After months of Oscar buzz, the nod is finally official. Jennifer Hudson is going to the Academy Awards, and we’ve been following her every step of the way. For those of you who may have missed her ascent to superstardom, here are the reasons Ms. Hudson is our girl:

-Girl can sang.

-She lost to Fantasia Barrino on the third season of American Idol and then beat her out for the part of Effie in “Dreamgirls.”

-Now she’s making movies with Jamie Foxx, not headlines (BET lip-lock? Yea, that’s you Fantasia).

-Her Oscar news conveniently coincided with the second week of Idol auditions. Perhaps a coincidence or perhaps just the marketing machine that IS American Idol. Either way I don’t care. Either way I like it.

-She’s not Beyonce.

-“I’m Telling You Am I Not Going” actually outshines Abigail Breslin’s “Super Freak” in “Little Miss Sunshine.”

Final Word: Watch out, Cate Blanchette. This girl's gonna give you a run for your money.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Puppet Master

Paris, FRANCE - Yesterday in a vivid act of dazzling drama, John Galliano created a fierce fantasy on the stage of his Spring 2007 couture show with characters plucked straight out of Puccini’s masterpiece Madame Butterfly. Set against the backdrop of a winter wonderland worthy of the Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, these striking creatures clad in kimonos, obis and other fanciful designs teetered out on towering platforms with the grace a geisha would envy.

Everyone knows, John Galliano does couture best. For over a decade, he has designed spectacular creations for Christian Dior under Bernard Arnault’s watchful eye. Having once said, “my role is to seduce,” he most definitely accomplished that here. Even French VOGUE was so seduced to dedicate an entire issue to the man, the designer, the legend. And this season he went above and beyond playing with Eastern techniques of clothing design and even origami. But instead of folding squarely cut colorful paper; he used tulle, chiffon and silk.

Yet it wasn’t all Asian inspiration. Mr. Galliano deftly combined the east with western silhouettes from the turn of the century including tight pencil skirts, padded jackets cinched at the waist and platform heels. With the precision of any Kabuki specialist, he created remarkable characters in geisha makeup masks, making American beauty Angela Lindvall a dead ringer for Cho-Cho-San.

At the end of the spectacle, the master revealed himself dressed as Napoleon- a not so subtle allusion to himself as leader of this insane battle that is haute couture.

Final Word: No matter what you call him- designer, genius, emperor, Mr. Galliano is no doubt the king of all things theatrical, and he has wowed us yet again.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Urban Girl Where Art Thou?

As I sat in Recon, an uber-trendy sneaker store on Lafayette Street, waiting for my boyfriend to pick out a new pair of kicks, I noticed I wasn’t the only forlorn girlfriend abandoned for Air Force Ones. I was in fact surrounded by a handful of chic chicks waiting for their male counterparts as they scrolled through their blackberries, reapplied lip-gloss and looked idly out the window. None seemed to notice the shelf of girls’ baby tees or feminine footwear screaming to be seen but woefully ignored.

I wondered, who buys that stuff? Indeed, beyond this boutique, there seems to be an entire industry marketing to a streetwise urban girl who knows the difference between Billionaire Boys Club and Bathing Ape- but I have yet to meet her. And the handful of ladies who do know the aforementioned subtleties aren’t wearing sweats. Like the girls around me, these PYTs are an eclectic mix of cool and couture. One part vintage, one part designer and all part fashion forward, they appreciate the smell of fresh Air Max 97s but opt for their Louboutins. And do you blame them?

For some reason the cult status of a sneaker or T-shirt loses its covetable charm when it crosses the gender line. Perhaps we just have expensive taste? Perhaps we love our brothers and boyfriends but don’t necessarily want to dress like them? Or perhaps we’re just slow on the take.

Kid Robot will launch a women’s clothing line in Barneys this spring and apparently skater thug-chic is all the rage in Tokyo. No doubt the Japanese are always the first for anything. But the trend still feels a long way off. Perhaps we need a muse, a true icon that will pave the way to make these chic sweats au courant. Kelis anyone?

The truth is, history has shown men’s street trends have always begot a similar feminine likeness, but one entirely different than the original. Run DMC had TLC, Nirvana had Hole and Pharell has … The running theme is the girls made it their own. Perhaps the execs that are churning out hoodie after hoodie should realize a key point. Girls will always be girls, and will want to dress like it too. Pre-shrinking, cropping or pinkifying is just not going to cut it.

Final Word: I guess the rest of us will have to wait until Nas' missus reveals her own namesake line of frilly fancies with street cred- until then, I’ll stick to my lip-gloss and Louboutins.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Miami Vice

While spending my holidays in Miami as I do every year, I noticed a striking difference this year and one certainly not for the better. Almost overnight, the sunny city has become the new Acapulco- as in anyone who’s been born and bred in an exit off the LIE has made a mass exodus to South Beach to flaunt their Fake Bake tans and Fendi aviators in hopes of attracting a likeminded lost soul.

Sure Miami has always prided itself on a fair amount of cheese- but at least it was local. Imported Swiss is a little too much to handle. When the calendar strikes December 26, each hotel dutifully converts itself into a circus-like spectacle of the beautiful, bodacious and bourgeois looking to party. Quelle horreur.

And The Shore Club is the worst. What used to be Miami’s answer to St. Tropez’s Club 55, the aforementioned pool is now MTV Spring Break on steroids and Rachel Zoe horse tranquilizers. I spent about 20 minutes there in awe. There really are no words unfortunately, just pure disgust. Who knew thong bikinis and combat boots were making a comeback- or were they ever there in the first place?

There is hope, however, for a new Miami that is surprisingly simultaneously arising as the antithesis of the “scene”. This Miami is worth checking out. Not only has South Beach become the new Mecca for raw foodists and yogis, the same is true for art enthusiasts and fashionistas. Not that I’m advocating a sin-free lifestyle- au contraire. You can have your Mojito and drink it too, just without a side of cheese induced vomit.

Final Word: It’s true Miami isn’t what it used to be- it’s a bi-polar city of vice and vision- maybe that’s why I love it so much. Here’s a list of what insiders and you will be checking out:

In / Out

Pool at the Setai / Pool at the Shore Club
The Standard / The Shore Club
Juice and Java / News Café
Alchemist (Review to come!) / Intermix
Arrive / Scoop for Men
The New Mynt / The Old Mynt
Mokai / Mansion
Social at Sagamore / Sushi Samba
Yoga Shala / David Barton Gym
Woody Allen in board shorts andbucket hat / Jessica Alba in a bikini

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Courteney Is Ridin' Dirt-y

Last night, FX debuted the much-anticipated premier of "Dirt,” a new celebrity-centered drama starring Courteney Cox as editrix of the glossies, Lucy Spiller.

Although all of the components of guilty pleasure were in place—promising leading lady, racy subject matter, and free use of all things inappropriate (this is FX)—the show served up little more than its title.

Cox, whom I neither love nor dislike, fell short in the role. I was expecting the brilliant bitchiness she brought to her character in the "Scream" trilogy. Instead, she delivered a flat performance, falling victim to bad writing and contrived born-to-be-bitchy situations.

Does she fire a junior writer when she calls a “bitch” over BBM (that's Blackberry Messanger, btw)? Yes. Does she zap her date with a stun gun when he tries to get intimate? Without hesitation. But did she frighten or intimidate me while doing it? Not in the slightest. She's dull as a butter knife, not razor sharp.

But Cox is the least of the show’s problems. The real trouble lies in completely unoriginal story lines and poor casting. Rick Fox as a philandering NBA star? Shannyn Sossamon—who I used to like, "Rules of Attraction," "40 Days and 40 Nights"—as a suicidal coke-whore starlet with baby’s mama drama?

These story lines are far more interesting when they happen in real life, and since Hollywood keeps fucking up and giving us more to read about, why should we care to watch the faux version on TV?

The show’s one saving grace, and the part a find the most disturbing and surprising, is British actor Ian Hart’s portrayal of the schizophrenic paparazzi Don Konkey. You can feel, touch and almost taste his complete and utter insanity.

And although the character makes you completely uncomfortable, the depiction of his craziness as an illness humanizes the paparazzi rather than vilifying them. On a show made by Hollywood people about Hollywood people, I would think the opposite would be true. Hmm.

Final Word: “Dirt” definately keeps it dirty, but that’s about it. If I want to watch a juicy FX series based in LA, I will have to wait for McNamara/Troy to set up shop in Beverly Hills on the next season of “Nip/Tuck.” Talk about anticipation.

Another Post, Another Year...

An email from one B-berrie to another, we thought we'd share our New Year's with you...

Dear N-Bizzle,

Currently, I am sitting by eazy-e's pool by myself (not that I am complaining its actually quite lovely, perfect day) but I thought I would take the time to tell you what you have missed.

New year's we went to the "same" party as last year, but similar only in the fact that it was thrown by the same people. This time the house was crazy, right on the bay, it was fully catered with awesome food by this chef that eazy-e knew, there were bottles of champagne for everyone at midnight with huge plasma screens showing the times square celebration. Very fun. The music totally sucked, but we're groovies, so what can you do. Oh, and there were animals again this time, but not random ones like last year's lama but cool ones, like a crocodile in the pool (crazy!) And this beautiful baby leopard names francesca, she loved us.

We left there around one am and eazy-e dropped lindsay and I off at the shore club (they went home). That same door girl s* that I know from ny was working the door so she left us right in. We got a drink and walked around for about 45 minutes. The place was still packed but the crowd was kind of beat and we didn't ran into really anyone we knew (apart from tarek leaving red room) so we left around 2 and headed to mokai. We did not see your brother spinning at the shore club so we figured he was already there.

When we got there they said the fire marshal was there and they could not let anyone in. We ran into dj outside and they even giving him a major problem so lindsay and I just left. We ended up meeting a2 for a drink, I was wasted by this point and I don't remember details, but I do recall it being incredibly awkward. Him being incredibly awkward. I think you might be onto something with the creepiness factor. Hmm.

Then we (obviously) hit up jerry's deli for the most digusting meal of all time and got home at 6am. Whew.

The following night eazy -e and I convinced lindsay that we HAD to go to red room because it was the best party of the week. We got there on the early side, around 11 or 11:30, because we thought we would have a problem getting in, but s* was at the door again so thankfully it was a non-issue. It started packing out around midnight and your brother was spinning so we were grooving in the back. It was definately a good party again, but nothing compared to last year. Some celebs rolled in, but they were the tabloid fixtures like kristin cavallari and brody jenner or random peeps like adrien grenier, who btw, deserves an emmy for playing cool guy vincent chase on entourage because he is the biggest dweeb on the planet. I actually saw him pick up his leg and wiggle it in a completely serious attempt to dance with a crowd of cheesy, busted girls. A-listers like leo were nowhere in sight. Boo.
I'm sure the party went on all night but we got kind of over it and left by 1:3O, so needless to say we did not re-create the magic of last year, not that I actually thought that we would.

Now that the craziness of over we are just chilling out, maybe we'll see the truth one of these nights. As for right now I am quite enjoying my time by the pool, even though I am trying to occupy my time (do you know how long this took me to write on my blackberry?).

Well I hope you and charlie m'man enjoyed your new years, we wished you could have stayed. See you in a few days....

Dmoney is out.

Final Word: Looking forward to more crazy/overhyped nights in 07...in the meantime happy holidays y'all!