Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Eco-Conscious Girl’s Best Friend

We live in a green world- or it’s getting that way. From Leo DiCaprio announcing the Oscars have “gone green,” to Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth wining Best Documentary to hybrids replacing limos at the red carpet, going green is pretty much all celebrities are talking about …which means it’s all we’re talking about.

So I feel it is partly our duty to note chic eco-friendly things that sprout up in the market, which don’t exactly look like hemp, smell like Birkenstocks or taste of Granola.

Hip hop impresario and master yogi Russell Simons may have provided us just that. One of his many endeavors, Simmons Jewelry Company (yes, there is such a thing) that normally caters to a blinged out demographic is shifting gears with the launch of the Green Bracelet. Unexpected celebrities like Beyonce and T.I. have already been wearing these eco cuffs amid other shiny unmentionables.

Made from raw materials of green malachite beads and a rough African conflict free diamond, The Green Bracelet also does good. Twenty five percent of profits go to support educational programs via the SJC's Diamond Empowerment Fund. Think of it as the new Lance Armstrong band- with ice.

Final Word: When the bracelets hit stores at the end of March, each will come with Kimberley Process and GCAL certificates, insuring the diamonds are conflict free. If that’s not being an informed consumer, I don’t know what is.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Monotony at The Times

I’m starting to grow tired of Cathy Horyn’s endless disappointment with the collections. After the bold statement in the Times yesterday on London Fashion Week (“…no single first-rate talent has emerged,”) I’m beginning to wonder if anything will knock the couture socks off Ms. Horyn’s privileged feet save designers dressing models in car parts, larded in oil and wheeling them out onto the runway on unicycles. Not sure why that image, but I guess that would be unexpected.

On Christopher Kane, the fashion industry’s darling du jour, she says: “he is too mindful of his fashion references (Azzedine Alaia).” Sure his designs are inspired by a predecessor, but when was the last time girls got excited about flaunting their curves in tight-fitted bodices with enough confidence in one dress to single-handedly put Hilary in office? Especially since Mr. Kane is not creating carbon copies- his point of view is fresh, young and yes Alaia-inspired but since when has remixing fashion become a crime or been considered tired?

Final Word: I do respect the opinion of Times’ fashion writer; in fact I sometimes model my work on her usual hard critiques. But after a while one must wonder if she is just doling out personal taste rather than viewing the clothes with an objective eye. After all, what is true fashion if not a tool to challenge your own style limitations?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bluefly: Bathing Suits, Business Suits and...Birthday Suits?

Last week, Bluefly, the leading online retailer of designer brands, released a risqué new advertising campaign. The first of the ads, which appeared in the March 2007 issue of Lucky magazine and other top media markets throughout the country, depicts a girl nonchalantly waiting for her morning subway while completely nude.

The image, shot by photographer Leif Schiller, is tastefully done with limbs and accessories covering any R-rated regions. The picture does not evoke the shock value one may associate with a naked girl on a subway platform, but that is exactly the point.

Are we to assume her by-standers are simply too jaded or robotic to notice an attractive girl in her birthday suit on the morning commute? Or rather, is the nudity not a literal nudity but simply that sense of feeling naked?

I tend to lean toward the latter. At the end of the day, Bluefly wants to sell us clothes. And while their decision to use nudity to do so is an interesting one, I happen to like it.

They are tapping into that sense of feeling unclothed with our clothes. It’s like when you’re running to a dinner and you don’t have time to stop home so you borrow a top from your friend. The top fits, and its look good, and you choose one from their closet that happens to suit your style. But it’s just not yours, and in turn, it’s just not right.

Getting dressed is such a personal form of self-expression, and that’s exactly what Bluefly is tapping into here. The girl in the ad is taking a stand against settling for a mediocre wardrobe. If she had it her way, she would go undressed rather than poorly dressed, and who can disagree with that?

Final Word: If you have continuous re-occurring naked-in-a-crowd dreams, you may want to consult your therapist. But if you’re looking to pick up some discounted designer duds from your desk, Bluefly has got you covered. Literally.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Best of Fashion Week

With the end of fashion week nearly approaching, here our top 5 picks of the season so far...not counting Mr. Posen who shows later this evening...

1. Derek Lam - This unapologetically sexy metallic minidress has all the right details. High neck, high hem and just enough gunmetal glam to keep under wraps of your new fall coat.

2. Peter Som – Ok, so it’s another gunmetal metallic piece, but I don’t care, I’m obsessed! Especially with the 1940s loose tie-front style covered by a subdued nubby cardigan. Perfection.

3. Thakoon – External stitching reminiscent of piping is a big trend we’ve seen on all the runways. It looks great here with the light gray and black contrast. I’ve seen a lot of coats as dresses this season, and I appreciate that concept a lot.

4. Marc Jacobs – So we all know we will be peeling off our layers to dress according to Marc and this is one standout look out of the star-studded collection. Tuxedo dressing was rampant on the runways, as was acidic doses of color.

5. Proenza Schouler – There was so much to choose from these boys but the best may be these wide-leg trousers paired with a fitted top in their signature corset tradition.

Final Word: Although my opaque stockings haven’t been knocked off, I’m pleased to see New York designers are making a concerted effort to push the boundaries a little. As the Times’ fashion editor Cathy Horyn said today, “Misguided though it may be, American fashion is not complacent.” You’re up Mr. Posen.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Doucette Duval Makes their Mark

Stephanie Doucette and Annabet Duvall are the epitome of girls‚ girls. The moment I walked onto the 8th floor of the ever-eccentric Chelsea Hotel, I was greeted by a giddy energy of a slumber party. After getting a goody bag of organic cookies and hairspray, I was guided into a petite pink suite where the designer duo was gabbing with society girl Annabel Tollman and sipping what appeared to be tea (It was Maker's Mark.)

The collection oozed the same deliberate nonchalance, radiating Courtney Love‚s punk rebellion and Sandra Dee‚s 1950s lady-like femininity. Indeed, Grease Lightening seemed to be a big reference with strong retro glam connotations- after all, these girls‚ first love was vintage couture (They launched their label on Valentine's Day!).

The rockabilly theme remained consistent in the form of nubby tweed car coats of fine Italian wool, frilly taffeta frocks and sweet sundresses all styled with brightly colored knee socks. But perhaps the most memorable was the unique optimism of the entire collection, a rare trait when other young contemporaries feign austere self-doubt.

Final Word: These girls have officially arrived. Look out for their new collection at select Intermix!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Much Love for Abaete and Sass & Bide

Yesterday afternoon at Bryant Park I had a chance to check out the Fall/Winter 2007 Collections for both Abaete and Sass & Bide.

In viewing the collections one after the other, these ready-to-wear labels proved one valid point: this season’s trends are not going anywhere.

Although each collection had their own theme and personality, both labels continued to put dark stockings and leggings down the runway with short skirts, tight dresses and loose-fitting tops paired with the ever-present skinny jean.

Sequins, gold, pailettes and jeweled embellishments were everywhere.

Abaete referenced 60’s mod glamour with shortened geometric designs and exposed, over-sized zippers. A futuristic element also appeared in the patent bubble dress and belted trench.

Abaete took risks, but nailed them all. Of the 30 dresses and jackets shown, I wanted to wear them all.

Sass & Bide sexed it up a bit with gold mini-dresses, draped and gathered on the top and short and fitted on the bottom. They showed some prints in similar silhouettes and brought back their super sexy skinny jean.

My favorite look included a black sequined racer-back tank worn over a grey Henley dress with black leggings.

Final Word: Both Abaete and Sass & Bide have proved they know what girls want and these sleek, chic sexy collections are giving them exactly that. Insider tip: Buy white stockings. Tres chic. Who knew?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Alexander The Great

Earlier today, in an abandoned factory on the way west side industry it-boy Alexander Wang debuted Fall/Winter 2007, his second complete collection.

Young Wang, a Parson’s alum with Marc Jacobs and Derek Lam on his short but sweet resume, displayed a mature sophistication with a collection heavy on wools, tweeds and menswear inspired separates.

As a nod to the decade of his birth, he showed some 80's love with gaudy gold chains and grommeted hats, tops and jackets a la old school hip-hop.

Wide-legged, high-waisted herringbone trousers walked the runway with suspender-ed loose-fitting black wool shorts. Leather motorcycle pants and sequined tops and dresses added a flirty, youthful edge.

His signature graphic cashmere appears in an over-sized cardigan of tiger motif. It was worn backwards with opaque anthracite stockings, styled by Wang muse Victoria Traina

My favorite pieces include the Chevron Aviator Dress, a racer-back mini of graphic black and grey wool, and the Members Only cape, which is exactly what it sounds like, but cooler.

Final Word: This promising protégée continues to perform. Alexander Wang is the next big thing, if he isn’t so already. The collection, all completely wearable and bound for commerical success, hits stores late summer. Pick it up Alchemist, Miami Beach.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sneak Peak: Proenza Schouler for Target

Last night Proenza Schouler launched their Spring 2007 Target collection at Opening Ceremony. Fashionistas congregated to shop the designer duo’s capsule collection as hosts/designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez worked the room of editors, it-girls and industry insiders.

Their signature pieces—two-toned bustiers and sexy, satin dresses—filled the racks alongside an extensive collection of casual cottons. With navy and white striped cabanas for dressing rooms and yellow tarring ropes hung floor to ceiling, the usually avant-garde boutique was transformed into an urban yacht club of sorts.

The collection followed the same aesthetic. Cropped canvas jackets, full bodied trenches and preppy cardigans complimented colorful incarnations of nautical stripes and bold Hawaiian prints appearing on halters, dresses and handbags.

My favorites include a fitted, hooded, school bus yellow windbreaker and smartly cut striped cotton tees in red, navy and granny apple green.

If J. Crew and H&M had a love-child, raised it in Brooklyn and vacationed in Maui—that is Proenza Schouler for Target.

And it works. All the good sizes were gone when I got there.

Final Word: They replenish daily and are open to the public all weekend. The collection hits Target stores throughout the country next week. Until then, Opening Ceremony, 35 Howard Street between Broadway and Lafayette.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Divine Designs at DoucetteDuvall

Two autumns ago, DoucetteDuvall launched their first collection. It included two dresses and two jackets in two prints.

Since, the ladies behind the line—Stephanie Ann Doucette and Annebet Duvall—have been keeping quite busy. They have been featured in Lucky, shot for Elle and quadrupled their retail exposure.

When they preview their Fall/Winter collection this Monday at Hotel Chelsea, the ladies will debut their most extensive endeavor to date.

With over two dozen dresses and a well-edited handful of jackets, they uphold their commitment to fine-tailored, feminine silhouettes. They continued to show their signature silk-charmeuse prints and introduce hints of fine Italian wool.

In a time when girls are finally starting to dress up again, DoucetteDuvall’s vintage-inspired collection is as impossibility chic and it is timely. A level of sophistication has returned to daily fashion, and DD has been advocating this nostalgic notion since their start.

From sweet, simple sundresses (Sammy Jo) to dramatic cocktail couture (Zsa Zsa), DoucetteDuvall will take you from summer soirees to holiday hedonism with an effortless, elegant ease.

But if you still feel you need a reason to get dressed up, DoucetteDuvall is as good as any.

Final Word: The Blackberrie officially invites you to preview the Fall/Winter collection. Monday, February 5th, 2-4 p.m. Hotel Chelsea, 222 W 23rd Street, Suite 822. RSVP to Meredith@doucetteduvall.com

Blackberrie on TV!

We’re proud to announce that one of The Blackberrie’s founders/co-writers Eazy-E (also style editor of Florida International Magazine) will be featured on CBS’s The Early Show on Friday, February 2 at 8:17 a.m. co-hosting a live segment showing the hottest trends in swimwear and fashion for Spring! The segment is part of CBS’s Miami coverage of Super Bowl XLI so all you fashionable jet-setters will have something to wear to Dophin Stadium.

But no need to fret, one need not squander Jet Blue points to take advantage of Spring’s sporty trends. Here are our top 3 looks for Spring that embody the Super Bowl spirit while hitting on arguably the most important trend of the season- athletic chic.

Marni was at the forefront of the collections showing simple belted shifts over Adidas-style leggings and cat suits shown under tent dresses. Be sure to accessorize with bold bangles and even bolder platforms to avoid looking like you came to dinner directly from your Powerstrike class. Deodorant never hurt anyone either.

Albert Elbaz of Lanvin brought a touch of luxury to the sporty look creating cocktail dresses that recalled real scuba suits- only instead of neoprene he used sumptuous materials such as satin and leather. The strongest point was the racerback tank dress- a must-have for every girl’s Spring wardrobe.

Finally, newcomer Maria Cornjeo of Zero by Maria Cornjeo made smart cuts her signature working with architectural silhouettes, a dusty color palette and asymmetrical necklines, perfect for a post-ballet workout, or happy hour at Beatrice Inn.

Final Word: It’s true, sports are universal. While your male compatriots will be content slugging beer and devouring wings, you can enjoy the game to, by wearing it. For those of you who will be in the City of Vision and Vice this weekend, you may want to hit up Mansion Sunday night for P-Diddy’s party with DJ Berrie on the wheels of steel…we’ll be there.