Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Love is Near Sighted

At this point, it's safe to say we're all well-read in the ubiquitous "nerd" glasses trend. That affected brand of eyewear in the form of thick-rimmed spectacles that pretentiously sit perched upon entitled beaks of alternative-swaying style swans from Williamsberg to the Wisconsin (Well, maybe not Wisconsin.). Even I have gone on a bifocal forage from Artsee in the Meatpacking District to Tom Ford's uppity boutique uptown, only to make a new discovery-- aviator eyewear. Sure these Top Gun-esque frames are old news in sunglass territory. But swap out the dark lenses with clear (or daresay no) lenses voila- the look is new, refreshing and chillingly cool, in that perfectly uncool way.

To confirm the aviator-lens retro cred, offbeat heartthrob Emile Hirsch sported a genuine pair in the Oscar buzzed-about 70s biopic Milk. And one adorable French fille pictured above personified chic with her oversized pair (merci,

Final Word: If only I held on to those ridiculous 80s goggles my dad wore to get through his Sunday papers (the gold-rimmed would be divine!). Alas, I did not and I will continue the blind hunt for the perfect pair of eyes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Blues

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Baby it’s cold outside and besides hot chocolate and cashmere sweaters, there’s one thing to look forward -- resort collections! Yes the happy in-between season that is meant to shed some sunlight on the dreary winter. Not that anyone actually buys much of resort (well, except for me), but we all like to preview what is to come in the warmer months. And for some designers (Read: Balenciaga and Alexander Wang), it’s the best part of the year.

But my favorite must be the Acne/Lanvin collaboration debuting in stores this Thursday. I was a little late on the take with the Swedish denim label but earlier this fall after trying a pair, I was officially obsessed. The genius jeans transformed my body (and bum) into a streamlined look worthy of a supermodel’s – well, almost.

My subconscious must have been working overtime because after purchasing my beloved blues I realized that this ingenious jean brand had just collaborated with couture master Alber Elbaz of Lanvin for an all denim capsule collection of 28 looks for resort. The line includes the perfect trench, tailored blazers and several frocks in the spirit of Elbaz’s masterful tailoring.

Final Word: We hear there is already a waiting list for the covetable collection, so if you can’t score a piece by Elbaz, the regular collection is just as good. Visit

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Coups de Coeur

From Kanye West spilling his soul in his new album to Marc Jacobs bringing bundles of love to Spring runways, hearts are everywhere. An homage to Yves Saint Laurent’s collections passed, Mr. Jacobs was not exactly subtle in his reference but as they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery. Even owner of uber-hip boutique Colette Sarah Lerfel was seen wearing hearts on her sleeve at Bruce Weber’s Art Basel party in Miami; and if she’s doing it, you know it’s cool.

Final Word: In a recession not everyone can afford Mr. Jacobs, which is why we love Comme des Garcons’ PLAY collection of knitwear starting at $275. With cartoonish hearts straight out of a Super Mario game, the line is an easy way to show your love for love. (Available at

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

If The Shoe Fits

People in fashion use the word aspirational a lot. But what does it really mean? The dictionary defines it as a desire, longing or aim. So, the style buzzword that designers, editors and their lackeys canonize inherently means, in fashion, one constantly strives for the unattainable – nice.

That being said, I am an aspiration victim. I flip through glossies tearing out icons and idols and tacking them on my bare walls, buy things that don’t fit my lifestyle but fit perfectly in the dream of who I would love to be, and I am left with a closet full of it-items and an over stimulated, confused identity.

Take the two pairs of Margiela cone-heeled boots I acquired over the weekend at my best friend’s store Alchemist in Miami. I desire, long and aim to be a Margiela woman who knows but doesn’t care, reads but doesn’t rant, has style but is never a victim. Although I never wear heels during the day I thought the two pairs I bought (one pebbled suede up-to-the-knee black boot, the other a brick red ankle booty), both of which boasted “comfortable” heels would magically morph my slightly inadequate self into the type of woman I envy who wears makeup to work and blow dries her hair every morning (I do neither).

So on the flight back to New York I wore my black boots like a badge of honor feeling invincible and deathly chic. But even a magician like Margiela cannot defy science and as the Jet Blue bird climbed altitude and my feet swelled, the suede togs that I adored became personal torture devices suffocating two inflated pillows that once were my feet. Of course my precious Margiela’s would not zip again and as I sweat and awkwardly fumbled in my middle seat, it became all too clear I am not that sleek, sophisticated Margiela girl – I’m me, the one who ruins her Lanvin flats in the rain, who loses her Louboutins while crossing the street, whose beloved berets get crushed by a stampede of Parisian motorcyclists only to go right back on my head without (even considering) any dry-cleaning.

Final Word: Women will always purchase things in hopes of becoming someone else, perhaps a “better” version of themselves. Maybe Margiela was making a statement at his Spring show where faceless models shrouded by Cousin It coiffes and nude pantyhose evoked the insanity and meaningless of fashion. A thought worth pondering…in the meantime I’ll stick to wearing my aspirational fashions at sea level.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bottoms Up, We Mean Down

We are currently obsessed with harem pants, gypsy pants, hammer pants, whatever you want to call them.  These drop-crotch trousers have been on our radar ever since Stefano Pilati and Phillip Lim put them on runways last spring, leaving fashionistas and their followers scratching their well-coiffed heads. But finally these baggy bottoms are starting to feel just right.  Maybe it's because the impossibly chic French VOGUE editor Emmanuelle Alt has translated them into something we would (in our dreams) wear; maybe because if I see another liquid legging, I will self-destruct. Whichever the reason, during a recent trip to Paris, my friend and fashion icon Danielle Nachmani found a perfect pair by Isabel Marant (after a Moveable Feast-esque hunt down Rue Jacob in St. Germain to Miss Marant's flagship store). With stylist-powers pumping through her veins, Miss Nachmani paired her prized purchase with a simple gray tee and Balenciaga booties--alas, one cannot foresee when one comes into a perfect pair of pantalons thus she did not have gladiator sandals to complete the dream look.

Final Word:  We don't have a photo of the if-looks-could-kill ensemble (Sorry D); but take our word for it, it was fierce - if only all of us could be so lucky to pull it off.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Death Becomes Her

Art and fashion—like life and death—are inextricably linked. This week, Belgian-born accessories designer Natalia Brill incorporates them all as she uses Art Basel as a vehicle to present “On Tour,” an installation featuring “a rock band from beyond the grave,” as part of her SS09 collection of jewelry, accessories and objects.

Known for her use of luxurious lambskins, “On Tour” includes three skeletons, a drum set, amp, guitar and mic all encased in black leather. The dead rock band will silently perform December 2nd through December 10th at uber-fab Miami boutique Alchemist, located at 438 Lincoln Road.

In its’ exclusive stateside engagement, “On Tour” will also bring to Miami the limited-edition Odyssey bag. To commemorate the collection, this season’s version will feature an adornment of bones (from the dead bandmates).

Eat your heart out concert tee; souvenirs from dead bands are so much cooler than live ones.

Final Word: Goth never looked so glam. Visit The Blackberrie tomorrow afternoon for an exclusive interview with designer Natalia Brill and pictures from the Alchemist installation at its’ debut.

Party Girl

During the holiday season it’s easy to defer to glitter and glitz; but if you want to know what in-the-know girls are wearing, just take a peek at Luella’s fall frock. According to West Village boutique owner Ludivine, “All the French girls are wearing it.” Indeed, over the weekend on my requisite fall pilgramage to the City of Lights, I spotted a pint-sized PYT fete-ing at hot boite Neo in a plaid version accessorized with leather fingerless gloves and over-the-knee boots. Comment dit-on “fierce” en francais?

Final Word: As winner of Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, Luella Bartley is poised to be THE thing for spring. At least I know what I’ll be wearing for New Years, et vous?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Spring Fever

With the fall collections slowly going on sale (a tad early this year, wonder why...), there's only one thing for a girl to do - think spring.

Here is what we (and you) can look forward:

1. Sherbert and Pastels (Hues we mean)
2. Summer Leather
3. Stone-Washed Denim
4. Asymmetry
5. Cavalry-Chic

Final Word: It's never to early to start a wish list; and yes, we realize we have an Alex Wang problem. Who doesn't?


Sorry for such the long lapse in happens, blogs dwindle, but we will be back a load of fresh ideas and fresh commentary after the holiday.

Final Word: We're back, time to celebrate - in the meantime, as my friend emailed me this AM - Keep Cool and Funky

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Acceptable in the 90s

Is too much of a good thing, well, too much? As much as I heart the neo-grunge thing happening right now, the ubiquity of the plaid shirt is making me nervous. Will fashionable flannel pass its prime before the mercury starts to dip? And if so, what is one to wear on those dreary winter days? Thankfully I need not fret--wunderkind Alex Wang gives us plenty of punk rock options sans tartan and Givenchy has made goth absolutely divine.

Final Word: Since I'm not ready to give up the 90s renaissance (was I ever?), I will definitely be rocking some lumberjack-chic a la my Contempo Casual days, but perhaps it's also time to start looking at other Generation X fads that still smell like teen spirit. Doc Martins? You're up.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Band of Outsiders

Fore-headgear girls meet your new love-- Marc Jacobs' furry headband. One part Jane Fonda aerobocize queen, one part Space Odyssey goddess, these bold halos are so intriguing they could make even the most skeptical stylista reconsider.

With crowns becoming the new canvas to express yourself (it's no longer about the it-bag as it is about the it-hat), perhaps this new accessory is the chapeau-shifter we've been waiting for!

Final Word: Don't dilly dally picking up your own foreband, because eventually, all tete-inspired fads from berets to bowlers become, well, old hat.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Rise and Following of the Hipster

My brother recently introduced me to a new blog, On the genius site, they discuss “Entry-Level Alts” AKA novice hipster chicks who have jumped ship from the mainstream and have dove head first into the music-festival filled, Beatrice Inn boogying, Cobrasnake-courting five-ring circus that is the alternative lifestyle.

It got me thinking. As more clones of whippet-thin andogynes shod in Chuck Taylors and American Apparel hit the streets, every day the hipster becomes less alternative and more mainstream, begging the question, when will the bubble burst? It’s almost cool, not to be hipster. Well almost. Unfortunately as long as our general cultural malaise (and economy troubles) remains, there will be dissenters. So, I guess if you can’t beat ‘em…join em?

As someone in her twenties going full out hipster is just not cute. I’m grateful that (sometimes) I can recognize trends that can work for me, and those that do not. I mean, I enjoy my bubble gum electro-pop just as much as the next girl, and although I loathe do and don't lists, there are some rules and regulations for post-pubescent aspiring alternistas that you just cant ignore. Here’s a quick run down of guidelines on the acceptable and the plain old frightening:

Acceptable in the 80s (and now):
-Headbands worn on head
-Skinny Jeans
-Ray Bans
-Jumpers on the beach
-Neon in doses
-American Apparel
-High-waisted jeans, skirts, and shorts
-Liking Agyness Deyn

Not Acceptable, Ever:
-Top Hats
-Headbands on foreheads
-Jumpers in the city
-Head to toe neon
-Dressing like Agyness Deyn
-Using any of the acceptable items simultaneously

Final Word: Rule of thumb? Think comfort zone. If you feel like you’re reverting back to your outfits from gymnastics class, you probably look as ridiculous as you think you look. But then again gymnastics were so much fun...

Bizarre Bazaar

Harper’s Bazaar confuses me. The fledgling glossy always seems to reach too high on the edgy barometer, maybe because it’s just not edgy. Whether it’s juxtaposing a fashion-clad Lindsay Lohan next to costumed superheroes, dressing toddlers up as renown designers, or casting the polarizing Tyra Banks as the First Lady In Waiting, the spreads look like bad publicity stunts similar to the now cancelled, Kutcher-produced show, Pop Fiction where B-list celebrities try to fake the paparazzi out. The problem? Fashion is not pop fiction; it’s the opposite, an entity above popular culture dealing in fantasy rather than pure fiction.

In Bazaar’s September issue, they went too far. Here the infamous Ronson offspring, which includes a music producer, a celebrity DJ and a fashion designer, are photographed in a family portrait dressed as the Royal Tennenbaums from Wes Anderson’s iconic film opus on upper crust, family dysfunction and entropy. But the Tennenbaums are everything the Ronsons are not.

Sure they both come from silver spoon upbringings, schooled by the best Manhattan's teachers, churning out a factory of eccentric stepsiblings co-existing as bohemian alternistas, but where the Tennenbaums fail as members of society suffering in existential bordering on suicidal crises, the Ronsons need only worry about which Pinkberry is less paparazzi-populated. The Tennenbaums are a symbol of crumbling New York City aristocracy, a beautiful endangered thing.

Final Word: Perhaps I’m over-analyzing but I think Harper’s is better served in sticking to clothes than social commentary...I prefer my fiction in the weeklies, thank you very much.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

American Apparel

Remember right after 9/11 everyone started rocking “I Heart NY” shirts? I even trekked to Canal Street to purchase one fully satisfied in knowing I was indulging fashion forwardness and political correctness all in one shot.

Since then we really have not witnessed much collaboration between the politique and boutique sectors. Perhaps there’s something about the current administration that does not exactly inspire much fashion fervor. But Change with a capital C is upon us and armed with a new look that is perfectly packaged, infinitely marketable and flying off the shelves – Obama.

Beyonce and Halle have publicly pledged their allegiance, even Scarlett gushed like a Jonas Brother fan, only to be publicly denied like a Jonas Brother fan. And again, I trekked below Houston to a sweat suit shop to purchase a “Barack the Vote” tee; ignoring the embarrassing pun (it’s better than “Barack n’ Roll”), and based on the number of envious looks I attracted during Powerstrike class at Equinox last night, it was so worth it.

Final Word: The down side? Trends come and go. Case in point, going green has become a liability and major corporations are pulling out and going, um, plastic. We just hope this one lasts until election time. Shirts available at Shvitz, NYC.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Catch The Wave: Surf Lodge

I am not going to call myself a nightlife forecaster or anything of the sort, but I will say this; bottle service is on its’ way out. Paying $750 for a bottle of vodka or $6000 for a magnum of champagne has simply lost its’ luster.

Case in point; the success of this summer’s Surf Lodge in Montauk, a hotel/bar/restaurant venture by Jamie Mullholland and Jayma Cardosa, whose last joint project included Cain in New York and a few summers back in Southampton.

As former frontiersmen on 27th Street, this duo seems to be pioneering the next trend in nightlife by offering an option that is simultaneously high-profile AND low-key.

Within five minutes of walking into Surf Lodge last week I ran into a particularly Page Six-friendly publicist, and the owners of Intermix, while mildly “attending” a birthday party for seemingly, the most popular boy on Wall Street.

It was a scene without a being a scene, a near impossible balance to strike. But then again, that’s kind of the definition of Montauk, so the location is a major plus.
At Surf Lodge, surf boards adorn the walls, surf and skate films roll on plasmas, and Bob Marley dominates the soundtrack. Its’ design aesthetic is a complete Disney-fication of the town’s true surf culture roots, but the contrived décor doesn’t seem to bother anybody, including myself. Cynicism is not supposed to make it past East Hampton. And with that, Surf Lodge is free to flow.

Since Montauk is literally “The End” (of the Earth it feels like), here are my Surf Lodge words of wisdom before heading out:

*Montauk is not close to anything, and the hotel is booked until 2009. Start calling in favors from friends who have crash pads in Amagansett, East Hampton or anywhere close enough to be taxi-friendly.
*Having said that, don’t drive there. In addition to the heightened DWI-potential, the parking lot is increasingly over-capacity and has become a nightmare, soon be regulated by the town.
*Bring lots of cash. You don’t want to start a tab at the bar because you could be waiting 30 minutes just to close it out at the end of the night. And save enough to get you home. Regulated cab fare is a Big City notion and is NOT welcome in these parts.
*Since it takes a while to get a drink, pre-drinking is always a plus. So bring some booze and hot dogs to your friends place nearby in exchange for them letting you sleep in their living room.
*Try to coordinate with someone who is eating there, ideally with a later reservation. Seating is key, but the only way to snag a table is to inherit one from your friends who have finished their lobster rolls.
*Attire is cute and casual. Ladies, leave your heels at home.
Final Word: Surf Lodge may not be authentically “surf ” or authentically “Montauk,” but they are offering something authentically new to New York night-lifers. I would bet even Kelly Slater would have a good time. I certainly did.

Harold and His Purple…Pants?

The New York Times recently used a term that has been used by glossy magazines and industry insiders for years attempting to validate fashion’s sometimes bizarre and insane clothing: fashion warrior. The latter word literally means “a person experienced in warfare.” Is this what the majority has arrived at, where dressing oneself to avoid being nude literally means to enter into combat? The drop-crotch trousers, break-your-ankle high heels, western culture turbans—women have been doing it for decades and now, as is the case with most things beginning with women trailblazing the way, it's the men’s turn.

In the NYT last Thursday, the Styles Section focused on men and the new rules and regulations to dress. Along with big features on beach-ready short suits and Space Odyssey-esque metallic sneakers came a curious little column on the color purple. Sure men aren’t strangers to color. Palm Beach Pink or Nantucket Red are considered classic to some super-posh samples for the macho sex, but purple is a shade that carries less social stigma. From newscasters sporting violet ties, to my boss showing up in lavender polo last Friday, it seems purple has become the uniform for men in the know. Even dandy du jour Chuck Bass (AKA actor Ed Westwick) of Gossip Girl dares to wear purple next season.

Final Word: There’s no question purple is the trend for courageous men this fall, but the question remains, are they ready to go to war?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Several Deadly Sins of Heidi Montag

Heidi Montag fascinates me. And I know I'm not the only one. I would never go as far to say that’s she’s a “feminist hero” or whatever that crazy broad at The NY Times declared, but her presence is definitely something akin to that watching a car wreck cliché.

So yes, I look—admittedly—when I know I should be looking away. My fascination and all of those like it have created the monster that she has become, that poor thing. And even though I could wax philosophic on her public loss of integrity, her increasingly emaciated frame, and the size A breast implants that have somehow made their way up to her lips, today I am going to focus on what I find most urgently offensive: the fact that her stylist put her in Chloé!


Chloé is reserved for fashion girls and fashion girls alone. The famously fabulous French fashion house which helped crank out the careers of Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo is not something to be taken lightly. Actually, it is. But lightly in that artistic, effortlessly chic kind-of-way. It should not be taken in any kind of way by Heidi Montag.

I MEAN…she’s promoting a “fashion” line called Heidiwood! In Kitson of all places, for Christ’s sake! Kitson and anything related—especially anything with a Heidi-hybrid name—are the fashion anti-Christ where Chloé is its’ guardian angel. You don’t see Jesus, Mary and Joseph wandering around Purgatory, do you? And thus, you should never see Heidi Montag in Chloé.

Woah, I have no idea where all the allusions to Christianity came from (maybe it’s because the Pope’s in town?!?). But since I’ve already started, I guess I could add that seeing her in Stella McCartney for her staged Easter pics should have been taken as a sign of the impending Apocalypse. Either way, her stylist should be crucified and never resurrected (ok, now I’m taking it too far…).

Let’s get back to my point. Anyone who knows Chloé understands it should be appreciated in pieces. Although equally fabulous, one would never wear that dress and those shoes together, where I am sure head-to-toe Heidiwood would fare just fine.

Final Word: Just because all the girls on The Hills have 17 different Chanel bags doesn’t mean their allowed to engage in real fashion (with the exception of maybe, Whitney). Stick to what you know ladies; you were doing just fine in label-whore sunglasses, fitted tank tops and low-waisted jeans. I don’t want to have to get all religious again.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fashion Flashback

We are TOTALLY bugging about London’s darling designer House of Holland's new line. Holland was the brains behind last season’s ubiquitous tongue-in-chic fashion tees, IE: “Cause Me Pain, Heidi Slimane”, thus becoming essential clubbing gear for hipsters worldwide from Black Calvados in Paris to Beatrice Inn in New York, but this season he’s gone a bit more ready-to-wear-ish than raver-ish. A bit.

Yesterday for his Fall 08 collection, Henry Holland turned stateside for inspiration with a nod to our 90s pop culture, namely, Clueless (Also known as the self-defining film of our adolescence.) Holland opened the show with an amazingly garish purple plaid ensemble, a la Cher and Di circa 1995. I’m not sure about you, but these outrageous outfits pretty much covered my wardrobe in 7th grade, thigh highs and all. Ah, adolescence; baby tees, cropped neon mohair sweaters, platform loafers…I mean, was there anything better?? Tragic pubescent awkwardness and fatal catfights notwithstanding, those were the best years of our lives.

But Holland has served us up some piping hot memories of our youth without a side of teen angst, just how we like it. He even updated the look with a new cheeky tee and rugged ankle boots, plus it-Brit model Agyness Denn makes a superb Alicia Silverstone of the new millennium.

Final Word: So are these garish duds coming back?? I’m not quite sure if I could pull off the puerile yet precocious Lolita look in my twenties, but Lord help me, I can try.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

An Open Letter to Chris Benz

Dear Mr. Benz,

We are at a strange time in fashion where personality seems to have eclipsed talent. Many young designers have earned their merits by logging in hours at Socialista rather than the studio, befriending a celebutante, calling her his muse, and churning out a few duds. Call us old fashioned, but that a designer does not make. Of course Hubert de Givenchy had Audrey Hepburn, Oleg Cassini had Jackie O, but these brilliant men owned talent and innovation beyond comprehension, and the relationships were reciprocal – they were not just one another’s party buddy.

Case in point: yourself. A regular fixture at Rose Bar and Beatrice Inn, the fashion world is abuzz with all things Benz. Even I was convinced when I saw you in a homemade towel turban at Colin Cowie’s party at the Hotel Belvedere in Mykonos; I was a bit star struck as I knew I was in the presence of the next designer du jour. We adored your Mary Tyler Moore 70s-inspired spring collection. It was as if Annie Hall had literally time traveled to present day looking as chic and fresh as ever. Those loose layers, that Technicolor palette, it was perfection.

But after a quick glance at your latest work, I’m afraid all of that ouzo and those flashing bulbs may have seeped through your turban. The clothing you previewed this week was sadly uninspired – as if you rummaged through Screaming Mimi’s and the Antique Boutique (Remember the beloved hand-me-down mecca on Broadway circa 1996?) and called it a day. Placing a gnome’s cap atop a translucent afro’ed model does not a designer make.

Final Word: We know you are talented, which is why we beseech you to reconsider that next invite to Paper’s Most Beautiful People party or whatever pseudo-uber-fete it may be to take time and put more thought into your next collection, we sincerely look forward to it.

With Love,
The Blackberrie

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

House Warming

I am drained. Between the Giants winning the Superbowl, Obama and Hillary neck and neck, and fashion week at its peak, I am emotionally, intellectually and spiritually exhausted.

No, I am not about to check myself into a psychiatric ward as is the trend in Tinseltown, but my senses cannot possibly bear any more over stimulation. I am unsure why the gods have collided my three greatest loves in one week (Obama is getting there), but to their own--and my acupuncturist’s--delight, they seem to find it comical to mess with my stress levels from time to time.

With the NY Post, Daily News, Times and every other tri-state media outlet covering the Giants historical win, we can focus the Blackberrie’s efforts towards more familiar pastures – fashion.

Oh fashion week, how we’ve neglected you. Big Blue’s victory has made it almost impossible to visit Style, ELLE, or any couture related dot-coms, and even more impossible to venture near the Tents at Bryant Park (even though they are around the corner). Instead of Oscar, Diane and Marc, visions of Manning, Tyree and Strayhan danced in our heads. But no more. With the last shred of the confetti fallen at City Hall and the ticker tape no longer ticking (What the hell is ticker tape anyway?) We can now focus our attention on much more serious things – the Fall 2008 collections.

Let us simply lay down the highlights, which we are sure to be donning downtown (or uptown depending on your zip code). Designers as a whole have made a move towards sophisticated, climate-appropriate, and proper dressing. Pencil skirts, skinny belts, wide trousers were abundant with no shortage of cozy knits and furs and hardly a mini in sight. Just glancing at our good friend Peter Som's looks (shown here), could it be that we are reverting back to the traditional time, when ladies dressed as ladies and gentlemen acted like, well, gentlemen? Perhaps dressing the part is all that it takes- The New York Times seems to think so.

Final Word: With demure dressing back, we wonder if true decorum will follow. Perhaps we are not far from afternoon teas at the Plaza, long walks in the park and even a good old-fashioned Blockbuster (read: Netflix) night. We can’t speak for others but with all this tweed and tartan, a cozy night by the fire, or radiator, seems to be just what the doctor ordered.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Interview To Be The Next French Vogue?

The recent departure of Editor In Chief Ingrid Sischy and co-owner Sandra Brant of Interview Magazine has left the publishing world reeling. The shocking resignation has moved media minds to ask, what is a magazine without its face? It’s difficult (perhaps impossible) to imagine a VOGUE without Anna or an ELLE without Nina, so how shall Interview fare sans Ingrid? Sischy, the ultimate idiosyncracy of the fashion world defied the fashion industry with her unkempt coiffe, dark framed spectacles and hardly sample size frame, yet simultaneously, she defined it. Her work reflected the same counterpoint with A-list celebrities in raw, “I don’t give a f-ck” looks. It wasn’t about the trends or the latest collections, it was about the integrity of the shot.

Now that she is gone, shall Interview continue its groundbreaking and anti-market styling? Fabien Baron, former creative director of Paris Vogue, has been tapped to lead Interview out of Ingrid’s celeb-studded pages and into a more (most likely) fashion forward book. Glenn O’Brien (who worked at Interview during the Warhol days) will act as co-director.

Final Word: There is nothing the Blackberrie adores more than Paris Vogue, in fact its art design is a model for a future Blackberrie Book (Yes, we too wait with breath that is bated.) But shall Baron's Parisian take-no-prisoners fashion aesthetic translate to the gritty pop culture mag that made its case on criticizing (at best) and mocking (at worst) its glossy contemporaries? On verra…

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Base Couture

At yesterday’s Chanel haute couture show in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld stayed true to form by questioning customs on the catwalk yet again. Against a blanche neige backdrop that could easily double for Tchaicovsky’s The Nutcracker, nimble Anna Pavlova look-alikes festooned in feathers and frills glided down the runway in Swan Lake-inspired ensembles and contrastingly humble flats, not unlike the ones I wear to work.

Although it is obvious flats are MTA-approved footwear, there is something undeniably chic about wearing unfussy shoes with a decidedly fussy frock. Hepburn, Birkin, and Seberg all proved that ages ago; yet why are we still surprised to see them at an haute couture catwalk half a century later? Are we really imprisoned by our own visions of the proverbial glass slipper? And what if Cinderella had worn Repettos to the ball? Well, she probably would not have forsaken her shoe and would have made those evil stepsisters green with envy as she danced the night away.

But what was the Kaiser’s motive behind pairing painstakingly ornate gowns with simple ballerinas ironically during a season where more is more and bigger is better? Perhaps he did not want to be upstaged by John Galliano yet again and simply threw in the serviette- although that is doubtful coming from the ultimate overachiever/designer/photographer/DJ/tastemaker (Need I go on?).

With the revival of bygone Chanel muse Devon Aoki to close the show, perhaps Mr. Lagerfeld simply craved the comfort of the familiar –and in depths of our year’s first cold front when the thought of high (or any) fashion is daunting, this sort of comfort is quite welcome.

Final Word: Although we applaud Mr. Lagerfeld for challenging fashion foundations, it remains to be seen if social swans shall trade their Louboutins for low loafers at their next uptown gala. After all, what is a fairy tale without the glass slipper?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Laces In!

Last night while out for drinks, my girlfriend and I were accosted by a handful of overzealous, cheesy single guys with no sense of humor or self-deprecation (a bad combination), which made for easy fodder for belligerent mockery. But what really caught our attention, other than the conspicuous Ashlee Simpson name dropping (Yes, apparently there are people who actually name drop Ashlee Simpson.), was the unbelievable choice of footwear.

There were the ubiquitous Kenneth Cole leather loafers, the my-girlfriend-bought-me-these-but-really-I’m-so-far-deep-in-the-closet-I-actually-believe-I’m-straight knee high-motorcycle boots, and the worst of all offenders, laceless Converse. Regarding the latter pair, I just don’t get it. The unisex equivalent to UGGs, these stringless shoes are no doubt convenient but socially acceptable? I think not. Is it because people are so busy that lace tying is just too much? Is it meant to look casually bohemian, as in F the man and his commercial laces? Is it some sort of underground trend that I'm unaware of? When I first spotted the abhorrent All Stars, I was like, ok, they ditched their laces, that’s sort of cool and different. But then I saw them everywhere, and I realized in horror, people buy them like that? Oh no, not ok.

Now I would hate to think I’m a sneaker snob, after all, sneakers are simply what one wears to avoid fashion critique. However with shoe fetishes at an all-time high (New York Magazine just revealed its annual best sneaker stores this week), sneakerheads all but earning a place in Websters dictionary and more and more uber-specialty boutiques popping up devoted to making the masses feel inadequate to their trendy trainers (Nike ID, get a grip with your VIP appointments), there is some merit to making a wise decision in casual footwear.

Final Word: Fret not lace-a-phobes, we have the perfect solution with our choice kick du jour: A classic Vans slip on in navy leather – basic, retro and virtually foolproof. The collegiate color is surprisingly neutral, plus there’s the skater appeal, which is always cool. Available at

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Can’t Buy Me Love? Mais, bien sur…

It was recently reported by the New York Times that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his new girlfriend singer/supermodel Carla Bruni might be engaged. This is certainly controversial news considering their flashy and splashy romance, spanning the globe from the Pyramids of Giza to the deserts of Saudi Arabia and causing serious controversy in the Middle East not to mention Sarkozy’s approval ratings taking a vertiginous plunge. However, this is not our topic of debate- we’re just not that deep.

In the article, the Times goes on to describe the alleged engagement ring as a heart-shaped diamond designed by none other than the whimsical Dior jewelry maven Victoire de Castellanne whose cartoonish gems have made her a favorite among fashion-conscious pop culture personalities like Pharell Williams and magazines such as ELLE and Nylon (Interestingly enough this decadent detail was found in Tuesday’s cover section, not the Style section). Madame Castellanne’s cheeky chains chockfull of Hello Kitty heads and Bambi-inspired baubles are not exactly what one expects for a presidential engagement band, however, this is France, and in France, fashion comes first.

So why is it that where French men seem to know what women want, American men seem to think whatever comes in a teal cardboard box is acceptable (Quelle horreur!)? French men get away with, nay, celebrate the fact that they know couture as well as their wives, girlfriends, and mistresses. I am reminded of the scene in the film Le Divorce starring Kate Hudson where her green American character becomes an older French man’s mistress and he purchases her a crocodile Hermes Kelly bag at the beginning of their clandestine affair, only to end it with a Chanel scarf. Pas mal.

Final Word: Although the French seem to equate retail purchases with love and all things amoureux (they even call products placed near the cash register “coups de coeur,” literally translated as “blows to the heart”), does it mean their brand of love lasts longer? Most likely not, but one thing is for sure, an Hermes bag sure does stand the test of time. Monsiuer Sarkozy, take note.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I am The Waris

Who is Waris Ahluwalia, really? According to Jalouse, the French fashion magazine featuring him on this month’s cover, he’s the coolest guy in the world. From his general run-down we know he’s an actor, a jewelry designer and an international jet-set celebrity shoulder-rubber. But coolest guy in the world? The title may be a bit much.

Waris flew onto my radar last week when I saw his jewelry line, House of Waris, in the uber-cool Miami Beach boutique Alchemist. When I noticed him on the cover of Jalouse a few days later I figured he was someone worth learning a little more about.

I thought this may be difficult. He has an untouchable cool surrounding his persona, so much so that I was convinced he would be untraceable, un-Google-able, in that that ”I’m so under-the-radar but have a very strategic publicist” kind of way. But, not so much.

With a couple strokes of the keyboard I discovered a quite extensive bio. It goes a little something like this…privileged New York upbringing, upstate liberal arts college, did the music thing, got bored, did the magazine upstart, lost interest, got involved in some charities, so that’s good, made a ring, some buyer liked it, we sold a few (to mainly celebs!) and now I am a jewelry designer.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I am pretty sure that sounds like every boring girl in New York who can’t hold a job or figure out what she wants to do with her life so she “starts a jewelry company.” One more exciting than the next, let me tell you…

Now just because he’s a dude and he’s randomly appeared in a few Wes Anderson and Spike Lee films—bold-name buddies never hurt—does that make him anymore interesting? Not in my book. And I’m ok with the fact that Tatler, Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Complex, Paper, Surface, W and every other media outlet/purveyor of cool disagrees with me.

Final Word: The jewelry is actually quite interesting—too bad it gets overshadowed by the obsession. But in the Paris Hilton school of marketing the persona is always bigger than the product. So the world’s coolest person? I think not. But on his way to becoming one of the most successful? That I could possibly believe.

Costume Rationale

This morning as I dressed for work, I felt the primal urge to reach for cream stockings, demure Chanel flats, a simple peacoat and equally buttoned-up frock. As I made my way to the metro, I caught a glimpse of my reflection a passing storefront window. Who was that frou frou fille looking back at me? Certainly not the one whose fashion icon on any given day more resembles Jane Birkin than Jane Eyre. But low and behold, it was me, top to bottom looking exactly like Blair Waldorf.

For those of you who have been eeking out an existence of irrelevance, Miss Waldorf is the deliciously deviant prep schooler on the deliciously devious show Gossip Girl. Indeed in the course of the WGA strike, GG has stormed media channels from TRL to the Times and it’s not news that its iconic UES style is half the draw. Unlike other teen shows before, Gossip Girl takes fashion very seriously. Its costume designer, Eric Daman, is not afraid to whip out insider labels like Alexander Wang and pair him with Forever 21 togs, as real NYC girls do all the time. Chanel, Fendi, Gucci are also staples for these girls who very realistically borrow from their well manicured mothers.

What kills me, however, is that with the plethora of fashion fortunes at his fingertips, why does Daman seem to never get it? As my friend commented, although we seek out the latest Malandrino dress immediately after the show wraps, we could or should never copy Daman’s total look (As I brutally realized en route to the office today.) Blair ends up looking too costumey while her counterpart Serena Van Der Woodsen looks like she simply missed the point. Granted it is a television show and costumes are exactly what they are, but if Daman gives us a Phillip Lim cookie, we’re probably gonna ask for a glass of Vena Cava. What we want is something equal to what legendary stylist Patricia Field did for Sex and the City (for which Daman curiously assisted). But where Field puts real thought into her characters (we actually believed Carrie belted Mr. Big’s button-down as a day dress), Daman cherry-picks trends to lazily create a look out of the NY Post style pages (Sorry Amy DiLuna.) Do we honestly believe that S would wear those wedge boots with that red leather perfecto over her uniform? A true fan has to believe S is better than that.

Final Word: This is not a harsh critique, just a simple request that Mr. Daman try a little harder. We’re sure he did not expect the runaway success of the show, this is the CW after all, but the reality is we’re watching- fashionistas, editors, ex-prep schoolers, in other words, girls who know their business- and in the business of fashion, we don’t mess around.