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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#Menswear Schuyler 4 Fall/Winter 2014

Do you need some German engineering in your wardrobe?  I love visiting the Schuyler 4 menswear showroom.  Their luxury men’s sportswear is what I would wear if I were a man.  They represent several heritage brands, Alberto, Haupt and Codice.  They each have been around for generations and hail mostly from Germany. 

I always find it interesting that the classic legacy brands are often the ones doing the most innovative things with their product.  I don’t know if that is because they know their category so well, that they are confident enough to take chances? 

The Alberto pants have classic construction, but super soft finishes and a great range of dyes.  My husband is a huge fan.  His last pair upgraded his denim wardrobe and he refuses to go back to his old level of jeans.  Their interior finishes are built like a tailored trouser, with silky lining and interesting stitching.

As an outerwear fan myself, the Codice collection has beautifully tailored jackets.  Their fabrics are gorgeous and textured.  I love them more when I see the whimsical contrast linings for that bit of pop color.

The Haupt shirts have these tiny little details that make them stand out.  It could be the tiny pipings around the cuff, a contrast collar.  It could be more obvious, like a photo collage print of rock icons. 


All these brands have a distinct European flavor, giving a masculine look of high fashion, but without being flamboyant.   Gentleman, if you miss your appointment at Savile Row, let the continent come to you.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

#Menswear Nautica Fall 2014

nautica black sail
nautica fall 2014
Did Nautica’s Black Sail Fall 2014 collection finally find its identity?  I’m kicking off my menswear week coverage with one of my career alma maters.

For many years, Nautica did not seem to know where it wanted to be in the market place after VF Corporation took the brand over from David Chu.  While I was employed there, there were efforts to make it preppy and sophisticated.  It dabbled in the more urban aesthetic towards what their expensive (but inconclusive) market research told them.  Should the brand stay true the nautical theme?  Did it really boil down to Father’s Day promotions at Federated owned department stores? 

Their fall 2014 collection might have found their way.  Branding the show under the “Black Sail” heading was smart in signaling a different intention without alienating the traditional buyers.  The outerwear offerings, one of the brand’s strongest products, had a great lineup of high-tech puffers.  Even working with the design team, I always loved all their little details, functional and design alike.  The fur collars had a bit of luxury, the sleek surfaces gave the fabrics more of an edge.  There were a lot of cozy knits, a category that was always under promoted for Nautica.  They had a good balance of sporty and outdoors-influenced looks (the frozen forest prints rocks).  The slimmer fits of the tops and pants worked well for the city guy who works for the weekend.

I love the diverse model casting; Design director Christopher Cox always had a good eye for models.  I remember in the early days, the merchandisers always observed that the bestselling colors for the masses were red, navy and yellow.  It doesn’t sound very sophisticated, and the majority of those dollars might have come from the off-price channels.  However, those colors were worked into the fall 2014 show in a sophisticated way in richer, darker hues and better fabrics in pop colors.

Here’s to Ms. Fabulous giving a shout-out to my peeps.  You all deserve a bonus.

nautica christopher cox
photos by Mariana Leung
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Sales Alert: June Ambrose & Scoop NYC Clean Out Their Closets


June Ambrose is one of the most influential stylists, cool Mom and celebrity wrangler on the fashion industry.  She has worked with some of the top pop culture figures of today, helping to craft their personal brands.  It should come as no surprise that she also has one of the most coveted wardrobes around, full of top designers and every accessory you could dream of. (Check out our exclusive interview with June Ambrose).

She is cleaning it out, and that act of organization is your gain.  This Saturday, those goodies are for sale in Downtown NYC.  Bring cash and carry it out.

When: Saturday, August 16, 2014.  12 PM - 6 PM.
Where: Bond 07 By Selima, 7 Bond Street, New York NY


Scoop NYC was were all of my fashion school peeps would obsess and shop at (if they had the funds).  They are marking down sales merchandise from designers that include John Varvatos, Etro, Burberry, Rag & Bone, Martin Margiela, Alice & Olivia and a bunch of other uber chic labels up to 80% off their retail, current season prices.

When: Thursday, August 14. Mon—Sat 11am—8pm, Sun 11am—7pm.
Where:  473 Broadway between Broome and Grand Sts (212-925-3539). 861 Washington St between W 13th and W 14th Sts (212-691-1905). 873 Washington St between W 13th and W 14th Sts (212-929-1244).

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Aritizia Holiday 2014


What are you wearing to work this winter?  Aritizia's Soho Boutique hosted a preview of their winter and holiday collection last week.  While this clothing chain is new to many of my fashion friends, they have been a go-to destination for Canadian peeps for years.

They are not selling revolutionary new styles, but are trend driven and sophisticated at a great price point.  This was the store that you graduated to after you left behind the fast fashion and high street stuff of placed like H&M to be taken seriously with the proper wardrobe of an adult.

I love that their designer look sportswear is price accessible to almost everyone. The super soft jersey and silk tunics I just purchased I have already spent days lounging around in, ($45-$75).  Their new fall dresses run mostly from $50-$165.

While I know their clothing pretty well, I am quite excited about their new handbag collections.  They are launching full grain leather bags in chic structured silhouettes in a price range between $200-500.  I have to say, most contemporary leather handbags with high end details like hand-painted edge coating and custom hardware are positioned in a much higher price point.

I don't know how Canadians manage to do it.  Like Joe Fresh, they seem to be able to produce stylish, budget-friendly fashion at prices that Americans just scoff at.  This is coming from me, who has worked on the development side of sportswear and leather.

Hello Aritzia, nice to see another ex-pat in town.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ms. Fabulous Hosts The Tipsy Tea Party

Thank you to all my lovelies who indulged me and my drunken tea party.  The theme (besides tipsy tea beverages) was the gorgeously quirky film The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hubby, my cousin and I decorated the ballroom to look like a musty 1930’s hotel.  They found tapestry rugs and over-sized leather chairs.  Within the ballroom’s kitchen, I found hundreds of dainty, hand-painted China cups that were likely inherited from the restaurant that was onsite back when the building was first established in the 1920’s.  They were accompanied by tea plates that had cup indentations so guests could walk around with their cuppa and treats with one hand.

Guests included my peeps from the fashion industry.  Bloggers included Elaine Fioravanti of Best Dressed Ginger, her friend Lauren of College Fashionista, Mdivani Monroe of Ladies Who Lunch and Cassandra of CameraMade Me Do It.  

We had macarons from the Macaron CafĂ© in the Fashion District. I put together mushroom tarts and a selection of tea sandwiches like brie and fig tartines.  My friend Nyree from Macy’s made the most amazing Amaretto cake (that I am still eating non-stop).  Janet baked rich brownies.   Of course, a drunken tea party needed the teas that made you drunk.  I made a big batch of blood orange, black vanilla tea and bourbon if you wanted to get tipsy quickly.

However, the favorite tea of the day was the green one.  Here’s the recipe below:

Blue & Green Duchess Tea:
(Makes 1 pitcher)
5 jasmine green tea bags
5 cups   of boiling water
¼ pitcher of fresh lemonade
¾ cup of fresh blueberries
1 cup of Van Gogh Vodka Blueberry Acai Vodka
Handful of fresh mint

Brew the tea and leave the bags to steep as it continues to cool.  Refridgerate the tea until it gets cold.  Add lemonade and vodka.  With a wooden spoon, muddle the blueberries and mint and let the flavors steep together for a half hour more.  Enjoy!  It was the perfect summer cocktail. 

Of course, I love to pamper my guests.  Marcela Nails & Wax provided manicures with Sally Hansen and OPI Nail Lacquer colors that they had provided over the past year. 

What did we think of the movie itself? Ralph Fiennes put in a comedic and touching performance I did not expect.  The story had wicked and morbid humor (perfect for this crowd).  The beautiful aesthetic of the film is what I come back to Wes Anderson for time and time again. 

Happy summer times!
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Friday, August 8, 2014

Echo Design & Hunt Slonem Collaboration

hunt slonem scarf
hunt slonem parrots
echo design bunny
Welcome to the jungle! I had the privilege of visiting the studio of Hunt Slonem for his collaboration with Echo Design this week.  The renowned artist is famous for his tropical hued works of parrots and rabbits.

The accessory group Echo Design is known for mid-priced fashion forward accessories across many categories.  While they were always trend-driven, they wanted to do collaboration with an artist.  It turns out that executives were friends of a friend of Slonem and the rest was on display at his studio.

The studio was huge, with an aviary in the back housing his large bird collection.  Open plan rooms were filled with eclectic furniture and photos of his celebrity and society friends.  There was the famous “Bunny Wall” a popular motif that most of his fans associate with his work.  The mass collections of bunny works are actually an artistic exercise for him to practice his technique.  Many art professors will teach that repetition and meditation is a key tool to mastering your work.  It turns out; brushstroke rabbits translate very well into a fashion print.

Hunt Slonem has always been inspired by nature.  He chased butterflies in Nicaragua, grew orchids in Hawaii and of course his very vocal parrots on site.  My cousin and I were a little disappointed that we did not find a collection of bunnies to hop around with, but one has to stop somewhere.
The Echo Design collection itself consists of several scarf designs and tote bags.  Scarves were produced in several sizes, some large enough to be worn as a simple dress.  The colors reflected the vibrant hues of the artist’s work.  The prints included Hunt Slonem’s butterflies and his famous rabbits. 

I could see this collection selling at galleries and museums.  However Echo Design is staying true to its fashion and department store customer base, they are just bringing a bit of art into the mix. 
photos by Mariana Leung
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