Monday, December 22, 2008

I knew it wasn't a good idea, but what's a girl to do when she hasn't quite crossed everyone off her holiday gift list the last weekend before the Christmas holidays? Despite the snow, which turned into rain, and the mind-numbing cold, I ventured out in the New York city streets to finish up some shopping.

So, I realize we're in the worst economy since the 30s, but I didn't expect to browse with ease through nearly every major and luxury department store in the upper east side. It almost made shopping somewhat enjoyable, if it hadn't been quite so eery. They say the bad winter weather put a damper on the shopping weekend, but when did bad weather ever stop shoppers before?

I realize not everyone can afford to shop along Madison Avenue, not that I even can, unless I'm enticed by some decent sales. But you don't have to be able to afford it to enjoy what I think is the best part of the whole shopping experience, the windows. Bergdorf's generally tops the list for me, and they did not disappoint this year. If you can't brave the weather or afford to splurge any more than you already have, I hope you can enjoy these photos.

Friday, December 19, 2008

While the casualty count grows larger and larger for Fashion Weeks around the globe, one that I'll be sure to watch is Phoebe Philo's highly anticipated 1st show for Celine.

If you don't already know about the talented team that she'll be working with, perhaps you should. Simone Shailes has already garnered a lot of buzz on her own, despite having just recently graduated from the prestigious MA program at Central St. Martins. Her graduate show was so stunning, Topshop swiftly offered to produce the line as is in an exclusive collaboration, rather than seek her design services for a simple capsule collection.

Even if her job at Celine will keep her busy for a while, Shailes is sure to shine in years to come.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Even though it was coming, it's still kind of a shocker to read it in the Times. Bill Blass is finally shuttering its doors, literally, and liquidating all its archives in a quick fire sale in order to recoup some cash. I wonder if their public health mandated Exit signs will find themselves on ebay next to the ones Alessandro dell'Acqua's Madison Avenue retail store hawked just a couple of weeks ago.

Its all kind of sad, isn't it? So what to do for a little picker-upper? Listen to some of David Bowie, of course. Better yet, watch the coolest singer of all time in a video taped during his lithesome youth, not that the guy still doesn't rock my world today.

And check out those dance moves....if he raised his arms at just a slight angle, I'd say he gives Michael Jackson a run for his money with his Thriller zombie walk.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I am totally gaga in crush, and even though the object of my fascination is as forever unattainable as an Hermes Birkin, at least I have my own little pint size version of him.

Yes, my very own Karl Lagerfelt arrived in the mail yesterday, thanks to a very generous friend who happened to read my blog and purchase a little Lagerfeld to go with little ole' me.

While the finger felt version doesn't churn out entertaining one liners like the real Karl, he is portable. And I am so completely head-over-heels for him, that I've decided to tote the diminutive Deutsch doppelganger around so that we are never far apart.

He's already made one outing to dinner in Williamsburg. There he is reunited with my generous gift giver, so expect to see more of Lagerfelt around town in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Over the weekend, I happened to catch this documentary on Showtime. It was probably the most riveting 83 minutes I've spent in front of my television screen for a long time.

Did you know that the average age of girls who are sexually exploited and forced into prostitution here in the US is just 13? I still shake my head as I write that figure, and more so as I write that there is only one non-profit center in the entire state of New York helping sexually exploited and trafficked girls.

That center is known as Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, or GEMS, and was started out of an apartment and just $30 by Rachel Lloyd, herself a victim of sexual exploitation. Lloyd counsels some 200 girls every year, helping them to overcome lives of prostitution. These are largely girls who have been arrested for solicitation and are required to attend GEMS as part of their sentencing. The sad part about this all, and let me tell you, there's a lot to be sad about here, that these are just the girls who have been caught in the net of law enforcement. There are countless more out there who go undetected and live out entire lives of unspeakable submission and exploitation.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Icons come in all shapes and sizes, and not just the prerequisite size 0 standard that we hold them to today. Even as a pinup queen, who was molested as a child and later in life became a bible wielding counselor for the Billy Graham Crusade, Bettie Page is, by anyone's standards, an icon of our times.

She died last week at the age of 85. And while news of her death came as quietly as she chose to live the later years of her life--reported by her agent on her website--she sure did cause a stir in her earlier years. I can't help but to laugh at the irony, that a woman who was photographed more often without clothes than in them could have so influenced the way that we see women in pictures. But sure enough, her looks alone were enough to get her there.

There was something about the cut of her hair, the way she wore her red lipstick, or maybe just the way that she smiled at the camera that made her so endearing. When she was clothed, in bikinis that appear demure to us nowadays, there was something still so sweet in all that seduction. If you haven't seen the biopic of Bettie Page starring an absolutely bewitching Gretchen Mol go out today and rent it as a little homage to the Queen of Pinups.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I never used to look at Dolce & Gabbana, unless of course some foreigner (generally from an oil-rich country of eastern European provenance) would literally blind me with the bling from his highly studded D&G belt, or the rhinestoned derriere of his companion. No, the line was never really for me.

Until a couple of seasons ago, when the designing duo marched out a couple of girls at the end of their collection, wearing dresses that looked like living canvases. They were hand-painted creations, with nipped-in waists that flowed out into expansive tulle skirts and in a word they were, well, just gorge.

Who is this new D&G girl, because Dolce & Gabbana have since chased this girl down a most refined path of sophistication. For a label that was once equated to in-your-face sex, they've transformed their muse into a woman who knows that sexy can be conveyed with more than just vavavoom.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Alber Elbaz's collaboration with denim line Acne couldn't be better timed. With the economy tanking, diffusion (if you can call this diffusion) seems to be on every designer's mind with Zac Posen and Doo.ri both announcing plans to do more affordable collections. But with prices ranging from $550 to $1,500, with accessories priced north of even $1,500, this cute little collaboration will still be steep.

Due to hit stores next week, I wonder if I'll have any Christmas money left over from all my gift shopping to pop in to Barney's or Bergdorf's for at least a little peek and maybe even a try-on and see?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Sozzani sisters are stateside, and I wonder what events they have planned for New York, if any, after their jaunt to Miami for Art Basel. Being so far ahead of her time, Franca, who was the visionary behind the all black Vogue Italia, has a Miami themed L'Uomo Vogue already on newsstands. Some stylish sun in these bleak times.

While Franca seems to have garnered all the news lately, her sister Carla is no wall flower. Though sightings of her seem to be less frequent, unless she's chicly shot by The Sartorialist in Comme des Garcons strolling next to her sister in The Tuileries, I'd bet most people would be surprised to learn of her own credentials. Muse to Romeo Gigli, founder of Milanese luxury gallery Corso Como, and even one-time editor of Italian Elle. A paltry three editions were published with Carla at the helm, and even now, people look back on them for their revolutionary vision.

I've often wondered if taste and style is in the blood, and these sisters seem to prove that theory right.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Now that I'm kicking myself about forgoing last week's Sergio Rossi blowout sale after learning the haute cobbler is closing shop here in the US, I know I should be blogging about how Madison Avenue will be feeling like Woodbury Commons on Black Friday, just a desolate and barren wasteland of emptied storefronts.

So learning that Roisin Murphy will be walking the runways of Paris couture next month seems a little indulgent. But heck, she is pretty rocking. I mean, I know I list all my all time favs all the time, so much so that you're probably started to question the sincerity of my devotion, but really, Roisin is up there. So you can imagine how bummed I was when I couldn't make it to her New York City concert a couple weeks back.

What did she wear then, I wonder? Something as fabulous as the avant-garde costume she's sporting in this video? Which, by they way, she has no compunction to keep on while eating fish and chips, or brushing her teeth and simultaneously going to the loo. Even in times like these, you gotta' love a girl who can bring it down a notch in avant-garde, especially while she's belting out a pretty groovy tune.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I've never been a huge fan of Katie Holmes. I think that's mostly because I was living outside the country during her ascent to stardom when she was on that television show I can never remember the name of. There's no denying the girl is gorgeous, and people I know who have seen her in person swear she's one of the most naturally beautiful celebrities in person. And apart from some of those red carpet missteps when she's gone out and had her own designs so very badly custom made, well, she does show quite a lot of personal style.

Having said all that, I haven't quite understood the craze over her. Okay, granted being Mrs. Cruise must still carry some weight, and she must have one of the cutest kids on the entire continent. And then I pick up the special Holiday edition of the T Magazine, and I have to admit she is stunning. If this is just a teaser for the Prada campaign, I can just imagine her inking a cosmetics deal some time down the line.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Alessandro Dell'Acqua is closing its Madison Avenue storefront and pitifully liquidating all their store furnishings down to its public health mandated Exit signs in a quickfire sale in situ this Saturday, right on the heels of Te Casan's shuttering, right on the heels of Linda Dresner sadly closing shop. So what's a girl to do?

Pine for the 80s, I suppose, 1989 to be precise, when the world had recovered from the historic Black Monday 2 years prior, and when it apparently wasn't beneath supermodels to do their own makeup backstage. Imagine that, and check out Linda who, if I had to peg a favorite model of all time, would hold that title second to none.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Someone once asked me why I seem to be so outrageously obsessed with Karl Lagerfeld. If I had to answer succinctly: his wicked sense of humor. Sometimes his comments literally slay me, so much so that I find myself nearly falling out of my chair from laughing so hard. But beyond that, Karl is probably the one figure in fashion today who is acutely aware of the public persona of a designer, of an iconic designer, really.

Everything he does seems to be to support his art, which has become indistinguishable from his own life. But if I had to speak the truth--his designs? Well, I get them, but even if I had the thousands of euros, or hundreds of thousands of euros to join that elite coterie of women who can afford to don his couture, I don't think I would. Big gasp, I know. Not that we don't need the Karls of this world to keep what few ateliers there are left to churn out such stunning handicraft. It's just a very certain taste and lifestyle, is all.

His latest little pre-fall collection, however, was absolutely stunning. In bleak moments like these, Karl shows just what a gem of a designer he really is, showing luxury to such heights, while tastefully straddling louche. I want every single piece of his Russian themed collection, right down to the astrakhan muffs and crazy headdresses.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stefano Pilati must have a thing for older women, and I say older with a loud 'ahem'. Right on Naomi's stilettoed heels, he's perched Claudia in the hills of Hollywood, in front of the actual sign, in fact, for the next YSL ad campaign set to launch early next year.

I'm loving this supermodel comeback, and while I was never a huge Claudia fan before, I'm a big contender for that title now. The woman is as lithe and lynx-like as she was 15 years ago, and I swear I've never seen her in a bad outfit.

Little known fact: Claudia Schiffer holds the record for gracing the most magazine covers, something like 500+. And at the rate that she's going, landing recent contracts with Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, and Chanel, it looks like she'll hold that record for a while.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I know that with all these sales going on, and me back in New York where the assortment won't let me down, my holiday gift list should be growing ever smaller.

But truth be told, I'm just not into it (small gasp). This, coming from a girl who prides herself in always gifting the right size and right color, and has the longest track record of buying presents that are actually worn.

So what will I be buying instead? Music. And it seems like, lately, everything I've been listening to this year is a tune belted out by some fabulous singing diva hailing from the UK: Beth Ditto, Estelle, Lilly Allen, Kate Nash, and of course, Roisin Murphy.

The best thing about all these girls? They all have great style (and most of them, the curves to flaunt it.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

This Thanksgiving holiday was a retail downer for me. (No wonder, then, that I made up for all the disappointment by indulging non-stop in some great home cooking.) Even though I deplore the crowds of Black Friday and generally hate to venture out, I do usually make a light recon mission on the following Saturday in order to make a dent on the obligatory gift list for the upcoming holidays.

So, I wasn't in New York, which may account for the bulk of my disillusionment. But still, Philadelphia does boast one of the largest luxury malls on the east coast (King of Prussia which, by the way, is where our new vice president elect was spotted shopping at Thomas Pink the day before his nomination).

So what did I do? Watch old movies, of course, and consume as much digital entertainment as possible. One of the movies I happened to watch (and not for the first time, or the second, or even the third) was An American in Paris. The music! The dancing! The color! And of course, the clothes! It's all so breathtaking and romantic, which is just the remedy to one of the greatest disappointments a fashion designer can face...bad shopping, that is.

Today is World Aids Day, which kind of hits home for me since I have known and still know people who are HIV+. One of those people is Jack Mackenroth, whom many of you may recognize.

Jack must be one of just a handful of personalities who is open about being HIV+. And I have to say, all personal bias aside, that that must be one of the most courageous things a person in the public eye can possibly do. Jack's been active in recent months working with a big drug company, trying to promote as much awareness about HIV/AIDS as possible, so I thought I'd give him a blog-out today.

Being a designer, of course he's designed a cute little tee shirt. Click on the below for more info, if only to see more of his handsome mug, and learn what he's been up to yourself.