It was like a holiday I'd never experienced before. This bigger than big global celebration of fashion was somewhere between New Years, Venice's Carnivale, and fashion week of epic proportions. The champagne flowed across the Big Apple for some serious fashion fun. For me personally, that serious fashion fun included an evening with Sonia Rykiel at her Madison boutique where she offered astrology readings. (Over at Saks Fifth Avenue Carolina Herrera was joined by magician Mark Mitton…) Next it was over to Prada's 5th Avenue store in which Grace Coddington recreated her Little Red Riding Hood story featured in the September issue of Vogue. And even though Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were bartending over at Barneys (very tempting) the crowds were absolutely horrific, so I headed downtown to Howard Street to Opening Ceremony, who took the celebration to the streets by selling special-edition items sold out of vintage automobiles. Very hip and very downtown. It was quite remarkable to see the city come alive with so many incredible events. True, a bit chaotic and circus-esque at times, a very memorable evening nonetheless. So in the thick of fashion week frenzy here in NYC, let the games begin..
Both a timeless classic, a cutting edge trend statement or perhaps somewhere in between, denim captures a time honored American garment that has undergone creative and cultural evolutions since its conception. Somehow denim consistently brings us something new and something old all at the same time. To my utter delight, this season designers have called upon menswear inspired silhouettes and a special nod to the glorious denim of the eighties to discover newfound inspiration for the old. Distressed denim, menswear inspired cuts, and cropped skinnies are among the top denim trends for season. Here are a few styling tips and my favorite picks from our retailers…
Distressed Denim- With the myriad of 80s inspired influences we've been seeing on the runways, it comes as no shock that among the most shocking of denim trends (acid wash) is making an appearance. Although we've seen this trend in varying degrees, distressed denim is a fresh take on the classic American classic that can be styled to varying creative degrees. Pair with a relaxed tee or layered knits for a more casual feel for fall, or choose cutout booties and a blazer with distressed skinny jeans for a more fashion forward vibe. My favorites: Prps' Dart Skinny Jeans @ Shopbop, Helmut Lang's Distressed Jeans @ Saks Fifth Avenue, Current/Elliot 'The Super Slouchy Skinny Jeans' @ Shopbop, and 7 For All Mankind's Bootcut in Vintage Nakita
Meanswear Inspired- Denim has undergone som serious cuffing, cropping, stove-piping, and patchworking transformations under the umbrella of meanswear inspired silhouttes. And not just a favorite among Kaite Holmes, the boyfriend cut jean is among the most significant trends of the season. Worn with a looser fit and cuffed above the ankles (my personal favorite) it can be dressed up with sexy heels or keep it casual (and practical) for fall by pairing it with great boots with hardware. My favorites: Rag & Bone's Boyfriend Trouser @ Shopbop, Gap's Boyfriend Jeans, Citizen of Humanity Dylan Cropped Jeans @ Saks Fifth Avenue, Current/Elliot The Pleated Trouser Jeans @ Shopbop
Cropped Skinnies- An amazing cut of denim for boots or killer heels for fall, cropped skinnies are a new generation of the skinny jean inspired silhouette of season's past with a more tailored feel, and depending on the fabric, a very chic alternative to the classic trouser. My suggestions: Marc by Marc Jacobs Cropped Skinny Jeans @ Shopbop, Etro's Cropped Tie-Print Jacquard Pants @ Saks Fifth Avenure, Gap's Cropped Cords in corbon blue, and Joe's Jeans' Socialite Cropped Jeans @ Shopbop
Phyllis Leibowitz rocked the whole boho-chic vibe before it became mainstream courtesy of celebrities like Sienna Miller and the Olsen twins. Leibowitz's career as a stylist brought her to India, where she was inspired to make a few bags for herself made from vintage saris. This inspiration has now evolved into her new collection of handbags. When I first saw the Jimi Messenger bag, I knew I was in love. (Just to give you an idea of the coolness factor, her bags are named after rock stars from the seventies.) I had the opportunity to chat with Leibowitz to learn a bit more about my latest bag obsession.
How did your collection begin? At the time I traveled to India, “boho” wasn't even a word yet and hippie style was very uncool, so it never occurred to me that anyone else would want one. I was at a cocktail party and the brilliant Andrea Linnett (Creative Director of Lucky Magazine) cornered me and demanded to know where I got my bag. All of a sudden everyone was calling and asking where to buy the bags so I went back to India and a business was born.
What inspired you to start this collection? My design inspiration is mostly from the late 60s and 70s……..The Beatles in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Jimi Hendrix (the best dressed straight guy ever!), Dutch design collective “The Fool”, the movie “Performance” with Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg, Gustav Klimt, Martin Sharp, Cream, Biba, Barbra Streisand in “A Star is Born”, Talitha Getty, Rabari tribal women in India, hippie style in Formentera.
My bags are named after 70's rock stars who had great style. These are the bags I imagine their girlfriends would have worn: Robert “Percy” Plant, Jimi Hendrix, Syd Barrett, and Kris Kristofferson.
Tell us some of the greatest things about these bags. I feel that my bags are like wearing a piece of jewelry; they are the perfect accent to a simple outfit. When my customers are unsure which bag to choose, I tell them to forget about what will go with their wardrobe and just choose a bag they love. I find that the collection is seasonless and that the bags can go from day into night and evolve with your outfit. They weigh nothing, yet are strong enough to carry a significant amount! ( I’ve been known to carry cameras, novels, The New York Times…)
As a stylist, what are some of the different ways to wear this bag? Again, one of the greatest assets about this collection is the versatility factor. I've styled my bags for daytime, evening, black tie……….but I also hiked in Alaska with the “Jimi” worn messenger style carrying 3 cameras!!! They're also super chic to wear to the beach. My customers wear them with everything from jean shorts to John Galliano couture. As a NYC girl on the go I do a lot of walking and always carry a camera and something to read, I love wearing the “Jimi” messenger bag across my body and have my hands free for answering the phone, hailing a cab, or taking pictures. The “Percy” is great for evening, as you can hang it from your belt and dance the night away.
Photos: Gisele Bundchen wearing 'Jimi' Messenger bag in avocado and model carrying 'Jimi' Messenger bag in onyx. http://www.phyllisleibowitz.com/Home.html
A former intern at Vogue and vintage aficionado, Meryl Reynolds is a buyer for Clothing Warehouse in Savannah, GA and has just launched her own vintage line, Lockwood Vintage. I’ve always admired Meryl’s distinctive eye and ability to select incredibly unique vintage pieces. As both a vintage expert and a stylist, it’s always a treat to go shopping with her. On a recent excursion throughout some of NYC’s best vintage stores, I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions and thought I’d share her advice:
When did your love for vintage begin? What inspires you most about vintage shopping?
My love for vintage began in high school. I grew up with a passion for fashion design but could never afford the high-end labels I dreamt about. Thus thrifting gave me an alternative to finding beautiful and unique pieces. Vintage shopping is so inspirational to me for that very reason. It allows you to stand out and wear something original and at a great price, plus its a great way to recycle and keep old clothes out of our land fills.
What are some general tips when approaching vintage shopping?
My general tips to vintage shopping include this: do research online and see what other people have to say at stores (quality, price, etc…) explore those with great reviews and also any hole in the wall stores you come across – those are where I find the best treasures. Also look for quality pieces and watch out for stains, un-mendable tears and if you are looking for vintage furs make sure the coat looks healthy (not a lot of shedding, bald spots).
What is a reasonable budget? How much should you expect to pay?
As far as prices go… don't be afraid to ask some smaller independent stores if they'd be willing to haggle on a price if you feel something is priced too high. Have a budget you would personally spend on a skirt or other piece of clothing and go from there. You will find a piece in your budget if you keep on searching. (Keep an eye out for colored tag sales though!) Sometimes certain items can be up to 50% off and that is where you can score some real deals.
A good way to check for quality is to thoroughly explore the piece. Feel the fabric, look for labels and find what it might be made out of (cotton, poly-blend etc), and be sure to check for stains and tears. Also be sure to look for details regarding the quality of the garment (such as hand sewn or if it has lining). Don’t buy anything if you’re unsure about its quality, especially if you’re investing in a piece you want it to last forever.
What is your favorite vintage piece of clothing that you own in your closet?
My favorite piece of vintage clothing has to be this fabulous black dress from the 1950's. It is very tight, three quarter length sleeves and has a beautiful boat-neck collar with little black bow details. (Think Cher from “mermaids”!) It is a beautiful quality piece, fits to perfection, and was one of my greatest deals price wise and quality wise!
How do you style vintage items into your wardrobe and current trends?
Styling vintage with new pieces is the best part about shopping vintage. So many designers take inspiration from vintage pieces that often times, you can find garments that are ‘in trend’ with a current collection. I tend to buy very versatile with basic pieces and dress them up with unique vintage pieces. For example, a basic black pencil skirt with a vintage top and jewelry can be a perfect work attire solution, or a vintage dress with amazing designer heels will stand out at any party. It is all about mixing it up but still being true to your individual style. Don’t be shy about taking scissors and a needle and thread to a garment! (And if you are, take it to a tailor and get it perfected!)
Are there any other insider tips can you share with us?
Keep a journal and write down the places you've found that you love. Vintage clothes come and go so you always to keep up with your favorite stores to see what is new. Also, I'd reccomend making a wish list for pieces you are looking for and try to be as specefic as possible. For example, if you are looking for a pair of vintage black boots that lace up- don't just buy any pair. Half the fun is being patient and waiting for the right ones to come along.
My personal belief is that the statement ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ can be perfectly applied to fashion; in the heat of summer adorned head to toe in crisp whites and vibrant shades of the season I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion longing for the darker, edgier shades of fall. Longing for a bit more- the ‘je ne sais quoi’ that can only be delivered through a black LBD, suede chocolate brown leather boots, or even say, a silk charcoal blouse. Perhaps it’s the cyclical change of seasonal collections that brings creative energy into both our wardrobes and lives, but I must say, the colors of this fall are worth the wait. The traditional blacks and grays of fall are updated with sumptuous fabrics like velvet, suede, silk and leather become quite non-traditional with detailing such as embellishments, studs, and cutouts. While some collections were almost exclusively grounded in black, the colors of fall offer wonderful contrasts with a neutral inspired palette and injections of rich hues like berry reds and jewel tones. So here are fall’s 5 standout colors, as well as some of my favorite items from our retailers in this season’s color trends…
Gunmetal Grey- The widespread influences of charcoal, metallic, slate and iron inspired hues makes gunmetal grey the new black of the season. Gunmetal grey is a strong yet understated color that can be both sophisticated and trendy all at the same time. What I love about grey is that although it is such a timeless neutral, this season it is shown in completely unconventional ways. Favorite Picks: My Shop's 'Roger Pants' @ Shopbop, Chloe's Silk Batwing Blouse @ Saks Fifth Avenue, James Perse Clean Drape tank with racer back @ Shopbop, LaROK Studded Pocket Cardigan @ Nordstrom
Nude- This season rich neutrals set the stage for designers to play with textures like a leather camel coat at Bottega Veneta, a timeless tweed suit at Ralph Lauren, or even a luxurious camel coat at MaxMara. Neutral skin and leather tones were a heavy influence on accessories and the ‘nude’ color trend ran the color spectrum varying from light beige all the way to a dark cognac. Favorite items: Donna Karan's Belted Double-Breasted Coat @ Saks Fifth Avenue, MICHAEL Michael Kors Drop Shoulder Sweater @ Nordstrom, Prada lace-up ankle boots @ Saks Fifth Avenue
American Beauty Red- American Beauty Red (ABR) blanketed the runways this season in crimson coats at Giambattista Valli and Prada and exquisite burgundy suits at Lanvin. ABR is a flattering ‘true’ red as I like it call it. The rich and deep hues of ABR are neither too severe nor too over the top to inject a sophisticated burst of color into your wardrobe this fall. Although I’d recommend saving ABR for a stand out items or an investment piece such as a coat. And don’t forget to consider a little rouge for your maquillage this fall. Top ABR picks: Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique Stretch Charmeuse Sheath Dress @ Nordstrom, Tory Burch's Mathias Melton Split-Neck Coat @ Saks Fifth Avenue, Marc by Marc Jacobs Twisted Q Riz Bag @ Shopbop
Black- Failing to mention black as a stand out color this fall would literally be leaving you in the dark. While black exclusively prevailed on the runways with designers like Calvin Klein, Lanvin, and Vera Wang, this season it is all about the textures and fabrics. Embellishments, studs, and hardware for accessories- the theme is black re-invented via details. Top items: Vince's 3/4 Sleeve Boyfriend Blazer @ Shopbop, Just Cavalli Cut-Out Dress @ Saks Fifth Avenue, Diane von Furstenberg 'Nanni' Dress @ Nordstrom, Proenza Schouler Motorcycle Booties @ Shopbop
Majolica Blue- Out of all the jewel tones that painted this season’s grey, neutral, and mostly black canvas this fall, Majolica blue is a cross between teal blue, navy, and cobalt blue- it is a vibrant and exotic blue that adds a little more vibrancy than your traditional navy. Mixed with neutral colors or on its own, majolica blue evokes a sophisticated chic vibe with a unique factor that makes the color so attractive. Favorite picks: Isabel Lu 'Chloe' Ruffle top in Moroccan blue @ Nordstrom, Burberry's Packaway Coat @ Saks Fifth Avenue, Geren Ford's Ruffle neck top @ Shopbop
While shoes are key accessories to any season, there is nothing quite like the grandeur and style glory fall bestows upon accessories. After spending the summer in sandals, there is something quite extraordinary about, let’s say, a suede cutout bootie in a magnificent jewel tone or a pair of leather lace up ankle boots to channel your inner rocker chic?. This season, shoes are all about the details, hardware, and versatile color palette and materials that make this season’s shoes particularly irresistible.
Cutout booties- As versatile as they are sexy, cutout booties are especially significant this fall. Designers have shown this irresistibly trendy shoe in suede, leather, metallic, exotic skins, open-toed and lace up – pick your poison. My favorites: Elizabeth and James 'Lola' Ruffle Bootie @Nordstrom, Loeffler Randall's Mabel Very Strappy Open Toe Booties @Shopbop, and Givenchy's Open Toe Lace Up Booties
Flat boots with hardware: In addition to the cutout bootie, there’s a great variety of low-heeled boots that feature studs, buckles, and straps galore. From the workhorse-inspired boot to the tough chic of the motorcycle boot- this fall these durable but chic boots are equally trendy as practical. My picks: 'Tamzie'@ Nine West, Candela's Studded Ankle Boots @ Saks Fifth Avenue, and Frye's Maxine Trapunto Shortie Boots @Shopbop.
Over the knee boot- The most daring of the statement shoes for fall, the height and drama of these boots are perfect over tights, leggings, jeans, or pants. Heels amp up the boldness factor while the suede lower heeled versions scream sleek and sophisticated. Chloe's Suede Over-the-Knee Boot @ Saks Fifth Avenue and Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti's 'Tassel Above the Knee Boots @ Shopbop.
Shrunken Platforms- The 'shrunken' part of the footbed on these shoes gives a subtle yet distict architectural detail that sets these shoes apart from your run-of-the mill platform- a decidedly unique and femine shoe. My favorites: Giuseppe Zanotti Platform Pumps and Oscar de la Renta's Embroidered Pumps @ Saks Fifth Avenue.
Oxford Shoes- With menswear's increasing sartortial influences popping up in womenswear this season, it is no surprise that this season's shoes are reflective of these trendy boyish accents. This season pair your blazers, stovepipe pants, and boyfriend jeans with these unisex shoes for a sharp statement. My favorites: Pour la Victoire Charlie Oxford Flats @ Shopbop, Gucci Riddle Lace-UpKilt Ankle Boots @ Saks Fifth Avenue, and Steve Madden's Black Tuxxedos @ Zappos.
I wanted to bring attention to an extraordinary exhibit that is taking place at the International Center for Photography here in the Big Apple- Avedon Fashion: 1944-2000. As we all enjoy the September issues of our fall fashion magazines, it's important to pause and commemorate a man that was crucial in redefining fashion photography as we know and love it today. Avedon's stylistic innovations pushed the envelope of fashion photography to the streets and even for example, to Parisian circuses post World War II, by bringing new energy, light, and motion in capturing the modern woman. The 175 works on display at the International Center for Photography is not only the most comprehensive retrospective of Avedon's career, yet exemplifies why Avedon was a pioneer in fashion photography; the exhibit is a testament to Avedon's ability to capture such spirit, beauty and movement in his photographs. I'm consistently attracted to the life and energy that is communicated through his photographs, such as this shot of Suzy Parker and Robin Tattersall running with the birds in Paris circa 1956. For me, Avedon's career as a fashion photographer revolutionized the glamorous and playful narratives of fashion that continue to inspire and infuence the fashion editorials that we read today. So as the September issues hit newstands in these upcoming weeks, happy official fall fashion reading!
photo credits: Suzy Parker and Robin Tattersall running with the birds in 1956, Veruschka in a dress by Bill Blass photographed by Avedon in 1967.
Blame it on my beloved red cowgirl boots that I fell in love with at age six, but there’s something so genuinely stylish about cowgirl boots that it gets me every time. Come fall, boots are those coveted and exquisite accessory that have the ability to transcend all style expectations and take you from the crisp autumn days of fall to the dead of winter. While there are a plethora of low-heeled ankle boots this fall varying from the tough chic of motorcycle boots to the more relaxed leather booties accompanied by an assortment of hardware such as buckles, studs, and straps, cowgirl boots evoke a certain nostalgic aesthetic that never seems to be outdated. Styled with jeans or paired with a vintage belted dress, with cowgirl boots it’s all about the attitude and creativity.
These are my top 5 cowgirl boots for fall from our retailers:
1. Sam Edelman 'Nile' Ankle Boots @Nordstrom
2. Heather Studded Flat Boots by Cynthia Vincent @Shopbop.
3. Frye Harness Cuff @Zappos.
4. Frye's Deborah Studded Booties @Shopbop
5. Laredo Cowgirl Boot @ Zappos
My track record for lacking the proper attention and care regarding my clothes made me particularly interested when I was approached by The Laundress, a company spearheaded by two female entrepreneurs who saw the need for creating a luxury fabric care and specialty detergent line. Declared to take the ‘chore out of laundry,’ I was more than willing to test a few of their products. (‘Frustration’ and ‘struggle’ are two associations that come to mind when thinking about the process of laundry.) The result is that these women have mastered the art of laundry with a balance of the eco-friendly science of their products and the convenience of a complete line of detergent that equips you for any situation (i.e. specific detergents for specific fabric needs.) My favorites are the Denim Wash, the Delicate Wash in baby scent, and their new All-Purpose Bleach Alternative. In the midst of marathon training for fall, I'm particularly obsessed with their new detergents targeted for keeping sports gear and exercise clothes clean: Sport Detergent and Sport Spray. In other words, if you could ever go green and simultaneously do your laundry in class and style, it would most certainly be encapsulated by The Laundress' solution for any laundry-related dilemma. http://www.thelaundress.com/
After a recent purchase of yet another menswear inspired blazer, I knew it had come time to share with you all my current obsession with incorporating menswear into my wardrobe. From the runways to the streets here in the Big Apple, I’ve been inspired by the infinite ways a tailored blazer can add glamour, sophistication, and structure to create an instantly polished ensemble that is decidedly both feminine and smart. Similar to the LBD, a tailored blazer is a magic garment in any women’s wardrobe that can instantly transform an outfit. Mix in bold jewelry, boyfriend jeans, soft makeup, killers heels- the variables are endless. After a preview of some fall collections, the addition of feminine details like puff sleeves and peplum silhouettes thrown into the mix add a particularly structured feminine chic and smart sexiness about them. In my fantasy world of fashion heroines, she would currently be wearing a blazer of the like.
Here are some ways I’ve been incorporating this magical little garment:
1. Upgrade your jeans: Yesterday I wore a tailored black blazer with white jeans and lace up ankle boots, similar to Shopbop's Elizabeth and James Elizabeth IV Blazer. Pairing a blazer with boyfriend jeans is also another interesting dimension for a more downtown ensemble.
2. Mix with feminine pieces: Play with girly hemlines and floral prints. Try pairing a blazer with a floral dress for a bit of structure. I'd pair this Parker Floral Cami Dress from Shopbop with this Theory's Gratian Blazer. The juxtaposition of feminine/masculine elements of dressing are fresh and very fun. This is a great example of the way a blazer can transition seasons. As evenings become coolor, a tailored blazer with a feminine dress is a great way to simultaneously style an outfit and be prepared for cooler temperatures.
3. For a bit of sophistication: Match a blazer with a sharp pair of trousers. I'd suggest these Theory Fraine Pants from Shopbop with the same Theory Gratian Blazer for smart office dressing. For a sophisticated glam look, I'd pair this blazer with a bodycon inspired dress, such as Rag & Bone's Pipe Dress with a blazer longer in length and a burst of color like this Elizabeth and James 'James' Blazer in red.
4. Feminine details: Take advantage of this season’s trends by incorporating blazers with feminine details, like this Puff Sleeve Pleat Blazer from Armani Exchange.
5. Sequins: Finally, and last but not least, for the stylishly adventurous: Robert Rodriguez's Sequin Jacket.