The Baccarat Hotel Opens In New York

The crystal company with 250 years of history in France is making history on New York’s tony West 53 Street with the opening of the Baccarat Hotel and Residences.

This is the brand’s foray into the lifestyle arena: The midtown glass tower with 114 guest rooms designed by French husband and wife team, Gilles and Boissier, is a paradigm of modern luxury with a prismatic glass facade and an array of opulent crystal chandeliers placed throughout the hotel to a dramatic effect.

The chocolate brown and beige decor extends throughout, and the Grand Salon is accented with velvety crimson rose floral arrangements, and inviting coyote chairs that guests can sink into as they sip tea. The bar is an ode to the past and present, with art spanning centuries gracing the walls above the bar and the white settees.

The restaurant, Chevalier, is named after longtime Baccarat creative director Georges Chevalier, and can be accessed via a dedicated entrance. Michelin-star awarded chef, Shea Gallante’s, goal in creating the menu is a “brasserie deluxe in a modern setting.” Gallante also lent his culinary talents to the Grand Salon where small bites can be ordered.

The rooms are similar to private Parisian residence, decorated with a similar beige and chocolate brown color scheme than the public rooms. No detail was spared to make the sleeping space feel like a home away from home.

The spa will be run by the the prestigious La Mer, and will be the first full-service spa opened by the company.

The service is top notch if not impeccable with friendly but able hospitality agents eager to serve.
Room rates start at $899 and you can access the hotel website here.IMG_1731 IMG_1732 IMG_1735 IMG_1737 IMG_1738 IMG_1725 IMG_1726 IMG_1728

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Etienne Aigner Spring 15

Etienne Aigner's spring 15 collection

Etienne Aigner’s spring 15 collection

Etienne Aigner may not be a familiar name in the fashion world but I recall the hard to pronounce moniker from my days as a sales clerk at a department store in the 80’s. In high school I worked in “Designer Shoes” and was very proud to be among the latest in chic footwear that I could only dream about owning. I learned the difference between the “cobbie cuddlers” comfort shoes to the beautiful French ones from Charles Jordan with stiletto heels which by today’s standards were probably mild. Shoe obsessions are not recent development- women have always wanted their feet to be encased in lovely coverings. Aigner shoes and leather bags had a distinctive cranberry color that women loved. My teenage self felt they were too conservative, but the Aigner lady was fiercely loyal to the burgundy reds with the “A” logo.

When I was asked to preview the spring ‘15 collection it brought back memories. The first thing I noticed is the lack of “antic red” (as it was called). It was replaced with soft tones of creams, and beiges, along with burnt orange and electric blue. There were hobos in butter suede, totes in mixed-materials of leather and faux python, and a surprise of chartreuse green fur vest. Shoes shapes ranged from chunky wedges, to sandals with ribbon detailing and a particularly distinctive pointy flat with the backs scrunched down like they were well-worn slippers.

The Creative Director, Daniela Anastasia Bardazzi’s resume includes stints at Isaac Mizrahi and Michael Kors and so she may have picked up some tips to success. What she so deftly achieved with the relaunch of Aigner is clothing that you want to own for a reasonable price. There are no bold prints or overtly trendy pieces, just easy breezy collection with a twist, like a dropped waist dress with an interesting ruffle at the waist.

The name brand has a heritage that extends well over 50 years. Mr. Etienne Aigner was a Hungarian man who started as a bookbinder in Germany in 1904, states Wikipedia. His German name is pronounced, (et-tee-an /on-yay). Aigner’s history runs from bespoke high-end leather good in Paris to its 1959 foray into the American market when that year a New York showroom was opened and remained until the year 2000.

For Sprig 2015, Ms. Anastasia’s takes her inspiration from the 20th century American painter, Andrew Wyeth. Looking at his serine paintings with naturalistic palette I can see the connection. The designer’s spring look book sets the models against a window looking out onto a grassy landscape and the models in the look book images are reminiscent of Greta, a longtime subject in the paintings.

The relaunch of Etienne Aigner started in 2012 as a slow simmer. In Oct of this year they opened a shop opened at 65 Greene Street in Soho, New York City. It will be followed by a pop-up in Columbus Circle center. The brand is set to become affordable option for stylish clothing with a twist and regain part of its former glory.

Etienne Aigner spring 15 collection

Etienne Aigner spring 15 collection

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Gucci Appoints Alessandro Michele as Creative Director

Alessandro Michele Gucci's new hire 2015

Alessandro Michele Gucci’s new hire 2015

Alessandro Michele, part of the existing design team, is named Creative Director of the Italian legacy brand, Gucci. His appointment follows Frida Gianini who left the house abruptly just 2 weeks ago after the announcement that she would no longer hold the reigns. Ms Gianini, also an insider when she was given the job, was part of the Tom Ford dream-team which successfully brought Gucci to the forefront of fashion during the mid-90’s and straight into the new millennium . There was speculation that Mr. Ford was a front-runner for the current position but this did not come to fruition.

Gucci’s profits have been under scrutiny of late and its been reported that the successful formula of the past is not relevant in 2015. Changes in consumer tastes for handbags and leather goods went from a binged-out logo emblazened look to a simpler, sleek bag with small or no logos. Gucci’s DNA is in leather goods; its the bread and butter for the brand, so its no surprise that Mr. Michele’s focus and experience designing accessories may have sweetened the deal for his hire. He was the former accessory designer at Fendi where he and Ms Gianini worked prior to Gucci.


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Rising Star Nominee and Luxury Handbag Designer Jill Haber

Jill Haber Rising Star Nominee

Jill Haber Rising Star Nominee
With less than 2 years out of the gate, Jill Haber is a nominee for a rising star award from the Fashion Group International but she takes in all in stride. She prefers to keep her eye on creating glamorous accessories for busy women. “Women rely on a uniform for their daily clothing, and accessories can elevate the look and give it personality” she says.With exotic skins of crocodile, snakeskin and ostrich, and a modern vintage design, she has made serious headway with retailers for an independent brand. Her bags sit in to shops throughout the US as well as e-commerce, but she is well aware of her position as David among the Goliaths. Mammoths like Saint Laurent, Gucci, Vuitton and Prada all have evening bags as part of their product mix so she sets hers apart by addling unique details.
For bags made of rarified skins, they are priced reasonably.  Ms. Haber wants women to wear her bags as her tag line suggests, “Life’s short wear your bags”. With the initial idea of a chic evening bag with room for a cell phone, the collection now encompasses backpacks, satchels and messenger bags all in exotic skins with touches of wood and Lucite.
Although a determined designer and sharp businesswomen with an early career in publishing and advertising, her family including 2 teenage children, are her priority. Because she is a hand’s on designer, she prefers to assemble and manufacture the bags in NYC. Not only does it allow her to oversee the entire process and work out any function and style issues, but her family life doesn’t suffer.
We met at the Wayfarer restaurant for a late breakfast at the corner of 6th Ave and 57th street, on the first frigid day of the season. She is chicly dressed in a coco brown Michael Kors short sleeve ribbed sweater, black slim pants and a unique lariat with sliced stones painted gold. I can’t keep my eyes off it. She is carrying a black crocodile satchel of her own design and her easy manner makes anyone feel comfortable. With sandy blond hair, beautiful skin and very little make up she’s that girl that everyone wants to hangout with. We talk family, travel, and restaurants and yes, fashion.
She loves to wear Valentino and Akris for their feminine feel and she loves Paul Andrew shoes. Nina Garcia, the fashion director from Marie Claire and Project Runway is someone she admires for her style and a happy exuberance.
This summer she traveled with her brother to Marrakesh and describes it as a “carnival of the senses’’ “Ornate shaped doors and archways in the Medina inspired new shapes for my next collection, “she says. “ A great necklace found there will be translated into a layering technique on the hardware of some bags, “ she reveals.
The future of Jill Haber will include a continuation of the elegant evening bags along with more focus on day bags. Other ideas she has for the brand she is keeping to herself but she does admit to working in leathers and some fun pieces to adorn other parts of the body.

Jill Haber Designs Jill Haber Designs


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Red Carpet Fashion at Golden Globes 2015

72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals Naomi Watts - Getty Images#461356470

The fashion catwalk that is the Golden Globes 2015 had its moment last night and the looks did not disappoint. The kickoff event of the award season had a strong showing for metallic’s, Easter-egg colors, and no-frills hair and make-up. It’s everyone’s favorite with more fashion risks taken and a bubbly atmosphere brought about by the freely flowing champagne. This year it seems everyone got the memo to be understated and elegant; there were plenty of carefully thought out tasteful looks.

That effortless but put-together look takes lots of work with celeb’s stylists negotiating with designers for months for the perfect dress. Sketches are e-mailed back and forth, awaiting changes and 20 or more gowns are tried on during fittings. Evening clutches and shoes are gathered from sources and presented to the celeb for their approval. Then, hems need to be meticulously measured, hair and make are discussed and test-runs are scheduled.


Amy Adams Golden Globes 2015 wearing Atelier Versace

Matt Lauer from “The Today Show” was so taken by Amy Adams that he gushed about her eyes matching her dress. Amy wore a Atelier Versace in pale periwinkle blue, which offset her red tresses. The gown didn’t over-shadow the wearer and Adams really sparkled.


Miu Miu dressed Maggie Gyllenhaal in a muted rose strapless number and British beauty, Sienna Miller who wore a plunging V with open-back and pale florals. Also in the Miu Miu line-up wearing lipstick red was House of Cards ingénue, Kate Mara.


Both Globe winner Eddie Redmayne, and handsome hunk Jake Gyllenhaal were outfitted in Gucci, Eddie in velvet slim version and Jake in a more classic tux. Both were standouts.


Jessica Chastain wore a bronze metallic Atelier Versace gown which used tucks and twists in all the right places giving her the most perfectly proportioned body. Her side swept 40’s hairstyle was a perfect complement. It doesn’t go unnoticed that her stylist is Elizabeth Stewart, the premier stylist in Los Angeles who pulled off one of the evening’s top looks.


Naomi Watts was a drop-dead stand out with her sunshine yellow column dress by Gucci paired with the Bulgari diamond encrusted serpent necklace. With red lips as an accessory she hit all the right notes. Naomi’s uber-stylist, Jeanne Williams hit a home run with the look and commented, ” We wanted color.  She once wore yellow to the Oscars when she was pregnant and I have been waiting to get her back into it. Naomi is a natural beauty we didn’t need all the bells and whistles so we kept it clean. We only had one fitting and gravitated towards it when it was on the rack.  Naomi loved the Bulgari Serpenti, it is so her and it worked beautifully with the dress. It was our favorite thing about the final look.”

Jennifer Lopez took a chance with a lesser-known designer, Zuhair Murad in a chain-mail caped number that was basically taped on. I can’t imagine what kind of tape holds metal to a body but no one is revealing that secret.

Globe winner, Jullianne Moore stood up from the table to accept her prize holding copious feathers from the bottom of her gown which she cradled as she walked up to the stage. She was the stunner of the evening with her flaming red hair parted on the side and her Haute Couture Givenchy dress—indescribably ethereal.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11:  Actor Eddie Redmayne attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 11: Actor Eddie Redmayne attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals US- ENTERTAINMENT-GOLDEN-GLOBE-PRESS-ROOM <img class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-1366″ src=”

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Cartier’s Panther Event- Pretty Purfect

Cartier Panther eventcartier panter eventcartier step and repeat

I was in a taxi heading way downtown to Washington Street for a Cartier Panther event. It was the same event space that Ralph Lauren holds their fashion shows for the past few years and its a desolate street. Finding a taxi home would be difficult  (note to self: turn off phone with low battery need to reach UBER).

I stroll past the oddly empty grey step and repeat to a black space  each room leading to the next. A circular bar in one led to a cabinet of curiosities room. In this room the the glass show-cases held an odd grouping of items; a taxidermy toucan, a tiny dinosaur skeleton, 3 colorful marble eggs, an African sculpture and an inlaid carved wood box with a panther. I must admit that although the room had a warm living room atmosphere it wasn’t odd enough to haunt or disturb, and I couldn’t find a connection to Cartier or the panther.

The next space displayed the jewelry with security men flanking the walls. There was an elaborately ornate watch, a circular pendant with a lounging feline and bracelet with the emerald-green eyes staring at you. The panther is Cartier’s team mascot of sorts and this was the sleek animal’s party after all.

The next room was a proper night club done with the utmost elegance.There were emerald-green velvet couches, mirrored cubic tables and palm frond wall paper. Masked men served small bites of steak tartare . I enjoyed the parade of chic dressed people and the music’s volume was at an ideal level for easy conversation. These are the small touches that distinguish a great brand like Cartier who doesn’t have to scream anything. It’s all about subtle good taste.

As I left I did notice Debra Harry who may have been waiting for her UBER ride.

Thank you Cartier for a fun night.

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Blue Accessories

The fashion landscape is noisy. “90’s minimalism is back!” “its all about tribal”. Think of a trend and its found with a click of a mouse.  Its fashion week somewhere right?

But when designers are unconsciously drawn to a thread of sanity, concluding in unison that “blue is new” than fashion editors get happy –because we know what to proclaim.

This summer I noted an increase of robin’s egg blue at my daily visits to fashion  and luxury brands and although I should be unaffected by the gravitational pull, I most likely give in to its spell. At least until another gotta have comes along.


Valentino wooden and suede heels.


Roots cross body mini

Manolo Blanhik

Manolo Blahnik

Hermes cross body

Hermes cross body




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