The Lastest Shoes From Italy

Italy is the land of  all things beautiful and tasty—intricate gold jewelry, sharply tailored men’s suits, lucious linens, and of course, artisinal leathers— as in shoes and bags. During fashion week Milan is buzzing with buyers, editors and influencers who are franetically racing from fashion show to previews ( and if lucky enough, a dinner at Da Gacomo). I was in Milan after a long hiatus from the city and found it  the same as it ever was—fashion and food are #1 and so are Italian shoes. Although my time there was limited, I was able to highlight what Milan had to offer. Here are a few of my finds. 

Etro bootie fall 2019

Etro loafer fall 2019

Essentiel Antwerp fall 2019

 Stuart Weitzman is American but since Edmundo Castillo became Creative Director, they upped the presentaion to Italy. Mr.Castillo is a veteran shoe designer, starting at Donna Karan back in the day and moving on to Via Spiga, and his eponymous brand to name a few. He respected the codes of the Weitzman name, updating their splurge-worthy thigh-high boots into a bright white flat and adding patent thigh-high stilettos to the mix. Weitzman fans will be happy about the infusion of creativity like the butterfly snakeskin sandal but not put-off by drastic changes from their well-loved shoe. Bravo Edmundo on this colletion.   

 

The family owned house of paisley, Etro’s runway show played upon the 18-Century Victorian era and didn’t stray too far from the brocades, tapastries and of course paiselies that define Etro. I visited the showroom on Via Spartaco to see the accessories up close. I loved the tartan bootie with multiple buckles and straps—Mona Lisa’s gone punk. The tapastry flat was  a stand out and they showed their version of the ubiquitous sock sneaker with Etro swirl.    

 

Pedro Garcia comes to Milan to present his simple grouping at a cocktail party at Six Gallery on Via Scaldesole. His thing is to use buttery soft leathers which he does in limited colors of tan and black. He infuses some of the styles with the distinctive rows of diamante rhinestones.

As I entered the Geox showroom I was surprised to see a geometric patterned stiletto boot in hot pink and purple suede. This was not what I was expecting from a comfort shoe brand. Other surprises included velvet booties with gold heels and Stephen Sprouse lettering on oxfords. My favorite were the 3 toned stacked heel loafer with kilt—I love a kilt.  

Although I didn’t attend the Prada show, the pristine showroom with it’s pale green carpeting and sparsely placed mannequins was a thrill to see—it was like the church of Miucia. It’s entirely possible I was moved by my love of the brand and not everyone would have that reaction. In any case— to me it felt sacred.

Prada loves dichotomy and her red monster sole oxfords are a sharp conrast to the 3D rose satin bag from the same runway  collection. This strong statement shoe is bound to influence.

The White Milano trade show was packed with emerging fashion brands from all over the globe. There were 5 venues filled with fashion on Via Tortona and I browsed every one. Many fashion focused brands also had shoes. Esseniel is a trend driven collection out of Antwerp. My eye went directly to the black floral sneakers and the glitter western boots.

The directional Portuguese brand used bits of yarns and ribbon to make a hairy kind of oxford shoe for those who want to make a statement on their feet and arty types.

 The message from Milano? Fall 19 is a good season to reinvest in boots. Athletic shoes and oxfords are still big as are sensible heels. Brands are also sticking to what they know best instead of trying to fit into a trend. It’s a good time to stay true to who you are.

Geox fall 19

Geox fall 19

Geox fall 19

Geox fall 19

Pedro Garcia fall 19

Pedro Garcia fall 19

Geox fall 19

Pedro Garcia fall 19

From White Milano Portugese brand

Prada fall 19

Stuart Weitzman fall 19

Stuart Weitzman fall 19

Stuart Weitzman fall 19

Stuart Weitzman fall 19

Stuart Weitzman fall 19

Stuart Weitzman fall 19

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Color My World

Men’s suiting has gone color saturated for spring /summer 18. What better way to enliven the world in which we live than to wear a statement of positivity. Optimism is the name of this game. Because many feel uncertain—politically environmentally and culturally, the hope is that outward appearance will bring contentment and certainty. There were many brands that dipped into this trend but below are three that stood out.

Gucci is the leader of the fashion pack of late. Guru, Alessandro Michele’s has us in a dizzying trance with his fashion army. A canary yellow windowpane plaid suit has a bright red toy strawberry as a closure—ironic. A rust three-piece is worn with white sunnies and cowboy boot. It’s all a part of Gucci’s gang of anti-heroes that take tradition and turn it on its ear.

Raf Simmons brought Calvin Klein back to the glory of the late 90’s but unlike the time when Calvin was designing, Raf’s models have a distinct edge. Bright suiting, unusual accessory pairings, and a spot-on casting made all the difference in this collection. A cobalt rockabilly look and a magenta three-piece suit are both worn with cowboy boots and scowling models to an edgy modern effect.

David Hart takes a more lighthearted tact to his colorful suits. Two-button jackets, slim leg pants, light linens, cigar in pockets, toothpicks twirling in the

Photo by Valerio Mezzanotti for the New York Times
Assignment ID: 30207662A

Photo by Valerio Mezzanotti for the New York Times
Assignment ID: 30207662A

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Photo courtesy of Calvin Klein

Photo courtesy of David Hart

mouth and fedora hats all bring to mind a Cuban influence that has inspired many designers and artists of late. The looks are the perfect accompaniment for a trip to the Caribbean island or for any man trying to maintain positivity in the face of an uncertain future.

Bright colors are not the norm in menswear but optimism is always a good idea.

 

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What Megan Markle Did for Love

 

Every little girl dreams of being a princess but it’s a rare lady that actually becomes one. This is the case with the American biracial actress, Meghan Markle who will walk down the aisle on May 19th as the world watches with rapt attention. She and Prince Harry will say their vows in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a smaller venue than where his mother Princess Diana and father, Prince Charles captivated the world 30 years ago. Their wedding took place at Westminster Abbey with wide-eyed Diana looking like a transformed Cinderella. Although Meghan and Harry’s wedding will reflect their personalities it will be no less of a fairy tale because at its heart, it is a love story of a British Prince and a girl from California.  

 

If you live in the universe you’ve no doubt seen photos of Meghan and Harry since the engagement announcement. And if you’re like me you try to get a read on them from the photos. It’s pretty obvious that they are swooning with love for each other in all the images.  Another telling sign is Meghan’s efforts at taking on royal customs and traditions. I’ve noticed that her fashion choices are more conservative and in-line with her upcoming position as a Princess. For one thing she’s wearing more structured hats which is a world apart from the easy breezy California dressed down vibe that she is used to. Becoming a royal requires a level of etiquette and tradition that Meghan may not be accustomed to but every sign points to her stepping up to the task. That includes but is not limited to taking down her social media accounts, giving up her acting career for the time being, and being baptised into the Church of England.This lady is not playing—she’s in it for the long haul.

 

Beyond those monumental changes, Meghan must stick to fashion rules set by the Queen herself. Outward appearances are essential in conveying a certain level of decorum as evidenced with the Queen’s colorful and well put-together fashion choices. At 91 years old she dresses impeccably always with a matching hat and elegant handbag. Meghan has echoed this look in her own way with her camel Mackage wrap coat and chocolate beret— oh so British. Another rule is that pantyhose are required at official appearances. Meghan already missed the mark on this when she arrived for her formal engagement photos without any.”Off with her head!” She saved herself and wore the sheer sausage casing at subsequent events. Another fashion faux pas is wearing nail polish that is other than a neutral shade. This one Meghan ace-ed when she showed off her engagement ring with a pale natural nail shade.

 

There is no intel on the designer that Meghan has chosen to create her bridal gown.  The world is dying to know but it’s a waiting game now but not a long one. All will be revealed on May 19— set your alarms for 5am! 

 

The Bridal Council asked some of the hottest bridal designers what they would create for Ms Markle . They each dreamed up some beauties in sketches which are seen at the link below.

http://www.thebridalcouncil.com/archive-thebridalcouncil/2017/11/30/dressing-an-american-princess-bride

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Chanel’s Haute Couture Has Ideas For Brides

Twice a year the pinnacle of fashion specticles takes place in Paris called Haute Couture. The literal translation of this French phrase is “high sewing” which involves painstakingly detailed dressmaking techniques using opulent fabrics, innovative designs and hand finishes. Fashion houses unleash their design prowess at the couture shows and create the most elaborate and challenging creations. It’s like the Super Bowl, the Olympics and the Tour de France of fashion all rolled into one

A client sees something she likes (at the show) and makes an appointment for a fitting at the Atelier. The look is made to order with her exact measurements. These are not pieces you will see in a retail shop—It is a unique garment, made to fit one body only. Minions of dress-makers at the designer’s Parisian atelier are at the ready to hand sew, fit, embroider and tailor the garment to fit like a glove. It’s a painstaking process but the end result is a unique look with lavish detailing and exquisite fabrications. It’s kind of like a bridal fitting on steroids.

There are only a few handfuls of fashion brands that show couture and Chanel, with its wealth of resources and Karl Lagerfeld’s genius at the helm is certainly one of them. The show was held at the usual spot, the Grand Palais in Paris, which was set up like an English garden with a fountain as a center piece,  cross-wood trellises filled with climbing flowers ( probably camellias), ivy filled urns and archways. A carpet of grass surrounded the fountain and served as an apt color contrast against the pastel spring looks. Models sauntered out with ease in low heeled shoes and boots.Tweedy skirt-suits had matching tweedy boots, and each model had a veiled headpiece with a cupcake of flowers on the very top.

The tweed parade was followed by a few chiffon dresses in a kelly green,electric blue, black and orange. Although you would think those brights would jar you out of this dream they somehow worked seamlessly in the show. The evening looks, began in a pallette of ballet pink, whites and pearl gray. A stand-out was a deconstructed tweed suit  worn with copious yards of tulle for a skirt.  The tradition of a bride at the end of the show was not lost here. A feathered sculpture was worn atop of a white slim pant and vest and made for a stunningly unique bride.

For a bride-to-be there is lots of inspiration which can be taken from this show. The veil alone could be a chic and modern addition to a wedding look and seems very doable to recreate. The idea of adding black gloves with pastel looks and the use of feathers both can be easily translated to wedding.

Chanel’s Haute Couture show is a session in creativity more than anything for brides to be— there is a  wealth of ideas to cull from, for the wedding ceremony and for your bridal look. It’s a delight to see the mind of Mr. Lagerfeld at work with his 360 approach to fashion shows. It’s not just about the clothing but the sets, the venue, the music and of course the fashion which come together to create one awe-inspiring experience. A fashion show is similar to a a wedding— there is a theme, decor to fit the theme, music and the parade of well dressed people, all to create a memorable event that people soon won’t soon forget.

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View the show video here

World Bride magazine

 

 

Photos courtesy of Chanel

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Gray Matters: Gray Heads on the Runway

It’s men’s show time in Florence, Milan and Paris and the runways are filled with prepubescent models wearing clothing that they likely can’t afford and are not interested in. Luxury brands like Hermes, Vuitton, Lanvin and you name it designer present on slender models who are chosen deliberately for their slim or not fully developed bodies.This is unscientific but I recall growing from age 16 to 20 so to my mind bodies are not fully adult until they hit 20. So why do designers chose boys to model men’s clothing ?

MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 14: A model, sunglasses detail, walks the runway at the Billionaire show during Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/19 on January 14, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Pietro D’Aprano/Getty Images for Billionaire)

I came across the Italian collection by Philippe Plein called Billionaire and stopped in my tracks because of the obvious difference. The male models had gray hair and acted perfectly confident and cool as they modeled the clothing which they look like they can afford to buy. The presentation was not a parade of shell-shocked expressionless teens with underdeveloped bodies . No, these guys inhabited the clothing with confidence.

MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 14: A model, sunglasses detail, walks the runway at the Billionaire show during Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/19 on January 14, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Pietro D’Aprano/Getty Images for Billionaire)

As a fashion stylist, I usually work with size 40 reg or 42 reg ( that’s their suit jacket size) male models but designer clothing never fits on the models in their 30’s. I work on more mainstream publications, ads and celebrities, but because the runway samples are cut to fit the slender bodies of the young boys, I can’t use those brands to style.

caption id=”attachment_1933″ align=”alignleft” width=”640″] MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 14: Models are seen backstage ahead of the Billionaire show during Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/19 on January 14, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Billionaire)[/caption]

Actually I’m a proponent of the movement to present older humans on the runway in general. Maye Musk is a female silver haired superstar in my book, and modeled at the women’s shows at NYFW She shocked  audiences out of the monotony of sleepwalking models when she walked confidently down the runway at Concept Korea and other shows.

MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 14: Models are seen backstage ahead of the Billionaire show during Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/19 on January 14, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Billionaire)

Although I spend way too much time covering up gray hairs, I hope that seeing older humans portrayed in a positive and fashionable light  will one day allow me to be unchained from my colorist and proudly display who I am without fear of judgement from   powerful millennials  who are in positions of calling the shots and of hiring.

 

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MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 14: A model is seen backstage ahead of the Billionaire show during Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/19 on January 14, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Billionaire)

MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 14: Models are seen backstage ahead of the Billionaire show during Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/19 on January 14, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Billionaire)

MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 14: A model is seen backstage ahead of the Billionaire show during Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/19 on January 14, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Billionaire)

MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 14: Models are seen backstage ahead of the Billionaire show during Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/19 on January 14, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Billionaire)

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Van Cleef and Arpels Little Creatures

 

One of the requisites of making adorable jeweled creatures for Van Cleef & Arpels is to let childlike fancy guide the designs. VCA entrusts Nicolas Bos, Creative Director and chief imaginary officer with this job so that jewelry groupies will grace their lavish salons. What better story to re-tell in gemstones than the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark which doubles the cute factor with two creatures for the price of one. In the brand’s native tongue the project is called, L’Arche de Noé racontée. [ 377 more words ]

 

Noah’s ark jeweled animals
photo courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

Because nature— animals and botanicals are motifs used in their jewelry throughout their history, the idea of recreating Noah’s ark with the animals, two by two, fits perfectly with their ethos. The menagerie with over 60 jeweled animals along with 3 imaginary creatures ( Pegasus in sapphires) are fashioned into brooches or as they call them—pins. An installation created by artist Robert Wilson was part of this project and  can be viewed until Nov 19, 2017  in New York. 

Van Cleef & Arpel’s loves the magical, the enchanted, the charming. They tell fairy tales with gems and jewels. Case in point the “Secrets” collection— each piece has a hidden functionality; a little surprise for the lucky owner. It’s not enough that jewelry adorns these days—it needs to entertain too. Link to the animated video is below. http://tinyurl.com/yd86tjfd 

 It begins with a Tinkerbell like sprite, fluttering around each piece revealing the secrets. An articulated petal of a flower, a bird that shows her baby chick or a necklace’s center reveals a ring—these are a few. Their strong sense of whimsical and magical is key in distinguishing themselves from other legacy brands and they continue to do this with Noah’s Ark. 

Back to the biblical. Many of the brooches are entwined animals as doubles but most  singular in a fabulous feat of jewelry ability. There are raccoons who each sit on a cabochon of spessartite garnets and pink tourmalines, cute lapins (rabbits) with diamonds and onyx, regal zebras with diamonds lapis lazuli, onyx, and diamond, sapphire and emerald encrusted koalas to name just a few who will be entering the Ark. They are truly a delight to see and all have the hefty “ price upon request” which is code for don’t ask.

The preview included a Q+A with artist Robert Wilson, who is known to have shaped the worlds of opera and theatre, Nicholas Bos, and moderated by Emmy Award Nominated Filmmaker and Author, Katharina Otto.  Robert spoke about his approach and why he kept the ark small within the room. A thunderous crash followed by a black-out of light added a monumental element to the installation. It makes one think about the deluge event that initiated Noah’s rescue mission.

 

You can experience Noah’s ark in jewels until Nov 19 at Cedar Lake Gallery in New York . For more info click

https://www.arkvca.com

Noah’s ark jeweled animals
photo courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

 

56x74mm

 

 

 

 

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The Costume Institute’s Rei Kawakubo Comme des Garcon is Off and Running

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I was never invited to the Comme des Garcon show when I attended Paris fashion weeks. Even when I worked under Amy Spindler at the New York Times who would make a call to the CDG office to request one for me—it didn’t happen. She was arguably one of the most powerful fashion journalists of her time, so if she couldn’t make it happen then no one could. Despite sneaking into one of the shows to see what all the reverence was about and being educated in Yohji, Comme and Undercover by my editors one of which was Franz Ankone, I never really got it. At the time I was into more conventional  fashion. That didn’t mean I couldn’t get the intellectual messages at a runway show. I was a big fan of Miuccia Prada, Hussein Chalayan and Alexander McQueen all of whom presented runway shows that made goose bumps appear all over your skin and you left with a strong message that you couldn’t shake. I was clear that a fashion show was about more than the clothing but Comme des Garcon was odd in a way I couldn’t understand. I suppose it was like looking at a Picasso and not getting his cubist interpretations. I just wasn’t a fan.

 

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But today at The Met’s Costume Institute’s preview, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcon Art of the In-Between, I saw a true artist’s retrospective. It’s easy enough to make a dress that follows the human form, but to use the form as a means to explore a subject is as cerebral as it gets. And to wear a CDG creation is a social statement not an enhancement of a female body. That is not to say that they are not a viable at retail. The “Play” collection with it’s whimsical heart logo on sneakers and t-shirts has become a favorite with teens. The Dover Street Market (an international shop) is a construct of Rei’s partner and sells both Comme and other highly regarded fashion brands like Gucci.

 

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Today at the preview the former ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy spoke as well as the Costume Institute’s curator, Andrew Bolton. The exhibition space was spare with white washed walls and alcoves which displayed mannequins in different groupings.  The simplicity of the space and the way it is displayed with bright natural light added to the impact of the artful fashion. Dates were not given to the looks to underscore timelessness.

 

 

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My opinion of  Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garcon has evolved as I have. She uses clothing to express her message and pushes the boundaries of the normal. Her work challenges us and we need that more than ever. In our instafame-fast-fashion-botox-Kardashian world, seeing this retrospective is a worthwile respite and reminder that we must think and see deeper, question the normal, and live with more meaning than what is on the surface.   Continue reading

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