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Archive for October, 2009...

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Weeks and weeks of runway shows have industry insiders starting to talk about “fashion fatigue,” as one top publication put it.  With this incredible rush of design coming from all sides, it is hard not to find a lot that is new, exciting, and sure to sell, but at the same time, when does it stop?  When do we get to come up for air?  That may still be a long way away…

 

                                           ENTER PARIS

 

…where fashion is as insane as it is brilliant.  News is rampant.  Styles you may never have imagined much less seen are here in super-size. Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton has outfitted his models with huge Afro-style wigs, so big they extend beyond the shoulder width.  The clothing is equally off-the-wall:  Little girl outfits.  Stripes going every which way.  Hair bows.  Rabbit tails the size of fox tails hanging down from waist bands.  Shiny little handbags worn on straps around the neck.  Big bracelets.  Across the chest big bags with more of those fuzzy fox-like tails hanging down to the floor. 

 

Pinks and greens and baby blues were important colors, along with neutrals of all sorts. White-washed yellows and blues and tans.  Layered looks: blouses over slacks with jackets tied around the waist.  Wide leg shorty-shorts.  Flouncy hemmed mini-minis.               

        –But nothing quite compared with the shoes. Big green fabric boots with white hairy base.   Shoes that looked like funny-looking children’s bedroom slippers.  If you ever saw anyone in any of this actually walking on the street, well…!

 

                                           LITTLE GIRLS

 

At Mui Mui, more children’s dresses for adults…and a certain Cinderella look in smocking, sheer nude panels, spangles and glitz.  There was a lot of emphasis on the bust line, plenty of mini skirts, plenty of long skirts.  Several models wore long pinned-on braids, German-style. 

 

But fear not.  A more grown-up look came from designers like Elie Saab and Kenzo, who put out long dresses in silky fabrics and colors that ran from neutral tans to soft hues and deep purples.  Draping was very important.  Embellishment, in the form of heavy, clustered sequins and crystals were set into small spaces (like a corner of the shoulder) for a very big impact.  Jewelry was wild.  Bracelets that looked like fuzzy circles of hair, some heavy, some thin.  Big bib necklaces in amber, very asymmetrical. 

   –Kenzo worked with deep-crotch trousers, very Arabic, wrapped headdresses, Moorish-style prints, white lace suits, and no small amount of Sahara-inspired images.

 

WHAT COULD BE BETTER FOR SPRING THAN A BOUQUET OF GAULIC-INSPIRED JEWELRY?  LOOK HERE:

 

 

 

 

 

                                       LAGERFELD’S PROVINCE

 

My oh My!  Karl Lagerfeld’s collection for Chanel was strictly based on country living albeit a wild and wooly kind of country.  Skirt lengths were eeeeks! Short! And, to make matters worse, full! Or, they were terribly, properly long.with an Asian sensibility.  Pattern was everywhere, especially florals, in the form of country-girl orange-red poppies, very 1950s retro.  That orange-red color kept poking its head up throughout the show, on shoes, on belts, on hair accessories. 

 

Some of the Chanel outfits were very airy, gossamer.  Others were heavier, sturdier, country-practical.  Hair accessories were smaller than usual, more wearable. Gone was the wildness of this accessory category. What we did see were silk hair flowers.  Little tiaras.  A feather or two.  Little head wraps.  Woven fabrics (especially for handbags) were hot.  So were crystals and lace. Handbags were of the clutch variety.  Or, handle envelope bags.  Or, summery bags with floral appendages that looked like someone carrying a basket full of posies in from the garden. 

 

For Chanel right now: Think rustic.   Think pretty.  Think down home farm life. 

 

 

                                               SPLISH-SPLASH

 

Running from Chanel to Alexander McQueen this season is like going from cute little girl to alien invasions.  The presentation made you wonder just what the McQueen Paris shows were trying to accomplish, anyway.  One outfit featured a model with hair tightly braided into satanic horns, and worn with a black and green surreal printed short skirted dress with one short sleeve and one long.  Another dress, again with horned model, featured a skirt in crass Halloween orange and black that swooped out just below the waist to create a wide, very short bottomless bubble.  Move a tiny bit in that dress and it would become decadent.

 

And then there was the shimmery fabric outfit, shoes, leggings, little dress, all of a single sculpture, flashing and shining, looking like miniature bubble wrap.  The shoes, which just flowed out of the skin-tight leggings, were “scary armadillo shoes,” as one publication said.

   –This from the one-time boy wonder of the Parisian fashion world?  Please…

 

                                                 FABRIC FRENZY

 

Paris wasn’t without fabric interest.  Some was fluffy and flowing. A lot featured see through pieces of transparent fabric.  A big, pale yellow-green dress from Valentino looked like strips of big lightweight fabric wrapped around the model’s body several times, ending in a short hemline.  Another Valentino special was done in very pale brown-tan encrusted with lacy embellishment down the front and over the short sleeves.  See-through was scary. 

 

Perhaps paying up for the see-through whimsy, Valentino also paraded a model in diaphanous grey tan long dress with a perimeter (that’s what we said!) of ruffles all around, pushing up to the chin, around the sides, and down across the bottom. Covered up, top-to-bottom!

 

You could probably come up with several trend stories at Valentino, if you tried hard enough.  Ruffles.  No-waist.  Neutrals. Lace. Whatever.  You really can’t go wrong with Valentino, no matter what the season.

 

 

NEUTRALS HIT A HIGH NOTE IN PARIS THIS YEAR, ALONG WITH PLENTY OF EARTH-GREEN SHADES FOR ECO-FAB COLOR ZING.  GET WITH IT WITH THESE WELL-PRICED FRENCH DELIGHTS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                     THINGS TO NOTE OVERALL: 

 

Strips of leather and cording hanging down from shorts and skirts, like the fabric and/or paper strips worn by Orthdox Jewish Hasidim.  Handbags with shoulder straps like luggage straps.  Totally insane shoes, both high and low, all very big, very peculiar-looking.  Hair bows. Little handbags on wrist-strap chains.  Dark bracelets. Shiny silver jewelry.  Wide head bands, great for tennis.  Straps everywhere.  On shoes.  On bags.  Running up the leg and over boots. Leather strap bracelets.  Sort of Gothic!  Sort of tiresome, too!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, October 30th, 2009

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It’s Halloween and that can be scary…but don’t make it too scary, you don’t want to be a statistic!  Why not consider replacing that fun but dangerous habit of Trick or Treating with a Halloween Party for your kids…or your store?  A ghostly party is always fun, and the danger can be kept under careful control! 

 

Where to start?  Well, how about a Ghost Butler?  Let somebody man the door, all he needs is a white sheet over his head and cut outs for eyes.  Easy!  Add a recording of horrible sounds to give character to the entrance and you’re ready to go. 

 

All the people in your house or store should have on a costume.  And, of course, a mask!  See to it that the kids are dressed up, too.  You can make up a great party game by having each person explain his or her costume and why it should win first prize.  Just be sure you have follow-up prizes in large enough supply so each youngster can win for something.  “Ghoulish Best.”  “First in the Cemetery.”  “Vampire’s Choice.” 

 

You might also want to theme your Halloween costume party to something like “Vampires and their Damsels.”  Or, “Little Devils.” Or, “Witches and Warlocks.”

 

Food?  Well, it just has to be pizza.  Find out about Halloween specials at your local store.  Treats can be homemade, or bought.  My mom used to make devil’s food cupcakes and frost them with orange icing on one side, black on the other.  Quick and easy!  Or stop at your local candy store and get some Halloween goodies like spider webs, skulls, and other delicious fare.  Sprinkle them on cakes and ice cream.  Be generous with some green or blood red soda. And then, decorate the table with some fun plastic spiders from the party supply store.

 

Horror films from Blockbusters will make your party a hottie.  Just jazz it all up a bit by having the lights go out from time to time, or some screams and groans echo across the party room.  Keep it all light, and fun.  Who has the most horrible scream?  Who can cast the best spell?  Ohhhhh, this can get wild!

 

Before ending for the day or evening, give each party-goer a bag of Halloween treats to bring home.  And with that in hand, who cares about Trick or Treat-ing anyway? 

Happy Halloween!

 

BE SURE TO GET THE BEST MASKS YOU CAN THIS YEAR.  THEY MAKE THE CELEBRATION A REAL TREAT!  HERE ARE SOME TERRIFIC CHOICES:

 

 

 

 

 

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RING-RING:  Georgio Armani has just unveiled his third phone for the giant electronics firm, Samsung, with Microsoft Windows 6.5 software, and is it ever Smart.  Wow!  Ringing in at a modest $1,029 or 700 euros, the Armani Samsung Smart phone features a 3.5-inch Ultra Brilliant AMOLED touch screen and Qwerty keyboard as well as always-on connectivity tools, GPS, a 5-megapixel camera, radio, music, and video player, 8 gigabyte internal memory and an extendable microSD slot up to 32 GB. “Elegant dressing is part of daily business life,” Armani says. Elegant accessories are also becoming more and more a part of the daily fashion world, as well.

 

VUITTON FOR CHARITY: “People say we don’t do anything, but we do a lot,” declared Naomi Campbell, in launching a new handbag from Louis Vuitton for her latest charity, the White Ribbon Alliance.  The organization is dedicated to reducing the amount of maternal mortality in the world. The bag has yet to be given a proper name, but its current price tag is 1,900 euros or $2,789American.

   –Campbell has been modeling for Marc Jacobs since she was 16.   She is presently a global ambassador for the Alliance, which lobbies world leaders to provide safe motherhood practices.  The new Vuitton bag is quiet and versatile, with a soft square style and a coveted Marc Jacobs label. 

 

SNL AT BARNEYS NY: The theme of the 2009 Christmas holiday windows at Barney’s New York is Have a Witty Holiday. The fabulous collection of windows depicts memorable Saturday Night Live moments covering more than 3 decades of laughs and talented, hilarious people.  “We are deemphasizing flagrant luxury and reemphasizing fun,” declared creative director Simon Doonan.  The same holds true for the firm’s holiday catalog, where prices start at “highly approachable” and go up to “typical Barneys.”  For example, a Timex watch sells for $85, while gemstone recycled earrings carry a price tag of $29,000.

 

YOU CAN GET PLENTY OF GORGEOUS BARNEY’S STYLE JEWELRY, BUT NONE OF IT HAS TO CARRY A BARNEYS PRICE TAG:

 

 

 

 

 

PRICED TO SELL: Can you believe it?  Even Neiman Marcus has caught the economic flu this year, with a catalog featuring 40 percent of over 400 items priced at less than $250.  Even the firm’s annual fantasy special (this year it is a two-seater plane) goes for a mere $250,000, considerably below the fantasy gift price tags of yesterday. 

   –Also in the famous Christmas book: an electric motorcycle, a fabulous dinner for two at Manhattan’s famed Algonquin Hotel, and a Cupcake Car, a 4-foot wide electric automobile that looks like a cupcake with thick frosting and sells for just $25,000.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

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THE SECOND HALF Pantone Color Chart for Spring offers a number of rich, unusual neutrals, and also follows through with a number of strong vibrant colors.  An interesting point with these tones is how well they work with the colors listed in Pantone’s Men’s Fashion Chart for spring.  In fact, several of the colors are duplicated exactly! For example, Amparo Blue, Turquoise, and Dried Herb come in at Third, Seventh, and Tenth place on the Men’s Chart, indicating their color strength for both sexes and suggesting that they will be on the listing for some time. 

 

Here are the remaining five top color contenders for spring fashion and accessories:

 

 

  1. TUSCANY.   This is a lovely light brown, with definite gray undertones. Eiseman calls it a strong color for consumers’ wardrobes, and refers to the brown tones that have become so much more popular in the last few seasons.  Be careful not to think of this as a full brown, however.  It is more a variant of brown, a light soft version for spring.

 

  1. AMPARO BLUE.  It is rare to get this far along in a fashion color chart before we reach a real blue!  But here it is, a gorgeous blue with rich purple undertones.  It is a warm blue, with a great deal of appeal, and will probably move up the chart rapidly in the next few seasons. Designer Adrienne Vittadini chose this as one of her colors, saying her inspiration was “the crystal blue waters of Capri.”  Designer Tommy Hilfiger is also working with Amparo Blue, and says his inspiration was the “California coastline.”

 

THE MOST POPULAR COLOR THERE IS, YEAR AFTER YEAR, BLUE SHOWS UP ON OUR SPECIALIZED FASHION CHART WITH REAL VIBRANCY AND CHARM.  HERE, IT SHARES ITS MAGIC WITH SOME TERRIFIC PIECES:

 

 

 

 

 

  1. PINK CHAMPAGNE:  Just as its name suggests, this is very delicate, airy, light-as-a feather color.  It relates well to textures, Eiseman says, and can work especially well in the new, filmy, romantic spring dresses, skirts, and scarves.  It has little undertones of pink that spark up its appearance, giving it more body.  This is a color that is unusually versatile.  It has a lot of personality despite its intense gossamer impression.

 

  1. DRIED HERBA very sophisticated neutral version of green, Eiseman thinks this color will be accepted even by “people who hesitate to purchase the color green, itself.” Combining it with Violet or Aurora “would urge consumers to buy it even more,” she says. Designer Carmen Marc Valvo uses a version of Dried Herb which he calls “Warm Khaki” as his signature color.  He juxtaposes it with metallic gold for a really dynamic look.

 

  1. EUCALYPTUS: A practical, neutral gray, this color combines beautifully with   

      any of the colors in the rest of the chart.  It goes especially well with the more     

      vibrant colors in the chart, and works wonders as a balancing color.  Eiseman  

      predicts that many consumers will look for accessories in this color.

 

FINDING A NEUTRAL COLOR THAT WILL STILL EXCITE ISN’T EASY, BUT THIS SEASON’S CHART HAS SEVERAL.  HERE ARE SOME NEUTRAL JEWELRY PIECES THAT ARE EQUALLY EASY TO COORDINATE WITH A WARDROBE:

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

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“CONSUMERS CRAVE COLOR FOR SPRING,” declares Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, and “designers are giving it to them by choosing optimism for the season.” 

 

The top colors on the seasonal chart chosen by New York designers in the Pantone Fashion Color Report break into two main divisions:  The first seven, which are vibrant and energetic, and the last three, which are more neutral.  Overall, it is an exciting chart!  

 

While the colors represent a definite optimism, it is still somewhat tempered by what Eiseman says is “the elephant still in the room – the recession.”  Consumers are still relatively cautious about their purchases.  They are mainly looking to spice up their wardrobes with a few carefully selected pieces, such as accessories, which are fresh and new and which will enliven their overall wardrobes.  

 

The top colors for spring are nevertheless very exciting…and start off with a real surprise.  In Number One spot is:

 

                                               VIOLET

 

Can you believe it?  Well, purple has been making its way through the color charts for a number of seasons, and it has now culminated in first place positioning with VIOLET.  Still, it is an unexpected color choice — not a more conventional color like pale blue or dusty green or even softened red.  No, none of them!  It is VIOLET.  Off-beat, but no less lovely. 

 

Here, then, is the chart:

 

  1. 1.      VIOLET:  The violet that is making big news in fashion circles now has a touch of red in it and “provides a bit more excitement to what we’d typically think of as a cooler color,” says Eiseman.  “A little bit of warmth to a cool color intrigues the consumer’s eye.”

 

2.  AURORA:  This is a bright yellow with a hint of green.  According to Eiseman, its popularity has been spurred on by designers using the color in accessories and evening gowns.  It has also been used in numerous variations in red carpet events. Designers like Adam Lippes have worked in an exciting way with pop colors, including Aurora.

 

YELLOW IS HAPPY, AND BRINGS A SMILE TO ALMOST EVERYONE’S FACE.  CHOOSE IT JUST BECAUSE IT IS SO POSITIVE!  HERE ARE SOME GREAT PIECES IN YELLOW:

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 3.      TURQUOISE:  This is a color that has been bobbing up and down on the color charts for quite a while now, especially for accessories!  Designer Peter Som sees      

it as expressing “the need for a happy mood – a lifting color that offers a bit of escapism.”  Eiseman thinks this color is strong because it is a version of blue that is associated with tropical, ocean-filled vacations,   “It makes people think of someplace exotic,” she says.

 

  1. FUSION CORAL: A soft, pastel orange, this gentle color is an interesting

combination of a strong, energized orange and a pale, almost pink-y neutral.  It can simultaneously give a bolt of excitement to a palette, while blending inconspicuously with a wide range of other colors. “It is a very popular color with cosmetic people,” Eiseman says. “It is flattering to most skin tones.”

 

  1. TOMATO PUREE:  This is a real red with blue undertones.  Senior vice

president and fashion director Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus says, “Red is the

message from the runway.”  He sees “bright lipstick to deep Bordeaux as filling the

consumer’s passion for a super-saturated season.”  Many designers are also

showing this red in their collections!

 

YOU CAN ADD SOME EXCITING – IF NOT THRILLING – RED TO YOUR COLOR CHOICES WITH THESE TERRIFIC JEWELRY PIECES:

 

 

 

 

 

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

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DID YOU KNOW?  The legend of vampires began in ancient Persia where a vase was found depicting a man struggling to free himself from the clutches of a blood-sucking creature.  It was a frightening piece of folklore that caught the imagination of the people at the time, and continued on its terrorizing journey even up to today.  Throughout ancient Asia and the Middle East, legends of vampires dotted the historic landscape for centuries.  In Mexico, the Aztecs often fed their young to the gods to assure that the earth would produce good crops each year.  In both Greek and Roman mythology, bloodthirsty goddesses can be found waiting to suck human blood and steal earthly bodies.

 

Ohhhh, the horrors of the vampire class.  But none – NONE – could compare with that dreadful old meanie, Count Dracula, Romanian Prince of Wallachia, who impaled thousands just for his own satanic pleasure.

 

NOW…Halloween is on its way and with it, the dark Count Dracula threatens to rise up from his dusty grave to spread horror and dismay, just as he does each year.  You can join in the fun of scary stuff this year with some spooky jewelry all your own.  How about:

 

 

 

  • Boo! Halloween pendant.  (You can be scary, too!)   

 

THE BIG DAY IS ALMOST HERE!

 

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IN PRINT:  Who would expect a new, high class fashion magazine to be launched during this economic recession, when couture isn’t exactly running on a high road to profit?  And, moreover, who would expect that\ magazine to be put out by a financial publication?  Well, that’s exactly what the Wall Street Journal’s classy quarterly mag is doing, as it tries to wrestle some big advertising bucks out of the World of finance as well as the World of fashion.  The latest issue, just out, examines the changed state of luxury and its effect on diamonds, accessories, real estate and champagne.

 

PAINTED LADIES;  Women might be cutting back on wardrobe expenses, but they aren’t reducing their makeup expenses one bit, according to a Beauty Barometer by L’Oreal conducted in U.S., France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The women, aged 15 to 65, say they are wearing more natural-looking makeup and more neutral colors.  72 percent of them contend that makeup makes them feel better about life.  Nearly half said that wearing makeup gives them an advantage at work, and makes them feel more in control.  86 percent say it also improves their self image.  What are the most popular cosmetic products?  No competition!  They’re mascara, foundation, and lipstick.

 

COTERIE ROCKS:  A new and larger collection of accessories showed up at the recent Coterie Show at the Javits Center in New York City this year, as manufacturers of contemporary jewelry, handbags, belts, and the like discovered they could get good exposure to a somewhat different crowd of buyers at this exposition.  As one jewelry maker noted, “There’s a different dynamic here.” 

   Color was the major trend in handbags, along with studded designs that gave the bags a   pretty/tough look, a kind of rock-and roll aesthete, only with a softer feeling. Mini bags with long straps were also very hot, as were almost any handbags with skinny leather strips hanging down. The trend away from heavy, huge bags toward lighter, highly functional bags continued.  Buffed python was a major material, especially in soft, washed colors such as mint green, or light blue. Other movers at the exposition were bucket bags, hobos, wristlets and clutches. 

    In jewelry, feminine, floral designs predominated, although there were still plenty of edgy pieces on display. Studded wrap bracelets and bright bangles were hot. Vintage was big.  Florals of all sorts were popular, such as necklaces made up of gold-plated flowers.  A major designer name at the show was Kenneth Jay Lane, whose snake bracelet with gem-studded head was a real winner. Also part of the Lane collection:  A stunning open pink enameled flower with center pearl. 

 

NOTHING IS AS CHARMING AS FLORALS, AND YOU CAN FIND BOUQUETS OF THEM RIGHT HERE, ALL AT REMARKABLY REASONABLE PRICES.  TRY THESE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGH HATTED:  Hats are walking away with honors this season as designers finish off their wardrobe offerings with more and more elegant and creative chapeaux.  Perhaps the most charming and the most popular right now, is the classic beret.  This French beauty is slightly bigger than we’re used to, and is showing in many varieties, including a few with small little brims.  Color is important, too, although black is the real winner, bringing up visions of Paris in the 1920s, with all its intellectual and Bohemian wonders.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, October 15th, 2009

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FEW THINGS CAN UPDATE A WARDROBE FASTER than a few very trendy accessory pieces.  Choose a new piece of jewelry, or a fashionable scarf.  Stay classic with black or go trendy with turquoise.  However you decide, match your new pieces to the newest, the latest in accessories for a truly transformational wardrobe look.  Here are a handful of the latest trends working their way through the fashion field now:

 

PAVE JEWELRY: Updated with a definite modern touch, this classic style is shaking up the jewelry field with brand new ideas and inspirations.  Pave balls are particularly hot, as earrings, rings, and jewelry pendants.  Look for clear pave for very dress up occasions, but for everyday and evening wear…WOW! … the look is color all the way.  Ruby-luscious colored pave big ball rings set in gold plate is an eye stopper.  So are ball rings and earrings in turquoise pave, real or faux. Colored pave bangle bracelets also ring in high on popularity charts, especially in mixed colors.

 

LEATHER COVERED JEWELRY:  This is really exciting!  We’ve been talking about darker jewelry in our most recent blogs, and now the idea comes through with real pizzazz when the dark color is helped along, or established, by leather. Yves St.Laurent has terrific looking long drop earrings made up of four black leather-covered cabochons.  A necklace of very large chain covered in ebony black lambskin from Natalia Brill is very NOW.  And try some more of this hot look:  A very Egyptian-looking pendant made up of leather covered metal with gold plate outer rim; a leather covered woven bangle bracelet striped with gold plate.

 

ETHNIC SILVER:  It’s exotic. It’s wild.  And it really defies description as it covers a broad range of ethnic expressions. You can call it tribal, but tribal what?  India-Indian?  American Indian?  Mexican? African? Think of tooled silver mixed with silver chain for the basic piece of jewelry.   Then hang off a whole bunch of mostly silver coins.  Or rings.  Or little silver squares.  Clump all of that together and let it hang down from little silver circles for earrings, or drop down to form a necklace.  It’s the kind of thing you might see on a Turkish belly dancer.  Or an Indian Maharini.  Very dramatic!

 

TRIBAL ETHNICITY ALWAYS MAKES FOR INTRIGUING JEWELRY, PARTLY FAMILIAR, PARTLY EXOTIC.  THESE PIECES ARE NO EXCEPTION:

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANIMAL PRINTS: Grrrrrr!  Elephants printed on dress material.  Paw prints on a blouse.  Doggies on a T-Shirt. Kittens on a scarf. Or, endangered wildlife emblazoned on tote bags (as those from World Wildlife).  You just can’t get any more IN.  This is a decidedly preppy look, the kind you see in and around New York’s ritzy South Hampton.  You might want to take the animal look beyond prints, and see it made up into some serious or fun jewelry, like the Scotty dogs on Tiffany’s hot silver charm bracelet, or big cat images in gorgeous pins like the Duchess of Windsor made famous.

 

INFINITY SCARVES:  These charming little no-tie scarves fit around the neck almost like a choker, giving an elegant look while keeping you cozy at the same time.  They come in an endless array of prints and materials, running from silky smooth circlets of silk to thick woven cashmeres or even furry warm collars.  You can find them in sexy black onyx or trendy purple, in black and white herringbone or Scottish plaids.  Whatever your choice, these scarves are a thorough delight and a whole new direction in accessory trends.

 

SUEDE BOOTS:  Sure, you love shiny black leather, but this is the year for suede!  These newest of the new boots stretch up to the knee and beyond, are almost always a very dark color, and were born to be worn with leggings or skin-tight pants.  Their main appeal (besides looking great) is that they make your legs look long, long, long!  Oh, yes.  The heel.  Well, of course they aren’t flat. In fact they are high, very high. And the toe?  Super-pointy.

   –Add long-suffering to your list of personal characteristics! 

 

HAND (CLUTCH) BAG:  If you’re still in love with valise-sized bags, that’s OK, but you must get a smaller, daintier, more feminine little bag for Autumn this year.  The new bags are small to very small (slightly larger than a wallet), rectangular in shape, and really do go anywhere, anytime, morning until night.  Colors here are often quite bright, like brilliant emerald green or fire engine red, or slippery black.  Some are tooled leather.  Many are patent leather.  A few are rich materials, often with embellishments, like crystals or studs.  They are dramatically easier to carry than those over-load handbags designers have been feeding us, and they even look better, too!

 

LITTLE CHARMS:  These fun-loving pieces run in direct opposition to the large statement pieces we’ve lived with for many months now.  They come in a wide variety of shapes, are sometimes just an etched metal, and other times, richly embellished designs.  Think about a small little bow.  Or a tiny posy.  Or a happy face.  Work with pave. Jazz it up with a few streaks of gold plate. Dangle the charms from a chain bracelet or let them drop down from a gold-braid necklace. Latch onto retro, here, too.  Like slithery snakes. Or the eternally romantic heart.  Get one, or get a dozen. 

 

IN JEWELRY, OR STANDING ALONE, CHARMS ARE WINNERS.  TRY THESE:

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

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IT’S NOT THAT MANY YEARS AGO that Halloween costumes were strongly limited to just a few popular themes, used year in and year out.  Like cowboys and devils for boys.  And princesses and brides for girls.  Today, that is almost amusing it is so simplistic and passé.

 

Over 2.5 billion dollars are spent on Halloween costumes, masks and makeup annually in the United States, and the longest list of costume possibilities still won’t include all that is available.  Scary figures are always big, like zombies and apparitions, but they just kick off the subject matter, including in their grasp ghosts, dark angels, demons, gremlins, and the like. 

   —Boo!  Halloween is a time for goose bumps! It is also, in case you didn’t know it, the second biggest holiday annually for retail sales, and that, by itself, is  worth a couple of Boos and Howls!

 

Halloween costumes are by no means limited to kids.  In fact, adults make up a huge portion of those wearing costumes on the big night. So, if you are one of the millions of twenty-one-plus-ers who love Halloween, this is a time to allow your fantasies to run wild, to be whoever or whatever you want to be, without consequences. 

 

While children may be limited in their pseudo-identities to more conventional dark-night fare, adults are in no way so constricted.  They can be naughty, wild, sexy, scary, anything they want!  This is the night to howl.  Ohhhh!  Oooooooo!

 

LOOKING TO KNOCK THEM DEAD THIS HALLOWEEN? HERE ARE SOME AIDS FOR THE PROJECT:

 

 

 

  • Gorgeous masquerade mask with black and gold lace trim.  Choice of colors.

 

                                             Costume Mania

 

THIS YEAR, SOME OF THE BIG STORIES for kids revolve around the Harry Potter, Disney, and Spiderman stories.  Pirates, however, are especially hot!  See Pirates of the Caribbean for inspiration.  More big themes include Spiderman, Batman, and, of course, the now classic Star Wars, with all its fascinating alien space types. 

 

On the adult costume list, Medieval and Renaissance costumes abound. They are especially appealing to those who like to dress up with unusual flair, pomp, and extravagance.  Marie Antoinette costumes are sexy, robust, historic.  Superheroes of all sorts are also popular here, along with horror and Gothic characters.   

 

IF YOU’RE INTO CRAFTS or if you are particularly creative, you’ll really enjoy Halloween making your own costume.  Doing it yourself can keep you busy for weeks with entertaining ideas and activity. A few years ago, an artist friend of mine drew a straight line down the middle of his face, and then proceeded to draw in makeup to create two totally different-looking personalities. All he needed then was a black jump suit and the costuming was done.  Wow!  It was a schizophrenic masterpiece!

 

Another time, a friend’s son (who was very into electronics) decided to make himself over into a computerized robot.  Not only did he have a squared off button-plenty chest, he had antennae as directionals, funny looking lights blinking bright colors around his head, and a wonderful beep-beep sound system.  Talk about a smart kid!

 

YOU CAN HAVE FUN MAKING YOUR OWN COSTUMES AND MASKS THIS HALLOWEEN, TOO.  LOOK AT THESE GREAT MASKS THAT CAN BE COLORED, PAINTED OR EMBELLISHED ANY WAY YOU WANT:

 

 

 

  • Unpainted cat mask – a rare design with real Venetian flair!

 

                                                   #   #   #   #

 

 

Political figures make for wonderful costume fare.  This year, you can be sure President Obama and former Alaska Governor Palin will be front and center on the Halloween character line.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Filed under Hats
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ONE COLD JANUARY AFTERNOON when I was a kid, my aunt called to ask if I would like to join her family for an evening picnic dinner in the woods.  Well…did you ever hear of anything so crazy?  I was thrilled!

 

Shortly after four, my uncle arrived and I piled into the car with my cousins for the ride to the Watchung Picnic area in Central New Jersey. When we arrived, a friend of my uncle had already started up an impressive bon fire and was busy stoking charcoals for grilled hamburgers. 

 

My aunt quickly poured hot chocolate into mugs and cuddled us all in blankets over our cozy hats and scarves.  Snow was beginning to fall, the moon was bright, and I thought it was the most wonderful night of my life.

 

Kids love things offbeat.  Different. Like Christmas in July.  Or this picnic.  So long as we were warm, we were happy.  We sang songs.  Ran around being silly. We ate heartily.  We giggled. And soon enough, we were back in the car, already falling asleep, ready for the ride home to bed. 

 

KEEPING WARM IS OFTEN THE KEY to how you enjoy the winter months, whether you are shoveling snow or walking the dog.  And keeping warm means, first and foremost, a good hat.  Did you know you can lose as much as 85 percent of your bodily heat through your head?  That’s why campers and mountain climbers pay so much attention to hats.  They are literally life-savers in the cold.

 

YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR CUSTOMERS ALL WINTER LONG WITH THESE GOOD-LOOKING AND PRACTICAL HAT AND SCARF PRODUCTS:  

 

 

 

 

 

                                           The Vermont Experience

 

WHEN I GOT A LITTLE OLDER, the winter games got even more complicated.  Friends got involved in all kinds of winter sports.   But skiing in Vermont was surely the most popular.  Some kids went with their parents to exclusive resorts, equipped with their own skis and fashionable skiing outfits. 

 

Others, like me, joined the American Youth Hostels and got much the same experience (just a bit less luxurious) traveling to and from Vermont on buses and staying in dormitory studios owned or rented by AYH.  It was always terrific.

 

The AYH weekends were usually at Killington or Mount Snow.  Most of the youngsters rented skis and took advantage of AYH free skiing lessons from highly-skilled ski instructor-members.  We all wore the warmest clothes we could find, especially down-filled ski jackets and, again, those snuggily, cozy hats and scarves. 

   — I have to admit, there were always some kids who could hit the trails without a hat or scarf at all, but I never could understand how.  For them, however, it was a matter of fashion.  Sexiness.  Why cover those gorgeous blond tresses?  Instead, they bowed to foolishness.

 

IT NEVER MAKES SENSE TO BE COLD WHEN YOU CAN BE WARM.  THAT’S ESPECIALLY TRUE TODAY, WHEN HATS NOT ONLY LOOK AS GOOD AS A BARE HEAD, THEY USUALLY LOOK BETTER!  HERE ARE SOME GREAT EXAMPLES:

 

 

 

 

Trendy ladies newsboy cap with satin lining and inner elastic band to assure a great fit. 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, October 12th, 2009

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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Flash.  You know what that’s all about.  The play you get when a real or faux diamond catches the light and sends it with electric brilliance zing-zing-zing-ing across a room.  Flash.  Like the sudden blaze of a night camera bringing darkness to life.  It’s hot, but it’s momentary; strong, but never too much.

 

Well, that’s the message of the new embellishment.  Crystals sprinkled across everything. Crystal jewelry invigorating with elegantly restrained fire. Crystal patches giving a calm but trendy update to classy little handbags.  Crystal rims on sexy black Italian sunglasses.  Whatever crystal touches these days, it makes it sharper, fresher, more alluring.  It comes on to you.  Flash. Then, it’s toned down until the next light wave passes through.  Like:  What was that? 

   –Absolute design magic! 

 

The crystal effect in earrings is one of the most thrilling looks now.  Used most dramatically in long thin drops, the clear, linear crystal drop reminds you of a spectacular waterfall, something you might expect to see cascading down a mountainside on Maui. There it is!  But then, as your car swings around another curve on your mountain road journey into Hana, the waterfall is gone.  That’s the idea.  Swing-y, sparkly earrings flashing, then going silent. 

 

YOU CAN GET SOME OF THE BEST CRYSTAL WATERFALL DROPS AROUND WITHOUT SPENDING A FORTUNE.  HERE ARE JUST A FEW:

 

 

 

 

 

                                            The Milan Effect 

 

Nowhere was the crystal look more evident than in Milan this past week, where one more fashion international week made dramatic impressions on the Industry. Throughout the Showings, this message came through clearly: If you want to update something, strip it down to its essentials (i.e., get rid of yesterday’s glitz and turmoil) and then sprinkle it with embellishment.  Especially crystal embellishment.  Easy.  Vibrant. Wow power.

 

Overall, of course, the idea is to get that serene sparkle going.  That flash.  Miuccia Prada was exciting with long chandelier crystal earrings, worn with everything from evening dresses to shorts.  Little sleeveless tops were at once casual and dressy, jazzed up with crystal details that gave them an updated, directional appeal.  Medium-sized leather handbags — even those in cow-pasture brown — took on new significance with crystal embellishments.    

 

Armani, the wonder boy of fashion for decades now, used wonderful, high shine materials to support the look of flash.  He also played masterfully with lightly encrusted crystal-looking bangle bracelets as well as little bags and lady-like belts with crystal adornment. 

   –In all, the look is one of sparkle. When it gets too strong, the sparkle turns into flash.  Play with it, you’ll get the idea!

 

Not all flash is clear, although its biggest (and often best) use this season is colorless.  Still, a lot of drama comes through in black or dark gray crystal, too. 

   –Don’t forget, the dark jewelry look is simmering on the design platform for fall and winter, getting hotter as the days get cooler.  Black is especially important, as in Swarovski’s wild Black Diamond crystal.  Sophisticated and sexy!

 

                                                All Day, Every Day

 

A particularly good thing about the new flash experience is that it works remarkably well with present-day style trends.  For example, it is not that long ago that clear crystal jewelry (or crystal embellished clothing) was used mainly for the most formal occasions, such as weddings, proms, and the like. 

   –Now, crystal is perfect for all day, everyday wear. Notice how Prada parades the most elegant crystal dotted top with shorts, and designers from Calvin Klein to Dolce & Gabbana mix super-formal wear with everyday wear with ease.  

 

Still, heavy, self-conscious glitz just doesn’t make for tasteful casual wear.  Ahhh, but enter flash!  This is an entirely new experience for formal and casual, balancing light against serenity.  It is like gazing across a long, exquisitely quiet India-Indian landscape just before a storm.  Almost silent.  Just as intense. 

 

YOU CAN GET A NEW FASHION EXPERIENCE WITH CRYSTAL BY MIXING FORMAL WITH INFORMAL AND GOING FOR FLASH. HERE ARE A COUPLE OF GOOD PLACES TO START:

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Filed under Fashion Trends
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FOR ANYBODY INTO FORECASTING what’s on the way in the clothing and accessories fashion industry, getting a leg up on where textile design is headed is an absolute essential.  This is one of the beginning points on what is coming, what the mood of fashion will be, what hot colors are uptrending.  It is a fortune-telling tool not to be missed!

 

A preview of the Milano Unica that runs September 8 to 11 shows classic Italian craftsmanship with interesting updates such as animal prints under metallic glaze and wool tulles dyed in deep contrasting shades.  There is a strong demand for cost-effective materials, but the Show’s president, Pier Luigi Loro Piana says, nevertheless, “Italy will never be cheap.” 

 

HE TALKED ABOUT A NUMBER of fabulous innovations coming out of Italian mills, including metalized glass used as plating and macramé coated in polyurethane. “Italy’s value is in quality, consistency and creativity,” the president asserted.

                   —Some of the things this tells us:  Look for metallic finishes to continue into 2010, many doubling up with rich patterns, such as animal prints. Look, too, for a new interest in deep colors and contrasting color plays.  Keep your eye out for innovation, like metalized glass.

 

YOU CAN INTRODUCE YOUR CUSTOMERS TO SOME OF THE EXCITING NEW PRODUCTS AND FASHION MOODS ON THE WAY WITH THESE GREAT PRODUCTS:

 

 

 

 

                                     Premiere Vision Paris

 

More from the Textile Front:  Premiere Vision Fall 2010 runs from September 15 to the 18 in Paris.  What can you expect to see here?  According to PV’s fashion director, Pascaline Wilhelm, expect a “move away from flash” and a massive “casualization of the entire fashion industry.”

   —Wow!  Did you get that?

 

Look for plenty of natural inspirations, from rippled water to the sheen of bronze.  Sabine Le Chatelier, the show’s associate fashion director, credits the changes taking place here to a world of immense complications.  Consequently, she says, “Clarity of design is so beautiful right now.”

 

OVERALL, THE EXPOSITIONS can be expected to display something for almost every taste.  Classic fabrications are strong, along with plenty of artsy offerings. Dark browns, blacks, and purples, many balanced by lighter whites and tans, are in profusion.

 

Also on the color wheel, red and wine colors come up strong along with saturated acid tones in strong graphic patterns. Black and white geometrics and plaids are holding over from this season. So are plenty of natural colors, like tans and sand, along with natural materials, like silks, cottons, cashmeres, and wool. 

   –Expected to rack up high scores on the innovation scale: blended natural and synthetic fabrics combining to produce textures with strong “touch” as well as sight appeal.

 

Interesting?  Let’s put some of this into perspective, too:  Things are going casual.  Big Time!  There is a strong move away from formal looks and extravagant designs.  Emphasis is on sensuality.  Things that feel and look good.  Softness.  Elegant touch appeal.  Colors run from naturals (hey!  Macramé is back!) to dark, intense tones.  Strong graphics are hot.  Creative material expressions rate highest points of all!

 

AGAIN AND AGAIN, THE TEXTILE PREVIEWS EXPRESS PLENTY OF EXCITING INNOVATIONS AND NEW LOOKS COMING INTO THE FIELD.  TRY SOME OF THESE PRODUCTS IN LINE WITH THE NEW DIRECTION:

  • Fabulous color gives a high fashion look to this multistrand unakite gemstone necklace with glass, wood, and pearlized beads.

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, October 7th, 2009