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Archive for December, 2009...

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In a fascinating “Wish List,” published by one of the country’s leading fashion publications, top designers talk about what they’ll be wearing for the holidays.  Here’s what they had to say:

 

SHOSHANNA GRUSS (Shoshanna):  This young, almost hippie-type designer says she plans to take her Monclet jacket with her on a trip to Aspen.  She’s also taking Anklo jeans, Sergio Rossi over-the-knee boots, and plenty of super-sized Helmut Lang sweaters.  Cozy!  

For New Year’s Eve, she’ll don a black off-one-shoulder jumpsuit from her own collection, and accessorize it with a very large gold and crystal Lanvin necklace.  Wow!

 

                                              La Cote d’Azur

 

CATHERINE MALADRINO:  This extraordinary lady designer is on a strictly Gallic journey for the holidays, racing from Paris to the French Alps to La Cote d’Azur in just a matter of days!  Maladrino says she’ll sparkle in Paris with a silver metallic jersey dress accessorized by a large stone necklace.  In the French Alps, she’ll stay super warm with a cashmere dress and a shaggy fur hat.  And in Saint Tropez, she’ll wear sexy jersey harem pants with an embroidered jewel top.  And, of course, those Loubouton-like crazy high heels.  Insane and wild!

 

STAYING WARM AS THE SNOW TUMBLES DOWN IS A SMART IDEA.  HERE ARE SOME GREAT ACCESSORIES TO HELP YOU DO IT:

 

 

 

 

 

STACEY BENDET  (Alice + Olivia): Like so many others, Stacey is headed for Aspen this holiday season, but then, she’ll detour off the snow trail for a gorgeous week in Kona, Hawaii.  She says she designed a supercute long puffer jacket to take to Aspen but for Hawaii, she’ll be into long, sheer dresses, big sunglasses, and great big, colorful handbags.  Trendy!

 

REBECCA TAYLOR:  Well, here’s someone going her own way for the Holidays:  Off to New Zealand to visit her grandparents.  She says she’ll be wearing her now famous Rebecca Taylor uniform, which consists of Italian army pants and her own designed white blouses.  Under her arm she’ll also be carrying plenty of wonderful gifts, and she hopes she’ll get a Hermes scarf herself!

 

                                              Gold Lame

 

JOYCE AZRIA (BCBGeneration):  Joyce says she’ll be lounging on Fisher Island in Miami with her family this holiday season, and she just might design some golf and tennis apparel and a collection of flip flops while she’s there/.  She’ll wear her BCBGGeneration gold lame dress for the big day.  Very sophisticated!

 

BETSY JOHNSON:  This multi-generational kookie designer says she’ll be making a business trip out of the big holiday season, with store appearances in San Francisco and Hawaii.  Then, it’ll be off to New Jersey for Christmas with her sister.  On the road, she says she’ll wear her iconic BJ clothes, which are anything but conservative!  Christmas day, she’ll put on her red midcalf jersey dress with a Santa Hat.  Only Betsy!

 

                                       A Beautiful Brooch

 

GELA NASH TAYLOR (Juicy Couture):  This young about-town lady plans on spending most of the holiday season at home in English country, wearing a tartan kilt, leather leggings, and a vintage 18th century-style velvet jacket.  Her big accessory splurge?  A beautiful brooch from her husband, John. 

 

AMY SMILOVIC (Tibi):  This charming Southern belle is returning to her roots for Christmas, with several days on Sea Island, afternoons on the beach, and maybe a night or two in Savannah.  “We have a fabulous black leatherized lace dress in our new pre-fall 2010 collection that I’ll be taking with me,” she says.  She’ll also wear J. Mendel’s winter white fur vest over it for warmth, and Prada’s chunky black earrings.  Is this NOW fashion?  Fabulous!

 

BEAUTIFUL BROOCHES.  CHUNKY BLACK EARRINGS.  YOU CAN GET THEM ALL AT A FRACTION OF THE DESIGNER PRICE.  LOOK HERE:

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

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WATCH OUT PEOPLE, RED IS ON THE WAY!   Suddenly, top fashion designers are embracing this spectacular color like they have not done in years!  Red is IN.  It sizzles.  It dazzles.  It overwhelms.  And it is rapidly becoming one of the most important colors fashion and accessories has seen in a long time.

 

Will we ever be able to deal with all of it?  Because red is elbowing its way into almost every corner of the field.  In May, for example, New York’s Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute will unveil its newest Celebration of Women Exhibit and red, needless to say, will be the Exhibition’s color! And what a red it is!  Call it deep, wild, brilliant.  Sensual. Red tomatoes, red raspberries, red roses. Whew!

 

Red is fiery.  It is the color of volcanoes erupting.  It is the blazing new earth-being-born lava racing to the sea.  Red is hot.  Scorching hot.  And it is impressive.  It affects everyone. 

 

                                                           Seeing Red

 

Versace has been one of the first designers to jump into the Red fray with a long slither of a dress in crimson red.  It features a low cut bosom and a long languid slit up the right leg.  Fantastic!  It is being advertised by Neiman Marcus, which proclaims: “We’re seeing red.”  No kidding

 

Of course, no one has ever done real-red quite like Valentino.  It’s as though his reds vibrate and sizzle and move.  One extraordinary street-length piece just off the runway is a “Valentino Red” sleeveless and magnificently draped dress with a criss-cross skirt for better leg movement

 

Valentino shows it with matching dead-on red lipstick and nail polish and terrible-looking reptilian-styled black and dark grey bracelets.  Sort of a classy or luxurious take on yesteryear’s TV special, the Munsters!

 

HERE ARE SOME IDEAL ACCESSORIES FOR THE COLOR RED, AT AFFORDABLE PRICES: 

 

 

 

 

                                             Almost Lethal!

 

SO, AS YOU CAN TELL, this new red coming on the fashion scene is anything but sweet or preppy.  It isn’t a Hilfiger red or a Lauren red.  It is far more serious.  Almost lethal!

 

This intensely saturated red is also unusual for Spring, so expect it to either calm down as the winter months start to wane, or to move into an “evening look” only. After all, how much can simple humans take?

 

Realize that red is strong.  Very, very strong!  Accessorizing it can be interesting, but not always easy.  On one hand, you can stay with red itself, developing an entire look based on the power of the color.  The problem here is to match the reds.  You have to stay with the intensity at an overall equal pitch.  That’s breathtaking.

 

Think red dresses, red hats, red jackets and red coats, red makeup, and anything else red you can imagine.  Pouty red lips from the Forties.  Red, red nails.    Red hanging earrings actually work with this story.  So would garnet or ruby-red CZ rings and a bracelet with a few more red gemstones sprinkled about. Red with red works.

 

You might also pile on some interesting gold-plate necklaces with a modern twist, like the red infusion itself.  Silver also works well here, and surprisingly gives a totally different look to the red from gold.

 

But to really make things pop, we suggest working opposite colors, no less aggressive, but different.  Like black handbags and shoes.  Or brown croc wallets, and other small leather goods.  Black patent leather is a riveting accessory look. Play with it! 

 

 

ACCESSORIZING RED IS A CHALLENGE.  YOU MIGHT START WITH SOME OF THESE TERRIFIC PRODUCTS:

  • Winter cozy red fedora with look of wool felt.

 

 

 

 

  • Hemitite chunky bracelet with high luster.  Sophisticated!

 

 

                                                     A Profile

 

WOMEN WHO WEAR RED most successfully generally have a strong sense of self and are not afraid of being self assertive. Don’t suggest it for a shrinking violet.  Color expert Leatrice Eiseman, author of More Alive With Color (Capital Books) points out that because of its intensity, red is not the best color to wear for a job interview. 

   —On the other hand, if you’re the Chairman of the Board, it couldn’t be better!

 

Mrs. Ronald Reagan gave special meaning to the color red during her husband’s two Presidential terms, wearing it for a wide variety of state affairs and always looking phenomenal in it. Her use of red  was so fashionably powerful, it has been documented in the Smithsonian and will doubtless represent her memory far, far into the nation’s future!

 

In China, red symbolizes good luck and celebrations.  Back home, red to the Cherokee Indians has long meant success or triumph.  Of course, with all of its dynamism, red has not always vibrated in positive ways. 

 

As Eiseman points out, its symbolism runs from passionate love to violent warfare.  It is anything but quiet. Or passive.  It affects the mind.  It affects the body.  Studies show that red stimulates a faster heartbeat and speeds up breathing. Approach it carefully!

 

But don’t miss it.  It won’t stay on this high hill long, it’s too strong for that.  But while it’s here, well….WOW!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, December 24th, 2009

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ISAAC MIZRAHI IS THE super-popular mass market couturier on a non-stop journey of “doing his own thing.”  This remarkable designer, who has designed for everything from Broadway revivals to Palm Beach society ladies, is just now coming off a 5 year stint at Target where he championed his landmark “Isaac Mizrahi for Target” line, and made his haute couture name a national household word. 

 

Now, Mizrahi is balancing his TV personality with an exciting new job as creative director of Liz Claiborne, even as he maintains his own couture line and continues to champion a personal style of constant reinvention.  He is a man to pay attention to.

 

Still, you might wonder….Recently joining in a tea and chat during a posh runway fashion show at the brand new Omphoy Ocean Resort in Palm Beach, Mizrahi made the startling comment:

 

“Less and less, I care about fashion. I care more about my own little world.”

 

Talking to the Palm Beach Post, Mizrahi said, “I don’t value things because they are expensive, or think that something is good just because it is expensive.”  But, he went on to explain: “I don’t know much about wine, and if it is expensive, I feel comfortable about buying.”

 

[Fashion accessories are much the same thing.  Who wouldn’t feel fashionably comfortable buying a $20,000 Louis Vuitton handbag?  Ahhhh, but you can get the same level of quality design and materials for a much lower price!  Top designers set the style pace that the mass market cleverly follows.]

 

FEW FASHION ITEMS ARE AS SMART A BUY AS GOOD COSTUME JEWELRY.  CONSIDER THESE GREAT PIECES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                           Aspirational Quality

 

 

Mizrahi talked about his time at Target, saying that there is an aspirational quality to the Target line, when a person aspires to buy something. “I must say it is very fun.”  Going on, he noted that he thinks fashion should be something proactive, adding that it is very annoying for someone to tell you that a design is to be this or that or the other thing.          

    —Mizrahi obviously, has to be his own man.  “It is very important to create a business from your own loins,” he declares.  It is difficult to create from someone else’s loins.”

 

Mizrahi explains that he grew up in the 80s when Grace Mirabella was editor of Vogue Magazine. She was a real thinker, he says.  “Anna Wintour who succeeded her is very visual.”  As for himself, he says that when he thinks about fashion, he thinks about a 35 year-old woman who knows who she is.  Somebody who has a brain in her head. That’s what’s sexy.

   –“I’m not dressing a kid,” he declares. “That scene that’s in Miami?  There is nothing sexy about that.  It’s obvious, vapid.”     

 

Perhaps the most intriguing comment from Mizrahi was this:  “I like nutty, arty people who are real.”  Once the way they dress becomes fashion, he says, well…it’s too late! It’s no longer fashionable. “The minute something becomes a commodity, I get very nervous.”

 

                                             Fashion As Culture

 

Fashion is not just a business to Mizrahi.  It is a culture.  And, as he puts it, “Sometimes in culture, when something happens, it doesn’t last.  The minute you see it, is the minute it is over.”  Is he talking about trends?  You bet.  Some last, and some don’t.  But while they are here, they’re fun, as he would put it. With all his seriousness about design Mizrahi has a sense of humor and a “realness” about fashion that helps maintain his stature as a super-star. 

 

HERE ARE SOME GREAT TRENDY JEWELRY IDEAS THAT ARE HANGING ON TIGHT IN THE FASHION WORLD:

 

 

 

 

  • Domed filigree fashion earrings with two-tone plating.
Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

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1.  NUMBER ONE HOLIDAY MUST-HAVE:  Glittery earrings.  Think CZs.  Rhinestones.  Shiny diamond-like chandeliers dripping with flash and beauty.  Swavoroski has an elegant pair of pave angle wing earrings just right for the holidays.  This is a real super-glamour accessory for dressing up and looking spectacular. Stay away from the wimpy size this year and go bold.  Wear outsized crystal earrings with a clean-lined red evening dress. This is THE LOOK!   

 

 

2.  STATEMENT NECKLACES:  Chunky with a handmade feel. Tribal. Lots of turquoise (The look of metal with organic-like gemstones is fabulous this year).  Black beads and stones!  Things hanging off things.  Sharp slices of plastic with dagger-like appendages.  Huge pendants, often in multiples.  Coin necklaces.  Big modern art pieces hung on a chain or cord around the neck.  Stuff that may be beautiful or just very impressive.  But big.  Often overwhelming.  Remember, these are statement necklaces and they do what their name implies:  They make a statement!  Wow, do they ever! 

 

 

3.  SPANGLY PLASTIC OR METAL BRACELETS:  Especially with an India-Indian or gypsy look.  Color adds pizzazz, in the form of little gemstones or enameling.  This is a look that stands on its own or works magic when multiplied.  You just can’t go wrong here.  Add plain bangles to decorated bangles and you’ve got a great mix.  Mrs. Michelle Obama wore a heavy, gorgeous collection of bangle bracelets up her arm for the State Dinner with the Prime Minister of India and his wife.  Wow!  Did she ever look spectacular!

 

YOU CAN FIND A RICH COLLECTION OF BANGLES RIGHT HERE, AND THEY ARE ALL TOP QUALITY AT A REASONABLE PRICE:

 

 

 

 

  • Multicolored fabric covered bangles.  Stylish!

 

 

4. CLUTCHES IN A SPECTRUM OF COLORS:  Especially metallics!  These fabulous little evening bags go from day to night with ease; they really don’t have a limited time schedule!  You might call these the perfect answer to the new wardrobe minimalism story coming in.  They’re not too flashy, but they add the perfect amount of shine and glitter to an otherwise played down silhouette.  Another plus here:  They’re great for almost everyone, from teenager to grandma!  And they are chic!

 

 

5. A TOUCH OF GOLD: This is the perfect subtle accessory for rich-girl dressing and party night glamour. Gold pendants on a gold chain are charming, like a gold locket or gold key.  Gold bracelets are hot, especially gold cuffs.  Gold chain is sizzling.  While gold doesn’t play the heavy, multiples game of silver right now, a touch of it is powerful.  Nothing quite equals the status and beauty of gold. Can’t find the gold you want?  Try brass!  It gives a more casual look, but one that is also edgy.

 

 

6. CHAINS – ANY SIZE, ANY STYLE: Chains are HOT!  Weave a neon ribbon through a tough chain necklace and you’ve got a whole new look.  Lay on a heavy hardware chain for a really cool biker ensemble.  Chains at the waist have a 70s retro look, reminiscent of the late great Yves Saint Laurent.  Delicate little chains, worn alone or with small little pendants are romantic, lovely.  Chains worn in multiples, the more the merrier, are so IN you might almost overlook them. More is more!  Pile them on!  Chains complement clothes without competing with them. You can wear them alone or wear them with everything and anything.  They even accessorize accessories! Oh…and don’t overlook the chain strap bag.  That’s another hottie this season…

 

GOING TRENDY FOR THE HOLIDAYS IS A REAL SALES BOOSTER.  TRY SOME OF THESE PRODUCTS FOR ACTION:

 

 

 

 

 

7.  MAD HATTERS:  What’s really hot here now?  A cozy little cap worn with a big colorful, glittery brooch pinned on the side.  Offbeat and very, very sophisticated! What’s more, put them together for a natural double sale that will please everybody…   If you happened to watch the big Macy’s Parade TV spectacular welcoming Santa to town this year, you will have seen the new cap/brooch look. It took quiet yet prominent place in a number of on-camera celebrity show-offs.

    Just remember: Hats are a big number this year.  All kinds of hats.  Fedoras are very jaunty. Floppy hats bespeak a flower girl style of demure sex appeal.  A bucket hat that you can dress up or down is dynamite. Wear it plain for casual living, or dress it up with a scarf tied around the band-line.  Wow!  This is a great product for innovation…use your own creativity to create a very distinctive style.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

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Designers and manufacturers are putting a lot of extra mind power into devising new and ingenious ways to get the customer back into the store during these hard economic times. 

Shopping and buying have taken a new turn and are no longer what they were just a couple of seasons ago. 

 

As Haresh Tharani, CEO of Tharaneo Group says, “Consumers only buy now when they absolutely need something. Shopping used to be a matter of passion.  Now it’s a combination of passion and need.  We are planning our production so that it is more buy now, wear now.”  But getting the consumer into that mind set isn’t easy. 

 

                                           Romancing Retailers

 

Here are some of the strategies being used to offset the economic gloom:

 

EXPANDING DISTRIBUTION:  This is apparently a key factor for many companies, especially high-end, in shoring up present sales and bolstering business as we move ahead into 2010. Re-evaluating collections, and offering more lower-priced items has allowed a number of firms to significantly increase the number of stores they sell through. 

Also important:  Putting effort into romancing key retail outlets important to the brand or product.  J. Mendel president Susan Sokol, for example, said that championing their brand with Bergdorf Goodman has been an important growth factor even in tough times.  

 

BROADER PRICE LINES:  It doesn’t take much to know that in this era of strenuous price consciousness, keeping the final tab down can be the most critical factor in whether or not a collection sells. Lower price tags can also open unexpected distribution outlets for the product, adding to its salability.  Many firms at the higher end have found that they don’t have to phase out their present product collections; rather, they need merely offer some lower-priced goods along with the prestigious price lines.

 

WHAT PRODUCT ON THE MARKET TODAY OFFERS BETTER VALUE THAN COSTUME JEWELRY?  HERE ARE SOME STUNNING PRODUCTS SELLING FOR LOW PRICE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLLABORATION:  Getting together with other fashion companies to jointly build or promote products can pay off in big dividends.  This can be an especially attractive technique for clothing firms or designers who pair up with the right accessory firms, such as companies involved in the production of jewelry, or handbags.  J. Mendel, for example, has collaborated with Subversive Jewelry’s Justin Junta on a number of cooperative projects. 

 

                                               Smart Move

 

SHOWOFFS:  Maximizing the power of industry shows is still another technique being used to help increase sales.  Showing new lines and collections during special promotional times, such as New York or Paris Fashion Weeks, is proving to be a smart move for getting extra attention.

 

ACCESSORIES CAN GIVE A SMART EDGE TO YOUR FASHION WARDROBE.  HERE ARE SOME THAT ALSO HELP SELL THE INDUSTRY AND YOU: 

 

 

 

  • Contemporary wholesale evening bags with chain strap.

 

 

CREATIVE INGENUITY:  Few areas of business are being given greater attention right now than design. With a buying public looking for added value everywhere, refining designs is seen as a key factor in exciting purchases.  In this arena, color is probably the number one design element under constant scrutiny.  In general, there has been a brightening up of color in both clothing and accessories, with emphasis on creating fashion products that have a “feel good” benefit.

      According to Leslie Harrington, executive director of the Color Association, big colors right now include Smurflike blue, rain-slicker yellow, and a pink that can only remind you of Pepto Bismol.  “Color does relay a sense of optimism,” Harrington explained. 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, December 21st, 2009

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BLOGGERS CAN SWAY SHOPPERS as effectively – or even more effectively – as celebrities,” contends Syl Tang, trend tracker and expert in the new social media world of fashion.  People like to read well written blogs and, what’s more, they pay attention to what is being said. 

 

Major companies know this intimately.  Most employ professional writers to get the word out on their products, and apparently the technique works.  They’ve been able to increase sales, reduce the time span formerly necessary to get a new collection brand known, and generally improve their overall image with the public. 

 

It’s called the Social Media, and you might say it is taking over our world!  It involves tweeting, blogging, and a number of other high-profile computer systems aimed at connecting you and others to the world.  Literally. 

 

                                          Twitter and Facebook

 

You may not know how to do it yet, but you surely have heard about it everywhere you turn.  Marketing wizards are certain to inform you of the presence of the Social Media more and more as time goes by.  Facebook, for instance, is just one of these high powered web sites flashing out special information on companies and designers (and individuals!) on a 24/7 basis.  It is non-stop communication.  Talk-a-thons.

   –Not only can you read about a particular designer, let’s say, but you can offer feedback on designs, service, and a bevy of other business matters.   When has the public ever had such recognition? It is social power.

 

HERE ARE SOME EXCITING PRODUCTS ANYONE WOULD ENJOY READING ABOUT (HOW ABOUT TWITTER-ING?):

  • Dangle earrings with black stone chips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the marketing hoopla gets mixed up, and that can be even better.  For example, Demi Moore tweeted a picture of herself wearing a feathered dress designed by Prabal Gurung, who she described as “a wonderful young designer to look out for.”

 

Wow!  Gurung’s web site immediately experienced a doubling of traffic, along with his Twitter followers and his Facebook fan page.  That’s big time exposure!  As Gurung says, “When a celebrity like Demi compliments me directly via Twitter, it changes the whole perception and attracts a different kind of audience.”

 

                                                  Learning Process

 

SO THE FASHION WORLD is finding out.  It moves people.  It ups sales.  But, and this is still a problem, nobody is exactly sure yet how to use this phenomenal marketing machine to its best advantage.  Tang explains that major companies are already pretty sophisticated about the whole process and are turning to it more and more.  But smaller firms are still in the learning process.

 

Brands, however, are keying in on the Social Media in a whole new way.  E-mail blasts and online advertising are two big communications/marketing tools that are being cut back by firms in favor of going the Social Media route.  Whether or not it is a smart move has yet to be determined.

 

IN THE MEANTIME, HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS THAT WOULD SURELY BENEFIT FROM LOCAL COMMUNICATIONS.  Try them and see what we mean:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tang says that firms are trying anything local, trackable, or that would turn into actual sales.  They’ve also found that influencing consumers through the Social Media has long term benefits as well as immediate sales impact.

 

Are you skeptical?  Well, be careful! Rachel Roy, Cynthia Rowley, and Oscar de la Renta are just a few of the high profile celebrities cashing in on Social Media marketing.  There are more.  Many, many more! 

 

To really understand it, get on your computer and start surfing.  Learn about this mass marketing magic spreading its broadcast wand over the fashion world. It’s exciting.  It’s also the new wave, and you’ll do yourself a favor if you get to know it! 

–Hey, in case you didn’t know it, you’ve just read a blog on the Social Media highway.

So you already know more than you think! 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, December 17th, 2009

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A WOMAN I KNOW has a lot of nieces and nephews and she has always given $50 to each of them for Christmas.  This year, it’s not so easy.  Money is tight, and she’d like to cut the presents back to $25 but, as she exclaimed, “What can you buy for $25?”

   —Hey.  $25 will still buy you plenty.  An 18-year-old boy can take his girlfriend to dinner at T.G.I. Fridays for $25.  It will also buy him a gorgeous scarf at the classy Joseph A. Banks.  A young woman can pick up a stunning pair of CZ earrings for $25, or a Murano glass necklace, or a multi-colored beaded bracelet. 

     A little kid can enjoy a glittery tiara, waking up on Christmas morning as the Princess she’s always dreamed of being.  What can $25 buy you?  More than you can imagine! 

 

HERE ARE PLENTY OF BEAUTIFUL GIFTS AT PRICES YOU CAN AFFORD, EVEN THIS YEAR.  CONSIDER:

 

 

 

 

 

                                               Magical Silver Dollars

 

Every Christmas my grandfather would get a bag full of silver dollars at the bank.  He’d     shine them till they glistened, and then, dressed like good old Saint Nick, he’d go around, house to house, distributing the silver dollars to each of us grandkids. We all thought it was fabulous and even today, I have several of those silver dollars.  Each time I look at them, they immediately bring back warm and loving memories of those Christmases years ago.

   “Ha!” my friend exclaimed.  “Do you know what today’s kids would say about a silver dollar? They wouldn’t waste their breath on one.”

   –Well, I don’t think so.  Put a silver dollar in a cute pink change purse for a little girl and she’ll really have something.  And tell her just how magic a silver dollar can be, how years from now, it’ll bring back memories of today’s Christmas in vivid real-life color, and watch her eyes light up.

    Silver dollars can be precious!

 

                                                Affordable Gifts

 

YOU CAN DO YOUR CUSTOMERS a major service this Christmas by putting out gifts that are unusually affordable.  You’ll make sales you otherwise wouldn’t have, and they’ll become loyal customers in exchange.  This can be a real Win-Win situation.  

   Jewelry is a natural affordable gift.  So are cozy winter hats.  Or fun, sports-enthusiasts key chains. There really are so many ways to stretch out $25! 

    If you’re in an especially generous mood, you might also consider how far $25 will go to charity.  You could put it in the collection plate at church on Christmas morning.  Or, donate it to an institution like St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which has done so much to save the lives of cancer-ridden children. 

    A check for $25 to them could be a miracle worker!

 

 

                                The Meaning of Christmas

 

I have another friend who is much more conservative than the lady with all the nieces and nephews.  On one hand, she is very generous with her kids, but she also expects each of them to take a certain amount of the money they get at Christmas and spend it on some less fortunate children. 

    So far, the kids love the idea, and each of them plans on what charity they’ll donate to each year.  It empowers them.  And, it helps them grow into good, giving adults. They are really learning the meaning of Christmas.

 

A CHRISTMAS GIFT DOESN’T have to stretch your budget beyond its means.  Be creative, and you can come up with wonderful gifts that are as bright and shining as they are affordable.  And, if you have extra cash in your pocket on Christmas Eve, well, there is a lot you can do with that, too.   For starters, how about dropping it in the Salvation Army’s tin?  

   — And stop and sing a few Christmas Carols with them on the street corner, too.  It’s a fabulous Christmas tonic! 

 

AND WHILE YOU’RE INTO ANOTHER RENDITION OF JINGLE BELLS, PUT YOUR MIND ON THESE GORGEOUS GIFTS THAT WILL MAKE ANYONE SMILE:

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

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Cooperative Selling:  Find a retailer geographically close to you who would be interested in teaming up with you on product display and sale.  Choose someone whose store carries related but not competitive products, such as small electronics or T-Shirts, or even great looking new-style shoes. Bridal shops are very effective here. So are baby goods stores.

 The idea is:  He puts a few of your products in his window, and you do the same with his. You then cross-refer prospective customers.  It’s also a good idea to keep some of each store’s business cards available.     

 

Christmas Excitement:  Right now, people are coming into your store to buy Christmas gifts, so why not display your products with as much holiday excitement as possible?  That means showing off a necklace, for example, on a red velvet swatch of material, and adding a pine cone or branch. You might drape a bracelet over a Christmas angel.  Or scatter artificial snow over a display case of earrings.  Adding extra lights is always a good idea.  So is putting a statue of Santa Claus in the middle of a scarf or hat collection. 

   –Hey, this is Christmas!  Let’s give some Jingle Bells verve to the store!  

 

Gift Corner:  This can be a dynamite merchandising tool if used in a smart way.  Choose a product category and set it up for special viewing.  By giving the product extra importance you’ll also excite extra attention to it. Giving the display a theme is also a good sales aide, especially if you are proposing the product as a gift item.  You might refer to the products in a sales-oriented fashion, like: “Hot, Popular Jewelry for Teenagers.” Or, “A Gift Moms Will Adore!”

 

HERE ARE SOME IDEAL GIFT ITEMS TO ADD TO YOUR CHRISTMAS SALES LIST:

  

 

 

 

 

 

Man The Entrance:  Everybody wants to be noticed and that’s something to remember when you are trying to get customers into your store.  Putting someone at the door who will greet people as they pass by, and offer a few friendly words to them is an enticement few can ignore.  Major department stores know this well, and they often have greeters at the door, along with spray perfume and discount cards for that-day buying.  Its helps kick up sales, and the public loves it!

 

Play To Your Audience:  Do you have a clear idea of who your buyer is?  If he or she is aged from teens into the twenties, make sure you add a bit of edginess to your décor.  Play some hot rock music.  If possible, have some young people working for you.  Learn to talk young.  Get functional and funky, with nerd expressions and storied (Gothic, Romantic) product displays.  If moms make up the majority of your buying audience, emphasize the family.  And then show how your products fit the person’s needs and wants.  Once you get into it, it really gets easy.  And, it helps sell product!

 

Upgrade the Product:  How, you might ask, can you do this?  Just pick up a catalog of packaging and you’ll see immediately.  Putting a necklace, or earrings, or a bracelet into a handsome box makes them look especially good.  Having pretty personalized paper bags to carry purchased items is also a class idea. 

 

Move Inventory:  OK.  So, business has been down, the recession is hitting you hard, and you’re backed up with inventory that seems to be going nowhere.  What can you do? 

Put this word indelibly in your mind:  Refresh!  Find a way to make standing merchandise look brand new and exciting.  Get out the product you have in the back room and display it as if it arrived yesterday.  Combine old products with new products. 

Add a zing of color to everything, in the form of display cloths and ribbons. 

   Put up little signs that tell the customer how great the product is.  Like:  “Silver:  It’s hot, and Trendy!”  “Brooches Are Celebrities’ First Choice for Romantic Evenings.”  “Cozy Hats Are Hot, Bohemian, and Edgy.”

 

THESE PRODUCTS SELL ALL YEAR LONG, YEAR-IN AND YEAR-OUT.  JUST GIVE THEM A SHOT OF IMMEDIACY AND WATCH THEM SIZZLE:

 

 

 

 

 

Offer Discounts:  Of course you can always offer ten percent off a product purchased that day.  But another way of using discounts is to build for later sales by offering a special ten or twenty percent discount on the person’s next purchase.  Or, offering two-fers.  Buy one bracelet and get the second at half price.  

   You can also use this technique to build a successful mailing list.  You offer a special discount to anyone signing up for membership in your store’s “club.”  You send or e-mail the individual periodic sales information or news about a special accessories collection you are introducing.  This also gives the product an aura of exclusivity that makes it particularly attractive.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, December 14th, 2009

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A NEW MINIMALISM IS INVADING the fashion runways, but this one is anything but negative to accessories!  The new look is an architectural take on clothing design, with carefully crafted lines and an overall smaller silhouette.  Some of the designs have a space age character as well, staying close to the body with little or no excess anywhere. No small amount of the excitement comes from accessories:  bracelets, earrings, rings, little clutches.

   One very handsome minimalist-design was recently presented in Paris by designer Rick Owens, a long grey top with an almost buttress-like neckline stretching quite a distance out from the model’s right shoulder.  That was shown with small tan shorts.  Major interest, however, came from the shoes — black toeless booties with big wide ribbon like flaps above the ankle – and from wild-looking metallic bracelets wrapped around both wrists, looking like voluminous silver gift wrapping ribbon.

 

                                 Gemstone Rings at Balenciaga

 

  Another look, this from Balenciaga, featured a tight to the body grey striped mini dress with panels of black and white and gold. It, too, was shown with above the ankle booties in green and white stripes with laces and toe cut outs.  A big gemstone ring gave this outfit real class!

     Fendi wasn’t about to be missed in the minimalist game, either.  The design house showed several great looking simple dresses, several of them belted.  One was shown with a medium-sized tote bag and, again, dramatically involved shoes.  Max Mara’s take on the new minimalism came through in a loosely-tied trench-type dress with tan booties and a simple long beaded necklace.  Very handsome!

 

HERE ARE SOME EXCITING JEWELRY DESIGNS THAT CAN STAND ON THEIR OWN IN THE NEW MINIMALIST ENVIRONMENT:

 

 

 

 

 

 

                       TIE-DYE COLORS ARE VIVID, SPARKLING

 

IT ISN’T EXACTLY PSYCHEDELIC, and it isn’t exactly not.  The new tie-dye designs for Spring bring back the Sixties with verve.  The colors are fabulous, you might say from another dimension.  Dramatic.  Sophisticated.  Mind-blasting.  The Hippie Movement never got this far out!  Many of the orange, purple, red, blue and pop! Yellow designs (all mixed up!) are more surrealist than abstract.  They come through in charming patterns and floral remembrances, a tie-dye profusion of nature tones and almost Victorian-garden images. 

     Accessories for this fashion story also call into play the Sixties mystique.  Try going with beads, and a bit of India-Indian style in earrings and necklaces.  Trendy silver bracelets also work well here, as do rings (but make them more delicate than glitzy).  

 

 

 

                                  THE SPIRIT OF BEAUTY

 

A FABULOUS RETROSPECTIVE HONORING 100 YEARS OF Van Cleef & Arpels’ exclusive jewelry history has opened to rave reviews in Tokyo, where it will stay until mid-January before traveling on  to New York, Beijing, and Paris.  Titled “The Spirit of Beauty,” the exposition is replete with dazzling gemstones and spectacular jewelry designs such as a 1937 Mystery Set Peony Clip with 239 diamonds and 706 rubies set in gold and platinum

     A necklace made in 1971 for Princess Salimah Aga Khan features fabulous carved emeralds and diamonds.  A number of delicate butterfly clips designed by Japanese artist and lacquer master Hakose San are also on display.

 

THE MIRACLE OF COSTUME JEWELRY IS THE REFINED WAY IT CAN MIMIC THE FINEST GEMSTONE AND GOLD PIECES.  HERE ARE SOME DYNAMIC “ART” PIECES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                         People Need Poetry

 

THE SPIRIT OF BEAUTY IS REALLY A STAR-STUDDED review, both in terms of the jewelry and the owners.  Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, Maria Callas and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis are just a small handful of the outstanding personalities who have worn and reveled in pieces from this famed jewelry maker.  Not that the show is all yesteryear, either.  The exposition also features, among other things, a turquoise diamond and gold necklace worn to the Golden Globe Awards by Eva Mendes earlier this year.

    Discussing the present economic downturn and its effect on fine jewelry, Van Cleef & Arpels’ president Stanislas De Quercize pointed out that his company has survived its share of disasters, including two world wars. 

   —“We know the market will come back, so what we have to do is focus and be very creative,” he said, adding, “The market being the way it is, people need poetry.”

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, December 12th, 2009

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IS ANYTHING HOTTER THAN GOTHIC right now?  Anything sexier than vampires sucking blood from a sweet damsel’s neck. EEEEk!  Where have we gotten to?  No more James Bond. Now it’s deathly images, black lips, corpse-white skin and tattoos, tattoos, tattoos.  Crosses.  Cross bones.  Swords.  Kill statements.  Gruesome apparitions.  Threatening expressions.  Black leather bondage straps and hair styled up into high side horns. 

      The devils are on parade! Think about spiky metal forms, things that make you recoil.  This is a very hard, very rebellious look, perhaps an attempt to feel some semblance of power that is naturally missing.  This is likewise a very generational story, mostly limited to the young, but recently showing up in some of the older (dare we say bigger bellied?) guys and gals with mad looks on their faces.

       Of course, in fairness, some of the expressions are fun, entertaining.  Some are even fairly well designed, as with the Hardy collections. Like, “I’m gonna kill ya but let’s hug first.”  Or, “Join the zombie jamboree, wowie!”  However, you have to be careful.   Lots of avid Gothics take themselves very seriously, indeed!

 

HOW DO YOU ACCESSORIZE THIS ONE?  Well, there is actually a lot to work with here!  Chains are your number one product course, but a newer kind of chain, the dark chains that are coming on the scene fast, black, dark grey, even brown. Crosses are strangely big, the more medieval the better.  Studs go well.

      This is a place for plenty of sexually explicit looks. Cut outs and cut ups.  Some pathetic looks, like images out of Les Miserables.  Distorted looks.   High black pom-pom hairdos and dangerously sharp looking slivered metal pieces making up strange pieces of jewelry.  Big black and metal cuffs.  Hair often twisted uncomfortably.  Some shine, especially black and grey.  Black long fingernails. Strange looking dark beads that might have been found in the Roman catacombs.

       Oooooh, the fright of it all!  Have fun!

 

HERE ARE SOME GOTHIC-INSPIRED ACCESSORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE TO STOCK UP ON…SURE SELLERS AT A GREAT PRICE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                          BRITISH BOYS

 

 

AHHHHH, A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!  Aristocracy. Refinement.  A very sophisticated, well mannered look with all the sophistication of Westminster comes into play with the British Boy look.  This is elegance at its best.  Young, fresh, and terribly privileged.  A boy look, yes, but strictly for the girls!

      Start with the hair. Where it isn’t long, it is cut short into a very young Prince Harry look, reddish, with boy-bangs and a not-too-short cut across the back. Very royal.  It’s also a look that sets the stage for a more extensive British fashion look moving this season, one with plenty of boy-designs, comfortable, jaunty, with just a snippet of snobbery.  

       Jackets are big here, with conservatively-printed little rich-boy neckerchiefs. Carefully chosen pins are a pretty addition to the Brit expression.  If they are nautical, they’re even better! Boy shirts and jackets are hot.  Karl Lagerfeld goes so far as to design a big white collared shirt with scarf tie and pin to give the girls a rich, British schoolboy appearance. It’s dynamite!

 

PERUSING A FASHION COLLECTION OF ACCESSORIES TO SPICE UP A BRITISH LOOK CAN BE FUN, AND PROFITABLE.  HERE ARE SOME GREAT PIECES FOR THE GLORY OF OLD ENGLAND:

 

 

  • Ladies’ ivy cap in plaid.  Jaunty.

 

 

 

 

GREAT LITTLE CAPS add a casual touch to this look, along with long pants or (yes!) knickers, little vests, big totes, and more subdued colors, like grays, browns, blacks, and purples.  White is also an exciting balancing color to the darker boy looks.  Little graphics and stripes also work well here, along with string bow ties and very subtly embroidered tops. Bracelets give this look a finish.  Charms keep the look very young

      Big sunglasses again make an importance appearance in this look, raising the boy-level temperature up more adult hot levels.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, December 11th, 2009