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Archive for March, 2010...

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FROSTBITE IN PARIS:  Believe it or not, white is hot for fall and winter this coming year. Karl Lagerfeld’s latest collection underwrites the trend, with lots of icy fashion and accessories putting everything in the cooler.  Lagerfeld actually went so far as to show off the collection in a fabulous setting complete with a 265-ton iceberg. Freeze-y! But then, Lagerfeld is the pan-ultimate showman! 

    Among his specialties:  a little dress fronted by strands of polar white yarn, all in polar white.  Big bold rings in multiples.  Silvery bracelets with gemstones.  And long chains of white pearls and beads looking like earrings but actually hanging down from the hair.  Artic art.  Just fabulous!

 

SCOTTIES ON THE RUN:  If you don’t have any plaids in your wardrobe, look at the hot fashion runways and get going yourself. Plaids are a hot number for spring into fall, in everything from cozy traditional plaids to lighter weight plaids in blouses, skirts, scarves, you name it! 

   Some are just downright Burberry-style, British Isles forever, like the red and black skirt and topper from Comme des Garcons.  Others were softer, like the tan and soft gold plaid over-jacket from Rodarte.  Tommy Hilfiger eschewed many of the crazy styles out there to present a long, elegant blue and gold plaid jacket, while DKNY mixed patterns with a brown and pale blue plaid mini skirt and long over-jacket with a long good-looking striped scarf. 

   A kookie long twisted pearl statement necklace with wisps of feathers entwined gave an electric look to a black and grey plaid blanket jacket from Christian Dior.  It was also accessorized with a little black handle bag embellished with sparkles.   

 

ACCESSORIZING PLAIDS CAN BE A FUN ACTIVITY.  HERE ARE SOME GREAT IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED:

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA HURRAH:  The strong trend to American Girl looks just got more designer backing, with Zac Posen’s introduction of a new secondary line, Z Spoke.  The collection is aimed at young business women and is highlighted by the launch of a handbag collection which Posen calls his “New York Look.”

   The designer says he sees Z Spoke as addressing the real needs of American fashion, with its strong denim push, tailored jackets, and little shift dresses, often trimmed with ribbon. 

   Colors here are anything but modest:  intense black, white and red print mini skirts, purple handbags with pale green handles, navy blue aviator jump suits, and a great looking outfit with gold and white stripe skirt over a black and white top bedecked with  white pearls. Dynamite!

 WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?  Suppliers, one leading economic report contends, are under greater pressure to give retailers more value in the packages they offer in order to remain more competitive.  Different and newer product lines and services are becoming more important and as a result, a shift is taking place as production focus moves from OEM (original equipment manufacturing) to ODM (original design manufacturing).

    What does all this mean to you?  Bruce Rockowitz, president of the global sourcing giant Li & Fung Ltd., says “value added services” are becoming more important, making you as a retailer, more important, too. Rockowitz sees manufacturers increasing investment in automated equipment in production lines, advanced management systems and computerized systems for research and development in order to hike their over-all capabilities.  Bundling design and merchandising services will help sourcing companies boost profit margins and customer loyalty. 

    Christina Ong, a textiles and garment division director for HSBC, says customers are also becoming more aware of environmental matters and that puts pressure on manufacturers to maintain compliant factories.  She contends that highly polluting and resource-consuming industries such as tanning and electroplating also need to be reformed.

   Rockowitz adds that in order to ensure sustained growth, global reach is essential. On that level, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius lead the field. John Cheh of the shirt manufacturing firm Esquel Group feels that for value and product quality, China is still unrivaled, and he thinks that other emerging countries have to put a lot more investment into production facilities in order to compete. 

   While applauding China in many ways, Rockowitz does caution that with the major changes taking place in the export environment, firms that rely on China too much could suffer.  Flexibility to move from one country to another is apparently key to the new global production.

 

ROSES AND THORNS:  Don’t look for anything too sweet in the newest jewelry collection from Dior Joaillerie’s Victorie De Castellane.  Yes, it’s all about roses, but they’re laden with thorns, so watch out!  The new grouping features thorny gold hoop earrings and rings and will run from a hefty $900 or so, to about $31,000, at the current exchange.  Also on display at the famed fashion emporium: a new earring and ring set from the house’s Rose Dior Pre Catelan line, featuring translucent carved roses and a rose necklace in diamonds, emeralds and pink sapphires.

   THE BIG MESSAGE HERE: ROSES ARE A HOT TRENDY ITEM BUT ADD A THORN OR TWO TO BE EDGY.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

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THE RECENT NEW YORK FALL COLLECTIONS were awash with formal and casual styles, alike, all handsomely embellished by the most imaginative and exciting fashion accessories, from hats to jewelry.  This was quite an exposition!  Check out some of these brilliant designers:

 

OSCAR DE LA RENTA:  For those in love with DressUp, Oscar de la Renta came through loud and clear.  Here were vivid, rich, intense colors:  scarlet reds and emerald greens, offset by soft, dusty tannish-grey neutrals that were very fresh and creative.  The designer put forth a wonderful orange-red skirt with an exciting pendant-brooch on the jacket, a big, furry hat, and little red gloves.  Smashing! 

 

A hot green satin evening dress was complemented by a huge square-cut emerald ring outlined in diamonds.  A skinny straight lined sleeveless sheath dress was given real excitement with a bright multi-colored  bead necklace and stacked, colorful cuff bracelets, all with a tinge of Africana. Very sophisticated and accessory-smart!

 

MICHAEL KORS:  This standup New York designer took off on a casual design train with hints of the last frontier.  Fluffy furs and knee-high boots with cozy wrap caps and big scarves, all in very neutral colors, were fun and adventurous-looking.  Kors was into belts like crazy – lots of belts, from skinny little dropped waist belts to belts that wrap around the bodice several times in a very hot, new look.

 

TORY BURCH:  Here’s a designer who keeps getting bigger each season! This year, Tory was strong on WWII aviation looks, unexpectedly matched to glittery gemstone-rich evening bags and sparkly rhinestone cuff bracelets.  What a fascinating combination, all in black and gray. 

   –This newest move toward combining the most diverse styles (i.e., very formal, plus very sportif) does come through in a fascinating way when done by a master!

 

YOU CAN ENJOY THE HIGH FASHION PRESTIGE OF PRODUCT COMBINATIONS BY ADDING YOUR IMAGINATION TO THESE GREAT VALUE

PRODUCTS:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Agate semi-precious necklace and earrings.  Society-smart!

 

 

                                           Hang-Out Wear

MARC BY MARC JACOBS:  The designer that everybody in the Big Apple literally adores showed a parade of military and outdoorsy work clothes, none very Manhattan-like, but possibly meant to lure society ladies into a more functional way of life!  There were touches of romanticism in Jacobs’ line, too, and pretty floral prints, along with a sort of ruffled-up looking grouping of just plain hang-out wear. 

     Jacobs worked with sage green nicely, and added in a sweet amount of African-print detailing.  Belts were skinny.  Socks were short.  Sunglasses were big, black, and bold.  Daring! 

 

NANETTE LEPORE: Give high grades to this design house for its rich, rich fabrics this year.  Here you could find beaded dresses and moleskin jackets, velveteen pants and copper-toned lace blouses and skirts.  Purple was a signet color, along with orange.  Belts were medium-width with conservative but interesting buckles.  Very classy!

 

                                       It’s a Dynamite Wrap!

 

A QUICK WRAP ON extra accessories sizzling across Broadway for Fall has to include jungle fare – things like that big leopard-print handbag at Mulberry.  Or, oceanography, like a blue-green scarf wrap at Chris Benz. Or, a big, tribal-designed circle choker at Christian Cota.  Or, a British Nationals effect, as in a jaunty pull down hat at Alex Chung for Madewell.  Or, just a wonderful and nifty French beret at Kate Spade.  What great stuff!

 

For those who like plaids, Sang A’s new Scottish Highlands bag was a great show choice.  It’s a tote and handle bag, carries plenty, and has enough brightness to warm any winter day. 

   –Scarves were likewise in big demand here, elegant, embellished, glitter scarves as well as casual, soft, and cozy ones. 

   –Here, too, was an interesting new combination: a long skinny patterned scarf wrapped around the neck several times, and worn with a beaded necklace. At the very chic Provo. Good looking and terrific not just for wear but for retail display.  Wow!

 

And, as a nod to the masculine gender, look at those kookie bow ties seen at the Expo! Seen at Wuyork and suitable for men and women, the designs included sassy and sleek purple satin bow ties as a brand new twist on a very traditional style. 

 

GETTING READY FOR FALL ALSO MEANS GETTING READY FOR SPRING, BECAUSE MANY OF THESE VIBRANT TRENDS ARE BREAKING ON THE ACCESSORIES SCENE NOW.  JUST LOOK AT THESE EXAMPLES:

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, March 25th, 2010

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OH MY GOODNESS, WASN’T it all swingy and shiny and terribly American Girl pretty at the final showings in Bryant Park, New York, where Tommy Hilfiger and others put on a dynamite display of super Americana fashion.  Think USA for Spring and Fall 2010, because that’s about the best there is!

 

Long skinny and dark stockings gave a classic look to many fashions.  Great little plaids came through loud and clear.  Belts were paramount, especially little thin brown belts (many in that glorious South American orange-brown tannery color) with very plain but snappy metal buckles.  What a look!

 

Neutrals here were interesting, like a pale blue heavy knit sweater or a tan and brown printed shimmer-shiny sheath dress that looked like it was made out of exquisite snakeskin. Ohhhhh.  Very svelt.

 

                                           Sexy Cuffs

 

BRACELETS STILL HUNG IN THERE, showing they are holding onto the number one position in accessories this season.  Many were wide, sexy-looking cuffs in patterns with lots of detailing.  Some were just plain black onyx-like wide cuffs.  African-styled bracelets were seen in large bangles and wooden-like pieces, along with many Moroccan-inspired bracelets embellished with stones, glass, and other glitterworks. 

 

Long chandelier earrings, many with the strongest design at the bottom (i.e., earrings starting as thin chandelier drops and then cascading down in a heavier mode, often clustered), gave a gypsy-like feeling to the wardrobe. Color was big here, especially wine and green.  So was black. 

 

EARRINGS WERE THE HOTTEST RAGE IN THE BIG APPLE, ESPECIALLY LONG GLITTERY ONES.  HERE ARE SOME GOOD EXAMPLES:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Large clip crystal chandelier earrings in your choice of trendy colors.

 

                                      The Best of America

 

Even with inspiration from other parts of the globe, the best designs expressed Americana classic looks with verve. Hilfiger, for example, said his collection channeled a young Katherine Hepburn, meaning soft and lean silhouettes.  There were also plenty of outfits with ivy-league preppy-ness, like A-line skirts and wonderfully rich colors like Kelly green, and navy and orange. 

 

 

                                         Ivy-League Preppy     

 

THESE WERE OUTFITS just meant for accessorizing!  Look at some of the fabulous pieces called forth:  big puff handbags, long skinny chains with pearl stations, a la Chanel.  Handsome rings, not too big, so that they actually look real.  Preppy watches.  Little gloves. All very refined and socially-correct, without being boring!

 

A creamy palette often took center stage as richer colors receded.  These exquisite “debutante colors,” as one fashion magazine called them, mainly centered on camel and light gray.  With them, a bevy of classic jewelry, much of it in the form of pearls or glass, shimmered softly and impressively.  Cashmere was the big material of choice in this category, along with familiar rich-girl woolen turtlenecks.  How can you go wrong with this kind of product?

 

 

                                  OFFBEAT BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

 

Even as New York glorified Americana, the shows couldn’t possibly end without a crazy fillip of flash and dark-knighthood rearing its head.  Graeme Armour slithered in with his first ever New York presentation, showing what a fashion newspaper called an “inventive, edgy, and aggressive grouping.”  Well, it was all that!

 

Yoko Ono, as we understand it, was the inspiration for these fashions – all very black, shiny, tricky, and stainless-steel-looking. Armor-esque?  You bet.  Sharp edges?  You bet! Leather?  You bet, but not without an unexpected bit of see-through black chiffon, as well.  Wild?  Undoubtedly!

 

We’ll let you name it what you will: grunge, Gothic, biker-extremist.  But if you want to scare the blazes out of somebody next Halloween, well…look here!  In the meantime, put some black metallic stuff in your accessories collections because this look isn’t going away.

 

 

BIKER BLACK AND SCAREY, CIRCA 2010.  TRY THESE ITEMS OUT FOR

A DANGEROUS LOOK:

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

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SAINT PATRICK’S DAY WAS JUST HERE, and how can I forget that once, when I was in my twenties, I developed an intense desire to discover my roots, to know who I was and where my people came from. I planned a trip to Ireland, realizing I would be the first in four generations to return.

 

We flew all night over a black ocean, and as the sun began to rise, we cut across the green, green coast of Eire and landed at Shannon Airport.  My adventure was on.

 

I took a taxi a few miles north and checked into a charming Irish hotel in Ennis.  A few hours later, a call came in for “Miss McGarry.”  “Well,” the stunning Gaelic lass said to me, “wasn’t my mother shocked to discover someone of the same name at the same hotel as me?  And with an American accent, no less!”  Hmmm.  I had never heard that before!

 

I ordered a ham plate for dinner and then waited for service. And waited.  And waited.  At long last, the hotel owner arrived, and asked if he could join me.  After some hums and coughs, he responded to my question about dinner by saying, “Do you know…it’s Friday!”  This was a very Catholic country, and many Irish still didn’t eat meat on Friday. I ate eggs.

  — Exploring the little town the next day, an elderly lady seeing me exclaimed, “Imagine!  A Yank on a bicycle!”  This was going to take some getting used to!

 

I had wanted to go up to Galway on the ragged and torturously beautiful west coast cliffs. There I would catch a boat leaving for the Aran Islands, a bleak and desolate land group off the Atlantic Irish coast, and the last place the Irish went trying to escape the British army.  It was supposed to be the only really Gaelic place left. 

 

But, nobody knew when a boat might leave. And when it did go out, well…who knew when it might return?  “Just relax,” they told me.  “Americans are too impatient.”  So much for my Aran Island excursion, and the great handmade Aran fisherman sweaters I had planned to buy there!  Still, I had to admit, I was learning how to smile. 

 

YOU CAN BRING PLENTY OF IRISH SMILES TO YOUR CUSTOMERS’ FACES WITH THESE GREAT PRODUCTS FOR SAINT PATRICK’S DAY:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They rolled the Irish coffee carts onto the grass about ten PM and I asked the other Miss McGarry if she’d like to join me in a cup.  “That’s quite good!” she said of the tasty coffee and liquor that PAN AM pilots created to offset the chilling cold of early Irish Spring.  Then, she took off a pin she was wearing, declaring, “I’ll not be needing that anymore.”         “What’s that?” I asked. “It’s the pledge,” she said. “You take it in church, and then you wear this pledge pin, showing you’ve promised never to drink alcohol.”  Oh. Oh. Oh.

 

 

                                          If at First You Don’t Succeed

 

Three hours after we left Shannon, we arrived … back at Shannon.  “We had some radio trouble coming into Dublin,” the pilot said, undisturbed.  “We’ll try again later.”   The airline fed us all an admittedly delectable lunch, and back we went for a second try at the capital city. 

 

Back then, my sister was the Press Agent for the fabulous folk singing Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, and they had arranged with another brother to show me around Dublin.

 

Clancy and his wife had the first Irish program on the BBC, and the two of them arrived at my hotel with enthusiasm.  They brought with them an elderly Irish folk singing sensation, Tom Haney, and a handsome black Irish journalist from the Dublin Times.  Together, we all set out on a rebel’s pub tour of old Irish Republican Army haunts.  It was intriguing!

 

Down dark alleys and through abandoned houses and across unlighted cobblestone courtyards into obscure and hidden havens we went, stopping from time to time to savor some Guinness stout and read the rebellious testimonials on the walls.  “You Americans don’t understand the Irish,” Haney assured me.  “You think we actually believe in things like leprechauns and banshees.  Absurd! We are very civilized.” 

 

But as the evening progressed, his haunting singing voice became more mesmerizing, and his tales got wilder and wilder.  About why the Irish wouldn’t work on the new runway at Shannon, because it came too close to where the banshees were said to live.  And about that ship that went out in the night and never returned, only the dogs on board came swimming home howling mercilessly.  Oh, it was terrible!

 

THEY SAY THAT EVERYBODY’S IRISH ON SAINT PATRICK’S DAY.  HEY, TRY PROVING IT WITH THESE FUN ITEMS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                       Goodbye

 

Before we broke for the night, they gave me the name of an Irishman to look up once I got to Paris, and then they were gone.  My Irish adventure was coming to a close. I was about to see London, France, and Amsterdam before returning to the United States.  It all went very fast, and I was impressed with how much I liked Ireland and yet how foreign I felt there.  So much for roots.

 

Still, a couple of weeks later, I learned that my trip was not in vain, because Europe came through loud and clear on my journey for identity.  As I came through the gates at New York’s JFK airport, the customs officer looked at my passport, then at me, and said, warmly, “Welcome home.”  I almost cried.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, March 22nd, 2010

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IT SEEMS LIKE A VERY LONG TIME AGO now, but I still remember it vividly.  It was early March, and there were snowflakes on the ground when I walked down Fifth Avenue into Altman’s Department Store and there it was:  The most beautiful hat I had ever seen!  It was pale pink, with a lovely brim laden with gentle pink silk flowers.  Oh!  I had to buy it!  The saleslady put it gently into a big hat box filled with crisp tissue paper, and it was mine.  I was thrilled. 

 

When my grandmother looked at the hat box she was surprised.  She opened it slowly, and then she saw it.  Here eyes lit up, just as mine had.  That fabulous pink hat!  Oh!  She picked it up, put it on her head, and practically danced across the room to her mirror.  Did she look grand!  Was there ever a more beautiful hat in the world?

 

It was an Easter bonnet for the ages, and probably the most successful gift I had ever given anyone.  Feminine, yet aristocratic.  Something that makes you smile when you see it.  But it went far beyond Easter.  My grandmother wore it everywhere – to church on Sunday, to lunch with her girlfriends, to her ladies’ club meetings on Thursday afternoons.  And each time she wore it, this sweet woman of infinite humility seemed to exude just a bit of pride, because she looked good, and she knew it.

 

 

A hat can do that.  It can make a rainy day sunny.  It can brighten up a woman’s spirits like nothing other.  Hats complete a look, they give it finish and polish.  At Easter, hats practically announce it is Spring, with their pretty colors and florals.  Hats are elegant, wonderfully appealing.  They make a woman look terrific, like nothing else can.

 

YOU CAN THRILL YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH WONDERFUL NEW EASTER CHAPEAUX. YOU CAN’T HELP BUT LOVE THESE!

 

 

 

 

 

                                                Easter Parade

 

When I was a young girl, you just had to have a new hat for Easter Sunday.   We would put on our new chapeaux for services, and then rush home to watch the Easter Parade on TV – all those society ladies wearing their designer hats as they walked up and down Fifth Avenue. 

 

Hat making was a real art, and only the finest milliners would display their show pieces.  It was a matter of pride here, too.  After all, wasn’t the great couturier Coco Chanel a milliner, first and foremost?  Hats are the quintessential fashion!

 

Then, a lot changed.  People stopped wearing hats.  People even stopped getting dressed up as much.  Many women went (and still go) to church in slacks and jeans. It’s an informal manner, and part of a new cultural expression.  Yet, something has been lost, don’t you think? 

 

                                                     Good News

 

WELL, THERE IS GOOD NEWS because the fashion industry would never let something so wonderful as a hat disappear into time.  Never!  And right now, in New York, in Paris, in Milan, in Frankfort, hats are back!  Wonderful hats, some even capable of competing with that fabulous pink hat I bought my grandmother so many years ago!

 

The colors of the new hats are as inspirational as ever:  Pinks, blues, greens, pale sage green.  And the flowers!  Flowers are an absolute essential for a new Spring hat, the more the merrier.  Ruffles and bows and fringes and sequins and garlands of chiffon piled high on a new Spring hat at the epitome of fashion now.  It is a look to die for! 

 

Karl Lagerfeld has designed a charming silver colored spring suit he calls “neon baroque” and dressed his model with a stunning lavender floral headpiece to finish the outfit. A stunning collection of spring hats by Albrizio includes a high crown black straw number with a fun cluster of black feathers.  The young designer Federica Moretti has also created a quirky straw hat collection for spring, festooned with handsome black ribbons.

 

                                                         In Milan

 

In the fashion capital of the world, Milan, even the ads are hyped up and excited by the newest hat designs.  Baldinini gives more advertising emphasis to the super big brimmed red hat on his model than on the bathing suit she is wearing.  And, back in the States, if you really want to see where hats are going, take a look at that phenomenal white and black and red feathered hat by Guy Garsone’s that was a recent standout at the NYC Milliner’s Guild.  It was heart-stopping!

 

You might say hats are undergoing a true renaissance.  They are back, in a big way.  It just goes to show, you can always trust fashion to do the right thing. 

  

YOU CAN DO THE RIGHT THING, TOO, BYJ GIVING OUR CUSTOMERS TERRIFIC EASTR STYLE AT A VERY REASONABLE PRICE. JUST LOOK AT THESE SPRING HATS:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ladies fabric hat

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, March 18th, 2010

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DID YOU EVER SEE so many magnificent ruffled gowns as were on view at the Oscars?  And, of course, the accessories were spectacular, jewelry from the finest and most extravagant houses in the world. We would like to have seen more jewelry, we admit, but the emphasis that was put on the pieces worn by various actresses was good, if a bit on the minimalist side. 

   –But, in fairness, let’s remember:  The Oscars are always focused on dresses – long, glamorous, body revealing, color-inspiring dresses.  Oscars 82 was no different. 

 

Glittery golds, bold colors, intense hues and plenty of pastels excited the Big Screen runways.  There was no small amount of intense color (especially red, a la that back ruffled phenomenon worn by Up in the Air star and best-supporting actress nominee Vera Farmiga).  One early morning paper referred to her Marchesa gown as bright fuchsia.  “It reminded me of a peony in bloom,” Farmiga said.  “I am just so sick of winter.” 

   –The problem is:  where were her jewels?  All she wore were tiny little diamond earrings, but they, at least, did stand out against her pulled back coif and smooth, bare shoulders. 

 

Pinks and pale grays and light purples and blues were riveting.  Many had a watercolor appeal, like Rachel McAdams’ Elie Saab dress filled with splashes of muted pastels and looking like an impressionistic French canvas.  The crisscross bodice followed the diagonal line popularity evident in fashion this year.  McAdams wore lovely, long drop earrings.

 

                                                    Demi Moore

 

Perhaps my favorite dress of the evening was worn by Demi Moore – an Atelier Versace peachy design with tight bodice and fabulously ruffled skirt.  With it, she wore a stunning diamond bracelet and carried a glittery silver evening clutch bag.  Just right!

 

Gabourney Sidibe proved once again that you don’t have to be tall and skinny to look terrific.  The loveable new star (the teen in Precious) and best female lead winner wore a vibrant blue off-the-shoulder dress with stunning detail and soft, flattering fit.  With it, she wore a big cocktail ring, a pretty diamond bracelet, and sparkling pave diamond drop pendant earrings.  Very classy!

 

LOOKING HOT WITH AN OSCARS’ RICHNESS ISN’T DIFFICULT IF YOU KNOW HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR OUTFIT.  TRY THESE: 

 

 

 

 

 

                         Tiny Charms and Diamond Earrings

 

Carey Mulligan was an exercise in handsome trendy jewelry ideas, with her pretty Prada dress embellished with silvery spoons, scissors, and other tiny tools. The best-actress nominee wore it with a delicate chain and gemstone choker and shoulder-dusting diamond cluster drop earrings. 

 

Mo’Nique, who took the Oscar for Best Supporting actress in Precious, wore a dusty blue dress with a white floral hair accessory and classic diamond button earrings with a small circle-cut diamond drop.  She “humbled” the audience, as one critic put it, by reminding them that the awards can be about “performance and not the politics.”

 

Cameron Diaz, together with Steve Carell, presented the Oscar for best animated feature (Up in the Air).  Ashe wore a heavily embellished dress with gemstones and other glitter-wear and capped it all off with large diamond hoop earrings.

 

Jennifer Lopez wore an iridescent pink organza dress by Georgio Armani and accessorized it with a dazzling tennis bracelet from Cartier, a knockout diamond ring, and small button diamond earrings.  The Last Station’s Helen Mirren was also here looking surprisingly young in a tight shimmery skimmer of a dress, worn with a jeweler’s choker-delight, a little tennis bracelet, and carrying a gemstone-covered evening bag. 

 

The big necklace standout at the Oscars was worn by Kate Winslet, a fabulous diamond statement necklace with center pendant drop from Tiffany.  She wore it with a pale silvery dress from Yves Saint Laurent.  As one reviewer put it, “She is so stunning, she could wear a paper bag and make it look good.” 

 

WANT TO LOOK AS GOOD AS THE ACTRESSES ON OSCAR NIGHT?  TRY WORKING WITH THESE VALUE ACCESSORIES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, March 11th, 2010

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GRRRRRRRR.   Keep plenty of room for the jungle times in your shop for fall 2010…following in the steps of super couturiers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, you can expect designers and manufacturers to put forth plenty of animal prints and lace, they’re the hottest things on the fashion stage!

 

Black and gray lace characterize all sorts of shapes, forms and materials, from jackets to camisoles, wool to silk.  Many of the designs take strong inspiration from the late and great Marlene Dietrich with her inimitably sultry masculine/feminine 1940s mystique.  

 

THE LEOPARD DESIGNS FEATURED by the D & G team offer something for almost everybody.  Want your fur head to toe, jungle-esque?  It’s here, complete with great looking furry-printed scarf over a full wooly leopard suit.  Prefer it mixed, new millennium-style?  Put a leopard sleeveless top over a purple sequined mini skirt.  Pop!  Wow!

 

    — And how about the accessories?  The fabulous designers with Sicilian roots haven’t left them out!  Look here for a fabulous leopard fedora worn straight on the head and looking very svelte and sassy.  Or, a leopard handle bag with over-lap design.  Very new form, new medium-size trendy.

 

1940 IS BACK WITH THE EXQUISITE MARLENE DIETRICH AND SOME FAB NEW ACCESSORIES, STRONG AND SVELT.  HERE ARE A FEW TO GIVE YOU THE RIGHT IDEA:

 

 

 

 

  • Art Nouveau – inspired crystal gecko brooch.

 

 

                                Wild Mix with a Call from the Wild     

 

 

Just look at these rich-girl leopard-print long gloves shown over a tailored gray suit.  D & G even put a silk floral hat — looking like a bouquet-out-of-place — on the head of one jungle-wrapped runway cutie – strange, but attention-getting!  Non-fur gloves are here a-plenty, too.  Black is the color. Leather predominates.

 

And then, there was lace, proving that D & G are as much in love with it as myriad other designers this season.  Lacy stockings.  Lace gloves.  Lace insets.  Lace blouses.  Very sexy, very black, every here and there a bow to gray. Very Ohhhh, Marlene, she is everywhere, bigger than Sicily, larger than life.  The lines are strong, magnificently tailored.  Assertive.  No wilting Southern Belles in this collection, at all. 

 

 

 

                 BLOOMIE’S OPENS HUGE EMPORIUM  IN DUBAI

 

“The idea was to bring the best of America here to Dubai,” declared Shireen Al Khatib,

as he opened the doors to Bloomingdale’s fabulous new Dubai emporium, in the shadow of the world’s tallest building.  Celebrating the opening of Bloomingdale’s first venture onto foreign soil were scores of Arab royalties and dignitaries, fashion and designer hot shots, and just plain ordinary Dubai socialites, who are anything but ordinary, ordinarily.  

 

CEO of Al Tayer Insignia, the firm operating the new store under licensing agreement with Bloomingdales, beamed as he ushered in His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the son of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, and gave each one a tile to place on the floor of the entryway to commemorate the occasion.  Oh…it was snazzy!

 

“We’ve been waiting for the arrival of Bloomie’s in Dubai for a long time, and I think most of us are in awe of the magnitude of the store,” exuded a thrilled Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and CEO.  Bloomies is now the newest anchor in the massive Dubai Mall.  

 

The new store covers three levels and centers on high fashion as its exclusive domain.  “Let’s face it,” Gould said, “there are other places to buy cosmetics just minutes from here, but what we offer is a sense of intimacy.  Bloomingdale’s is about an energy and approachability.  The experience you have in Manhattan is the experience you will have in Dubai.”

 

YOU CAN ENJOY THE HOT TRENDY EXPERIENCE OF BLOOMINGDALE’S AND THE EXCLUSIVE ELAN OF DUBAI ALL AT ONCE WITH JUST THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES AT VALUE PRICES.  HERE ARE SOME:

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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THE NEW YORK Fall 2010 collections roared into Gotham last month with plenty of choices and excitement for the Fashion Accessories Industry.  Color was brilliant.  Luxe and Bohemia ruled the day.  Romantic sweetness wasn’t left behind, and classic elegance was at a high point.  What more can we say?  This was fabulous!

   –But don’t think of the Big Shows as Fall-limited.  Believe me, manufacturers are already onto the designs and trends found in these collections, hoping to get them to the public with alacrity. 

 

So…let’s go street-walking in the Big Apple and see what’s really happening now.  It’s well worth the trip!  Here’s what a handful of top designers showed and said:

 

RALPH LAUREN offered marvelous Bohemian and Edwardian styles with no small amount of romanticism and fantasy attached.  Dresses were flowered, beaded jewelry was exquisite, even Russian-inspired.  But what revved up so many of his great designs this season were fingerless, long lacey black gloves.  What a great look!

 

Lauren used Byzantine prints like the master he is, and added plenty of casual, unexpected flair in the form of chunky sweaters, fur toppers and pinstriped suits.  Black embroideries and black prints added depth, drama and — surprise! — no small amount of grunge. 

 

LACE GLOVES AND FEMININE JEWELRY ADD UP TO A WONDERFULLY ROMANTIC FALL.  HERE ARE SOME TERRIFIC DESIGNS TO CHOOSE FOR YOUR OWN COLLECTION:

 

 

 

 

 

                                           Movement and Swing

 

PERHAPS THE MOST INTERESTING ASPECT of Lauren’s collection was its movement.  Everything seemed to flow and swing and move with easy speed.  Earrings were often long, skinny strips of dark beads.  Sexy, thin thread-fringe was apparent in clothing and jewelry.  Belts were plentiful, often dropped, and worn somewhat loosely. 

  –Chandelier earrings with no small amount of red colored beads were delightful, matched to black and red Eastern European styled chokers

 

FRANCISCO COSTA FOR CALVIN KLEIN:  Well, there was little for Fashion Accessories retailers to delight in here, yet the Collection is more than worth mentioning simply because of its exquisite lines and beauty.  And, because Costa is unquestionably a first-class design guru.

 

This season, the designer put forth a strictly minimalist collection, much of it with a 1970s élan, unfettered and unembellished.  White and black was the color signal, all very stark and straight-lined.  Even the models’ hairdos were in tune with the tight, almost rigid simplicity, with blond tresses pulled back tight into cut-off boy-dos.  What earrings could do for this! 

   –Costa added an interesting amount of leather to his collection, often in the form of tight pants — an edgy, sophisticated touch.

 

                                     Icelandic Inspiration

 

ANNA SUI:  You have to adore this look to deal with it, great, but often over-the-top.  Sui went for what she called a stain-glass rendering of a Woodstock landscape, filled with nature colors, nature prints and forms, log-cabin-inspired designs, and fru-fru ruffles and embroideries.  Orange was the predominant color, along with multiple shades of green, all somewhat Icelandic in feeling. 

 

Warm caps led Sui’s accessories, along with furry boots, and long, heavy, wild-looking primitive beaded necklaces.  Belts were strong here, too.  Metallics and shiny materials were spaced out, comfortably, through the collection.  If you go for frontier fashion, this was all just made for you!

 

CAPS AND HATS ARE ALL OVER THE FASHION STAGE THIS YEAR.  HERE ARE SOME GREAT VALUES FOR YOU TO CONSIDER:

 

 

 

 

  • Knit visor beanie in newest design.  Choose your colors.

 

                                                    Rock and Steel

 

ISAAC MIZRAHI:  “Manhattan is made of rock,” declared the super-designer of his newest Collection, described by one fashion publication as “Mizrahi’s Manhattan mania.”

This was a fabulously embellished design collection, featuring plenty of sparkly embellishments, sequins and gemstones, plenty of down-town glam-vibes, and even dizzying design references to the City’s incredible skyline.    

  –Mizrahi’s collection took strong inspiration from the recent “Art of the Samurai” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and was expressed in dramatic crystal work and even bejeweled toggle closures.  Classic exotica!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, March 5th, 2010

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WHO COULD EVER BELIEVE where we’ve come to with bracelets?  A simple gold chain piece?  Pleeease….! Now the look is multiples upon multiples, styles upon styles, colors upon colors, materials upon materials, all worn together up one arm and down the other.  Big, big bracelets.  Dazzling, colorful bracelets.  Huge pieces clipped onto the arm that would surely make it impossible to write with when they’re on! 

 

Of course, we’ve been talking about bracelets for some time now.  And, we’ve been talking about wearing bracelets in multiples.  But we haven’t seen anything like this, believe me!  Right now, bracelets frequently take prominence over all other fashion being worn.  These are bracelets that demand attention. 

 

Bracelets run from the most primitive to the sleekest, most modern and sophisticated.  They also come from all over the globe and have all kinds of stories attached to them.  For example, there are plenty of breast cancer awareness bracelets.  But now there is so much more.

 

Take Diane von Furstenberg’s telephone wire bracelets from South Africa’s Senzokuhle Wire Co. The designer purchased the colorful, ethnic bracelets through Vital Voices, an organization that enables impoverished women around the world to earn money while preserving their artisan traditions.

  — And that’s not all.  There are numerous charities and organizations selling bracelets for various causes, many of them just string or cord pieces, but meaningful.  You’ll find both men and women wearing them. Bracelets for Haiti are among the newest.

 

Fascinating stories are frequently attached to the bracelets, too. For example, Barbara Bui offers a collection of sterling silver and crystal bracelets inspired by serpents with carefully placed emeralds, snake heads and scales.

 

Hammered metal makes for interesting looking bracelets, especially those with an archeological appearance and references to ancient Rome, perhaps, or Pharaoh-era Egypt.

Heavily glitzy bracelets with large gemstones often have Russian Romanoff design inspiration and seem to have all the intrigue of yesterday’s Eastern Europe somehow imbedded in them.  Fascinating!  

 

                                           Tough and Sassy

 

Metal-based bead encrusted bracelets are especially popular.  These tend to be big, cuff-like pieces, done in silver or car-repair shop metal, with circles of beading around them.  A new ad by Guess features three or four (it could be twelve, it’s hard to tell!) bracelets on one arm, with twice that number on the other. The look is absolutely dynamite with a western-denim fashion story.  Wow!

 

YOU CAN FIND STUNNING BIG CUFF BRACELETS AT VALUE PRICES!  LOOK HERE:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Cuff bracelet with open weave design.

 

Guess isn’t always so edgy.  In another ad, the firm features a bracelets galore look with African-inspired tribal bracelets, featuring some beaded pieces, along with blue and white etched bracelets plus a couple of plain silver and gold bracelets.  A real mixture.

 

Beads of many different materials make for exciting bracelet collections.  Giorgio Armani offers a beautiful glass crystal bracelet in multi-colors, with beads of many different shapes and sizes.  Resin is an important material in modern-design bracelets, most often used in clear interpretations.  Sterling silver is a particularly popular metal right now, either real or faux. 

 

 Here and there you will find a bracelet that can be worn by itself. These are usually real or faux diamond bracelets, not really tennis bracelets (while this is now a classic, it is not really as “hip” as it used to be) but rather medium-wide pieces with interesting, usually floral or geometric designs, mostly in silver or silver-plate.  These are strictly for formal wear;  they don’t work for daytime!

 

                                        Arabian Nights

 

Oh, oh…let us not forget the Saudi look! We’re talking about rich, gold or gold-plate cuff bracelets, worn two or three or four at a time, along with several (if not many) skinny gold bangles, all on one arm.  Add a luxurious handbag and a pair of dark sunglasses and you’ll look like a Princess even in clothes from the flea market!

 

And is there anything more popular than a charm bracelet?  It seems demand for these classic pieces grows non-stop!  There are so many of these, it is hard to even begin to list them.  But, here are a couple of pieces: 

 

   –My friend’s daughter recently received a charm bracelet from her boyfriend with hand-picked charms commemorating points in their relationship. A little puppy stands for the pet shop they met in.  A piece of pizza commemorates their first “eat-out” date.  A bicycle represents their athletic activity. Put on a pretty chain link bracelet, and it makes for a delightful bracelet. 

 

   –On a more expensive scale are Tiffany’s charm bracelets, representing cities, such as Paris, and New York.  Needless to say, Paris includes a plane (for getting there), a French poodle, and the Eiffel Tower, among other things.  Great to own!

 

CHARMS AND CHARM BRACELETS OFFER ENDLESS HOURS OF DELIGHT.  HERE ARE SOME TO GET YOU STARTED:

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Jewelry
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CELEBRITY RETAIL continues to take on new dimensions.   Ivanka Trump, daughter to “The Donald” is expanding her role in the jewelry retail field, with lots of gusto and visions of global reach.  Now in her late 20’s, she brings with her a lengthy resume that begins with her summa cum laude B.A. from Wharton, a successful early modeling career, TV persona, book author, high-level executive with her father’s real estate empire…the list goes on.

That’s pretty good for a fairly novice retailer, but the big thing, of course, is her celebrity status, second generation, and no less powerful.

Let’s just look at her plans!  To start with, Ivanka has, until now, had only one! fine jewelry retail outlet, in Manhattan, on Madison Avenue.  Now she has devised her blueprint to expand in size in a truly grand, if not grandiose, manner.  First, her line will soon be connected to thirty top-tier guild jewelers in the United States from coast to coast.   Next, she says, will be exposure in Europe, then the Middle and Far East.

We’re told that Ivanka herself will handle multiplication of the stores’ locations and customer reach, and that she will also be in charge of jewelry design, target groups, and merchandising.

   — It’s amazing how, once someone assumes a celebrity role, they can easily handle everything from marriage to jumping on board a rocket ship to the moon, while we poor earthlings seem tied to one job at time, multitasking notwithstanding. 

 

THINKING IN “TRUMP” TERMS CAN BRING YOU CLOSER TO SELLING MORE AND TARGETING TRENDS QUICKER.  THE TRUMP MAGIC IS SOMETHING TO KEY INTO.  HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS THAT HAVE THAT MYSTIQUE, MINUS THE BIG PRICE TAG:  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                             Computer Savvy

 

IVANKA HASN’T IGNORED THE POWER OF THE INTERNET, EITHER. She has a beautifully crafted web site for the jewelry line.  Her image glamorizes the jewelry presentation.  Text speaks effectively to her customer.  She explains her philosophy and inspiration and provides irresistible suggestions for every occasion for gift giving.  It’s a total package. 

The Trump jewelry operation reportedly has some 700,000 followers on Twitter.  Recently, Ivanka tweeted about her favorite earrings, which sell for $750, and the store has had trouble keeping them in stock ever since. 
The Trump jewelry collection is not that extraordinary on the surface; it is classical and interesting.  It features mainly the finest diamonds, as might be expected.  As Ivanka said, “With so many talented jewelers out there, the biggest challenge we had was reinventing important jewelry and making it our own.

Among her stand-out pieces are mixed-cut diamond hoop earrings, a silver silk cord with two gold circular pendants, and a cuff bracelet in gold with large (oh, huge!) center clear faceted gemstone.  And, for plenty of glitz in the super-trendy mode, there is her triple strand crystal necklace, all clear fire and ice!

                                                        Partner Daddy

 

This jewelry venture was begun with a partnership with the Trump organization (Daddy) and now, while they begin the selection of fine jewelers, retail partners and franchisees, she is busily drafting a master plan to establish a prime network for wholesale distribution as well!

LET OTHERS SPEND THOUSANDS FOR ELEGANT JEWELRY ACCESSORIES.  GET A VERY SIMILAR LOOK AND IMPACT FROM THESE LOVELY DESIGNS:

  • Stunner:  Large Oval CZ Necklace Set.  Sparkles like the best of diamonds!

 

 

 

 

 

So why should we care about Ivanka’s activities, since we deal with normal people, and she admittedly says that one thing that marks all of her world is luxury? 

Well, despite the fact that she is “to the manor born,” she is a workaholic and has already set a high marker for success in business.   Here are some of her ideas for business success:

  1. Brand awareness is essential.  For example, everything she does or participates in must advance the Trump brand.
  2. Business Education:  Knowledge is where it’s at!  Be sure you understand all the basics… and then arm yourself with the special knowledge you’ll need for your particular area of activity.
  3. Planning.  This can’t be emphasized too much.  Know in advance what your goals are, and how you plan on reaching them.
  4. Product and People.  Only deal with quality here.  Spending a little more for better employees and consultants will pay off in the long run!
  5. Work at developing confidence and passion.  Ivanka claims they are the two assets behind her motivation and drive.  
Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, March 1st, 2010