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Archive for April, 2010...

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RALPH LAUREN HAS LONG been attracted to a military look, but his fashion translations of the style have always had a soft and classic edge to them: blue jackets with gold buttons and epaulets; sweaters with semi-military inspiration, not very warrior-like, certainly not hard-edge battle field strong.  No…these have always been outfits you would wear to lunch at New York’s 21 Club.  High fashion.  Classy, as only RL knows how to do it.

 

Now, however, there is a new twist on the military, this one very realistic, not at all afraid of putting almost scary images right up front, on the runway and on the street.  This new military look doesn’t play games.  It is machine gun sharp.   And, it comes from top designers in New York, Paris, Milan, London, you name it. You name it. 

 

                                                  Almost Macabre

 

There is a strange – you might call it macabre – fascination going around and it has everything to do with war and the military. 

                                                

They call it military chic.  It is not brand new (the military look has been on the back-burner for a while now), but it is experiencing a new incarnation.  Its colors are slightly different this year.  They are muddy, swamp-like, greige and fatigue greens.  Many materials are rumpled, wrinkled, looking like the wearer just returned from jungle warfare.  Pants are over loaded with buttoned outside pockets.  Various takes on the famous Eisenhower jacket are hot.

 

ACCESSORIES FOR THE MILITARY LOOK ARE LESS GLITZY THAN WE’VE SEEN IN OTHER STORIES THIS YEAR.  HERE ARE SOME GREAT EXAMPLES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designers showing the military look as an important part of their collections were many.   So were the takes on military style.  Anna Sui showed a design mix on the military with an Army green jacket, brown leather belt, Icelandic cap and sweater, fingerless gloves and green print scarf.  It was all over the place, and yet it came together marvelously! 

 

Nicole Miller showed a handsome short military coat over a striped mini dress, also worn with fingerless gloves and a tam. From Junya Watanabe came a camouflage print dress with lots of draping and a voluminous hat with aspirations as a battle front helmet.  Large shoulders on all these designs helped promote the military look even further!

 

                                                 Air Force One

 

An important sub category of the military look is the Aviator.  But this is almost strictly a military aviator, not the American Airlines vacation type.  It’s tough.  Dark. 

And sexy.  Among the leading styles in this look are leather pilot jackets, very expensive looking, with plenty of zippers.  Goggles.  Aviator helmets.  Boots.

 

Strong makeup is almost an essential with the Aviator.  So is hair that is either pulled back tight or short.  There are no dainty damsels here.  The gals wearing these clothes are serious, professional-looking, almost dangerous. 

 

Cockpit USA has a handsome leather and shearling jacket ideal for the Aviator look.  It is worn with a Nomex flight suit.  Julibo sunglasses and Frye boots finish the outfit.

 

FROM CHAINS TO SUNGLASSES, YOU CAN GET JUST THE RIGHT TAKE ON MILITARY AND AVIATOR ACCESSORIES BY LOOKING HERE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accessories for the military look also vary, depending on how at-work or dressy the outfit is.  Most call for chains of one sort or another, rings that don’t interfere with fingerless gloves (an essential here), and sunglasses. 

 

A dressy military version like one presented by Balmain features a black and gold velvet jacket with plenty of braid and metallic glitz, worn with bright orange-red pants and a white scarf.  Wow!  This is really ornate and gorgeous!  Wear it with a metallic skinny belt, small earrings, and maybe a ring or two.  Dynamite!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

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A SPECIAL DAY, A NATIONAL HOLIDAY TO HONOR ALL MOTHERS—for years, it was simply a dream, an elusive goal for a young woman, Anna Jarvis, who vowed to fulfill her mother’s desire for just such a recognition of mothers.  In the mid 1800’s, Anna Reeves Jarvis, the mother, established “Mothers’ Work Day” to raise awareness of sanitary conditions in her home State of West Virginia.  This was expanded to relate to sanitary issues for both the Confederate and Union troops.

 

When Mrs. Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter Anna swore at her gravesite that she would work to institute a national date on which all mothers would be honored.  Two years later, she demonstrated her public relations ability by presenting white carnations to the women at her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia. 

 

The next year, the church agreed to hold a special Sunday service to honor all mothers of the congregation.  It was a quickly accepted tradition that spread like wildfire to churches in 46 states.

 

                        Full-Time Job For a Determined Woman

 

Not content with this informal acceptance, Anna Jarvis set herself about a sweeping letter-writing campaign, targeting members of congress, clergymen and local civic activists.  Anyone who was in a position to help promote the concept of a national “Mother’s Day” was contacted, and many responded to her heartfelt pleas for the holiday.

 

THEN:  SUCCESS!  In 1912, Anna’s dream began to be realized.  West Virginia, naturally, was the first state to adopt an official Mother’s Day.  And, two years later, President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution of Congress formally establishing a national Mother’s Day that recognized the formative role of women in their families, cultivating character and codes of behavior.

 

 

MOTHERS ARE THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE FAMILY.  HELP ADD TO MOTHER’S DAY FESTIVITIES WITH THESE “LOVE YOU MOM” GIFTS:

 

 

 

 

 

The second Sunday of May was chosen as the date to celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States.  Similar holidays are held throughout the world, such as Mothering Day in the U.K.  Over the years, as the United States holiday was adopted by other countries, its character was modified to meet local customs or to coincide with a date that was meaningful to the majority religion, such as Catholic countries’ Virgin Mary Day.

 

In Muslim countries, it is related to the birthday of the daughter of the Prophet Mohammad.  And other countries, such as Russia, give a political slant to their International Women’s Day.

 

Never a mother herself, Anna Jarvis is fondly referred to as the “mother of Mother’s Day.”  In the United States, the holiday has taken on the character she envisioned:  expressions of love and appreciation of mother by all family members, and gifts, of course, to mark the day and provide fond memories.

 

MOTHER’S DAY IS ALWAYS A JOYOUS, LOVE-FILLED CELEBRATION FOR THE SMALLEST TOT TO GOOD OLD DAD.  HERE ARE SOME MADE-FOR-MOM GIFT IDEAS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every mother looks forward to Mother’s Day as the day she’ll be feted, hugged and kissed and told she’s wonderful.  It’s the day she’ll most likely be waited upon, with special breakfast in bed or dining out a part of the festivities.  But the gifts she receives will have a nesting place in her heart, and every time she wears or uses them, they’ll exert their loving power on her, constantly impressing upon Mom that she is loved a lot.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Filed under Fashion History
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DID YOU KNOW that Irving Berlin wrote The Easter Parade?  He also wrote White Christmas.  And, he was Jewish. Well, that’s not so unusual when you realize that Leonard Bernstein, former director of the New York Philharmonic, wrote his own Mass!  Of course, it was widely criticized when it was first introduced but then, recognizing its inspiring beauty, it was embraced by the Catholic Church and even celebrated at the Vatican.  

     All of which adds up to a simple fact:  It is good to see people of such remarkable talent ready to share their creativity with others, even those outside of their own faith.

 

Much of this became apparent recently when Public Television aired its momentous documentary, American Songbook, covering American music, from about 1890 through 1965.  Oh, this was an event to remember, and if you haven’t seen it, look up your television listings and see if it will be played again soon. 

 

This is history at its best, showing not only the music of the times, but the events, the participants, the fashion, the incredible melting pot of people from all over the world.  What entertainment!

 

Here was George M. Cohan, the Ziegfeld Follies, the music of World Wars I and II. Kate Smith sang God Bless America.  Songs from the greatest theatrical productions of American history, such as Showboat, and the classic, Porgy and Bess, thrilled audiences.  It was moving, it was sad, it was joyful, it was intriguing.  Even more fascinating, it was the story of the American people, vividly expressed in music, lifestyles, wardrobes, and even expressions. 

 

“Over There.” “The Last Time I saw Paris.”  “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”  These are just a quick sampling of the war songs that helped boost morale during so many of the nation’s fighting years.

 

                                           The Dark Years

 

SO MUCH WAS ALIKE, but much was also different. The glorious Ziegfeld Follies girls had small breasts and sometimes slightly rounded bellies. Men were shorter.  We all were much younger, if we were on the scene at all. Costume jewelry still hadn’t come into its own during the early years covered by the film, so jewelry worn by the average woman was often small, inconspicuous, real. 

   –But hats?  That was something else again!  Big brimmed hats were high fashion, and absolutely required wearing for any dressup occasion, especially something like Easter.

 

YOU CAN HAVE FUN WITH THE MEMORIES OF EASTERS PAST, AND STILL BE IN FASHION NOW!  HERE ARE SOME MARVELOUS HATS FOR THE BIG DAY:

  • Stunning ladies’ dress hat with gorgeous, trendy bow trim.
  • Organza ladies’ hat with floral lace pattern.

 

Mickey Rooney as a young man: wasn’t he delightful?  And Lena Horne, oh…she was so beautiful! A quick clip of Ronald Regan in a Grade B movie was entertaining; could he ever have imagined back then that he would one day be President of the United States?  Judy Garland sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, modestly attired as few present day gals would be. 

 

Benny Goodman played to packed audiences and dancing devotees in the spectacular Big Band Era. Ira Gershwin shared his musical genius with the world, Rogers and Hammerstein wrote America into world musical history with their remarkable South Pacific (to name just one of their Broadway musicals), with its Some Enchanted Evening, Bali H’ai, and Younger than Springtime.  The musical genius here was breathtaking!

 

                                   Long Strands of Pearls

 

Then the times changed, radically.  At the turn of the century, well-dressed ladies wore long dresses and piled on jewelry, Victorian style, and not so different from the way it is worn today.  The Twenties brought in truly radical short skirts, bobbed hair, plenty of fringe, and long strands of beads and pearls dropping below the waist and swinging with every movement. Doesn’t this sound like today?  It was fun seeing the likenesses and differences.

 

The Thirties opened with seductive dresses, major movie stars, and the tragedy of a deep Depression that was to last ten years.  Things were hard, clothing was anything but fashionable in most hometowns.  Paul Robeson sang Old Man River, and touched the souls of everyone who heard him.  “I gets weary, and sick of trying, I’m tired of living and feared of dying, But old man river, he just keeps rolling along….”     

 

                                             The New Deal

 

Happy Days are Here Again, the song declared as Delano Roosevelt came into office with fierce determination.  The New Deal was on, and prohibition was off, relegated to the past.  Things got better.  Smiles returned. 

 

But then…Pearl Harbor shook up the nation, and another war was on.  Over There was sung, once again.  God Bless America took on new meaning, once again.

 

After World War II, music helped a nation grapple with myriad changes and chores, bringing light to everyone.  Fashion, too, did its part, with classy long skirts and large shoulder pads, an unmistakable Forties look.  Fabulous brooches made an appearance.  The waistline was defined with belts.  Practical handle bags appeared.  Holidays could once again be celebrated with ease and lightheartedness.

 

HERE ARE SOME MEANINGFUL FASHION ACCESSORIES TO HELP YOU CELEBRATE YOUR HOLIDAYS AS WELL:

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, April 26th, 2010

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THE NEWEST PARIS FASHIONS WERE FROLICKED UP AND DOWN Gallic runways with ease and elegance, giving plenty of competition to New York and Milan, while underwriting the fact that the Fashion Industry in this European capital is strong and well and aggressively flirting with fashionistas, worldwide. 

 

The shows opened with verve, as Dries Van Noten emphasized functional everyday casual clothes, pitting strong color against interesting, muted browns and neutrals.  The design house was also big on print mixes, like one outfit featuring a green floral print skirt, black blouse, and leopard print shorty jacket. 

   —Accessories here were somewhat limited, and centered on medium-large handbags (some looking like gym bags), and great looking animal-print scarves.

 

Giles Deacon turned the calendar back with Fifties-style fashions, all very feminine and built for movement.  Colors ran from orange to pale blue-grey, with olive a fast following contender and some pops of metallics shaking things up a bit. 

 

Bows, ruffles, see-through mini skirts in ruffled chiffon, and wild diagonally stretched material swaths like overlays on the outfits, were just some of the images exciting the open hours and days of Paris.  Hairdos ran from almost Marine-short to long, straight and unabashedly sloppy.

 

                                      Rings, Bracelets Hot Items

 

While the runway spotlight centered on Paris clothing designs, the classy Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry house launched its own showing, and what an exposition it was, with intricate pieces galore shining and inspiring.  Titled  “Perlee,” the jewelry collection featured delicate rings, earrings and bracelets in rose or white gold. 

    Here were large hoops and stacking rings with beaded details for a shot at real newness.  Some bangles featured large pearl-sized globules while others were edged in tiny delicate beads.  Diamond pave Alhambra motifs were also important. 

   –The firm has also introduced a line of men’s jewelry, which included two beaded ring styles and a brush matte finished bracelet with beaded edges.  

 

YOU CAN ENJOY THE RICHNESS OF FINE JEWELRY WITH THESE GREAT

GEMSTONE PRETENDERS – PLENTY OF SPARKLE AT A REASONABLE PRICE!

 

 

 

 

 

Black held its head up high in Paris as elsewhere in the fashion world this year.  From Limi Feu came a fascinating all-black mixed material long coat with a wool top and ruffled see-through skirt.  From Gareth Pugh came a rather weird design in black featuring leather and matte materials with a geometrically etched big black front piece looking something like a massive scarf.  Strange, Darth-Vader like!  From Nicolas Andreas Taralis came an all black aviator’s outfit with big, ruffled black scarf. This was not unlike a New Millennium take on WWII pilot gear.

 

                                             Lolita-Inspired

 

Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga seemed to show a love attachment for the very young, as he sent out a Lolita-attired line of models with little, lacy short skirts under parochial school-like woolen sweaters, a strong point in his collection. Many of the sweaters were playful and charming, like a gray long sleeved woolen one with orange, white, and sky blue geometric design.

    Stripes of color also made for interesting sweater dresses in tan, green, black and gray.  In a more delicate mood was a pale lacy pink sleeveless dress worn with no accessories except very, very high heels.  The rest of Balenciaga echoed the accessory-vacant look. What was going on here?

 

 

Belts stayed strong in Paris this year, like a skinny little dark brown belt over gold tights and skinny brown top, along with a gold metallic pieced belt over a wildly sequined, shimmery short skirted dress, both from Balman. 

  The Eighties reigned at Balman, with lots of glitter and glam rock styles.  There were sparkling pinstripes and blinding brocades, no small amount of pantsuits, and party dresses with strong shoulder emphasis.  Metallic sequins and beads were important, along with gold chain details.   

 

 

                                   Galliano – A Master Designer

 

AH, BUT JOHN GALLIANO FOR CHRISTIAN DIOR came through for accessories with excitement and plenty of shine.  Here was a collection of clothes with aristocratic verve – plenty of equestrian and country looks, plaids, brown velvets and fur pieces, like vests. Delicate silks also played a role in the collection, along with big cable knit sweaters, 18th century florals, and faded pinks and greens. 

   –Thigh-high suede and leather boots, along with sexy garters and flimsy knickers mixed sweet with saucy for a wicked look.

       But, to the accessories!  Galliano featured multi-strand bead necklaces, along with white pearl chokers, all together for a bib-like beaded effect.  This multi-strand bead look was repeated in various colors and sizes and styles throughout the collection. 

      Earrings were often very long, beyond just shoulder dusters. And multi-strands.  A great looking hat in brown velvet sat jauntily on the side of the head, like a large, slightly formed beret.

       Galliano’s handbags were medium-large, but certainly not luggage sized.  Black gloves were big.  Rings were very large, sometimes almost lethal looking, in true Gothic-style.  Leather bracelets emphasized a tribal look, along with a metallic statement necklace, very silvery.  

        Some points to keep in mind from Galliano:   Feathers.  Classic looks, like camel hair coats.  Leather.  Big chain shoulder straps on handbags.  Shiny materials. Shimmery embellishments.  Criss-cross material across the bodice of dresses.

 

GLAM-ROCK IS ONE THING.  HOW ABOUT SHIMMER-CLASSIC?  IT’S A GREAT LOOK, AND YOU CAN GET IT WITH THESE FABULOUS PRODUCTS:

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Trends
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With all the wondrous fashion coming out of Paris and New York, you’d think they’d overwhelm and overpower anyone else.  But…don’t believe it.  Milan remained the fashion capital of the world again this season, with some of the most exquisite costumes and accessories yet seen.

 

 

A fabulous collection from Gucci included sleek, clean lines and no small amount of feminine styling and images.  The silhouette was lean and polished, with flashes of bare skin to rivet things up a bit.  Slacks were often low slung.  Furs were plentiful. Lace was delightful. Little black gloves were svelte. Feathers and embroidery gave an embellished touch.  Colors were mostly muted or neutral or black.  Shoulders played an important role, often enlarged with shoulder pads. 

 

Giorgio Armani described his newest collection as “The New Chic,” and it was a particularly fitting descriptive for a marvelous line, conservative and yet spiced with bright colors and prints.  Tailoring was Armani-strong, eveningwear was elegant.  Luxe exotic skins were worn over velvet shorts.  Color was strong, Crayola colors of bright reds and oranges, pinks and emerald greens.  Plenty of basic black and white skirts and blouses were classic.  Shoulders were strong here too, rising impressively above very skinny arms.

    –Accessories included little gloves, slim evening clutches, colorful bracelets and cuffs, big bows, small black fascinator hats.

 

IF YOU LOVE ITALIAN DESIGN, TOO, (AND WHO DOESN’T?) TRY THESE ACCESSORIES FOR GREAT INSPIRATION:

 

 

 

 

                               Medallions and Minaudieres

 

Dolce and Gabbana played on a kind of marching forward theme, with lines of models parading army style across the runways, all dressed in black panty-short bottoms and fitted tuxedo-inspired jackets. For his general collection, things moved:  handbags, chains slung around the neck and ending waistline high in tiny change purses. It was all swingy and exciting. Small golden medallion drop earrings were repeated many times.

   –Little wrist-slung purses along with minaudieres were important.  Pins embellished dresses, with hearts and circles big themes.

Black lace and widow dresses were important.  Macramé was pleasantly returned to fashion, and silks and polka dots continued their strong fashion trend.  Florals were big, along with leopard prints.

   –Dangling medallions were everywhere – a reminder of the Sicilian tradition of offering gold to the saints.

 

                                       Shameless Hedonism

 

Donatella Versace was her old familiar self this season, presenting a collection of bad, bad girl outfits fit for only the wildest of the species.  As one publication put it, “she honed in on “the racy Versace of yore, when the house stood for such shameless hedonistic pursuits and clothes suited for such.”  Here were “Matrix” badass jackets, skin tight leather leggings with moto details and zippers. 

 

Colors were – you guessed it – almost always black with touches of electric-hot hues.  Dresses were no less sexy, all designed to reveal as much of the body as possible, many with bare backs and cutouts, and done in bright, wild colors. This was a collection unrestrained and brazen!

 

Marni stood out from the crowd with a collection heavy on peplums and cartoon forms and impressions.  Here, too, were Seventies graphics and sci-fi geometrics.  Other interesting points to the collection were Mormon-style dresses, floral prints, fur fronted outfits, and polka dots.   

 

The designer was particularly hot on accessories, showing conservative handbags excited by vibrant prints, clog shoes as well perforated booties, driving gloves, slouchy jewelry.  Rings were unusual, to say the least, made from burnt wood dusted with crushed stone, as one example.  Don’t forget the geek glasses and the incredible retro bright color combinations, like red and green and black and tan.  Whew!

 

                                         More and Still More

 

HOT TRENDS TO NOTE FROM MARVELOUS MILAN:  Fringe. Black and white combinations.  Gold!   Leather.  Big dark sunglasses.  Lace.  Colorful prints.  Skinny belts. “Matrix” style jackets. The color black. Oriental inspirations.  Fur.  Statement necklaces.  Cut-outs.  Tight pants.  Short skirts.  Booties.  Little handbags, very swingy.  Wild, mixed color combinations. Feathers. Animal prints.  Florals. Electric colors.  

 

CREATE YOUR OWN MILAN-INSPIRED FASHION FOR SPRING AND FALL WITH THESE VALUE-PACKED PRODUCTS:

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Filed under Sunglasses
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VINTAGE STYLING took the lead in eyeglasses at the Mido Fair in Milan this year, even as the industry tried to rebound from serious economic doldrums. But change was in the air!

 

New associations and affiliations were rampant.  New licensing deals took the place of yesterday’s business connections.  There was talk of some firms going under; talk, too, of others producing new collections with an eye toward more exciting sales and expansion. 

 

In just one new licensing agreement, U.S. manufacturer Marchon said that Diane von Furstenberg’s eyewear collection would launch in Europe in next year’s Mido edition.  That will follow an American debut at Vision Expo East. 

 

Marchon president and ceo of Marchon International excitedly contended that, as a result of the new activity, his company could very well become a leader in a market that has historically been European.

 

   –Can you believe it?  Well, that’s what we’re saying.  Talk and change.  They were all over the field.

 

 

                                         Vibrant New Trends

 

MEANWHILE, WHAT’S HAPPENING in the eyeglass trend department?  Take a look at some of these important design developments:

 

John Galliano offered a brand new collection of 18 glasses on the market featuring old school glamour with sleek silhouettes.  The designer’s famous Gazette print is featured on the women’s frames. 

   —Flamenco dancers also enliven several of the glass frames, along with images from the Sixties Rat Pack.  Very hot!  Check out the slim lower metal frames and the tinted glass colors.

 

At Marcolin, Dsquared2 gave a sweet collection of Preppy styles, including cats-eye frames and aviator shades with acetate trims.  Very South Hampton.  

 

Rectangular shaped glasses a la the Thirties, and circular styles in metal were put forth by Tom Ford.

 

SULTRY, SEXY, DARK AND PREFERABLY ITALIAN.  HASN’T THAT BEEN THE OVERALL MOOD OF SHADES IN RECENT YEARS?  TRY THESE GREAT PRODUCTS FOR THE LOOK:

 

 

  • Unisex sports sunglasses with dark lens.

 

 

                                                Italian Design

 

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, Luxottica-owned Persol boasted two Sixties-inspired acetate styles.  Nothing quite equals this naughty, rich, and dangerous Italian look.   Nothing!

 

Gucci stayed with the vintage pack by showing more oversized Sixties Italian looks, including bamboo frames. 

 

Rock & Republic went for chunky frames, again in a retro mode, in tone-on-tone acetate.

 

Famed milliner Borsalino jumped into the eyeglass fray with a somewhat traditional, but less thrilling line. In a new licensing agreement with Treviso, the Italian-based firm is offering a Seventies-inspired line with oversized and vintage styles finished in titanium and molded acetate.

 

 

                                                 Master-Designer

 

GIORGIO ARMANI, master-designer emeritus, features sunglasses with a hippie feel and a wild Sixties psychedelic color palette. Where is Dr. Timothy Leary?  This is real dynamite super-conscious stuff!  Just look at the diesel sunglasses in brilliant turquoise, yellow, and pink.  Wow! 

   –And, if Armani embraces it, can Prada be far behind?  The super-star handbag firm has a Postcard series of glasses in neon hues!  Are you tripping yet? 

   –Nike stayed with the trend, presenting a Seventies-inspired collection of sporty “vintage vision” glasses in retro colors.  Intense.

 

SUNGLASS MYSTIQUE IS FOR EVERYBODY!  LOOK HERE FOR SOME GREAT VALUE/QUALITY PRODUCTS:

  • Designer style aviators – trendy.

 

 

 

  • Shields with colored temples.  Super cool!
Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Filed under Fashion Trends
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A NEW MINIMALISM starring at the Paris Shows this year has apparently given new life and energy to the fashion world.  Retailers were enthusiastic about the looks, seeing restored consumer interest in the fabulous styles and designs. 

 

The look is definitely one of true femininity:  elegant, tailored, simplified.  Much of the excess embellishment of earlier seasons is gone.  In its place are clean lines, rich colors, sophisticated and modern fashion. 

 

Before we go any further, though, we should emphasize:  This minimalism is not one for accessories people to fear.  There is still plenty of excitement and craftsmanship revving up the accessory world, and the cleaner looks actually call for a new emphasis – rather than de-emphasis – on jewelry, handbags, and other accessory pieces.

 

                                            The Trend Picture

 

Here is a compilation of what industry observers and participants had to say about the new minimalism trend as seen in Paris:

 

“Trends such as fur and leather were very prominent, as well as a long, lean silhouette. Accessories continue to be prominent on the runway.”

 

“We saw Forties and Fifties styles.  Things were very ladylike.  There was lots of gauze and brocade. My only problem was the price:  some of it was outrageous!”

 

“Best trends included the continuation of the sporty look. Also, studs.  Animal prints.  Feminine frills.  Bows and ruffles.”

 

PARIS HAS A WAY OF DOMINATING FASHION, DOESN’T IT?  HERE ARE SOME GREAT PARIS-INSPIRED LOOKS TO HELP YOU ACCESSORIZE THE NEWEST LINES:

 

 

 

 

 

“Hot colors included nudes, neutrals, beiges, greiges, grays, camel, and black.”

 

“We saw a lot of winter white.  It was fabulous!”

 

“Colors were more classical.  Camel, gray, navy, and black.”

 

“The new minimalism was terrific, but there were also plenty of opulent designs, with fur and fur trims and ornate embellishments.” 

 

                                      Military and Bohemian

 

“We liked the furs, the knitwear, and the fine and sheer or chunky and highly textured fabrics.” 

 

“Fall trends included military, active utility, ethnic, nomadic and bohemian.  Fur was everywhere.  Crafty designs included ruffled dressing, pleating and skilled asymmetry. Manipulations such as insets, appliques, patchworks, and collages were big in accessories.  Layered sheer is the new sheer.”

 

“Feathers and fur dominated the runways.” 

 

“The textures in black at Nina Ricci made you excited to have a black suit again!”

 

‘I loved the cropped pants.”

 

“Metallic embellishments were a key trend.  There was a lot of structure, and architectural interest.” 

 

METALLICS CONTINUE TO DRAMATIZE THE NEWEST FASHIONS.  HERE ARE SOME TERRIFIC METALLICS TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR FASHION COLLECTION:

 

 

 

 

 

                  

                                      Longer Hemlines

 

“Hemlines were longer. And hey…pay attention to this:  that could signal a change in everything, starting with the shoe, which would become more feminine!”

 

“Trends are important this year:   Minimalism, military, tailoring, leather, fur.  The army green trend was hot.”

 

 

And, can we ignore this retailer comment, as quoted in a top fashion publication:

“As far as trends go, we loved the purity and simplicity of Celine and Stella McCartney, the techno richness of Balenciaga, and the opulence of Balmain.”

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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THE LUXURY WATCH INDUSTRY is apparently on the road to recovery after a long economic squeeze.  Can the basic watch industry be far behind?   Industry observers pointed out that there was an overwhelmingly positive and up mood at the Basel Watch Fair recently, and that is good news for all watches, as well as all accessories. 

 

Sales at the high end are picking up. Not that things are all hunky-dory.  The Federation of Swiss Watch Industry says, “Things are still cautious.”  But the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel can at last be seen. 

 

“There’s an enormous amount of wealth sitting on the sidelines,” one watch executive stated. “They’re waiting to feel good about spending again.”

 

                                               Basel Fair

 

Recognizing that, many manufacturers showing at Basel produced exciting new lines, new designs, new styles, even new color waves, aimed at inducing the somewhat timid buyer back to the Buy-Now table.  The lure worked. 

 

Here is some of what Basel Fair attendees were excited about:

 

DAVID YURMAN showed he is truly interested in becoming an active player in the luxury watch field.  Among his designs was a hot new timepiece, the new classic ladies watch, with a round case in steel or white gold, with optional diamond bezels.  The line retails for $2,600 to over $10,000, but just wait. This is a style that will surely be replicated in lower prices by other manufacturers.

  –Marie Helene Morrow, president of the Reinhold jewelry chain in Puerto Rico said, “I think the line will sell like hot cakes.  I bought every single watch.”

 

                                           Vintage Styling

 

MOST OF THE MEN’S WATCHES on display at Basel this year were on the conservative side.  There was also strong interest in vintage designs, especially those reminiscent of the Kennedy era.  “Brands are looking at their heritage and their roots,” one retailer said.   “and keeping new products consistent with that over- all mystique.”

 

A particularly hot vintage model at Basel was the Senator Diary from Glashutte. This is a   mechanical watch that you can set for 30 days in advance.  Also promoting the vintage trend was Tissot, where “Innovators by Tradition” was the reigning slogan.  The firm was strong on a new heritage collection.

 

WATCHES ALWAYS FINISH AN OUTFIT!   BUT THERE ARE NEW WAYS OF WEARING WATCHES THAT GIVE THEM ADDED PIZZAZZ. TRY THESE PRODUCTS TO GET THAT NEW, TRENDY LOOK:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bangles with colored stones to match to your watch face.   Trendy!

 

                                              Color is Key

 

COLOR WAS A HOT FACTOR in the new watch collections, overall.  Blue and grey dials were important for men, while purple and white were most important in women’s pieces. 

  –Swarovski said the color prune was growing into a very hot color for its women’s watches.  The firm is promoting a new limited edition Rock ‘n Light watch, with a solid crystal case in white, black, and prune, as just one case in point.

  –A rich green watch face was great looking in a bracelet watch from Rolex.

 

AVIATOR WATCHES, such as those by Bremont, a British company, planned expansions to their sportsman lines. Giving the impression that the wearer is a pilot, or yachtsman, or other exciting sport or profession apparently remains high!   Men love to look hip and macho, whether or not they use their special prowess in any way!

 

FENDI TOOK A DIFERENT APPROACH to the traditional and somewhat safe market, putting its muscle behind the customer’s appetite for luxury. 

   –Uts Crazy Carat watch was a good example in point.  It features a rolling mechanism that allows the wearer to change the color of the precious stones on the dial.  One version alternates diamonds, rubies, and blue sapphires.  Very upscale. 

 

HhhhhHHHarry Winston continued its present line of watches, with emphasis on rotating indicators influenced by planetary movements.  Hermes said all its exceptional watches were selling well and that it was increasing production for the limited edition Cape Cod Tourbillion.  

 

     

                                          Hot Trends at Basel

 

 

AMONG THE HOT TRENDS surfacing at Basel were vintage watches, especially those with historic influences.  Vintage designed fonts and numerals were strong.    

 

In materials, steel remained strong, along with ceramic or rose gold bracelets.  Alligator led the popularity route for straps, fast-followed by rubber and canvas.  Mother of pearl dials in a wide variety of hues were trendy.  High-end watches with minute repeaters that chime were also important.

 

Round faces had an updated look. Square faces for men’s watches were especially modern-looking, even in retro styles.  Multiple dials remained high on the much-desired list, including intricate looking faces that suggested complicated mechanisms.

   — Watch the color green!  It is definitely uptrending in the watch field.

 

GOODLOOKING WATCH FACES ARE ONE THING.  WHAT ABOUT GOODLOOKING BRACELETS FOR THOSE GREAT TIMEPIECES?  CHECK THESE OUT:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Colored crystals and beads watch band.  A whole new look.
Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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RIGHT NOW, THE FASHION ACCESSORIES FIELD is filled with some of the most exciting new trends we’ve seen in a long time.  Practically every accessory is in the spotlight, with color and texture and patterns making them all stand out with newness and charm!  Accessories are a great way for your customers to freshen their wardrobes without putting out a lot of money on new clothing.  They can make even old outfits look like 2010!  Accessories give style and pizzazz to everything.  Hey, this is the year to exult in what you love to sell!

 

 

  1. 1.            Short Black Lace Gloves … many are fingerless, and fabulous!  They

don’t go with everything, but when they do, they’re dynamite.  Lace dresses up a simple ensemble or gives dual drama—sexy yet very lady-like—to elegant clothing choices from lunch on through evening.  Then there’s the blatant contrast excitement of the lace gloves with grunge or other atypical dressing that sends the message:  “I’m different.”

 

            2.         Flowers everywhere.   Start with flowers in the hair:  beautifully blooming                     asymmetrical headbands with colorful blossoms on one side.  Flowers are     

Spring’s mainstay for fabric designers who lavish them realistically or abstractly on sheers through to opaque materials, intending them for blouses, skirts, dresses, scarves, slacks.  Posies take on three dimensions as they’re featured in jewelry—statement necklaces (growing ever larger), bracelets circling the wrist in color, or a single bloom used to create a designer ring.  And glamour recaptured: look at those bloomin’ hats!  Gracious wide-brimmed ladies’ hats adorned with 3-D flowers.  Very Hollywood 1930’s!  Perfect for Easter 2010.

 

 

            CHOOSE GLAMOUR THIS SEASON, READY  MADE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 3.      Chandelier Earrings.  No, not a new trend, but one that’s soaring in popularity for women of all ages.  Now they may be super-tiered, with stone drops of varying sizes and brilliant colors.  There are no taboos any more.   What might have been considered strictly for eveningwear not that long ago, is now worn to work in the morning.  Rhinestones sparkle under office lighting almost as well as for nighttime fun.  And there’s always movement with chandelier earrings.  A turn of the head, and the circles or cascading chains swing as well, glistening and so flattering to the wearer!  This earring ranges in styling from classic to ultra-modern, and from southwest Indian stones/color, to middle east Indian form.  Artistic and ultra-feminine.

 

  1. 4.      Black Jewelry, Blackened Metals.   Unmistakable fashion trend toward dark jewelry;  faceted black glass pins are reminiscent of Victorian mourning brooches of the 19th Century.  Hematite stones apply midnight shades to necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  Stark multi-strand necklaces feature blackened chains and metal drops.  Striking!  Very smart and avant-garde.

 

  1. 5.      Multiples of Every Sort of Adornment.  A solitary necklace or bracelet just won’t do in today’s fashion mix.  This is another styling that has been steadily growing: more and more bangles, on both wrists, as mentioned many times before.  All materials, too:  wood bangles, gold chain, beads, etc.  Dressy pearl necklaces are flanked by different-length chain, bead, floral or silk cord necklaces.  Scarves are entwined in pairs to dramatize color and pattern.  Pins may be scattered in multiples, all highly individual designs, varying sizes and materials.  Highly individualistic fashion, very flamboyant.  Multiples rock!

 

  1. 6.      Belts Become Focal Points of Vogue.  You feel skinny belts are most flatting to your figure?  Fine!  The same goes for wide belts or wrap-around and –around belt designs.  Belts are basic to modern mode, some in electric bright greens and reds and yellows, others closer to traditional browns, tans and black.  Anything you choose is correct:  simple buckles or elaborately crafted, large metal closures:  part leather, part chain, stretch metal belts.  Note the return of wide waist-cinchers, cummerbunds (yes!), laced, tooled, studded, rhinestoned, what have you:  designers are open to the world of waist-accenting strips.  …Especially if they’re crafted from exotic skins – snake, alligator, ostrich, normal or patent leathers, suede.  And:  plastics galore!

 

  1. 7.      Scarves, Always a Mainstay of Elegant Dressing.  This winter everyone has gotten cozy with scarves.  And Spring is the perfect seasons to switch from wools and heavy knits to silks and polyesters.  Fringed scarves are hot!  Long, colorful scarves make anything look good.  Scarves are being wrapped interestingly around the neck and secured with pins, clips and brooches for a very fresh look.  Whatever you sell, suggest a scarf, too.  It makes a great gift for everyone you know, and yourself as well!

 

 

ULTRA-FEMININE “BLING” ATTRACTS ATTENTION:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DON’T FORGET SUPPORT FOR NEW ORLEANS:

 

 

  • Fleur de Lis Ring.  Silver plate, good weight, molded split shank.  Double row        of crystals circle the center design.  Stylish way to show support for New Orleans!
Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Trends
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MARC JACOBS FOR LOUIS VUITTON was strictly retro this season, with emphasis on handbags and the look of the Fifties.  The designer ‘s ambition was to show that even in a digital world, it is good to take time out and see what a truly fine couture house can produce. 

   –The Vuitton looks were big, with full skirts and dresses all nipped in at the waist and fabulously crafted from the most luxurious fabrics. Browns, blacks, and tans led the color spectrum. Little clutch handbags as well as medium sized handle bags predominated.  Vuitton’s famous 80-year old Speedy bag was reimagined in flocked and sequined monograms, lace and checks.  Overall, the collection was classic, rich, but somewhat boring.

 

THE IMPACT OF THE cinemagraphic world on fashion seems to grow with each season.  Here, Paul Gaultier for Hermes leaned on sights and impressions from “The Avengers,” with a collection that was luxurious and peppy.  This was a strongly male-inspired collection, with bowler hats everywhere, and an English equestrian flavor.  Ties were hot.  Little handle bags were everywhere.

    –Umbrellas were carried in obvious deference to the English style. Colors were very tan or very black.  Pantsuits, especially with tight leather or knit leggings, were very updated. The iconic Kelly bag took honors on the runway, expressing the overall conservative theme. Skinny belts, some just ribbons tied in front, and dark sunglasses were important.

 

MAN-TAILORED AND CONSERVATIVE, BUT STILL LUXURIOUSLY RICH. 

IT’S NO CONTRADICTION! LOOK HERE FOR SOME VALUE-PACKED EXAMPLES:

 

 

 

 

           

                                        Seductive Black

 

THE CONTINUING IMPORTANCE of black was underwritten time and time again in this year.  For example, Mui Mui showed an all black above the knee dress with bell-shaped skirt and puffed-shouldered long sleeves. It also sported hemline appliqués.

Ellie Saab designed a magnificent long cap-sleeved evening dress that skimmed the body seductively and showed no small amount of modest peek-a-boo in its lace top. The dress was all black. 

 

 

Minimalist designs have been strong not only in Paris but in Milan and New York.  In France, Brit Stella McCartney displayed a grouping of clean-cut designs with little ornamentation and essentially no accessories.  Not good! Her color choices were gray, tan, white and black with a sprinkling of orange-red here and there.  Emphasis was on precision cut. 

 

Feathers emerged at Givenchy, where the runway narrative described the collection as “a journey from the mountains to the sea.” Ski and scuba outfits were hot.  Black and tan were, here again, the big colors.  Velvet choker necklaces were handsome.  For eveningwear, a look of sizzling seduction took over, as stunning dresses, with sheer lace inserts and wispy feathers and plumed tops, made their appearance. 

 

 

                                         Nun’s Headgear

 

At Yves Saint Laurent, Stefano Pilati was interesting if a little dull.  Many of his designs were classic and modern, expressing a certain dated motif as they sported a retrospective mood for the famous couture house.  One caped little black dress was charming.  Much of the sportswear was conservative, but chic. 

   –But then came the somewhat unimaginative examples of a hat that looked like a nun’s headgear over a white blouse, with a long chained necklace ending in a tassel and giving the impression of a monastic habit’s rosary.  As one publication claimed:  “It looked like “A Nun’s Story without Audrey Hepburn.” 

   –Caped evening dresses were also too dated, with not enough creativity to carry them.  However, Pilati did steer clear of the minimalist rush spreading through Paris, outfitting his models with lots of little black leather gloves, medium width belts, and nicely embellished bangle bracelets. 

 

DULL OR DELIGHTFUL, PARIS IS STILL PARIS.  WONDERFUL!  HERE ARE SOME VALUE-PACKED PRODUCTS TO PROMOTE THAT SPECIAL COUTURE LOOK:

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, April 1st, 2010