Archive for May, 2010...
Filed under Fashion Jewelry
HOT WEATHER, HOT STUFF: Bold geometrics are giving a 70s look to summer wear, as colors brighten up and geometric designs pop up on tight fitting, casual daytime outfits. Some of the really trendy colors: Hilfiger orange, Lauren blue, and Kermit green.
–Yeah, that last one is froggy! See it in a slinky, almost slimy-looking patent leather from Bottega Veneta. Wow!
AMERICAN INVASION: Gap, Inc. says it will open the first Gap and Banana Republic stores in Milan, Italy this year. The stores will be next to each other in Corso Vittorio Emmanuele. For those who don’t know too much about Milan, that’s one of the busiest shopping streets in the city. The Gap brands already enjoy a strong customer base in London and Paris, and a company spokesperson says he expects them to get a similarly good response from Italian customers. International President Stephen Sunnucks called Italy a new market for Gap, saying it is one of the five main fashion markets in the world.
Gap, Inc. presently operates 3,100 stores. More than 170 of them are in Europe.
YOU CAN BUY SOME GREAT STUFF RETAIL AT GAP, BUT YOU CAN GET EVEN BETTER VALUE AND PRICE WHOLESALE RIGHT HERE:
PINNED: Diane von Furstenberg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, received the Andre Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Savanna College of Arts and Design. Ms. Von Furstenberg was the 10th designer to receive the Award. Former recipients include Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld, and Marc Jacobs, among others.
RUSSIAN CHOO-CHOO: “Russia is changing so quickly. It’s moving and really opening up to fashion,” enthused Jean Paul Gaultier, as he launched his first couture show in this country of “great tradition and all the spontaneity of youth.” Held in the gilded Hall of Moscow’s Kazan train station, the runway show featured Slavic beauties in summerwear as well as retro designs. Outside the station, hundreds of curious passengers gathered to catch a view of the new fashion exposition. Despite the country’s dismal economic situation, it was all enthusiasm and “beau mots” for the couture collections, influenced by images from Russian folklore.
–An interesting side note: the Kazan ceiling was painted with Soviet-era images. A red banner read: “Workers of the world, unite.”
SASSY SHAVING: Looking for some new retail store ideas? Don’t miss the new Procter & Gamble’s store concept for men’s grooming products. It is filled with great ideas for accessories, as well! The store overhaul strategy includes four new prototypes and will eventually include the redesign of all the firm’s stores. The basic format calls for an intimate men’s club atmosphere, the kind of “place people want to spend time in,” a firm executive said. Plenty of wood and tufted leather give the shops a luxurious, comfortable feeling.
The centerpiece of the new design is a demonstration island, including a “hub table” featuring polished nickel and white Carrera marble, where people can play with the products. “It’s a draw for the consumer, to pull them into the store and interact with our products.”
FASHION REVOLUTION? A major change taking place in the attitude of privileged women regarding fashion does not seem to bode well for couture. It seems many of these delicate damsels have decided they don’t need one-of-a-kind designs and they also don’t need those super-high price tags. As one noted, “I can buy a designer item off the rack at Barneys and wear it with my J. Crew t-shirt and I won’t see it on someone else. So why buy couture?”
Designers are reacting to this new attitude with some smart and fast marketing. Even the latest issue of the Wall Street Journal is tackling the subject. The outlook isn’t too rosy. Nevertheless, some designers are working to appeal to a younger clientele. Sounds good, but then, most of the younger generation has been turned off couture for some time. As one fashion writer put it, “They don’t have time for fittings and they don’t particularly care about the whole super-designer world anyway.” Oscar de la Renta says it even more forcefully. “The art of couture,” he contends, “is now completely irrelevant.”
COUTURE MIGHT BE AGING, BUT DYNAMITE FASHION AND DESIGN ARE ALIVE AND WELL! LOOK HERE FOR SOME GREAT EXAMPLES:
Filed under Fashion Accessories
Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, May 29th, 2010
Filed under New Orleans Accessories
SALES SHOCKER: After 25 years of controversial ownership, Mohamed Al Fayed, the father of ill-fated Princess Diana’s boyfriend Dodi, has sold the famed London department store, Harrods. Al Fayed says he sold the store and its related businesses to Qatar Holding, the investment company linked to the royal family of that Gulf state. Reports are the Knightsbridge institution brought in 1.5 billion pounds, or $2.22 billion at the current exchange rate.
At 81 years of age, Al Fayed (who is known as “The Chairman”) reportedly wants to spend more time with his family. He will now assume the title of honorary chairman of Qatar Holding. Calling the purchase a “landmark acquisition,” another Qatar executive says the store’s current management will stay in place and that there will be no lurches in strategy.
Ahmad Mohamed Al-Sayed, managing director of Qatar, describes Harrods as “one of the most prestigious retail properties in the world.”
SOUTHERN SHOW STOPPERS: “This is the first time since I’ve been working here that I’ve heard this much positivity coming from retailers’ mouths,” declared Lori Kisner, leasing vice president at the AmericasMart at the Atlanta Apparel Market. She added attendance was up double digit, and that contemporary lines fared best at the show, while upper end lines were more sluggish.
This wasn’t the fastest selling show on record, but most retailers were here to do business, and most were “leaving paper,” as one exhibitor pointed out. Sophisticated lines were among the most popular, along with lines that offered a good deal of visual interest.
Retailers came looking for newness. Color was among the most important buying factors, along with bolder styles as opposed to basics. Sequins were hot, as were draping and texture.
One sales rep said that retailers were eager to pick up new resources, for the first time in a long time. Many were looking for items rather than collections. Several retailers also noted that they were mainly looking for immediate through July deliveries.
COLOR IS THE HOT SELLING FEATURE IN FASHION LINES THIS YEAR. HERE ARE SOME GREAT ACCESSORY PIECES WITH COLOR SAVVY:
• Sodalite semi precious choker. Rich!
• Amethyst drop earrings with cube beads.
DIGGING UP GEMSTONES: How about peonies, orchids, and daisies? That’s what the pricey diamond jewelry firm, Leviev, has given most attention to in its new collection of flora-inspired jewelry. The collection, valued at $30 million retail, contains 14 pieces and features a bevy of large, rare gemstones.
–The collection is just now embarking on a world tour, and is scheduled to hit New York, London, Dubai, and Moscow.
One exceptional Leviev piece is a peony ring made entirely of diamonds. It contains almost 20 carats of diamond, including oval, pear and marquise cuts. The diamonds are layered in a cluster and finished by a strand of pink diamonds set in rose gold. Another piece features a rare 2.11 carat fancy intense green diamond flanked by almost 11 carats of fancy cut diamonds, interspersed with pink pave diamonds.
The collection ranges from $112,000 to $4.4 million, retail. Lisa Klein, marketing director and designer, said that “Each piece is its own individual masterpiece.” She added that people are looking for “both value in actual pieces of jewelry, as well as something beautiful.”
IN LOVE WITH DIAMONDS, TOO? LOOK HERE FOR THE EXCLUSIVE DIAMOND LOOK WITHOUT THE DIAMOND PRICE:
• Dangling heart CZ earrings with color.
• Wholesale rhinestone bangle bracelet.
The new HBO TV series Treme – named after the oldest black community in New Orleans – stands to “alter America’s perception of music long marginalized in our popular culture. Until now,” says the Chicago Tribune’s critic Howard Reich. Oh, this is music. Real, honest, jazz at its best.
But “Treme isn’t exclusively about music. As the Tribune’s critic points out, “Simon (Producer Davis Simon) and friends aren’t trying to produce a treatise on jazz but, rather, a dramatic series about the near-death of a city.
–And not just any city, but one that has exported more musical culture to the rest of the country – and the world – than anyplace else on this continent.”
Here is the music of a great city. The fabulous Treme Brass Band playing “A Closer Walk With Thee,” echoing the heartsick sounds of a post-Katrina community. The Mardi Gras Indians chanting “Shallow Waters.” Kermit Ruffins, who appears weekly in the Bywater neighborhood’s Vaughan’s Lounge, here expressively playing his incomparable trumpet. Tom McDermott extolling the famed jazzman Jelly Roll Morton in words and on the piano.
Color is part of New Orleans excitement. Watch any street parade, visit any special café or restaurant – in fact, do almost anything in the city – and you will be aware of how color is such a dominant part of the vibrancy we call New Orleans.
Primary colors abound, in clothing and accessories, in costumes and so much more. Red. Blue. Yellow. Oh, wow! The Yellow! It is really intense!
NEW ORLEANS. HERE ARE SOME COLOR BRIGHT ACCESSORIES TO BUY AT REAL VALUE PRICES AND SHOW OFF WITH JAZZTOWN SOUL:
Feathers are another important fashion item in the Big Easy. Feathers bring in the culture and excitement of the city’s Indian population, often extolled not by Indians themselves but by blacks, dressed up in feathered Indian gear, dancing joyfully in street parades. The black population here identifies with the Indians, since they were both badly used by the white man.
Yellow feathers are wild, happy, even electrifying, especially when expressed in voluminous handmade costumes replete with exquisite Indian beading.
–Oh yes, and then there is the characteristic black and white outfits set out so formally for funerals, so special, taking on a dimension beyond the colors themselves.
Treme is not a documentary about the tragedy of New Orleans, but rather a broader story that tells so much about this town’s unique culture. It raises your spirits and helps you understand there is “still life to be lived in New Orleans,” as the Tribune critic puts it.
New Orleans is a city of music. And fashion. And a remarkably resilient people. Reich refers to the music as “undiluted, uncompromised, unbowed.” He might have been talking about New Orleans itself, the excitement of the city, the rich panorama of black and Creole neighborhoods. The food. Oh, the food! Mardi Gras. And the theatrical vibrancy of the French Quarter, with its bawdy Bourbon Street. Nowhere else in the United States is there anything like this!
FASHION IN NEW ORLEANS CAN NEVER BE FORGOTTEN WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE CITY. HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS JUST MEANT FOR THE BIG EASY:
- Feather boas in rich colors – yellow, blue, pink, purple, more…!
Music Bubbles Up
“Music sets the tempo of life in New Orleans,” Reich says. It is everywhere. Music still “bubbles up from the streets,” as New Orleans pianist Ellis Marsalis famously put it. Bands parade up and down the streets of the city. Intense, emotionally moving jazz band funerals characterize the town and the people.
Little by little, New Orleans is reemerging. Yet, it is amazing to realize how many Americans don’t know the depth and breadth of the city and its music. It is left to programs like this very special HBO series to try to enlighten viewers about the richness and majesty of New Orleans jazz.
As Reich optimistically puts it, “Treme can enlighten a coast-to-coast audience about a music it hardly knows.” How wonderful for the country!
Filed under Fashion Industry
Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, May 21st, 2010
WHADDAYAKNOW? Macy’s Herald Square is finally going to get that long awaited facelift and everybody in retailing is waiting with baited breath to find out what it is going to look like. Remember back when the recession was just getting started, Macy’s had grandiose plans for its flagship store, plans that were scrapped as a result of the economy. Well, now everything is back on track, and the plans look exciting.
The renovation has been badly needed for some time now. On one hand, the store’s façade is famous around the world; after all, this is where Santa Claus makes his impressive arrival at the end of the Macy’s Day Parade each year. It also holds national landmark status and is a top must-see spot on tourists’ rounds of the City. So, even though work is needed, change is if-y, although necessary.
Macy’s says the renovation will include a whole new façade, along with major electrical work and work in smaller spaces, such as bathrooms. Based on income and business, the work will most likely proceed to individual departments and floors in ensuing years. So expect this design reconstruction to go on for some time!
Major Tourist Draw
Macy’s Herald Square gets more traffic than any other store in the City. If that’s not enough, it ranks as having one of the largest numbers of shoppers of any store in the world. That’s something! The store averages 25- to 35,000 shoppers per day, and that number jumps up to about 75,000 on holidays. All that being said, it doesn’t change the fact that Macy’s is still badly in need of a spruce up.
But. before we go on, some more interesting facts: Macy’s moved to the site on Manhattan’s 34th Street back in 1902. The store has more than 2 million gross square feet, and is still considered the largest store in the world. The store still has its original wood escalators, installed in 1902.
MACY’S HAS ALWAYS BEEN A MAJOR RETAIL FACTOR IN ACCESSORIES. HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS WITH A NEW YORK AESTHETE, FOR THOSE OF YOU LOOKING FOR THAT BRAND OF SOPHISTICATION:
Macy’s Herald Square isn’t the only store in the area with renovation going on or proposed. Lord & Taylor, just a few blocks north, has work in progress on its main and 10th floors. Saks Fifth Avenue, also a slightly northern neighbor, has just recently completed extensive renovation in several of its departments. And Bloomingdale’s at 59th Street and Lexington has recently set in motion some important renovation work on its splashy first floor, as well as other parts of the store.
–Among other things, this planned expenditure of millions of renovation dollars by New York stores is an encouraging sign that they expect business to be good, and better than good, over the next few years. Otherwise, why would they be laying out that kind of cash?
ACCESSORIES LOOK GOOD WITH NEW COUNTRY STYLING
Moving away from New York City, have you gotten a good look at some of the fashion apparel and accessories coming for fall and winter? They are anything but urban! Think about antiqued leather, and long-lasting metal for materials.
Among the newest products is a collection by Modern Vintage and London handbag brand Jas. M. Included are the Fold Away carryall, and the Everyday, a briefcase and cross-body combo. An executive for Modern Vintage said, “These are for that trendy girl that wants a bag, but doesn’t want what everybody else has with names and logos all over it.”
More on the woodland trail: Leather cuffs. String leather bracelets. Earthy, all-natural looking gemstone pendants. Long chains. Interesting take-offs on Army dog tags. Men’s watches for girls. Circles, stars, and military signs. Little leather and suede gloves, some fingerless. Heavy knits. And more than a lot of vintage!
HERE ARE SOME GREAT ACCESSORIES FOR THE COUNTRY LOOK:
Filed under Fashion Jewelry Trends
Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, May 20th, 2010
“THE MIDDLE MARKET HAS FALLEN AWAY,” declared one British retailer, talking about jewelry at the recent Premiere Classe Accessories Fair in Paris. Price was a major factor here, as most buyers focused on jewelry but were extremely careful about how much they would spend.
Expecting the money squeeze, one Japanese firm that usually marketed heavily encrusted diamond pieces, came to the Fair with a gold plated collection. Other international exhibitors showed equally price-reduced lines with an eye toward increasing sales at this exposition. In most cases, they were right on. Sales were made thoughtfully and warily, but they were made.
Jewelry stood out as the Fair’s strongest product category. Within the jewelry collections, necklaces made the biggest sales impact. As one Bloomingdale’s fashion executive put it, “Statement necklaces are still important.”
Hot Trends in Jewelry
Among the major trends seen here was a new directive in size. Items were either very tiny and delicate or they were big. The middle ground was strangely missing. One retailer noted that the tiny pieces of jewelry were so delicate and small, “You can feel the integrity.”
Tiny diamond encrusted necklaces were also outstanding, along with tiny beaded brooches, especially those by Marianne Batile. Batile added the faces of Comme des Garcons’ Rei Kawakubo and Yves Saint Laurent to her collection this year, a smart decision that allowed her to pick up ten new buyers by the second day of the Show.
–Another important trend: Chrome silver looks gave way to yellow gold, which made important inroads in the global market.
The money exchange also had an effect on the Fair. For example, British buyers tended to buy less because, as several explained, the British pound was weak against the euro. “It’s one euro to the pound,” one industry spokesman said, “and that’s a huge challenge.”
GETTING PRODUCTS WITH A GOOD PRICE-TO-VALUE RATIO IS EASY WHEN YOU KNOW WHERE TO LOOK. HERE ARE SOME EXCELLENT PRODUCTS TO CONSIDER:
Handbags, as we have mentioned several times before, were noticeably smaller. The trend was toward small bags with long shoulder straps, often worn across the body. The bags tended either to be ornate, with heavy embellishment, or richly imbued with handsome hardware.
Fur is Flying
Like the runway shows around the world for the Fall, fur was the big number at Premiere Classe. It was really hot as a trim for scarves and as bib-like neck wraps. Also important was an interesting trend: Scarves wrapped many times around the neck with a choker peeking out. The combination made for a very unique accessory look.
Gloves were also a major accessory item at the Fair. The most popular design here was fingerless, although lace of all sorts stood out. It seems the fingerless look has been fueled by people who have Blackberries; it makes them easier to use.
ACCESSORIES WITH AN INTERNATIONAL LOOK ARE BIG AND GETTING BIGGER. LOOK HERE:
Filed under Fashion Accessories
Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
FABRIC FAIR: Texture and stretch were the hot fabric characteristics at the latest GlobalTex Textile Fair in Los Angeles. “The trick for us is to make a collection where we touch everybody,” declared Turkey’s Bossa rep Okan Tokluca, “the tailored people, the casual.”
Cotton woven with indigo yarn and washed cotton were major featured fabrics. Also big were ultra-stretchy cotton and a polyester viscose. Indigo sateen woven with spandex that had 30 percent elasticity was also big.
“It’s about tailored open knits and 3-D texture,” declared one exhibitor, pointing to a dove gray knit tank riddled with holes.
As might be expected, bright tints and floral patterns were big for spring, along with animal prints (like zebra stripes and cheetah spots) and geometric shapes. Major colors were also black and white. Trims were elaborate.
CAMP OUT: Leather aviators and safari jackets are standout items at Eddie Bauer, as it celebrates its 90th anniversary as a rugged outdoor sports manufacturer. Chunky Navajo sweaters are also being put forth as special products, along with clothing featuring utility and military details. True to form, the major colors here are tan, gray, gold and white, spiced up with a dash of red or blue here and there.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS IS A HOT AND TRENDY THEME FOR ACCESSORIES THIS SPRING. HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:
TRENDY MUST-HAVES: PeopleMagazine’s “StyleWatch Must Have” displays are set to go up in J.C. Penney Stores across the country this September. It’s a unique collaboration between the magazine and the retailer, effectively putting the publication’s seal of approval on what it considers the most desirable and trendiest items in the chain. The “Must Have” flags will be posted on accessories, misses’ contemporary and junior apparel, and shoes. They will be selected by a joint team from both concerns, and refreshed up to 10 times a year. Paul Caine, president and group publisher of Time, Inc. Style& Entertainment Group, says his firm has been partners with J.C. Penney for a long time, adding, “I’m impressed with the product line and in-store presentations.”
Adding to the partnership, J.C. Penney will start selling subscriptions to Time, Inc. publications in all its stores. .
SHANGHAI ON THE ROAD: “We hope to create a ripple effect in China and throughout the rest of world,” declared Calvin Klein’s President Tom Murry. Sales in China are “growing beyond expectations,” he said, “at 30 percent year-on-year, with projected revenues of $200 million.”
Murray was speaking at the Calvin Klein road show in Shanghai, which featured 70 models from around the world parading his wares on a sleek white runway. This was the first runway show for Klein in China, the company’s fastest growing market in the world.
Speaking of Chinese influence, a ck executive said, I’m inspired by the color red, and it’s become a recognizable color for ck, in a modern way.
“Shanghai feels like a big video game – it feels like the city of the future,” said another top company exec. “This is a country hungry for newness. It’s refreshing. When we live in the West, we take it for granted.”
ASIAN INFLUENCES GIVE MANY ACCESSORY PRODUCTS A SPECIAL RICH AND INTERNATIONAL APPEAL. JUST LOOK AT THESE EXAMPLES:
Filed under Celebrity fashion
Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, May 14th, 2010
IT’S A MATTER OF MARKETING, a whole new world of smart new marketing. And, it involves celebrities who get in on the fashion act, and make the deal work. Madonna is just one of the newest recruits, having just inked a deal with Dolce & Gabbana to co-design sunglasses with the MDG logo. She is also in the process of cinching a deal with the Iconix Brand Group, Inc. to launch worldwide fashion related projects and possibly to make acquisitions.
–Not bad for the Material Girl who is also writing and directing a new film on Wally Simpson, the ultimate clotheshorse.
BUT, WHAT IS ALL THIS ABOUT Madonna and fashion? Will she be the latest celebrity to push big time into the design field, creating her own look and her own lines? Not really, says Neil Cole, chairman of Iconix, who is apparently excited about his new association with Madonna as a business associate, not a semi-real designer. While she will be designing some items, Cole says, “I see Madonna as a partner. I respect her as a marketer and innovator of pop culture.”
IN LOVE WITH MADONNA YOURSELF? HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS WORTHY OF HER NAME AND STYLE:
So…what’s this whole thing with celebrities and fashion? Well, we all know that celebrities give a line instant name recognition. But what is far more important now is the new world of marketing and the fact that big name individuals can give brands automatic potential shoppers via Facebook and Twitter. Just look at what Andy Sernovitz, author of “World of Mouth: How Smart Companies Get People Talking” has to say:
“Fashion is word of mouth. When you bring a celebrity into fashion, what they do is bring a pre-existing fan base.”
Here’s a good example: Shaun White, the Olympic Gold Medalist, has an extensive fashion line with Target. He also has 1.1 million friends on Facebook, The average person on Facebook has 100 friends. If Shaun posts “Hey, check out this jacket,” even if only 10 percent click on it, and they’ve got 100 friends each, you automatically reach 10 million people. Did you get that? 10 million people!
And, as one publication points out, Those 10 million aren’t just looking at an ad in a magazine, they are reading a referral from a friend.” Is that incredible? Those figures are not just impressive, they are astounding! No wonder the whole world of marketing is being turned upside down by modern computer popularity.
Music World and Fashion
Madonna isn’t the only graduate of the music world to enter fashion under the new marketing umbrella. J. Brand, the premium denim label, recently said its new private equity owner included Creative Artists Agency, suggesting that the Hollywood mega-agents might also be considering fashion tie-ups for their clients. A great combination!
AND, REMEMBER TWIGGY? Well, she now has an exclusive line on HSN called Twiggy London. Cindy Crawford has an exciting new jewelry line called One Kiss. It will be in J.C. Penney stores next month. Former U.K. model Erin Wasson is introducing a new jewelry line she claims to have designed; one way or the other, it carries her name and expectations are it will sell big time. The list goes on and on.
Not that all celebrity-named fashion projects have gone well. Some have hardly gotten off the ground before crashing in a cash-depleting puddle. Cole explains it by pointing out that consumers are really smart. “They are not going to buy something just because a celebrity’s name is on it,” he contends. That, he says is why he likes working with Madonna. “She is authentic. She is not going to put her name on anything that is not real.”
STILL, THE CELEBRITY LURE cannot be underestimated, and everyone from models and actresses to sports stars and reality TV faces are getting the message: The fashion world plus their name could be entry into mega bucks for them.
Sarah Jessica Parker is a new face at Halston, where she is both investor and chief creative officer. Party boy Pete Doherty is teaming up with British designer Hannah Martin on a new jewelry line. And even super-star Rihanna has suggested she might be interested in pursuing a fashion career in the near future.
But money isn’t the only end goal here. Many of the new lines are eco-friendly, aimed at making the environment cleaner and consumers more aware of the earth’s needs. Others are socially conscious in different ways. Mary J. Blige and Catherine Malandrino have a line of tops that benefit a musician’s charity. They are already fast at work adding accessories to the collection.
CELEBRITY FASHION ACCESSORIES CROSS OVER A BROAD RANGE OF DESIGN TYPES. HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS WITH BIG APPEAL:
Filed under Seasonal Jewelry
Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, May 10th, 2010
Memorial Day falls on May 31st of this year, and what a day it promises to be! A holiday that has grown far beyond its original scope, Memorial Day is both a day of remembrance and a day of wonderful beginnings. This is the start of the long summer days of relaxation and excitement.
Schools prepare to close for the summer vacation. Resorts are opening. Beaches are back in business, as lifeguards return to their high observation perches. Young girls in mini skirts and bikinis flaunt their warm weather figures proudly. Festivals of all sorts are scheduled for towns across America. Bar-B-Qs and hot dogs are in demand.
And everybody is happy, lounging in hammocks and sipping lemonade.
After all, it’s Memorial Day! But…let’s not forget that this holiday is something very special, far more than just a start to a long hot summer…
ACCESSORIES CAN MAKE MEMORIAL DAY EVEN MORE IMPORTANT. HERE ARE SOME TERRIFIC PRODUCTS TO BRING OUT FOR THE DAY:
God Bless America pin
A Day of Remembrance
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It was proclaimed by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, as a day of remembrance for the fallen dead in the Civil War, and first observed on May 30, 1868.
The South, however, held to its own day of remembrance and did not join the nation in commemorating its heroic dead until the National Holiday Act of 1971 was passed, setting the last Monday in May as Memorial Day, to honor all Americans who died fighting any war for our country.
Parades are held in practically every town across the country on Memorial Day. I remember the best one I ever saw. It wasn’t a major exposition such as I was used to in New York City. This was a small town parade in Montauk, New York, a quaint fishing village at the very end of Long Island.
Here was the local high school band all dressed in finery showing how well they could play marching music. And every important person in town, from the mayor to labor leaders, walked proudly along, smiling, waving, having a grand time.
Of course, the local veterans were there, some practically dancing along, the old in wheelchairs, the war-injured in special cars. Everyone applauded. Everyone was so proud of them. Perhaps the highlight of the parade was the volunteer fire department, with all its men excitedly riding up the main street of town in a brand new, bright red fire engine. Oh! This was something to show off. This was small town America at its best.
YOU CAN OUTFIT YOURSELF ADMIRABLY FOR MEMORIAL DAY WITH THESE PIECES OF AMERICANA:
- 6” X 8” American flag on a stick. Take it to the parade!
- American flag, 34” X 61”. Perfect for outdoor use.
If you can, try to see a small town American Memorial Day parade yourself this year. Bring an American flag on a stick to wave, put aside your smart phones, and bring your children or grandchildren with you. These parades only last a little while, but they are so worth seeing! Later in the Day, at 3 PM, don’t forget to just be silent and observe the National Moment of Remembrance. It gives an emotional depth and meaning to the day.
At many cemeteries, Americans place flowers and small flags on the graves of their deceased loved ones. Yes, this is a holiday of remembrance for war dead, but it has grown to cover all those Americans wish to commemorate.
–Some feel that has diminished the meaning of the day for war heroes, but most disagree. It is still, first and foremost, a day on which we remember the wars we fought and the brave military men who died to keep us free.
On the Thursday before Memorial Day, flags are placed on more than 260,000 gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery. The President visits Arlington on the morning of Memorial Day, and places a wreath on the Grave of the Unknown Soldier.
Most of those who visit there that day take a small detour and also visit the site of John F. Kennedy’s grave with its eternal flame.
Many people wear a red poppy on Memorial Day. The practice was started by Moina Michaels, who also wrote her version of the poem “In Flanders Fields” in honor of the day:
“We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows in fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”
Filed under Bridal Jewelry
Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Bridal jewelry isn’t what it used to be. Classic, traditional necklaces and earrings are rapidly giving way to a whole new modern twist on bridal wear, with statement necklaces suddenly the major focal point of the bridal outfit, and cuffs and chandelier earrings backing them up with verve.
The new look is a total bridal wardrobe package, you might say. It starts with the replacement of highly ornate bridal dresses with a sleeker, straight-lined dress generally featuring exquisite tailoring and body-fitting lines.
The dress is somewhat minimalistic, often strapless, long, tubular, made from white silk satin or some other luxury fabric, and in no small way stunning. But the voluminous skirts and highly embellished characteristics are now missing, leaving way for jewelry to enter the picture and take over the flash and glitz.
A good example of the new look can be found in J. Crew’s collaborative collection done with the 84-year-old costume jewelry brand Miriam Haskell and scheduled to be highlighted at Crew’s bridal boutique when it opens on Madison Avenue next month.
Crew’s creative director Jenna Lyons said, “We want the bride to look gorgeous and we’re not about giant, overwhelming cupcake dresses. It’s about simplicity in silhouettes and pairing it with great jewelry pieces.”
The bridal collection reflects the designs that Haskell is well known for: double filigree, hand-beading, and glass and crystal beads intricately applied in dramatic styles. The necklaces are particularly ornate, made with cluster-like pendants dropping down from multi-strand beaded chokers. One particularly stunning piece is a three-strand necklace with an elaborate pendant, done in various shades of peach.
Pearl and crystal brooches that can be worn at the waist of a wedding dress, or even in the hair, are especially interesting. Using the jewelry in unorthodox fashion furthers its modern look and multiplies its use considerably. These are pieces that beautifully accessorize the wedding dress, but then can just as easily be used with outfits worn on the honeymoon and later.
YOU CAN FIND EQUALLY EXQUISITE JEWELRY AT HIGHLY DESIRABLE PRICES. JUST LOOK AT THESE BRIDAL-PERFECT PIECES:
Floral motifs are especially popular in the new J. Crew/Haskell collection. So are long, dramatic chandelier earrings, big cuffs, and impressive cocktail rings. Colors are frequently muted shades of pink or peach, and the overall effect is often that of an abundant nature-grown garden or coral-sea bouquet.
Prices range from $150 to $1,000 retail.
As trendy styles impact the Bridal Market more and more, look for a variety of creative takes on bridal jewelry. One prime example is the use of dark or even black jewelry with the otherwise white bridal outfit. This black/white contrast makes for a very modern and dramatic effect.
J. Crew is up on this new direction as well, with another highly creative accessories collaboration, this time with Dana Lorenz. This line features edgy black metal and crystal bracelets, earrings, rings, and necklaces. On one hand, the collection is grunge or biker-tough; on the other, it is really very pretty. That seemingly contradictory combination makes for a very interesting jewelry collection, one that is especially fitting to the Bridal Market.!
THINK ABOUT BLACK FOR YOUR BRIDAL COLLECTION. IT CAN LOOK AS CLASSIC AS ANY TRADITIONAL JEWELRY! HERE ARE SOME GOOD EXAMPLES:
Filed under Fashion Accessories
Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, May 7th, 2010
RULES FOR FASHION? Not really – guidelines is the word that sums up the expert advice given at Saks Fifth Avenue in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, by the co-authors of the newest entry in the “ …For Dummies” wildly successful how-to book series that teaches readers about just about any subject they want to master. This tome is titled “Fashion for Dummies,” and it’s written by Jill Martin, the TV anchor on the Today Show’s “Ambush Makeovers,” and fashion-focused co-author Dana Ravich.
Here are terrific tips the two authors gave to the seminar audience to help avoid fashion mistakes:
- Buy what meets your own values. Jill Martin confided to the attendees that “I buy what I like. But I do believe in investing in really good things, and accessorizing from there.” Her co-author Dana Ravich is a bit different: “I place importance on good accessories because I’ll wear the same basic things all the time, and just change the look (with accessories.)” For her Saks seminar, Jill wore Jimmy Choo heels she’s had to the shoemakers a few times, a $600 Missoni dress, and $5 H&M earrings. Money should match durability: “Don’t spend $500 on a pair of sandals that you wear to death all summer and then toss after the season,” Ravich said. Pay much less and “be done with them.”
- Toss anything that’s not a 10. What does Jill Martin mean by this? “Nothing in your closet should be there unless it’s a 10 … so that every time you get dressed, even if you’re throwing something on, you don’t feel thrown together.”
- Someone questioned: “Isn’t such a pared-down wardrobe boring?” No, not at all countered Dana Ravich: “Women tend to wear a handful of their items repeatedly, and there’s no reason to waste money on things you’re not really going to wear much anyway.”
CHOOSING ACCESSORIES THAT RATE A “10” IS ALWAYS GOOD SENSE. HERE ARE SOME GREAT PIECES WITH A TOP-VALUE SCORE:
- Intertwining Hoop Earrings. Timeless design. Gold/silver plating.
Out With the Old!
- Whites must be brights. No kidding! Their comments were emphatic and brief. “Any white T-shirt that’s not pure white, get rid of it. Invest in new white T-shirts every season.” –And they tagged the ones from last season still in your closet as “probably 7’s or 8’s (out of the necessary rating of 10.)
- As you get older, accessories are more important. Why? Because the latest fashion might be miniskirts, which look best on teenagers and twenty-somethings. “It’s about using accessories to match the trends. Shoes change. Bag sizes go smaller, larger. And jewelry changes. As you get older, hopefully you’ve already sorted out who you are, what fits on your body type, what suits your personality and what your style is,” Ravich noted. “…Maybe the trendy color is sky blue or neon pink, so you get a fabulous purse that’s in that trendy color.” Or an on-trend necklace, earring or bracelet can do the trick.
Probably the best advice the co-authors gave was: Build your wardrobe around staples … your staples. “I really believe classic must-haves can take you anywhere,” Jill Martin says. Whatever your style, the must-have list would include a little black dress, classic beige trenchcoat, black leather bag, pearl necklace. And simply adjust the mix if you tend toward hippie, grunge, gaga or any of the other more dramatic stylings of today. Look in your closet: see which items are truly “staples” for you. Then you can ramp up the fashion quotient on each piece with specially-chosen accessories.
HERE ARE SOME CLASSICS TO SERVE AS STAPLES FOR WOMEN WHO JUST WANT TO APPEAR SERENELY BEAUTIFUL:
Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, May 6th, 2010