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Archive for August, 2010...

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Labor Day! 
 

 THE SUMMER IS BEGINNING to wane and what could be more appreciated throughout most of the country than the prospect of temperatures finally dropping and balmy afternoons finally returning.  The incredibly sweltering vacation season 2010 is just about over!  The kids are returning to school.  Great activity is starting up, as opera houses, music halls; theatrical productions all ready themselves for another season.   It’s as if energy was returning to the earth.  

Of course, Labor Day is much more than just relief from too much sun.  It was established in 1894 to celebrate America’s working class and to show appreciation for their contributions to the prosperity and success of our nation.   

Parades are held in towns big and small around the country, flags are proudly flown, unions put on their best manners, and even TV news shows get in on the action with stories about the American worker circa the New Millennium Plus.  

                                      Big Celebration  

ONE OF THE NICE THINGS about Labor Day is that it is still summer.  So kids can go swimming, Bar-B-Que can be happily stoked up, and picnics as well as all kinds of outdoor living and recreational activities can be enjoyed to the maximum.   This is the last big weekend of the season, and everybody is anxious to live it up on a grand scale.  

AMERICAN FLAGS AND FLAG SYMBOLS MAKE THIS DAY EVEN MORE SPECIAL. CHOOSE THE ONES YOU LIKE BEST:  

 

   

   

   

   

 

   

   

   

                                           A Call to Fall  

LABOR DAY IS A “CALL TO FALL.”  It is a time to review wardrobes, a time to refresh them with timely, trendy items that fit the new cooler season.  Scarves, shawls, even ponchos work particularly well now; they allow for the continued use of summer clothes, enriched by warm wools and cozy wraps.  Hot in that arena are stripes and prints, metallic threads to give the overall pattern a certain cache, and fringe galore.  Darker colors generally bespeak the new season; think about grays, browns, deep blues and greens.  A really great look includes a skinny belt to hold a shawl to the body.  

As Fall comes in, a new cross body little bag is a great wardrobe waker-upper.  Wear it on Labor Day itself to start everything off with pizzaz!  When putting an outfit together this year, remember that the waist is a major focal point of fashion.   Work with belts, chains, anything that will emphasize the figure.  Think also about skinny legs with tight jeans, leggings, stockings and fancy socks.  Lace is a particularly hot material in this category.  

—But don’t lose sight of the ever changing fashion picture here:  Dropped crotch pants are reportedly on the horizon and could radically change the silhouette.  Our vote, however, is that they’ll never, NEVER replace those sexy tight leg looks young women are so crazy about!  

   

                                           Looking Forward  

LABOR DAY IS ALSO a time to plan for the upcoming season and year.  Retailers can make good use of the time by planning out new purchases, and thinking about creative new ways to make present inventory more attractive and timely.   

—And what about store space?  Is it good looking?  Does it bring in customers?  Does it excite them to buy? How About your web site?  Is it “edgy?”  Forward looking? Do you change and update it frequently?  These are just some of the questions to answer in a review for bigger and better sales ahead.  

Labor Day is the perfect time to put together a new package for business.  And this year, with a questionable economy and cautious customers, new planning has never been more important.  This is no time to pull back; it is a time to forge ahead with optimism and studied understanding of where you are going and how you can best serve your customers now.  

It takes work, yes.  But isn’t work what Labor Day is all about?  It’s a celebration of work, not just for itself, but for all it brings to you, your customers, your community.  Have a great Day!                                         

WHILE YOU ARE ENJOYING THE HOLIDAY, CONSIDER ADDING SOME OF THESE TERRIFIC ITEMS TO YOUR FALL PRODUCT LIST:  

  

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

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                                    PRINTS GET HOT, HOT, HOT!

SOME ARE WILD; OTHERS CEREBRAL, SOPHISTICATED.    Some look like a Jackson Pollock painting, with splashes of colorful paint enlivening dresses and skirts just as oil enlivens a canvas.  These are the new prints that are exciting the world of couture and ready-to-wear, marvelous, exciting prints that are part modern, part contemporary, and part classic-vintage.  But all, all of them, filled with action and movement and visual delight.

Oh, you say, “We’ve always had prints.”  Yes, that’s true…but not prints dressed up like these!  Come along and take a look for yourself:

PRINTS PLAYED OFF SOLIDS:   Pick your print and team it up with an all-one-color outfit for major emphasis! If the single color is black, all the better…you’re really hot on the “In” side of fashion.  Then choose a great print, maybe red or green or yellow or perhaps all three mixed into one terrific look of flowers or graphics or who-knows-what. The print might be a blouse, a jacket, a skirt.  It doesn’t matter. If the background color is black, and you’re pairing it with a black outfit…wow!    

   –ACCESSORY TIPS:  This is a look that almost demands a great necklace, maybe a choker in silver or gold, big, chunky, sophisticated. The look is modern, so stay away from vintage, and opt instead for a clean, sleek design.  Bracelets are also a natural, maybe a wrist full of bracelets on one arm, and a clean minimalist look on the other.  Don’t miss out on black tights and funky boots.

YOU CAN MAKE THE PRINT REVOLUTION WORK WONDERS FOR YOU.  JUST PAIR GREAT PRINTS WITH GREAT ACCESSORIES AND VOILA!  MAGIC!  HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS TO ENHANCE THE MAGIC, TOO:

 

 

PAINTER PRINTS:  Splash, splash!  Remember when artists were just beginning to experiment with throwing paint on a canvas, and then just letting it take care of itself?  They called it art, much to the distress of many critics, but the technique still stood.  Well, now it is making big waves as the essence from which art splashes in fabric evolve.  And, what do you know, the look is often dynamite! 

   Think in terms of splattered looks, as if you were painting and got your shirt full of paint.  Add a few red or yellow non-forms (like globs) on top of the splatter and you’ve got a quirky, fascinating look

–ACCESSORY TIPS: Go easy on the print, you don’t want too much of it. This is a strong look!  Keep it to a tee shirt or blouse.  Then put on tights or leather leggings, and have fun with jewelry.  Rings are great here, all kinds of rings, one for every finger!  Earrings are also good …try hoops for a very “Now” look.

 

ANIMAL INSTINCTS:  Grrrr.  Look up the endangered species list and you’ll know what prints we are talking about.  Tiger.  Leopard.  Gorgeous jungle animals whose skins are the inspiration for some of the best and wildest prints for the season.  Anything “animalistic” is in.  Birds. Fish. Even insects.  But, the biggest of all are those large, treacherous, spectacularly wonderful leopards,   tigers, and the like.  Animal prints are terrific in blouses, t’s and tights, slacks, jackets, coats, you name it.  Almost anything takes well to the genre.

ACCESSORY TIPS: Pick up the gold of the animal and replicate it in necklaces and bracelets.  Or, play with silver earrings.  Tribal designs, especially those out of Africa, go remarkably well.  Little handbags slung across the chest are casual naturals for this look. Wrist watches with animal print straps are great.  Take a look at Swatch watches, too, for some wonderful wilderness and jungle themes.

OUT OF INDIA:  Traditional India-Indian prints have really moved into the realm of classics.  Paisleys, Indian forms, gem-inspired designs are all top favorites for the fabric revolution as prints take over the fashion world.  Find them in clothing from Prada, Hilfiger, Lauren – oh, so many more! What’s new here is the way the Indian prints are being used.  Not just in classic little dresses, but in slacks, T’s, casual jackets, you name it.  The look can be casual, it can be formal, but it is always dynamic!

–ACCESSORY TIPS:  Think of the ancient tradition behind the print and you can come up with some excellent accessories.  Indian-style earrings are terrific, but so, too, are earrings with a demure British flair, or bracelets and necklaces that say “I am a lady.”  Silver works, but gold is so much richer, so much better.  If you’d rather be a non-conformist with this look, stray backwards in time to the 60s, and pick out almost any outfit from the street kids.  They all wore paisley!

USE THE NEW PRINTS TO GIVE YOUR PRODUCTS A RICH MIDDLE-EASTERN CHARM.  HERE ARE SOME GREAT ACCESSORIES TO GO WITH THEM:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

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WHEN HAVE FASHIONISTAS: ever been offered such an array of hot, trendy stories to play with, buy, and look terrific in?  Fall 2010 is chock full of the best fashion has to offer, and then some.  This is a merchandisers dream!  Choose your favorite looks, or just go with the flow and take something from all of them.  These stories were made to excite the most blasé creatures!

Here are a couple of the biggest trends coming off the runways this season:

                              YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW

ARMY STRONG:  This new military look takes its essence from the past – WWII, Korea, Vietnam – and mixes it with a dollup of “right now fashion modern” for a truly spectacular effect.  Think color first and foremost:  Rich, military colors, like khaki, browns of all sorts, gray, and especially that very identifiable green-brown that is military all the way.  While it is still not at the top of the fashion lost, you can also work with some marine military colors, and add in a selection of Navy blues, as well. Brass buttons and black boots finish the style. 

Giving the military a much-needed feminine infusion are scarves and skirts and blouses in billowy fabrics and soft, feminine prints, matched cleverly with the tough military outfits for a truly new, new look! 

ACCESSORIZING THE MILITARY MIGHT:  well, you just know back packs have to surface here.  They remind you of all the gear our soldiers strap on their backs as they enter the fray in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Belts are also very hot:  wide, brown belts with masculine-simple silver buckles. 

Around the neck: don’t miss out on necklaces!  This is where a bit of contradiction takes over, with peace sign pendants very very big!  Watches are generally large, rings man-styles.  Keep things sleek, avoid hang-offs of any sort

SOUNDING OFF FOR GREAT ACCESSORIES MEANS PICKING THE RIGHT STUFF FOR MILITARY ATTIRE.  CHECK OUT SOME OF THE ITEMS HERE:

 

 

                                           KICKED-UP RETRO

YESTERDAY WITH A MODERN ÉLAN.  IS THIS EVER FANTRASTIC!  Think of your favorite retro stories, very 1950s, and add on a modern touch for an extraordinary look!  We’re talking cat’s eye sunglasses, dainty handbags, girly styles and bubble-hem dresses, color-blocking, brocades, sweet plaids, little handle bags, socks, rich cardigans, and no small amount of Kerouac wildness in beatnik clothing manners. California was on the rise!

Psychedelic was just beginning to break through, and classic fashion held the fort in most areas, including New York. Ladies were still ladies, girls were girls, and hooker hot was a long, long way off! Still, cigarette pants and a slightly coy look with off-the-shoulder sweaters prevailed. It was the end of an era.

This is great memorabilia! Retailers might want to play with this story for the entire fall season, displaying photos of famous movie stars, popular resorts, and great Paris fashion.

ACCESSORIZING THE PAST-PRESENT:  Dainty little watches bring back the Fifties in a “timely” fashion.  Skinny little belts are just the style, looks that make it best are full, swingy, fitted out with bowler bags and plenty of classic silhouettes. Headbands are very “IN” for this look, bracelets are important, socks look “wild” with high heeded shoes, and necklaces give 50s skirt-and-blouse dressing a certain edge.

You can jazz up the 50s look with some important takes on today’s fashion.  Consider adding “pops” of great color. Or sleek little leather booties.  For those interested in being sexy, combine some glittery tights with a crisp white blouse and colorful cardigan, and then finish the outfit with conservative teardrop pearl earrings and a pretty gold bracelet.  An ankle bracelet would work well here, too. Wow!

   –(Incidentally, this fits in with the editorial fashion review in a top magazine, which refers to the good-girl-gone-bad look for fall, with demure looks on top and clingy and sexy on the bottom).

GETTING INTO A FIFTIES FRAME OF MIND ISN’T SO DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S TEMPERED BY MODERN STYLES.  HERE ARE SOME TERRIFIC VALUES TO ACCESSORIZE YOUR LOOK:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, August 23rd, 2010

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SOMETHING IS HAPPENING HERE, AND SMART RETAILERS ARE PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION!  A bevy of new retail concepts are suddenly sprouting up around the country, aimed at giving stores a new look and a new aura of excitement.  Are you aware of this movement?  Well, we suggest you check out the action because the major players in the fashion field are fast evolving new personalities for stores, and new ways of retailing clothing and accessories. 

“People are tired of the same old, same old,” declared Raymond Graj, of Graj + Gustavsen, a hot brand marketing and store concepts firm.  “They’re hungry for new things that are not mass produced, and don’t want to buy into cookie-cutter,” he says.  As one major industry publication put it:  this is an “attempt to transform America’s cookie cutter landscape.”

 

Stores are taking on fresh images and auras, custom-tailored to where they are located and who their customers are. They are expanding their focus of operation.  They are reaching toward more personal involvement with the customer in myriad different ways.  It is all very exciting to witness!

                                              International Scope

JUST LOOK AT some of these big name brands:  Disney is fast reinventing its stores to excite more business.  Levi Strauss & Co. is setting up 1,000 foot stores for its new brand, Denizen, which will cater to 18- to 28-year-old women and men in emerging middle class countries such as India and China. It’s an international as well as psychological block-buster effort underway, promising to bring big dollars into the fashion retail field as soon as the economy gets going again.  Maybe, sooner!

APPEALING TO A DIFFERENT CLIENTELE IS ONE WAY OF JUMP-STARTING THIS NEW STORE IDEAL.  LOOK HERE FOR SOME GREAT PRODUCTS TO SUIT SPECIAL INTERESTS:

  • Don’t miss out on the strong bridal market! This 2-row bridal choker set can start the momentum rolling for a new marriage sector in your store.

 

 

                                               New Prototypes

PROTOTYPES OF NEW STORE concepts are likewise popping up from coast to coast. Brooks Brothers has opened its first free-standing girls’ and boys’ shop called Fleese. The new operation represents a “younger state of mind” for Brooks Brothers, and is explained to be a “test” store for, among other things, the company’s first go at girls’ merchandise.

Blooomingdale’s is putting forth a beachy store concept in Santa Monica, California, a take-off on the store’s contemporary-driven store in Manhattan’s Soho.  Bloomingdale’s expects to replicate the idea with local input in many different locations around the country.  Ann Taylor is opening a new prototype store in Atlanta where it will test new retail concepts. 

J. Crew has opened a smashing new bridal concept store in Manhattan, one that takes a wide view of the entire marriage scene, from before and after bridal parties, to rehearsal dinners, the honeymoon and the bridal night.  If there is something to merchandise here, the store intends to grasp it.   The consumer is the beneficiary, having everything needed for any particular event or situation all presented in one place. The whole ball of wax, you might say. Dynamite!

                                               Ahead of Competition

THERE IS A SURGE among strong retailers looking at ways to position themselves ahead of the competition through new prototypes.  What’s more, the new concept stores have a strong global flare, and retailers plan to take them international as well.

One of the most outstanding examples of this new store concept rollout is Starbucks Corp., where Dawn Clark, vice president of international store design says, “The days of being able to just stamp things out isn’t good enough anymore.”  She says the bar is higher, the demand for moré sophistication stronger.  Customers want to see variation, she contends.  They don’t want boring. 

   –Retailers across the nation are apparently listening to the Starbucks’ veep and watching what is coming down from the Seattle headquarters.

To start with, the store is incorporating wine and beer into its menu in many locations.  It is also testing a new brand, the 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea concept, which has a different roasting method and no relationship to the Starbucks’ name. The roll-out will also feature a European bakery.

   

                                              More New York

ROY STREET IS ANOTHER Starbucks’ prototype concept, one that tries to reflect the feeling of the local architecture.  Even the Starbucks’ store in Manhattan’s trendy Soho has undergone sprucing up, with new, darker woods, more comfortable seating. You might say it is more “New York” than ever!

Clark points out that Starbucks grew so fast, the firm didn’t realize how alike all its stores were.  “It was really one size fits all, and it turned out some communities didn’t relate to that.  Retailers,” she continued, “have to really appeal to the consumer with a differentiated brand and store experience.”

LOOKING FOR AN EXPERIENCE THAT FITS THE LOCAL TASTE AND INTEREST CAN BE CHALLENGING AND FUN.  SO CAN FINDING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS TO FIT THE NEW IMAGE.  LOOK HERE FOR STARTERS:

 

  • Think about expanding out into other accessory arenas.  How about this croc print evening clutch?  It’s very rich and socially proper!
Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, August 21st, 2010

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IT’S NOT TOO LONG AGO that nobody was really interested in fashion from India.  It was all too exotic, too provincial, too Ghandi-esque, you might say.  Well, all of that has changed, dramatically.  At the recent fashion shows in Mumbai, designs were both traditional and western-oriented, even edgy.

The marketing cry of the Indian market is now “going Global!” as more and more countries turn an interested eye on this massive nation.  India is getting hot, and it is working hard to keep the momentum going.  Just look at these figures:  The industry represented less than 2.9 billion rupees (or $64 million) in 2008, and is expected to rise to 7.5 billion rupees, or $166 million, by 2012.  That’s an impressive hike.

Sujai Shah who directs the organization of  the Mumbai fashion shows points out that design in his country is about color, flowing fabrics, and layering.  He also pointed out that, from a business point of view, presentation of new designs is best when it is close to the season. Indians want to be able immediately to buy what they see on the catwalk,” he said.

                                    Raw Silk and Jute

NOT ALL FIRMS stayed to that formula, however.  The shows in Delhi, for example, were dedicated to fashion for the fall, as companies there worked the international fashion market.  Traditional Indian fabrics were hot here, including raw silk.  There were also many stunning sari designs, interesting draping, heavily embroidered pants and tight fitting T-shirts. 

A fascinating if unexpected development in Delhi was India’s nod to the strong military trend washing over the global market.  Here, companies showed military-style coats and plenty of badges, medals and other honorific symbols of the nation.  Metal buttons were especially big.  

In both Mumbai and Delhi, the biggest lure was color, the particularly Indian version of color, lavish, sparkling, intense.  Colors from indigo to burnt orange were strong and even intriguing, even when toned down somewhat to muted hues of burgundy and brown.

IT’S NOT SURPRISING THAT COLOR AS ONLY INDIA CAN WORK IT STOOD OUT AT ALL THE FASHION EXPOSITIONS HERE. FOR A TASTE OF INDIA-LIKE COLOR INTENSITY, LOOK HERE:

 

 

                                             Fabulous Accessories

AMONG THE MOST EXCITING ACCESSORIES in India this year were brightly colored and printed headwraps, worn Indian style. Long chain necklaces with ball beads hanging off were also hot, looking very Indian and western, at the same time.  Earrings were mostly long, metal, and full of movement.  Circles were the big symbol.

 

The theater has always been a strong point of fashion design and marketing in India.

For example, one firm offered outfits imprinted with images of Dharavi, the vast Mumbai slum that featured so prominently in the Oscar-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire

At the same time, there were fewer Bollywood stars on the runways this year, with one major manufacturer saying, “My fashions are the stars.”  It seems many Industry executives concluded that theatrical personalities divert attention away from the fashion being shown, and on to themselves.

With all of the action and visual impact shaking up the runways, accessories still stood out as the glamorous and distinctive best India has to offer.  Bangle bracelets were traditional and modern, big and multiple, running half-way up the arm and then some.  Some were plain, brilliant color, others were heavily embellished with gold insets and stunning gemstones.

 

                                          Beads, Beads, Beads

And beads, long a beauty specialty of India, were everywhere.  Big and small beads, remarkably unique looking beads, beads as bracelets, necklaces, earrings!  And, oh, the colors and the hand work on the beads!  What could be more beautiful?

 

Certainly, no one could see these shows without knowing that India is on the move. Her designs and fabrications are remarkable.  What country has more to offer?  Keep an eye on Mumbai and Delhi – their colors alone are fashion icons!

GOLD GLITTERED FROM PRACTICALLY EVERY FASHION ACCESSORY  LINE IN INDIA.  YOU CAN GET THE SAME LUXURY LOOK AT A GREAT PRICE:

  • Large crown pendant.  Memories of colonial India!

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, August 20th, 2010

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SO…WHAT ELSE IS NEW?  Price was the overriding “buy factor” at the latest Fashion Industry Gallery in Dallas, as retailers came, saw, and bought…providing the price was right and the value was exceptional.  “We are trying to make a big push and come down in price a little and make it more accessible,”  said Lisa Benham Shinn, daughter of the owner of the upscale boutique, Balliet’s, in Oklahoma City.

Accessories played a big role at the Gallery, outshining almost all other merchandise.  Motorcycle and military jackets were very hot items, along with leather lariats and edgy statement belts.  Fur and leather trimmed knits were big.  Multichain necklaces gave an exceptionally trendy look to the jacket rage.  Very refined dresses were important, especially those with piping and tucking.

One Plano, Texas retailer was anything but optimistic.  Sounding a little like yesteryear, she said that she had to drop more expensive dresses in one of her stores because “the women’s husbands have cut their allowances.”  She pointed out that the Industry in her part of the woods wouldn’t see increases until real estate improves and the banks start lending again.

                                              Bright Colors

On the other hand, a number of retailers were quick to pick up good buys and trendy items.  One story that sold particularly well was hippie-chic.  Old keys were a jewelry favorite here, along with long jade necklaces in bright colors.  Turquoise sold well, too, along with coral.  A mammoth-tooth owl pendant encrusted with diamonds and hanging from a gold chain was another important item in the jewelry class.

TURQUOISE  IS UPTRENDING IN ALMOST ALL MARKET AREAS.  YOU CAN GET THE LOOK AT A FRACTION OF WHAT YOU’D EXPECT TO SPEND.  LOOK HERE:

 

 

                     SHOP TILL YOU DROP?  DON’T BE SILLY

 

DID YOU KNOW?  Oniomania, the clinical term for shopping disorder, comes from the Greek word Onios, meaning for sale, and mania, otherwise known as insanity.  For people with the disorder, the term fits.  Take fashion journalist Avis Cardella, who has recently written about her own compulsive shopping disorder in a book, “Spent,” due out later this month. 

“I used shopping to avoid myself,” she says. Cardella admits it took her a long time to accept the fact that she had a problem, despite the fact that she was piling up debt and spending enormous amounts on fashion she often didn’t even wear once.  Shopping addiction, she contends, comes from trying to fill voids.  In overcoming the addiction, she says, she had to deal with many hard issues, like her continuing grief over her mother’s death, and her need to always appear perfect in public. 

Cardella doesn’t blame the fashion industry for her Oniomania, and that’s an important point.  “It’s a matter of keeping it all in the right perspective,” she says.  You have to not let yourself get carried away with the false idea that that is reality. 

   –But most of us already know that.  It is just a magnificent obsession!

YOU CAN BUY…AND NOT GET ADDICTED!  HEY, THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THE END OF THE WORLD.  IN FACT, IT CAN BE THE BEGINNING OF WONDERFUL THINGS, IF YOU KNOW HOW TO SHOP RIGHT.  HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES FROM THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THE BOOK:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, August 19th, 2010

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TREND CHECK:  Look for plenty of dark accessories for fall 2010, — black, dark grays, deep and intense blues, and stone-colored browns.  But, before you think of them as somewhat boring, pay attention.  These nightshades come with plenty of sparkle and glitter and glitz, a whole panorama, in fact, of rich metallics and gemstones that give them a formal and fabulous appearance.   

    Max Azria offers a tailored, clean lined clutch in aluminum mesh.  Coach has a shiny gray-black metallic bag, while Rebecca Taylor has a suede and Crystallized-Swarovski Elements bag.  Fenton offers a clustered-effect necklace in sandstone, velvet, brass and crystal. 

    Bracelets, earrings, and more. The look is very new, yet continuing, you might say, in many of the present trends hot in the market now, such as bangles and multiples, and chunky glamour.  Just all of it dark and glittery, like a clear night sky.

YOU CAN GET THAT FANTASTIC DARK JEWELRY LOOK BY SMART BUYING!  HERE ARE SOME GOOD EXAMPLES:

  • Hematite traditional cross earrings.  Gorgeous!
  • Glass beaded choker.

 

IS EVERYBODY HAPPY?  Jewelry pieces that make people feel better!  That’s what stood out at the recent JA New York Show at the Jacob K. Javits convention center.  But, they were among the few new items shown, and retailers attending the exhibition expressed disappointment in the lack of innovation and creativity.

   Paul Morelli’s new meditation bells collection, with gem studded gold bells, as pendants, were very special.  Alex Sepkus’ opal hanging earrings were also new and interesting, along with Raffaella Mannelli’s box tree wood pieces.

   Organic looking pieces retained their hot status, especially those in silver and gold by Sepkus and Sarah Jannerbo.

    Indian style jewelry was also big.  A number of these pieces featured rose cut diamonds and brightly colored sapphires set into blacked silver for a rich look. 

    Jewelry that incorporated lucky charms remained big sellers. Elephant charm bracelets stood out, along with stacking stretch gemstone bracelets and diamond charms.   Important shapes included peace signs and crosses. 

   –But how do you accessorize this trend?  Not difficult.  Just add on more gold, gold, gold. And big, dark, mysterious-looking sunglasses.  That’s real WOW factor!

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO PETA?  The animal rights organization seems to be strangely absent this season, and you might say the fashion industry is taking good advantage of the lack of protests and marches by presenting the most extensive and voluminous amount of fashion fur we’ve seen in a very long time..  Everywhere you look, on every runway you see, fur is a dominant factor.  That includes almost every conceivable type of fur, long hair, short hair, and in-between. 

      Full length fur coats are only the start of it.  Fur is being used for trims, for linings, even for footwear.  Oscar de la Renta, Fendi, Gucci, Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs are just a handful of designer houses super-strong on animal skins for fall.  You might say that if you want to be IN, put an animal around your shoulders this winter.   

14K TASTE:  Chains, sequins, and gold, gold, gold.  That more or less summed up much of latest fashion pieces from Balmain’s Christophe Decarnin, whose baroque styles and Seventies-design glam rock pieces gave glitter and glitz new fashion life.  One dress literally sizzles with flashes of molten metallic gold…it is nothing short of dynamic!

   Gold remained a big number for numerous designers in the western world.  Marc Jacobs presented a long evening dress softly shimmering with gold metallic.  Jason Wu was more updated and youthful, with a dress that looked like gold lame tissue paper...very Oriental, actually, and very organic, as well. 

   More gold was forthcoming from Rachel Ray, in a loosely fitted dress to the knee.  Dries Van Noten showed a fabulous all gold blazer with somewhat extreme fitting but, hey…was that a guy up there on the runway sporting the jacket?  Sometimes this androgynous thing can be taken too far! 

ALL THAT GLITTERS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE REAL GOLD. TRY SOME GOOD PLATED JEWELRY FOR THE SAME RICH LOOK AT A FRACTION OF THE PRICE:

 

Large crystal flower brooch – choose rich gold plating for a dynamite look!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

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HAVE WE EVER GOT SOME HOT TRENDY COLOR NEWS FOR YOU TO LATCH ONTO AND RUN WITH!  Yes, blue is big.  Neutrals are hot.  Red is sizzling.  But perhaps the hottest color of all, right now rising on the near horizon, is YELLOW. 

Just take a look at designer presentations.  At Home & Garden news.  At paint store advertisements. Yellow is big and getting bigger, and you can be sure nothing is going to stop its meteoric movement as it sends sunflower rays down on the fashion industry. 

YELLOW IS the color for NOW.  This is the color for Fall and Winter.  It is sensational!

 

Nobody can deny that we can really use the color yellow at this point in time. After all, it is the color of sunshine, of optimism, of hope.  It is cheerful and energizing.  It can help lift us all up out of the doldrums and give us a renewed sense of well being.  It is exciting. Courageous.  Intelligent.

YELLOW IS AN EXPRESSION OF BELIEF THAT IT’S ALL GOING TO TURN OUT FINE. WEAR IT TO SLEEP.  WEAR IT TO WORK.  WEAR IT TO PLAY:

 

           

                                    Hot Primary

Yellow has long been used as a complementary color, a color to go with a color, but not a color to stand on its own.  Well, all of that is changing, too.  Yellow is now being presented as a hot primary, in dresses, coats, and apparel of all sorts, as well as in exciting new accessory pieces like bracelets, pins, and handbags.

In architecture and interior design, yellow is also on the way up.  Look at the latest creations from top designers and you’ll see happy yellow house exteriors, bright yellow children’s rooms, yellow kitchens, yellow work rooms, and yellow kitchens. 

   –The move toward color that is sweeping across the country is obviously having a dramatic effect on the color yellow, a strong hue that almost demands acceptance of color in general for its successful use.

 

In Feng Shui, yellow is said to light up a room like the rising sun.  It is uplifting, and both lightens and brightens spaces.  From sunflower yellow to pale buttery shades, yellow is an ideal color for interior rooms. 

                                          Yellow in Fashion

 

The many different uses of the color yellow in fashion demonstrate its remarkable versatility.  Jason Wu, for  example, promoted big yellow rimmed sunglasses for fall, along with a marvelous autumnal necklace with gold fabric leaves.  Ralph Lauren’s bohemian babe is dressed in a delightful, printed dress of red and yellow leaves against a black background.  Prada featured  a 60’s-retro style yellow suit with yellow handbag and hat.

And, one of the final designs from the late Alexander McQueen is a spectacular, glittery coat dress made of small yellow leaf pieces overlapping each other.  Wild!  Even in the world of man-tailoring, yellow is uptrending.  From Hermes comes a canary yellow man tailored coat with black leather lapels. It is shown with a gray bowler hat, black slacks, and a very Brit-inspired umbrella.

Yellow is anything but boring.  It is fun.  It is serious.  It is contradictory.  In many nations, it is considered a color of courage, but don’t call someone “yellow” in this country, where it means coward!

                                           Sign of Hope

 

Color researchers say yellow increases self esteem and strengthens overall well being.  It is also said to stimulate mental processes, activate memory, and improve the nervous system. Sweden uses the color yellow along with blue in its flag.  Germany uses yellow with black and red in its flag.  For centuries, women have used yellow flags and ribbons as a sign of hope as they waited for their men to return from war.

Yellow is the color of the solar plexus chakra which is located in the stomach area.  In this discipline, yellow is said to represent vitality and help turn dreams into reality.

No truly fashionable accessory collection is without the color yellow.  Consider Valentino’s wonderful yellow leather clutch bag, or Proenza Schoufer’s great yellow handle bag with blue and black trim.  A very-yellow shiny bag from Fendi features yellow handles and a large black decorative oval inset. 

Yellow beads are hot for summer.  Yellow belts and scarves are likewise important products for summer through the fall. J. Crew offers a delightful yellow straw fedora. Barneys New York is selling a fun pair of Suno poly-acetate sweat pants at their usual sky high price of $345.  And, if you like spending money, you can purchase skinny little yellow charity bracelets on satin cords for just $700 each from Cartier.

FIND YOUR OWN FAVORITE FASHION USES OF YELLOW AT  PRICES THAT WILL MAKE YOU SMILE..  HERE ARE SOME GREAT EXAMPLES:

 

  • Fashion scarf with circle design in shades of green and fabulous marigold.
Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Jewelry
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JEWELRY IS RIDING a high road of popularity and creativity, with a wide variety of innovative and exciting designs coming on stream.  Both costume and fine jewelry are objects of fascination and innovation, with designs running from new takes on classical pieces to radically new and different looks altogether.
During the recent couture weeks, Sarah Besnainou presented a collection of jewelry befitting her firm’s Paris base, with Gallic moods expressing international style.  Besnainou, who once interned for Dior, brought out three different collections representing a wide price line from $900 to $200,000 – all spectacularly done. 

What the French entrepreneur goes for is an ultramodern look that is glamorous and classic, as seen in her amethyst cuffs or earrings made of turquoise embedded with little diamonds. Wow!

LOOKING FOR JEWELRY WITH A BESNAINOU TOUCH?  LOOK NO FURTHER:

 

 

                                          Old Metal, New Designs

VEERING OFF IN A SOMEWHAT different mode is the jewelry from Ru Vain, originally a diamond broker who gassed up his jewelry business by using scraps of metal he had collected from his business in buying, and melting antique silver. 

Ru’s present collection (his real name is Reuven) features silver and copper pieces, all mostly rough hewn and diamond encrusted, very wild, and looking like something the wife of a terribly successful marauding Viking might wear. 

His jewelry runs from dog tags to bangles and cuffs – all hammered and very old-looking.  “When it’s polished and straight, you don’t get to see the true life of the metal,” he says.

                                             The Hilton Esprit

 

WELL, YOU JUST KNEW she’d get her name into this website eventually, didn’t you?  We’re talking about the less wild, less controversial Hilton sister who is also a fashion designer (or, at least she gives her name to a collection).  Her new line of costume jewelry will debut this fall.  Nicky, who says she is a crazy jewelry collector who has been collecting pieces since she was a kid, is into high quality without the high price tag, something a bit off-beat for a society dame!

Nicky’s new collection will feature Art Deco and modern, trendy pieces that are edgy and different.  A grouping of rings, for example, includes pieces in sterling with cubic zirconium, enamel and stone embellishments.  The rings are admittedly very creative and fascinating.  They include elements of a traditional-looking pave design, along with very modern cabochon square and odd-shaped stones.  Very elegant, and yet they would also go well on a Biker’s finger!

                                                        Hot Necklaces!

Necklaces have never been more in demand than now, especially long chain or beaded necklaces with stone pendants. 

Understanding that, Marissa Alperin has turned her passion for colorful, feminine jewelry into a cache of fabulous 18 karat gold necklaces with remarkable, offbeat precious stone pendants.

One collection features gold peapods with fine stones hanging from gold chain necklaces.  Another group of jewelry designs features rings that are highly colorful, with multiple gemstones embedded in the ring prongs.  Great looking!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, August 12th, 2010

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JEWELRY ARCHITECTURE:   Some of the most interesting jewelry pieces coming onto the market take inspiration from architecture.  The look is geometric, the emphasis is on details.  Look for pieces with square or oval real or faux gemstones, designs that treat individual sections of a necklace or bracelet with care and perfection in and of themselves. 

Statement pieces fit the body comfortably, with necklaces sitting quietly around the neck.  The quality shows. Black and gold are big colors here. 

One manufacturer in this genre is Elena Coleman who works with gunmetal, brass, oxidized silver or 18 karat gold plated silver finishes.  Many of her pieces are inspired by pre-Colombian and Mayan warrior armor, body paint, and the pyramids.

CHAIN-MAIL:  Lady Gaga wears the trendy chain-mail necklaces.  So does Rihanna.  If that isn’t celebrity-hot all by itself, well…try wearing some yourself! Designer Fannie Schiavone creates tough body jewelry and accessories that lean on ancient chain-mail looks for an edgy, hot look that celebrities love! 

Schiavone says it is interesting when you see how entertainment artists wear the pieces.  “When the collection is on stage, it really comes alive,” she says. “The chains have great gravity to them and they really drape well.”

LOOKING FOR CHAINS, AND THE LIKE? YOU’LL DELIGHT IN THESE OFFERINGS:

 

  • Five row beaded chain in light hematite plating.  Wow!

 

DANGEROUS AND DEADLY:   “Everything I do has a rock ‘n roll edge, declares Amanda Assad, speaking of her downright scary jewelry collection which includes plenty of hard rock madness along with no small amount of military might. 

Feeding off the spikes and bullets trend, Assad’s pieces include an S & M collar, a silver chain necklace embellished with silver bullets and black arrowheads with military colored pearls.  Bracelets, cuffs, pieces you might not even recognize as jewelry all express the same violent mood, softened here and there with gold chain and gemstones. 

It is part of a new, very threatening movement, taking Biker Chic and Gothic a giant step further into dangerous territory.  Be aware of this trend.  It is very street-connected, brash and aggressive, and is replete with deadly images.  Spikes are perhaps the most obvious design form, usually long, gray or black, and styled in multiples around the neck or wrist. 

The designer says the pieces “aren’t weaponry, but they do have a slightly bold and aggressive feel.” 

–The jewelry isn’t weaponry?  You could fool me…

NEW COSTUME LINE FOR ST. JOHN:  St. John has long been the epitome of upscale classy dressing for the conservative, elitist woman.  These aren’t trendy clothes, and they certainly aren’t teenie-bopper frocks.  What they are is rich.  Bostonian.  Aristocratic. If you aren’t familiar with St. John, you should be. The firm tends to set the standard for a certain type of dressing.  Wasp-y, to say the least.

St.John has “dappled” in costume jewelry before, but now the firm is taking a giant leap into the field with a full line of fashion pieces, and the collection should be exciting.  The initiative marks the first time the company will work with jewelry as a separate division in its own right.  “If we want to be serious, this needs to be a stand alone proposition,” declared Glenn McMahon, company CEO.

The wrist will be the focal point for the fall collection. That, of course, means bracelets and cuffs.

Materials will represent a rich mixture of pearl, horn, resin and metal.  Important in the new designs will be the creation of iconic clasps and closures to make the jewelry recognizable to buyers.  McMahon says he wants the jewelry to “relate to the clothing” manufactured by St. John, but not to be tied to any one particular piece.

McMahon sees the costume jewelry division as an important growth opportunity for St. John, “easily becoming a $10 million business.”

 

TOP QUALITY AT REASONABLE PRICES.  LOOK THESE CLASSY PIECES OVER AND YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID!

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, August 9th, 2010