A Mother-Daughter Couture Moment!

Getty Images

Getty Images

A charming first for the spring/summer 2018 haute couture runway shows happened at Jean Paul Gaultier’s catwalk when Coco Rocha walked the runway with her two-year-old daughter, Ioni James Conran, beside her … in matching outfits. From the pale blue lamé gowns, elbow-length black gloves and white tights to the angular wig with spiral ponytail, the mother-daughter duo mirrored one another. Gaultier put his surrealism in full blast, but his muse, Coco Rocha, who has a history of memorable catwalk moments, took this show to a new level with her daughter – taking Paris by storm!

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Beverley takes us Inside Kelli’s Closet

Kelli’s Closet

Everything about Beverley Perkin’s life has led her to this moment. Born and raised in South Africa, Beverley was surrounded by educated and cultured women who had impeccable taste. Her interest and background in Art History and English led to a successful career as a graphic designer. She was well on her to way to becoming an art director in her own right, having worked as a designer for Tina Brown’s The New Yorker  as well as Sports Illustrated and School of Visual Arts – when she took stock of her life and realized that she wanted to have a family and be a mother. But her creative vision never left her, and with the recent closet cleanse of her friend and colleague, Kelli, she is on her way to taking her passion to the next level and a new career. Here is Beverley …

MKG: What is the role of fashion?

Beverley:  I am a visual person. I think fashion incorporates everything – it’s the way you present yourself, the way the world sees you, the way you can disguise yourself and the way you package yourself. Fashion has tremendous power. Fashion is reflective of your mood. Personally, it depends on how I wish to represent myself in a particular environment and particular place. Sometimes I don’t want to have an impact when I enter a room, but sometimes I do.

MKG: How would you describe your personal style? 

Beverley: Classical and timeless. I like the classics. I appreciate trends, but I am not interested in buying something that is trendy. I am a minimalist; I generally believe that less is more and I believe in quality over quantity. I don’t particularly like logos, and items that have bold, glaring labels – I think it is much more classy and sophisticated to have something subtle and obscure.

MKG: How did you curate and edit your own things, your own life?

Beverley:  I have moved 10 times, including 2 international moves, in the last 17 years. Each time I have moved I’ve realized how much we have that we don’t need. Too much excess traps you, and holds you back from setting you free. As a result, I am very mindful and selective of my purchases that I add to my possessions. I’m also constantly editing down whatever is redundant and no longer has its use for me. There is a lot of hard work behind simplicity.

MKG: How did you turn your personal style and minimalist approach into a closet cleanse for your friend Kelli?

Beverley: My friend, Kelli, wanted to edit her clothes and was looking to rid herself of things that no longer gave her joy. I also helped Kelli beautify and edit her home and fill it with only the things that she loves. Kelli appreciated my style and visual eye so she asked me to help her. I first spent time watching and observing how Kelli dressed (you have to get to know a person’s body first; find out what she likes, what is her style, who are her favorite designers and why). Then, I shopped her closet to see what she had. What I found was that Kelli had pieces that were dated and no longer suited her. She was very excited to declutter and keep only the essential, timeless classics. We created three piles of her clothes: 1 to donate, 1 to consign, and 1 to keep. We kept only the most beautiful pieces in Kelli’s wardrobe and created looks for work and looks for casual. We created a uniform that is easy to put on, when Kelli is not working and wants ease with style. I also care very much about creating beautiful spaces blending functionality with a design aesthetic. I strongly believe that form follows function.  Kelli told me that she loves Christian Dior and the display at Christian Dior. So I visited Christian Dior for inspiration and bought some pieces to create Kelli’s very own boutique in her own home!
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Dressing for The Woman I Am Becoming

Every day, the clothing you choose reflects your style and the person you are; even when that person is changing and moving toward someone different. I have always loved feminine style and have dressed with feminine, sometimes girly touches. But something in me is changing and I am more aware that I am older, stronger, and more capable of handling life’s challenges than ever before. In other words, I am adding a bit of the masculine to my personality. When I found a glimpse of Kate Capshaw, a woman I admire for her simple yet stunning style, wearing a pantsuit with soft structure, I was immediately drawn to the image. That was the look that best describes where I am heading; strong, yet soft – powerful, yet gentle.

This outfit represents the new me; the Veronica Beard trousers have a soft yet structured look for a modern edge and the Bebe classic tuxedo blazer is a good match. The vintage Yves Saint Laurent blouse pulls the two together.

Sometimes you dress not only for the person you are but also for the person you are becoming! That is the power of clothes.

Photos by Abrina Hyatt

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Jewelry as Art: Alexis Bittar

My Alexis Bittar bangle; photo by Sophie McMillan

While undeniably luxurious, with many designs featuring precious metals and semi-precious stones, we feel our work should be accessible, unique and attainable. ~ Alexis Bittar

I don’t wear a lot of jewelry; a pair of earrings, my beloved watch, and a bangle or necklace every now and then, round out my jewelry collection. But several years ago when I found out about jewelry designer Alexis Bittar, I knew that I had to incorporate some of his precious art pieces into my life, as my own collectibles. Bittar’s story alone is worth owning a piece: Brooklyn-born Bittar, using Lucite and semi-precious stones and metals, began selling handmade pieces on the streets of Soho. Perhaps he was inspired by his parents who were both university professors and antique collectors. His hand-carved Lucite bangles and bold creations were discovered in 1992 by Dawn Mello, Bergdorf Goodman’s then Fashion Director. In 2004 he opened his first boutique on Broome Street, Soho, and went on to open a total of 15 stores in the United States. In 2010 Bittar became the CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year. The success of the brand is the view that each piece is to be seen as collectible – modern heirlooms that will stand the test of time and trends. Alexis Bittar sold his business to Brooks Brothers in 2016 and he now works exclusively in philanthropy, but his jewelry as art will certainly stand the test of time.

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I Can’t Find my Watch!

My Grandma Eleanor’s Longines watch

My beautiful Grandma Eleanor’s watch! I have been sad for a few months, over the fact that my Grandma Eleanor’s watch, passed down to me from my cousin Michelle, is missing. I remember taking it off, and then nothing … I can’t remember where I put it after I took it off. I know it is close to me but I just can’t seem to find it. I have said prayers to the Universe, checked both my car and my house – even my office – in depth – but so far, have come up empty. In the two months since it has been gone, it’s been like losing my Grandma all over again. This white gold watch was an anniversary gift my Grandpa gave my Grandma. Delicate and close-fitting, every time I put it on, I felt my Grandma Eleanor holding my wrist, holding my hand. A classic, this Longines watch is timeless (excuse the pun!) and will never go out of style. Beyond the cost, it is the sentimental value that is worth more than anything to me. I am hopeful that sharing this news with you will help bring this favorite piece of jewelry back! Positive thinking does wonders!

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The Spirit of MLK Lives on in A Pop Up Store

Life’s most persistant and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?.                ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

My friend Janice, with her friend Catherine, has created a beautiful Pop-Up Shop at her church. Through Operation Warm Heart (one of many programs of The Coalition to Support the Homeless), Janice has supported her church program to give shelter to homeless people. When Janice noticed the coats left in a heap as guests arrived, she had an idea: how can I create a shopping space with donated coats and other clothing, where people could shop when they arrived? Indeed, Janice did it! Here Janice tells her story ..

Over the summer I asked Catherine if she would mind if the took the problem of the clothing off her hands. I was glad she didn’t mind. I asked the Trustees to clean out the coat room, which is a nice size room. I purchased clothing racks and display signs from a local Sears; when I shared my purpose with the salespeople they were very helpful in selecting the equipment that I would need. The youth group at the church helped me to hang the donated clothing on racks. I loved the concept of a Pop-UP Shop and selected a name which is full of meaning for me. Johnnie Mae and Edna’s Pop-Up Shop is named after my mom and my Aunt Edna.  My aunt was the director of social services in Cranford, NJ, and my mom always talked about being kind and understanding of people, especially those in need. My grandparents helped people during the Depression; their children had a good example to follow.

My shop opened in December for Catherine’s first day of hosting. The guests now come every Tuesday (we used to host only once a month). Operating the shop is so much fun! I usually have volunteers to help me and many of them come because they have heard of it. The guests are encouraged to come in and shop when they arrive. Continue reading

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Pirate Bootie!

Catching a glimpse of Meghan Markle’s outfit at the Royal Holiday, I was inspired to jump on the footwear trend of the moment—slouchy boots.

This style – last seen in the early 2000s – is back and bigger than ever as the season’s biggest shoe trend. Major designers, including Saint Laurent, Tibi, and Victoria Beckham (who was also seen wearing the trend, styled to perfection) sent them down the runway with their fall looks, many of which featured skinny jeans. Although slouchy boots work well with longer skirts and dresses, they look best paired with skinny jeans because they’re roomy and provide a flattering proportional contrast to the slim denim.

Boots are the essential go-to when dressing for fall and winter. Try this former fashion favorite to add to your current wardrobe. I found these Manolo Blahnik boots for under $100, which is the best way to wear a boot trend … at a great price!

Boots, Manolo Blahnik; jeans, Frame Denim

Photos by Kira Ross

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Fashion, Function, and Faux Fur

My blue and white faux fur coat has fast become my winter wardrobe staple. Not only because of its bold pops of color, but also because it keeps me warm beyond belief in these sub-zero temperatures. I took it out for a Sunday stroll, and paired it with this backpack-style bag for added texture and because I like combining the stripes and circles! Fashion, function, and faux – all of my essentials for a Happy New Year!

Coat, J Crew/Net a Porter; handbag, Diane von Furstenberg; boots, Laurence Dacade Paris; sunglasses, Maui Jim

 

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This Old Hat Makes a Comeback

Photo by Kira Ross

I love wearing hats. I have always loved wearing hats. I am the person who can’t pass through a department store without checking out the hats and accessories first. Always tempted to buy a new one, and I often do – especially cozy, winter hats. You can imagine my utter surprise when I found this one-of-a-kind hat, forgotten in the very back of my coat closet. This brown knit hat is at least 30 years old – I remember the moment I first found it at Loehmann’s – I knew it was too special to pass up.

But somewhere along the way I forgot about it. I traded it in for newer versions and more modern styles. It was gone so long that I never even knew how much I missed it! But I did miss it and now that I rediscovered it, I haven’t stopped wearing it. I was reminded again of a very important rule of fashion: before buying something new, shop your closet first.

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Fashion Turmoil for 2018 as Phoebe Philo Exits Céline


Phoebe Philo’s Céline
CreditPhotograph by Karim Sadli. Styled by Joe McKenna.

Just before the holiday, Phoebe Philo, artistic director of Céline, announced that she is leaving the house. A replacement was not named at the time, leaving turmoil heading into 2018 and the New Year. This is significant fashion news; Phoebe Philo’s 10 years as artistic director at Céline redefined what women aspire to wear, with her minimalist aesthetic, clean lines, and tonal color palette gaining traction with critics and consumers. She stripped away the fuss in fashion and what remained were the clothes, powerful in their simplicity. Philo inspired a new kind of power dressing; a quiet way of making a statement, where the clothes do not overpower but reveal how women really want to see themselves – sophisticated and knowledgeable. There is a Céline uniform: large, slouchy trousers; a collarless shirt; flats; a tuxedo jacket — preferably in navy, black or cream. Quite simply, Philo transformed Céline into her own image and gave the brand a new relevance.

The news of Philo’s departure comes at a time when other fashion houses are in transition. We will have to see what 2018 holds for Céline and for the fashion industry.

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