Selena Gomez: “To Be You is to Be Strong”

Coach x Selena Gomez. Photo: @coach/Instagram

Yes, I am a Selena Gomez fan. I, like the other 123 million-plus Instagram followers, feel a connection with her.  I like her honesty and her ability to acknowledge her vulnerability and to grow from it, especially as she has picked herself up from the perils of childhood fame. Last week Coach released its new Fall 2017 campaign and Selena Gomez is front and center as its face of the campaign. In addition, Gomez has collaborated with Coach and is about to launch an exclusive limited Coach x Selena Gomez collection, offering leather goods and accessories. Among the coveted items is the Selena Grace bag, co-designed by Gomez and Coach creative director Stuart Vevers, whom Gomez reports, “was just so open at figuring out our collaboration.” The bag features a hangtag with the singer’s signature, as well as a patch fastened inside the bag declaring: “To be you is to be strong.” Also embossed on the bag is another message from Gomez: “Love yourself first. I love it!

The Coach x Selena Gomez collection will be available for pre-order online beginning on August 14th, and will hit stores on September 1st

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Rosita Missoni’s Garden of Happiness

Rosita Missoni: Photo credit Federico Ciamei

What I remember most from seeing mother and daughter from the fashion House Missoni  interviewed a year ago at the 92nd Street Y was that the Missoni family literally designs their reality by living and working together in one beautiful spot near Milan, Northern Italy. This model that the Missoni’s have created is a rare thing in today’s world of fashion design. Now, one year later, Missoni matriarch, Rosita Missoni, is 85 years old and is still living and blooming from her family home and factory. Her love of color and vibrancy spreads well beyond her clothing designs, as she collects vegetables and flowers from her own gardens and shares them with family and friends. This is how she keeps herself vital. Says Rosita Missoni:  “I’ve been passionately dedicated to my career, so it’s never worn me out. I live in the kind of beautiful place where my husband and I wanted to spend our weekends. I have my children close by, and friends that come visit on Sundays.” Rosita Missoni: living a life of true creativity, love, and inspiration.

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The Man who Faked It to Make It

Kenneth Jay Lane in 1970. Credit Neal Boenzi/The New York Times

I read that costume jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane passed away at his home in Manhattan last week. He was 85. Mr. Lane was regarded as the first American jewelry designer to make it not only acceptable but also chic to wear fake jewelry. “I myself am a fabulous fake,” he once said of his success. Born in Detroit, the son of an automotive parts supplier, the process to create his own persona started as a young boy when he first fell in love with fashion. He left home as a teenager to fulfill his destiny to be a designer – New York City his destination. His entrance into fake jewelry began almost by accident; he had been designing jewelry in his spare time when he was hired to design bejeweled shoes, some with rhinestone toes and heels, for a Scaasi fashion show. He suggested that he create matching earrings and and bracelets and designer Arnold Scaasi agreed. Mr. Lane went to a five and dime store to purchase plastic bangles and asked the shoe company to cover them with the rhinestones. Eventually, Mr. Lane would begin his own jewelry collection in 1962. His creations caught the fancy of high society and within a few years he was selling to most of the Fifth Avenue stores. Quickly, his name was in fashion magazines and society columns – he, himself, lived and jet-setted with his famous customers and friends, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo, Nancy Reagan and princesses Margaret and Diana.

But it was also his 20 year relationship with QVC where his costume jewelry designs would expand to the mainstream. I heard of Mr. Lane through QVC. Chris Sheppard, executive vice president of Kenneth Jay Lane, said a memorial would be held during New York Fashion Week in September.

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Diane von Furstenberg in Her Third Act

Diane von Furstenberg at 70, in her office in the Meatpacking District, NYC (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

I always used to say that life has three moments,” she says, sitting in her downtown office on a recent afternoon. “One is development, until about (age) 30. One is enjoyment, and then the third, the last season of your life, is somehow about fulfillment.” ~ Diane von Furstenberg

Designer Diane von Furstenberg is refocusing her life. Having handed over the creative reins of her fashion label to Jonathan Saunders, one of fashion’s most iconic names is turning her energies to philanthropy.  When von Furstenberg turned 70 on New Year’s Eve, she had already been asking herself,  “What kind of senior citizen do I want to be? How do I stay relevant?” – for a year. What she decided, she says, was to use her voice to focus on women from the inside, rather than the outside. “All my life was about creating a product, fashion, something (women) could use to be the woman they want to be, and now in my third act I want to use my voice to help women be the woman they want to be, but from the inside.

When I read von Furstenbergs’ memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, I was touched by her mother’s story and the strength (and life!) that she received from her mother. Her mother was a concentration camp survivor. She survived two concentration camps, and even though she came home weighing only 59 pounds, she gave birth the following year to her daughter, Diane. Throughout her life, her mother would tell her that God saved her so that she could give her life. I think that is why Diane von Furstenberg wants to help women find their voices and their strength. I think it is what motivates her. I want to see how she inspires women going forward, in her third act …

 

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“All Roads Lead to Chanel”

Before I boarded the plane for my latest adventure to Paris and the South of France, I asked my darling friend and favorite fashionista, Melissa, what would she like me to bring her from the City of Lights? Her answer was simple: a photo of Chanel’s original store. And that is how my walking tour of Paris began. The mission was clear, but the challenge proved to be unexpected.

Who would have thought that not many Parisians know which one of the many Chanel stores in their lovely home city was the first one to open its doors and change the history of fashion forever? Such a piece of information, I later found out, is only known to the style experts or the eternal romantics, like Melissa.

After lots of walking, wandering, and practicing my French asking for directions (I couldn’t check Google since I had no Wi-Fi connection), I reached my coveted destination: a beautiful French chateau on the lovely Rue Cambon. The only problem was that the building was under renovation. Despite my disappointment, I was glad to have carried  out and executed my mission successfully. But mostly, I was happy to have brought Melissa’s soul along with me. So I closed my eyes, and let my imagination take me to that moment in time, when a petite but fearless woman decided to turn the world of fashion upside down with her fresh ideas, signature style, and most of all, her love of feminine beauty. – Myriam Alvarez

 

 

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Christian Louboutin: “There is a Showgirl in Every Woman”

Post-show, Abrina and I found Jessica, who has worked for Christian Louboutin for 8 years, looking so chic in her shoes and bag. Louboutin says that a heel hight should be no more than 5″ and Jessica agrees: “It’s all about the pitch,” she says.

So, do you want to know the real story behind the iconic and now-trademarked red-lacquered soles of Christian Louboutin shoes? To hear Monsieur Louboutin tell it himself is pure storytelling and the stuff of fashion legend! Inspired by artist Andy Warhol’s bright colors Louboutin says it was watching his assistant, Sandy, paint her nails red that gave him the idea to paint the soles. Louboutin was trying to bring the reality of his designs to life but it didn’t happen until he saw Sandy apply that red nail polish. He grabbed the polish, a fight ensued (Sandy didn’t want to stop polishing with only 2 nails completed!), he won, he grabbed the red polish and painted the black sole of the shoe. Once he saw that red it transformed the shoe and a brand was born! It turned out that red was the perfect choice because women don’t see red as an actual color. In the 90’s when women were wearing black and more black, Louboutin noticed that these very women also wore red nails and red lipstick. When he asked them about the red on their lips and nails, they replied: ‘that is different – that’s not a color!’ – and in that moment Louboutin knew: “If it’s different on the lips, it would be different on the soles.” He had found instant success …

Last night, as I watched Louboutin interviewed by Fern Mallis in her Fashion Icons series at the 92nd Street Y, I was charmed. Quintessentially French, born and raised in Paris, it was clear from the start that Louboutin was a perfect blend of artist and businessman, dreamer and doer. And also a bit of a dickens … Continue reading

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Prom Dress Shopping, For Real!

Shopping fabrics with Kira

The conversation with my friend and fashion designer, Kira Ross, was not your typical, “What are you wearing to the Prom?” Not, because Kira wasn’t planning to go to a random store in search of a one-of-a-kind dress. Instead, Kira was going to do what she does best – pick out a fabulous fabric and make her dress herself, especially now, for her Senior Year. And as we talked about it I realized … I had to go along for Kira’s journey … and document everything. The shopping, the designing, and ultimately, the big reveal.

This Sunday was shopping day in The Garment District in New York. There are two blocks where Kira likes to “snake my way up and down the streets” to find the perfect fabric. It can take a while, Kira explained: “I like to touch the fabrics so I will know how it works and how it will fit. When a fabric has a little give, it is easier to work with … I don’t really have a specific color in mind, it varies so much. And a fabric looks very different once it’s off the bolt.” Knowledgeable words from a very talented artist and designer. As we strolled the stores and aisles of fabric and prints – plaid, gingham, silk charmeuse, silk satin, stone-washed silk, seersucker, crepe de chine, twill, taffeta, cotton – I was aware that Kira’s gift was to see the possibility of a dress. To look beyond the colors and textures and see herself in something she would make. To be so close to fabrics was intoxicating. Continue reading

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The Murray Brothers: Bringing Back The Cool to Golf

Bill Murray in February in a William Murray Golf shirt from the fall 2016 line (Credit Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The last time I saw Bill Murray on a golf course was in the 1980 movie, Caddyshack  -(Murray played the deranged grounds keeper Carl Spackler!). I never knew that Bill Murray was one of six brothers. I never knew that growing up, he and his brothers (Ed, Brian, John, Joel, and Andy) worked as golf caddies at the same club, the Indian Hill Country Club in Winnetka, Illinois. And I never knew that this lifelong love of golf would inspire the Murray brothers to introduce a golf-apparel line, William Murray Golf, last fall.

Youngest brother Joel Murray, and the chief executive for Murray Brothers Golf, said the clothes are intended to inject liveliness into the sport. Says Murray, “You look at the golf world right now, it’s just not that cool. I’ve got boys that are 26, 25, and they’re not into golf like we were growing up. They think it takes too long.”  The line recently released its spring collection with polos in tropical flower patterns and baggy shorts of aqua camo reminiscent of the loud patterns of 1970s. The brothers plan to introduce two collections a year and eventually expand into light jackets, blazers and pants.

This family of brothers who love golf know how to bring a little irreverence to the game – pairing whimsy with practicality. Who knew??

 

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Betsey Johnson Feels Very Lucky

Designer Betsey Johnson with CBS correspondent Serena Altschul. Courtesy CBS News

Betsey Johnson in her new home, California; Courtesy CBS News

And to me, it’s just a lot of good luck, and the talent and the work. But the luck for me has been the most important.” ~ Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson feels very lucky. CBS Correspondent Serena Altschul interviewed the 74 year old fashion designer about her life and her loves. Although she has hinted that she may be done with her runway shows, she is certainly not ‘done’ with other things! In fact, there is too much left for Betsey Johnson to create. For more than 50 years, since the 1960s, Betsey Johnson has given girls and women the chance to feel unique and fun. Growing up, Johnson never studied fashion or design but she always felt that she knew how to “do it,” as she says. Just doing it seems to come naturally to Betsey Johnson; she raised her daughter Lulu on her own, she survived breast cancer and bankruptcy. And though she says that it takes hard work, talent, and luck to be a success, I would say that Betsey Johnson’s story is as much about inspiration and resilience as anything else. Just ask the hoards of young girls and women who would follow her anywhere – put me in that category!

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Victoria Beckham Celebrates Daughter Harper in Target Campaign

Courtesy: Victoria Beckham for Target

The inspiration behind this campaign is – a world of possibilities – make believe – imagination – and the unexpected.” `~ Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham for Target collection launches on April 9 but the full lookbook is here – and it’s a celebration of the life and relationship Beckham shares with her daughter, Harper. It’s personal to Beckham and everything is lovingly designed. Much like Beckham’s VVB line (which Beckham started in 2011 when she was pregnant with Harper) and describes as the “younger sister to my ready-to-wear collection,” the campaign is whimsical and full of unique touches that feature 200 pieces and carry across women’s, girls’, toddler, and baby categories. The pieces range in price from $6 to $70, but the best part is that most items cost under $40. Says Beckham: “I see this collection being worn by everyone, everywhere. It’s fun. It’s functional. And it’s really cool as well.” I plan to be one of that ‘everyone!’ and pick out a treat for myself – I am thinking of a dress!

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