Vogue and Google Come Out of the Closet for September Issue

Kendall Jenner in Vogue and Google’s ‘Supermodel Closets’ | Source: Caleb Adams for Vogue

I have enjoyed watching Vogue’s 73 Questions videos – for an intimate, if not brief look inside the lives of celebrities (I especially loved the inaugural, with Sarah Jessica Parker). Now, building on its popularity, Vogue and Google have partnered to celebrate Vogue’s 125th anniversary September issue: launching a 360-degree virtual reality five-part series, “Supermodel Closets” and offering viewers exactly what its title promises – an inside view of the closets of industry stars – beginning with Kendall Jenner. To that end, the viewer of Supermodel Closets is “alone” in the closet, as Jenner tells the stories behind her clothes, handbags and accessories, her most beloved and prized possessions.

Vogue’s long-standing objective is to show what’s new in fashion. The decision to partner with Google and its complex, wide-reaching fashion strategy, represents the next step for Vogue in delivering ever- alluring content. Says Julina Tatlock, co-founder of digital entertainment company 30 Ninjas, which produced the series, “There is an opportunity when you are making 360 and virtual reality to let the story shape itself a little more … The fact that Vogue allowed us to shoot the models for almost two hours, and then we cut it to four minutes, means that Kendall could completely relax.”

While Supermodel Closets can be viewed on a computer or phone via YouTube, the virtual reality elements must be experienced using special equipment. I am not set up for that, yet, but perhaps I can figure it out … eventually.

 

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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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Fascinated With Beth’s Fascinator!

Photo shot on location at MONDO Summit

Photo shot on location at MONDO Summit

Photo shot on location at MONDO Summit

Milliner Beth Alden has a signature: rain hats handmade from 100% recycled rain coats and gear. But when her friend Patty asked if she could design a custom fascinator for an upcoming Irish wedding, Beth was game to try. Because this artist and designer, who grew up playing dress up, has always been inspired by hats. In fact, Beth shared with me that she started her love affair with hats when she and her mother would choose the hat department in any store – first – and begin the dress up in earnest.

In the United Kingdom it is considered poor manners not to wear a fascinator to a wedding. Patty’s dress was peach; with this information, Beth designed two hats for her by making use of her antique fabric remnants – and this feathered fascinator was the winner. “I love to make one-of-a-kind hats,” says Beth. “I never pre-plan a custom hat design; I work with whatever comes to me. And I am committed to using existing materials and try to design as zero-waste as I can.” I would say this fascinator is jolly-perfect!

Beth Alden graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. Today, she and her creative business partner and photographer, Joe, live in Saugerties, New York, where her business and studio is located, and where the dressing up continues.

Patty, wearing her fascinator at the wedding in Ireland – courtesy of Patty

 

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What You Wear Brings You Into Character

Anna, in her stunning dress

When Anna first appeared on stage in that exquisite black lace fitted gown, I was mesmerized. She looked stunning but it was so much more – Anna commanded the theater. Every character she portrayed was so real, so believable.  By the end of Anna’s concert performance, I knew, I knew, that I needed to ask her about the dress. What the dress meant to Anna and the role that it played in her music and her singing. We sat down and I had my chance to hear from Anna …

About Dresses in General …

I have always loved wearing dresses. I was a tomboy, but I still loved wearing dresses – dresses with a baseball hat! Jeans actually gave me a skin rash. Today, I find dresses to be very freeing. They allow me to stand tall and watch my posture. I will never forget the first dress I wore to perform; I was a senior in high school. It was a red satin gown, v-neck, with a rectangular jewel at the neck. I loved it so much that I kept it (it still lives in my closet at home, even though I can no longer wear it!).

About The Dress …

I wanted something I could wear for this concert. There are certain protocols regarding dressing when performing as a soloist with an orchestra or choir: your dress needs to be floor length and cover your shoulders. I wanted something that I would wear often. I was in the city and decided to check out Macy’s. The dress was the last one I tried on and the best price from the sale rack! The minute I tried it on, it was perfect: the fit, the length (no hemming needed!), the style, and I couldn’t beat the price – everything was just right. I was able to check everything on my list! The black lace overlay on a neutral bodice was elegant but simple and I really loved the interesting back detail (which is important for the performances when I am conducting and my back is to the audience). The dress was so perfect that I didn’t need heels, and the only accessory I wore were large earrings. Continue reading

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Insult In the Dressing Room

Jeans and a tee – my favorite way to dress

A t-shirt and jeans is pretty much my favorite way to dress. And I am always on the lookout for fresh new t-shirts to add to my repertoire. So today when I found myself in the dressing room with three tees I was hopeful that I would find a new favorite. There was a simple black v-neck (a classic and always a go-to for me), an off-pink (because I love a little pink!) and a greenish-grey with a red strawberry front and center. After trying them all, the one with the most potential was the strawberry tee … but I wasn’t sure if the background color was good for me. I don’t often ask for an outside opinion but I was on the fence and I peeked out of my dressing room to find a mother and daughter team trying on dresses – so I gave it a try and asked their opinions – about the color. I asked if they knew what the color was – blue, green, grey? And then I asked them if the color washed me out. I could tell that the mother wasn’t sure what I was talking about and the daughter looked at me for a moment before telling me that the color was more of a blue-grey. Then she said, ‘it’s a bit Junior, with the strawberry on the front.’ Hmmm. That was unexpected. A bit Junior? Meaning more specifically …. it’s a bit Junior for you! I thanked them (for what – the insult?) and snuck back into my dressing room, took off the tee, replaced it with my white v-neck tee, and promptly left. Continue reading

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My Boots with Magical Powers

My 30 year-old authentic cowboy boots - Photo by Sophie MacMillan

My 30 year-old authentic cowboy boots – Photo by Sophie MacMillan

When Amy called me out of the blue today it took me a awhile to make the connection between our friendship and an old pair of cowboy boots. Almost 30 years ago, my dear friend and college roommate Amy was to marry in her hometown of Waco, Texas, and she asked me to be a bridesmaid. I had never spent time in Texas, and I was so excited to be a part of Amy’s wedding and everything western!  We ate barbecue, we danced the two-step, and we went shopping at an authentic western store where I purchased a pair of Nocona cowboy boots.

These very boots have lived with me for almost-thirty years, watching as life came my way and waiting patiently in the back of my closet – for the day when I would wear them and take them dancing again. A few years ago I had them refurbished and gave them back their shine. They are tighter on my feet now but I can still wear them, and do. But not often enough. Even today I planned to wear my tall black boots but suddenly the cowboy boots caught my eye before I left for work, and I decided to pull them on (which wasn’t easy!). What a day it was – the boots felt happy on my feet after a long hiatus. And on my walk home I suddenly thought of my friend Amy.

Once home the phone rang; I didn’t pick it up because I didn’t recognize the number. When it rang a second time I picked it up. Amy was on the line telling me that she thought of me today and something made her call. I think it was the boots. The boots brought us together again. My boots with magical powers!

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The Juicy Backstory of Lilly Pulitzer’s Designs

Lilly Pulitzer, 1961 - Palm Beach, Florida: Getty Images

Lilly Pulitzer, 1961 – Palm Beach, Florida: Getty Images

The story behind the fashion is the most interesting. And it seems there is always a story. This one is juicy – literally! I recently read that Lilly Pulitzer’s original designs were a means of covering up juice stains! Lilly Pulitzer was a New York socialite who eloped with Peter Pulitzer and moved to Palm Beach, Florida, full-time (which was unheard of in her social circles at the time). The story goes that Pulitzer opened a juice stand in Palm Beach – from the fruits of her husband’s citrus groves. But when stains from the fruit found their way on to her clothes she designed a cotton sleeveless shift dress splashed with bright colors – pinks, yellows, greens, and oranges – to disguise the messy stains! The original dresses in her collection were called “Lillys” and their simplicity and style grew so popular that they became the go-to uniform for resort-goers, socialites, and celebrities. One especially famous friend and former schoolmate, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, was often seen wearing Lilly Pulitzer’s colorful sheaths. Eventually, Lilly Pulitzer opened stores up and down the East Coast. And the rest … as they say … is history.

The original rollout of the Lilly Pulitzer Collection, circa 1960

The original rollout of the Lilly Pulitzer Collection, circa 1960: Courtesy Lilly Pulitzer

 

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My Son’s First Suit

Optimized-P1050774My 16 year-old is attending his first dance tonight and although I was banned from showing the suit with him in it, he never said anything about sharing what it means to me to shop for his first suit. At least I hope not. I guess a little of my love of fashion has rubbed off on him. When he told me that he needed a new outfit (why am I always tempted to call my boys’ clothes outfits?). I assumed that he meant a blazer and a pair of trousers. But he meant a suit. The two of us entered the Men’s Department at Nordstrom ready to look at suits. We joined the other men receiving personal attention from sales associates, and Mila showed us what was available in Cameron’s size. Fortunately, there were several styles on sale and I think it was the second suit that spoke to him. It was a modern-cut, slim-leg, Hugo Boss suit – grey with brown undertones. I saw the glimmer in his eyes and I knew this was the one. We proceeded to the dressing rooms where Cameron tried it on as I waited in the waiting area. When he came out I felt like crying but of course I didn’t want to embarrass him (so much I do embarrasses him these days!). He looked so grownup and I saw his adult life flash before my eyes. He looked at me for approval and I said it was perfect, it was his suit. The tailor came out and made minor adjustments (again, I felt like crying). We left Nordstrom happy and satisfied, son and mother. We were still the same people but we were different somehow, as if we had crossed an invisible line into the future.

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Kim Naci’s LUSTY Adventure!

Kim Naci

Kim Naci

Meeting fashion therapist and stylist Kim Naci changed my life. She gave me (someone who has always loved what clothes can do for my sense of self) more confidence and understanding that I am worth the time and the effort to dress my best. Until I met Kim and had her clear out my closet and my mental cobwebs, I wasn’t treating myself the best that I could. It was her skill yes, but it was much more than that; it was Kim’s huge heart, warmth, and wit. I just wanted to hug her all the time! So last fall, when Kim told me that she was working on a secret television assignment, I knew it would be special. And it was. Kim has been working as the lead stylist on the TLC series with fashion expert, Stacy London: Love, Lust, or Run! (The show airs Friday nights at 9/8C). Yes, tune in tonight to see this heartwarming fashion ‘make-under’ experience. But in the meantime, here is Kim to tell us about the show from a bird’s-eye view …

MKG: How long have you known Stacy London?

KIM: Stacy and I met over 4 years ago during the launch of her {now defunct} agency Style For Hire. I was tapped by Stacy to execute a training workshop for the incoming stylists.

MKG: The moment you were told you would be the lead stylist of Stacy London’s new show, Love, Lust, or Run – what went through your mind?

KIM: Great question! Until then, my experience had been styling private clients and magazines, both digital and print. This was going to be my first foray into television which had been long-time goal. And what better way than to join my friend and colleague, Stacy London? Continue reading

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