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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“The Passion for Fashion Comes from the Missoni Women”

Outside the 92nd St Y, Fashion Icon Conversation with host, Fern Mallis

Outside the 92nd St Y, Fashion Icon Conversation Conversation with the Missoni’s – wearing my Missoni for Target tee: Photo credit, Linda Colarusso

The passion for fashion comes from the Missoni women.” ~ Angela Missoni

It was the second time I had spent an evening at the 92nd Street Y in NY, in the audience of Fern Mallis’s Fashion Icon Series (the first conversation was an interview with Barney’s Creative Ambassador at Large, Simon Doonan).  Last night, I witnessed a warm and wonderful conversation with the two powerhouse women behind the Italian brand, Missoni: matriarch Rosita, and her daughter, Angela. A fashion icon herself, Fern Mallis, knew what to ask of these remarkable women, in order to tell the true story of Missoni. Here is what I now know:

Rosita Missoni is now 84, born under the sign Scorpio. Rosita met Ottavio Missoni when she was just 16 years old (he was 27) in London; he was an Olympic athlete – track and field. Then, and now, Rosita Missoni follows the signs and is somewhat superstitious. When she saw Ottavia’s number (3-3-1) on his track uniform she knew it was a good sign – 7 was her lucky number. She fell in love with him at Picadilly Circus in London, under the Statue of Eros (cupid) and to this day she wears a cupid necklace around her neck. Rosita grew up reading fashion magazines and says she learned a lot about patterns and style from those magazines.

Angela Missoni is 57, the youngest child of Rosita and Ottavio, and the only girl. She was there for the very first Missoni fashion show in 1965 and has been to every fashion show since. She describes herself as late bloomer and a silent observer, and says that it took her a while to find her path. She always knew she wanted to be a mother at a young age, and had her three children: Margherita, Francesco, and Teresa, before she seriously contemplated joining the family business. Continue reading

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Creative Ambassador at Large …

Simon Doonan  - Photo Credit: Getty Images

Simon Doonan – Photo Credit: Getty Images

… of the New York store, Barney’s. That is Simon Doonan. Cheeky, charming Simon Doonan. Last night I was lucky to be in the audience in NYC at the 92nd Street Y for his interview with Fern Mallis, as part of her ongoing series, Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis. Simon has written a book called The Asylum, which he describes as a love valentine to the fashion industry and its crazy but ever-so-fiercely loyal community. Continue reading

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Meeting Carolina Herrera

Me with Carolina Herrera, wearing a Carolina Herrera sweater vest

Here is a fashion story. For years my dear friend Hoi was my hair stylist. He cut my hair when I lived in New York and he would come to my apartment, making it all so easy. And he cut my hair well after I moved to New Jersey and it became more difficult as I would make the drive into New York. One of the bright spots on those Tuesday hair days, in addition to seeing Hoi and feeling the love from him, was sitting next to fashion designer, Carolina Herrera. Apparently we had the same haircut schedule and she would come in and sit quietly next to me. She was everything you would imagine she would be: dressed elegantly, perfectly appointed and effortlessly fashionable. I would fantasize that I would casually lean over and say to her, “Hello, Ms. Herrera. I love your sculptured and elegant designs. You are a favorite designer of mine.” But, alas, I chickened out and remained silent, quietly willing her to notice me and start a conversation. That never happened.

Until today. Imagine my delight when I read in Sunday’s New York Times, that Carolina Herrera was planning to be in New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue on Thursday, October 18th from 12:30-1:30. This was my chance to meet her. I put on my one and only Carolina Herrera piece of clothing – a back sweater vest with an ornate design – and left for the city bright and early. At 12:15 I was waiting in line on the 3rd floor of Saks to meet Ms. Herrera. I found out she was there to support the Key To The Cure campaign to fight women’s cancers. She was selling a limited-edition t-shirt that she designed for the cause and was offering to sign it for the people who showed up to see her. Of course, I bought the tee and waited patiently. And then my turn came …

I told her, “Ms. Herrera, I love your sculptured and elegant designs.” I didn’t have time to say more, but I did point to my vest. She looked at me and smiled and said, “That looks very good on you!” in her beautiful Venezuelan accent. I melted. It was all worth it: the anticipation followed by the pure joy. And now I have a perfect t-shirt to celebrate this story.

But there is more

Standing in line to meet Ms. Herrera, I looked over to see Fern Mallis giving her a hug. When I asked the gentlemen at Saks if that was Fern Mallis, he said yes, that she does a radio program for Saks.This was too good to be true! After I left Ms. Herrera, I walked over, introduced myself and told Ms. Mallis that I just saw her promoting her Fern Finds on HSN, and asked if I could take a photo with her. She smiled and said, “Of course.”

And oh, yes … one more thing. While there, I think I saw Miss J, of America’s Next Top Model fame!

God was smiling on me today!

Me with Fern Mallis

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New York Fashion Week, Part 1: The Beginning …

New York Fashion Week
Spring 2013
Arriving September 6 – 13, 2012

I love a good fashion story. And the creation of New York’s Fashion Week is a good story.  A story about how, in 1993 The CFDA, Council of Fashion Designers of America brought American fashion and American designers under the tents and into the mainstream of global fashion design. I watched PBS tell the story in a documentary called, The Tents: New York Fashion Week and I learned a lot about how it all started, from the early pioneers. Voices like Fern Mallis, former Executive Director of the CFDA and widely credited with the creation of NY Fashion Week, and designers and fashion editors telling the behind-the-scenes story. It started as 7th on Sixth at Bryant Park, but today Fashion Week and its tents live at New York’s Lincoln Center. It is big and bold and the place to be. Kicking off tonight with a fashion party called Fashion Night Out (FNO), the week runs through September 13th. But years ago it was just an brilliant idea. Here is a small collection of quotes from the documentary …

You felt like it was business; this was big business … The minute you took on that runway it felt like yours. Donna Karan, Designer

American designers push their creativity to be original … I cannot describe how privileged you feel when you see a designer’s designs on the runway. Glenda Bailey, Editor-in-Chief, Harper’s Bazaar

What we are selling is a dream not a garment. Stefano Tonchi, Editor-in-Chief, W Magazine

I believe in the power of theatre. Zac Posen, Designer

People want to be part of the world, part of the experience. Robert Verdi, TV personality and style expert

The great thing about New York is that it’s a fluid city. Hal Rubenstein, Fashion Director of InStyle Magazine

Stay tuned for more New York Fashion Week stories …

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