All You Need Is …

When I saw this Lisa Perry sweater it said everything that I want to say this holiday season – and frankly, every day. The fact that the sweater is bright red is just the icing on the cake! LOVE is the answer for us; a chance to feel love, to give love, and to wish for love throughout the world. How meaningful to spread this uplifting message in something I am wearing. And even more special that it is a Lisa Perry sweater. This year marks Ms. Perry’s 10th in business, and the last two years are exclusive to Barney’s New York. Ms. Perry, a New-York based designer and a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, has a passion for art and design, and a penchant for 60s-era fashion. Friends kept asking her where they could get a similar look, and the hobby morphed into her label in 2007: “It all started when I fell in love with vintage clothing. I actually fell in love with this vintage clothing from a very specific period in the late 60s. It felt so futuristic, so out of this world. For ten years, I really only wore vintage. During that time people would comment on what I had on and they’d say, ‘what designer is that?’  … that sparked the idea – you know what – I think I could do something here, I think I could turn this into a small collection of my own.”

“With a nod back to my love of Sixties vintage, it is about timeless, classic shapes and fabrics that really, I feel, live on … I want to bring this look that I love, that was so modern at the time, to today’s women. I think that [designers such as Cardin and Courrèges] were visionaries. I want to celebrate that in what I do.

Yes, all you need is LOVE. LOVE is all you need. Well, and a burst of Lisa Perry whimsy!

Sweater: Lisa Perry

Photos by Serena Chmelar; shot on location at Reeves-Reed Arboretum

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Leopard is the New Neutral

There have been moments when my fashion dreams came to life! I have seen my favorite fashion muse Leandra Medine speak before but to see her speaking in such an intimate setting, blew me away! Kate Spade store, West Village, NYC, was one of these moments: the sight of Leopard Leopard Leopard – a KateSpadexManRepeller pop-up store event. Medine, founder of mighty media company, ManRepeller, joined the visionary behind Kate Spade, Chief Creative Officer Deborah Lloyd, in a conversation about their personal stories, their feelings about success … and of course, how they feel about wearing the fashion staple, leopard, which in Medine’s words is “the new neutral!” It was inspiring! Continue reading

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This is How My Mind Works

Credit: Patricia Saxton

Last Sunday I was at a college tour with my son Cameron and as I looked around at the other parents and their kids – I stopped in my tracks: I saw a really stylish mom wearing a dress with fitted, ankle-length boots to die for! They were black with a kind of mesh material and I was mesmerized. I saw this mother and son pair several times throughout the day and each time I noticed something else about these boots. I smiled to myself, too, because we were in the heart of Manhattan and only in New York would you see a mother dressed this way for a college tour!

Of course, I did pay attention at the tour. I paid attention when we checked in and listened to the student panel; I paid attention when we toured the dorm; I paid attention (especially) during the admission and financial aid discussion; and I paid attention when we walked the streets and talked to the many student tour guides who shared their admiration of the school. But, those boots! They stayed on my mind throughout the day.

I find inspiration in everything around me. I see something in a window, in a magazine, or in this case, in the heart of Washington Square Park, during a college tour. Fashion is more than the clothes. It is about self expression and finding a way to be in the world – to be the me I want to be. Everything spurs my imagination. This is how my mind works!

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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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The Charmer who is Leandra Medine

Courtesy: Fashionista - Leandra Medine

Leandra Medine (left) interviewed by Fashionista’s Chantal Fernandez Monday night. Photo: Meghan Uno/Fashionista

ManRepeller is like an onion. You have to peel the layers to see it unfold. It’s not supposed to feel prescriptive.” ~ Leandra Medine

I had just returned from a quick bathroom break and realized with a little horror that the interview had already started. My heart sank for a moment when I heard a voice introduce her, my favorite fashion blogger, Leandra Medine. As I walked up the aisle to my seat, Leandra made eye contact with me and we smiled. She had me from that moment, the pure charmer who is Leandra Medine. Originator of the blog and phenomenon, ManRepeller. Leandra shared her story and offered words of wisdom with Chantal Fernandez at Fashionista’s NYC Fashion Meetup Series.

Leandra talked about how ManRepeller took off unexpectedly in 2010 and how she has been building it into something of substance and aligning herself with solid, talented people since. “I trust my gut.” Leandra talked about believing in the Mickey Drexler (Chairman and CEO of J. Crew) emotional IQ test, a ‘fire-pit-in-belly’ ring through which one connects with the right people.

I was there, in the audience with the college grads and 20-somethings, all looking for answers and fashion advice as they start their careers. I am of course at a different place in my life but I was inspired as anyone, perhaps even more. Because it was not about age, it was not about facts and figures – it was about instinct and honesty and humor and vulnerability and feeling – all things Leandra Medine. I walked away from the interview reminded that everything is possible and one’s career can start at any time. I believe in Leandra’s sentiments when she says, “Everyone gets what he/she wants. You just have to be clear about what it is you want.”

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A Conversation with Maya Albanese

Maya Albanese - Photo credit Maya Albanese

Maya Albanese – Photo credit Maya Albanese

I discovered Maya Albanese through her work, watching her film on the website, PopSugar, about a day in the life of celebrity fashion stylist, Anita Patrickson. I enjoyed it so much that I shared it on TFIO. It did not take me long to see that there was much to admire about Maya – her talents and her passion for justice guide her in a most positive way. Maya is a multimedia reporter, producer, and film director, who covers music, social justice, sustainability, Latin America, and innovation in food, fashion, and technology. But there is something bigger, something that enables her to delve deeper into the world: her warm and inclusive heart. Here is Maya …

MKG: Tell me a bit about how/where you grew up?

MAYA: I always say “I grew up in the world”…I was born in Vermont, but I have lived in 5 states (Vermont, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and California) and 5 countries up until today.

MKG: Your passions are far-reaching. What do you consider the important issues that guide you?

MAYA: I wake up every morning concerned about how the world can be a better place for people, and that involves maintaining a healthy planet and environment. The connection between people and nature, and how we can resolve dissonance occurring between the two right now – that is just one of the issues that drives me.

MKG: What inspires you?

MAYA: Art. Film. Music. I’m inspired by anyone who speaks through his/her creative self, whether that’s painting walls or singing from the heart, or producing media that is outside-of-the-box, making people think in new and different ways. Continue reading

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Body Shaming in a Dressing Room

Photo Courtesy of Refinery29

Photo Courtesy of Refinery29

“Sincerely, Mother of a Beautiful Girl” is how a Kansas mother signed a powerful letter to the sales associate who body shamed her teenage daughter in a dressing room earlier this month while she tried on a dress to wear for an upcoming formal. This associate at  Dillard’s Department Store told the customer shopping with her mom that she would need Spanx in order to wear this particular dress. When the mom told the associate that she wouldn’t need Spanx the associate argued with her. Mother and daughter then left the store and soon after the mother, Megan Naramore Harris, fired back with an open letter to the associate on her own Facebook page. In the letter, Megan said: “I wish I had told you how many girls suffer from poor self image and telling them they need something to make them perfect can be very damaging. Girls of all ages, shapes and sizes are perfect because that is how God made them. If they feel good in a dress, that is all that should matter.”

In less than a week, the story has garnered over 330,000 likes and been shared over 56,000 times (including Dillard’s Facebook page, who thanked Ms. Harris for bringing it to their attention). I am glad that this conversation is gaining momentum. Our words are more powerful than we know and body shaming is extremely harmful, especially to a vulnerable teen. Especially in a dressing room – where we already feel exposed. Hopefully, everyone can feel just a bit more empowered by this strong and supportive mother.

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Rosana IS The Girl From Ipanema

Girl From Ipanema

Girl From Ipanema

I have known Rosana Elias for 10 years but I had no idea how her story evolved or how her father envisioned and pushed for a life for her even before she did. Or how much Rosana left behind to start her life in the United States. Until we sat down to talk about her life that is both amazing and full of prophesy. Here is Rosana …

I was born in Brazil to a Brazilian mother and an Egyptian father. I grew up working in my mother’s business, her salon, making wax. I started at age 14 and my sister (who is one year older) and I worked hard to learn as much as we could about the business. In Brazil, waxing is an important art form and is taken very seriously. The wax is as close to pain-free as you can get and girls start waxing at an early age. I loved chemistry and majored in chemistry at the University – my dream was always to formulate my own beauty products. It is still my dream today …

When I was 21 my American friend encouraged me to join him in America to take classes and learn to speak English. Since I was planning to be a biochemist and develop my own brand I thought it could only help me to learn English. I said yes and decided to come to New York  – something I thought I would do for one year at the most. It was on the day of my departure at the airport that my dad changed my life … Continue reading

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My Obsession With Carine Roitfeld

Carine Roitfeld: AP Images

Carine Roitfeld: AP Images

My mother subscribed to Elle, and I read every issue! My parents had innate elegance. I acquired a proper taste for clothes naturally, by observing them. There was a time when I thought this it was clothes that determined one’s appearance, but now I know that it’s people themselves. It’s on each of us to set our own pace against the whirlwind of trends.” ~ Carine Roitfeld, Irreverent

On the coffee table in my living room sits a single book: not one with gorgeous images of art or landscapes. On my coffee table sits a book written by fashion icon, Carine Roitfeld, Irreverent. In it contains the thoughts, comments, and images taken from the life of a woman who has much to say and one with whom I am obsessed. I started noticing Carine Roitfeld in the Sunday NYTimes style section when they would capture images of her and “the look.” I wondered to myself, who was this chic woman who wore the most daring high heels and pencil skirts like no one else, who always had a bit of hair covered over one smokey eye? After months of wondering I did the research and found out that she was the editor of  Vogue Paris. Not a surprise to find out she was French (with Russian heritage) because Carine Roitfeld had what I always imagine a French woman to have – that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that belongs just to her.

In 2011 Carine Roitfeld resigned from Vogue Paris after a decade at its helm, and since that time she has continued to inspire me. She wrote her book and became the global fashion director for Harper’s Bazaar and editor in chief of her own, CR Fashion Book. In addition, she has collaborated with Uniglo to create a collection and is about to launch a second, so that we may all grab a piece of the Carine Roitfeld mystique for ourselves.

Every now and then I open the book on my coffee table to absorb a message for the day. On life, on style, on love, on passion – on anything that Carine Roitfeld has discovered in her life. She is now 61, but that doesn’t matter. Because she is still as vibrant and sexy as ever. I don’t know what it is about her – je ne sais quoi.

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