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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NYFW Pays Tribute to Bill Cunningham

Image Source: Getty / Slaven Vlasic

Image Source: Getty / Slaven Vlasic

This is New York Fashion Week and one of its staples is noticeably missing from the scene: New York Times fashion and street style photographer, Bill Cunningham. He was a Fashion Week presence for nearly 40 years, and he and his signature blue jacket are absent – Cunningham died in June at the age of 87. To kick off the event, Day One of Fashion Week held a charming tribute to Bill Cunningham, as working fashion photographers donned blue jackets and arranged their chairs in the shape of his camera. Now that’s a fashion moment!

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How A Dress Goes From Runway to Red Carpet

Celebrity Stylist, Anita : via PopSugar

Celebrity Stylist, Anita Patrickson : courtesy Popsugar/Maya Albanese for Chevrolet Malibu

From the point where a designer comes up with the idea for a dress to the place where you see it on the red carpet is a huge journey, with so many steps.” ~ Celebrity stylist, Anita Patrickson

Here is a fun behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of Los Angeles celebrity stylist, Anita Patricksonvia Popsugar. “You’re creating a story for a snapshot moment,” says Patrickson, who herself, has her own story. Born on a farm in South Africa, the world of fashion styling was far from the one she knew. But she she grew up a stylist in the making, dreaming up outfits and fashion scenarios as a child. Patrickson eventually came to the United States via London. Not knowing anyone, she applied for a stylist assistant position in LA via Craig’s List – and the rest is history.

The first step of the journey to select the perfect outfit, begins with New York Fashion Week. That is where a celebrity stylist can review the designer collections, and make selections for her clients, before any one else even sets eyes on them. Patrickson views each celebrity body type individually, which is why she inspires such trust from her clients; celebrities like Hillary Duff, Chrissy Teigan, and Julianne Hough.

Once the celebrity decides on a look, alterations are done immediately to get the outfit “red carpet ready.”  On that big day, the celebrity walks the red carpet, the cameras flash, the look is revealed, and that is it. Afterward, the outfit is never seen again on the red carpet.

I often wonder what it is really like to be a celebrity stylist. I see now that many elements go into creating that one glimpse on the red carpet. Oh, but what a glimpse it is!

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“Made in NY” Is Focus for New York Fashion Week

New York

New York

NY Fashion Week kicked off yesterday, with the city creating the Made in NY Fashion Initiative, a $5 million investment designed to tout, support and nurture the New York fashion industry. According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, there will be a full-on “Made in NY” campaign, with ads to run on 75 buses, 600 taxi tops, five billboards, and in ferry and airport terminals and fashion publications. The ads feature the work of local NYC designers such as Prabal Gurung, Public School, Chromat, A-Morir, Rosie Assoulin, Tim Coppens, Ohne Titel, Eugenia Kim and Alexis Bittar. The campaign, which is starting now, will run through Oct. 15.

Good news for the local industry.

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New York’s Finest At New York Fashion Week

IMG_0713IMG_0690-3The sun was shining today, as I stopped by Lincoln Center to check out New York Fashion Week. People were everywhere, but my favorite friendly faces were two of New York’s Finest, who joined me for a photo. The sights and sounds were an inspiration to the fashionista in all of us. But the best part of Fashion Week doesn’t live at Lincoln Center in New York; it lives inside me – the notion of dressing to my best ability, taking fashion to new levels and taking some fashion risks, but never, ever taking for granted that I have the chance to express myself every minute of every day. Happy Fashion Week!

Photo credit: Linda Colarusso

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New York Fashion Week Will “Salute the Runway”

Photo courtesy of Salute the Runway

Photo courtesy of Salute the Runway

About the power of clothes: New York Fashion Week is getting patriotic. On September 3rd, to kick off New York Fashion Week, fifteen military service women, both veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, will participate in a fashion show, during an event titled Salute the Runway. They will be wearing variations of the little black dress, ranging in sizes from 2-12, and designed by DKNY, Calvin Klein, Carmen Marc Valvo, Norisol Ferrari, and Mara Hoffman.

Similar fashion shows, sponsored by Little Black Dress Wines and Fatigues to Fabulous, have been taking place at military bases throughout the U.S., aiming to raise awareness of the difficulties military servicewomen face as they transition back to civilian life. Retired Army captain, Leslie Nicole Smith, who will also be walking in the show, says:  “We are able to raise awareness of the issues surrounding women veteran reintegration, acknowledge their heroic service, and highlight the versatility of the little black dress and how this wardrobe staple can help women veterans’ transition from military service.”

Ah, the power of clothes!

 

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NY Fashion Week and me

NY Fashion Week - Outside View

NY Fashion Week – My Outside View

NY Fashion Week - Outside View

NY Fashion Week – My Outside View

NY Fashion Week is upon us – now, through September 12th. It has become a scene within a scene, with instant messaging, instant photos, more people, more designers, more bloggers and more chaos. Or so I have heard, because I have never actually been inside the shows. Instead, I have a ritual of taking my photo outside Lincoln Center as my homage to fashion week. But outside is where you will find me; outside is as close as I get. Because I’m not a fashion insider. I do, however, love fashion and the expression fashion allows me. And because I do, NY Fashion Week has special meaning to me.

NY Fashion Week means taking a moment to stop and review what I own. Am I experimenting with my fashion choices? Do I absolutely love the clothes I wear? Are my clothes colorful and playful and stylish while at the same time comfortable and easy to wear? Because the answers to these questions should be a resounding yes! And NY Fashion Week reminds me to honor my relationship with fashion and in doing so, honor myself. We all deserve to do that. Continue reading

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More of Ashley at Anna Sui

Ashley wears a quintessential Anna Sui dress and holds various fabrics from The Anna Sui Collection

Ashley wears a quintessential Anna Sui dress and holds various fabrics from The Anna Sui Collection. Ashley says, “Anna likes her leopard!”

The lace detail

The intricate lace detail

August means the end of Ashley’s internship at Anna Sui – and preparing for her senior year of high school. Working in the pattern-making department as the head intern to manage the weekly ‘fit’ process was very special for Ashley and something she will cherish. When we met today, Ashley was wearing a black, lace Anna Sui dress, that “I wanted to represent Anna’s singular aesthetic so that I will always think of her when I wear it.” Continue reading

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What’s the skinny?

Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo

New York Fashion Week    Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo

A story on the radio today caught my ear: Did you know that Israel is now the only country to insist that its models follow strict weight guidelines? A law has been passed in Israel banning models who are too-skinny; anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18.5 will not be permitted on the runway or in photo shoots and advertising campaigns. Wow! We hear about models starving themselves to manage the runway and of course, we see the images. And on the heels of New York Fashion Week, I find this exciting news and a move in a positive direction. Israel is using this indicator to combat eating disorders and promote a more healthy weight and lifestyle. In a quote from The Jerusalem Post, “every year, some 1,500 teenagers develop an eating disorder, and 5% of those suffering from anorexia die each year.”

This is a problem that affects all of us; not simply models on runways and in advertising campaigns, but young women and men everywhere trying to fit in to look a certain way as they sacrifice their health. And all the while society-at-large allowing it to happen. I have seen too many friends struggle with eating disorders. Hopefully this legislative stance taken by Israel will propel more countries to do the same and get us to re-think what we value most.

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An outsider’s view of New York Fashion Week

 

I found myself on the promenade of Lincoln Center this week, taking in the sights and sounds of New York Fashion Week. I remained outside on the promenade, but it was inspiring nevertheless to feel the splendor and imagine the thrill inside the tents. (I am not sure – are there still actual tents at Lincoln Center?).

What seems like something that is out of reach for most of us is actually attainable, if only in our attitude. Although many of us don’t attend Fashion Week and we may not even know the designers’ names, we can pretend that we do. We can live and breathe Fashion Week by reflecting on our own wardrobe and styling ourselves in the most positive light. Start with a statement piece or a fabulous-colored accessory. Do you have a special coat, for instance, that is simple, elegant and fitted, or perhaps a handbag that elevates your look? Now is the time to wear it and be your most fashionable self.

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Read more – (See Styling with Mel article)

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