Posts Tagged ‘clothing’

It’s All In The Details: Tassels

June 10, 2016

This season, we are seeing a return to the humble trim. Tassels are adorning everything from clothing, accessories and even swim suits. The vibe ranges from ethnic to homemade, as rows of tassels  give garments a decorative edge.

A simple white dress is finished with a row of tied tassels.

anine bing

Anine Bing

Denim gets the tassel treatment:

femme actuelle

Femme Actuelle

A fluid white voile blouse with a tasseled hemline:

Apiece Apart

Apiece Apart

Colored tassels take a flat summer sandal to the next level:

Loeffler Randall

Loeffler Randall

Mixed and placed prints get a finishing touch with a row of pink tassels:

Calypso St. Barth

Calypso St. Barth

Beads and tassels create a dramatic back view:



Tasseled bracelets complete this boho stack:



While there are lots of ready to wear options in the shops right now, it’s an easy DIY update to last season’s items. Pick up a yard or two of tasseled trim at your local sewing, craft or even home decor shop, and sew it on the hem of a simple, dress, top or  a pair of shorts to get the look.

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The Right to Be Exclusionary

June 5, 2013

UnknownMuch has been written in the last few weeks about Abercrombie + Fitch, and their outspoken and elitist CEO Mike Jeffries. The backlash stems from a story posted on several years ago, which somehow resurfaced.

In a nutshell. Mr. Jeffries feels his brand targets “cool kids” and states that he has no interest in selling to larger sizes, and unattractive people.

In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Whoa. That’s harsh. Or is it?
It cannot be debated that Mr. Jeffries comments are offensive, or that the average population cannot fit into Abercrombie’s clothing. What is debatable is whether or not a brand has the right to be elitist.

As designers, we have a vision for our product. For some, it’s a definable style, for others, a muse we dream of dressing. Losing sight of that esthetic can be dangerous, and trying to be all things to all people rarely works.  So while I have read and appreciate all of the comments from over weight women who do not wish to be excluded from shopping at Abercrombie + Fitch, I question if they really have a right to expect a brand built on the premise of dressing the slim, fit “cool kids” to alter it’s concept to dress them?  Do they even want to support a company whose doesn’t value them as a customer? Many designer brands do not cater to a larger size clientele, but because they are at an elusive price point, nobody talks about it. Are high prices any less exclusionary than limited sizes? Mr. Jeffries may have just made the unfortunate faux pas of verbalizing his exclusionary point of view publicly.

I am not defending those comments, nor am I suggesting that being elitist and exclusionary is a positive marketing concept. In fact, I think the essays written in rebuttal such as this one, from Amy Taylor are eloquent and bring about great points. I do not doubt that a size 14 can be sexy. I am however, defending the company’s right to cater to whomever they wish to cater to. There are plenty of niches out there…perhaps the stereotypical “mean girl”in the school cafeteria is one of them.

As one recent article states, the average waist size of a 19 year old American woman is 33.5”. Therefore, there is an expectation that Abercrombie’s median size should accommodate them. For every article I read about larger sizes not being acknowledged, I read another one bashing brands for putting a too skinny model in their advertisements. The premise is that too skinny is unhealthy, and unnatural. There is a movement pushing towards using “real women” with more realistic proportions in advertising. The questions that beg to be asked: Is being over weight healthier than under weight, because more people fall into that category? Isn’t there an aspirational aspect to advertising, and would an average, less beautiful model inspire you to buy their clothes? If Abercrombie was a store without  a certain cache, would you care what size they went up to? As someone on the smaller side of the spectrum, should I be offended that some brands don’t carry clothes to fit me?

Catering to a niche is a merchant’s prerogative. Diversity in the marketplace is what creates excitement.  While I might go out on a limb and say that Mike Jeffries appears to be a jerk, I also need to defend his decision to create a brand that is targeted and focused and stays true to that image, bad press be damned.

What do you think? Does Abercrombie have the right to target a rarified demographic? Should their CEO be less overt about it? Is this about Abercrombie, or their CEO saying out loud what many people in the business say behind closed doors? Am I about to get attacked for being a size 2? Weigh in and leave us a comment.

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April 3, 2013

Words are making a big statement in the fashion world, with everything from tee shirts to outerwear emblazed with typographic treatments.

London designer Ashish sequined his doomsday slogan tops, and paired them with chic athletic inspired pants.


Devastee’s tee shirt and cardigan sport quirky crossword puzzle graphics in bold black and white.


Moschino Cheap and Chic used oversized script to create graphic prints on colorful backgrounds.


This top states the facts, at Paris fashion week.


Coming Full Circle

March 11, 2013

Femininity abounds next fall, with soft swingy skirts taking center stage. Full, voluminous circle skirts made their appearance from some of the most sophisticated and influential designers. Retro insprired, yet modern, this silhouette is a must for next year.

Rochas showed full cut skirts hitting just below the knee in rich burgundy wool.



Prada went full circle in red leather.



Nina Ricci’s knee skimming skating skirt is paired with a fur trimmed top.

Nina Ricci

Nina Ricci

Elie Saab’s fitted bodice and full skirted dress in rich turquoise is tailored, yet feminine.

Elie Saab

Elie Saab

Ports tweed ensemble pairs a circle skirt with a fitted coat.



Chanel kept it short and flirty for their hot pink suit.



Lanvin’s dress has retro flair. Giant insects optional.



Put Your Best Foot Forward

February 11, 2013

It’s fashion week here in New York,and that means it’s time to break out your most impractical, outrageous and uncomfortable shoes. Yes, the sky is the limit for heel height, and the more extreme, the better. So what happens when a blizzard rolls through the city? The shows must go on, but the footwear might have to change. Here are a few shots showing  intrepid fashionistas adapting to what will go down in history as the time when Fashion met Nemo: the great blizzard of Fall 2013 fashion week:




And finally, a Twitter apology from editor Cindi Leive of Glamour magazine:Screen shot 2013-02-10 at 9.05.35 PM

Dreaming the Dream

February 1, 2013

Fabric bolts with various types of fabric

Yesterday was a day of contrasts.

Earlier in the day, I participated in a live chat on Huffpost Live with Christian Siriano, the fashion designer who was catapulted to fame after winning Project Runway. Siriano, age 25, has come a long way from those early days, launching an eponymous label and retail store, designing custom wedding dresses and collaborating with other brands such as Payless Shoes. His most recent venture is a lower priced line for HSN, which debuts next week. Known for his big personality and the taglines “fierce,” and “hot tranny mess,” Siriano came across as amicable, yet surprisingly serious.

His conversations leaned towards the business minded, and he appeared wise beyond his years. While Siriano wants to shed his reality show stereotype and be taken seriously as a designer, his career path has been defined by his television persona.

Ruminating on the story of Christian’s success, I wandered back to my office.

When I arrived, I got a panicked phone call; “Tommy is coming!”
The fashion equivalent of an air raid drill is the frantic call to arms when the namesake designer of a brand comes by for an unexpected visit.

I dashed upstairs to make sure that our presentation was up to snuff.

Mr. Hilfiger arrived shortly thereafter, with a group of young aspiring designers in tow, to talk to them about his company and how he got started.

I was lucky enough to be able to sit in, and hear him share his story with the group.

The career trajectory of today, as seen with Christian Siriano is unique: Go on a reality show, have the public fall in love with you and hopefully your designs, and parlay that into a business.

Mr. Hilfiger, more than twice Mr. Siriano’s age, started in a more humble way: with a small amount of money and a big dream.

As a young man, he invested $150 in the inventory of a New York City street vendor selling jeans. He took them back to his hometown of Elmira, New York, and opened a store he called “People’s Place.” He blasted loud music, lit incense and sold out his entire stock. Later, he decided to make the product more personal, and worked with a local seamstress to distort the classic jean and create an item that was unique to his store. As time evolved, he added other denim items to the mix, keeping his niche and expanding it slowly until it became the international phenomenon that it is today. He speaks of stepping outside his comfort zone, as he explored brand marketing and the expansion of his business.

The audience (myself included) was mesmerized, as he offered advice to young designers just starting out.

Tommy generously shared his knowledge, and a few self-deprecating tales of the less stellar moments in his career. His success came from finding a niche, having a strong vision for the brand, and being consumer-centric. He took on partners to help him with the areas of his business he did not excel at, and surrounded himself with young, like-minded talent.

The contrasts and similarities in the two men were stunning.

Both men have a passion for their work. Both began at a young age, and pursued their dreams. One started on a shoestring and built an empire. The other became an instant household name through reality show notoriety. One has their stellar career behind them, and is using his time and resources in a philanthropic way. The other has their whole future ahead of him, and is exploring ways to grow and develop as a designer.

Both proved to be inspirational in their own right.

The lesson was clear:

Vision and drive are essential on the road to success. How you choose to travel is what makes each journey unique.

Who inspired you today? Share your story in the comment section below.

Setting the Record Straight

January 29, 2013

The internet is buzzing about whether or not Jennifer Lawrence’s dress actually ripped as she stepped on stage to receive her SAG award last night.

The Christian Dior gown, fresh off the runways of Paris couture week, seemingly came apart exposing a mesh panel. Did it tear, or was it intentional?

We sent our super sleuth out to get the scoop…(that’s ME!!!)

Here is the gown, shown just last week at the Spring 2013 couture show:


Jennifer Lawrence, posing before the event last night:


Jennifer Lawrence, climbing on stage to accept her award:


Another  take on the dress from Dior show, where the mesh panel is intentionally exposed.


VERDICT: Design detail, not wardrobe malfunction.Case closed.

Life Is A Circus

January 24, 2013

Designers showed wildly patterned clothing this season, creating the image of a fashionable circus. Bold prints were mixed and mismatched in bright colors.

Aquilano Rimondi featured black and white geometrics with bright shots of color for short dresses.

Aquilano_Rimondi RTW Spring Summer 2013 Milan Fashion Week September 2012

Harlequins at Balmain:

Balmain RTW Spring Summer 2013 Paris Fashion Week September 2012Peter Pilotto’s signature print mixes in black and white with circus brights:

Peter_Pilotto RTW Spring Summer 2013 London Fashion Week September 2012

Hermes mixes it up for the big top, in colorful geometric designs:

Hermes RTW Spring Summer 2013 Paris Fashion Week September 2012

Check It Out

January 17, 2013

Checks showed up everywhere for Spring, in all shapes and sizes. Black and white ruled the runway, and the checkerboard led the pack.

Louis Vuitton set the stage for the checkerboard’s comeback, showing chic 60’s inspired looks.

Louis Vuitton

Alexandre Herchkovitz got into the game, with sleek checkerboards in mixed scales.

Alexandre Herchkovitch

Vans have made the checked skateboard shoe iconic.


Even tights get the checked treatment.


The Japanese Art of Shibori

January 7, 2013

The Japanese art of Shibori is a method of dyeing, in which the cloth is bound, stitched, twisted or folded to create patterns.

Modern interpretations of this process were seen on the runways, often in rich indigo hues.

Diane Von Furstenburg’s mixed media version of modern Shibori.


Tory Burch showed a more ethnic take on the technique.


Surface to Air kept it pure, with indigo motifs on a clean, white ground.


Just Cavalli mixed traditional Shibori with contemporary patching.



Band of Outsiders featured dip dyed techniques as well as fabric manipulated dyeing to achieve rich pattern work.

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