Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fashion on Demand

One of the things I'm most excited about recently is the growing trend and offerings in, what I'm
calling (I'm sure someone else has said it too), the "Fashion on Demand" sector.

These are brands, some new and some established, that are using sources like Kickstarter, Ebay and their own sites, to create limited runs of their products, test the market and still bring a designer-level item to the marketplace.

This is, in my mind, a backlash to a few industry trends. Fast fashion is getting backlash and can never match the quality of the designer items they are ripping off, while at the same time they are poaching and cheapening the brands' creativity consumers really want. Mid- to Upper-range brands (BR, Jcrew and Gap, etc.) are either reducing their number of stores and/or cheaping the product quality while still upping their prices in an obvious bid for market share, all the while alienating the customers that made them popular by ignoring their desires. And even designer labels have extended their product lines too far (like Michael Kors) or cheapened their production.  Really no level is safe.

But we've been looking for our fashion savior in the wrong place. Until brands like Jcrew go back to their old quality and make fewer $700 sequin skirts and more interesting yet accessible items (seriously, show Anthropologie dresses be as much or more than what I see at Bergdorfs?), I'm looking for great items on Kickstarter.

Lately I've backed two items.  They are/were made in Europe (Ireland and Scotland). The details and manufacturing are thoughtful and high quality and, while not cheap, the are worth the money I feel I invested to bring their brands to the next level.

The first was a raincoat made in Ireland - Ember & Earth


This coat is amazing. It's warm and protective and every detail was thought out to bring the coat to the next level. While not 100% customizable, I was able to get the version, color and size I wanted while helping their team grow. I can see this coat being the new benchmark for Irish gear. I plan on bringing it with me on an upcoming trip to the UK because I know it will keep me warm and dry no matter what weather I encounter.

I'm even more excited about Strathberry of Scotland.  This somewhat established, up-and-coming brand came to Kickstarter for expansion and their offering is going gangbusters.


I was so excited by their video and reviews that I am getting two - the Midi and the Nano.


Midi Tote -



MC Nano - 



I think this will be huge for them, especially if their quality is as good as shown because while people like the labels or the "names" - the savvy, luxury consumer generally cares less for conspicuous branding. And while price may be less of a barrier, the demand for quality is not.

I've been surprised and disappointed lately with some of the high end brands.  It's almost like they are trying to see just how much they can get away with before some of their markets start shifting. I love the designs but if they are made more cheaply while doubling their price (something I've seen over the last 8 years), I'm going to look elsewhere.

And luckily, there are lots of places to look.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

One Special Night with Sophia Webster Evangeline

Last week was our 19th Meeting-versary.  We consider that day even more special than our wedding day because our meeting was so by chance and lucky and just filled with kismet and serendipity.

So special shoes were in order.


If you want to stand out in the best way possible, wear winged shoes.  People cannot get enough of them.

I paired these with a pastel-ish shift dress from Anthropologie:



And used a white and gold faux snakeskin clutch I've had for ages.



Here are a few better views...



As you can see, I was having the best time.   I have to say I'm lucky.  I'm still having fun after nearly 20 years together. I wish the same for anyone else who wants that.

: )




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Imitation = Flattery? SJP Angelica and Maddalena Pumps vs Manolo Blahnik "Something Blue" Hangisi

To say I'm utterly disgusted and disappointed would be putting it mildly.

When I saw that the SJP collection was coming to Bloomingdale's, I thought I would go by and see how the collection, which I've reviewed previously, was expanding.  I figured I would see some pretty yet boring pieces along the lines of the initial styles.  I was not expecting to see something shocking.


But I was absolutely floored to see that SJP had utterly ripped off possibly the most iconic shoe from all of Sex and the City - the Manolo Blahnik "Something Blue" Hangisi pump.

Here is the Angelica from the new SJP Collection at Bloomingdales (The similar 'Maddalena' style is at Nordstrom's and has a pointier toe.) -


And here is the Hangisi. The shoe which is essentially the emotional touchstone of Carrie and Big's resolution in the movie.  The shoe he proposes to her with. The shoe bought for her wedding, abandoned and then worn for the simple ceremony they ultimately had. A shoe created just for this movie by Mr. Blahnik.



In some articles the leveraging of the style is more blatant. Heck in the Bloomingdale's item description, they even include a reference to "something blue". I know the Blahnik team is involved in the SJP Collection, which makes it even more disappointing. Why not use her line as an opportunity to do something new and delightful.  It can't be the price point because these heels are over $500 (ironically, that is what they said the MB's were in the movie. Now they're over $900), not exactly a bargain.

So am I being too harsh? Are they different enough? Or are they leveraging a little too heavily on the SATC/Carrie magic and not creating any magic of their own?

Read more in the Imitation = Flattery series.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Perfect Pair for a Party - Jeffrey Campbell Noel Tinsel Heel

Do you ever see something totally outrageous and think "Dammit, that has 'Me' written all over it!" and know that it had to be yours?

 No?   Just me?

Well, the other day on Instagram I saw that Refinery 29 had reposted this image from Rockie Nolan of amazing, out-of-this-world, who-would-buy-these, silver tinsel slingback heels and was immediately smitten.

I mean, how could you not be???

I had to have them!  Luckily Rockie posted who made them and the style name - Jeffrey Campbell Noel Tinsel heels.


How fun are they?!?





They're actually even better in person.  I do love a subtle, conservative heel...


I joke, but don't put this past me to just wear to work or out for dinner or something.  I mean, why not?


You have to have fun with your fashion and if these aren't fun, I don't know what is.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring/Summer 2015 Theme: A Midsummer Night's Dream - blackberries, elderflowers, Titania and Puck

I love it when the New York Times Fashion section, echoes my own choices for a season.

 As I've shared before, each season I pick a "theme" which becomes a running thread through my choices for any shoe, accessory, or clothing purchase for the season.  Fall/Winter 2014 was "Predatory. Provocative. Dark Glamour." and there was a lot of black, sheer fabrics, sensual shapes and flirty details. It was a season of seductive thoughts meant to be edgy and even a bit scary.

With Spring, I feel lighter but not necessarily brighter.  I am feeling muted, languid, capricious and moving from being seductive this past Fall/Winter to enchanting. Titania from Midsummer Night's Dream was the inspiration - all fairy magic, elderflowers and sweet, yet possibly dangerous, berries - to tempt, to entice, to bewitch.


Funny enough, New York Times sees this season in a similar light.  Their collage below showcases their take on the "Bohemian Rhapsody" influences, filled with "a dreamlike state... referencing a romantic love affair with the spirit of Mother Nature."

I'm feeling the need for dreamy fabrics and frothy tulle. The shimmer of iridescence and the reflected glow of dew drops on petals and coating spider webs. Embroidery, eyelet, floral appliqu├ęs and dusky prints.






Some items I've already acquired are Sophia Webster's magical, winged Evangeline sandals...


Ann Taylor has some magical items as well. Like this sheer, flower-bedecked top.



... and this eyelet pencil skirt...


My other shoe addition were the Valentino rainbow Rockstud heels. What could be more appropriate for Spring and Summer?


As the season progresses, more will be added to the board.  I love going back to see how the inspiration moves and comes together.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

I've never been a huge fan of Cinderella, at least the not version that made it to the movies.

I much preferred the 1970s Big Golden Book version... so much so that I have a framed gilded print of the book cover art.

I always thought the art in this book far surpassed the look of the movie.





Possibly only slightly better than the confections that are the Mary Blair concepts images.









But even though I'm not a huge fan of the Disney-fied story (I like the one of the older Grimm versions with the 3 dresses gifted from a magical tree), I can get behind the fancy footwear!



One of my favorite ads we did when I worked at Walt Disney World Marketing showcased the magic and transformation of the right footwear.


So how could I not be entranced by the gorgeous shoes created for the new Cinderella movie.  They're all beautiful and unique.





But the Jimmy Choo sketch really is the magical shoe brought perfectly to life.




I am entranced to say the least. They're utterly gorgeous, nearly unattainable and I'm going to find a way to make them mine sooner or later.

Just wait...


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Party Glam - Owls, Sequins and Mohawks

On Saturday night, we went to a local "runway" charity event.   So since the event has a fashion-y spin to it, we decided to get a bit glam and have fun with our outfits.

The husband wore his new tux and I donned a shiny sequin patterned dress from LuLu's.

(insert obligatory bathroom selfie here!)


I wanted to be equally fun with the shoes and bag.  I mean the Kate Spade Night owl bag is always an adorable addition but how often can you really wear the YSL Mohawks.  They're just too kick-ass for everyday mortals.



Such a fun dress in person!



Even with a bold dress, at the end of the day the heels are still the star of the show.  I mean, I fell in love with them from just this image.  How can you resist in real life?



As per usual, we were a bit too much for the rest of the attendees, I'm sure.  But we certainly had fun!