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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Fashion Week

The minimalist handbag brand Mansur Gavriel is has a covetable new line of cashmere coats ($1,495) and merino cable knits ($495). 134 Wooster Street

Donna Karan’s Urban Zen collection includes easy wardrobe staples like draped jodhpurs ($795) and a cocoon dress ($1,695). At 705 Greenwich Street.

Jeremy Scott’s 20th anniversary capsule has T-shirts printed with Jeremy Scott logos and signature sayings including “Viva Avant Garde” and “Keep Fashion Weird” ($180). At jeremyscott.com.

Kate Spade has a denim skirt embellished with vivid red poppies ($198). At 789 Madison Avenue.

The Milly see-now, buy-now capsule, which includes a bias slip dress ($595) and a cropped Aran stitch sweater ($335), is available at its SoHo pop-up. At 158 Mercer Street.

 Rebecca Minkoff has cute fall styles, among them a cross-body bag ($195) with a guitar strap with a jewel-studded strap ($125). At 96 Greene Street.

Baja East teamed up with Melissa Shoes, a sustainable footwear label, on four python-embossed styles, including chunky high-heeled mules ($150), as well as a drawstring bucket bag ($170) in Melissa’s signature plastic. At Galeria Melissa, 500 Broadway.

Olivia Palermo’s partnership with Banana Republic includes tweaked classics like leather kick flares ($598) and an asymmetrical trench ($228). At 105 Fifth Avenue.

Openings and Events

On Thursday, the cult work wear label Visvim will open a pop-up at 180 the Store. Inside the minimal space lit by hand-painted lanterns from Kyoto, Japan, you’ll find exclusive vegetable-tanned suede boots ($1,250) displayed on pedestals. At 180 Duane Street.

If you need further evidence that Birkenstocks are in fashion, head to a pop-up in the meatpacking district on Friday. It has an array of chic styles in shearling ($145) and wool felt ($130) arranged around a layered display unit made from the cork used in the label’s trademark foot bed. At 90 Gansevoort Street.

From Friday to Sunday, the Japanese jewelry label Shihara will have a trunk show at Barneys New York, where you can try out geometric styles

Jewelry to Party

As fashion has moved from minimalism to baroque, following the lead of Gucci and its Pied Piper creative director, Alessandro Michele, a new demand has arisen for what could be called party jewelry: big hoops, mismatched pieces, glittering chokers — all-out opulence and plenty of layering.

“Minimalism has been a trend for so long in fine jewelry, I think it’s time for big, fun statement pieces to come back,” said Sophie Quy, senior fine jewelry buyer at Net-a-Porter. She added that customers of the online retail site are favoring large hoop earrings and asymmetric earrings and chokers, as well as designs that mix offbeat stones like opals, lapis and turquoise with precious stones.

The fine jewelry industry, she noted, is not immune to demographics or the whims of fashion. And an unusual look — not carat size — is what counts among younger customers.

The trend blends well with the growth in the numbers of female customers, said François Delage, chief executive of De Beers. In the last five years, “we have seen more and more women buying pieces for themselves — women willing to celebrate milestones or achievements,” he said. “Our collections respond to these aspirations.”

She added that, even as there has been significant growth in fine jewelry sales at Harrods during the period, there also has been a turn “away from traditional white diamonds, with our customers embracing colored diamonds, rare colored stones and tutti-frutti designs.”

The De Beers Soothing Lotus necklace, unveiled by the jeweler during couture week in July, reflects this anything-goes attitude. The necklace comprises 150 diamonds, with a mix of rough and polished diamonds, six hues of colored diamonds and six diamond shapes.

Fine jewelry brands know that their futures depend on convincing millennials that there is joy in gems and this, in part, requires learning how the fashion industry continually stokes demand for new styles.

“The most exciting jewelry brands understand that just like fashion needs novelty, jewelry needs novelty, too,” said Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, former editor of Vogue Gioiello, the Italian jewelry magazine. “It is a slower process for jewelry and needs to tie to the fashion in a way that has more longevity.”

She said designers like Gaia Repossi, Ana Khouri, Sabine Getty, Noor Fares and Eugenie Niarchos have been changing attitudes toward fine jewelry. And, she added, so has Chopard’s collaboration with Rihanna

The haute joaillerie collection, first shown in May, included diamond ear-clips, mismatched chandelier earrings and even an ankle bracelet with tourmalines and rare blue-gray sapphires. Celebrity collaborations are commonplace in fashion but rare in the world of high jewelry.

But “if you want to create desire in a new generation of fine jewelry clients,” Ms. Battaglia Engelbert said, “who better to do that than the woman known for her millions of Instagram followers?”

Ms. Quy agreed that social media has played a large part in changing fine jewelry. “Social influencers like bloggers, celebrities and stylists play a huge role in showing how to style and how fine jewelry pieces work in real life,” she said. “They aren’t for locking away; you can have fun wearing them.”

Ms. Battaglia Engelbert said her favorite piece of party jewelry is a single earring designed by her friend Delfina Delettrez — the sculptural piece resembled tree branches and covered half of her hair. The editor wore it to dance at her wedding, along with a short crystal-embellished Prada dress. Demure bridal diamonds and pearls it was not.

Yet designers and jewelry houses have to strike a balance between trend and tradition.

Not adapting to changing tastes could have consequences. As Ella Hudson, senior accessories editor at the trends forecaster WGSN, said: “The growth of demi-fine jewelry — bridging the gap between fashion and fine jewelry through the use of semiprecious material — has definitely posed a threat to traditional fine jewelers.

“The lines are suddenly blurring, and it’s encouraging them to take a bolder, more contemporary approach to design.” However, she added, the trend for multiple body piercings has created new product opportunities, and wearers are encouraged to develop layered stylings.

Sameer Lilani, Europe and the Middle East director at the Indian jewelry house Amrapali, compares the relationship to that of couture and ready-to-wear: Established clients, he stressed, can’t be alienated in the quest for new buyers.

“People are more daring with their tastes, but as with couture, fine jewelry is still luxury and it needs to last,” he said. “If you’re spending 50,000 pounds on a pair of earrings, they can’t look passé in five years’ time.”

One of the new generation, Ara Vartanian, based in São Paulo, Brazil, creates signature pieces that include three-finger rings, inverted diamond cuts and dramatic hook earrings that spread up across the ear. His latest collection, designed with his friend and patron Kate Moss, was introduced in May.

a Ballgown Compete with a Million

Mercedes S-class sedans and a host of SUVs wended their way out of Manhattan, ferrying more than 250 guests northeast to Bedford Hills, N.Y. Each car was equipped with a special CD of soothing tunes chosen especially for the drive, which ended in a parking lot outside of a big white building. Inside were 26 of the rarest cars in the world, made between 1937 and 2015, including a 1938 Bugatti T-57SC Atlantic, a car valued at about $40 million, and a host of waiters in tuxedos holding trays of Champagne or pigs in a blanket, and two long, low rows of squishy black leather banquettes that lined a runway.

That it was two hours (with traffic) outside of the city, didn’t faze the designer, who has been a devoted car collector for years. He decided it was time to invite his audience in on his passion — not least because, he said, “When I think about cars, I think about clothes.”

It was a generous impulse but the entire event, which culminated in a dinner of lobster salad and burgers from his signature restaurant, added up to a display of power and privilege and success the likes of which has not been seen on the New York runways thus far. (It’s impossible to imagine that many guests going that far afield at the bidding of any other designer.)

“See that one?” said David Lauren, one of the designer’s sons and the brand’s chief innovation officer and vice chairman, pointing at a marigold 1996 McLaren F1 LM. “That car inspired a whole line of home furnishings. That one” — he pointed at a black 1937 Bugatti T-57SC Gangloff DHC — “was the beginning of a line of eyewear.”

And the ones in the center of the makeshift catwalk helped inspire the current collection, a dual-gender see now/buy now offering. So you could see the influence of the yellow and carbon 2014 McLaren P1 in the caution-tape-yellow cashmere greatcoat tossed over a black leather miniskirt and over-the-knee-suede boots, and the lipstick red of the 2015 Ferrari La Ferrari in a glossy patent bustier worn over a cloud of tulle. You could match the silver on an iridescent halter slither gown to the silver of a 2014 Porsche 918.

 There were racing stripes down the sides of tuxedo trousers and the arms of an evening coat-with-train, and F1 jackets over full chiffon skirts. Also some very nice houndstooth and Prince of Wales tailoring in buttery seat-leather shades.
e their inspiration where they can find it (a flower! a film!), but rarely is the relationship quite so obvious.

Or quite so detrimental to one of the elements. The juxtaposition of cars and clothes made the connection clear, but unfortunately also the fact that the automotive design was far and away more interesting, complex and original than the fashion. Full of high polish though the collection was, in translating his passion to his products and giving it accessibility, Mr. Lauren had dumbed it down; taken the rare and specialized and made it almost ordinary.

Perhaps it’s an unfair comparison — the cars, after all, are the best of their kind, selected over decades; the fashion collection is one of many, produced twice a year, and all designers struggle to be original on that schedule — but Mr. Lauren is the one who set it up by bringing everyone out and letting them in on his source code.

Such grand gestures and palpable extravagance seem to have fallen out of favor. The watchwords of the moment, whether uttered in self-aggrandizement or sarcasm, may be “Huge!” “Epic!” “Biggest ever!” — but as far as New York fashion is concerned the vision has been small. Mr. Lauren was the exception that proved the rule.

Maybe it’s an attempt by designers to distance themselves from the conspicuous consumer-in-chief. After all, as the New York catwalks made clear last season with a flurry of position-taking not only on the runway but on shirts, skirts and caps, a lot of the fashion world is not exactly enamored of the current administration. At this stage, however, and ironically just as Hillary Clinton (fashion’s candidate of choice) steps into the spotlight with the release of her book “What Happened,” the industry seems to have largely muzzled itself. Instead there’s been a lot of noncontroversial championing of “America.”

At Michael Kors, for example, the designer stretched his signature glossy sportswear over both men and women from “Manhattan to Malibu” (according to the show notes), Brooklyn to Beverly Hills, reimagining tiered chiffons and linen trenches, silk georgette blouses and sarong skirts in palm-tastic prints and nonpareil shades.

Atop a sun-scored wooden boardwalk, double-breasted blazers and crisp cotton shirts brought the beach back to Broadway. Or maybe Broadway to the beach. Sara Bareilles provided a live accompaniment, belting out Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Presumably it was a reference to the clothes, albeit with a touch of Botox and some fillers involved.

At Coach, Stuart Veverscontinued to develop the Route 66 elements of his brand vernacular — shearlings and prairie dresses, cowboy shirts and varsity sweaters — by jazzing them up with a bit of sparkle, a lot of sequins, and some new, lacy slip dresses (he’s expanding the evening offering); also a nod to Keith Haring in the form of prints and intarsia sweaters. “He represented the democratization of art, and that felt very personal to me, and also right for the moment and Coach,” Mr. Vevers said backstag

Gets Serious About Shoes for Men

Steve Madden is practically synonymous with high-heel shoes and thigh-high boots. He has more than 250 namesake stores all over the world, and his shoes for women are carried in major department stores.

Mr. Madden, perhaps the most famous fashion entrepreneur to be convicted and jailed, served two and a half years in a Florida prison for securities fraud and stock manipulation in the early 2000s after having illegally traded shares from the initial public offering of Stratton Oakmont, the investment firm run by Jordan Belfort. The case was fodder for the 2013 Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” with Leonardo DiCaprio playing Mr. Belfort and Jake Hoffman playing Mr. Madden. Since his release from prison, Mr. Madden has devoted himself to the business he loves.

He opened a big new store in Times Square on Aug. 1, with nearly a third of its 2,000-square-foot floor space dedicated to his new focus: men’s shoes. “I felt that men were getting shortchanged,” he said. “We were putting all the excitement into women’s.”

What’s the future of men’s shoes?

I would like to go into the sneaker business. I think everybody is wearing sneakers all the time. That’s something you’ll see in the future: more sneakers. I went out to a restaurant in Sag Harbor and it was all mostly 20- or 30-somethings. Why I was there, I don’t know. They were all wearing sneakers. They looked great! But it wasn’t for comfort; they just liked the look. It was interesting to see.

More sneakers and booties. They call short boots “booties.” One of the newest features on the boot is the side zipper. In the old days, you had to sit down, lace ’em all up and now you just reach your foot in and zip ’em up and boom! It’s taking a little utility influence and putting it into fashion. Our men’s business is great.