Thursday, March 22, 2018

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

March Madness

There are a number of things that make me MAD. But I prefer not to dwell on the negative but rather focus on the positive side of things. These are some of the things that I am particularly ‘mad’ about at the moment:

‘Faux’ Real

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More and more designers are foregoing real furs in favor of faux and while it has been increasingly hard to tell the real from faux, on the fall 2018 runway of Givenchy, now designed by Clare Waight Keller, the faux furs were especially fantastic and really appealing.

Dries Van Noten’s Patterned Boots

Two of the big stories on the runways of the fall winter 2018 ready-to-wear collections, which ended in Paris earlier in March, were boots and patterns. Dries Van Noten’s patterned boots, which sometimes matched, sometimes clashed with his Art Brut patterned ensembles, stood out.

Bad Hair Don’t Care!

With all the fabulous looking scarves, hoods, caps, fedoras, berets, balaclavas and hats shown on recent runways for day and for evening as at Saint Laurent, worrying about having a bad hair day (or spending hours at the hair salon) may be a thing of the past. In many cases, the headgear not only completely covered the hair, but practically obscured the face. FYI, Oh, and yes, I am also 'mad' about head to toe black, which has never looked better after so much color!

Demna Gvasalia’s Sweet Spot

After two seasons at the helm of Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia has finally got it together with a collection for the revered label that was perhaps his most normal, less exaggerated to date. The emphasis was on controlled volume and refined, razor sharp tailoring most often played out in classic menswear patterns. His use of high tech computer molded tailoring resulted in coats and jackets made of one layer of fabric and only two side seams (no darts, no construction). Pretty fabulous.

The Moncler Genius Project

The common nylon puffer is a ubiquitous unisex streetwear item and an indispensable one at that, thanks to the winter that absolutely refuses to go away. This season in Milan, Moncler took this standard fare item and elevated it with their Moncler Genius Project titled, “A Republic of Imagination”. Of the 7 installations, Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli’s museum worthy, dramatic, and evening appropriate versions truly stood out. Genius indeed.


We can never get enough of leopard and this season, there will literally be something in leopard for everyone. It was not only used conventionally (handbags, boots, traditional belted coats included), but in more surprising, sportier ways like at R13.

Kara Bags

What is there not to love about a collection of minimal clutches, satchels, shoulder bags, belt bags, backpacks made in NYC (Chinatown to be exact), completely devoid of logos (logos shmogos) or obvious distracting hardware, that are smart, chic, simple, easy to use, of high quality, and well-priced to boot (most fall in the $275 - $395 range)? Most are made of polished cowhide leather but there are shearling versions as well. For more information, go to

Bags That Match Coats

If you are going to carry a big roomy bag, it might as well match your coat and look fabulous as they did at Sies Marjan (in glossy patent) and Victoria Beckham for fall/winter 2018.

Vans Checkered Past (and present)

If you, like me, are a fan of Van’s iconic unisex checkerboard slip-ons in off white and black, but always wanted a version in bright white, you are now in luck with their updated mixed checkerboard iteration. And at $55, you can’t go wrong.

November Rain’s Stylish Rain Ponchos

Capacious capes and ponchos were all over recent runways, most notably at Ferragamo, Derek Lam, Givenchy, but you don’t have to wait months to get them; November Rain’s stylish ponchos are available right now. Designed in Australia, they are made using ecologically sound waterless printing methods, and thanks to heat sealed seams, are completely waterproof. Available in a number of solids and prints, they are one size fits all, $59.

LOOT: MAD About Jewelry

The Museum of Arts and Design’s annual and wildly popular exhibition and sale (, now in its 18th edition,- has become known as THE ultimate 5 day pop up shop for contemporary artist-made jewelry representing more than 54 emerging and acclaimed international jewelry artists from 21 countries. It’s like a jewelry “League of Nations” right here on Columbus Circle.

Each year, the LOOT Award is presented to luminaries in the field of jewelry, including artists, collectors, and designers. This annual prize is in keeping with the long-standing commitment of the Museum of Arts and Design to presenting jewelry as an art form. This year they will honor writer, producer, and philanthropist Loreen Arbus, whose career achievements include becoming the first woman to head programming for a major television network; Carolee Lee, former CEO and founder of Carolee Designs and AccessCircles; and collectors Karen and Michael Rotenberg. The LOOT 2018 Opening Benefit will take place on Monday, April 16th from 4:30 to 8:00pm. The evening’s events include first access for patrons to meet the 2018 LOOT artists and acquire their designs, a cocktail hour and reception, as well as a dinner honoring the 2018 LOOT Award recipients. The dinner begins at 7:30pm.

Stuart Weitzman White Irises Loafer

I have to admit that I am obsessed with white shoes. In my opinion, they make everything, especially an all-black ensemble, look that much better. There are endless choices in every category but one shoe in particular, has really caught my eye:Stuart Weitzman’s Irises loafer, a modified mule with a holdover quarter, in white textured leather, with a crystal fringe embellishment and sculptural block heel, $498.

The Idiosyncratic, Exuberant Personal Style of Iris Apfel

Iris Apfel windows at Bergdorf Goodman

I dare even the most minimal amongst us to take a trip to Bergdorf Goodman, which is celebrating ‘All Things Iris’ through March 26th (smashing 5th Avenue windows included), and NOT be inspired to break out the color and pile on the accessories. The tireless, ageless fashion icon who has spent most of her life collecting everything from fashion and accessories to art and textiles, continues to inspire all age groups (she even has her own Barbie doll to prove it) and will be honored with the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Fashion, on May 11.

You gotta love her wise, sage quotes on personal style which were taken from her new book, “Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon” and are posted throughout the store. Among my favorites:

“When you don’t dress like everyone else you don’t have to think like everyone else.”
“I don’t have any rules because I’d only be breaking them!”
“If you’re not RISKING you’re not LIVING.”
“You don’t find out who are unless you work at it.”
“Listen to your inner muse and Take a Chance.”
“Color can raise the dead.”
“You have to be INTERESTED to be INTERESTING.”
“Why do I wear such large glasses? The bigger to see you with my dear.”
“Traveling makes life rich and I like a good adventure.”
“Why not wear something that says ‘Here I am TODAY!’”

- Marilyn Kirschner

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Endometriosis Foundation Holds Star-Studded Blossom Ball at Cipriani

All photos Lieba Nesis
Click images for full size views

The Endometriosis Foundation of America held its 9th Annual Blossom Ball on March 19, 2018 at Cipriani 42nd Street with cocktails beginning at 6:30 PM. The evening's honorees were superstar singer Halsey and Lone Hummelshoj - who was a no - show due to her Visa problems with the State Department. Security was tight as Halsey's star continues to rise and paparazzi were anxiously trying to get a shot of her in a sheer white ruffled J. Mendel gown.

David Paterson

Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus-the endometrium-grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis can cause pain, especially during a woman's period, and often leads to fertility issues. Some famous names that have recently called attention to this debilitating disease are Lena Dunham, Padma Lakshmi and Halsey. Dunham appeared on film describing the horrific pain she experienced during her bouts with endometriosis and her decision to recently undergo a total hysterectomy knowing that she would no longer be able to get pregnant; Surprisingly Lakshmi and Dunham were both absent from the dinner.

Co-chairs Subrata De and Dr. Sandra Gelbard

Dinner attendees were comprised of mostly obstetricians and gynecologists - if you were in labor this was the place to be. Co-chair Subrata De, introduced singer Halsey as an endo-warrior saying because of her bravery those of us with endo can emerge from the shadows. She said that Halsey's searing openness has led to increased awareness. Halsey, 23, said she found out she had endometriosis when she was 20 after suffering a miscarriage having not even been aware she was pregnant.

Jean Shafiroff and Halsey 

She then proceeded to perform at a concert after taking a Percocet and wearing an adult incontinence diaper in front of 1,200 screaming teenage girls, ignoring her own pain and discomfort as she pointed out women so often do. Halsey at that point realized she could overcome anything and "nothing could get in her f-in way."

Meredith O'Connor and Rick Galvin

Halsey was tearful as she described her painful bouts with the disease often fainting and being unable to enjoy the company of her friends and boyfriend. Last year she had a laparoscopic diagnostic operation which has nearly cured her but she remains in constant fear that if she relapses her friends and boyfriend might go away because they might not understand and give up on her.

Ashley Cannady and Kari Anderson

Halsey was extremely approachable and told me she grew up on welfare with two parents that were college dropouts. She started to write songs about the way she felt and people started to listen while her parents continually encouraged her to express herself. Both of her parents are involved in philanthropy with her mother volunteering with her to help homeless youth and her father working at a pantry.

Millen Magese and Dr. Sallie Sarrel

Her rise over the past couple of years has been stratospheric having recently been at the Vanity Fair Oscar party and participating in last year's Grammy's immediately after undergoing her operation while she still had stitches in her stomach. Halsey described how she used to carry a Tampon in her sleeve as she was ashamed of getting her period, and was hopeful that women would discuss their health issues more openly. Halsey was tearful as she spoke about her battle with Endometriosis and how by opening up to her fans there were now thousands of young people approaching her at concerts to tell her they had caught the disease early.

Hayama Brill Seated: Standing: Left to Right Dr. Thomas Lallas, Dr. Tamer Seckin, Theodore Goldman and Gianni Rodriguez-Ayala

Halsey's doctor, Dr. Tamer Seckin, head of the Endometriosis Foundation and a legend in the field, said 200 million women including 1 in 10 women suffer from this disease which often goes undiagnosed. Seckin praised Halsey for her beautiful speech at the "Women's March" and for all the extraordinary activists. Seckin founded the Endometriosis Foundation in 2006 with Padma Lakshmi and has received numerous awards including The Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Super Doctor award. Seckin works tirelessly to increase awareness and research for the disease and made his way around the room to talk with doctors and sufferers about their struggle with the disease.

Resistance Revival Chorus

After a moving performance by the "Resistance Revival Chorus" guests headed to the foyer for an after-party which included a DJ and some more delectable desserts - all for the relatively cheap price of $750.

- Lieba Nesis

Friday, March 16, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Iris Apfel and Bergdorf Goodman Celebrate "Accidental Icon"

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Bergdorf Goodman held a cocktail party on March 15, 2018 to celebrate fashion legend Iris Apfel's book "Accidental Icon." One thing that everyone in fashion knows - if you are a super celebrity at the age of 96 it is certainly not an accident. Apfel was born Iris Barrel in Astoria Queens the daughter of Samuel and Sadye Barrel - who owned a fashion boutique and glass-and-mirror business. She studied art history at New York University and attended art school at the University of Wisconsin.

Entrance to the boutique
Photo: Lieba Nesis
Click images for full size views

Iris worked for Women's Wear Daily as a young woman and for interior designer Elinor Johnson.  She married her husband Carl Apfel in 1948 and they launched the textile firm "Old World Weavers" which they ran until 1992.  The couple traveled throughout the world where Iris began buying and collecting artisanal clothing to wear to high-society parties. (Read our extensive Masters of Fashion interview with Iris Apfel at her home back in 2006 conducted by Marilyn Kirschner)

Apfel with her Gucci Barbie and book
Photo: Lieba Nesis

In 2005, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art presented an exhibition about her style entitled: "Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel. Apfel has become notorious for her large dark rimmed glasses and even started her own eyewear line which can be purchased on the Home Shopping Network. Tonight's event contained more than a few fashion icons including: Linda Fargo, Amy Fine Collins, Tommy and Dee Hilfiger, Nicky Rothschild, Stacey Bender, Freddie Leiba and Christie Brinkley.

Linda Fargo in vintage Marc Jacobs and Iris Apfel owl brooch
Photo Marilyn Kirschner

Linda was smashing in a black turban and black-and-white Marc Jacobs outfit paired with old Manolo boots. Fargo absolutely adores Apfel which was evident by her omnipresent smile. Fargo is undoubtedly one of the most powerful women in fashion and I am confident her career longevity will match that of Apfel. Fargo says she admires the "way Iris thinks and dresses because every choice comes from within." Linda met Apfel 15 years ago when she showed up with husband Carl at a lecture Linda was giving on fashion and asked Linda to help with her upcoming exhibit at the Met.

Mike Haldeman, Ranjana Khan and James Aguiar
Photo: Lieba Nesis

Fargo has a couple of people whose fashion she admires including of course Iris, Ranjana Khan, Giovanna Battaglia and Caroline Issa. Fargo said Apfel was a self proclaimed geriatric starlet who didn't achieve fame until she reached 83 years old with her Costume Institute exhibit.

Brian Clements, Melanie Allegra and Linda Fargo
Photo: Lieba Nesis

Fargo said it was remarkable how broad and democratic Apfel's fan base was especially in the youth oriented fashion market. Linda spent 5 months collaborating with Apfel on the windows and pop-up Bergdorf shop which include borrowed pieces from the Apfel collection from the Peabody Museum.

Stacey Bendet for Alice + Olivia skirt as homage to Iris
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Bergdorf had bracelets and t-shirts made based on her collection and expressions Apfel loves including "you have to be interested to be interesting" and "I don't have any rules because I'd be breaking them." Linda even introduced Apfel to Stacy Bendet from Alice and Olivia who designed a skirt with Apfel's picture. There were jackets and dresses made by Ralph Rucci and Naeem Khan-Fargo's go-to designer-which were inspired by Apfel with tags utilizing her favorite axioms such as "more is more less is a bore."

Fashion on display
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Fargo said that Apfel proves that there is no age when you have to stop wearing denim or any other clothing category. It is unfathomable that the 96-year-old Apfel was involved in the picking of colors and nearly every other aspect of the pop-up as she continues to design, model, speak and travel admitting this is to keep her sanity after losing her husband three years ago at the age of 101.

Christie Brinkley
Photo: Lieba Nesis

Apfel is a very private person who stays off of social media and her book contains funny stories and anecdotes about her various jobs, likes and dislikes, as well as secrets as to how to maintain a long and happy marriage.

Dee and Tommy Hilfiger
Photo Marilyn Kirschner

Mattel has even modeled a one-of-a-kind green Gucci-clad Barbie after Apfel because of her long-spanning career. Ranjana Khan, Naeem's wife, said she loves Apfel because she is such a straight shooter and teaches women how to celebrate themselves without getting work done.

Fashion on display
Photo Marilyn Kirschner

She held Iris's 92nd birthday and Carl's 99th birthday at her and Naeem's house. She said Naeem was disappointed he couldn't attend the event because he was busy building a school and an atelier in Miami-she loves Miami because it is the South America of the United States.

Colorfully attired guests
Photo Marilyn Kirschner

During the evening, the crowd was clamoring to get photos with Apfel despite the sign that said no photos were allowed. The indomitable Apfel posed continuously until the hour of 9:00 PM - a time when most of her contemporaries are home sleeping.

- Lieba Nesis