Monday, June 18, 2018

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Resort 2019: The Duchess’s New Clothes

The Duchess of Sussex wore Oscar de la Renta resort 2019 to a wedding
All photos Vogue.com - click images for full-size views

As I review the 2019 resort collections, which are now underway, I keep thinking of Meghan Markle. It’s almost impossible not to as her images are literally posted all over the internet and staring up at you from magazine covers. Plus, I’ve been seeing pieces that I think would be perfect as she settles into her new life as a Duchess. Meghan was an untraditional, unexpected choice to be Prince Harry’s bride, and her fashion choices should ideally reflect that and be similarly untraditional and unexpected. Not that I expect her to completely break the rules of course, just bend them enough. She can still look aristocratic but tempered with a dose of California cool.

She has already broken protocol in several instances, appearing barely legged at official events (she is supposed to wear stockings). She has not given up wearing trousers or jeans for that matter (they’re just not of the ripped variety). And while she raised some eyebrows at the Trooping the Colours with the pale pink off the shoulder Carolina Herrera dress, that is not why I didn’t care for it. I thought she looked like she was trying too hard, and it looked like something she would wear if she were playing herself in a made for TV movie. The white custom-made Givenchy cape dress, chosen for her first public outing with Queen Elizabeth, was chic and minimal (even if it looked a bit like a straitjacket lol). And she kept nervously fidgeting with her hair (she clearly has to figure that one out!)

But hey, she is still learning the ropes and settling in so there are bound to be some hiccups along the way. And when she attended the wedding of Harry’s cousin Celia McCorquodale to George Woodhouse in Stoke Rochford, England on Saturday, she wore a billowy Oscar de la Renta long sleeved loose wrap-style maxi dress in a blue and white toile-like pattern accessorized with white high heels and a white fascinator (her hair was wisely pulled back in a low bun). It was a rather surprising choice (she doesn’t wear many prints) but it worked on her and shows her range. (See lead photo) The dress was actually from the Oscar de la Renta resort 2019 collection that was presented in New York one month ago. Of course, Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, wore an Oscar de la Renta pistachio hued coat and dress from resort 2019 her daughter’s wedding last month.

Meghan Markle attending the 70th birthday celebration for Prince Charles

Probably my favorite moment, as the newly minted Duchess of Sussex, was when she attended a garden party in honor of Prince Charles’s 70th birthday wearing a simple blush pink long sleeved sheath dress by Goat with that recycled pink Philip Treacy hat, her hair neat and tidy in a low bun.

Meghan obviously has so much potential as a fashion influencer; I just don’t want to see her turn into a Kate Middleton clone (at 5’7” she is about 3 inches shorter than her sister in law). I certainly don’t want her to start looking bourgeois, like the rest of the royals. She is clearly on the right track. Here are some suggestions from resort 2019 that I think would be perfect for updating the Duchess of Sussex’s wardrobe.

Ralph Lauren resort 2019

Recent CFDA honoree Ralph Lauren is synonymous with Great American Sportswear. His focus is on clean, streamlined, timeless, wardrobe staples and impeccable tailoring which is by definition quite aristocratic. This was exemplified by resort 2019, a study in monochromatic blue (navy and baby) and a perfect juxtaposition of day and evening. Among the standouts and Ralph Lauren signatures: the black tuxedo jacket, turtleneck, and chiffon evening skirt.

Ralph Lauren resort 2019 

The navy blazer paired with navy beaded trousers. Any way you look at it, they are right up the Duchess’s alley.

Dior resort 2019 

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s resort collection for Dior had an equestrian theme and nothing is more authentically royal or noble than this ancient sport. I don’t know if Meghan can even ride a horse, but I would love to see her in any number of these impeccably tailored pieces, down to the flat sturdy boots (perfect for England’s often inclement weather).

Dior resort 2019

The new animal printed toile which showed up in a number of incarnations (including a lovely crinolined full skirt), would be perfect on safari with Harry in Africa (admittedly, this is my decidedly romantic, dressed up notion of a safari lol). In addition, Meghan is an avowed feminist and feminism is always at the heart of Chiuri’s collections, so that is right in sync.

Erdem resort 2019

Erdem Moralioglu’s eponymous British label emphasizes couture-level craftsmanship and modern elegance and can best be described as aristocratically quirky, down to the hats and high Elizabethan collars. It’s not surprising that the designer has admittedly been inspired by the royal family, specifically Queen Elizabeth for the spring 2018 collection (he actually researched her wardrobe at Windsor Castle for inspiration).

Erdem resort

Resort is particularly romantic and flowery and flowy, with enough empire waists and trapeze shapes to come into play if or when the Duchess gets pregnant.

Delpozo resort 2019

After a decade of shows in New York, Delpozo’s Josep Font moved his runway presentations to London in February 2018. The Madrid-based creative director, who is a trained architect, is not only a longtime fan of the city but a longtime fan of surprises (he believes that fashion is all about surprises). Wouldn’t it be a delightful surprise to see the Duchess in one of his couture quality and famously unique, eccentric, and colorful designs?

Pringle of Scotland resort 2019

Pringle of Scotland is a heritage brand which is all about knitwear and the use of traditional patterns, done in a way that is sporty yet elegant. I could easily see Meghan wearing the argyle knitted pieces on a trip to Scotland.

Pringle of Scotland resort 2019

The same can be said about the plaid trench and matching pants.

Carolina Herrera resort 2019

Meghan has already worn Carolina Herrera, now designed by Wes Gordon. It is undoubtedly geared for special occasion dressing and considering the Duchess’s busy social schedule which is filled with special occasions, some of these dresses could fit right in. And how great would it be to see Meghan in more color!

Tome resort 2019

Speaking of color, this Kelly green blazer and micro-pleated dress by Tome, designed by Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin would look amazing on the Duchess and how perfect would it be for St. Patrick’s Day?

Victoria Beckham resort 2019

If you love denim, trench coats, and tall boots (as the Duchess does), what could be better than Victoria Beckham’s raw denim tailored trench with matching boots no less?

Giorgio Armani

This season Giorgio Armani focused on tailoring but added an easy sportswear vibe, so the result was a look that was formal and informal, dressed up yet comfy; just the perfect thing for lounging around the castle or palace (whichever one the Duchess finds herself in).

Giorgio Armani resort 2019

And I love everything about this long-sleeved splashy floral chiffon dress with matching clutch and flat pointy-toed mules. And based on what the Duchess has been wearing, I bet she would love it too!

From the moment it was announced that Prince Harry was engaged to Meghan Markle, the world has been transfixed by the biracial American actress, divorcee, and United Nations women’s advocate and she has quickly changed the perception of the royal family; modernizing it, and bringing it into the 21st century. She is beautiful, stylish, and loves fashion.  Whatever she wears (and thus far it’s been a good mix of British, Canadian, American, and French labels at a variety of price points) is instantly photographed and documented and sells out immediately.

Websites like www.meghansmirror.com are entirely devoted to her style and she has put some under the radar labels on the map. The website of Canadian brand, Line (www.linethelabel.com), crashed the day she announced her engagement wearing their white wrap coat (it immediately sold out but is now being offered again). She has been heralded as a major fashion influencer and rightly so, even though she doesn’t have the millions of Instagram followers to prove it (she is not allowed to have her own Instagram account).

Fashion Influencer of 2019? Now, that would be a coup for the CFDA if she were to be so honored, and actually attended the award ceremony!





- Marilyn Kirschner

Sunday, June 17, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Film Review: Talley’s Tale Gets Told

André Leon Talley

“The Gospel According to André” is a documentary depicting the life of “fashion giant” André Leon Talley who grew up poor in a segregated North Carolina and rose to the top against all the odds. I was hoping for a light “Devil Wears Prada” type of Saturday night flick, but unfortunately encountered a more serious nearly two-hour movie about the severe discrimination 68-year-old Talley experienced in his youth which carried over during his years working as a fashion editor at Vogue.

"Bigger than life"

The term “larger than life” was used throughout the documentary - a phrase that is simultaneously flattering and insulting: a manifestation of the fashion world’s ambivalence towards him. The 6-foot-6 Talley tearfully recounts a Saint Laurent staffer repeatedly referring to him as “Queen Kong” behind his back. Despite his significant tenure at “Vogue” few fashion luminaries are interviewed in the film and the ones who are given little understanding as to what makes André great. Marc Jacobs, who insists on smoking during his two-minute appearance, vaguely comments about André living in a “magic bubble” and how he is a larger than life operatic figure - yes Marc we knew that already. Similarly, Tom Ford speaking in muted tones as if being interviewed by the CIA is chock full of nothing to say.

Anna Wintour & André Leon Talley

Ralph Rucci whose knowledge and affinity for Talley is evident appears without any introduction as to who Rucci is or his importance as a designer. Anna Wintour who makes a later cameo with some unforgiving close-ups acknowledges that Talley’s vast knowledge of fashion history supersedes her own; yet gives very little insight into what makes André the great fashion expert. It is evident these two have an ambivalent relationship as André recently revealed in a “New York Times” interview that Wintour often shuns him. Talley complained to the “Times” that the fashion world is unforgiving and cruel, yet the film fails even to show a hint of it in this non-controversial movie.

André at the Costume Institute Gala

This film leaves so many questions unanswered. For one why does Talley have a thicker English accent than Madonna? Moreover, he claims he has never fallen in love - for a gay man with unprecedented access to good-looking, wealthy gay men why couldn’t he find one to share his ubiquitous capes with? Talley’s magnificent style was way ahead of the times in men’s fashion wearing capes, caftans and embroidered coats way before they were fashionable. How did a black child raised by his grandmother, who was a maid at Duke University, achieve this confidence? We are never made aware as to what makes Talley tick and what were his actual contributions to “Vogue.” He explains what an indelible impact mentor Diana Vreeland had when she plucked him from obscurity to assist her in the 1970’s with the Costume Institute exhibition and help him land a job with Andy Warhol at “Interview” magazine. This film fails to even touch upon what precipitated his 2013 departure from “Vogue.”

André at home
Photo New York Times

The conclusion of the movie shows André in a near stupor after learning Donald Trump has won the Presidency - yet little more is said. If you are going to document your life for the big screen, you better have some strong opinions or why bother? When he does ask for access to the Vogue archives material of little interest is shown. In Talley’s recent jaw-dropping interview with the “New York Times,” he admits he is broke and lashes out at legends Miuccia Prada and Karl Lagerfeld for barely acknowledging him since his exit from “Vogue.” None of this conflict - the stuff movies are made for-is depicted in the film. He touches perfunctorily on his battle with weight gain as we see him struggling to walk on numerous occasions as he checks into Duke University Medical Center.

The brilliant André has a prominent place in fashion history - however, this movie fails time and time again to explain why.



- Lieba Nesis

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesdays at Michael's by Diane Clehane

PEOPLE’s New Podcast: Chappaquiddick On Cover-Up

Diane Clehane & Liz McNeil
Click image for full-size views 

I consider my time working in the New York bureau of PEOPLE magazine like going to j-school without being saddled with crushing student loans. It was there that I learned what it meant to be a true professional reporter – and, above all else, never to miss a deadline. Everyone in the bureau worked like hell and gave it their all every single day (you had to just to keep up) but no one more than this week’s lunch date, Liz McNeil.

I first met Liz in 1999 when I took a temporary job working at the iconic weekly. It was August, and unbeknownst to me, Liz had just come off an extraordinary assignment covering the shocking death of John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and her sister, Lauren Bessette. She was always the first one there in the morning and the last one to leave at night, but she still made time to teach me the very specific skill set required of every PEOPLE reporter including how to write a story file (which is something between a science and an art form).

Liz has covered it all in her 25 years with PEOPLE. Princess Diana’s car crash, Newtown, McCain’s presidential run --- even Bethenny Frankel’s rise from reality show fixture to millionaire mogul. She recently reported on Catherine Oxenberg’s quest to rescue her daughter from the controversial group NXIVM which has been making headlines of late. No matter what the subject, Liz always approaches the story with intelligence, empathy, and endless curiosity. She cares about the story – and more importantly, she cares about getting it right.

Click to podcast

Having risen through the ranks from reporter to bureau chief to east coast editor, Liz describes her new role at PEOPLE as “the most challenging story I’ve worked on.” I think she is more than up to the job. She is the writer and host of Cover-Up, the title’s new weekly podcast series that explores the unanswered questions surrounding the events that happened off the island of Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts on July 18, 1969, that left 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne dead when Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge. Kennedy survived – and waited ten hours to report the accident to authorities. The events of that night forever marked the senator who wrote in his autobiography he was “haunted” by Chappaquiddick observing, “Atonement is a process that never ends.” The scandal and mystery continue to shock and intrigue us nearly 50 years after it first happened.

Cover-Up premiered last month on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play. It is produced by Christina Everett, Meredith Corporation, in conjunction with Cadence13. I’ve listened to the first two episodes and they’re riveting. There are seven episodes in all (a new one drops tomorrow). And if you think you know the story of what happened at Chappaquiddick, think again.

Liz began working on the project last fall after the idea to re-examine the events of Chappaquiddick and its aftermath was selected from a number of pitches made by the editors at PEOPLE. “My first reaction was it’s too complicated,” said Liz as we tucked into our chicken paillard.

But, as is her wont, Liz began methodically digging into the story determined to talk to anyone who could shed light on what happened. She has spoken to over 50 people including family members, law enforcement officials, and witnesses and pored over 1000 pages of legal documents. Liz told me she’s set up a “make-shift war room” with storyboards that often times remind her “of Carrie Mathison’s boards on Homeland.” Said Liz, “There are more questions than answers.”

During Liz’s first visit to Martha’s Vineyard in January, the winter’s chill and the dense fog which enveloped the island only added to the eerie atmosphere of a small town which will forever be synonymous with the tragedy. She found locals were more than willing to revisit the events of the past. “They took me out to the bridge. It’s like a ramp. Now there’s a railing but it’s like this high,” she said holding her hand a few inches off the table. “To understand the story you have to understand there’s a ‘T’ in the road. A left takes you to the ferry; right goes to the bridge. Ted said he intended to go to the ferry and yet he ends up on the bridge, and for that, you have to make an intentional right turn,” said Liz.

Because the events happened so long ago, Liz told me she quickly came to realize that reporting the story was “a race against time” because “Several people I wanted to interview have died in the last few months.”

Kopechne’s parents are dead, but her cousin Georgetta Potoski has been instrumental in putting the pieces together in getting a clearer picture of who the ill-fated young woman was.  “Mary Jo was considered a footnote,” she told me. “[Her family] wants her story to be told.” Liz said the Kennedy family has also been made “aware” of the podcast and its subject matter.

Having been a print reporter for so long, I asked Liz what it was like working in a different medium. “The podcast is an oral history. This story lent itself to that.” In fact, I found listening to the key players who were there the night in question, adds a heft and credibility to a story that has been mythologized to the point that no one knows what is fact and what is fiction anymore. “There are so much people don’t know,” said Liz. “This case has left an imprint on the country."

In July of 1969, the country was still reeling from the violent death of Robert F. Kennedy 13 months before. In fact, the party on Chappaquiddick which Ted Kennedy and Kopechne had attended was for staffers who had worked for RFK, as Kopechne did. “She was not a secretary,” said Liz. “She was devoted to RFK and typed his declaration to run for president. She was devastated by Bobby’s assassination.”

In the shadow of the Kennedy legend, Chappaquiddick is, when you listen to the podcast, the story of a small town which was completely unprepared to handle an event like this involving America’s most famous family. “The immense losses the Kennedys have endured are unimaginable,” said Liz. In one of the episodes I’ve listened to, Chief Jim Arena, now 88, says that he does not know why he didn’t ask specific questions of Kennedy in the aftermath of the accident and admits the family’s celebrity and influence absolutely altered the course of the investigation.

“It’s like a labyrinth,” said Liz. “There are layers upon layers upon layers.” The smallest detail, she explained (I’m not revealing any spoilers, so I’m not going into specifics) depends on two factors: what the individual (thinks) they saw and what their agenda could be. Why did Kennedy wait ten hours to report Kopechne’s death? Was she alive when he emerged from the water and left the scene? Was there someone else with them? These are all questions addressed by various sources interviewed on the podcast and some of their answers will shock you.

Trust me when I tell you, this podcast paints a picture of the events of Chappaquiddick nothing on the printed page ever could.  Liz is currently writing the fifth episode. “I don’t know how it’s going to end yet,” she said. “But I hope that by hearing the voices of the people who lived through it, we can get closer to the truth.”


Scene & Heard Around the Room

Peter Brown on Table Four … Discovery ID’s Henry Schleiff with a squadron of suits we didn’t recognize. Anyone? … Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Andy Bergman at their usual perch on Table Six … PR maven Susan Blond on Seven … New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia who, so we’re told, will be the subject of a new documentary. The cameramen were everywhere today. They even wanted to go in and take a look at the ladies room (I doubt David has even been in there, but evidently to see the photographs on the wall). Never a dull moment on a Wednesday at Michael’s!

And There’s More …

MediaVillage founder Jack Myers on Eleven … Producer John Hart on Twelve. Long time no see! … Sofia Coppola on Table Fourteen.  Did you see her latest film, The Beguiled? Sexy and spooky. I loved it! … United Stations Radio’s Nick Verbitsky at his favorite table, Sixteen … Jack Kliger who told me he just this minute sold British Heritage Travel to an Irish (!) media company.

A little birdie told me the reason the Garden Room was closed today was because the North American Meat Institute was hosting a private luncheon. According to someone in the know, the group’s bylaws prohibited them from serving any alcohol to their guests who included industry bigwig Suzanne Strassburger who goes by the name "Suzie Sirloin".  I kid you not.

See you at Michael’s next week!