Tuesday, August 14, 2018

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Cheap Thrills: August Edition!

Who amongst us doesn’t love a bargain? Once again, I have reprised my "Cheap Thrills" column where I feature a group of items in the market and show their high priced version along with their (far) less expensive doppelganger (or a reasonable facsimile) which are, in most cases, a fraction of the cost of the originals. If it appears that all of the inexpensive pieces are from Zara, it should not be surprising given how successful they have been with keeping their fingers on the pulse of fashion and creating affordable fashion. Their ad campaigns are always superb and right on the money and their most recent, for fall/winter 2018, is no exception featuring photography by Steven Meisel and films by Fabien Baron. Is it any wonder that Amancio Ortega, the founder, and owner, has been named the third richest person in the world?

Click images for full-size views:

Rick Owens over-the-knee sock sneakers, $1126 (reduced from $1877) More info/purchase; Zara over-the-knee fabric sneakers, $89.90 More info/purchase

Ermanno Scervino tartan blazer, $2053 More info/purchase ; Zara tartan blazer, $149 More info/purchase

Isabel Marant silver-toned crystal drop earrings, $520 More info/ purchase; Zara silver-toned crystal drop earrings, $25.90 More info/purchase

Joseph gray Grimaud Prince of Wales checked blazer, $472.50 (reduced from $945) More info/purchase; Zara gray plaid blazer, $129. More info/purchase

Alice + Olivia Kidman silver sequined jacket, $895. More info/purchase Zara silver sequined hooded sweatshirt, $49.90. More info/purchase

Vintage Chanel tweed 4 pocketed jacket and skirt ensemble, $4847.57. More info/purchase Zara black and white tweed jacket and skirt ensemble, $189.90. Zara jacket, $149. More info/purchase Zara plaid mini skirt, $49.90 More info/purchase

Saint Laurent Meurice black suede high heeled boots with fringe. $1895. More info/purchase Zara black suede high heeled boots with fringe, $199.90 More info/purchase Jimmy Choo Brandon white leather and stretch Ponte ankle boots, $895.

Jimmy Choo Brandon white leather and stretch Ponte ankle boots, $895 More info/purchase  Zara white leather stiletto heeled ankle boots, $129. More info/purchase

Emilia Wickstead snake print silk crepe de chine maxi dress, $1780. More info/purchase Zara snakeskin printed shirt dress, $119. More info/purchase

Vintage YSL Goossens gold toned fossil necklace, $488.67. More info/purchase Zara irregular shapes gold necklace, $29.90. More info/purchase

Preen Line Kara asymmetric scarf printed crepe de chine midi dress, $655 More info/purchase Zara belt printed tunic dress, $99.90 More info/purchase

Balenciaga neon pink fitted ribbed sweater, $895. More info/purchase Zara neon pink ribbed turtleneck sweater, $35.90. More info/purchase

By the way, either one of the above would be a perfect accent color to wear if you are planning to attend the cocktail reception on September 6th, in honor of the opening of the Museum at FIT’s exhibition, “Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color”, curated by Dr. Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at FIT (it runs from September 7, 2018 – January 5, 2019). The exhibition, comprised of approximately 80 ensembles (dating from the 18th century to the present), is devoted entirely to a hue that through history, has been “the most divisive of colors” and has admittedly provoked “strong feelings of both attraction and repulsion.”

- Marilyn Kirschner

Friday, August 10, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Ballet and Fashion Merge at the Gibney Theater Opening

Herve Pierre
All photos Lieba Nesis - Click images for full-size views 

The Tabula Rasa Dance Theater held its opening performance of "Ex Umbra In Solem" translated as "From The Shadow Into The Light" at the Gibney Theater at 280 Broadway from 8-9:30 PM on August 9th. The program manifested the violence that has forced millions of people out of their homeland by depicting the difficult and dark journey refugees are forced to encounter.

Dancer Sevin Ceviker 

Dramatic and dark, the first dance piece entitled "Animula, Vagula, Blandula" set to music by Max Richter and danced exquisitely by Sevin Ceviker explored the dual nature of the human body which is both animalistic and noble. Artistic Director and Choreographer, Felipe Escalante, delved into the physicality of emotion, the reality of death and the self-destruction of civilization.

Choreographer Felipe Escalante 

After a brief pause the World Premiere of "Ex Umbra In Solem" further probed the consequences of religious divisiveness and intolerance that has led to devastating desensitization throughout civilization. Moreover, the piece manifested the complete inability of society to even recognize the expressions and gestures in other people's faces and bodies because of the addiction to technological devices.

Amy Fine Collins and Joanna Fisher

The drama of the dance movements was enhanced by the costumes most of which were by Geoffrey Beene with the addition of designers Adolfo, and Christian Lacroix. The utilization of top designers was no surprise as the fashion icon and Special Correspondent to Vanity Fair, Amy Fine Collins, was the Executive Producer of the show. Amy was dressed impeccably, as usual, in a floor-length white and red Geoffrey Beene gown. Amy was a muse of Geoffrey Beene until his death in 2004 possessing the perfect lean silhouette for his simple, comfortable designs. Amy brought along a host of her illustrious friends for the evening including stylist extraordinaire Freddie Leiba, legendary publicist Jonathan Marder, renowned costume designer William Ivey Long and philanthropist and patron of the arts, Joanna Fisher.

Herve Pierre and Joanna Fisher 

Also in attendance in a suit with a flower attached and a thick French accent was legendary designer Herve Pierre. Herve has skyrocketed to fame as the stylist for Melania Trump who designed her breathtaking inaugural gown. Pierre does all the styling and shopping for the First Lady painstakingly researching the appropriate dress for each occasion. When Melania was traveling to London, she saw a green J. Mendel princess dress that she loved, so Herve asked Mendel to make it in pale yellow because that was the Queen's favorite color.

Dino Korca, Joanna Fisher, Freddie Leiba and Jon Marder 

Herve had dressed former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush when he worked at Oscar de la Renta and Michelle Obama when he was Creative Director at Carolina Herrera for 15 years. He described Melania as extremely private and said he valued her input and fashion sense. Pierre was mostly unfamiliar with Melania until two weeks before the inauguration when she called him at 7:30 AM to design a dress for the big event. Pierre has been to the White House so many times he has lost count. Pierre slept at the White House for three days to design the famous white hat Melania wore with the Macron's with Melania initially ambivalent to don the hat until she decided "to go for it." This was one of Pierre's favorite looks along with the blue Ralph Lauren inaugural outfit and the yellow Ralph Lauren sweater and jacket coupled with a brown leather skirt Pierre designed.

Some guests 

He noted that an item sells out within two hours after Melania wears it. When I asked if he was ambivalent about dressing the First Lady due to the controversy surrounding her Pierre replied: "hey this is not brain surgery it's fashion." Pierre has started an eponymous label of 24 dresses, 12 which will be available in December and the other 12 which will go on sale in June. Moreover, the dress he designed for Melania when meeting Queen Rania of Jordan will be available at Bergdorf's in November. When I asked Pierre what made a woman a great dresser, he replied "confidence"- something the First Lady unequivocally possesses.

After a brief cocktail party where champagne and desserts were served guests were told the performance space would be imminently closing. Many headed home to prepare for their summer weekend as I headed to restaurant Il Mulino with Joanna Fisher and Jon Marder to recount the exciting evening we had just experienced.

- Lieba Nesis

Thursday, August 09, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Narciso Gets Feted by the Fashion Elite

Designs by Narciso Rodriquez
All photos Lieba Nesis -Click images for full-size views

It's 4 PM on a scorching hot Wednesday in the middle of August-it is safe to say not many people are left in New York. However, if you are legend Narciso Rodriguez and have a host of fans in the form of incredibly stylish and sophisticated ladies of New York-then all bets are off. The afternoon a "Sip and Shop" event was a precursor to the FIT Couture Council luncheon which will take place on Wednesday, September 5th. The luncheon which will be held at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center is one of the premier fashion events of the year gathering the who's who of fashion ranging from heavyweights Linda Fargo and Anna Wintour to Martha Stewart and Glenda Bailey.

Paola Bacchini, Jean Shafiroff, Narciso Rodriquez, Maria Fishel and Kamie Lightburn 

The past years have honored Valentino, Ralph Rucci, Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld and Dries Van Noten. On this afternoon, a small sampling of those who love fashion and its elite designers gathered at Barney's including Jean Shafiroff, Maria Fishel, Kamie Lightburn, Paola Bacchini, Yaz Hernandez and Susan Gutfreund. These ladies love to do good and look good while they are doing it.  There were cocktails and treats for those who were hungry, but mostly the crowd was there to experience the designs of Narciso who is the father of minimalism and pared down elegance; someone, who counts fashion icons Julianna Margulies, Claire Danes and Sarah Jessica Parker as significant clients.

Narciso is an American designer who was born in New Jersey and attended the Parsons School of Design. The seminal moment in Narciso's career and in the world of fashion was the unveiling of the Carolyn Bessette Kennedy wedding dress on September 21,1996. The simplicity of the bias-cut silk slip dress perfectly fitted to the swanlike Bessette was a watershed moment in fashion. A superstar celebrity bride choosing a slip dress for an opulent wedding was previously unheard of. Bessette remains a fashion icon and more than a few celebrities have attempted to repeat her style.

Meghan Markle, who is a big fan of the understated Bessette, chose a wedding gown similar in concept to the Narciso one-but missed the "mark" (no pun intended). The Narciso dress was the perfect choice for a small under the radar wedding off the coast of Georgia. When your royal wedding is being broadcast to over a billion people worldwide with over $34 million being spent a grander design is necessary. Moreover, unlike the perfect craftsmanship of Narciso's gown, Clare Waight Keller's dress for Meghan was loose at the bodice and had more of the feel of a straitjacket as opposed to Narciso's flowing silhouette.

Jean Shafiroff wearing Narciso 

Following the Bessette wedding, Narciso went from working at Anne Klein, Calvin Klein and Nino Cerutti to establishing his eponymous label in 1997-and the rest is fashion history. His fashion shows draw the elite of the fashion world with every major editor clamoring for a front seat to his exclusive shows. Narciso won the CFDA Best Designer of the Year Award in 2004 and 2005 and as recently as 2018 was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the CFDA dinner.

Narciso is one of the kindest, gentlest and most humble men I have met. Perhaps, this is his secret to remaining atop the fickle fashion pyramid for more than twenty years. Michelle Obama wore a black and red Narciso for election night in 2008 and then concluded her tenure as the First Lady with a red Narciso for her final speech in 2017. Obama even hosted National Design Award Winner Rodriguez for a luncheon at the White House in 2014. It is evident that Obama appreciated the perfectly executed and delicate design of a Narciso dress-ensuring that the recipient "will be wearing the dress, instead of the dress wearing you."

- Lieba Nesis