Sunday, January 14, 2018

Wednesdays at Michael's by Diane Clehane

Alec Baldwin, Star Jones and The Return of the Faithful 

Diane Clehane & Daisy Goodwin

Happy New Year! Having been away from Michael’s for almost a month between the holidays and one stubborn flu bug, I decided to forego my usual weekly ‘Lunch’ interview and instead make the rounds in the dining room to catch up with my favorite regulars and see what they’ve got going for 2018. Boy, was I glad I did. The usual suspects were out in full force with plenty of news to talk about. Much more on that later …

I do, however, have a ‘Lunch’ interview to share this week that turned into a phone interview at the end of December when both my daughter and I were sick at home at the same time which was just so much fun. Author Daisy Goodwin and I were supposed to meet at 55th and Fifth when she was last in town from London to talk about Victoria, whose second season premieres this Sunday night at 9 pm ET on PBS Masterpiece and the new official companion book, Victoria & Albert A Royal Love Affair (St. Martin’s Press), that she wrote with journalist Sara Sheridan.

Daisy and I ‘Lunched’ at Michael’s last year (that’s when the photo with her in this week’s column was taken) when the show debuted here on PBS in the states simultaneously with her book of the same name. I marveled at how anyone could write novel and a television show at the same time. And, even more amazing, both were deliciously romantic, gracefully done and full of wit. I couldn’t wait for season two to find out more about Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) and Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) and the dashing Lord Melbourne played by Rufus Sewell whose chemistry with Jenna Coleman (Victoria) in season one nearly melted down my television. Yes, I still watch shows on television.

When I rang The Whitby Hotel (where, apparently, everyone British in entertainment stays these days) to speak to Daisy she told me she was thrilled that “there had been so much enthusiasm” for the series to warrant a second season which chronicles Victoria and Albert’s marriage and how the couple deal with balancing their royal duties and personal lives. By all accounts, the couple had a tempestuous relationship and the series depicts it in ways that give interesting insights into both Victoria’s and Albert’s personalities. “As their relationship evolves, it’s hard for both of them,” Daisy told me. “After the birth [of their first child] Victoria’s [dependence] on her mother strains her relationship with Albert.”

A central storyline to the second season is how Albert copes with being an ‘outsider’ married to the Queen. “There is prejudice against him because he’s German,” explained Daisy. “And English was not his first language.” She also told me that in researching both the book and the series, Daisy found the prince to be “very underrated” because “he was pretty much a genius.” (He brought plumbing to Buckingham Palace!) This made it all the more difficult for him to be a “husband who was not master of his house” at a time in history when “women were their husband’s property.”

When Daisy told me, “I’m amazed at how little people know about Victoria and Albert,” I assumed she was talking about our own reality-show obsessed culture that considers last year ancient history, but what she said next really shocked me. Turns out it’s the Americans, not the Brits who know more about the history of the royal couple – but it’s a very specific group. “The Masterpiece audience is extremely literate.” Indeed.

Speaking of the written word, I told Daisy I love the companion book full of rich and fascinating detail that goes beyond Victoria and Albert themselves and all historical aspects of the period. It also includes interviews with the cast and a behind the scenes look at various aspects of the production including the sets and the costumes that are sure to delight the show’s many fans.

But first and foremost, said Daisy, Victoria and Albert is a great love story. “It’s a timeless story that could have been a marriage of convenience, but was one of great passion between two very different individuals. They had huge rows.”

This season that passion is front and center in the series – and ‘Lord M’ makes a return. “Rufus is fabulous. We’re very very lucky to have him back,” she said.

Daisy wrote two best-sellers before she penned Victoria and this is her first television series. I asked her now that’s she been doing television for a while, which is more rewarding. “I love hearing people say my words. There is no greater thrill. Sometimes it makes me very emotional.”

Before we said our good-byes, I had to ask her what she thought of Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle. “It’s fantastic,” she told me. “There’s no doubt there’s a lot of love there,” but she warns, “The British press is a nightmare.” I guess we’ll have to wait a while to see how the historians treat the history-making royal couple.

Seen & Heard Around the Room

Judy Twersky, Diane Clehane & Lisa Lockwood

I was thrilled to see two of my favorite people, PR maven Judy Twersky and WWD’s Lisa Lockwood in the dining room and they kindly invited me to join them. I hadn’t seen either of them since Mickey Ateyeh’s lunch for me in this very dining room to celebrate the launch of my first novel, "Imagining Diana". But I digress.

These two power gals were meeting to talk about the myriad of PR projects Judy is juggling at the moment which include HBO’s, The Number on Great-Grandpa’s arm, a documentary short which will debut on January 26th and Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s new book, Love Your Age: The Small Step Solution To A Better, Longer, Happier Life (National Geographic/AARP) which comes out next month and Sherman Yellen’s touching memoir Spotless: Memories of a New York Childhood (Moreclacke). If you’ve got a hot book, Judy should be your go-to publicist. Just ask Sheila Nevins and Chris Whipple.

Joan Kron, also a client of Judy’s, celebrated her 90th birthday with a brunch here at Michael’s on Sunday. Judy told me Joan got “the best birthday present ever” when her new film, Take My Nose ... Please, a documentary which explores plastic surgery through the eyes of female comedians, was featured in Tuesday’s Times’ television section under streaming recommendations. You can catch it on demand and on itunes and amazon. Don’t miss it!

Busy Judy is also working with Victoria Shaffer, (Paul’s daughter) producer of “Extra Innings with Bill Murray and Brian Doyle-Murray” on Facebook Watch. Paul wrote the show’s theme with Bill and Brian. Victoria makes her ‘dancing’ debut on the sixth episode! Victoria is also the production coordinator of David Letterman’s new Netflix series. And Lisa, who is one of the fashion industry’s most respected journalists, has some interesting stories in the works, so stay tuned.

Star Jones, Dennis Basso and Diane Clehane

After I dined and dished with Judy and Lisa, I stopped by Star Jones and Dennis Basso’s table to say hello. I have known Star since her days on The View, I have to tell you she has never looked better. Today I found out why. Big News: now living in Chicago, Star is engaged to Richard Lugo (the date is top secret at the moment) and is loving her work as spokesperson for International Association of Women. Star told me the organization, previously the National Association of Professional Women, has just gone global. Today was her second fitting on her wedding dress, which Dennis is designing, of course. Dennis’ designs are always exquisite and he’s sure to make Star shine on the big day. It was a lot of fun catching up with them.

And there’s more … BDA PartnersEuan Rellie was hosting some colleagues on Table One … Actress Brenda Vaccaro and fashionista Mickey Ateyeh, who is off to California, were lunching on Table Two … Dan Abrams and Brian Kilmeade were on Three.

Alec Baldwin, who spent a lot of time on his cell phone with a ‘suit’ we didn’t know on Four. An exec from ABC perhaps? … Producer Jean Doumanian, who stopped by to say hello to Brenda and Mickey when I was chatting with them on Five … Andrew Stein on Six … New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia on Eight … Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew with 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl on Alice’s usual Table Fourteen. Has Lesley got a new book in the works? I wonder …

I also got say a quick hello to attorney Bob Barnett and John Miller who were on Table Fifteen and check in with British Heritage Travel’s CEO Jack Kliger on Eighteen … LAK PR’s CEO Lisa Linden introduced me to “the best event planner in the city” Melanie McEvoy on Table Seventeen … The ‘two Joans’ – producer Joan Gelman and the grand dame of radio, Joan Hamburg were catching up on Table Twenty …And advertising guru Martin Puris was on Table Twenty-Four .

Who says nothing happens in January?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Press Release About Marilyn Kirschner

The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show Returns to NYC February 2nd & 3rd

Vintage Courreges vinyl coat & vintage Pierre Cardin bag
The Marilyn Kirschner Collection
Press Release:
Contact: Ashley Lutzker at AMP3 PR

This season’s featured exhibit is pulled directly from the archives of Marilyn Kirschner New York, NY—The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show, NYC’s premier vintage shopping event, makes its Winter return to the Metropolitan Pavilion on February 2nd & 3rd, with a special shoppable exhibit curated by lifelong vintage collector and former Harper’s Bazaar Fashion Editor and current editor of, Marilyn Kirschner. The exhibit will display a 30-piece collection pulled from her personal archives.

New York Times 2001 Bill Cunningham On the Street Column "The Color of Money"
Click image for full size view

Marilyn Kirschner is a fashion icon and industry leader. As the editor-in-chief of popular online publication, Marilyn has made her mark as a preeminent voice in fashion. She understood the power of vintage long before it hit the mainstream and continues to lead the way in determining trends and defining style. Her remarkable eye for fashion began at an early age when Kirschner would go thrifting and vintage shopping to create her own unique looks. Over the years, Kirschner has made regular appearances in Bill Cunningham’s most noted columns in The New York Times, “On the Street”, and “Evening Hours”. As a noted muse of Cunningham’s, Kirschner was even the subject of an entire 18 picture “On the Street” column in the Times in 2001, entitled ‘The Color of Money (In the Bank)’. This season’s exhibit will be especially noteworthy,as many of the items shown were purchased by Kirschner over the past 25 years at the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show.

“For me, it’s all about the serendipity of the shopping experience and at this show you just know you will never be disappointed, nor will you walk away empty handed. I am avowedly an equal opportunity shopper, and when I looked over my collection and thought of the amazing pieces I have amassed over the years, I can honestly say that many, if not most of my most treasured pieces were purchased at one of these shows,” says vintage icon, Marilyn Kirschner. “I’m so honored and excited to be the focus of this season’s exhibit, and to be opening up my collection to other vintage enthusiasts.”

Kirschner says the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show is so special and unique because of, “the dizzying variety, amazing assortment, and the perfectly curated mix of top notch dealers,” and her advice for show visitors,“Don’t be bogged down by trends, they’re so overrated. What’s good is always good, and everything comes back in style anyway. It’s not about what is deemed ‘in’ or ‘it’ by so called experts. It’s about what appeals to you.”

Vintage Bonnie Cashin coat
The Marilyn Kirschner Collection

Launched in 1992, the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show is now the largest, and oldest, vintage apparel & accessories show in the country. Featuring top vendors from around the world, it has become a true shopping mecca for fashion & costume designers and vintage fashion lovers alike.

Silver necklace vintage 1970 by Givenchy and Alisei 1980's orange silk pouf skirt
The Marilyn Kirschner Collection

Hosting 70+ vendors, Manhattan Vintage will produce an event full of vintage finds that explore the decades of fashion. This season will see a number of new vendors including Lucinda From Portobello— selling chic designer fashion and high style vintage from London, and True Vintage Eyewear —with an authentic range of vintage frames from certified optometrists. Staple vendors will also be returning to celebrate their shared love for vintage, including Cherry Vintage, Another Man’s Treasure, What Was Is Vintage, BUIS and Whistles, Swanee GRACE, La Poubelle Vintage, and many more.

Bill Blass for Bond Street 1970 striped trench with vintage floral glass necklace
The Marilyn Kirschner Collection

The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show will be open at the Metropolitan Pavilion on Friday, February 2nd (1pm to 8pm) and Saturday, February 3rd (11am-6pm). To learn more about the Manhattan Vintage Show, or for any press related inquiries, please contact Ashley Lutzker at AMP3 PR via 646-827-9594 or  .

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

New York Fashion Cool-Aid® by Laurel Marcus

Diving into Vintage -- A Panel of Pros Instructs How

Cameron Silver, Decades; David Casavant, Stylist & Collector; Bridgette Morphew, Co-Founder, Morphew; Katherine Zarella; Founder, Fashion Unfiltered
Photo: Laurel Marcus: Click images for full size view

Whether you're a neophyte vintage shopper just dangling your toes in the pool or a seasoned pro swimming merrily in the deep end, the panel discussion I attended yesterday at the Javits Center's Vintage @ Intermezzo (Jan.7-9) had something to get you in the water. Led by Fashion Unfiltered's Katherine Zarella, panelists included Bridgette Morphew of Morphew Vintage, Cameron Silver, founder of L.A.'s famed vintage boutique Decades and fashion director of H by Halston, and David Casavant, stylist and collector. As someone who's relatively new to collecting vintage, I thought I'd go and soak up some knowledge as well as check out the select group of vintage sellers.

Vintage @ Intermezzo display

."How do we view and consume vintage differently than we did 20 years ago?" asked Zarella. All panelists agreed that the internet has created a more knowledgeable customer as well as more accessibility to vintage fashion however Silver feels that vintage should be experienced firsthand. Years ago "vintage was inaccessible and for 'poor people,'" he said, however times have changed. "How do we keep that sense of discovery one experiences in a brick and mortar store? We don't want to lose the mystery of surprising the customer. Vintage is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I miss the old days -- making myself seem vintage.As the name Decades suggests, clothing items featured include those from the '30's right up to what he terms "Neovintage" -- clothing from 10-15 years ago, all mixed together.

Vintage is often used for designer inspiration with houses like Morphew supplying a showroom for browsing and buying. "Designers use vintage for production to show or communicate an idea. They use it for shapes, pattern making and even for prints of fabrics from the past. Sometimes they'll even pull full Pantone colors from a dress," she explained. "Vintage is the opposite of fast fashion with silhouettes coming from the '50s seen at the Golden Globes Dior-style. The old used to inspire the new." Casavant said that "it's less the idea that it's vintage and more that it's mixing -- if you're young vintage doesn't feel old if you've never seen it before." He also thinks that there's less of a stigma in attributing design inspiration and referencing older things than there used to be. Silver agreed: "If you're a 16-year-old, then that 3-4 year old Stella piece is one-quarter of your life. To them it's just great sh*t!" I am left wondering how many 16-year-olds frequent/ purchase anything at his high-end store? As far as designers buying items for creativity it happens less often now. "Buyers used to have a big budget. Now they just show a tear sheet instead of the actual garment," he added.

According to Silver, you create value with vintage as quality matters as opposed to disposable fast fashion and (shudder) Rent the Runway -- which he names as "two of the biggest threats to our business but we can all live together. People need to own their glorious memories (rather than just renting them or throwing them away). At Decades we have things from happy moments in a person's life." He later told a story about recently widowed "Maria" who consigned the black Chantilly lace dress that she met her husband in. "It sold to Tom Ford and he redid it for Gucci. Perhaps someone met their husband or their husband for a night in that dress," he quipped."Vintage reminds people what it's like to have a visceral connection to clothing."

What of the celebrity on the red carpet? "What inspires celebs to wear vintage?" asked Zarella. Who better to answer than Decades owner Silver whose store was pretty much ground zero for dressing Hollywood award show attendees. "Celebrities used to buy clothing but it's much more difficult now. Their ability to get everything for free has infiltrated purchasing and really screwed up retail. Last night was a renewal of what the red carpet is about," he said referring to Sunday night's Globes. "It was an effortless, less commercialized version. People wanted to own and look like themselves the way it used to be. It was about artists not show ponies. Zoe Kravitz was flawless, Viola Davis had a '70s moment, Sarah Jessica Parker had a '50s moment -- all vintage inspired and iconic. Back in the day people like Nan Kempner and CZ Guest wore clothes over and over again. It's ok to repeat, to be simple and style yourself. We've had 15 years of cupcake dressing -- this was a moment of timeless, effortless elegance."

When it comes to luxury fashion how do you know what to buy to have it increase in value? Silver recommends buying those pieces that "got away" which you'll sometimes see at Woodbury Commons. "If you see something that was on the runway at 70% off, buy it -- as long as it's not butt ugly." Casavant recommends buying samples from shows that weren't produced or were one of a kind or one of a few. "Buy things that speak to you. Stick to your instincts and your viewpoint."

Any advice for first time vintage buyers? Casavant says just do it. "The more you buy the more you get informed. Don't over think it," he cautions. "I bought a lot overpriced and a lot under priced -- it all works out in the end so don't get too bogged down. When buying for her showroom Morphew looks for originality. "If it's something I haven't seen before or haven't seen often I'll buy it. I'm always looking for thing that I don't normally see." Guidelines for the vintage newbie according to Silver: "If you love it and can afford it and it's in good condition, buy it." He recalls his first vintage purchase in 1987 of a tuxedo with tails for $75 which he wore to his high school prom and eventually donated to LACMA along with his men's archive. Other words of wisdom from Silver: "With vintage your tailor is more important than your therapist, your dry cleaner is more important than your lover."

A word about vintage pricing and what determines it ended the discussion. According to Morphew when she buys something she considers not only the design and label but who is the customer. "My co-founder and I try to think of five different companies that would want it. It's like the stock market with vintage. Sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's not." Casavants wisely remarks that "the value is whatever someone would pay for it." Silver points out that the customer is now so informed that they will spot something on 1st Dibs that they already own being offered at a ridiculous price so they think the piece that they own is worth that. "I tell them it's been on for five years and it's not going anywhere -- there's priced to sell or priced to dream." Morphew chimed in that the pieces don't just bring themselves to her showroom particularly on the occasion when a customer says they've seen an item for less somewhere in their travels. "I tell them buy it at Telluride. You pay for the curation of a product and for having it now."

And with that I went off in search of my next vintage fix, awaiting the thrill of discovery of my newest old treasure.

- Laurel Marcus