Getting a Scents of Fashion Week

A mere week before New York Fashion Week kicks into gear (offsite shows start today, with MBFW’s Lincoln Center tents’ venue runway-ready tomorrow), Elements Showcase, last week’s scent trade show held Monday and Tuesday on 10th Avenue, felt more like a gallery crawl, as essential oils, candles and soaps affected a decidely artistic, even artisanal attitude. An elegant venue, the showcase highlighted exhibitors for press and buyers in what turned out to be a very serene, low key staging.
Wild crafting was the term du jour, as exhibitors spoke of essential oils, plant life and foraging. Even the skin care product line Liftlab Skin Regeneration focused on nature and plants, touting the scientific discovery of animal and plant life ability to protect themselves from a harsh environment with a secret protein that the company is pioneering as a way to combat “progressive aging.” Yes, please, sign me up!

Belle Fleur‘s new classic floral scented soaps, above, and its latest, the beautiful regal rose candle collection, below.
 The requisite barbershop. Seems like every trade show recently has been offering straight edge shaves. Why is it the guys always luck out?!

 Boadicea the Victorious‘ alluring bottle is finished with British pewter engraved with Celtic knot work.

Andrea Maack created a wall of her artwork, cut into perfume test strips, which were then sprayed with the viewer’s favorite scent or combo’d layering. Each was signed and numbered.

 Cire Trudon‘s gorgeous atomizer lent Old World charm.
One of Joya‘s beautiful special edition scents; they also create slip-cast porcelain for perfume oil, candles and soap trays.
21 drops‘ portable aromatherapy addressed insomnia, digestive issues and cravings, all in a cute building block packaging.

Kirstie Alley Walks as Zang Toi’s Imperial Queen

Zang Toi brought “My Dream of North Africa” to life Tuesday, with a rich and powerful collection that brought the audience to its feet for the finale as former “Dancing With The Stars” contestant Kirstie Alley sashayed down the runway.
Toi’s own African Queen stoically rocked a sapphire imperial gown and jewel-encrusted coverling that the designer deemed the “One Thousand Nights and One Night” coat. And she didn’t fall once.

 His men’s wear was sharp and luxe: an ivory dupioni silk evening suit, a sapphire velvet robe over a tux shirt and bow tie, a silk desert caftan with French trim and embroidery. Zang dreamed big…and delivered.

Werewolf in Manhattan

A true man’s-man collection of basics any real guy would want and need, Perry Ellis Spring 2012 was underscored by the designer lumberjack-attired (his words, GQ online interview) werewolf-hottie John Manganiello, who plays sexy Alcide in HBO’s True Blood series and was seated front row. It was almost hard to recognize him, what with his shirt on and all (he’s normally naked or practically so each week).
Manganiello scrutinized and contemplated the clothes that Perry Ellis designer John Crocco sent out — desert neutrals and soft summer shades worked into slim safari suits, peacoats and windbreakers worn with drawstring linen blend pants, jeans and capris. Knits were standard Ellis signature fare, rich in cabled texture and comprehensible pops of muted color.
The finale of desert floral swim trunks looped together the muted hues and the pops of pattern — and as bare chested models en masse walked the one trend that “Alcide” might be mostly likely to rock on the show, it looked like Manganiello might be turning from werewolf into wear-wolf. After all, it was a full moon.

Hurricane Irene? What Hurricane Irene?!!!

Of course, I joke. 
We are definitely getting more prepared than putting on our pretty bright and happy summer dresses over here in the East Village.
Water prep. Check. 
I’ve been filling our mason jars (actually, spaghetti jars left over from P’s beloved marina sauce) for the past couple days from our RO filter. Trying to get good pure, reverse osmosis filtered water, and be EC at the same time. In other words, not buy the plastic bottled water from the big corporation brands.
We’re even filling out tub, just in case.

And naturally, we had to stock up on canned goods (mostly P’s choice of soups, etc.) and I got to throw some dried fruits with bags of nuts into the mix. We’re also stocked up on pasta, quinoa, brown rice and soba since we’ve got a gas stove. Just in case we lose electric.
We’re off to get my winter clothing bins from my storage cellar at the old apartment. Afraid that area will flood and I can’t afford to lose my entire winter wardrobe. At least, not days before New York Fashion Week! Again, I jest, but only slightly. 
Sally forth in safety, dear readers. Can’t wait to say “Good night, Irene,” to this one!

Endless Summer at a Lonely Beach

 Sandy Hook was deserted near our spot at the (bayside) beach last Saturday.

Makes you empathize with all those kids going back to school today. I almost am experiencing that b-t-s jittery anxiety and fear myself, something one of my friends pointed out to me this morning.
Oh. No! That’s not it. 
It’s only Mercedes Benz Fashion Week anticipation! Which throws its own kind of back-to-school shade, when you think of it.
See you at Lincoln Center soon….

Caviar Cravings, Tax Time Savings? It’s Time for HighLow Style

Yes, I admit it. My name is Kim and I’m a shop-a-holic. I’m totally Champagne taste on a tap water budget, and recently I’ve been so great and on the wagon — a really dry diet of inexpensive thrift fashion and recycled clothing.

But I’m coming down off of NYC Fashion Week last month, a horrendous winter of nothing but layers, layers and, oh yeah, more layers and just recently, work on a project involving luxury brands. Meaning? I am jonesing for something spring-like, pretty, on-trend and NEW. Emphasis on new. Never-been-worn. And preferably, shoes or a leather jacket. Platform Christian Louboutin Praia espadrilles and a shrunken washed leather Rick Owen or All Saint’s jacket, to be exact.

Now. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been trying to stave off a relapse by holding daily shopping meetings at my few fav EV thrifty places, like AuH20 Thriftique, helmed by the lovely Kate Goldwater, and Village Style, which is rockin’ a great Austin, TX., or Ralph Lauren-inspired window these days, below….

But my thrift addictions have gotten the better of me. And since Sunday, with my friend in town from Sweden in tow and a crazed expression spreading on my face and a giddy feeling emanating from my gut since Top Shop, I started sprinkling in some mass-consumption reconnoitering at all those biggies who are democratizing fashion. You know the ones.  I really lost it at Zara, where I realized I had to have the must-have ubiquitous short trench coat and then found the high-low style replacement ingredient to the shrunken Rick Owen jacket. And bought three. Plus a T-shirt for $40. A T-shirt. I had officially lost it.

It got worse. I found platform espadrilles at Forevs (in my case, we will now always refer to this shop as Forever 39. Hey. It works for me), and they were even comfortable! Then a wedgie fake-off of the Givenchy wrapped platform Fisherman Wedge stacker ($1,190 at Barneys!) in a dusty chocolate taupe that matched one of the “leathers.”

 The REAL Givenchy Fisherman Wedge

You might think I would’ve been done by then. But, oh no. You’d be wrong. At Strawberry’s, I came upon the Christian Louboutin-esque statuesque Praia-style espadrilles with the jute that becomes the back of the shoe heel. Okay, they’re too big, but I figure my feet will swell in the summer. Plus, P and I had pulled them up online that morning and they were $535 at Barneys. ‘Nuff said. I also snagged another “leather” shortie, this one even cheaper than the one’s from Zara.

The REAL Christian Louboutin Praia Espadrilles

So. Back home with my fashion porn, with shopper’s remorse creeping into my heart and the tristesse of knowing I have to pay my accountant before being able to pay Amex, I realized I will just have to return as many of these new clothes as possible. (Although, I’m definitely keeping one of the “leather” shorties, a bone sort of shade, which I plan to have serve as my trench coat fill-in for the season.)

Zara trench coat

Then yesterday, I saw this story on the Today Show, and I realized the true disease I have. Someone call AA — Aesthetics Anonymous! I am a shopping bulimic! I binge shop, out of control, and then, since I cannot afford it, purge by returning!

If only I could be an amnesiac shopping bulimic, where I binge but forget to return. Sigh.

But that would be a different ailment.

I think they call it rich.

I Heart Fashion Week

It’s official. 
Fashion Week starts today.
The Heart Truth show 2010, photo courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute  
Kicking off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center tonight at 7 p.m. the Heart Truth

unveils its Red Dress collection runway show on celebrity models like Suzanne Somers, Eve and other A-listers sashaying in scarlet gowns to lend their efforts to the cause: raising awareness of the number one killer of American women — heart disease.

Yes. We heart this show and everything it stands for. 

Who’s ready to watch your weight, lower your cholesterol levels and pump up the volume?!

More MBFW coverage as the week progresses.

Proenza Schouler Designers Keynote Speakers at IFB Blogging Conference

This Independent Fashion Bloggers‘ conference is turning into a Fashion Week extravaganza:

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the geniuses behind Proenza Schouler, will be the main and major speakers during this coming Fashion Week’s blogging conference at Milk studios in NYC (February 10-11, 2011).

Past conferences have included panel discussions with veteran fashion bloggers Susie Bubble, BrianBoy and Tavi, whose youth and insightful posts, to say nothing of her eclectic style, runway-impeding bow hats and collaboration with Jane Pratt, have put her on the fashion world’s map.

This conference will also feature workshops, panels and talks by Refinery29, Pretty Shiny Sparkly and Rachna Shah of PR/Production firm KCD.

Stay tuned. I’ll be there.

Will YOU?!

Change of Season, the East Village’s latest enchantment

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, indeed! There’s a magical new retail spot poised to cast its spell on the East Village. Change of Season, an upscale boutique ensconced in half of the old Enchantments witchcraft shop on East 9th Street, opened its doors for business this Fashion Week, conjuring up cool European designer duds for discount dollars. I dropped in about week ago on my friend and co-owner Clinton Curtis-Querci, who was putting the finishing touches on the adorable space. Clinton kindly showed me the tricks of his new trade: ethereally high fashion pieces from Vivienne Westwood, Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Margiela and Galliano, all lovingly curated from a season previous and all magically marked at 50 to 70% off normal boutique retail prices.

Clinton and partner Marco Querci-Curtis, both fashion world denizens (Clinton from a video background, Marco from Banana Republic as Director of Accessories) have assigned the space a delicious boutique hotel lobby feeling replete with matte blackened vintage luggage, a brass concierge trolley cart and a black and gilded motif with a coordinating chandelier and display cases. The tiny spot is well on its way to summoning a cult following: write-ups already have appeared on The Thread on and From little black dresses to one-off jewelry pieces, Change of Season is a designer outlet done right for the time we’re in.

Is it sorcery or the supernatural that the duo can find such great fashions for such super prices? Glamour yourself over to 341 East 9th between 1st and 2nd to find out. No eye of newt necessary.

To boldly go where no man has gone before….

As Fashion Week continues…Day 4…a bagpipe serenade opens the Farmers Market at Tompkins Square Park this a.m. The East Village screams its way awake, literally, via either the homeless (hello, Hot Dog), the crazies (hello, Hot Dog, again) or the dirty-stay-out partiers in the park.

Favorite new fashion news sources this week: (holla, LM!) and (fun, cute stuff, but they need to learn to spell check). Old stalwarts remain,, Oh, and of course, The New York Times, The NY Post, both online & on page. Oh yeah, and twitter, sometimes.

Wondering if Anna Wintour’s Fashion’s Night Out was the financial impetus and shopping success she hoped for? I read fabulous snippets of amazing cocktail parties, but it sounded kind of like a pub crawl for retail. I expected everyone in drag or Dior, with a be-bobbed party puppet corralling party goers for the next stop: “Okay! Everybody! Ten more minutes with Zac! [Posen, spray painting chic, expensive frocks in Bergdorf’s windows.] Over and out here! Jonathan’s at the wheel next! [Throwing pottery at Barneys with partner Simon Doonan spouting philosophic inanities to The NY Post. Cocktails on Mary Kate and Ashley! [The Olsen Twins, bartending.] Open Ceremony after! More champers, people! More buying! Com’on! Credit cards OUT! Drink up! Drink UP! People! PEOPLE! ”

Sorta like a Santacon fest, I thought, without the garish santa or sexy elf costumes. A blogger at Huffington Post stalked elusive buyers throughout the evening. I, for one, passed through the Big K earlier that day for a curling iron, just doing my part to spur the economy. Ran into one of fashion journalism’s greats, who was NOT buying a hair appliance for his golden-ish head of curls, but with a most sweet & lovely woman at his side, who I assumed was his beautiful wife.

In all fairness, my “bargain buying” included expensive wrist splints for BOTH hands, a new office chair (lumbar support and all), laptop riser, wireless keyboard and mouse. I would have preferred to have blown those purchases off and secured some Balenciaga boots for the season and a Kate Moss Top Shop shopping spree, but…due to nerve damage to my fingers and seven of the reasons for irregular blogging as of late…I’ve had to opt for more functional fashion swipes.

Anyway. Rock on, Fash-On Week….