Let the Fall Shopping BEGIN! Workin’ on
the Love Gang, the cool new EV boutique

Yep. This happened.

Love Gang East Village

Not that I bought both of them, mind you. But the one at the top definitely found it’s way to my closet. Crafted from vintage leather motorcycle jackets, designed by Matiere de Reflexion, carried at the East 9th Street fashion shop, Love Gang NYC.

I LOVE the Love Gang,  the space initially devoted to Devorado, owner Carmen Ruiz’s former vintage style maven haven. Carmen, with shop partner Cara Bloch, ensures that Love Gang fashions and accessories here are cool and contemporary, with affordable prices. I went for a pair of Les Specs sunglasses, initially; then a tiny mouse top knuckle ring that had to be part of my ring repertoire. Added bonus at the shop? Luella, Cara’s adorable  Frenchie, who helps holds down the fort and functions as fashion guard dog and four-legged shop gal.

Make a date with the Love Gang. You will fall fast and hard.Love Gang East Village

Love Gang East Village
Love Gang East Village Love Gang East Village

Love Gang East VillageGuard dog extraordinaire Luella!
Love Gang East Village Love Gang East Village Love Gang East Village Love Gang East Village Love Gang East Village

After this Summer, Fall into Lola & Sophie A/W 2015

Yes, it may be starting to soar into the 90s out there and all us ladies are all probably dreaming of floaty, organic cotton spaghetti-strapped sun dresses, but I was happy to shift into autumn/winter mode while attending the breakfast presentation of the Lola & Sophie Fall/Holiday 2015 collection this past Thursday morning, where I was treated not only to sweet green juice, but the fun creative contemporary output of designer Gene Kagan.

Lola & Sophie designer Gene Kagan

Lola & Sophie designer Gene Kagan

Gene is an affable fashion talent, genuine and down-to-earth. And his designs are easy to understand, comfy and fun to wear, filling many different functions in a woman’s wardrobe. Lola & Sophie (named for Continue reading

Bridal Market 2016: The Incredible Beauties of Tony Ward

A toast and a rose.

Studying at the feet of the masters — and by that I mean creating women’s couture with Claude Montana at Lanvin, Gianfranco Ferré at Christian Dior couture, then Karl Lagerfeld at Chloé, as well as perfecting artistry from the House of Lesage — designer Tony Ward weaves together the handiwork of painting, beading and embroidery for a debut Kleinfeld bridal collection based on roses and the abstract shapes found in nature.

The Lebanese-Italian designer’s painted, shimmering, glittery fabrics adhere to the body in voluptuous, sculptural silhouettes, perfect for any bride wanting to feel sexy, beautiful and close to couture on her special day. Go ahead — pick one of these beauties and let your wedding day blossom.

IMG_6135

Tony Ward's Kleinfeld debut for Bridal 2016

IMG_6224 IMG_6153

Austin City (No) Limits: Shopping Local Love

Austin always has been the coolest little southwestern town, known for its SXSW festivals, Barton Springs swimming hole, cowboy kicks and kitschy neon signage. These days it’s a full-on glamarama city, ranking 11th-most populated of the 50 US of A. Downtown — especially South Congress, or SoCo, as this mercantile/music swath is affectionately known — has its own traditional hipster vibe, with SoCo shops marching to their own beat, often in those previously-owned, distressed, vintage cowboy boots. A recent sojourn to this cultural center, where the unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” yielded the most amazingly-fragranced locally-mixed scents, horn necklace jewelry, unusual bitters, and of course, those vintage boots. Here, for your shopping pleasure:

Blackmail Couture

Blackmail, Gail Chovan’s ode to everything dark and lovely

Found: At Blackmail Boutique, founder Gail Chovan’s ode to the dark, the curious and the black, we flipped over Roux St. James fragrances, Krista Lacey’s small batch blends,  hand-crafted and hand-packaged at her Austin studio. Each perfume is created with natural ingredients and organic raw materials whenever possible. P bought me three for my birthday last month — 1920, Carus and Beltane — sweet little roll-on scent-filled bottles ensconced in a wax-sealed black box that looks like a mini book and ties with its own ribbon. So other century-ish!

Roux St James fragrances

Roux St James fragrances

Blackmail Couture

Roux St James fragrances

Roux St James fragrances

Found: At Feathers Boutique, we fell in love with co-owner Christina Simon (we missed meeting other-owner Emily Hoover), Lauren working the check-out counter, the cool vintage clothes, and especially the shop’s special scents from Sisters of the Black Moon. Ether knocked me out; somehow I’d purchased the fragrance when I came to! Collaborative partners Sara Larocca-Ramm, Alecia Marcum, and Rachel Hunt create with their personal style and visions in mind. Moonshine, another of the trio’s scents, came highly recommended and adored by Christina. I loved the bottle, but the scent didn’t quite work with my body chemistry. The Sisters don’t stop at fragrance, though,  harnessing their design power toward, as they say, “torso, legs, neck, ear, arm, fingers…” Check out their website, here. So far, I’m smitten by the one scent and will be howling at the black moon if I continue in this vein. Ether and out. Oh, and I have to get back to the boutique asap. Feather’s shibori indigo kimonos were some of the best I’ve seen this side of specialty trade shows.

Feathers Feathers

Ether

Ether

Found: At Off the Wall, just up SoCo, I met the sweetest southern soul mate jewelry designing sister, Lorie Elizabeth. Her Le Luxe collection of antler horn pendant necklaces, among other delectables, are a cross of semi-precious prayer or mala beads mashed up with vintage upcycled bling, a one-two punch of pretty with a Texan twist. When I asked her if she cut her own antlers, the adorable designer drawled, “Why, honey, we just find them on the side of the road. This is Texas, after all!” After she, Mignon and I bonded over beads, Lorie Elizabeth treated the little one to a woven-and-belled collar she fancied. In fact, everyone at every single shop on SoCo doted on Mignon, but at Off the Wall, co-owner Ellen Johnson even rushed to get her a bowl of water (Texas is hot, y’all). Bless their hearts!

Le Luxe designer Lorie Elizabeth with her Haute Fun collection  of horn and vintage bling necklaces.

Le Luxe designer Lorie Elizabeth with her Haute Fun collection of horn and vintage bling necklaces.

Found:  At Leighelana, the shop of another jewelry artist who focuses on enameled and exotic leathers for her international Texan pieces, the wares were straight from designer Leigh Elena’s vision and style. Here, of course, were the quintessential cowboy boots, at least for me — hit with a subtle leopard pattern on their dusty cognac suede. Big problem, though, and I mean big. The boots were almost 2 sizes too large for me. Crying. Still.

Leighelena

Leighelena

The coolest vintage cowboy boots at Leighhelena

The coolest vintage cowboy boots, at Leighhelena

Found: At Crofts, the most exquisite turquoise-colored vintage silk kimono from Buenos Aires, hanging on the rack of eclectic and unusual clothing collected by owner Susan Crofts during her extensive global travels. I saw the piece on Saturday, couldn’t shake it from mind and went back before our flight on Monday to snag it.

But the best find of all from our Texas trip? Little Diego, the chichi seen hiding in that vintage Crofts’ kimono sleeve, below, an abandoned pup found on property near the Formula1 race track. Of course, we brought him home with us, too!

Crofts

 

Beautiful silk turquoise kimono from Susan Crofts' eclectic and exotic rack of vintage clothes from her own travels.

Beautiful silk turquoise kimono from Susan Crofts’ eclectic and exotic rack of vintage clothes from her own travels.

 

Style Sightings: Capsule Women’s Show SS15

Fashion Week may have jetted off to London last Friday en masse, but there were still style and fashion shows to be seen around the city. Take this past weekend’s Capsule Show down at Basketball City. Love handmade, handcrafted, environmentally-sourced and beautiful things? Check, check, check and CHECK! It was all to be found down off South Street. This season marks the last for Capsule at its Lower East Side location, where it has been based since 2007. Next time, find Capsule on West 22nd Street — Center 548, the former home of the DIA Center — a venue that may be a bit easier to get to during trade show time.

Meanwhile, I’m glad I trekked down this past Saturday in the rain! Take a look at some of the lovely stand-out pieces from the Spring/Summer 2015 clothing collections of Loup Charmant, Milena Silvano, Nancy Stella Soto, Voz and Delphine, as well as sandals and bags from Waltzing Matilda and Proud Mary, jewelry from Kria and Deborah Rice, among others:

Loup Charmant

New details and accessories that includes a collaboration with Artemas Quibble graced Loup Charmant’s ever-growing loveliness

Nancy Stella SotoCut outs, organza and layers were enticing elements at Nancy Stella Soto

Milena Silvano

Handmade, textile-driven, often hand-dyed – all terms crucial to Milena Silvano

Voz

The softest cotton’s at Voz, where Jasmine Aarons creates “with love in Chile and New York”

Duo

Duo, the East Village boutique founded by sisters Wendy and LaRae Kangas, showed at Capsule for the first time in the Cash & Carry section, meaning you could walk out wearing (and owning!) these beauts

Waltzing Mathilda

Navy is the new hit for handmade slip-ons at Waltzing Matilda, the Philly-based leather collection of recycled bags, clutches, shoes

Waltzing Mathilda

Waltzing Matilda

Proud Mary

Charleston-based Harper Poe, designer of Proud Mary, with Peruvian-sourced fabric clutches, above, and leather backpack, below, that was crafted in Paraguay

Proud Mary

Proud Mary

Ilana Kohn

The comfy-est looking indigo linen romper from Ilana Kohn

Kria

Organic and natural-based fish mouth bracelet by Kria designer/founder Jóhanna Methúsalemsdóttir

Jené Despain

Love the ring/bracelet from Jené Despain

Youser

Surrealist stylings by Youser

Torchlight

Dream catchers from Torchlight

Mara and Mine

So cute and comfy! Mara and Mine

Deborah Rice

The tiniest baby seed beads create an offering of coloring and perfection at jewelry designer Deborah Rice, whose gorgeousness is handmade in Brooklyn

Get Your Dye On during Charleston’s
Sea Island Indigo Retreat, Sept 18-20

For those of you following NYFW, you may be thinking of giving your own Spring/Summer 2015 style more of a DIY spin. Then hie thee down South to Charleston for the three-day Sea Island Indigo Retreat weekend September 18-20th, being held at the organic Rebellion Farm in Ravenel, SC! There you’ll learn the fine and historically-based art of indigo dyeing, using indigo from a field raised solely for this workshop. But hurry and sign up while there are still spots available. You won’t be sorry. Charleston will be gorgeous at this time of year and what an exquisite opportunity to explore ancient dyeing methods right at the source.

sea island indigo

Friend and colleague Kee Edwards, designer of the beautiful organic cotton-based collection Loup Charmant, is one of the sponsors, and has donated some of her exquisite organic cotton so that you can create your own pareo, scarf or wrap out of LC fabrics, learning to dye them Sea Island blues, an experience close to her southern heart.

Sea Island 1The indigo plant has a long and storied background in South Carolina and Charleston long ago served as home of American indigo farming. Sea Island Indigo’s Donna Hardy, a master dyer,  has been crucial in revitalizing commercial indigo production in South Carolina. And the dyes you will use during the retreat will be from the same strain of indigo plants grown in the region over 250 years ago! Kathy Hattori of Botanical Colors will be on hand to help you with the dyeing process, as well.

Among a slew of southern-style events, there will also be a hands-on quilting workshop at the Charleston Museum with Sharon Cooper-Murray, spokesperson for Gullah textiles and culture (Gullah, descendants of the original West African slaves, often retain much of their traditional Geechee language stemming from the mid-1700s, something I experienced first-hand after moving to Charleston in high school; in fact, I nearly flunked US History that first year because I had a hard time adapting to my teacher’s patois!).

A Gullah descendant dressed in period costume, demonstrating rag quilting
A Gullah descendant dressed in period costume,
demonstrating rag quilting, courtesy of Sea Island Indigo.

Be prepared for an old school South Carolina barbecue and bluegrass throw-down that Saturday night, thanks to locals like Holy City Hogs, who will be donating a heritage bred Ossabaw hog, and Anson Mills, who is contributing heirloom grains. There will also be a screening that night of the  Cotton Road documentary (partially filmed in Charleston) with director/producer Laura Kissel. 

Please find out more about the retreat and Donna’s research here. Hope to see you there!

donna hardy patchwork

New Neighborhood Alert! Sunset Park
and the Burgeoning Industry City Food Hall

As summer finally heats up, get your cool on by heading out to the newest up-and-coming nabe  in Brooklyn – Sunset Park’s waterfront art area anchored by the Industry City Food Hall and Factory Floor.

Industry City Food Hall, Sunset Park Brooklyn

Industry City Food Hall, Sunset Park Brooklyn

A quick ride on the N express takes you to the 36th Street stop, where you walk west to the water. Trust me, this will be the next new “Chelsea Market” of hipsterville (Chelsea market developers own 50% of this venture). Already anchoring the retail fashion, food and art scene  are the Nets, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Steve & Andy’s Organics Modern Primitive Café, Ninja Bubble Tea, Colson Patisserie. Slated are The Fashion Chef, Ruby Beets’ vintage furniture and Liddabit Sweets.

Time it right and hit an outdoor movie, or dance to Mister Sunday’s curated affairs, all while dining al fresco in the City’s open courtyard under the sun and stars.

Under the El walking west from N train 36th Street Stop

Under 278, walking west from N train 36th Street Stop

Industry City Food Hall Industry City Food Hall

Industry City Food Hall Industry City Food Hall Industry City Food Hall Industry City Food Hall

Fashion Kids Wear the Darndest Things
– in Zionsville, Indiana!

This past trip to Indy we stumbled across the most adorable children’s boutique in, of all places, the post card-perfect Main Street town of Zionsville. Really, not so much of a stretch – it’s basically the town where my uncle and aunt who we stay with during our Indy 500 outing live. So we drive through that cuteness tons on our way from the track and back. And I had a little help in looking for this retail establishment: my friend and colleague Shelagh Traill directed me toward her friend Steve’s store via Facebook. Who says social media doesn’t connect us all?!

Owner Steve Schwartz with me after our serendipitous meeting

Owner Steve Schwartz with me after our serendipitous meeting

Now, I’d never met Steve Schwartz, proprietor of Ballerinas and Bruisers since 2008, or heard of his shop before Shelagh FB’d me, but I knew it had to be his place the minute we drove through Zionsville and I laid eyes on that swoon-worthy name. What else could have come from a part-time, almost-native New Yorker hailing from Denver?! As any six-degrees-of-separation lifestyle would have it, I knew and had interviewed during many a menswear jaunt across the Big Pond his soon-to-be hubby, Dan McCampbell, who used to work at Saks Fifth Avenue when I was Fashion Director at DNR and who now works at Ralph Lauren. Steve and Dan are tying the knot here in NYC this weekend and to that we say “MAZEL TOV!”

Congrats on the store, too, Steve! Take a gander at the cuteness to die for right here in Zionsville, Indiana.

Ballerinas and Bruisers

Ballerinas and Bruisers Ballerinas and Bruisers

Ballerinas and Bruisers

Ballerinas and Bruisers

 

The adorable courtyard

The adorable courtyard, perfect for parties for the petites

 

King Street – The Charleston Retail Scene

When the mood for shopping strikes you in Charleston, be sure to meander your way down King Street toward the Battery, the shopping destination for Lowcountry fashionistas and style mavens.

Berlin's

Berlin’s

 

Accented with Gucci, Bob Ellis, Apple, RTW, Billy Reid and the original Lowcountry style-maker, Berlin’s, King Street dusted itself off several years ago and made the locals proud. But don’t forget to take in the newest downtown shopping area – Upper King Street – where the burgeoning development district is garnering local news as the hipster retail and foodie spot.

The Ordinary Restaurant King Street

The Ordinary Restaurant on Upper King Street

Stores like JLinSnider and Charleston Stitch, plus restaurants like The Ordinary and Two Boroughs Larder are bringing a coolness factor to Upper King, much as North Six Street is ratcheting up the attitude of Williamsburg off of New York City.

JLinSnider Charleston Stitch

RTW, long a forerunner of high fashion on the main vein of downtown Charleston, has always held forth with fashion with a capital “F” and Charleston Fashion Week last month was no exception. The retailer hosted a trunk show with New York up-and-coming talent, Brandon Sun.

RTW King Street

Worthwhile, meanwhile, has been thrilling Lowcountry style-philes and traveling fashionistas for over 20 years, and is a must-see on the style scene. Its wares are avant garde and sophisticated, with a smattering of home design accoutrements and objets.

Worthwhile King Street

Recent retail newcomer Ike Behar, featured as one of the local retailers presenting a runway show during CFW, proffers both a tailored and snazzy casual southern charm. It’s a perfect fit for the genteel Charleston-style mentality.

Ike Behar King Street

Everyone from the fashion world whom I spoke with during CFW raved about Hampden Clothing. The boutique is a mecca for more fashion-forward clothing, from designers like Rag & Bone to Theory to Alexander Wang and Rebecca Taylor. Over nearly decade, the shop has been educating Charleston consumers and pushing them ever closer to the fashion edge.

Spoleto is just right around the corner. What better time to book that ticket to warmer climes south of the Mason Dixon and get your southern charm on?

Hampden Clothing King Street

Billy Reid King Street Ben Silver Clock King Street

Getting Styly at CFW

Nice. SO Nice. The people, the designers, the fashions, the jewelry. SO NICE. Not surprising, since I’d found myself smack in a southern style love fest at the Charleston Fashion Week. CFW’s Style Lounge, one of the tents in the middle of Marion Square Park in the center of downtown Charleston, was a fever pitch of fashion before, during and after Tuesday night’s Emerging Designer Competition: East runway shows.

20140319-074336.jpg

I mean, beautiful downtown Charleston, fashion, style and JEWELRY. Be still my beating heart. So, can we talk here? Combined with the fact that you can BUY while you’re covering the event? This is right up my alley.

One of my fave new girl crushes whom I met last night is Carley Ochs, designer and creator of Bourbon and Boweties bangles, Carley’s background is in bow ties, so she embraced the olde English Southern spelling and, as it’s a Tampa-based, southern company with goods completely made by hand the old-school way, it fits. Arm party on with stacks of her beautiful wire-wrapped semi-precious stone bracelets – at least one of which I will be wearing home after tonight’s shows. (You too can find her at www.bourbonandboweties.com.) Can we say charge?! Thank you, American Express!

Bourbon and Boweties bangles20140319-074448.jpg
Carley Ochs with moi20140319-074517.jpg

Another new love of my fashion life: Ash Hoffman, who is a jeweler’s jeweler. She started out repurposing heirloom delectables for commissioned projects and has never looked back, segueing into life as a Certified Master Jeweler in 2010. She works in fine metals and natural stones from her private atelier in Myrtle Beach, SC. Check out her delicate and spiritually-influenced work, www.ashhoffmanjewelry.com.

Ash Hoffman’s delicate 18k gold cuffs20140319-074555.jpg
Designer Ash Hoffman20140319-074623.jpg