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.

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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!

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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.

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Headlines: Put a Lid on It – Capsule AW14 Show

Capsule AW14Snow, baby, snow. That’s what the exhibitors and event attendees had to contend with this season in getting to and from the Capsule AW14 show at the Basketball City outpost near the South Street Seaport.

But the rewards of the show were amazing. Great new collections and trends to come, but what struck me most on Tuesday was Continue reading

Old Love. My Vintage Crush on Olive’s and Olaf’s Owner Jen McCulloch

Lately, I keep finding myself on Court Street near Carroll Gardens . Very chi chi and chock full of cool fashion finds. Especially this shop. One of my new fave places now is Jen McCulloch’s little gem of a shop, Olive’s Very Vintage, which has led me to be Very In Love with this lady and her Very Vintage aesthetic! What took me so long?! For weeks, my friend *m had been raving to me about this great little vintage place she’d found, so I took a deep breath, stocked the car with some of my old designer clothes and unique thrift that I no longer needed or could wear, and headed out to Brooklyn for some upcycling purposes.  Look! Even the tree outside is stylishly decorated in vintage lace.

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I may have parted ways with some of my old favorite pieces (let’s say a prayer in memory of Continue reading

Loup Charmant Opens Concept Shop Friday the 13th!

Can’t wait for this Friday – and I don’t want any of you to start suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Um, in case you’re suffering from logophobia (fear of words) or even Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – fear of long words – the above would be “fear of Friday the 13th.”

Instead, embrace it. The French consider it a lucky day. And so do we at Loup Charmant! So, come on out and shop with us! The Loup Charmant concept store will be open and ready for business at noon on that very, very lucky day. And will be open every day after that until the 24th of this month.

As designer/owner Kee notes: We’re bringing all manner of goods, collected from friends [moi! look for some of my 14k gold jewelry designs!] and fellow designers. Everything from Rugs to Perfume…along with special edition LOUP CHARMANT pieces to help you savor these last days of SUMMER and ease into FALL!

 

Hope to see you there!

LOUP CHARMANT POP_UP_INVITE

Men in Skirts – Duckie Brown “Dresses” Guys for SS14

Duckie Brown’s design duo of Steven Cox and Daniel Silver never fails to impress. They always shake up things, from wide open silhouettes that prompt proportion play to standard menswear mashups. This season they opened their Spring 2014 show at Industria with Leikeli47’s “Miss America” – a catchy little number that musically insisted “I dress like a boy, talk like a girl” – and sent their Duckie dears out in skirts, layered aprons, elongated halter shirts and drop-crotch shorts. The effect was thoroughly modern, Milly! The stalwart palette of white, navy and khaki ensured a wearability and understandability that the basketball skirts may have belied. Don’t forget the style renderings of Braveheart, Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood…skirts are old-school menswear. And, really, who doesn’t like a man in a uniform?!

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Tocca’s Tiny Dancer SS14

Brava, brava! Sweet and lovely, Emma Fletcher’s SS14 collection for Tocca, held at the Pier 59 Studios, embraced the dancer in us all. Off-duty, onstage, stepping lively. The dresses make you want to twirl and float, the shiny bras and panties provide for loungewear or under secrets bursting with energetic vibrancy perfect for a romantic pas de deux.

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Happy, Smiling Color – Desigual SS14

Okay, call me crazy, but this may have been one of the best collections I have seen to date. The most happy-making, to say the least.

Desigual started its fantastic Spring/Summer 2014 runway show at Lincoln Center during Day One of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week with contrasting geometric op-art print black and white dresses, but the entire effect of the collection was one of washes of vibrant color, a Mediterranean landscape of happy clothes for him and her, with smiling, joyful models prancing down the runway. The upbeat music, floral, dot and striped patterns and flowy silhouettes underscored the brand’s La Vida es Chula (Life is Cool) theme and made the editors and buyers in the audience smile, tap their feet to the beat and walk away from the show thinking, “Yeah, life IS cool!”  Way to go, Desigual!

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Wow! at NY Now

Have I got some bright new shinies for you from earlier this week!

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Barnacle- and beach-inspired glass ware from LBK Studio

With a new name and a new broader range of products, from home furnishings to bedding, tabletop and beyond, textiles to fashion apparel and accessories, the New York International Gift Fair – now known simply as NY Now – teased retailers (and me!) with gifts gone wild.

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My top highlights would be the textiles. I went gaga over alpaca rugs-slash-blankets from Bolivia, vintage Kantha quilts from India, fold-up wool and wooden stools from Colombia. Then there were the to-die-for pillows, curtains and badges from our All-American buddy Stephanie over at Coral & Tusk (some of her pillows have their own little stuffed creatures that reside in 3-D in the print, i.e., the fox inside the teepee, below who – squeal! – is beyond all cuteness), the unearthed-looking fine jewelry from Polly Wales (biggest girl crush yet to date!), the tasseled earrings or pom-pommed bracelets at Takara, the plaid or polka dotted totes and pillows at Proud Mary (a fellow Southerner from Charleston, no less).

Polly Wales

 

Polly Wales2

 

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Coral & Tusk

Coral & Tusk

Proud Mary

Oh, and of course there were the Panama hats, the khadi cloths, the Indian blankets, the indigo, the ikat, the cashmeres, the cottons. Okay. The textiles in particular might have been my most favorite part of the show, which stretched from the Javits to Pier 94. Great representation of artisanal creativity imported from a wide source of countries – Bolivia, Colombia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Mexico, Mali, India – whose wares were absolutely inspirational must-haves. Shop away, my people!

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Zero Hunger

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Takara

Takara

Jeanne Koepp Berlin