Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SKULLS! At Pottery Barn?

OK so first of all isn't it way too early to be selling Halloween gear? Anyway, one of my stringers discovered that Pottery Barn is selling SKULLWARE this year and thought that was a little bit odd. I must agree, these skulls are not of the "cute happy dancing skeleton" variety, but more along the lines of the MISFITS (see pic.), which isn't exactly what you think of when you think of the furniture store that outfitted the Friends' set.
Anyway, go to Pottery Barn online and get your $10 SKULL candles while you can!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Neighborhood: So Not Fashionable Anymore

I hate excuses too, but try this one: I have been spending my days and nights dealing with the mice that have ascended upon me and other tenants in my building - one jumped out at me from the garbage can under the sink last night! So I threw the whole thing out - garbage can and all.
I am also not pleased as punch with the fact that - seemingly covertly - NYU has turned the corner of 23rd St. and 3rd Avenue INTO A DORM! They really kept this one on the down-low, I'm telling you, because I would have joined or perhaps started a rebellion against it. There used to be a wonderful Garden of Eden there, and now we've got another giant ugly NYU building turning the stretch of land into Fraternity Row. Is NYU the biggest landlord/owner in town? Isn't NYU on W. 8th St? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? At first I was hopeful that it was a Baruch dorm - since BARUCH IS RIGHT NEXT DOOR. But no such luck. Instead we get the most expensive - and questionably least academic - University on the planet taking over yet another neighborhood. Never mind my recent comment about my neighborhood turning into the Upper East Side, for it is now officially turning into BOSTON!

Run for your life! Leave your homes to the mice!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Went Back to Anna

I was going out last night and couldn't figure out what to wear, so with my trusty cell phone rebate at the ready, I traversed the cityscape until I landed at my new favorite downtown shopping destination: Anna, where I met Kathy Kemp herself (a.k.a. Anna) and spent a couple of hours trying on this, that and the other. I ended up with the pictured dress, which is the same as the navy blue dress I purchased a couple of weeks ago. When you find something that works, go with it! I also got the "kimono" shirt, which was a 50%-off sale bin SCORE as well as the earrings you see above. Now, if anything is going to encourage me to beat my ice cream addiction, this store may be it - I can't bear to envision a world in which I can't fit into at least some of her clothing!

New fall items are anticipated in two weeks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

WSJ: Claiborne Seeks a New Look --- Company Hangs Hopes On Isaac Mizrahi's Vision

Yay. Good news in fashion today. I heart Isaac. Read on:

Claiborne Seeks a New Look --- Company Hangs Hopes On Isaac Mizrahi's Vision Of Its Namesake Brand
By Rachel Dodes
21 August 2008
The Wall Street Journal

In an art gallery in New York's trendy Meatpacking district, celebrity designer Isaac Mizrahi recently quietly gave retailers a glimpse of his vision for rejuvenating the Liz Claiborne label. The occasion was a preview of the shoes, handbags and jewelry that will accompany his spring 2009 apparel line, which is still under wraps.
The collection includes modern styles like cork-covered high heels and oversize tote bags in soft neutrals, metallics and bright colors, according to two people who were there. The designs also incorporate an updated Liz Claiborne logo.
Liz Claiborne Inc., which hired Mr. Mizrahi as creative director earlier this year, is betting Mr. Mizrahi's star power will give its namesake label some sex appeal, or "mojo," as Chief Executive William L. McComb puts it. The flamboyant Mr. Mizrahi, after all, became a household name by designing a "cheap chic" line for Target Corp. that helped cement the retailer's reputation for selling stylish but inexpensive clothes.
Liz Claiborne, the company, has a lot riding on Mr. Mizrahi's efforts. The Liz Claiborne women's brand, long its cash cow, has been fading for years. As recently as 2000, it generated $1.2 billion of the company's $3.1 billion in sales that year and more than half its profit, according to people familiar with the business. Today, the brand rings up sales of about half as much and barely breaks even.
The company's fortunes nevertheless are tied more closely to the label than they have been in years. Since his arrival in late 2006, Mr. McComb, a former Johnson & Johnson executive, has sold, licensed or discontinued more than a dozen labels, including Dana Buchman, Ellen Tracy and Sigrid Olsen. In the process, he reversed the strategy of his predecessor, Paul Charron, who snapped up niche brands to spur growth and reduce the company's reliance on the Liz Claiborne label.
The relaunch with designs by Isaac Mizrahi "is the single most important issue" facing the company, Goldman Sachs analyst Benjamin Rowbotham said in a recent research report.
Mr. Mizrahi's collection, which will hit stores in February, has been shrouded in secrecy. He will unveil the line at a presentation for retailers in September. In an unusual step, the company is inviting only members of the media who agree not to write about the collection until Jan. 1, when Mr. Mizrahi is allowed to discuss it. Though his design agreement with Target has ended, Mr. Mizrahi is barred from speaking publicly about his Liz Claiborne designs until next year, because "it would be terribly confusing" for him to promote them while selling a different line at Target, a spokesman for the discount chain says.
The Liz Claiborne relaunch comes as retailers are cutting back on orders in response to the consumer spending slump. Department stores, the brand's only distribution channel, have been consolidating, pushing their own private-label brands and inking exclusive deals with designers in efforts to distinguish themselves from their competitors.
Women now are also used to mixing labels instead of buying an entire look like the color-coordinated Liz Claiborne separates that millions of baby boomers wore in the 1980s. Dave McTague, Claiborne's executive vice president of "partnered brands" -- those distributed mainly through department stores -- acknowledges in an interview that wowing the consumer these days "is so hard it's almost defeatist."
The new initiative also comes at a rough time for the company. In 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange trading Wednesday, its stock was up 20 cents, or 1.3%, at $14.98. That's down about 58% from its 52-week high last October, compared with a drop of about 29% over the same period for the Dow Jones Wilshire U.S. Clothing and Accessories index. Last week, Claiborne cut its 2008 earnings guidance for the second time this year and disclosed that it had amended the terms of its credit facility to help it maintain adequate liquidity in the capital-intensive third quarter.
There has been high turnover in the executive ranks as Mr. McComb has reorganized the company. He slashed the number of senior positions and made some unconventional hires. They include Mr. McTague, a former Nike Inc. executive who ran its Converse apparel division, a significantly smaller business than the one he now oversees, and Tim Gunn, a co-host of Bravo's "Project Runway" reality show, who was brought in as chief creative officer.
To gather intelligence about the Claiborne consumer, Mr. Gunn toured 16 U.S. cities this spring, hosting fashion shows in department stores. The Liz Claiborne displays he saw were loaded with "dumb tops and bottoms" and were missing key styles and sizes, he says, adding: "I thought to myself, 'Where is the fashion?'"
Since his arrival at Claiborne earlier this year, Mr. Mizrahi has been given an unusual amount of control over the label that the late designer Liz Claiborne introduced in the 1970s and oversaw until her retirement in 1989. Working with a team of about 25 designers at his own Chelsea studio, instead of at Claiborne's headquarters in New York's Garment District, he can design whatever styles he wants, in whatever colors he chooses, so long as he sticks to cost guidelines, people close to the company say. Mr. Mizrahi is even helping determine the "line architecture" -- the number of shirts, pants, skirts and other garments in the collection. Such decisions are typically made solely by merchandising executives.
"If [Mr. Mizrahi] does the same thing with ready-to-wear as he did with the accessories, they could become a ferocious competitor again," says Anthony J. Buccina, vice chairman and president of merchandising at Bon-Ton Stores Inc., a regional chain.
Mr. McTague says "the beauty of Isaac" is that he connects with a wide range of customers. "There are 60-year-old women who are smoking hot, and 28-year-old moms who have kids and want to feel feminine and sexy but who are a size 16," he says. ". . . This woman has a list of desires, and we want to meet those desires."

New York Times: Tiptoeing Into the Stores

Start buying your lottery tickets, or marrying rich, or working 3 jobs...or get really good at going to sample sales: The Fall Season is upon us!!

August 21, 2008
Fall Fashion
Tiptoeing Into the Stores
The New York Times

SINCE the shows for next spring’s clothes start in two weeks, the window for surveying the new fall fashion seems to be closing before it has fully opened. A lot of the best pieces, the runway stuff, still haven’t arrived in stores. Not everyone follows fashion so carefully as to notice what has arrived at Barneys, or in Bryant Park. (Is it runway season? Isn’t it always?) But before these columns are suddenly filled with rompers and bathing suits, let’s see what looks right for fall.
A practical elegance ran through last year’s polished clothes. This season, things are more romantic, thanks to moody prints, dramatic blouses and antique effects, but there is a sting — namely, the economy. Lots of people can’t afford, and can’t accept, paying $3,000 to $4,000 for an outfit, which is entirely possible in Designerland. You can rationalize blowing your rent on Gucci’s $1,900 swinging fringed boots — by telling yourself you’ll spend only $89 for Zara’s copy of Gucci’s mini peasant dress. But you would know immediately that your cheap-jack Doctor Zhivago outfit wasn’t working, and then what?
The best style is almost always a result of an unexpected combination of good and less costly things, of masculine and feminine elements, with a sharp eye toward what’s in fashion. Bear in mind that proportions are generally longer this season: hemlines flutter around the knee; pants are full (with classic pegged variations, like those Stefano Pilati showed for Saint Laurent); jackets have extended shoulders or an extravagant collar; blouses all seem to have a stock tie or an old-fashioned effect, like Proenza Schouler’s draped charmeuse versions (about $850). And a cropped fur or shearling vest can be a good investment, as a finish to prints and long layers.
To be sure, there are some wonderful standout looks that make you wish your family held the patent to the lug nut. While pawing through the racks of new clothes at Bergdorf Goodman, I spotted Thakoon’s all-over sequined dress in a murky rose-pink pattern, the hem and cap sleeves edged with printed chiffon ($4,900). Another great look for the individually minded shopper, at Linda Dresner, was Stephan Janson’s deep-green tweed skirt with a matching popover top, its three-quarter sleeves fluffed with gray-green marabou feathers ($3,110). You could definitely slay the fashion sisters with that outfit, as different as it is chic, especially with a pair of Christian Louboutin stiletto pumps (O.K., another thousand bucks).
But while lots of women are pretty certain that Balenciaga’s molded wool dresses are the acme of fashion, they halt before the price ($3,475). I was happy to discover a slightly more realistic alternative — and one that doesn’t show up in virtually every magazine editorial. Balenciaga has a creamy white sleeveless blouse in a stiff wool crepe that is banded in black at the waist and finished with a modest bow ($1,345). With a slim black skirt, it would convey the same minimalist look.
Fashion snobs have an exquisite understanding of store deliveries. Most of the stuff hanging in stores since mid-August is from preseason designer collections, or from moderate-priced labels like Vince and Nanette Lepore. Over the next few weeks, they’ll be spruced up with runway pieces. A few designers, like Marc Jacobs, who makes most of his clothes in New York, delivered very early. At Barneys, I saw a terrific wool pencil skirt by Mr. Jacobs with an elastic grosgrain waist — just pull it on! Considering the name and the quality of the fit, it seemed a good buy at $495.
While in the store, I went in search of trousers. Mr. Jacobs’s slouchy version in black velveteen ($1,100) sums up the season’s look, but I found other styles, too, like Alexander Wang’s paper-bagged trousers in dark gray wool ($495) and a pair of muddy glen-plaid pegged trousers by Piazza Sempione ($695), a label many women like for its consistent fit. Lanvin also had a sharp-looking pair of pegged tweed trousers, but at $1,250, you have to start rationalizing.
It’s curious the things you see when you’re looking for contemporary fashion as well as good value. After my attention at Bloomingdale’s was drawn to a well-made knitted coat in cream wool with a rolled collar by Nanette Lepore ($650) and a cute navy wool-jersey dress by James Perse ($240), I saw across the floor a sleeveless blouse in papery taffeta with a spill of rock-star ruffles down the front. Made by Vince ($165), it was a dead ringer for a L’Wren Scott blouse.
For the most part, though, cheap blouses look just that. Nearly every store has some version of the stock-tied, lantern-sleeved or Victorian frilled blouse, but I hate to think how all that drippy polyester crepe will look on sale racks next season. This is one item where it’s worth trading up, especially since a blouse with a great pair of trousers or a slinky gold sequined skirt, like Proenza Schouler’s ($850), can make such a statement. The creamy silk crepe blouses shown by Mr. Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta, with a slightly asymmetrical tie, look best. There are more affordable variations by Doo.Ri, Thakoon and Sari Gueron, from $495 to $695.
Although the swirling prints of Dries Van Noten hold a certain artsy charm, the Russian-inspired paisleys and foulards that Frida Giannini did for Gucci have more kick, it seems to me. Six months after looking at that collection, at the modern proportions, the black tights and high fringed boots, the mix of prints with tough fur or leather jackets, it still has energy and muscle. Unfortunately, shoppers will have to be content with looking at the Zara knockoffs. In the Gucci flagship on Fifth Avenue, I looked with apathy at the preseason merchandise begging at the rails. Take me, take me. Fat chance. I knew about the good stuff.
It was a similar story at Yves Saint Laurent — a collection that led in every trend — and at the new Jil Sander shop in SoHo. The runway pieces hadn’t arrived.
“Come back in September,” a Saint Laurent salesman almost sang.
But ...
“They’re samples,” a saleswoman at Jil Sander said, referring to a display of gorgeous tweed dresses.
Let’s hope the entire fall season is not a figment of my imagination.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Eyelash Curler: shu uemura

I have already written about the famed shu uemura eyelash curler, but just wanted to give you an update on the new one I just purchased at Sephora for a bit over $20. What I really wanted was a couple of replacement pads to go on the apparatus that I already own. However, I was told that they don't sell them separately because once you are done using the two pads that come with it, the metal contraption is ready to be replaced as well. The woman didn't seem to agree with me when I told her that was an impressive marketing ploy to get people to spend $20+ on this thing a couple of times a year. Except for me of course, since I milked the last one for probably more than 3 years. This kind of thing annoys me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

New-ish Bar I Dig

I'm not going to tell you what it's called yet, or exactly where it is, because I hate people like me with a pen who ruin new places. Not that it's that new or unknown - indeed not, for there is always a healthy crowd on the weekends. It's just that I think I am going to have some sort of gathering here one day soon and want to keep the spot as low-key as possible, at least for a little while longer. Oh, and the bartender spotted me a drink this Saturday too - so I am being a bit selfish. So I'll give you this much for now: It's in Williamsburg, this is a photo of it and it is a little bit more suitable for the older set who wants to drink and chat in interesting olde-style surroundings. And the bartenders wear vests. Cute.

If you are dying for the name and address, either be patient or drop me an email and I will consider letting the Lillet out of the bottle.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Les Nanas - Staying Open...Indefinitely??

I just visited the store I always rave about - Les Nanas - and got some great news. They are not closing in September like originally planned, they are staying open until at least March 2009 and then someone may take over and keep it going! In the meantime they are having an incredible sale - everything except jewelry upstairs on sale for 50% off, and everything downstairs 70% off (cash only downstairs). I scored this little number for $38. Practically free!

Is it Fall Yet? It Feels Like Fall...

I got word about Case Study: wool, leather and fur outerwear for today’s contemporary woman. As they explain it --> designed by Guillaume Poupart, Case Study offers sophisticated, feminine and sexy coats and jackets as sold in fine department stores and specialty stores nationwide. Recognizing that modern women appreciate both luxury and an accessible price point, Poupart also designs a lower priced outerwear collection for QVC. Modernist by Guillaume coats retail from $120-200 and are available at

OK so whatever, I have been trying to see this stuff in person, but until I do, I kind of like these items, although not necessarily the price. When is the sample sale, please?

(top photo): Dark Turquoise Tweed Coat with Pleated Collar & Cropped Sleeves (Suggested retail, $395)
(bottom photo): Lacquered Shearling Jacket w/Asymmetrical Zipper in Purple (Suggested retail, $1,095)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Project Runway - The Brooke Shields Episode

OK, so the boys at Project Rungay broke it down better and more extensively than I would have. But I still think the TAN MAN should have been sent on home. Shorts? In an office? On a 40-something female executive? COME ON!

Yes, Another Sale at Lord & Taylor

Sorry, sorry - have been swept up in all sorts of side projects, and besides it seems that shopping is all but dead in this month of August? Is it the heat? The economy?

Well, the joint ain't cheap, so if you are looking to add to your wardrobe for fall, please use this Lord & Taylor coupon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Stand by the 80s

Last night, my friend was posting all kinds of photos online, mostly from the 80s, and it moved me to note at least one good thing about that time in fashion: it was fun. Call it cheesy, stupid, retarded...whatever, but at least it didn't take it self too seriously. And we were from NJ after all.

So here's me prior to a holiday semi-formal dance my senior year of high school. I wasn't really the norm among my friends in terms of my wardrobe, for I was a young Guerilla in training. I am pretty sure I bought the dress at Metropolitan(?) in Nyack, NY. I can't remember where I got the Whodini hat, but I literally just got rid of it like 2 months ago. I still have the necklace in my jewelry box - it was my mother's chain with a pendant that my dad got at a sample sale - he bought me a few things from there, I believe designed by "Krasne II" (I have to check when I get home tonight). I also know for sure that I was sporting Betsey Johnson thigh-highs, although you cannot see them. woo woo! Oh and I still have the earrings too. But probably not the lavender eye shadow.

And it's amazing what a 99-cent bottle of peroxide can do for one's hair color.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Anna: Call Me Late to the Party, But Please Call!

I'm not exactly sure how I missed out on this store all these years, but located on E. 3rd St. in the 10009, Anna is the front runner to become my new favorite store.

Upon entry, I spent about 15 minutes rummaging through the sale bin. I found the coolest pair of blue cords that had a 'sailor'-button up front and a naughty little lace-up in the back. I have not bought them (yet), for a reason (of my own doing) that I will get into later.
After emerging from the bin-pile, I began surveying the rest of the apparel hanging along the perimeter of the store. At first glance I almost decided that it was merely another one of those little dime-a-dozen stores full of delicate pretty little dresses for delicate pretty little girls. I was quickly derailed from that notion by the saleswoman who swooped in and really made the apparel come to life with her styling expertise. I realized that this is no lightweight outfit (pun intended).

In fact, I was suddenly trying on a suit, tops, dresses and the like that I thought would never ever fit or look good on me and my solid - nay - "athletic" frame. So while I did have to try on the largest sizes available (which was why I haven't yet bought the naughty cords, which were a smallish size 8), everything I tried on somehow fit perfectly, or hid my mid-section flaws, or accented my best features. I'm not really sure how these clothes achieved this illusion, but they did. I was torn between the pants, suit and four dresses that magically transformed me into a hot chick.

So since I am on a mission to dress like a respectable grown-up whenever possible, I went with the grey pinstriped suit, which was on major sale for $181, and a dress that was form-fitting but not in a cheap or too young kind of way (see photos, pizza not included). I am on the verge of purchasing at least one of the other dresses - but perhaps only if it's made in a different color or pattern - only because I have so many black/grey colored dresses that I want my new fab dress to stand out. Perhaps a burgundy or even an off-white?

So my only concern is that if I gain another ounce and a half, I shall be sized right out of these exquisite clothes. But I suppose that is my problem, not Anna's. Maybe I'll jog downtown to the East Village as part of my new dual exercise/shopping regimen.

Pinkberry Beret

OK, two quick things before I sign off.

First of all, as if Pinkberry wasn't overpriced enough - it just went up to $6.23 for a medium original with 3 toppings. What, is it a gas station? I think I need to not go there so much anymore.

And secondly, during the Olympics opening ceremonies, did anyone catch that twerp Bob Costas ask "are those berets the Americans are wearing?" Yes I am so sure that Ralph Lauren, who designed the American athletes' garb, would top it off with a beret. Bob, you are retarded.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Buy 2 Boots Products Get 1 Free on

I'm posting this because it's a sale, but also because I am getting a kick out of the fact that CVS is PR-ing me. I wonder who besides my mother and PR people read my blog anyway...

Buy 2 Boots Products Get 1 Free on

WHAT: is running a “buy two get one free” promotion for all Boots skincare and cosmetics on its website. The promotion can be used for an unlimited amount of Boots products, so for every two Boots products purchased, customers will receive one free.

Additional benefits: spend $50 on and receive free shipping.

WHEN: August 2 – 15, 2008

WHERE: nationwide

WHY: Boots is Britain’s number one cosmetic and beauty brand with affordable products available in the US at

Thursday, August 07, 2008

La Boutique Resale Gives You Gas Money

I found La Boutique's sale tactic to be somewhat amusing:

"Bad economy, inflation & high gas prices got you down? Come in for some retail therapy" and "FREE GAS to move your ass!"

No I'm not kidding.

So, if you spend more than $60 you get $5 in gas money and if you spend $250 you get $20.

With locations at Madison and 80th, Lexington and 62nd and 81st between 2nd & 3rd, I wonder how many of their customers actually drive...

But what the heck this and other sales are going on through August 31. I have scored large here before, so it is worth the "drive."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bad Hair Day

Look, I am a fan of the idea behind Shop it to Me - the online personal shopper that pushes high-end apparel for sale to you based on your own preferences.

But what models are they using? OK, perhaps is isn't the model's fault. What hairstylist are they using? Check out these shots of two Marc by Marc Jacobs jackets. The only thing I can notice about them is HAIR. BAD HAIR. Like Peg Bundy just rolled out of bed hair - and not in a retro or ironic way. It does not inspire me to buy the underlying apparel.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Calypso Warehouse in LIC

I left work to go check out the mythical Calypso Warehouse sale, which runs from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and found it to be nothing more than a fleeting oasis among several other warehouses in the area. Not that is doesn't exist - oh no! For it does. However, I was entirely underwhelmed by both the merch and most of the pricing. A cotton see-through dress with no shape originally $195 for $135 does not inspire me in any way, particularly not to haul my a. out to LIC on the 7. Although it was fairly hassle free since I left from my day-job office. Anyway, I find their big blow out sales to be much more interesting. But perhaps it is my age and disdain for summer clothing that created this sense of dismissal. But I really don't think so - it simply is not top notch.