Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fifteen Minutes With Fame: Nine West's Creative Director, Fred Allard

Anyone who knows me is aware of my obsession with shoes, and when if you look at the boxes in my closet one brand stands out more than any other: Nine West. A long-time fan of the brand, I had an opportunity to ask the man behind all those amazing shoes some questions for you fabulous FSB readers. Shoe lovers, I give you fifteen minutes with the label's Creative Director, Fred Allard.

What were your major inspirations for the fall collection? Women on the streets in Paris and New York exude style and confidence; they aren't afraid to experiment with fashion and I'm inspired by what they come up with. For the more sculptural pieces, I always turn to modern artwork. I also love the idea of truly ‘American’ fashion, which was the inspiration for our new Vintage America Collection. There is a certain worn-in effortlessness that the collection evokes.

What are some of the key pieces you think every woman should have in her wardrobe for fall? What are some of your favorite pieces from the collection? Every woman needs a great pair of classic pumps and boots to start. Also a chic flat is important– something wearable from day to night. I love the IUNIA thigh-high boot ($139) because it's very fashionable; both a boot and legging in one, which is something unique to the current season. I also love the JURRA Vintage America Suede Wedge Bootie ($99). It's extremely stylish and comfortable.

Who is the Nine West woman? What women inspire you most when you design? The Nine West woman loves fashion and pays attention to the trends and magazines, but looks for more affordable options. She is confident, sexy, creative and stylish.

What shoe, in your opinion, is the “secret weapon” that every woman should have in her closet, the one item that can transform any outfit from day to night? A great platform pump or sandal can complete or transform an outfit. It provides extra comfort because of the platform heel, while elongating the body. It is classic with a sexy twist. (FSB recommends the DEMODE Cutout Suede Pump (shown above, $89) )

What is the biggest mistake women make when purchasing shoes and how can they avoid making it? Women need to try shoes on before they purchase them. Most leather or suedes tend to stretch a bit, so it is important to keep that in mind as well.

So when you rock these ultra-fabulous, thigh-high IUNIA boots, you can say that they were recommended by Nine West's own Creative Director. We don't play around here at FSB: we get our information straight from the top! Thanks, Fred!

Ladies, head to your Nine West retailer or store today to get these and other hot styles. Fall shoe shopping is here!

FSB Asks: Would You Put Your Baby In A Wig?

There are certain beauty rituals that I find somewhat questionable, like mall bangs, "dirty hair" and mullets. These are all well and good for concerning adults, but how about when these vanity rituals fall on children, namely infants? For those who want to expedite the process of your child being seen with a full head of hair, there's Baby Bangs Head Bands: wigs for infants.

I ask you, FSB readers: what are your thoughts on wigs for infants? These products claim to be completely safe and comfortable for babies but what kind of message does this send? Give me your thoughts in the comment box below. Are you with fake hair for infants or does this have you all wigged out?

Try The Trend: How To Wear a Bib Necklace

I can't say that every trend works on everyone but there's one that all of us can try and that's the bib necklace. A good statement jewelry piece can be an instant go-to in your wardrobe that can easily transform any piece from "meh" to "WOW" in less than five seconds.

Pair a bib necklace with more simple pieces (I'd advise against patterns), but don't think boring: these necklaces can turn a simple v-neck or scoopneck t-shirt into a glamorous outfit and can add spice to just about any sheath dress. This is about drawing attention to the neck, so make sure that the neckline is either open or simple (no embellishments on top to compete with it) and keep other accessories below the neck and simple: a classic ring, a simple bracelet or just a great watch will suffice.

One of the best things about these fabulous necklaces is that they're available in many styles and almost any price. Here are some of my favorites:

Cash and Carry: White House Black Market's Mega Crystal Necklace ($68) and Jet/Crystal Bib Necklace ($78) are sure-fire stunners.

Credit/Debit: The Kenneth Jay Lane Coin Bib Necklace ($290) and Carolee Crystal Bib Necklace ($295) are slightly more but are versatile statement-pieces that can become a signature part of you wardrobe.

Blow the Bank: Sometimes you have to live a little. If you can afford it, I'll co-sign on this Ranjana Khan Beaded Bib Tie Necklace (seen at top, $1190).

Give a bib necklace a try. Bibs are versatile pieces that can transform any wardrobe, some are even at prices that won't cause you to spit up. ;)

Beauty Crush: Lancome Spokemodel Arlenis Sosa Honored At Latin Pride National Awards

As you know, I'm a proponent of beauty in every color of the rainbow, so I would like to extend congratulations to Lancôme spokesmodel Arlenis Sosa, who was honored at The Latin Pride National Awards last Thursday night in Boston. The awards recognize the most successful representatives of the Latin community in sports, film, music, education and, of course, fashion. The Dominican model wore a gorgeous gown by fellow Dominican Oscar de la Renta, an ardent supporter of the model. Arlenis is currently hard at work on a special charity project to benefit underprivileged people in her home country. As I've said before, giving back is ALWAYS in fashion.

As it is important to recognize our own, I tip my laptop in honor of both Arlenis' accomplishments and for Lancôme's decision to show such diversity in its advertising. I've received word that Arlenis just shot a major Lancôme makeup ad in Paris with a well-known photographer whose name cannot be released (don't you love the suspense?) while she's walking the runway in the Spring 2010 collections in Europe.

By the way, if you don't have it already, my newest Lancôme obsession is Hypnôse Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara ($24.50) - lush, thick, amazing lashes without clumping and tons of build-up. Wiggle the brush under the lash line and swipe upwards and BOOM! goes the dynamite - HUGE, THICK lashes. Run, do not walk, to purchase it. Moisturizer, concealer, this mascara and a good lipstick is enough to make any woman Arlenis hot when you leave the house.

Congratulations, Arlenis. Keep doing good. It's always makes the world a little better when beautiful people do beautiful things.

Shoe Lovers, Prepare to Be Shoe Woo-ed

There are some events to which we look forward more than others: the annual office Christmas party, the day you run into an ex looking smoking hot, walking into your bathroom and finding Daniel Craig waiting for you in the shower holding a dry martini (no? just me?). For those of us who are shoe lovers, I'll add one more to the list: the opening of Shoe Woo.

The store opens October 1st and from the buzz on the street it's bound to blow any self-respecting shoe addict right out of her stilettos. This is a shoe shopper's paradise, designed to display and treat shoe shopping like being in a candy store. Sugar rush, shoe rush - they're all the same but we all know the latter looks better on your waistline. :)

Before you make plans to hit the corner of 59th & Lexington on October 1st for the opening of this dazzling shoe mecca, take note: they've got tons of fab giveaways planned! In order to make sure you're a "shoe in" for freebies, follow them on Twitter, @ShoeWoo.

Those gorgeous drawings are a sneak peek. Your feet are just itching to get there, aren't they? Get a pedicure because on October 1st, it's time to hit Shoe Woo!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Blog Lovin: Our Weekly Roundup from Around The Web

This marks the inaugural shout-out to our fellow web publishers, who are out there holding it down and reporting on all the news that's fit to post. Here's some of the favorites from around the blogosphere:

Beauty Blogging Junkie attended a star-studded affair at the Byron & Tracy Redken Beauty Bar.

eye4style had me dying with her affinity for an unexpectedly slimming Raquel Welch wig.

55secretstreet gives us some video footage of beloved celebrity stylist Ted Gibson demonstrating the way to do a messy ponytail.

Marie Claire's Year of Living Flirtatiously grapples with her crush on the bartender.

BeautifulStranger.tv gave us the fun, fabulous street style of Yuri from Ten Thousand Things.

Felicia Sullivan makes me want to nest and light a candle in a big way.

I'm off to pack for the big move this weekend so please enjoy these fun posts and have a fabulous weekend!

Behind the Scenes: Interview with Fashion Week and Red Carpet Photographer Frazier Harrison

I've shown a lot of images from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and most of them came from one fabulous, very talented (and quite funny) photographer, the fabulous Frazer Harrison. I cornered Frazier when he had a moment to breathe from standing on the media risers at the end of the runway and asked him all manner of questions, from what makes a good picture to what it's like to work on the red carpet and at the end of the runway at Fashion Week. He's quite charming and it's a fun interview. Please do enjoy!

FSB Retailer Spotlight: The Stash Consigment Online Store

I am a fan of consignment shops but they usually present one of two problems: the selection is hit or miss or it’s not really as much of a bargain as it should be. As someone who believes that you should be able to have style at any price point, it is my civic duty as a fellow fashion enthusiast to tell you all about The Stash Consigment.

The brainchild of the fabulous Élan Kaplan Barrish, this true fashion lover started hosting parties that provided the ultimate consignment experience: sip and shop fabulous designer pieces in a private and chic environment where you can purchase gently used or never worn designer pieces at well below retail. Élan’s reputation for cocktails mixed with expertly-curated couture has made her the woman to see among fashionable New Yorkers who need to quietly sell brilliant designer pieces and the fashion-but-budget-savvy women who desire to purchase these items for a mere fraction of the cost.

Not in the New York City area to attend one of these genius word-of-mouth parties? Grab your own cocktail and throw a party for yourself because Élan’s brilliant collection of designer goods is now available online at The Stash Consignment’s new online store. Let me whisper some of the designers that are regularly available: Peter Som, Marni, Chanel, Hermès, YSL, Missoni, Prada, Thakoon, Chloè, Brian Atwood, and Rachel Roy are just some of the items you’ll see posted. Items are photographed and posted when they come in, so check back often. Those Christian Louboutins or that Devi Kroell bag might there right now, but as with any other consignment sale, she who hesitates might lose out, so act fast.

These two pieces featured at the top of the post are just a few of the offerings on this amazing site. The Devi Kroell Pink Gold Python Bag is $950 (full retail is around $2700) and this gorgeous J. Mendel Taupe Suede and Pailettes Silk Lined Jacket is just $450, which is a steal for this kind of piece. Looking to start small? How about a pair of very current Christian Dior Leather Booties for $150? Yep, the site is just that great.

I almost didn’t want to tell you about this fantastic little find but when you see photos of me in gorgeous couture with that particular sparkle in my eye, now you know where I got my killer outfit. Let’s keep this just between us, shall we? ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shoppers Delight: Tommy Hilfiger Flagship Store Launches on Fifth Avenue

Recently, I arose very early to get a sneak peek at the brand-new Tommy Hilfiger flagship store on New York's tony Fifth Avenue. Before entering, I was thinking how optimistic it was to open such a large retail space during our current economic times but after viewing the store, I share the brand's optimism and vision. This is an amazing retail experience that brings Tommy's love of American style together with some truly innovative touches. Each floor is designed to function as its own separate, unique boutique experience and it's flawlessly designed. Here's a view inside the brand new home of one of America's iconic lifestyle brands:

Bottom Level: Tommy Jeans

Designed to be the coolest nightspot in town, between the chandelier that changes hues with the music, a killer soundsystem and wall-to-wall denim displayed on fur and Lucite, this is one of the hippest denim venues around.

Main Level: Menswear Basics
With vintage motorcycles and masculine wood furnishings, the selection of menswear on this floor draws the Tommy Hilfiger man into a world all his own. A leather-bound lounge area completes the experience for the man who likes to take his time selecting a look.

Second Level: Mens Suits and Evening Wear
With touches of English tailor mixed with American installations that are all Tommy (note the active collage art on the stairs on the way to this level), menswear takes on a whole new charm when it's in space this charming.

Third Level: Women's Sportswear

Charming and very feminine, the eclectic mixture of vintage fixtures, gorgeous chandeliers and genius Tommy clothes makes this a fun, fabulous shopping experience for fans of the Tommy brand.

Fourth Level: Women's Eveningwear, Couture and Vintage
My personal favorite, this upscale boutique level is a glamour lover's paradise. Beautiful fixtures, butterfly artwork made from old vinyl albums, plush carpeting and a spectacular roofdeck with a one-of-a-kind view of Fifth Avenue makes this a shopper's destination!

If you live here, I must insist you head to Fifth Avenue right this minute and check it out. For those of you who are coming to visit, put this on your to-do list: go see (and shop!) the Tommy Hilfiger Flagship Store!

60-Second Beauty Tip: How to Wear Sheer Black Lipstick

You're thinking to yourself, "She's finally gone off the deep end" but hear me out: this isn't the Goth black lipstick you used to buy at the mall as a teenager. Urban Decay has a fabulous new lipstick for Fall/Winter called Oil Slick ($22), which is described as a "glossy black with silver microsparkle."

By itself, it's an edgy sheer look that gives a bit of punk appeal but here's the trick: slick this on over any red, pink or purple lipstick (not gloss) and it instantly deepens the shade and adds a bit of nighttime glamour to any look! It might sound crazy but head to your local Sephora and try this on for size. I recommend pairing it with other super lip-conditioning Urban Decay lipsticks, like Jilted (a hot pink), Gash (a blood red) or Buzzkill (a deep rose). It's like purchasing a whole new wardrobe of lipsticks without having to spend all that money!

The What I Wore Diaries, Day Four - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Day Four was my light day so I went for relaxed chic that day. This is what I wore on Day Four of Fashion Week.

The schedule
Robert Verdi's Luxe Lab, Custo Barcelona and dinner with friends to discuss some items. Like I said, a "light" day.

The Outfit
Sometimes visual is so much better, isn't it? So I look some video to show you what I was wearing this day. Please do enjoy!

Review of the Outfit: This outfit was incredibly comfortable and with the fabulous blowout and makeup, it brought what could have been a very casual outfit up a little.

Recommend Outfit For You? Yes, but it depends on where you're wearing it. If you took it up with heels and a cool evening clutch, it would be fabulous for date night but otherwise I found it to be a bit casual. Although, off-the-shoulder makes anything a little more fabulous, know what I mean?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Survival of the Chicest: Robert Verdi's Luxe Lab - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Photos: Kristin Booker/Fashion.Style.Beauty

There are many invitations one desires when waiting to see what you'll be attending during Fashion Week but there's one little invite that makes all of us secretly happier than almost any other: an exclusive invite to attend Robert Verdi's Luxe Lab Retreat during Fashion Week. The brainchild of the celebrity stylist/media personality/cultural maven, this gorgeous oasis in Chelsea plays host to many tastemaker celebrations throughout the year, but during Fashion Week it opens its doors to a select number of individuals where you can sit, relax, eat and attend some exclusive sneak preview parties and events. The invite is sort of your golden ticket to a little fashion-savvy candy factory, luxuriously decorated and managed to the nth detail by Robert and his very capable, friendly staff. When I got mine, I have to admit: I did a little happy dance.

This year the program was entitled "Survival of the Chicest" and it lived up to its moniker because the location of Luxe Lab sat squarely between the Bryant Park tents of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the Meatpacking District-located Milk Studios where MAC & Milk was held. For five solid days, we were treated to nutritious meals by Blueprint Cleanse, cocktails by multiple sponsors (you'll see Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Margaritas featured on the new season of The Real Housewives of New York City -they shot an episode at the Lab while we were there), karma readings, a preview of the Tarina Tarantino spring collection and luxurious hair and makeup in the CVS Reinventing Beauty suite located in his to-die-for bath and vanity area. Robert is the consummate host and as proof-positive of the well-curated guest list, celebrities of all kinds popped in and out without anyone batting an eyelash. Yes, it's New York but when you get to eat lunch with most of the cast of America's Next Top Model, you have to just smile to yourself: only Robert Verdi could pull this off.

There are many sad things about Fashion Week coming to a close, but one of the most bittersweet is that our time at the Luxe Lab had to end. Bedraggled and harried when we entered, every one of us left Luxe Lab well-fed, more calm, gorgeous and ready to hit the shows again. That's the magic of Robert Verdi and his lovely Luxe Lab: making the world a little more fabulous, one fashionista at a time. We love you, Robert, and thank you. See you next season!

NYFW: Custo Barcelona Spring 2010 - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

All photos: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz

Custo Barcelona moved into the Tent, the largest display space at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, to show their collection for Spring/Summer 2010 and judging from the packed house their optimism was well-justified. The runway turned dark and a loud, pulsating soundtrack immediately transformed the crowded venue into the hottest nightspot in town. Known for its unapologetic use of vibrant color and glittering details, Custo Barcelona did what they do best, sending statement piece after statement piece stomping down the runway to music that shook the chairs.

The brand, previously known for brightly-patterned shirts, has moved into a full-on rocker glam label that caters to musicians and the jet set around the world. A well-developed collection for both men and women were sent down the runway in bohemian looks punctuated with aggressively bright pops of color.

Body conscious, optimistic and wildly beautiful, Custo Barcelona wants you to be a free spirit who stands out in a crowd for spring. These clothes need not only be for those who star on stage and screen, merely those who have the confidence and attitude to live life out loud in their beautifully constructed clothing.

NYFW: Brian Reyes 2010 Collection - Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

Brian Reyes - Front Row - Spring 2010 MBFW
All photos: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz

After watching front row stunner Rachel Bilson take her seat next to Ugly Betty's Becki Newton for the Brian Reyes show, it was clear that Hollywood's favorite fashionistas were out in force to support one of their favorites.

Mercedes-Benz  Fashion Week Spring 2010 Official Coverage - Best of Runway� Day 6 Mercedes-Benz  Fashion Week Spring 2010 Official Coverage - Best of Runway� Day 6 Mercedes-Benz  Fashion Week Spring 2010 Official Coverage - Best of Runway� Day 6 Mercedes-Benz  Fashion Week Spring 2010 Official Coverage - Best of Runway� Day 6
Reyes is known for his designs tailor-made for those who have to make it work in front of the paparazzi and his see-and-be-seen design aesthetic didn't disappoint for this spring collection. Known for impeccably-cut, glamorous clothes that are edgy enough for young Hollywood but chic enough for more established buyers, Reyes' collection was full of fun prints (a Rorschach-inspired print was of particular interest), flirty ruffled dresses and evening wear destined for red carpet affairs. All in all, Reyes' offerings for spring were a success for their intended audiences: the ladies who keep the paparazzi in business and those of us who want to look like them.
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