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FASHION updates from an industry pro. What's in this season?

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VALENTINO OFFERS ONE OF THE MOST COLORFUL, YET MOST TRADITIONAL CAPE OPTIONS FOR FALL 2014. PRICED AT $16,500 - IT IS ALSO ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE.When you start to notice seasonal changes in the weather (no matter where you live), you can usually count on two things.   Fashion boutiques will be start receiving great outerwear options, and another Hollywood blockbuster about a superhero is being released - or in the works.  Let's talk blockbuster.   One of the most iconic men in tights the world has ever known - Batman will be back on the big screen in 2016, in yet another reboot of the cash cow series based on the Character created in 1939 by Bill Finger and Bob Cane. BURBERRY WOOL & CASHMERE PONCHO - MONOGRAMMABLE - $1,600.00  Owned by DC Comics, Batman - originally known as the Bat-Man will nex be brought to life by Oscar winning actor Ben Affleck in "Batman Vs. Superman : Dawn of Justice".   Evidently the movie will star not one, but TWO larger than life superheros that wear capes when they want to be taken seriously.  Did somebody say capes?SALVATORE FERRAGAMO WOOL / ALPACA PLAID CAPE - $2,990.00 - AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT FERRAGAMO BOUTIQUES

The Fall fashion collections from Paris and Florence were flipping and flying with capes, wraps, and kimono like ponchos more than any season in recent memory.   While capes for women have been associated in the past with images more like Little Red Riding Hood or Girl Scouts - the offerings for the Winter of 2014/15 are not your little sisters, or your grand-mothers capes. ASYMMETRICAL SHAPE OF THE FERRAGAMO CAPE  As outerwear options become major parts of a woman's ensemble - a sophisticated cape is a wise investment.  Ferragamo, Burberry, Valentino, Bally, and many more runway collections were right on the trend for Fall 2014.

Three reasons you need a cape in your closet.   1 - Cape Coats are a great option for transitional  seasons from Fall to Winter and from Winter to Spring - which can be months at a time.  2 - these cape / ponchos travel really well, making them easy to layer up or down when unexpected weather arrives when you are away. 3 - possibly the most relevant reason - Capes and Ponchos FLATTER almost any figure.  In fact, they are a great friend to women who are larger than a 10 or 12.   For decades larger women have been all but shut out of designer fashion due to limited sizing offered to ladies with curves. WOOL / MOHAIR CAVALLI CAPE - $2,270.00   These Ponchos and Capes - even when labelled a true size BALLY WOOL CAPE WITH LEATHER TRIM - AS FEATURED IN THE FALL 2014 CAMPAIGN - $1,695.00 - AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY IN BALLY BOUTIQUES- can be worn by women several sizes larger - depending on the style / color / cut.

Take a look at these options that jumped off the runways at me.  They can all be staples in your wardrobe for years to come.    




BOTTEGA VENETA FALL 2014The weather is heating up and shopping centers across the U.S. are filling up.  While Summer used to be a time for shoppers to escape the heat and hit the sales, elite fashion clients know the most coveted items for Fall 2014 are arriving day by day!  Right now it's Pre-Fall items (some of the best and least promoted by the magazines) and Runway designs are on the way.  Shoppers with a dedicated sales associate are rest assured, as they usually set aside the hottest pieces for the best clients. 


This Summer, two Italian houses of luxury fashion have released handbags that are sure to be best sellers.  

BOTTEGA VENETA OLIMPIA BAG IN AUBERGINE - $2,580.00The Northern city of Vicenza was the birthplace of Bottega Veneta in the 60's and the famed woven leather or "Intrecciato" bags that is a must-have among the rich, the famous, and all around fabulous.   Jackie Onassis was an early devotee and the companies famous "when your own initials are enough" spoke volumes to those chic enough not to be covered in branded logos. 

Since 2001 the house has been part of Gucci Group - now known as Kering, and the group brought in Gucci alum Tomas Maier to become it's creative director.  The brand now has boutiques in most luxury shopping destinations.  

This Summer Bottega Veneta launches the Olimpia Bag to it's legions of accessory fans.  The sophisticated bag is classic BOTTEGA VENETA BAG IN NEW LIGHT GREY WOVEN AYERS - $5,250.00Bottega with it's simple flap and leather and chain strap.   The bag is named after the famed Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, the city where the bag is produced and home to the Bottega Veneta atelier.   Perfect for that Summer get-away! Price ranges from $2,580 to $5,250.00 - This is one to add to your permanent collection.   Get to your nearest Bottega boutique asap.

South of Vicenza - 121 miles to be exact - is Florence.  From the architecture, to the sculptures, Florence is the calling card of Italian design.  Nestled in the center of this legandary city is the brand that started the designer shoe revolution. SALVATORE FERRAGAMO FIAMMA BAG IN KARUNG AND LEATHER - $3,500.00

Salvatore Ferragamo is the original house of designer shoes.  With a legendary legacy, the house went through a 21st century reboot in the last 4 years.  Once worn by Hollywood royalty like Marilyn Monroe (Ferragamo created the stiletto heel for Monroe on film) and Audrey Hepburn, today the house is as likely to seen on Beyonce, Lady Gaga, or the hottest new rap star you haven't heard of yet! 

This Summer, the house launches The Fiamma.   SALVATORE FERRAGAMO FIAMMA BAG IN BURGUNDY LEATHER -$2,250.00A handbag named for Fiamma Ferragamo, the daughter of Salvatore that made the brand a global name by adding ready-to-wear and accessories.  The Fiamma bag is a top handle, oval bag with enough style and attitude to become your go to -"going out" bag.  There are several size and shapes but my favorite is the Mini - so much style and attitude!  Find them in a Ferragamo boutique now. 


Summer is for sunning, resting, and shopping!!  Check the sales while they last.. and get on these it bags before they are wait listed.   Bottega and Ferragamo are both brands that don't produce endless quantities  - True Luxury!SALVATORE FERRAGAMO - FALL 2014



The Wall Street Journal featured yet another stunning still life in the popular OFF DUTY section over the weekend.   One artist's work is a favorite here at aLIFEofSTYLE.   Click NOOK to find out more about these unique pieces - and where to find them - they are destined to be collectibles.   Bravo Meredith Mendelsohn for writing this thoughtful article,  F. Martin Ramin for the dreamy photography, and Anne Cardenas for the beautiful styling.  #WSJOFFDUTY



Spring is in the air.   Finally, after a harsh Winter that had everyone from San Diego to Saratoga experiencing droughts, snowstorms, and a myriad of weather obstacles in-between...the tide is turning.  Suddenly, the West coast got rain, the East coast is getting sun, and your favorite fashion stores are unwrapping the newest objects of desire for Spring 2014.   Now, more than ever, it is easy to also support causes near and dear to your heart simply by purchasing from companies with a passion for charity.   Three collections that champion animal rights and the environment are among the most interesting offerings for Spring. 

FIGUE - The self styled collection of designer Stephanie Von Watzdorf is on the short list of those bohemian globe-trotting "it" girls who live between St. Tropez, West Figue Flying Elephant Tote - $65.00Chelsea, and Costa Careyes - depending on the time of year.  Figue Flying Elephant iPad Case - $95.00 Figue is cool and stylish, but never pretentious.  How could it not be fabulous? Stephanie is the gal that helped create the look of the Tory Burch  RTW aesthetic.  While Tory prefers the "Bohemian in a Bentley" image, Stephanie is more "Gorgeous in Goa".   Most of the pieces are collectible and Figue has a following with a one-of-a-kindish-like passion.   Anyone who knows Von Watzdorf knows her passion for animals - big and small.  Her Flying Elephant Totes ($65.00) and Flying Elephant iPad Cases ($95.00) helps raise money to save and care for Elephants in Africa.  Over 30% of the tote and 20% of the iPad case goes to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  The Trust cares for Elephant and Rhinos is Kenya, carrying on the legacy of David Leslie William Sheldrick - founder of the Tsavo National park in Kenya.   Help support this beautiful creatures while wearing one of the chicest collections around!  Figue has opened it's first BOUTIQUE in NYC -GET THERE!!

JOHN BARTLETT  - This NY based fashion designer has a history of supporting animal rights.  His Tiny Tim Rescue Fund helps support dogs and cats in need,TINY TIM ADOPT NECKLACE and ensures they are cared for in no-kill shelters.  Bartlett started the fund in memory of his own three legged rescue pit bull - Tiny Tim.   For 2014 there is an exciting new fashion piece to raise awareness and funds for the cause.  Bartlett has teamed up with jewelry designer to the stars Gregg Wolf to create the Tiny Tim Adopt Necklace in Sterling Silver.  At $135.00, it's an affordable way to help safe man's best friend and look cool doing it.


This family owned skin care company has built a loyal following by using all natural ingredients and utilizing combined with the latest scientific breakthroughs in anti-aging and restorative properties.  With fans around the world, Chantecaille has helped women choose more natural options in their beauty regimen.  Philanthropy is also a constant in this eco-aware company.  Each season, the family chooses an animal in danger of extinction to raise funds and awareness.  For Spring 2014, the focus in on the Honey Bee.  Bees have protected and helped produce all of natures finest creations for millions of years.   These tiny creatures protect our ecosystem in a profound way.  (Honey found in the tombs or ancient Pharaohs is still edible today!)  The recent andCHANTECAILLE - "SAVE THE BEES" PALETTE dramatic decline of bee populations around the world has scientists on every continent concerned.  A portion of the profits from the sale of every Save The Bees Palette goes to the Xerces Society.  This non-profit organization protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their environment.  The palette has a warm collection of colors that flatter the eyes and cheeks. 

To learn more about any of these worthy causes, click the highlighted links or the images.   You can "pollinate" any of these causes in your own way by purchasing these items now.   Help these beautiful creatures, while you also take home some beautiful pieces for yourself this Spring.

Buzz around like a busy bee now.  Happy Spring!