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

 What art is hanging in the chicest homes?  click LOOK to see.

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Love Where You Live  Read how author and Hammertown Store Owner - Joan Osofsky helps everyone do as she says..  Click BOOK

Pharell Williams has the key to be HAPPY... (It might be under the hat)...







CLICK ON OSCAR TO VISIT THE OFFICIAL ACADEMY AWARDS WEBSITEAnd the winners are.....The 86th Annual Academy Awards aka The Oscars went down Sunday March 2nd in a rainy Los Angeles.  It was hardly your typical show.   Liza Minnelli dressed like a Smurf ( I hated it) , Pharrell Williams dressed like a scout ( I liked it) - but there were exciting choices and winners.   Here's a quick rundown.  Click OSCAR or click Oscar to the left to see more info about the winners - and to see the other categories.

FASHION -Click on the lovely ladies below wearing some of my favorite looks of the night to learn more about the designers.

BEST PICTURE - 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor - Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress - Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actor - Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress - Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave

Best Director - Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity

Best Animated Feature - Frozen

Best Documentary Feature - 20 Feet From Stardom

Best Cinamatography - Gravity

Best Costume Design - Catherine Martin - The Great Gatsby

Best Foreign Film - The Great Beauty - Italy

Best Makeup & Hair - Adruitha Lee & Robin Mathews - Dallas Buyers Club

Best Original Score - Steven Price - Gravity

Best Short Film (Animated) - Mr. Hublot

Best Short Film (Live Action) - Helium

Best Production Design - Catherine Martin & Beverly Dunn - The Great Gatsby

Best Adapted Screenplay - John Ridley - 12 years a slave

Best Original Screenplay - Spike Jonz - HER




MADONNA WEARS RAPLH LAUREN COLLECTION TO THE GRAMMYS -PH: JEFF VESPA - WWW.WIREIMAGE.COMWith all eyes on Sochi, Russia for the ultimate competitions of all things sports related,  it's easy to forget that a huge competition worth billions of dollars began just a few weeks ago right here in the United States.  I'm talking fashion of course!  Ralph Lauren was given the gold... by Madonna, on the Red Carpet at this year's Grammy awards.   Madonna arrived with son David in (almost) matching black Ralph Lauren suits.   Madonna wore the runway suit that was a star of Lauren's Runway show in September and also a focus of the Ralph Lauren Spring 2014.  Madonna wore her favorite accessory of late - Golden mouth Grillz. MADONNA AND HER GOLDEN GRILLZ AT THE GRAMMYS With all those visits to the "Dentist" during her time living in London, you would think M would never want to hide her pearly whites.

Just ten days before, Hollywood legend Diane Keaton also donned Ralph Lauren at this year's Golden Globes Award Ceremony.  The Annie Hall star wore a black label bespoke suit reminiscent of her famous roles in Woody Allen films.   Keaton was on stage to pay tribute to Allen during a lifetime achievement award.   Few women wear menswear better than Diane Keaton!  

Of course tailored menswear is an area that Ralph Lauren knows well.  His menswear brands have earned him billions of dollars over the years.  The iconic Polo Polo-shirt is probably the most profitable single clothing SKU in the world.  DIANE KEATON WEARS BESPOKE RALPH LAUREN AT THE GOLDEN GLOBESLauren himself started his empire by selling men's ties - almost door to door.  Well, more like store to store.   Lauren would solidify his image as the American tailored suit when he outfitted Robert Redford in the iconic film - The Great Gatsby in 1974.RALPH LAUREN SPRING 2014 RUNWAY    Lauren could be considered the American resource for Menswear tailoring for women.   He does have large shoes to fill - in France - It was Yves Saint Laurent to create the look.  It Italy, it's Giorgio Armani

Now for the obvious GOLD Medal / Ralph Lauren reference.   The designer created the American teams uniforms again at the 2014 Olympics.  The Southwestern / Americana Cardigans Lauren made for the big opening ceremony were - not my favorite.  I know they sold out immediately and were selling for thousands on ebay - but too Paddington BEar for my taste. Sexy in the sketch - a little too layered in reality. 2014 WINTER OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONY AMERICAN UNIFORM - RALPH LAUREN

I was happy to see that RL has changed course after the public backlash from 2010 when it was discoverd the American Olympic Uniforms were made in China.  The American Team are wearing 100% Made in America items from Ralph Lauren.  Terrific!   Click TEAM USA to see more.

The hats are great.  I was lucky enough to be given one - now that's a keeper. I feel like a total winner when I wear it!



ALEXANDER WANG - FALL 2014 - CHARLIE MEETS THOM BROWNE - PH: COURTESY OF STYLE.COMWell somehow they survived!  New York Fashion Week is in full swing and the big drama of the season has already happened.   On Saturday Alexander Wang staged his fashion show outside of Manhattan.  The designer had the nerve to hold the event where? - wait for it.. BROOKLYN! - GASP!  Certain editors took to twitter to express their dismay at the horrific traffic and overall annoyance at having to cross the bridge, take a ferry, and above all- to do something different.   BARBARELLA MEETS ROC-A-FELLA - ALEXANDER WANG FALL 2014Where in Brooklyn you ask?  Was it Coney Island? No, not so South.  Was it Brighton Beach? - No, not so East.  No.. the far flung locale that Wang chose was - THE BROOKLYN NAVY YARD  - AHHHH.  Right.. the space so popular with pedestrians and tourists alike - even your suburban Aunt has heard about it, and probably been there.   So close to Manhattan that any real Brooklynite would purse their lips at you for calling it "Brooklyn".   So barely in Brooklyn that Lena Dunham's Character Hannah from Girls would slap you in the face with one of her floppy - non-brassiered t*ts for complaining about it! Really?  Unless you work in fashion that is.  If you visit NYC for fashion week (non of the cool NY based guys and gals batted an eye lash or a winter boot at the location) I guess I understand.  Especially if you are under 35 and don't remember when shows were ALL over town in the late 80's and early 90's in NYC.   When the coolest shows in Paris were not under the Louvre, but spread around the arrondissements, and when the most interesting shows in London - on second thought - let's not talk about London.  Maybe on the other hand you've done this for so many years you think you have seen and done it all..  but it seems today we are living in a Reality Show world of supposed "fashion events"  The birth of the street style editor has led us to this place of twitter twits that think they know fashion because they wear a few free dresses and got paparazzi'd a few times.  What is even more annoying -  they think they work hard and deserve to complain for traveling 3 miles in a oversized car service to see a beautiful show.   What else were you going to fill your vapid conversations with that night anyway?  It's not an age thing of course.   Youth isULTRA LUXE FANNY PACK ATTACK AT ALEXANDER WANG FALL 2014 a state of mind and having an open mind used to be a requisite for working in this oh-so-creative field that is at it's best when it balances art and commerce like a tight rope walker.  Sadly, more and more decisions are made today in board rooms around spread sheets and not cutting rooms around muslins.  Thankfully a handful of luxury brands still survive.   BAG OF THE NIGHT - MUTCH A-DO-CLUTCH - ALEXANDER WANG FALL 2014 I'm always critical of New York designers simply because they are bested by those from Milan and Paris again and again.  Add to that the fact that the American designers that are supposed to represent luxury became billionaires by producing entry level goods in China.  Where does it leave 7th Avenue?  

Alexander Wang is a bright spot in a sea of mediocrity.   Let's hope his newfound fame as creative director of Balenciaga will only elevate his signature collection.  You might question his style choices, but at least his collection looks luxurious - something NY runways can be short on. 

As for the whiners in the first few rows, if there was a god of fashion He or She would have conjured up a polar vortex and blown the East River ferry full of snivelling editors all the way to Yonkers.   Now that would be something to bitch about!   Boo Hoo it was hard to get back over the bridge?  Grab a metro card and take the F train - it was two blocks away - some of you were New Yorker's for God's sake!   You can use Uber but not HopStop - Lame.

Bravo Mr. Wang for mixing it up.   The urban collection was right on your path.  The finale was a bit of a gimmick, but so chic it worked.  You followed Lady Gaga to the Brooklyn Navy Yard - but you led the Fashion flock right out of the pen.  #BreathOfFreshAir




MARC JACOBS PH: REUTERSMarc Jacobs certainly took center stage late last year with his sudden departure from the house of Louis Vuitton.   While Jacobs and LVMH said it was a mutual decision as Jacobs would prepare his namesake label for a public offering, there were loud rumors that the decision had been made by Bernard Arnault (Chairman & CEO of LVMH) himself.  Hoping, as the rumor goes, that a new creative director would bring a newfound direction for this massive fashion brand that was feeling less than exciting in the last few seasons.   Jacobs certainly is no stranger to headlines, attention, and dramatic decisions - so who left who? - who can say.  It is certain that Marc Jacobs became a celebrity around the world after taking the helm of the fabled house of LV in 1997 as LVMH purchased a majority stake in Jacobs own brand.  This sleepy legend of monogram travel bags would become the biggest logo brand in the world under Jacobs direction.  Who would have ever guessed one hundred years ago that resin coated vinyl would come to represent the world of luxury handbags?  Truth is stranger than fiction.   While Jacobs became rich and famous via LV, his namesake label would become known more for the quirky accessories of his lower price line - Marc Marc Jacobs, often made from plastic, and too often made in China.   MARC JACOBS "CHECKERS" BAG - $1,550.00 AT BERGDORF GOODMANLines would form down the block from Jacobs's boutiques, with young girls desperate to get their hands on rubber boots, plastic lipstick pens, and tote bags plastered with Marc, Marc Jacobs in every color of the rainbow.   (T-shirts and beach towels also became hot items for the fashion flock picking up 5 and 10 at a time leading up to Summer and Winter holidays).

Now, with more time on his hands the Marc Jacobs label could get the much needed attention it deserves.  It is one of the coolest brands around, but hardly garners the attention at retail that the "it" girl following, the ultra hip ad campaign, and the global network of stores would normally guarantee.  Before LVMH came into his life, Jacobs and business partner Robert Duffy were carving out a name for the designer as one of the few American luxury brands.  In the late 90's his handbags would sell out of Bergdorf Goodman faster than they could be produced by talented artisans in Italy.  Once LV was in the picture, things changed.  Of course, it all makes sense.  Louis Vuitton was more than a side job or freelance gig for Jacobs.  The number of collections, campaigns, and contractual responsibilities that comes with running a global luxury brand would create a challenge for anyone to multi-task.  After all, Karl Lagerfeld himself has been challenged in making his namesake brand a retail success.  MARC MARC JACOBS PEN, PENCIL, AND HEART COMPACT AT BOOKMARCThe Lagerfeld label has had more re-launches (and flops) than the Friday the 13th movie franchise.. but with much less profit to show for it - but maybe as much bloodshed.. (I knew people who gave us great jobs to work at Lagerfeld only to be fired a few months later when He and Tommy Hilfiger pulled the plug.  (Hilfiger had signed a deal with Karl to distribute Lagerfeld in the U.S. - I know.. REALLY?).   Karl also famously bought back his label for 1 French Franc in the late 90's after it failed to turn a profit.

The departure of Jacobs from Louis Vuitton also occurred in the shadow of the biggest news maker of all the American Designers.  Or course I'm talking about the unprecedented and unpredictable success of Mr. Michael Kors.   Since going public in late 2011, Kors company went from just another American brand with fabrics that were quality questionable, to a multi-billion dollar global empire selling "ode to Rolex" watches and "ode to Chanel" handbags.  With a deep pocketed financing plan similar to that of Tommy Hilfiger, overnight Kors became THE accessory to have for every working girl from San Francisco to Sri Lanka. MR. MICHAEL KORS - THE LIFE OF ANY PARTY - PH: GETTY IMAGES Today, with just over two years as a public company, Kors business has an estimated value of $15 Billion Dollars.  Staggering!! 

Both Kors and Jacobs are from New York, (Jacobs born in the City and raised in New Jersey, Kors born and raised on Long Island)  but the two are cut from very different clothes.   THE ROLEX DOPPELGANGER BY MICHAEL KORS AT MACYSMichael Kors is loved by all and is instantly likable.  You would be hard pressed to find anyone with bad things to say about Kors who is always the life of the party - wherever he goes.  Michael loves the retail business and has spent an endless about of time in the stores at his trunk shows over the years. (too often a rarity these days).   Whether he is in a store, In the critic's chair on Project Runway, or on-line on Sunday mornings buying the New York Times off the boat ferry at his Summer house at the beach- Kors is that same likable guy.   Marc Jacobs is not that guy.   Marc is the prince with the Prada bag and matching coat that you just want to pinch-hard.   While Kors surrounds himself with peers his own age, leading ladies of Hollywood, and former and current heads of state, Jacobs is more likely to be hanging out (or dating) guys half his age on a beach in Rio or Miami.   The two personalities are like night and day.

Of course Michael Kors did not become a billionaire overnight.  ONE OF THE "OH SO PROFITABLE" MICHAEL KORS TOTES The designer worked year after year, re-launched again and again, all the while dressing key Hollywood celebrities.  Kors was also the creative director of French fashion house Celine from 1997 to 2004 - the first ever Creative Director of women's RTW for the fabled French House.   Still, it did not make him a household name.  It wasn't until Michael was wooed by reality TV and joined the cringe worthy Heidi Klum and her Project (of doom) Runway that fame came calling.   (It's a sad commentary to note that in order to get the attention of serious financial investors, Kors had to first do the most pedestrian project around).   Even in a medium way beneath his talents -reality schlock- Kors Shined.   His one-liner critiques could destroy a contestant, but make them leave smiling.  His comments were funny and biting, but not destructive or mean.   One of the best was his reaction to a dress with a messy train.. " She looks like she's pooping fabric"...it said it all.. and who could hate that guy?   

Bravo to Michael Kors for all his success, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.  I just wish to become super rich he could have run a business more like Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and less like Tommy Hilfiger  at (the hot mess of a Ralph Lauren knock off label that is) Hilfiger.   But who can blame Kors?  Many public companies related to fashion or not have followed the same formula.  Moving production to China and promoting questionable quality accessories as "Luxury" is unfortunately nothing new these days.

MARC JACOBS & MICHAEL KORS SHOW OFF THEIR CFDA AWARKS IN 2010 However, there is one big difference between Marc Jacobs as he reportedly prepares to go public and Michael Kors when he did the same.  Marc Jacobs is already a very rich man and has run one of the biggest luxury brands in the world.  Kors on the other hand was not rich beyond his wildest dreams, and had not run a European luxury house when investors came calling.  Marc Jacobs doesn't need the money or the prestige.  Of course he wants the money - who doesn't, but he doesn't need to follow the typical formula if he doesn't want to.  

I think Marc Jacobs dreams of taking over the tweed at CHANEL the day Karl retires.  Jacobs references the collection season after season after season... it's hardly subtle.    Waiting for Karl to leave however might require quite a bit of patience.  Lagerfeld is the most powerful over 80 year old in the world - why would he retire?  Fashion is clearly his life.

So, all eyes are on Marc Jacobs.   I'm crossing my fingers he'll give us luxury like we haven't seen before from an American designer.  The world doesn't need another brand of "stuff" with logos on it - don't you think?   The CFDA could use a world famous designer of true luxury goods based in NYC.   After all, Tom Ford is hardly a New Yorker!