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

 Artists to know now   Click LOOK

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Massimiliano Giornetti - Former Creative Director of Salvatore Ferragamo - begins a new chapter as he leaves the brandLuxury fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo announced that the brands creative director, Massimiliano Giornetti is leaving.  In fact it seems Giornetti has already left the building as the Italian house said the collection shown two weeks ago in Milan would be his last.  Salvatore Ferragamo Fall 2016 - Slip dresses are a favorite silhouette of designer Massimiliano Giornetti.

Giornetti leaves Ferragamo with an incredible body of work behind him, as his runway designs were crucial in the brands repositioning itself from a global classic, to a true fashion runway collection.  While millions of women around the world have bought Ferragamo shoes for years, Giornetti's RTW designs saw the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Demi Moore, and other leading ladies of music and film looking sexy and modern as they accessorized with the brand.Ferragamo Resort 12 Collection - staged at the Louvre Museum in Paris  His strength was making you focus on the craftmanship and artisan details the house had mastered for decades with shoes and handbags, but blowing it up for the drama of the runway.  His Resort collection shows were "Ultra-Luxe" showcases of this craftmanship - taking place at equally luxurious locations like the famous Duke Mansion on New York's Upper East Side, and the Louvre Museum in Paris.

So as Ferragamo "the house" celebrated 100 years since founder Salvatore started making shoes by hand in Los Angeles last Fall, Giornetti was turning out press collections to catch the attention of editors and bloggers around the world.  Having worked with the company since 2000, Giornetti stands with a select few designers of his generation with a tenure as long, or significant with one luxury brand.  First serving as menswear designer, and then in 2011 taking the helm as Creative Director of the entire brand, Giornetti lived and breathed the Ferragamo ideal.   More than one editor remarked after his collection debut of Women's runway in 2011 - "Now that's what Ferragamo should look like". Ferragamo Resort 13 - The Red Carpet Collection staged at the Doris Duke mansion in NYC, a show that lit the spark for Ferragamo's new direction

This iconic house is in a strong position as it relies on the design teams to take the lead with Giornetti's departure.  This is not like Gucci finding it's way after Tom Ford left the company.  Ford had introduced RTW to Gucci, while Giornetti had given an existing collection a new direction.  It would be hard to think of another fashion house that was more stable, than this majority family owned, and family operated legacy brand.  With over 650 boutiques globally, the company has built an empire over decades that keeps Salvatore's design aesthetic constant.

What's next for Giornetti?  We shall all see.  With more than half a dozen major houses playing musical chairs, you never know until the music stops!  Who's next at Ferragamo?  Also interesting to wait and see.  Edgardo Osorio of Aquazzura fame?    As the fashion world turns...


2016 Fashion - Designers offer Clean Slate of Black & White

CHRISTIAN DIOR SPRING 2016 - RAF SIMONS FINAL COLLECTION FOR THE FRENCH HOUSEThe mood coming from most sectors of the Fashion world at the start of 2016 has been cautious and careful to say the least.   After a year that saw sales end on a flat note, it seems the world of the well heeled has shifted much of their focus to interior design and all things home.  A GLOBAL LOOK FROM FIGUE - CLICK IMAGE TO SHOPDesigner fashion is still coveted, but somehow not as cool or relevant as that new stove or sofa.  It doesn't help that the dedicated fashion fans have been left feeling a bit leaderless as many creative directors (as they are so often titled now) are jumping ship or being walked off the gang plank at some of the biggest fashion houses.  Alber at Lanvin, Raf at Dior, with new rumors Phoebe will be out at Celine.   At the same time Nicolas at Louis Vuitton, Allesandro at Gucci, and Demna at Balenciaga are steering newly helmed ships themselves.  Not to mention the public Plug Pulling of Donna Karen's namesake line by LVMH.  It wasn't that shocking.. but still speaks volumes about the speculation of certain brands and POP of the bubbles built around a brand.  Of course, Donna's story is classic - it's challenging to run a company once it's sold to a conglomerate, when the designer is still living, and involved - even if she or he is their own worst enemy.  Mr. Valentino has created more than one PR snafu for the House of Valentino since he sold the brand - but just won't fade into the sunlight.

I've been working in the industry for over 20 years and I don't remember a time when so many designers have left and switched positions so often.   The bigger picture most will argue is that fast fashion has put the designer world on the ropes.   Pushed by deadlines and knock-offs for fractions of the price and beating the luxury houses on deliveries.   It is a race to the bottom to some extent and the truth is that some blame is on the luxury houses themselves for adding deliveries to compete with the likes of Zara and H&M.  Granted, it's hard to stick to your ideals when the world is screaming about profit margin - especially if you are a public company.  Why so many are public in the first place is another question.FERRAGAMO'S TRIBUTE TO THE SPLENDOR OF LIFE - SS16 - CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH THE CAMPAIGN

A wise writer once said about LA culture that "every 10 years the universe flushes the toilet" - I'm paraphrasing, but you get the point.   Let's hold our nose a bit longer and hopefully by the end of 2016, one big FLUSH will bring a crisper, brighter, and luxurious industry.

Spring 2016 has several big trends.  I'd be lying to only write about BLACK & WHITE as "the look" of the season, but it is interesting to see so many influential houses chose to have optic opposites share the runway with a kaleidoscope of color.  Typically the drama of black and white is saved for Fall - but this year.. maybe we all needed a palette cleanser to start with.  These pieces go with everything - so you really can't go wrong..  Click the images to visit these luxurious looks in their own environment.


Holiday Gift Guide -2015 and beyond - Ultimate Stocking Stuffers!

It's that time of year again - finding the perfect gift for those near and dear.  With all that is happening in this crazy world right now - this year I'm focusing on gifts that are special - but especially useful, decadent, practical, and made by family owned businesses.   Many of the gifts suggestions here are Made In America.  What a pleasure to see so many entrepreneurs in the U.S. making small batch, great quality products - again.  I'm adding a gift or two each day here, leading up to Christmas Eve, and straight through New Years.  After all, the holiday season is a great time to give and receive - but it's also a great time to get inspired for gift ideas you'll buy through the coming year.   Many of these items are easy to add to most budgets.. not just designer clients... with a few splurges thrown in.  Most of use are extremely fortunate and have so much, so let's be grateful and thankful as we shop responsibly.  All of the items are proudly made in America and Europe.   Be sure to check back every few days for additional gems.

Write Note Pads -Baltimore, MD-Write Note Pads - 3 pack - $9.99 - click image to shop In an era of smart watches and smarter shoppers, putting a pen to paper in one of these charming note pads seems like an ultimate luxury.  These small books that measure 3-3/4" by 5 1/2" are just the right size to take notes, capture inspiration, and make your best laid plans.   These books comfortably fit in jacket pockets, handbags, or any travel bag.   This charming 3 pack ships books in muted red, white, and blue - celebrating their Made IN America pride.   They make a perfect gift for just about anyone you know.  If there has ever been a better Stocking Stuffer - I don't know it.   Priced at $9.99 means you should buy a set for everyone you know.   Add to all the nostalgic charm, the company also donates a notebook to an inner city school in Baltimore for every book they sell - need I say more.   Click Write Notepads to shop now.

Claxton Fruitcake - Claxton, Ga -No other baked goodClaxton Dark Recope Fruit Cakes has become a punch line for a generic holiday gift as the fruit cake.  However, the stereotype was that the cake was some sort of dried out brick that was old and stale and passed from person to person, year after year.  The truth is a good fruit cake is delicious!   If anyone on your list has a sweet tooth - I promise they will appreciate a fruitcake. One brand that was a staple in my own childhood was Claxton Fruit Cakes.  The reason being, my family has volunteered for the Lions Club International as long as I can remember.  The Claxton Fruitcake company always participated in the holiday fundraising effort. (The company helps over 1000 charitable foundations for fundraising purposes) My parents and their friends would sell hundreds of Claxton Fruitcakes during the holiday season to benefit children's charities.    A great fruit cake is moist to the touch and chock full of dried fruits and nuts.   You'll find them in all shapes - from round to square.  I like the Claxton cakes because they are rectangular and easy to slice (when chilled).  The cakes are also really affordable.   The Claxton website has quantity discounts as well.. so you can add one for everyone on your list.  I just ordered a 3-pack myself! *cakes pictured are DARK RECIPE. The company offers FREE SHIPPING on all orders in the USA.

Aheirloom cocktail muddler - I'm thirsty just looking at it!Aheirloom Muddlers  I can't think of a way to make cocktail mixing more fun than a muddler.  Just having to use the world in a sentance is a thrill!  New York based Aheirloom has taken an old school item and given it the sleek upgrade this company is known for.   Aheirloom are the company that invented the state shaped cutting board!  Inspired by an old school nightstick, this muddler is sturdy, timeless and made for those hard to shop for people on your list.   The muddler is hand turned and ready to be engraved!  Each muddler is 8x1 inches.  Click over to choose maple or walnut... and personalized engraving.  Made in USA. 

SIX WORDS OR LESS -Sometimes, less is more.Larry Smith's - Six Words or Less - words to live by!  In a world where we analyze and re-analyze every decision to no end.  Creating a salad at lunch can lead to an existential breakdown for some millenials I must endure on a regular basis in Brooklyn.. but I digress. With this in mind editor Larry Smith's new collection of quotes from famouse authors, celebrities, and notables is a treat.  The assignment was simple - give Smith 6 words to live by.  Addressing any aspect of life.  It could be your life motto, your mantra, or just a thought to pass the time.  This book can be as deep as you want it to be - or not.  It is an excellent stocking stuffer for a college student, your significant other, your father-in-law, really just about anyone.  Pick one up for yourself.  It's a great thing to pick up on a weekend, or before bed.  Who knew 6 words could say so much!.  Six Words or Less by St. Martin's Griffin $12.99.   

 L'ORIGINE candle by FIGUEL'ORIGINE Candle by FIGUE -  How could we have a gift guide and not include one candle?  It would be an understatement to say there are a few candle options out there for shoppers.  I mean.. they are everyone.  However, anything Figue offers is going to be unique  - and not your average .....  This brand of luxury bohemian lifestyle clothing and accessories has been a go-to favorite of chic globe-trotters for several years now.  Founder and Creative Director Stephanie Von Watzdorf has more style in her little finger than many of us have.... well anywhere!  Her family legacy alone is novel worthy.. and add to that her creative talent that has been shaping the fashion industry for years.  Most recently before launching Figue, Stephanie was one of the key figures in the creative direction and creation of Tory Burch's eponymous fashion house.    Figue's Tuk Tuk bags are an "It" bag for cook kids.. and like every product she sells... somewhere an indigenous group are benefiting from that purchase.  Von Watzdorf is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.  If you ever have the pleasure to meet her  and husband Mike Lucas, it will be just that.    Click over to purchase a an L'origine candle now.  They smell like an exotic Mediterranean vacation.  Who doesn't want to burn that?!

 KIKI & HERB - Will Die For You!

New Yorker's with a finger on the pulse of New York night life and the performing arts usually react with an immediate smile or enthusiastic gesture when they hear the words - "Kiki & Herb" - the performance created by Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman was a staple on the downtown scene during the mid to late nineties.   The culmination of a decade worth of work, which created one of the most powerful cabaret acts ever to take the stage in NY or anywhere, was in many ways the performance this dynamic duo gave at Carnegie Hall back in 2000.  This lounge act on steroids is so brilliantly written, and Mellman and Bond were so comfortable in the Characters skin, it often felt like there was no "writing" and we really were watching two over the hill singers who's best days were behind them.  Luckily for us.. those days are just as good!  Another lucky strike is that the Carnegie Hall performance was recorded and released on iTunes.   I PROMISE you don't need to have ever seen the show live to enjoy the arrangements, the humor, and really the pure entertainment.  The show has celebrity gossip, polistical satire, and jokes covering everything from parenting to Popeye's Chicken! Since the duo retired Kiki & Herb Justin Vivian Bond has become one of the most popular solo acts in lounges and clubs around the world.   Bond has also been influential and vocal in bringing transgender issues and points of view to the general public.   Having helped to bring the gender neutral "Mx" to our modern vernacular, replacing Ms. or Mr. for those like Bond that fall somewhere in the middle of the gender spectrum.  Mx Bond has a voice and uses it wisely on and off stage.   Mr. Mellman is a strong performer in his own right and more info about his latest work is available on his website - click Kenny Mellman for more info.  Download Kiki & Herb -Will Die For You from itunes now! **EXTRA SPECIAL**  - Justin Bond has just released a Christmas EP - Three songs to hep you ring in the holiday! - Christmas Spells - What a great digital gift!! 


a wonderfully coordinated gift of Bellocq Tea and a LAFCO candle - Lucky me!Owners Heidi, Michael, and Scott has created an oasis of the worlds finest teas in their Brooklyn, NY teahouse and emporium.  The trio are quite worldly and before joining forces to enhance the world of tea enthusiasts, each was traveling the world on various design and publishing projects.   The result of their collaboration is a best case scenario for those of us that don't know much about teas, but love drinking them.   I've tried many of the blends and one is more delicious and enchanting than the last.  I received an excellent gift this year - their #54-Gypsy Caravan Tea.  A wonderful smoky black tea.   I highly recommend it.   A 3.5oz bag retails for $17.00 and this charming yellow connoisseur caddy retails for $90.00 and contains 10oz.   ** Anyone who appreciates fine photography should visit the Bellocq website.  The images are strong enough to stand on their own as pieces of art, truly.

LAFCO NEW YORK - Luxury Articles & Fragrance Co. - This New York based brand of candles, soaps, lotions, fragrances, and home scents has a loyal following of clients from coast to coast.  The company was instrumental in making the renowned, centuries old,  Italian luxury house of Santa Maria Novella known to well heeld American shoppers in the namesake boutiques LAFCO opened and promoted in ultra chic / upscale locations like Bal Harbour, SoHo, Dallas, etc.  Last year, LAFCO turned it's focus solely on thier own collections.  With hundreds of items in this wonderful collection, it's no surprise they did.    Visit  the LAFCO website now to click and ship something wonderful for yourself now.