Kate Spade Dies at Age 55

By now you've surely read that Kate Spade died yesterday in NY at her Park Avenue home - and that apparently it was  a suicide. I think many of us, myself included, were stunned as everything we've ever intuited about her through her brand, Kate Spade, has been sunny and cheerful and, in one word: Perfect. Hers is one of the best NY success stories ever - a handbag line she began in her apartment with her soon-to-be-husband became a multi-billion dollar brand through her creativity and care.

The first thought that struck me when I read the news was: but WHY? It seemed inconceivable to me. And therein lies the one good thing that might come out of this situation: the chance to talk openly about mental health and the forms it takes and how no amount of success creates an escape when severe illness is left untreated or treated insufficiently. I'm so incredibly saddened by this news - for the fear and loneliness she must have been feeling, for the aftermath her family must endure - especially her 13 year old daughter, and for all of those suffering silently as she did. May she be at rest, may those who are restless and struggling be granted the strength to reach out and secure the help they need, and may the lot of us through education and openness become more keen observers and helpful hands any time we sense someone needs us.

Celeb Sighting: Jenna Lyons (YES she is a celebrity)

A few days ago Jenna Lyons passed me in SoHo.  That I recognized her registered on her face and resulted in her picking up her pace ever so slightly.  Which makes me think I may have a latent stalker vibe (?!?) to which I've been blind.  I began feverishly texting my friends, as one does when one has latent stalker tendencies, to report this majestic sighting.  A few of the responses I received:

  1. WHO is that?!
  2. Oh my gosh - I LOVED her in The Office.
  3. Channing Tatum's wife?

Answers to the above:

  1. The former creative director and president of J Crew widely credited for reinvigorating the brand as it was slumping in the early 2000's.  She is a Damn. Fashion. ICON.
  2. That would be Jenna Fischer.
  3. That would be Jenna Dewan Tatum.

So what if no one else found this sighting as glorious and serendipitous as I did, I still wanted to chase her down to grill her (LATENT tendencies!).  Her rise to fame is fascinating to me.  Yes: FAME.  She began as a junior designer in 1990 and ascended not only to the highest ranks but became the de facto face of the company.  When word of her departure was released, it was reported that the decision was mutual.  That is code for: tumultuous but suppressed.  To quote Seinfeld: "It was the first mutual break up in relationship history!" Which is to say break ups are rarely ever mutual; And I suspect this one follows suit.  In any case, I would like to end with an open letter to Jenna:

Hi Jenna,

It's me, the stalker you saw on Broadway and Prince, AKA the Wardrobe Whisperer.  PLEASE for the love of all that is good and holy write a tell-all book immediately.  That is, if you're not already penning said book which I'm certain you must be.  It would be a completely missed opportunity to keep us in the dark.  I require details.  Please start from the beginning of the end.

Thank you,

WW

 

Somehow the debate about men's shorts rages on

I was pumped about summer vacation for exactly 72 hours until:

  1. I spent 48 of those 72 hours applying sunscreen to tiny necks and backs
  2. "Bored" became a leader in my kids' vocabulary
  3. Spontaneous fist-fights erupted in my house at regular intervals
  4. Littles began waking up before 6am, despite black out curtains, because the sun somehow still peeks through

People, it is not even real summer yet.

In addition to the above list of affronts, the debate about men's shorts seems to have extended beyond what Linette Lopez and I tackled a few years backAs Quartz confirms, there are an increasing amount of folks who take the position that men should never wear shorts. I consider that an extreme opinion and wish to defend the right of men to regulate their body temperatures as best as they can.  I understand that in places like England shorts are abandoned as part of the right of passage into manhood but here in the good old USA, shorts are hugely relevant (case and point: New York City in the middle of August) and are part of American culture in much the same way as denim.  To me, the problem is in the execution not in the garment itself.  This goes back to our cargo shorts debate (which, by the way, was published a full year BEFORE the Wall Street Journal took on the same topic and got a TON of media attention for it).  Basically too often we see men wearing oversized, overstuffed shorts and, in effect, ruining it for everyone else.  If men would, as a whole, commit to wearing streamlined styles like, for example, the Theory model pictured above, I don't think shorts would have such a bad reputation.

I'm sure I will get a million texts and emails saying that flat-front shorts don't work on every body type but in fact they do work on most.  If your waistline doesn't support them then let's not blame the garment.  Put down that fifth beer and back away.

When A Photo Opp is a Missed Opp

If a picture really is worth a thousand words, I feel confident that the main word would be airbrush. Certainly Melania Trump is an attractive woman but even more than usual her official White House portrait makes her look like the Madame Tussaud wax version of herself.  In no way does she look accessible which, I gather, is the actual point of taking a portrait like this. To me she appears less like a hostess of the White House and more like a bouncer at the SoHo House. Case and point: with her arms tightly crossed she's poised to judge you instead of receive you.

Look, people, this could have been worse. At least she has clothes on.  And those clothes, for all intents and purposes, are appropriate. I just think she could've shed some of the (what appears to be) hostility and imbued a little warmth into this shot. In other words, she could've tried to appear HUMAN.

 

Super Bowl LI: The Halftime Show

While in this outfit, I wish she would've covered that song Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys. I'm of the opinion that Gaga did herself a disservice by incorporating all of those cool drones into the beginning of her performance.  They looked like fireworks, they took the shape of the American Flag, they were a stunning sight!  I felt distinctly cheated the moment the drones took their leave and we had to focus on the actual show again.  Don't get me wrong, Gaga WORKS when she is asked to perform.  She offers up her heart and soul and it is always evident.  But despite her hustle, I felt the performance was anticlimactic.  Typically her voice is so extraordinary that I can listen to her sing most anything but the way she did her mash-up last night, all of her songs felt like the same song with slight variations.  And then her costumes left me wanting.  Clearly, in my view, this is where the mortal sin occurred.

The Versace she opened with was definitely my favorite (I can envision a moment in time where Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and I all converge on the last of this pair of boots and have to wrestle it out. Be warned, ladies, that I am prepared to fight a legion of marauders to secure these.  Sharpen thy nails.)  But the body-suit was not that different than what we've seen her in a hundred times before - something sparkly and sharp shouldered.  Zzzzzz.

I'm fairly sure this image will appear in my nightmare tonight.

And then the spiky golden bolero.  When you are renowned for having donned a meat dress, this sorta fails to excite.  It's only a hair away from what I would wear in my actual daily life.  Then she went and saved the worst for last:

This begs the time-worn question: Are fishnets ever really a good idea?

This particular ensemble inspired this thoughtful commentary from a friend's 5 year old: Daddy, why is she wearing a Chinese food container?  From the mouth of babes!  I will say, though, that her face looks GREAT here and for that I applaud.  But in the end I guess I wanted some really fun moment - something playful and unpolitical kinda like the Beyonce/Bruno Mars dance-off from last year's show.  Instead I walked away talking about the drones.

These ends justify the means

img_5259 If Justification was a college course, there would be a bidding war for my professorial services.  Obviously this is a critical job function for me and therefore a skill I have spent time cultivating.  The fact is that no one likes to feel guilty about spending hard earned money and so often my role is to gently permission them.  This has never been easier than at a recent event where I teamed up with Goldman Sachs, Hugo Boss, and the Susan Komen Foundation to raise money for cancer research...by shopping of course!

An infallible mantra I adopted for the evening: Stop thinking of yourself and start shopping for charity!

Luckily attendees were good sports and took this (questionable) logic to heart which equated to a good bit of financial support for the foundation.  Success!  (Note to readers: it might also have helped that I was double-fisting bottles of persecco and pouring liberally while simultaneously doing on the spot styling and fittings.  Just a hunch.)

 

New Meaning for the Term Tanned Skin

alexander_mcqueen_solo Those of us who know a lot about fashion often aren't well-versed in sports.  For instance, if you want to know what the "infield fly rule" is or what a "double switch" is, ask my husband not me.  But although I'm firmly in the fashion camp, I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that I know what "shirts vs skins" means.  And it's not what fashion designer, Tina Gorjac, thinks.  According to Quartz, Tina "is working on a project that will use McQueen’s DNA to grow skin, which she plans to tan and turn into leather jackets and bags. The skin will even bear tattoos based on the exact 'locations, size, and design,'of McQueen’s."  (Silence of the Lambs, anyone??)  To be clear, it's shirts VS skins, not skin-shirts or jackets or bags.  It's used to denote team affiliation in a pick-up game.  I end this post very disturbed because 1) people are growing human skin to make clothing and accessories and 2) I had to explain something related to sports.  It's clearly time for a cocktail (which will also ensure my skin will be too dry for anyone to clone it and use it to make handbags).

Please Note: Breast Plates are Not "In"

carrie_underwood Readers, I need you to understand in no uncertain terms that the "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an age of technology" was a one time event-driven theme exclusively for the Met Gala.   It is NOT a thing.  In the immortal words of Regina George, "Stop trying to make 'fetch' happen, because it is not going to happen." Except in this case 86 'fetch' and sub 'robot clothes.'

Carey Underwood's weird gold breastplate also reminds me of this woman who used to live near me in Park Slope (Brooklyn).  For some reason that I could never figure out (and believe me, I consulted medical professionals) she used to wear a hard plastic breastplate OVER her clothes and all the time.  Making things odder, she often decorated it.  For instance, when it was Christmas time we might see some wreaths taped to the front or perhaps a gentle nativity scene.  Any way you look at it, if you are being forced by your doctor (or some sadistic sicko) to wear what is tantamount to an exoskeleton, you might not want to call additional attention to it in the form of tiny flashing white lights.  This is just common sense, people, but apparently Carey Underwood needs me to spell this out for her and so I have.  With that, please let this end the chapter of unnecessarily protecting our ribs through fashion.

 

Ho-toure

fashion santaPrior to today, my most detested holiday song has been I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.  Model Paul Mason has me reconsidering its message.  Not only is he a fit and handsome Santa, he's also helping to raise money for sick kids this holiday (and probably also rescuing stray puppies, and feeding the homeless hand-made meals). According to Quartz:

As part of its Fashion Santa holiday campaign, the Yorkdale mall will donate $1 to the SickKids Foundation for every selfie posted using the hashtag #YorkdaleFashionSanta, up to a total of $10,000. So far, it seems to be off to a good start.

Hello, Hermes, It's Me

   

hermes apple

I've not had much of a chance to think about blog topics considering all of my surplus time has been spent listening to Hello by Adele and weeping like an infant.  Luckily I've only been called upon to complete one actual piece of work today which was to consult on my strap preference from the Hermes Apple Watch collection.  So let's talk about that because right now I have nothing else for you except for some deep longing and sorrow conjured by Adele.

I'm not sure if it's because I follow Hodinkee on Instagram or because there have been a rash of cool watches released this year, but I've been looking at men's and women's watches pretty much non-stop.  Therefore I feel qualified to declare my love for the Hermes version for Apple.  Its appearance is simple yet elegant and sports two of my favorite visual features in a watch - a solid black face, and a leather strap.  As to the style and color of strap, I'm smitten with the "double tour," as they call it, in all colors but lust openly for the capucine (reddish) and the fauve (cognac).  If you're going to get a smart watch, and if you have $1250 laying around, this is my pick.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Adele awaits.

Balmain x H&M

balmain x hm In the immortal words of Nikki Minaj:

He toss my salad like his name's Romaine

And when we done, I make him buy me Balmain

The Balmain x H&M collection dropped last Thursday and it is, just like the lyrics above, AMAZING.  Racked NY has reported that there are almost no pieces left in the city except in sizes 2 or 12; And I've already seen jackets being resold on ebay for $700.  The madness will not cease!

Dear Romaine,

Please buy me the above outfit in its entirety.  I know you have connections.  Thank you.

Love,

The Wardrobe Whisperer

Business Insider Covers Wardrobe Whisperer

business insider Last week, over lunch at ABC Cocina the gregarious and brilliant Linette Lopez described Business Insider as the likely offspring of Page Six and the The Wall Street Journal were they to have a baby.  Does that not also perfectly characterize Wardrobe Whisperer?  This is just one of sundry reasons Linette is a marvelous reporter: she spots synergies before the rest of the world does.  Witness her coverage of Wardrobe Whisperer:

Business Insider:  This is who high powered Wall-Streeters call when they don't know how to dress

 

 

Give and Let Live

Prabal Admittedly, I am often annoyed when a person uses his/her celebrity to preach to the masses.  I'm usually not at all interested in their message (but very interested in their outfit).  Not so in the case of Prabal Gurung, the super-star fashion designer originally from Kathmandu, Nepal who is raising thousands of dollars to support relief efforts in his homeland.  He is a brand ambassador and board member of Shikshya Foundation and is currently using this platform to raise money for food/water, search and rescue efforts, medical support, and other humanitarian needs following Nepal's massive earthquake on April 25th.  His organization is donating 100% of all monies received.  Click here to read more about the efforts of Prabal and Shikshya Foundation and learn how you can donate to this very worthy cause.

Welcome Back (Agent) Carter

photo(3)Happy 2015!  We are five days in and, so far, my deepest thoughts have revolved around making a new year's resolution.  First and foremost I realize that it has to be tenable.  I've always known my limitations when it comes to these sorts of commitments:  As a kid I would give up broccoli for Lent.  With that in mind, I've resolved to commit to a new TV series.  This isn't as easy as it seems given that even the big guns (Homeland, The Wire, Breaking Bad) have not captured my interest for long.  But I think that I'm ready to step up to Agent Carter which premieres tomorrow at 8pm EST on ABC. Marvel has smartly decided to bring back Agent Peggy Carter (Haley Atwell) as a post WWII spy.  Another enticing feature is that it costars the handsome guy to my right in the above photo:  Enver Gjokaj, who I wardrobed this summer.

Okay, who am I trying to kid?  Given the collective beauty of the cast and the 1940s fashion, it probably IS as easy as it seems.  I, for one, happily resolve to find out.

My Halls Got Decked at Marshalls

photo(3)The day before we were set to get our tree, I realized I was woefully short on Christmas ornaments.  In a panic, I rushed to Marshall's Home Goods store to fill in the blanks.  Then I got my own blanks filled in when the twin of the ceiling display pictured here disengaged from the rafters and fell, thanks to Murphy's Law, directly on my head.  It's difficult to understand scale from this photo (the biggest circle was about 3.5' in diameter) and it's also tough to see that the circles are affixed to a piece of wood that's about 4'x4".  The wood part was what caught my face.  The good news was that the circles were surprisingly light! My immediate thought was where are The Impractical Jokers as my husband is a long-time friend of those boys.  But the only person I spotted was a woman staring slack-jawed at me and telling me she was going to stay right where she was in case I needed a "witness."  Being a seasoned shopper, I took all of this in stride.  The impact did black me out for a few seconds but that's nothing compared to injuries I've sustained at Barney's Warehouse Sale.

Moments after the incident I was ushered aside by a manager who collected details and apologized profusely.  Frankly I would've preferred action to words as I had a basket worth of $500+ in merchandise.  However, no discount was forthcoming.  So the moral of this story is when you are bashed in the head with a large ceiling display and the manager comes to make reparation, do NOT lead, as I did, with the following words, "Don't worry, I'm not going to sue you."  Dear friends, at least keep him guessing so you get the discount your bruised face and cut hand deserve.

Hasn't Everyone Tired of the Bigger/Better Debate?

iphone pocket enlargementMy contract is almost up on my iPhone 5 which puts me squarely into iPhone 6 territory.  My guilty secret:  I don't want to upgrade.  This admission makes me feel like I am 75 years old and stubbornly holding onto a flip phone.  The truth is, I like my phones little.  And even though there are two options (4.7" and 5.5"), both are too big for me.  For the love of Pete, the 5.5" model has inspired a store in Shanghai called Unicom, to hire an on-site tailor to address the size issues this phone presents.  This person's only function is to enlarge the pockets on folks' pants to accommodate for the gargantuan phone.  This incites panic in me as I consider the many, many expensive handbags I own with an iPhone pocket that perfectly fits my model 5.  Let me ask you:  why should pants and purses be made to accommodate?  Shouldn't it be the other way around?  I am stymied.  Perhaps it is because it is Monday and I am weekend-lagged, but these are the pressing philosophical questions stirring in my brain today.  And that admission, friends, makes me feel even more guilty than the first.

A Salute to Oscar de la Renta

www.vogue.comThe fashion industry can be brutal.  Remaining relevant for even a few years is considered a daunting task let alone remaining relevant for an entire career.  And yet Oscar de la Renta accomplished exactly that.  He dressed four first ladies, dozens of A-list stars, and most recently George Clooney's bride, Amal Alamuddin (the two are pictured above in one of her final bridal gown fittings).  Clearly you are doing something right if you remain the go-to for Hollywood royalty...at age 82. It's truly amazing to me how enduring his vision was; And I think maybe it's because his goal was simply to create pretty dresses.  He didn't feel the need to buck the trends or to prove himself an artistic genius, he just wanted to make women look beautiful.  And that he certainly did.  Time and again.  In the end, that's what kept him not only relevant but in demand.

As you surely know, Oscar de la Renta passed away Monday from cancer.  I admire the man and his work greatly.  I also align myself with his many, many admirers in saying that he and his contributions will be greatly missed.

John Galliano is in La Maison (AKA The House)

Christian Dior: Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture S/S 2009There are certain people who should only create, and never, ever speak.  Into this pool I'd toss folks like Britney Spears, Kanye West, and John Galliano.  (J.G.'s infamous 2011 anti-Semitic rants are shameful.)  I don't know about you but for me, it's difficult to separate the creator from the creation.  Having said that, I can't deny loving Baby One More Time, The College Dropout, and most everything that Galliano has created including the above gown.  Say what you want about the former, but the latter is a fashion genius.  And so the big guns at Maison Martin Margiela (famed French fashion house) are taking a major gamble and making him the boss.  It's a bold move but if all works out, the payoff should be immense, not only in the form of dollars but also in fashion contributions.  I will therefore begin holding my breath (and something tells me I'm not the only one) and praying that Galliano will remain respectively silent on all topics other than clothing.

Standing O or Hell No: Amal Alamuddin (and George)

amal1You know how when a friend or family member gets hitched and you can't help but consider whether that person's new mate  is good enough for them?  And, usually, you think the mate is NOT good enough because who, in reality, COULD be good enough for your friend/family?!  (Or am I the only one who thinks this way?)  Well, this is one of those times when I look, from the outside obviously, and see a very equal match. I'm not sure what their private relationship is like, and honestly I'm not really interested, but George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin are a visual match made in heaven.  The glamor that they brought to their Venetian wedding last weekend was superb as evidenced in the photo above.  Also, I'm pretty sure this is why yachts were invented:

amal2

Basically Amal robbed the world of the question we've all been waiting years to ask:  Is George Clooney's new wife good enough for him?  (She's gorgeous, brilliant, and independent.  She's also a barrister - case closed.)  Standing O for that achievement, Amal, as well as for your impeccable fashion!

Double Agent

enver1Begrudgingly I have returned from LA, because my trip was absolute magic!  Allow me to elucidate by way of highlights: - lots of drinking and dining with much-missed best friends

- star sightings ala Emma Stone and Scott Speedman (the rumor mill stops here - they were NOT together!)

- and possibly my favorite:  wardrobing tv and film star, Enver Gjokaj (above)

Holla back, Dollhouse fans! Not to mention The Avengers, The Walking Dead, The Witches of East End and the list goes on...

Ok, people, I admit this job was not difficult.  Enver is obviously a stellar looking human being not to mention that he is total aces on a personal level.  The amount of fun and energy he brought to the project was unparalleled.

Our mission was to create a wardrobe that could take him everywhere from a table read, to an audition, to the red carpet, to a junket, to a party, to pool-side or a bbq.  In a few short days we hit each of these notes by mixing high, low, and what lies in between.  We called on brands like VINCE., REISS, and John Varvatos as well as Theory, and Ralph Lauren Black Label; and we even snagged a bevy of vintage pieces from Wasteland.  It was a TOTAL SUCCESS.  Witness one of many, many looks:

enver2Girls, have you caught your collective breath yet?  Shall I pass around the smelling salts?  Allow me to wrap up.

In my last post, I dropped a few hints but at this point you may have deduced that Enver landed a spot on ABC's upcoming Agent Carter!  The show starts shooting next month and will air in January.  I can't wait to follow him double (agent)-time on screen and off where he will certainly be looking super fly in all of his new gear.