New York City fashion. In most ways, I feel like I've nailed it. How to pair black and wear color, how to sport statement pieces, vintage finds, silk, leather, carryall bags, tiny clutches, you name it. And yet when it comes to heels, I'm as clueless as a Wisconsin dairy farmer.
Don't get me wrong. I love a gorgeous pair of heels and I would love to pull them off effortlessly. I'd love to meet a 7-foot-tall guy and wear 6-inch stilettos 12 hours a day. But honestly, I find it hard to wear anything over 4 inches for an hour. It's remarkable how many girls in New York can pull this off. And like me, they're not all fashion editors with a car service. Like me, walking is their primary mode of transportation, and they clock miles a day without a change of shoes.
There are stories that heel masters like Victoria Beckham wear stilettos on the treadmill. (Don't worry it's a rumor; she only just started exercising). And sure, they admit, no pain no gain. But there's a difference between suffering a little pain for fashion and walking around like a defeated hobbit after the workday is done.
Is there something I'm missing? Is there a way to train your feet to withstand the pain? When it comes to learning, I'm an immersion type of gal. So I, with my friend Bryce Gruber over at TheLuxurySpot, decided to try a little experiment for the sake of fashion. In a new series, we're going to try out a variety of vertigo-inducing heels in the most inappropriate situations possible. An activity that's totally insane to do in anything but flats? We're there. Could we find out the hard way some tips and tricks for wearing heels? If I were to run a mile in stilettos, would it make wearing them to the office a breeze?
For the first run, we decided to start out simple, something active, but not too strenuous. What's the one place we regularly frequent that would draw stupefying glances our way as we treaded on $4,000 machines in sharp heels? Pilates. And to go all out for our stiletto workout look, we donned some fabulous leotards, courtesy of American Apparel.
Bold new designer Kimberly Ovitz at only 26, proves that talent is not wasted on the youth. With her new collection, presented against a stunningly colorful background at Pace Gallery, this gifted lady is turning major heads in the fashion world.
If you haven't yet seen Tron, the 3-D film with a dubitable storyline but with epic impact on modern fashion and music, you're missing out. It was the first thing we thought upon entering the gallery. Finally these sharp cuts, powerful colors and easy-wearing fabrics seen on the silver screen are coming to life. Ovitz admits that her collection was not influenced by the film, but they do share a common interest in looking ahead to the future.
While Tron's futurism lays within the deep recesses of a video game, Ovitz draws her futurism from the works of Oscar Niemayer, a man credited with bringing modernism to South America. Niemayer is an architect who was never interested in lines or angles, but rather in curves found in the landscape of his own country or of the body of a woman, and representing those curves in his buildings. In her collection, "The setting is Brasilia," Ovitz tells Luxist. "A friend of mine passed away in Brazil, so I was very preoccupied with the country."
One of this year's most anticipated collection, NAHM, comes from an unlikely duo, Ally Hilfiger, of fashion royalty, and Nary Mavivong, who after living homeless as a teenager, pursued his lifelong dream of working in the fashion industry, a story that is told in the new documentary Dressed. The two have proven their worth as a young power duo, with enthusiasm and love of the craft that shows vividly in their Fall 2011 collection.
Last year, Marc Jacobs grabbed headlines when he picked a couple of girls off the street to walk his runway show. He just loved their style, much to the envy of wannabe models everywhere. This year Betsey Johnson takes it a step further. How much further? Luxist has the scoop.
We spoke to the amazingly down-to-earth designer at the Diet Pepsi lounge at Lincoln Center this morning, where she stopped by for a brief meet-and-greet. Dressed in her lucky studded New York belt, a draped Alexander McQueen scarf, and quintessential red lipstick, Betsey Johnson was full of a shocking amount of energy after her long week leading up to the tents.
Of course it makes sense for one of New York's hottest florists to have founded a luxury fragrance house. Nothing quite captures the heavenly scent of fresh-cut roses, but Belle Fleur Home candles by Meredith Waga Perez come just about as close as you can get.
This Valentine's day Belle Fleur has put together an enviable package incorporating gems from both their home line and their flower studio. Your lucky Valentine will receive one of their infamous bouquet of flowers designed in a leather corset covered vase, as well as a Mayan Tuberose candle to keep the sentiment alive for days to come.
Ancient Mayan culture held the divine scent of the tuberose sacred to their goddess of beauty and love. With accent notes of gardenia, amber vanilla and ylang ylang, the Mayan Tuberose candle is an unforgettably rich scent sure to set a decadent mood in any home.
The Valentine's Day Special is $250, with delivery available within Manhattan. Call to order: 184.108.40.20603 and be sure to check out the complete home line including giftsets, home fragrance and more.
If you're looking for an ideal casual Valentine's Gift, look no further than the new limited edition LOVE sandals from Havaianas. The Brazilian flip-flop giant has created the perfect mix of comfy footwear with an adorable red and gold design. If you're gifting your Valentine a classy ring, or any larger piece of jewelry, try tying it around a sandal strap as a fun way to wrap your gift. We love any gift that hints the spring sun is right around the corner.
The sandals are available exclusively on the Havaianas site for $24, and a small run is available for purchase now. Luxist has a pair to give away at random to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment on this post and we'll randomly select a winner this Friday, February 4th. Good luck!
* To enter, leave a confirmed comment below.
* The comment must be left and confirmed before February 4, 2011 at 5:00pm Eastern Time.
* You may only enter once.
* One winner will be selected in a random drawing and notified by email.
* One winner will receive the Love Sandals from Havianas, valued at $24.
* Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.
See full giveaway rules here.
This contest is now closed. Thank you for your particpation.
It was a mere five years ago that Starwood took over Le Meridien, taking on a new direction for the global hotel leader, which today boasts 105 properties in 50 countries. After exiting 45 properties that weren't up to par with the brand, Le Meridien now boasts double digit growth each year, and added 20 new properties in locations like Panama City, Bangkok and Taipei. But it was in Philadelphia, in a former YMCA building that Le Meridien recently celebrated their big anniversary, at the flagship hotel that encompasses the brand's new mantra of old and new.
"It's a design led lifestyle," Eva Ziegler, Global brand leader of Le Meridien tells Luxist of the new direction. From the lobby's historical oak walls to the contemporary art hovering over the mantels, it was a scene taken straight from Paris, a city that has perfected the idea of aligning old with new. "We were going for the same elements that you find in the Louvre, for example, this very heritage foundation surrounded by a very modern element. It's a foundation of our design, having a wonderful historical building juxtaposed with a wonderful new design style." The landmark Philadelphia hotel marks just the beginning for where Ziegler and her team are taking the Le Meridien brand in the future.
2011 marks the triumph of a very successful social experiment in building a travel hub for the creative class. With Paris as her guide, Ziegler is continuing to focus Le Meridien properties everywhere on targeting creative minds and their cohorts and opening them up to a new experience through the lens of arts and cuisine.
This strategy began in 2006 when Le Meridien hired mastermind Jerome Sans as Global Cultural Curator, aligning an authentic cultural inventor to the brand. Out of that relationship grew LM100, a carefully chosen family of cultural innovators who work together to create interactive experiences unique to the hotel. The LM100 are filling Le Meridien's worldwide with a singular creative portfolio from food to drink to art to fragrance to set the new look and atmosphere of the brand against the more traditional landmark buildings they're housed in. The brand is currently working with 24 artists, including sommelier Linda Grabe, video artist Marcus Kreiss, master barista Fritz Storm, chef Jean Georges Vongerichten, artist An Xiaotong, and perfume designers Le Labo.
Gallery: Le Meridien Philadelphia
Things were a bit more relaxed in Marrakech, where Sarandon was brought to honor friend Harvey Keitel at the International Film Festival. Dressed in a relaxed black blouse, and wearing a safety pin as an earring her daughter had given to her, Sarandon admired the gorgeous library setting of the Royal Mansour, the King's recently opened hotel palace, rumored to be one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. From what we saw of it, it was hard to argue. We spoke to Ms. Sarandon in the library of the hotel, an intimate oak-paneled room, where the paneled-ceiling open up just in case a guest desired to read under the night's stars.
It was Sarandon's third time in Morocco, and second time at the festival, where she herself was honored in 2006. "I love the food, the people, the music," she said, "everything about it."
While continuing with acting roles here and there, Sarandon's real passion lately seems to be running a business. With Spin clubs already in New York, Milan and L.A., Sarandon has plans to open clubs in Berlin, London, and a larger club in Westwood, she told Luxist. "We've been talking about Marrakech now. Because we were at dinner and all these people were like, well I play in team Morocco." There's no doubt ping pong is a huge conversation starter for Sarandon. "I was saying it's kind of like a tattoo. When you show your tattoo everyone starts undressing to show you theirs." They've even been approached by a huge cruise ship line to bring the Spin concept to cruise ships.
Rare films, classic TV, revivals and revolutionary cinema. DVDs make great presents because they're great experiences, whether discovering the early works of Charlie Chaplin, reminiscing on a first date movie, uncovering the latest and greatest of art crimes, or journeying deep into the jungle into one of the greatest war films ever made. If there's one thing the end of year brings us, it's a host of new DVD releases, all specially packaged for gifting. Choose a film or TV set that a friend would be proud to have as part of their library. Here are our top picks:
Mad Men Season Three
With an ominous Old Fashioned decorating the cover of the new box set of AMC's groundbreaking show, the cover design foretells Don Draper's deadening downward spiral in the unparalleled Season Four. There's only one thing to hold us over until Season Five. Revisit Season Three for all of its amazing story turns: marriages crumble, agencies fall apart, hidden identities revealed, all amidst the backdrop of JFK's assassination, putting the 60s all into perspective. It's one of the few shows that delivers more and more with each viewing. Snap up this boxset and revisit the magic and tribulations of Madison Avenue in preparation for next year.
Some of my favorite gifts over the years have been the educational ones. The holidays give us much needed down time. It's the perfect excuse to picking up a new skill such as cooking, taking a journey of our planet with Oprah Winfrey, or exploring the history of our solar system. Here are the top new releases this season for some truly inspirational gifts.
Cooking From A to Zest
While we love to watch cooking classes on Food Network as much as the next person, we can't remember one instance of actually going off and baking that 7-layer meringue cake. Finally, a box-set that takes cooking from entertainment to instructional. The perfect present for the newlyweds or college grad on your shopping list, "Cooking From A to Zest" ($59.99) covers the basics and beyond. Your lucky gift recipient will perfect their knife skills and build an arsenal of sauce recipes. Here's hoping you'll be on the receiving end of a great meal well past the holidays.