Filed under: Apparel
No single shop encapsulates the high fashion, quirky humor and artful irreverence of London's chic Newburgh Quarter like Beatrix Ong. Located steps away from Carnaby Street on Newburgh Street among a slew of independent designers, her whimsical style finds its way to your heart through your brain.
Stepping into her small shop is a step through the looking glass; you are instantly transported to a land of card castles, white rabbits and Cheshire cats drawn in pencil on the walls by Beatrix herself. "It's my interpretation of 'Alice in Wonderland meets Sleepy Hollow,' Ong has said of her concept. The cleverly gothic store has been open since November of 2009.
Even more enchanting are the accessories for sale, from handsome men's and women's shoes to broken heart keyrings. We were especially delighted by the fortune-teller shoes above, which come as flats or stilettos and retail for £248 to £368. "That's her sense of humor," commented a friendly staff member as we oohed and aahed over the shoes. "She has lots of creative ideas." We couldn't agree more. Other Spring 2010 shoes feature origami birds and what look like elaborately folded napkins.
Check out the gallery for more shots of her charming Newburgh Quarter shop and visit BeatrixOng.com (or American Rag in LA) to shop.
This trip was sponsored by VisitBritain, but the ideas and opinions expressed in the article are 100% my own.
Dashing designer Duncan Quinn has always loved finely tailored English suits and grew up wearing some of the pieces his father had had made on Savile Row in the 1960's. Following several years practicing law both in the City in London and in Manhattan buying and selling companies he became obsessed with bringing to New York his own vision of a Savile Row tailoring establishment for gentlemen and rogues alike. The first Duncan Quinn store opened in NoLIta in 2003 and was an immediate hit. GQ praised his "Savile Row meets Rock 'n Roll" sensibility and things grew exponentially from there. In 2006 he was honored with the Fashion Group International Rising Star award for Menswear and opened a second establishment in Hollywood, followed by another in Dallas in 2008 and most recently a limited edition pop-up shop in Miami.
Past and present DQ devotees include alt rockers Green Day, LeBron James, Sean Combs, Christian Louboutin, Adrian Grenier and other notables and celebrities. Quinn continues to be driven by a delight in making unique collections of pieces with a viewpoint that are made to the highest standards possible with the finest materials known to man. His clothes are constructed to "celebrate days of glory and nights of excess." In addition he just completed filming and shooting for Bombay Sapphire's global advertising campaign for 2010 and will feature in advertisements running in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Quinn's love for the finer things in life and beautiful machines in particular - motorcycles, cars and sailboats - is well documented. In the gallery, he reveals his 10 essential luxuries and explains what makes them a must.
Filed under: Apparel
Novelty isn't enough to keep the latest in Swedish jeans on store shelves. Noko, which debuted last week, is an upscale brand with an unusual twist -- it's made by people who could never partake in the style. The jeans are manufactured in North Korea, where access to jeans is rare at best.
Swedish department store PUB, decided to stop selling the jeans in order to avoid controversy. After all, who'd want to be associated with the land of Kim Jong Il? The department store's management claims it didn't know of the jeans' origin and killed the deal as soon as it learned of the North Korea connection. Sweden is effectively the western world's envoy to Pyongyang.
Rene Stephansen, PUB's director, told The Associated Press, "For us, this is not a question of Noko Jeans - this is a question about a political issue that PUB doesn't want to be associated with." He continued, "This is not the forum for the discussion."
Noko Jeans was developed by three Swedish entrepreneurs who wanted to engage North Korea, end the isolation ... and probably capitalize on the Communist mystique. The jeans are only available in black, and they aren't cheap. One pair will set you back $215 a pop!
The plan was that Noko Jeans would be sold at Aplace, a store within the PUB store, according to Stephansen. Aplace isn't on board with PUB's decision, calling it "a bit cowardly."
Filed under: Handbags
Luxist: Tell us about the gun holster.
Zara Terez: Well, I actually saw a gun holster, and I thought it would be a really cool idea to make it into a handbag. It's good to go out with, and for mommies who have little kids, they can carry around their diaper bag and have their cell phone and their credit cards [in the holster]. And actually, my sister said that it's really good for exercising, like, you need a bag you can run around with.
L: So you are manufacturing them?
ZT: I am, everything's made here in New York City.
L: Is that suede?
ZT: This is suede, and we also have it in pebbled leather. All the leather comes from Italy; I bring it in.
L: Excellent, and how much does one cost?
ZT: $125. It's really, really fun, we have it in multiple colors, and you can use it day or night -- it's perfect for everything.
L: Tell us a little bit about these other materials you're using,
ZT: Everything is leather. Embossed snake, embossed croc, and what I love to do is, I make sure that there's always a ...
L (discovering the inside of a feathered bag): There are sequins in here!
ZT: Yeah! There's always a splash of surprise in each one. There's a surprise in every bag. It's really all about you, and what represents you as a person.
L: So, where do you get your inspiration?
ZT: My friends, my family, New York City as a whole. [The bags] are all named for different places in New York City. My holster's actually called 14th Precinct, which is the precinct in the garment district.
Check out more of Zara Terez's badass girly designs below:
Gallery: Zara Terez
Clara and her husband Misha have been making handbags for 15 years. Clara designs the bags -- with resplendent taste -- and Misha is the model maker, whose superb craftsmanship is evident in each of their stunning final products.
The bags are made in a variety of jewel tones with different shapes and materials. "Usually we choose to match our python, so we have it in the python, we have it in satin," said Clara. Their other unmistakable feature is their dynamic and opulent use of Swarovski crystals, packed tightly but unevenly, like a mosaic. "They are like a skin almost," explained Clara, quite rightly. The result is bags and accessories with an extremely opulent vintage feel -- your bag may be new, but it looks like a hand-me-down from Princess Grace.
We see a lot of handbags, but we rarely see old-school glamour like this, and with the season's return to flashy, speakeasy styles, you'd be smart to pick up a Clara Kasavina for the holidays.
Gallery: Clara Kasavina
Filed under: Jewelry
The opening was an absolute madhouse (which is what happens when someone shows up at Bloomingdale's with free champagne), and definitely got the word out about David Yurman's new home at Bloomingdale's. I managed to pull the charming and jovial David Yurman himself away from the masses of adoring women for a quick interview about the new shop, working as a husband and wife team, charity and inspiration.
Luxist: So, why a shop within a shop?
David Yurman: Oh, why not? We've had a smaller shop here [at Bloomingdale's] for about six years, but this is the biggest shop [within another shop] we have, probably, in the world. We have our own ceiling, we have our own video ... it's as large a size as I would imagine I would want.
L: And did you design it yourself?
DY: No -- well, I designed it with Michael Gabellini. Originally we designed the furniture, the show cases. We worked for about 5-6 months with Michael -- great designer, great person to work with -- sometimes it can be difficult; two creative people with their concepts, but to me, [the shop] is like, warm, minimal, not even minimal. Warm modern. Very functional. I mean, we used oak, solid black walnut, and it's connected to our flagship, which opened in March. Not all our stores look alike. We have five different looks in fifteen stores. This is our new design and we love it. It will be here, it'll be in our flagship, we're opening up in Paris in March, but this is -- I call it 'the pavilion.'"
L: It's a pavilion within a shop.
DY: It's a pavilion within Bloomingdale's!
L: You work with so many charitable organizations -- what's your philosophy as far as giving back?
DY: It's actually for my parents. If you have enough, you don't need any more. What's enough? I mean, I definitely have enough, so, we give back. It's the DNA of our family. I mean, I was giving back on Saturdays when I was in high school. Or, three months every year, the last few years of high school, I worked at the MS Center, I worked with underprivileged and handicapped children.
L: Sounds like they raised you well.
DY: They told me giving back, working, being with people is just .. I would never [have done] this, personally. I wanted to play football, I wanted to hang out at the mall -- but it was the best thing I ever did. It's such a good feeling.
L: What's it like working as a husband and wife team?
DY: It's difficult and rewarding. We have a lot to talk about.
L: Who does what?
DY: We make one person. Sybil's probably more focused on marketing, but I weigh in on marketing. I'm more focused on design, product development.
L: She weighs in on that?
DY: She weighs in on that. Nothing happens without both of us signing off. If we don't both sign off, it doesn't happen. We've been married for 39 years.
L: What are you working on next?
DY: It's hard to describe in words, but a lot of extensions, evolutions. We're doing a lot more 'younger,' our son is doing the men's and watches, and bridal and also the high jewelry which is amazing materials, great design, and it's where he's growing in our business. It's a family.
L: And what keeps you inspired, where you you get your ideas?
DY: You know, the thing with the word 'get' -- you can't say 'get ideas' because you kinda make yourself available to them. It's a river, you sort of guide yourself.
L: So you're just open to [ideas], you don't go looking for them?
DY: No, I don't look -- well, I'm not blind. I look at women, like I was liking [a nearby woman's] earrings ... those are my earrings! Ha! I was saying I liked them, and they're mine.
He certainly is friendly and entertaining -- and it was hard to keep the ladies from ambushing him mid-interview! Be sure and visit the new David Yurman space next time you make it to Bloomingdale's in NYC, it's like a breath of fresh air amongst the fragrances -- and, of course, the jewelry is fabulous.
Luxury publisher Assouline and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have come out with a new book called American Fashion Menswear, billed as "the most authoritative and exciting book to date on the evolution of menswear in the United States over the past century. " The book begins by noting that the individualists and adventurers who settled America required garments that were functional and well-designed in order to survive the challenges of a new environment; those qualities continue to endure at the very heart of American menswear. Author Robert E. Bryan has divided the volume into seven different sections based upon the diverse identities of the American man, covering everything "Levi Strauss to the Ivy League, lounge suits to Zoot suits, and cowboys to counterculture," with cameos from the likes of Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Ralph Lauren and more.
Filed under: Celebrity Design
Too pedestrian for you, though? Now you can carry around -- or keep at home or at your desk in a pump-style -- and show off to your friends, your designer hand sanitizer. Sure, it's still cheap (only $5 for 2 oz., and $13 for 9.3 oz. w/pump), but it's Ed Hardy Habit, and it comes in a jazzed-up bottle and has a coconut-bergamot scent. Also available: sanitizing pens and foaming hand sanitizer. Made by Habitual Solutions. And so popular it's on backorder as I write this. Guess I'm the one who needs to get with it.
After many years of planning, Hotel Missoni Edinburgh is set to open in June, and is now accepting online bookings. The 136-room hotel is a collaboration of Rosita Missoni, one of the brand's founders, and The Rezidor Hotel Group. The hotel's palette is officially described as black and white, with splashes of color throughout, but as you'd expect from Missoni, the overall effect is more exuberant rather than restrained -- it's about layers of patterns and textures, in rich colors and in black and white too.(See lobby photo above.)
If this sounds chaotic, overall, design lines are kept modern and simple, which should balance out the effusive use of pattern and color. Still, I'm not sure I'd want to pack anything other than basic black in my suitcase without the aid of a stylist, lest I clash with the hotel!
In any event, black wardrobe works just fine to attend Edinburgh's Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in the world which goes off August 7th-31st-- always a late summer highlight. With its central location, Hotel Missoni should make a fine base of operations for the festival, and as of now, still has rooms available.
Next up for the Hotel Missoni brand? A property in Kuwait, slated to open in Fall 2009.
Gallery: Hotel Missoni Edinburgh
Filed under: Wealth
The slide in the luxury goods market is set to continue for a bit longer. That's the data to be gleaned from the semi-annual update to Bain's "Luxury Goods Worldwide Market" study. The study shows that the luxury goods market will experience a 15-20 percent decline during the first two quarters of 2009 down from 170 billion euros in 2008 to about 153 billion euros this year.
But the study does see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It predicts that the luxury market will start to even out in the second half of the year ending up with a net decline of 10 percent for 2009 overall. Like other studies, this one looks to China and the Middle East for signs of hope, seeing a projected growth of seven percent in China and two percent in the Middle East.
Overall all luxury shoppers are feeling more tentative and spending less. Luxury, however, remains a stratified industry with several different types of spending behavior. The lower tier of luxury consumers switching to less expensive brands and the more affluent luxury shoppers switching their focus to the intrinsic quality of materials.
Mick Jagger's gorgeous glamazon girlfriend L'Wren Scott has put her her Norman castle-style Hollywood Hills house on the market for $999,999. The 6'4" stylist, designer and former model's chic 1,712-sq.-ft., 3-bed, 2-bath in the Bronson Canyon area was built in 1926 and is very privately situated, with two secured entries off the street leading to a English-style garden courtyard, the Real Estalker reports. The interior features a beautiful carved stone fireplace in the living room with a vaulted ceiling and a formal dining room with stained glass windows. Overall the home has something of a Chateau Marmont feel. Scott purchased the house in June of 1996 for $255,000. She and Jagger are said to be currently living in London.
Gallery: L'Wren Scott in Los Angeles
The Post says that Ecko has hired investment bank Peter J. Solomon to help refinance at least $170 million in debt. The debts are owed to a couple of important business partners. If he can't find a willing lender, Ecko may have to sell off some assets. Like many fashion outfits, the Marc Ecko brand took a hit during the past retail season. The Post's sources say the company owes more than $100 million to Li & Fung, a global trading company that helps manufacture Marc Ecko products. He also also defaulted on a term loan of more than $70 million from a syndicate led by commercial-lending giant CIT and although he won forbearance on the loan, CIT will have to be paid by summer.
Michael Golden, chief marketing officer at Marc Ecko Enterprises, shrugged off concerns to the Post saying that the company is still strong. Rumors persist that the company is trying to lease out part of its new York City headquarters. A few years ago, Ecko contemplated offers from Jones Apparel Group and Tommy Hilfiger in the $500 million range but would be hard-pressed to find a similar deal now.
Filed under: Apparel
Designer Jill Stuart is famous for her designs that combine girly and grown-up. Select pieces from her designer collection, including the dress shown above are on sale at Ideeli tomorrow. The garments are as much as 72 percent off and prices start at $130. You can sign up using the link here.
We've been covering Azature's fantastic designs for a long time. He's recently had a swell of success, with both Rihanna and Beyonce wearing his glittering, substantial pieces.
In this interview, we talk to Azature about his journey as a designer of fine jewelry, Madonna, and more. The items featured are some of Azature's personal favorites, as well as photos of Rihanna in his A.Z. Linked Necklace.
Gallery: Interview with Azature