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Archive for October, 2010

That ’70s Look

Miguel Ases

The thing about Retro Fashion is that the people for whom it’s being targeted are those that are too young to remember what it looked like the first time around or should I say, what we looked like IN IT the first time around.

After recently shopping what’s in store for fall 2010 and catching some of the US and European fashion shows (spring 2011) I noticed that the ’70s have strode down the runways and into the trends, clogs and all. Not sure about you, but I have photos of myself from this decade, which I’ve kept hidden in the deep recesses of photo boxes rather than displayed in albums. Why? Aside from the flash bouncing off my braces, this might have been the most unflattering time in fashion history. Think hot pants and billowing kaftan, shiny polyester print shirts and you’ll get the picture. I was 10 when the decade was ushered in by mini/maxi skirts and due to my mother’s (an ex runway model and VP for a ready-to-wear company) passion for clothes,  I became a mini fashion victim, sporting every trend sent down the catwalk during those years.

We shopped at Bloomingdale’s and boutiques throughout the city where I got wide legged pants, Huka Poo print tops, Faded Glory jeans (with embroidery, studs and grommets) and then headed to Greenwich Village to find authentic peasant tops, dangling ethnic earrings, poison rings and pea coats. At the small strip mall in our suburban hometown, we found mood rings, long beads and magnifying glass pendants. I learned how to iron my hair and wrap it around my head to create the middle parted mane that Ali McGraw wore in Love Story and then had it chopped into a Jane Fonda/Klute shag.  I then set it free into a sort of Carol King, circa Tapestry frizz fest, until  I was  feathered like Farrah Fawcett and everyone else I knew. There were velvet jackets, high ribbed turtlenecks and chunky sweaters.

Later there was Lurex, although these days, I think we just call it “shot with metallic thread” — so much more sophisticated than the associations of men who hustled  me into a Saturday Night Fever haze of discos and synthetic fabric dresses that kind of stuck to me by the end of the evening.

My 14-year-old niece, Sammie is loving this look the way I did back then because, well, she is the same age as I was when I wore many of the same things.  Plus, she’s beautiful and has enough personal style to pull it off.  “I share the  ’70s shots of me with her and she examines them like a photo editor for a Fall Issue magazine spread.

“Here’s where you went wrong, you took the look too literally. And, you didn’t mix the proportions. When it’s wide on bottom, it needs to be skinny on top and visa versa.”

“Good advice” I tell her and shove the pictures back into the box.

As far as the more recent ’70s-inspired looks, I do like what certain designers have done with the peasant shirt and tunic–more minimal,  not overly billowy but elegantly loose and feminine and I would definitely incorporate one or two of these into my wardrobe. Same for the “metallic shot sweaters and scarves, ” but the rest I will leave to my niece and the  models on Marc Jacob’s runway . The bohemian in me cries out for some way of looking chic without looking vintage myself.

So, I’ll mix in one piece of clothing and accessorize  with the right jewelry–pieces that will work with the feeling, are inspired by the time period but transcend the trends and can be worn for years. . Fine jewelry designers have renewed and contemporized the mixed bag of looks that were the highlights of my youth:  Victorian-inspired chokers and poison rings by Leslie Greene and Sydney Evan, large stone rings by Jamie Joseph, long pendants by Irene Neuwirth and Moritz Glik, strands of beads and modern day variations on the friendship bracelet by Lena Skadegard and crochet style dangling earring by Miguel Ases.

Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2011 Runway show

Irene Neuwirth

Dries Van Noten Spring/Summer 2010

Lena Skadegard

Jamie joseph

Moritz Glik

Sydney Evan

Back in Black


Scott Mikolay


There was a time when I lived in black, from lingerie to every piece of clothing, handbag and footwear I owned, with a few white shirts thrown in. It seemed to be necessary for a Manhattanite who was also a fashion editor and lived in Greenwich Village. It was the easiest way to look stylish and navigate an urban lifestyle, from riding the subway in the morning to getting through a day at the office–and with a quick switch of jewelry and accessories–going to a work-related cocktail party or out on a dinner date, without having time to going home to change .

My mom, a VP for a ready-to-wear company wore Donna Karan and Calvin Klein and neither of us ever believed that brown or any other color would be “the new black”. We did, however, believe in a little sparkle to brighten up our face. My mom wore antique diamond and gemstone stick pins on her lapels and one simple mine-cut station necklace or bolder Robert Lee Morris pieces. I adorned myself in flat-cut garnet Georgian or amethyst and moonstone Victorian earrings as I found them unique and also had two pairs of Ted Muehling simple drops in colored inverted teardrop shaped stones.

When I turned 40, my grandmother, who only dressed in “happy” colors said, “you are just like your mother” and dropped such subtle hints as “black makes you look older. Try some prettier tones in a scarf or a cardigan.”

And then, before I went out with some new guy, she would add: “men like women who are feminine and wear softer, appealing colors. They won’t date women who look like they are going to mug them.”

When I realized I had started channeling Morticia rather than Holly GoLightly , I lightened up my almost black hair and also my wardrobe, wearing such ‘colors’ as shades of grey, stone, brown, and ecru. I also changed from being a steely platinum girl to adding in pink and yellow gold and gemstones in shades of pink and lavender sapphire or tourmalines, making my grandmother proud.

And now, all of a sudden, I am back in all black: black diamonds, blackened metal, lava and ebony beads, and onyx. I not only have versions of the LBD but now the LBS (Little black stud), the LBN (Long black necklace) and LBBs(layered black bracelets). This trend started slowly and then swept through the jewelry industry the way Donna Karan’s matte jersey fabrics took over fashion twenty-five years ago.

Black might be the only black–and it’s beautiful in many of the new designer pieces, but when it’s combined or layered with ‘happy’ colors it will set off your outfit more distinctively and brighten up your face as well as your day. Try mixing in some deeper reds in rubies or spinel such as in Scott Mikolay’s station chain and pendant necklace,, Studio Waterfall’s rose cut muted sapphires and Arman’s green tourmaline and blue sapphires and high karat gold to add life to your darkened metals. Also fancy colored sapphire and other gemstones offer a contrast to ebony beads or cuffs and stack bracelets at Padma. You can wear your black diamonds, mixed with yellow or pink gold and white pave setting. The yellow gold and black diamond chains at Sethi Couture, and white diamond centers stone with black diamond petals for floral studs at John Apel are both versatile additions to your jewelry wardrobes. Yellow sapphires and yellow gold chain adds highlights to a blackened silver and black diamond crescent moon at Emily Keifer.  And just FYI–all black jewelry doesn’t have the same effect as clothes: it unfortunately doesn’t make you look thinner…I tested it.


Studio Waterfall



Emily Keifer









John Apel