Monthly Archives: May 2013

My latest obsession: Louis Vuitton Backpack M/2013

This past holiday weekend, I had some time to catch up on my browsing, and was refreshed to the point of obsession when I came across this bad boy from the Fall 2013 Louis Vuitton men’s show.   Backpacks have made a huge comeback to the runway and I couldn’t be more happier.  Designers are taking notice of the trend constructing some pretty awesome carry alls .  I’ve been looking for the perfect sack for quite some time now, and although this particular one will probably remain on my wish list; I will continue to obsess until I find something similar with an affordable price tag.  Any suggestions!?

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The Finalists revealed

The votes have been tallied and the finalists have been announced for the 7th Annual Handbag Designer Awards.  With thousands of submissions worldwide, it was a very tough to decision to narrow it down to the best of the best.   A highlight of my year, I enjoy seeing what the emerging talent has in store for us.  With that said, enjoy a  behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be the next it handbag designer.

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CTMA x MM: Minicucci x Marcanio Collaboration

Crowned Montreal’s Dame of Fashion, Marisa Minicucci, is hoping to add another title to her name here in the US.  The recent launch of her line MM: Minicucci x Marcanio, a collection which is comprised of mostly high-end tailored jackets, already is proving to be a hit.  Several styles from her pre-fall 2013 collection have been seen on the red carpet by fans like E! Entertainment Correspondent Alicia Quarles.   She’s also been mentioned in popular publications like the Houston Chronicle, South Florida Luxury Guide, NBC’s WBIR, Faboverfifty, and Bangstyle.com.

With her daughter by her side, Anissa Marcanio, has added a bit of real life edge to the collection with a younger demographic in mind.  Marrying the two generations ideals makes for a modern yet feminine collection.

“The high-end womenʼs ready-to-wear clothing, gives any woman regardless of age or how fashion forward they perceive themselves to be, a look that merits a double take from anyone in any situation,” describes the mother-daughter duo.

Prices for pre-fall range from $255.00-$795.00.  The collection is currently available online with select styles already sold out.  They’ve also recently started their expansion here in New York and can be seen at select boutiques across the US and Canada.

A couple months ago, MM collaborated with CTMA to model some of their most sought after styles from the pre-fall 2013 collection.  The final product can be seen below.

Fall 2013 is officially set to launch in a couple weeks.  Let the invasion begin!

Acknowledgments:

Photographer-Bradley Thurber

Hair & Make-up-Lindsey Williams of Crazypretty.com using MakeUp ForEver and Aquage

Manicurist-Gerri Holford represented by Rona Represents

MMNYfinal

ANDI

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Alexgrey

Amberteal1

AIDA

BLACKGRETSTUD

AZUR

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#Fashion4good-Jessica Stam

Raised in Kincardine, Ontario, Jessica Stam has come along way since her days on the farm.  After being discovered by famed fashion photographer Steven Meisel, she quickly rose to supermodel status gracing the covers of major magazines like Italian Vogue.  She’s also appeared in advertisements for Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Prada, Emporio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, and Bulgari. To add to her long list of accomplishments, she’s recently transitioned into hosting and can be seen on Yahoo’s fashion show The Thread.

More importantly, what Jessica’s most proud of is her ability to give back.  She continues to donate her time to charities like Many Hopes, Peace Jam and Adopt Together.   Having come from a big family with a lot of love surrounding her, she felt the need to reach out to those children in need of it.  In a recent interview with my friends at South Florida Luxury Guide, she talks more in depth about her involvement with each charity.  A well-deserved #Fashion4good shout out to Jessica for all of her efforts in wanting to make a difference in these at risk children’s lives.  It’s individuals like her who need to be recognized for utilizing their own fame and success to help shed light to a much bigger issue at hand .  A true supermodel if ask me!

Get to Know_Jessica Stam

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Does Aimee Kestenberg ring a bag?

If not, it will soon.  At only 26, Aimee Kestenberg has already rubbed elbows with names like Ralph Lauren, Isaac Mizrahi, Jill Stuart, and Alexander McQueen.  She’s also a three-time finalist and two-time winner of the Independent Handbag Designer Awards (which I’ve been a a preliminary judge 3 x’s in a row,) been an apprentice at the House of Couture, and was hand-picked and trained as the protégé of one of New York’s master craftsman which trained her in the key skills and techniques required to master the construction of couture accessories.

Continuing to pursue her passion, she’s most recently launched her very own line of handbags under her own name.  Sold under the Adoni Group, the collection has been featured in Instyle, Vogue.com , Vogue (British), and Elle.  She’s also recently collaborated with New York’s upcoming bloggers like Natalie Saurez from Natalieoffduty.blogspot.com to model her latest designs.

With summer upon us and fall ahead, Aimee invites styleTV’s Keleigh Nealon and Director George Evan to check out her latest collection.

Guests included blogger Natalie Saurez and Celebrity Stylist Phillip Bloch.  The collection can be found at Aimeekestenberg.com and at stores like Macy’s and Norstorm’s.

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to punk or not to punk

That was the question of the evening for many who walked the red carpet at last night’s Met Gala in New York. With the theme being Punk: Chaos to Couture, an annual exhibition organized by The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, left some unsure of what the term punk meant.  With that said, we saw a lot of different interpretations on last nights red carpet.

I have a feeling Grace Coddington, Vogue’s Creative Director, might be a bit disappointed this morning as she was hoping to get a glimpse of some real punky a-listers.  Unfortunately, a majority of the crowd played it safe showing off more of their couture side rather than their punk.

Punkmetgala13However, we did see bit of chaos with celebrities layering lots of spike & stud-themed jewelry.    Sarah Jessica Parker even went as far as showing up in a mohawk inspired head piece designed exclusively by Philip Treacy.

Other stand outs included Miley Cyrus who I’m sure if asked she knew what the term CBGB meant, she would bet on Classic Blues Groupies Bar, showed her support by rocking a spiky blond dew paired with a black fishnet floor length gown over a nude one by Marc Jacobs.

Another blondie of the evening was Anne Hathaway.  The Les Miserable star mentions she was inspired by the original blondie Debbie Harry, who also showed up to fashions biggest event of the year.

The queen of punk who does know a thing or two about one of New York’s most iconic punk-rock clubs, will get to relive some of those days in a movie that is set to release shortly.  She will also be able to view an exact replica of the CBGB bathroom which was installed along with this year’s exhibition.  Cigarette butts and all!

Another iconic female inspired by the punk era seen on last nights red carpet was dame Vivienne Westwood. The British Designer showed up with her husband to not only take a walk down memory lane, but spoke about the Bradley Manning trial which she had pinned a picture of him to her gown, along with the word truth in all caps.  One of the most profound statements of the evening, she mentions that punk to her is about justice and making things better.

Other highlights included Kimanye taking loads of #selfies of each other posing on the red carpet.  My tommy (Tom Ford) looking radient with supermodel Joan Smalls as his date.  Hopefully he will get the courage to ask me one year-*sigh*.   Saving the best for last with an appearance by Blue Ivy Carter’s mommy, only to find out Madge decided to show-up last minute downgrading her to coach.

Since Anna Wintour’s involvement with the gala (now her 16th year,) she is set to raise over 100 million dollars for the institute.  The exhibition, which displays various interpretations (100 to be exact) of punk couture by designers like Vivienne Westwood, Thom Browne, John Galliano, and Versace (remember Elizabeth Hurley’s safety pin dress!?,) will be open to the public from May 9-August 14.  A must-see if you live in New York or are planning to travel to over the summer.  Go get punk’d!

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Let the judging begin…Again!

Despite the amazing weather we’ve been having in New York lately, I was invited to spend it indoors (air-conditioned of course) at the Hyatt 48 Lex this past Sunday.  For the third year in a row, I’ve been asked to be on the preliminary judging panel for the Handbag Designer Awards.

For those of you unfamiliar, Emily Blumenthal is the founder of the HBD Network.  Home to Handbagdesigner101.com, The Independent Handbag Designer Awards and author of Handbag Designer 101: Everything You Need to Know About Designing, Making, and Marketing Handbags.  Emily has earned herself the title of industry’s leading handbag scout who’s recently been on the casting panel for Project Runway’s spinoff, Project Accessory.  She is also their official blogger.

A process that began back in December, interested candidates were encouraged to submit some of their latest designs to one of the following categories-Best Overall in Style & Design, Student Made, Best Handmade, Best Green, Most Socially Responsible and Fan Favorite.  With over a 1000 applicants who applied worldwide, the chances of becoming the next big name within the handbag world is like winning the lottery-slim to none.

Although if lucky to be chosen as a finalist, winners announced at the Handbag Designer Awards in June here in New York, are given opportunities to have their lines featured in major fashion magazine’s like Instyle, who has partnered with Emily for several years now and features the winners in their September issue.  Along with free publicity, the overall winner will receive a complimentary booth at one of the largest fashion trade shows in the US-WWD Magic, have their line picked up at Bloomingdale’s and a collaboration with this years iconoclast recipient Rafe.

Past winners include Clara Kasavina, who won 2011’s red carpet ready category.   Since their win, their evening style handbags have been seen in magazine’s like American Vogue, Instyle, Teen Vogue and Lucky.  They’ve also been spotted on the red carpet adorning celebs like Leslie Mann, Rihanna and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  I even had the opportunity to pull several pieces for supermodel Coco Rocha for an appearance in New York.

Bloomingdale’s and Henri Bendel’s have expressed interest in carrying their line since being recognized, and they are now being sold at various boutiques internationally.

Rouzita & Bita Vahhabaghai have also experienced this kind of success since winning in the overall category last year.  Their line ita was quickly picked up by Sak’s 5th Avenue and Intermix.  Selling out at certain locations have put them on track to expand to even more doors.  They say being apart of this competition was the best decision they could have made to help grow their business.  However, since being recognized by leaders in the industry, they feel the pressure that comes along with all their new business.

Speaking of pressure, Aimee Kestenberg, at only 24, felt the need to make a name of herself within the world of fashion.  After being named a winner in 2010 and finalist in 2011,  she received her work visa and quickly partnered with the Adoni group to create her line Aimee Kestenberg.  Her dream once a mere thought is now her reality.

In a market where names like Hermes, Celine, Coach and Michael Kors dominate, being the next break out star comes with its challenges.  Emily and her mission are slowly changing that allowing  emerging names to float to the surface with the Handbag Awards now in its seventh year.  Her continued efforts to fight for the underdog are being noticed by big names like Brother, Timberland, Charming Charlie’s, Pantone, and Vitamin Water which are all official sponsors of this year’s awards.

Emily continues to inspire those around her with her passion, dedication and spunky personality.  She saw a need and instead of thinking of herself, she thought about helping others.  The mind of genius if you ask me!

On a personal note, I’ve absolutely enjoyed being apart of this particular project for the past three years now. Looking back and seeing how far some of these designers have come, to know that I was apart of that, reminds me why I got involved in fashion.  You can’t be successful yourself without helping others become successful too.  Emily proves this theory with the Handbag Awards.

annual-independent-handbag-designer-awards-handbag-designer-101-2011-winners(Photo Courtesy of Styleandthestartup.com)

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