Sunday, September 06, 2009

And Now, For Something Completely Different

As shown, from left to right: Tresse Wood Collection: Large Criss Cross Bangle (30MM) with Pyramid Cut Crystals; Arabesque Collection:Small Bangle (25 MM) with Arabesque and Faceted Crystals; Arabesque Wood Collection: Large Bangle (30 MM) with Arabesque and Faceted Crystals; Tresse Wood Collection: Large Criss Cross Bangle (30 MM) with Pyramid Cut Crystals; Arabesque Wood Collection: Small Bangle (17 MM) with Arabesque and Faceted Crystals.

For many jaded editors, jewelry designers may come go and go. When a unique kind of jewelry designer pops up out of the toaster, it is only fitting to sit up, pay attention and take note. In this case, the name of French-born, Dominique Aurientis comes to mind.

Aurientis and her renderings stand out for good reason. First off, she truly knows and understands the art, fashion and craftsmanship of jewelry and haute couture. That is because she has a degree in French Literature from the University of Paris, La Sorbonne, and she trained as an accessory and jewelry designer with Christian Dior, Givenchy, Lanvin, Celine and Nina Ricci, This in addition to working as Eyewear Designer and Studio Director at Salvatore Ferragamo and Emilio Pucci.

Arabesque Wood Collection: Multi Disc Wood Necklace with Arabesque and Faceted Crystals.

Today, Aurientis’ hand-made, and mostly well-priced ($150-$3,000) pieces sell under her own label – Dominique Aurientis Paris - at posh national stores, the ilk of Neiman Marcus, Ultimo, and Tootsie’s. Working around the theory that bigger is better and that biggest and more bold is always best, the designer’s new grouping takes inspiration from her love affair with Bali (she moved there in 1997, and opened a jewelry and home store), along with her interest in the culture, art and architecture of Florence, where she lived in 2000.

Modern Barock Collection: Double Barock Multi Chain Long (36") Necklace with Faceted Crystals.

The collection makes it point, largely due to Aurientis’ deliberate coupling of the delicate flora and fauna of Bali, along with the elegant toughness of Florence’s hard-edge, cosmopolitan flair and finesse. Thus, it makes sense that there is a strong feeling for largesse, rotund, bracelets, intricate, multi-chain necklaces, highly embellished brooches, rings, earrings and the like. Equally interesting as a tie in to the design repertoire are the far-off-sounding names of the groupings which individual pieces fall under; names such as “Arabesque”, “Dimple Ami”, Modern Barock”, “Old Teak” and Tresse Wood”; each of which instantly bring to mind thoughts of old world objects d’art, all mixed up with avant-garde, contempo styling.

In the end, all things across the collection come together neatly, most likely because of Aurientis’ mixtures of raw and precious materials; i.e., lots of huge, cut stones, pieces of glass and bronze; precious woods, resins and studs.

Not surprisingly, each piece takes on its own character and voice, no matter if worn alone, or layered together; one over the other, as a stack of stylish multiples, which for many jewelry aficionados, could look quite new, very moderne, and totally cool. Considering the tough economic climate in which we all currently live, that thought really seems to make a make a lot of sense, both from a design and retail standpoint, n’est ce pas.

-- Adrienne Weinfeld-Berg

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kipling Fall Editor Preview Event

G*rillaz Girlz Collection"

On Tuesday April 15th, 2008, Kipling hosted a venue titled “Wine Crush” on the rooftop of The Dream Hotel in Manhattan. The event gave guests the opportunity to see firsthand the latest creations of the Kipling brand (a division of VF Sportswear, Inc.). Appetizers “floated by” and a friendly atmosphere made everything warm and inviting.

Kipling has come out with a very interesting and appealing line of accessories. The fall styles are successively “Hip Collection”, “City Collection”, “G*rilla Girlz Collection”, “If Collection”, and “Travel Collection”.

That Kipling would be appealing to a younger and hip clientele has always been obvious in the ever-present gorilla chain attached to each bag, purse and suitcase. I was told by Smita Reddy of Formula, that in Europe, the monkey chains have become collectibles so highly prized, the chains are snapped off the purses in stores allover. Even if a bad occurrence, the consequences of the popularity of the brand are remarkable enough to place it in the much-envied club of the cult brands.

"If Collection"

Overall, the “If Collection” seems a little “blah” with its washed out fabrics and timid lines that may appeal to an older segment of recurring and prospective buyers. It is an average and forgettable line.

"City Collection"

The “City Collection” line is the best Kipling has to offer. It embodies the urban lifestyle in its clear and edgy designs full of multiple uses cleverly hidden under a sleek and polished design.

As for the “G*orilla Girlz” Collection, it is one all teenage girls would “go bananas” for, as stated by the press release given to each guest. The cheerful monkey pattern displayed brings a smile, and again, the same practical details seen throughout the different lines. Even if a lot of the appeal could have to do to do with its symbolic animal logo

Many “go bananas” to have the ubiquitous monkey chain, and may be some of the brand’s appeal is the result of its popularity. The border that separates great marketing strategy and brilliant display of creativity can be hard to see at times. Yet, Kipling has lines that show trendiness, practicality, and affordability. Facts that cannot be ignored by ever-savvy consumers.

I was delighted and quite nicely surprised upon seeing the contents of the “goody bag” being given when I left: it contained a maroon-colored purse of the “Hip Collection” and is already a favorite.

Formula is the PR firm that handles Kipling’s account.

- Muriel Geny-Triffaut

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

“Do the Math”

Last week, I attended the Neiman Marcus Accessories Press Preview (organized by Gabrielle DePapp, Vice President Corporate Public Relations and Sandra Wilson, Accessories Fashion Director). I always look forward to this popular event, which enables members of the press to get an up close and personal look at the best of fashion accessories for the coming season. How perfect the spring viewing is, coming as it does just as the festive holiday season has gotten under way. Talk about fabulous eye candy!

The glorious hand picked merchandise ‘strewn’ around the duplex suite at the Chambers Hotel (the venue of choice) seems to mimic the fabulous store windows and luxurious displays which beacon both serious customers and window shoppers alike as they make their way up and down 5th Avenue, Madison Avenue, and 57th street. And as always, Sandra Wilson, is spirited and enthusiastic as she walks through the vignettes, espousing the luxury chain’s most important themes for the coming season, while making her own fashion accessory statement ( (this time she was clad in holiday perfect all black punctuated with a pair of enviably chic vintage Dominique Aurientis cuffs).)

So, what’s the ‘news’ for spring 2008? According to Ms. Wilson, it’s all about “equations”. “Color plus color equals spring (their major theme); color plus artistry equals spring; color plus global equals spring; color plus femininity equals spring”. As you can see, it’s not just about equations, but color - and lots of it.

Neiman’s most important color story (and everyone else’s it seems), is the entire citrus range of sunny yellows and orange (the latter of which Ms. Wilson prefers to call “coral”). This was displayed in the first vignette as you entered the room and had me silently humming the tune “Let the sunshine in” (though “Here comes the sun” works just as well). Featured were shoes from Roger Vivier and Miu Miu, and bags from Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch and Prada. Mixed in were accessories in beige (or nude), which is THE ‘new neutral’ and look particularly great as a foil against strong and vibrant color.

Speaking of color, metallic color (and pink gold) is another strong theme, as well as color blocking (exemplified by the Prada color blocked ribbon bag on display) and the entire range of pinks to purples to fuchsias (especially, the arresting use of fluorescent pink). The definitive pieces here are the Christian Louboutin bag, the Chanel cap toe ballet flat, the Tory Burch pink floral thong, the mini ‘Downtown’ red patent and mini ‘Uptown’ degrade bags from YSL, the color blocked bag from Prada, shoes from Diane Von Furstenberg (brand new this season), and Emilio Pucci.

Up the stairs, the shoes on display told another important story (artistry and ‘painterly’) which was exemplified by the open toed, open heeled oxfords and the architectural heels from such iconic brands and important vendors as Sergio Rossi, Roger Vivier, Gucci, Marni, Chloe, and 6267 (new this season).

The story unfolded on the second floor where a large bed was filled with pieces which spoke of globalization (bearing traces of India and Africa and relying on the mix of texture and color). Among the goodies in this grouping were an eye-catching 3.1 Phillip Lim striped bag, distinctive bracelets from Matthew Laurenza, Lee Angel, and Nancy Gonzales, Stephen Dweck beads, sunglasses from Oliver Peoples, shoes from Stella McCartney, and a turquoise laden pendant and cuff from Badgley Mischka’s new collection of accessories. Ms. Wilson deemed the “important short chunky necklace” and the bracelet as two very important jewelry trends going into spring. Another important trend is the medium sized bag (a very chic line up was displayed along the window sill), and Ms. Wilson decreed them as looking “very fresh” after all those huge and oversized totes.

The display set up in the bathroom spoke volumes about femininity with its emphasis on gold and rose gold, flowers and floral decorated pieces, and ruching. Standouts in this group included the rose decorated thongs from Giuseppe Zanotti, the nylon petal bag from Marni, gold bags from Leiber, Prada, and Fendi (including their new baguette re-launch), gold high heeled sandals from Manolo Blahnik, and a nude patent Dorsay pump by Michael Kors.

To sum up, this is the Neiman Marcus Accessories ‘Hit List’ for spring 2008:

Color (with an emphasis on citrus shades of yellow, coral, and orange; pinks (particularly fluorescent pink); purples; Kelly green.
Colored metallics
Color Blocking
Gold and pink gold
Beige (or nude) used as an accent against color (the new neutral)
Clear accessories used with color
Patent leather
Flowers (flower decorated shoes and bags) and floral prints
The open heeled, open toed high heeled oxford
The “important” short, chunky necklace
The bracelet
The large over sized sunglass
The medium sized tote (or satchel)
Anything in turquoise (NM loves both the color AND the jewelry)
The global view (texture and color mixing with hints of Africa and India) as it pertains to bags, shoes, jewelry, scarves

And speaking of ‘doing the math’….this year Neiman Marcus is celebrating their 100th anniversary and to mark the occasion, attendees to the accessories press preview were given something to remember the date by: Neiman Marcus’s famed oversized chocolate chip cookie with the ‘secret’ recipe attached (I guess it’s not a ‘secret’ any more); and the commemorative coffee table “Neiman Marcus Pop Up Book”.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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