Color my World

Emilio Pucci is turning 60 and doing it in high, colorful style. What else would you expect from an iconic, legendary house that is synonomous with joyful explosive color, exuberant pattern, and intrinsically linked with the jet setting good life?

It was reported in yesterday’s,“Pucci’s Cosmic Celebration” that about 250 guests will descend upon Florence for a two part “event-filled weekend” hosted by Laudomia Pucci and Delphine Arnault which will include an artistic installation, black tie dinner at the Palazzo Pucci, and culminating in a new signature fragrance launch at Marchesi Pucci’s country estate at Villa di Granaiolo.

As someone who has been involved with the fashion business for decades, I have seen styles come and go. Like leopard prints, trench coats, pearls, black and white, and other classics that stand the test of time and always look great, there is a ‘forever’ appeal that is associated with Pucci. In addition, the joy that comes from wearing Pucci cannot be underestimated, particularly in these days of dull mass produced sameness. Especially when the reigning mood and ‘look’ of the moment is dark and brooding, there is nothing more upbeat and life affirming than donning a colorful and boldly patterned Pucci, (many of which can be framed and hung on the wall and easily qualify as arresting works of art). Plus, you know you will most assuredly stand out in a crowd.

Most people who know me, associate me with Pucci. In fact, I became a vintage enthusiast in the early 80’s when I began searching high and low for vintage Pucci’s. At that time, (before the vintage ‘craze’), they were surprisingly rare and hard to come by. In the 60’s, my mother (who had and still has amazing taste), accumulated some of the best Pucci’s I’ve ever seen and luckily for me, I’ve ‘inherited’ them (silk shirts, jersey dresses, and a few velvet dresses). While I’ve amassed many more since then, my mom’s ‘cache’, and my very first jersey dress purchased in 1968 at the Saks Fifth Avenue in Bal Harbour Florida (which I was photographed in for More Magazine, September 2003), are still the best I’ve seen anywhere. By the way, my mother’s Picasso-like velvet dress in shades of pink, purple, lavender , gray, and white, is a true work of art and never fails to illicit oohs and aahs. In fact, when I wear my vintage pieces, I’m usually met with exclaims from older women (with a visible twinkle in their eyes) who exclaim, “Oh, I had such a great time in my Pucci’s. How wonderful when a fashion house has the power to illicit such strong memories and emotions.

At a time when so many companies are striving for an enduring identity, brand recognition, and a loyal customer base (including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Maria Callas, and Marilyn Monroe who asked to be buried in her favorite Pucci shirt), it is no small feat that this house has been so successful at all the above for so many years. And let’s not forget that most of the pieces that are decades old not only hold up today but look as wonderful and modern now as they did back then. Of course, the late Emilio, (who was born Marchese Emilio Pucci in Naples, 1914 and died in 1992), was a scholar, an athlet e, a member of the Italian ski team and received a masters degree from the University of Portland. He was a trailblazing, jet setting, bon vivant who loved women, wanted them to look beautiful, feel beautiful and comfortable, and wisely translated his maximalist color and pattern onto supremely spare, minimalist, and sporty silhouettes (which kept them from being completely over the top). On top of that, they pack and travel like a dream.

All I can say is that I’m glad that I was never tempted to give away or sell my ‘treasures’. I hope to wear and enjoy them for many years. While I’ll probably request that I be buried in one, I haven’t quite figured out which and naturally, I’d rather not dwell on such a morbid thought. Happy 60!

-Marilyn Kirschner

Kmart Launch Event

Kmart staged “a celebration of all things blue” Monday night at Blue Fin in the W Hotel in new York’s Times Square. The event marked the launch of Kmart’s first all new, integrated marketing campaign since 2003. Like some other discount retailers (Target, for example), Kmart is seeking to position itself as a place where shoppers can find, trendy, stylish, quality merchandise that is value priced.

The new ad features an animated character called “Mr. Blue Light”, a talking light bulb that will probably remind long-time Kmart shoppers of the legendary blue-light specials of the 70’s and 80’s. The new Mr. Blue Light is designed to go beyond highlighting deep discounts and instead to act as a resource to customers, offering friendly guidance for their shopping needs.

The first television ad featuring Mr. Blue Light debuted on Monday night during the programs Dancing with the Stars and Deal or No Deal. Guests at the launch event were invited to preview the ad while enjoying blue cocktails and nibbling on finger foods. The blue theme extended to all aspects of the evening, including the lighting and the blue beach towels found in the goody bags.

Kmart customers will continue to find familiar brands like Route 66, Jaclyn Smith, and Martha Stewart. Later this year, according to one of the Kmart representatives, the Joe Boxer brand will be moving to the chain’s sister retailer, Sears. When asked if Kmart will eventually look to supplement its in-house design team by reaching out to other designers, as the Gap did recently, no definitive answer was given. We can, however, count on seeing them back again in September, along with Sears, as a presence during New York’s Fashion Week.

-Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb writes about fashion, travel and lifestyle from a New Yorker’s perspective in Better Bets. A self-confessed Instagram addict, her work has also appeared in such publications as Runway Magazine. Follow her at: Instagram: @betterbets Twitter: @betterbetsny tumblr:

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