Tory! Tory! Tory!

Nobody does sporty chic, quite like Michael Kors and the collection he showed yesterday, filled with luxurious takes on “quintessentially American wardrobe staples” was “all about ease” (as described it in his run of show). The 64 pieces (both women’s wear and menswear and there were plenty of things for the guys that I wouldn’t mind having), played out in a chic neutral color palette consisting of camel (camel and more camel), smoke, anthracite, gunmetal, and of course, black and white. It was choc a block with great pieces and desirous wardrobe staples (great cashmere sweaters, sumptuous cross fox furs and fur accessories (flings, anorak coats, even a skirt), sporty anoraks, balmacaans, military coats, chesterfields, reefers, pea jackets, metallic tweeds, perfect trouser suits, silver cire storm coats, draped jersey and paillette jersey dresses). Every length and every proportion was shown and Michael seemed intent on infusing his signature, iconic pieces with an updated sexier edge.

To that end, ruggedly sexy boots or brown leather sandals (both on platforms) were used, and the body was visible even beneath the most oversized furs or classic of menswear inspired coats, thanks to the use of deep v neck cashmere sweaters or almost see thru mohair voile pullovers. Notable examples are the white Melton chesterfield shown over a white cashmere v neck pullover and a floor length white cashmere skirt, and the camel crushed cashmere pea coat worn with a smoke mohair voile pullover and smoke stretch flannel trouser. (Both of which, in addition to many other items in the collection, I could easily envision on Melania Trump- who was seated next to The Donald in the front row) Michael experimented with fabrics and surface textures by crushing and crinkling cashmere (giving his stellar outwear a somewhat lived in, wrinkly look), he also used distressed leather, and slashed (or slit) the elbows of some of his chesterfields, making them look as though they were ripped or torn but in fact, he was allowing for the narrowest of sleeves.

Coincidentally, when I left Michael’s show, I noticed that my vintage mink bolero had rips and tears on two sides. Instead of panicking or looking for a safety pin to temporarily patch it up, I thought of Michael and simply decided to go with the flow and let it ‘rip’.

Tory! Tory! Tory!

The many reasons for Tory Burch’s amazing success were very much apparent at her morning fall 2010 installation held at the Bryant Park tents. Even though it was very early, the venue was jam packed, filled with energy, not to mention the signature clothing, handbags, boots, accessories that now bear the name of Tory Burch. It looked fresh, modern, youthful, and appealing and was all about great, accessible, well priced wardrobe must haves. There were great coats, jackets, tweeds (many of them shot with lurex). Abstract painterly prints broke up the solid colors, and there was very little black but when it was used, it was highly effective. (such as the black t shirt with long sleeves shot with lurex, shown with pants tucked sportily into boots and accessorized with a black hood and leather envelope clutch adorned with gold nail heads (it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that Tory’s bags, which have been successful hits since the get go, were all standouts at yesterday’s lineup yesterday).

There was also a cropped black Mongolian lamb jacket paired with camel pants. The grouping in camel was especially strong, including a chic knee length coat thrown over a silvery tweed dress or the camel hand knit sleeveless sweater and matching knitted cap, paired with orange pants and accessorized with the crepe soled luggage suede high heeled lace up booties that were used throughout (and are destined to become best sellers next fall). I’ve always thought nothing looks as good with camel as orange by the way, and since orange is known to be Tory’s favorite color (and her signature), it’s not surprising that she has perfected a particular orangey/red shade which showed up in several other places. There was even an orange sweater and skirt ensemble (further accessorized with orange tights), that might have looked perfectly elsewhere but at TB, it looked chic as hell. Other notable outfits: the blue tie dyed mohair coat showed with cobalt leggings and the army green utility anorak thrown over a dress and tights in a matching abstract Jackson Pollack- worthy print.

FYI, I have known Tory since my Harper’s Bazaar days (I was the senior market editor way back when she was an assistant). I’ll be the first to admit that when I first heard years ago, that she was starting her own line, I, like many others, was skeptical and thought that this was just another attractive, chic, well connected socialite with extra time on her hands, putting her name on a clothing line. And I had my doubts that this would really take off the ground in any big way. Boy, us doubters were we all proved wrong. It became very apparent very fast, that she had a major success on her hands and all I can say is it is well deserved…she is not only talented, with a fabulously chic taste level, and highly focused, but she is sweet and nice, doesn’t take her success for granted, and does she let it go to her head (What an unusual combination!) Congratulations Tory!

Out on a ‘Lim’

I’m a fan of the young and talented Phillip Lim and have come to appreciate his inventive way with classic wardrobe staples, his melding of seemingly disparate influences, wonderful offbeat mixes and contrasts, and his ability to infuse many different elements into a collection. Phillip Lim described his inspiration for fall as a woman “boiling with youthful revolt but distinguished by unexpectedly classic style” who has said “goodbye to too much glitter and too much skin and is looking for something more polished and streamlined”. Working in a neutral color palette (the color palette of the season): camel, ecru, grey, charcoal, hunter green, amber, buff, and black, there were suspender skirts, airy mohair pullovers, silk crepe tuxedo blouses and one great gold tweed tuxedo pantsuit, and a group of electric purple paves sequined dresses with asymmetrical hems.

But as usual, the emphasis was on Phillip’s stellar outerwear, especially outerwear with more volume than we’ve seen in awhile, from pieced lambskin and shearling coat, grey merino wool oversized ponchos with side lacing, and camel double face coats to voluminous cape coats in outsized checks, some of which were binded in leather, a la Bonnie Cashin. Is it my imagination, or was the late Bonnie Cashin, who I’m also a huge fan of, having collected some of her great coats through the years, somewhat of an inspiration?

-Marilyn Kirschner

“A Rising Star”

This year’s winner of the Fashion Group International’s coveted Rising Star Award for womenswear, Peter Hidalgo, showed his Fall 2010 collection at FGI’s venue yesterday. The presentation was a chic and concise display of body conscious silhouettes and clever draping that portrayed a distinct point of view. Hidalgo’s dimensional creations are intricate, but not overdesigned. The Dominican born designer apprenticed under the famous fashion illustrator, Antonio Lopez. “I was more of an illustrator before, but now I drape everything. I need to see how the fabric is going to fall, how it reacts,” Hidalgo said. When I asked him about the technique behind his black strapless “heart” dress Hidalgo explained, “I started with a v-neck and the pieces just fell down that way and created the shape.” The heart concept was manipulated in different ways throughout the collection showing up in neckline shape, draped folds and as a beaded appliqué. The underappreciated designer has endured for nearly two decades in this difficult industry — perhaps the heart shape was a symbol of the dedicated Hildalgo’s passion for design.

-Stacy Lomman

Anna Sui’s Arts and Crafts Fare

The wonderful thing about Anna Sui is that her collections always focus on a theme. This season her Fall/Winter 2010 runway show, held in the Tent at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, paid homage to the arts and crafts movement with a decidedly retro rock and roll edge. Appropriately, Peaches Geldoff, daughter of rock star Bob Geldoff, was seated front and center to observe the proceedings.

Sui mixed textures and patterns in layer upon layer to create looks that were homespun yet fresh and contemporary. There were jacquard knits, shearlings, silks and sequins in earthy tones like mushroom, rust, wine, cornflower and olive. Accessories included Adrienne Landau furs, James Coviello knit hats, and textured tights from the new Anna Sui Legwear Collection.

There are always ultra feminine looks in an Anna Sui collection and this one was no exception. The dusty blue/navy silk jacquard dress was particularly flattering as was the plum metallic velvet burnout dress. Other noteworthy looks included the short cocoa cardigan trimmed in velvet and paired with a metallic chiffon dress and a navy knit jumper over a print dress made of bamboo twill.

Sui saved her best for last, closing the show with vintage inspired dresses crafted of antique ivory lace and velvet that were exceptionally beautiful.

-Rhonda Erb

And Now For Something Completely Different: Douglas Hannant Rocks the Kaye Playhouse

Last season Douglas Hannant debuted his Spring 2010 collection at New York’s Plaza Hotel to coincide with the opening of his flagship store in the city’s venerable landmark. The location was just a stone’s throw away from the homes of his loyal Upper East Side followers. This season the designer took his show right into their backyards. His Fall 2010 showing was held on Wednesday afternoon in the Kaye Playhouse, located right off Park Avenue.

The audience included the usual attendees like Cece Cord and Kimberly Guilfoyle, but everything else about the theatrical showing was decidedly unexpected. Using the artist Jean-Michel Basquit as his inspiration, Hannant decorated the stage with graffiti covered panels and the models walked to a hard driving 80’s rock soundtrack courtesy of DJ Russian Bear. Surely this was not the Douglas Hannant we have come to know.

Leave it to Hannant to mix conventional elements like houndstooth checks and tweeds with graffiti inspired prints. A body hugging chocolate brown tweed banded dress was shown with a teal fox fur jacket and a leopard beret complemented a velvet and tweed jacket and skirt ensemble. Hand painted prints decorated stove pipe jeans and a short skirt. The color palette included metallics in silver, gold, blue and green as well as bright red and violet.

Douglas Hannant may have strayed from his roots with his fall collection but he has not forgotten who his customer is. His tailoring always complements the body and his 80’s inspired looks were all completely wearable. As always, Hannant closed his show with his signature formal gowns. He managed to infuse elegance into his graffiti stylings with a full-skirted taffeta gown and an exquisite sequin column dress that would be a stand out in any collection.

– Rhonda Erb

The Daily Bet

The Powermat Wireless Charging System

You can’t live without your cell phone or your iPod, but you could live without the hassle of keeping up with the chargers that it takes to power them and all of your other handheld electronics. The Powermat Wireless Charging Station charges up to three electronic devices simultaneously, using either a powercube that comes with the mat or individual receivers that are sold separately. There is also a foldable mat that can be used for travel.

Powermat Home and Office Mat and Powermat Portable Mat, $99.99 each

– 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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