New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

Wearable Art Only A Mother Could Love

Burberry “hand painted” trench dresses

Way back in that mythical decade known as the ’90s when the internet was in its infancy and television still dominated life, in order to entertain my kids and extricate them from  videos or video games, I would sometimes suggest a trip to “Our Name is Mud.” It was a novel idea at the time; since taken over by chains such as Make Meaning; to go and paint a piece of ceramic (vase, plate, animal bank, cup etc.) and pick it up a week later after it was fired in the kiln. I thought it was a good lesson in patience (usually mine was tested more than my child’s), discipline (don’t mix all the paints together or you’ll have an ugly mess), planning (think what you’re going to do before doing it) and delayed gratification (you won’t see the finished result for seven days or whenever mommy remembers to pick it up). Over the years my two-under-ten managed to “furnish” our living space with some rather interesting keepsakes some of which are actually still displayed.

I mention all of this because there is a recent trend among celebs; a high stakes game of self-expression known as letting your offspring “design” your Versace wedding attire (Angelina Jolie) or Hermes Herbag (Kim and Kanye) which I find a touch disturbing. Angelina had indicated that the Jolie-Pitt kids were very involved in the wedding plans, half half-jokingly that it would either be “Disney or paintball–one or the other.” When the wedding photos appeared in People it seemed that the kids had gotten their wish on both accounts. Angelina looked like a Disney princess and while it was not exactly paintball, her veil had her kids’ drawings sewn into it. In the case of the Wests, baby North was “supervised” and literally had a hand(print) in the making of Kim’s birthday present. This of course was not Ms. Krispy Kreme butt’s (ugh, how can I un-see another magazine cover) first hand painted Hermes offering as Kanye had gifted her previously with a Haut A Courroies (a suitcase-sized Birkin) hand painted by surrealist nude portrait artist George Condo for Christmas. Kim supposedly thought that this one was painted by an artist as well (the fact that the strap was dripped on should have been her first clue!) until she saw an accompanying video of her baby Rembrandt doing the honors.

Kim’s North bag

Past experience suggests that I may not be a good indicator on this type of thing however. I vividly remember recoiling at my first sight of the 2001 Louis Vuitton/ Stephen Sprouse collaboration of graffiti bags only to later have it grow on me and eventually to own one as well as the Murakami Cherries. After the initial shock wore off upon seeing the Speedy worn by the most stylish mother in my daughter’s private school and thinking that something sacrilegious had “happened” to her LV bag, I got educated, accustomed, acclimated. Since then there have been many other LV collabs and a monogram edition allowing the owner to customize the colored racing stripes and initial their bag. The Hermes Birkin has been a literal canvas for everyone from Lady Gaga (she had Japanese lettering and stickers from her Japan tour all over her white Birkin) See here, a purple zebra motif painted by artist Travis W. Simon, Click here a version that looks like it could have come off of a wall by graffiti artists Mint and Serf (called the Mirf) see here and a version in marker by Nicola Formichetti; actually quite well done if you like teal. see here The artist Jeff Koons is exploring something unique in charitable contributions for the United Nations Foundation and using Hermes bags as part of his Project Perpetual. Read about it:here.

Of course, hiring an artist to decorate a bag is one thing, giving it to your child to splatter paint on is another. It can be argued that these celebrities have so much money and want to have something of actual use that reminds them of their children as opposed to a piece of refrigerator art or even a porcelain “tchotcke”. The most cynical among us will say that the real reason is that these pieces don’t leave the home whereas an accessory can be shown off to the world. Somehow it seems like the worst part of ostentation and narcissism when a star is seen toting an item that most people can’t even dream of affording, bearing the little tykes “signature.”

Burberry shearling

The look of hand painting is all the rage now as seen on Burberry Prorsum’s Fall 2014 collection of trench coats, shearling coats, boots and handbags. Although not individually hand painted they have a great look with their stylized large scale floral patterns and an eye-catching semi-bohemian vibe; but read less crafty than couture. If you feel a strong need for a hand painted accessory there are designers on Etsy as well as Deborah Thomson of Figgie Shoes who will custom paint shoes (they specialize in wedding shoes but will do any shoe you provide) to great effect.

Burberry Prorsum booties

What’s particularly ironic is that there’s a TV commercial that is currently running which indicates to me, just how dangerous this line of thinking can be. It’s a spot for Payless Shoes, not a brand that the aforementioned celebrities would have much familiarity with, in which the mother walks in the door of her house and is presented with a loving gift from her young daughter: a hand-painted boot with fresh flowers coming out of it. Instead of being overjoyed with this masterpiece, the mother implied that since these are no good anymore she’s going back to the Payless sale. Are we to believe that the celebrity mother would have oohed and ahhed at the “great creation” that her budding little artist made out of her Jimmy Choo and asked sweetly that they go paint the other one? See commercial here.

– Laurel Marcus

The Daily Bet by Rhonda Erb

Festive Looks For The Junior Set
These children’s fashions are just the right combination of style and comfort.

Ruum Layered Party Skirt

Layers of metallic gold and black tulle make this skirt the perfect choice for every special occasion this holiday season. It is easy care and machine washable. Girls’ sizes 5-16.

Available at: $36.50

Ralph Lauren Boys Cable Knit Sweater

You can never go wrong with a classic. This sweater is made of soft cotton so it is comfortable and not itchy. It features a ribbed crew neck and a two-button placket on the left shoulder. Machine washable for boys sizes 2-7.

Available at: $37.12 On sale

Ruum Chili Pepper Mini Stripe Button-Up

A button down shirt in comfortable woven cotton makes dressing up hassle free. Machine washable for Infant, Toddler and Boys sizes.

Available at:  $14.99

Clarks Dance Glory T

She will love dressing up in this stylish, quilted leather shoe that slips on easily with a hook-and-loop closure. It has a cushiony rubber outsole and a patent leather toe.

Available at: $55.00

Sperry Top-Sider Colton

The penny loafer never goes out of style. This one has comfort features that won’t hurt little boys’ active little feet.

Available at: $55.00

For more Holiday Better Bets go to: 

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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