Monthly Archives: September 2010


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Gareth Pugh / Spring 2011 / Paris Fashion Week

Get through the full eleven minutes and win …!


pro.nails: fashion.wk.ed

It all started with this one post.
Since then, “pro nails” have become a S&M mainstay.

images courtesy of sophy robson’s blog


World Premiere: “Right Thru Me” – Nicki Minaj


Prada / Spring 2011 / Milan Fashion Week
Very impressed.
First Prada collection I’ve liked in a long while.

photos courtesy of


Song of the Day: “And On And On…” – Janet Jackson

…the perfect joint to end a perfect summer…


The Blonds / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week

With Heatherette gone, The Blonds helped round out New York Fashion Week with a healthy dose of fun. The small, made-to-order line known for creating outrageous outfits for cross-dressing club kids and tabloid-stalked celebrities, is always sure to put on a show.  The mood was set by the heavily corseted crowd, which included fans Patricia Field, Kristin Cavallari, Alan Cummings, among others. Opening the show with cabaret dancers dressed in fishnets and waving feather fans, The Blonds came heavy with the camp.

Costume-y, see-thru tuxedos came emblazoned with sparkles and barely-there bikinis leaked out of silk dressing gowns. Bigger-than-life bows were a major motif this season, only second to Barbie. The designers behind The Blonds were so inspired by Barbie that they collaborated with the legendary toy company, Mattel, to create outfits for the doll and a special edition handbag (for humans).

The collection’s standouts included a blazer cinched beneath a deco-crystal-encrusted corset belt, glittering disco gowns, and of course, their signature embellished corsets, which looked as over-the-top as ever. The corsets came adorned in swirling lines of pearls, rainbow crystals, and faux flowers. Closing the show, supermodel Selita Ebanks, walked in a lime green floral bustier dress, overflowing with tack. But, isn’t that what The Blonds is all about? Precisely.

Find this review + more images at TheFashionSpot here.


Made Her Think Jewelry / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week


photo courtesy of christopher kane s/s ’11 x fabsugar

Temperley London / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week

If Jennifer Lopez needs an outfitter for her upcoming run as judge on
the next American Idol, Temperley London is where she should turn.
Marking it’s tenth year in existence, the label looked to King Arthur
and Marie Antoinette and instead found J.Lo’s armoir. (Everything from
the big-brimmed hats by Victoria Grant to the mannequins’ stance
screamed her style.) Unless, of course, Jenny’s been referencing the
high court all along, in which case, the similarities make perfect

Armor was a key inspiration for Temperley’s “Guinevere” collection;
the more austere of the two lines presented by the designer for
Spring/Summer 2011. The medieval tone was established through a
palette of fool’s gold’s, pewter, and “a glint of steel.” The
treatments were modern with tender touches of the Romantic era. Boned
corsetry and ribbon-cut paneling, topped with harnesses and chain
mail, achieved a balanced fusion of edge and innocence.

”Alice:” the more bohemian of the two collections saw Temperley’s
signature maxi dress go gauzy. There was a faded elegance to the
cross-stitch blouses that worked well with many of the harder
moto-inspired pieces. Blush nudes and creamy whites made up the bulk
of the collection’s color scheme and assisted in instituting a young


Vivienne Tam / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week

Vivienne Tam may be most famous for her 1995 “Mao” dress, but, her
designs as of late display a much different Tam: unfiltered, un-campy
and unfinished. For Spring 2011, the line brought a mature batch of
easily translatable travel wear.

Referencing the Silk Road amongst other eastern trade routes, Tam drew
her muse in a mix of dreamy lace, cotton, and canvas. Several pieces
looked droopy or wrangled by wear, establishing a comfortable ease to
many silhouettes. Misshapen jackets and lightweight tank dresses
demanded most of the attention with their flatteringly simple forms.
The most wearable pieces were also the collection’s least striking,
providing many of her best looks derive from outside her comfort zone
of cocktail dresses and eveningwear. One unstructured silk skirt swung
so effortlessly beneath a tissue-thin top it seemed to disappear
before one’s eyes.

At times, Tam falls victim to overly literal thematic depictions. Her
Fall ’10 collection and collaboration with Hewlett Packard’s laptop
division, provide in case, it’s happened all too often recently. The
key to Tam’s success is undoubtedly her willingness to provide for
women who demand wearable standards, yet her most brilliant results
originate outside that very safety net.

photos courtesy of


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Holly Fulton / Spring 2011 / London Fashion Week


Most banned goods at JFK airport: 

photos courtesy of taryn simon’s “contraband” x cnn


VPL by Victoria Bartlett / Spring 2011 /
New York Fashion Week

There’s no denying VPL designer, Victoria Bartlett, knows what’s up. So much so, in fact, her latest outing’s theme was “suspension.” Translated into an array of ultra-modern pieces, Bartlett exposed suspension’s varied oscillations.

In its most literal iteration, suspension came as a two-piece dress connected together by loose tug’n’pull suspenders. Another look featured a cuffed-overall with pendulum-like cords used for height adjustment. Bandeau tops were built to reveal stilts beneath, trapeze dresses swung as one, and tights were held together by visibly cernous seams. One look drew upon suspension in a different way – equating the utilitarian aspects of rock-climbing with the theme – a two-piece bathing suit came affixed with none other than three tiny tool slots. Perhaps suspension’s lightest interpretation appeared in the form of slightly sheer cocktail dresses shown with sole straps to the neck.

Bartlett has made clear her love for underwear-as-outerwear in the past and has continued with the ethos for Spring. Several looks played on the aesthetic with skin toned transparencies, peek-a-boo reveals, visible overlaps, and diaphanous materials. The palette was comfortable and cool, beginning with slate’s and developing into lighter gray’s, Bartlett toyed them with nude’s and rust’s.

Altogether, VPL’s latest run was a good one. Even if it was a tad sprawling (49 looks in total), knowing the line has sustained itself season-after-season speaks to its peerless positioning and singular stronghold.

photos courtesy of


RAD by Rad Hourani / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week

A show by new-age Canadian designer, Rad Hourani, is as close as most of us will ever come to viewing a live Pierre Cardin or Rudi Gernreich collection from the 60’s. Unisex, unified, and unilateral, Rad Hourani’s “RAD” collection goes against all standards to create those of its own.  For Spring 2011, Hourani again treads amongst his own territory of monochromatic madness, delving further into what is more of a philosophy than way of dress. See, for instance, his model pairs: boy and girl dressed in identical or complimenting outfits, looking so utterly similar it challenges the very notions of sexual [and asexual] conformities. His experiments in shape and proportion continue within his latest collection, too; one jacket’s lapels looked as though they could take flight at any moment, like they were wings. Another look saw both male and female models dressed in skirt and leggings, offering a uniform cue to utopic same-sex aesthetics.

Rad Hourani tests the limits of his wearer. Questions of union and gender don’t have answers, rather more questions. Can a man look as good as his counterpart in a pair of stacked “RAD” booties? Rad would reason so. Just look to his collaboration with mega footwear retailer, ALDO, where he’s made three distinctive styles without any mention of gender confines. Or his collaborative endeavor with Berlin-based sunglass studio, MYKITA; whose shield-like “RAD” model beams with brisk andro-anonymity. Compared to peers, Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh, Hourani rides on less of a look and more of a complex. And while his concepts may be studied and inspired, there are those who still wonder how many of its iterations we can take.

Find this review + more images at The Fashion Spot here.


LNA / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week


Frank Tell / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And that’s exactly how Frank Tell saw
it this season. Known for his use of embossed leathers and hand-knit
mohair concoctions, Tell didn’t stray far from house favorites for his
Spring 2011 showing. Even the setting looked a little deja-vu, with its
fluoro-lit backdrop. But that’s how his audience likes it most: funky,
familiar, and oh-so-Frank.

Inspired by the Spanish moss growing on the walls of the Quai Branly
Museum in Paris, the collection carried with it a super-futurism much
the same as last season. Shoes, commissioned to Raphael Young,
contained similar elements to Tell’s Fall ’10 space-aged wedges, but
this time they were covered in ultra-taut spandex.

A palette of white, black, silver, navy, and mint green, eased Tell
into exploring muter tones. This run around also had Tell facing
funkier fabrics: bamboo, paper, grass, sea island cotton, and
double-faced satins. The silhouette also morphed away from Fall; where
Tell’s last collection brimmed with skirts, stockings, and baggy
bottoms, Spring’s legs were cropped and a bit more flared. Leather
blazers were a tad tighter and knits were cut high in the front and drooped
low in the back. The hair no longer was parted and slicked backward,
but, fluffy and high like the Bride of Frankenstein.

While the changes in Tell’s latest collection may be slight to the
editor’s eye, it’s his permanent pieces that get his fanbase swooning.

Find this review + more at The Fashion Spot here.


ADAM / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week

Who knew American designer, Adam Lippes, was such a Francophile?
Amongst the mismatched thrash of Bjork and Sleigh Bells (mixed by
Michael Gaubert and Steven Brinke), came a collection of looks
inspired by French actress, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character in The
City of Your Final Destination.

The stage was set in a cream tone all to often associated with Phoebe
Philo’s recent camel-colored endeavors, but quickly became ADAM’s
world once models took to the runway. First up, a copper linen blazer
open atop a high-waisted white denim sailor pant helped to position
the imagination. Use of ivory lace, eyelet, and chiffon seemed more
mature than ever while still providing a sense of prairie pretty.
Countryside aesthetics hardened by leather assisted in keeping an
edge. Sumo wrestler high-buns (said to be inspired by a certain
someone of the ADAM design team) by Rudi Lewis also helped to
modernize the French femme look.

Label mainstays, such as bejeweled cocktail dresses and linen summer
sweaters were offset by crop tops, leather shorts, and tuxedo jackets.
Perhaps the collection’s most wearable item came as a pair of
high-waisted bell bottoms in peach, lava, and black, that were so well
tailored you could see the front row’s eyes perk. ADAM’s best, though,
came as the show’s finale piece; an intricately embroidered cut-out
chiffon gown that so strikingly challenged Lippes’ days of underwear
and basics. Could it be a hint at the recently acquired (by St.
Louis clothing giant Kellwood) contemporary ready-to-wear label moving
up a tier? From the look of ADAM’s latest and the idea behind it, it
surely appears so.

Find this review and more on The Fashion Spot here

photos courtesy of


FNO was busy, busy, busy on my part. On assignment for
New York Magazine, I got to interview Naomi Campbell,
Mary J. Blige, Grace Coddington, and…wait for it!…Smoke & Mirrors fave,
Read my FNO coverage on’s The Cut here

So many surprises! But perhaps the night’s biggest surprise came as a brief
cameo by super-producer-slash-R&B-cult-star, The-Dream, at Gucci’s
Ffawn foundation event. Accompanying guest, Mary J. Blige, to the
flagship store on 5th avenue Friday evening, Terius “The-Dream”
Nash, whose penned such hits as Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” seemed relaxed as could be sans ex, Christina Milian.
The Atlanta native hinted at why he was in New York: “Been working
with Beyonce for the last, um, forty days. Got a lot going on right
now.” The rest? “I’m starring as Sam Cooke in a movie ‘bout him. I’m
putting my own twist on his life and music. I’m redoing ‘Cupid’ and
all that.” Mary is also on bill for the hitmaker’s time, she
explained, “I’ve been working again with The-Dream. He’s definitely
cooking up somethin’ for my album out later this year.” Can’t wait.

Follow Smoke & Mirrors’ NYFW here

 Naomi at Dolce & Gabbana, Madison Ave.

 Naomi Campbell at Dolce & Gabbana’s “Celebrating Naomi’s 25 Year Career” Event

 Grace at Prada? 

 The real Grace Coddington at Prada’s FNO Event


Mandy Coon / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week

As a small, downtown-based alt-label, Mandy Coon, was greeted by a surprisingly hefty audience of viewers this past Thursday at Milk Studios. Buyers, editors, and the like, crowded into a small presentation space for a trip under the sea…

Never without hints of the street, Coon examined the magnificence of invertebrates with unorthodox employments of leather, jersey, and silk. Encompassing the majesty of the jellyfish’s dangerous good looks, there were plenty of cues to their sublimities. For instance, a dark ensemble offset by tiers of tulle and chiffon looks to lure its viewer with the duality of its beauty and painful sting. Light-as-air layers of silk moved much like Coon’s very inspiration, fluidly amongst hardened overtures of lambskin stretch-leggings, leather-tube obi belts, and unconventional shapes. This season’s palette was as usual, minimal (black, white, cream), but ventured into eventual pops of red coral and rainbow print. The hair, created by Pasquale Ferrante, exposed Coon’s most literal inspirational depiction in its braiding and matte finish. Shoes, created by LD Tuttle, contributed the perfect edge to the season’s softer choices.

Coon, although still in her first few seasons of showing, has found something of a signature aesthetic along the way – composite asymmetry. Look to her brilliant black cocktail dress that suddenly appears to have been split in half to become a brightly colored kaleidoscope of draped silk. Or to the black jersey-leather dress that abruptly transfers into a frayed cream silk half-kimono. Her concepts of two-half-outfits-in-one may be a tough sell, but they work visually to compel her wearer into juxtaposed bliss.

Check out my review on TheFashionSpot here.

Cushnie et Ochs / Spring 2011 / New York Fashion Week

By the look of designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs’ latest
offering shown Thursday in New York, it could be presumed that the two
are big Bret Michaels fans. Yeah, you read it right – Bret Michaels.
As in Every Rose Has Its Thorn-Poison-Bret Michaels. Beginning their
show in the dusty industrial space that is Chelsea’s Eyebeam, Cushnie
et Ochs sent down a plethora of spring suiting, including short sets
and an impeccably crafted black leather paper-bag dress that opened
the show. The designers who’re known for their dark downtown
creations, experimented with lighter looks this season – but never
without a twist, they turned pretty into wicked. Airy ginghams looked
to be half-bitten with holes galore. Effervescent silks concocted into
clean silhouettes were offset by slick black leather lamp shade
pleats. Feminine florals came with frayed edges and beaded brocades
with shields of half-draped silk chiffons looked as though they were
still under construction. The shoes by Alejandro Ingelmo looked
downright devilish. Inspired by barbed wire, the heels, studded in
thorn-like spikes, were an instant crowd favorite. But, with every
rose comes it’s thorn; this time, it was the prints. While up close,
one could see daisies and discombobulated head busts, from afar they
looked too similar to two season’s old Miu Miu. The color palette; in
all of its camel, black, white, and lilac glory, lacked the umph
needed to set the duo apart from the Celine’s and Chloe’s. The 38-look
collection drew on interesting themes: death, decay, beauty, innocence
and demonstrated a cohesive thought-maneuvering. As their fourth
collection to date, Cushnie et Ochs isn’t going anywhere.

Check out my review on TheFashionSpot here.


New York Fashion Week / Spring 2011 Collections

To read reviews and view photos,
click on the collection’s name below.

Day One: Cushnie et Ochs, Jen Kao, Billy Reid, LNA, Made Her Think Jewelry, Mandy Coon
Day Two: Frank Tell, Julian Louie, Tim Hamilton Redux, Alejandro Ingelmo, Fashion’s Night Out 2010
Day Three: ADAM, Vivienne Tam, Charlotte Ronson, A Detacher,
VPL by Victoria Bartlett
Day Four: RAD by Rad Hourani
Day Five: Temperley London, G-Star, AnOther Magazine Dinner
Day Six: 3.1 Philip Lim
Day Seven: The Blonds

Fashion Week Snaps

Cushnie et Ochs finale

Sand art runway at Jen Kao

Billy Reid menswear presentation

Julian Louie presentation at Milk Studios

Ikat print peep wedges by Julian Louie x ALDO

Jasmine, Omyrah, & Olivia backstage @ Frank Tell

Raphael Young x Frank Tell wedges

Giada De Laurentiis @ Temperley London‘s presentation

Anna Dello Russo outside of 3.1 Philip Lim

The Social Network‘s Rashida Jones @ 3.1 Philip Lim


Here’s to hoping this NYFW is as EPIC as this new Kells is!

World Premiere: “Fireworks” – R.Kelly

Song of the Day: “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” – Lenny Kravitz

A true favorite of mine; this Mark Romanek-directed clip helped epitomize Kravitz’ eclecto-maniac style and set the blueprint for many a Lenny video.

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A huge week ahead of me…
Exclusive New York Fashion Week coverage
begins Thursday, September 9, 2010
Fashion’s Night Out helps kick things into gear 9/10/10