Posts by Dara

Heaven’s Closet

imageA rough ’n tumble hood rife with gangsters, speakeasies and boundless bordellos, Hell’s Kitchen was one of those places I avoided like the plague as a kid during my visits to the Big Apple. Now that I’m grown up and its seedy image has since subsided, I fearlessly frequent the area for off-Broadway theatre, hip bistros and surprisingly, fashionable frocks like the ones found at Lyd.

An off-the-beaten-path boutique that’s easily spotted by its striking blue facade, Lyd is sought out for its choice selection of modern merch coupled with unparalleled service. Owner, Mia Gonzalez, is a designer with such a sharp sense of style and hands-on approach (she’ll personally build your entire wardrobe) that’s she’s earned the distinct reputation as the “neighborhood stylist.” Unpretentious and inviting, Lyd attracts a loyal customer base of busy corporate types (yes, I’m talking about you Ellyn!) and creative characters who don’t have the time or stamina to scour the racks at those snootier uptown stores for seasonal wardrobe staples. Even celebs like Julia Stiles and Rachel McAdams have frequented Lyd for its of-the-moment, multi-purpose labels.

During my last shopping sojourn at Lyd, I was rendered speechless by the bevy of cutting-edge brands including Corey Lynn Calter (the polka dot dress and matching capelet is killer), Ella Moss (billowy striped tops), Amanda Uprichard (silk charmeuse shifts), Myth & Ritual (tunics with an edgy twist), Twig (cozy cashmere sweater dresses), Rachel Mara (an haute swing coat with a detachable hood) and Raven (my fave wide-legged trousers). That’s just for starters. Lyd also carries Deener (a cult denim label), C&C California (tons of tees in a host of hues), Matt Bernson (must-have ballet flats) and Orla Kiely (laminated canvas bags). With daily deliveries and VIP treatment, Mia will make sure you don’t head out the door empty handed.

Exclusive Fashion Junkie Deal For YOU!
Yummy mummies listen up! Isabella Oliver, the luxe London-based maternity label I profiled earlier this week (read the newsletter here) is offering Fashion Junkie subscribers a 15% discount off any items of your choice from Friday, September 28 through Friday, October 5, 2007. Click here to redeem your special offer and make sure to enter the code “FJFIX” upon checkout. Happy shopping!

  • Lyd
  • 405 West 44th Street (btw 9th & 10th Aves.)
  • 212-246-8041
  • Tuesday-Saturday, 12-7:30pm; Sunday 12-6pm; closed Monday
  • $40-$500
  • exchange or credit note only
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Filed: Shop Talk

Style Social

imageReady to shop like an A-list celebrity? For a mere $25, you can gain entrance to Style Social, New York’s most talked about shopping soirée of the season. Purchase VIP passes for early access to dreamy designer clothing, jewelry and accessories with savings up to 50% off retail, not to mention schmoozing, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.

From fabulous Fall finds to classy resort collections, this red haute fashion extravaganza offers bargains galore from dozens of heavy hitters including Adrienne Landau, Nieves Lavi, Pink Tartan, Helen Wang, Rafé New York, Catherine Rapetti, Dyanne Belle and more. Plus, Fashion Junkie, your shopping chaperone, will be on hand to offer expert tips and tricks for building your wardrobe.

You can shop without the guilt, knowing your donation is going to a worthy cause. A percentage of the proceeds will go to charities including Rosie’s Broadway Kids and Gilda’s Club Worldwide.

Don’t delay…. RSVP today! Make sure to mention Fashion Junkie at check-in.

  • The Retail Details!

  • What: Style Social Shopping Event
  • When: Thursday, October 4, 2007 from 6pm-9pm
  • Where: Opera Gallery, 115 Spring Street (btw Greene & Mercer Streets)
  • Ticket Price: $25 at the door or $500-$1000 for VIP Pre-Benefit Sale & Cocktail Reception
  • Phone: 800-960-1736
  • Email:
  • Website:
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Filed: Shop Talk

Polish With Personality

imageWhen it comes to selling cosmetics, it’s all about marketing. Truth is, most lotions, potions and polishes produce the same end results, regardless of brand name or price. That said, I’ll admit, I’ve always been a sucker for pretty packaging and clever names, no matter what ingredients are listed on the label. That’s probably why I’m tickled pink over Carolyn New York – an eye-catching nail polish line inspired by life in the Big Apple.

Created by celebrity manicurist, Carolyn Cianciotto, a native New Yorker who wanted people to experience the greatest city in the world “first-hand,” Carolyn New York is much more than just another pretty polish. A diary in a bottle, Carolyn New York’s dazzling array of 46 hues vividly recounts a series of personal events that happened to Carolyn in each of the five boroughs. Even the packaging is emblazoned with a gleaming gold Manhattan skyline. For instance, Blackout in the Bronx (a matte black) perfectly captures the essence of the ’77 power outage that left the city in total darkness; Cheating in Queens (a red brick shade) is named for Carolyn’s cheating ex-boyfriend who left her for a stripper in Queens (ouch!); Staten Italy (a hot pink) symbolizes Italian-American girls’ weekend ferry rides into Manhattan for a night out on the town and NY Stock X (a creamy pink neutral) to cover the fingertips of conservative Wall Streeters. My personal fave is Mulberry Street, a dark brown shade reminiscent of coffee and canolis.

Kitschy concept aside, Carolyn New York’s long-lasting formula has seriously nailed the competition. The sleek glass vials have a goof-proof rubber grip and wide applicator brush that glides on smoothly, sans streaks and air bubbles. Plus, you needn’t worry about inhaling any funky and harmful fumes – Carolyn New York’s polishes are made from a DBP-free formula that’s hydrating and adheres to nails. I brought a bottle of Brooklyn to my manicurist and miraculously, the deep red hue managed to stay chip-free and shiny for a full five days. A helpful hint: for maximum maintenance, apply a topcoat every other day, don dishwashing gloves and slather on cuticle oil.

Try all the Carolyn New York colors and you’ll get to know every neighborhood like the back of your hand.

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Filed: Beauti-Fixation

Yummy Mummies

imageMuch to my mother’s chagrin, I’ve never felt the burning desire to bear children. Call me shallow or selfish, but to tell you the truth, I’m petrified of acquiring saggy, post-pregnancy boobs and stomach rolls. Plus, I’m a total bitch without my requisite 10 hours of beauty sleep (just ask my hubbie). That said, after recently bumping into a friend swathed in Isabella Oliver – a chic London-based line of maternity wear, I just might have to reconsider (hey, Mom… are you reading this?).

Drape yourself in Isabella Oliver maternity designs and instantly transform those nine months of hell into swell. An expansive 65-piece collection of comfy and yes, fashionable frocks for every occasion, Isabella Oliver will want to be worn well after your little one is born. Conceived by Vanessa Knox-Brien and Baukjen de Swaan Arons, two European mums who noticed a dearth of modern maternity gear when they themselves were preggers, Isabella Oliver has become the go-to label for expecting fashionistas who refuse to compromise their sense of style. In fact, even hot mamas like Heidi Klum and Amanda Peet have proudly pranced around Tinseltown sporting Isabella Oliver’s trademark wrap dresses and ruched tops. Touted for their tailored fit and top quality fabrics (from soft jersey to elastic woven), Isabella Oliver’s silhouettes won’t stretch out, even when your stomach does.

This season’s luxe lineup includes cuffed wide-legged trousers, sexy ruched shirts with slouchy sleeves, curve-hugging dresses, over-sized cowl-neck sweaters, kimono-inspired tops, racy off-the-shoulder gowns and swimwear (perfect for playing-up up that new-found cleavage). Plus, everything’s available in an earthy color palette (from charcoal grey, ivory to black) that perfectly complements every skin tone.

Why waste your time waddling around town looking for an entire maternity wardrobe, when with the click of a mouse, you can buy everything you need at Isabella Oliver’s online store. And if your purchases don’t fit at first, trust me… you’ll grow into ‘em.

  • Isabella Oliver
  • 866-614-9387
  • $65-$330
  • returns or exchanges within 30 days of purchase with receipt
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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Fancy Feet

imageLets face it. When it comes to footwear, us girls can never seem to have enough. At last count, my closet was crammed with 118 pairs. And since feet don’t gain weight when the rest of our body does (thank goodness for small favors!), my shoe collection won’t be shrinking anytime soon. Given that I’m in constant need of shoes that suit my many changing outfits and moods, lately I’ve been sprinting over to Iris – an Italian-based, designer footwear Mecca which opened it’s first U.S. outpost in the Meatpacking district this summer.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why try the unknown when that “other” multi-label shoe shrine, Jeffrey New York, is just around the corner. For starters, Iris produces shoes for major European brands like Marc Jacobs, Chloé, John Galliano, Paul Smith, Veronique Branquinho and Viktor & Rolf. But here’s the kicker: Iris carries the complete range of styles from each of these hard-to-find brands, most of which were previously unavailable in New York… that is until now.

A sleek 1,200 square-foot space with minimalist décor and a chic Le Corbusier-style couch, Iris is so inviting you just might want to camp out for the day. Iris’s gallery-like shelves are lined with a luxe assortment of day-to-night looks ranging from pointy-toed patent stilettos, burgundy platform pumps, dove grey wedge booties, buttery suede sandals adorned with rhinestones, ballerina flats with brushed gold buckles and so much more. Thanks to Iris’s well-edited mix of seemingly endless inventory, I’m sure I could find a pair of shoes for every single day of the year. Financing the purchase, well, that’s another story.

  • Iris
  • 827 Washington Street (btw Little West 12th St. & Gansevoort)
  • 212-645-0950
  • Monday-Friday, 11-7pm; Sunday 12-6pm
  • $500-$1500
  • 14 days within purchase for returns or store credit
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Filed: Shop Talk