Posts by Dara

Fashionable Frocks

imageA degree in industrial engineering isn’t exactly the kind of background you’d expect to find in an emerging fashion designer. But for Indonesian-born Ardistia Dwiasri, it was her knack for numbers and interest in architectural design that prompted her to launch a namesake clothing collection. Now in its second season, Ardistia New York’s haute high-collar coats and cutting-edge, multi-functional separates have been flying off the racks at some of the hottest names in retail like Searle and Luxe Label.

A structured, Princess Warrior-inspired collection comprised of monochromatic fabrics of black and grey, Ardistia New York is favored by confident femmes who aren’t afraid to stand out. Touted for technical details such as exaggerated collars, tiered pleats and puff sleeves, Ardistia distinguishes herself from other designers by her uncanny ability to create hidden functionality in each of her frocks. For example, her stunning black capelet is constructed with secret arm slits so you can effortlessly slip your arm through to carry a shoulder bag (how brilliant!). Other crafty gadgets include zippers and buttons that enable you to instantly elongate or shorten sleeves. There’s even a jet-black jacket that can magically morph into a cape. Among the many items on my radar screen include a gorgeous gabardine capelet with quilted shoulders, a silk chiffon baby doll dress, a slinky jersey blouse with satin trim (perfect with patent booties and opaque tights) and a striking dove gray swing coat with ¾ length puff sleeves. With styles this sexy and streamlined, I wasn’t surprised to hear that most of Ardistia’s inventory is already on back order this season. If you happen to miss out, have no fear – they’ll be an equally impressive and expanded lineup of 007-like silhouettes this Spring.

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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Shop-Hopping

imageThe Lower East Side (L.E.S.) has certainly come a long way to shed its cheap shmatta and old-school tailor image. While performing my weekly shopping reconnaissance missions, I’ve noticed an emergence of hipster clothing boutiques, bars and restos that have recently popped-up in the hood. From one-of-a-kind vintage finds (Tahir Boutique), indie handbags, shoes and baubles (Clarabella) to eco-friendly fashions (Kaight), the L.E.S. offers an undeniably cool collective of shops not found anywhere else in the city.

To celebrate the burgeoning L.E.S. revival, owners from several edgy establishments have banded together to host the ultimate block party. The first of a series of monthly events, next Thursday’s L.E.S. Shop Night will offer exclusive designer trunk shows, special discounts, tasty treats and martinis ‘til midnight.

Get set for guilt-free shopping, as participating stores will donate 10% of the evening’s sales to the L.E.S. Girls Club of New York, an organization dedicated to assisting in the development of girls and young women ages 8-23. The shopping equivalent of a pub-crawl, L.E.S. Shop Night promises to be the swankiest buying and boozing extravaganza of the season. So grab the girls and don your party frocks ‘n flats – you’ll be shopping and hopping ‘til you drop.

  • THE RETAIL DETAILS!

  • When: Thursday, September 20, 2006
  • Time: shops from 6-10pm, bars & restaurants from 9pm-midnight!
  • Where: Lower East Side

Participating Boutiques:

Participating Bars/Restaurants:

Happy Shopping!

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Filed: Shop Talk

Extra! Extra!

imageRead all about it! “SEXY MOTHER PUCKER… Lip Size Found Crucial For Sexual Attraction!” No, it’s not the front page headline from today’s New York Post, but a “cheeky” tagline emblazoned on the bubblegum-colored packaging of a lip-plumper from British-based beauty company, Soap & Glory.

With 8 kitschy bath and beauty essentials whose names were inspired by the daily tabloids, Soap & Glory just landed stateside at my fave masstige retailer, Target. Created by Marcia Kilgore, the mastermind behind Bliss, Soap & Glory is her irreverent sister line that’s half the price (nothing tops $25) and practically just as good. Meant to moisturize the masses, Soap & Glory’s mantra is that “a good laugh can take off as many years as a good lift.” Don’t let the slapstick humor fool you – these pun-filled products do indeed work.

Soap & Glory’s sensational lineup includes a stress-battling, lemon-infused bubble bath (Calm One, Calm All), a super-sized shower gel (Clean On Me), a skin-sloughing body buffer (The Scrub Of Your Life), a velvety smooth body butter (The Righteous Butter), a sexy lotion with shimmer (Glow Lotion), a hydrating hand cream (Great Shakes) and an almost edible sugar, shea butter and peach-infused body polish (Flake Away). My personal favorite is Sexy Mother Pucker, a tasty trio of tingly lip-plumping glosses that actually smell like chocolate – something missing from the captions on the box. After layering Super Starry (shimmery clear) on top of What A Melon (sheer pink), I came pretty close to having Angelina Jolie’s sought-after bee-stung pout. Regardless of what you slather on, Soap & Glory is sure to keep you smiling.

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Filed: Beauti-Fixation

Seasonal Staples

Aside from dark chocolate and a double shot of espresso, nothing gets my adrenaline pumping more than fall fashion. In fact, I got so wrapped up with this season’s alluring assortment of fabrics (tartans to tweeds) and colors (cobalt blue to charcoal gray), that I couldn’t help but purchase 90% of my wardrobe when pre-fall shipments hit stores in July. But, since I still need a few more staples, here’s a short list of what I’m eyeing next. And it just so happens that everything can be worn separately or paired together for a perfect day-to-night look.

imageWhy risk throwing your back out with a bulky, over-sized bag?  Instead, play-up your wardrobe with a petite frame purse that works with your proportions, like this lightweight Charlott Vasberg ($800) find. The shimmery black leather and matte gold hardware add that extra touch of glam. Buy it at barneys.com • 888.222.7639

imageHere’s the skinny on denim for fall: stovepipes are out and baggy, wide-legged styles like these Seven’s ($209) are in. Finally, a pair of blues that doesn’t require plastic Baggie’s to slide ‘em over your feet. Buy it at shopbop.com • 877-746-7267

imageIf there’s one must-have piece you splurge on this season, make it this mustard blazer from Smythe ($698). It’s a well-priced alternative to the ones I’ve seen from Marc Jacobs and in my opinion, a much better fit. Buy it at searle.com • 212-924-4330

imageSimply put, Cobalt blue is the “it color” of the season. It works wonders for almost any complexion and will instantly brighten up your mood. This billowy Madison Marcus blouse ($225) is my personal fave because it pairs beautifully with black, wide-legged trousers. The feminine neck-tie, pleats and puffy sleeves make it that much more irresistible. Buy it at luxelabel.com • 204-292-1524

imageUnleash your inner Victor Victoria with this smokin’ pinstriped fedora ($38) – a guaranteed head-turner. Finally, there’s no excuse for bad hair days, period. Buy it at Goorin.com • 800-862-0100

imageStep into the season with confidence with a shoe bootie – a stiletto that thinks and behaves like a boot. An edgier alternative to a pump, Christian Louboutin’s patent leather zippered pair ($770) glams up your gams, even when worn with nothing else.
Buy it at saksfifthavenue.com • 877.551.SAKS

For a sneak preview of my top picks for Spring ’08, stay tuned for next Monday’s special New York Fashion Week runway report.

 

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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Old Is New Again

imageAdmit it. When you think about shopping for vintage clothes, the following images of a Goodwill thrift shop probably come to mind: a musty, moth-balled space with dim lighting, cluttered racks, creaky wooden floors and, dare I say, cobwebs. Well, that perception will instantly change the moment you set foot inside Dear:55 – a surprisingly clean-cut boutique with a beautifully blended assortment of new and pre-loved designer threads, shoes, bags and baubles.

Run by Moon Rhee and designer Hey Ja Do, antique dealers who always dreamt of opening a vintage clothing and accessory shop with a modern twist, Dear:55 is quickly becoming the go-to destination for downtown and uptown shoppers alike. A cutting-edge gallery-like space that’s painted a blinding shade of snow white (from the white walls to the white antique furniture and the white facade), Dear:55 is easily spotted from a mile away.

Eye-catching décor aside, it’s the boutique’s eclectic mix of designer clothing that will lure you inside. Expect a stellar selection of avant-garde labels culled from Europe and Japan, including Vivienne Westwood, Rick Owens, Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang. Vintage junkies will love pawing through the racks for original ‘80’s pieces from Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons. Other retro standouts I spotted during last week’s sojourn include a DKNY military jacket, a sequined cardigan, a denim bubble skirt, an ivory tunic adorned with gemstones and a black leather motorcycle jacket. But the real show-stoppers were Hey Ja Do’s reconstructed creations, ranging from one-of-a-kind handbags (fashioned from recycled fabrics), chunky beaded jewelry (handmade from found objects like lace and charms) and futuristic frocks such as an asymmetrical cobalt blue skirt and a tuxedo blouse with tiers of cascading chiffon ruffles (pairs perfectly with my new men’s-inspired wide-legged pants).

No matter what your preference, perhaps the most en-dear-ing thing about Dear:55 – all the garments are so well preserved, you can wear ‘em out the door without first stopping at the dry cleaners. 

  • Dear:55
  • 55 Clinton Street (between Stanton & Rivington)
  • 212-673-3494
  • Monday-Sunday, 1pm-9pm
  • $100-$300
  • store credit or exchange within 7 days of purchase
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Filed: Shop Talk