Filed under: Clothes Encounters

Hang Loose!

imageA degree in statistics isn’t exactly the kind of educational background you’d expect to find in an emerging fashion designer. But for Los Angeles–based Dorothy Lee, it was her knack for numbers and interest in interior design and architecture that prompted her to launch her namesake clothing collection. Now in its second season, Dorothy Lee’s ladylike asymmetrical dresses, billowy chiffon blouses and tiered hem tanks have been flying off the racks at some of the hottest names in retail like Big Drop, Wink and Nordstrom.

Known for slouchy, yet sophisticated silhouettes infused with quality and comfort, Lee’s muted designs are a refreshingly chic surprise, especially given the over-saturated retail market. A fan of luxe, travel-friendly and sustainable fabrics such as Lyocell jersey (a drape-y, lightweight cotton that feels like silk), Lee’s multi-functional and structured separates look smashing no matter what your shape or size.

Wait ‘til you see Lee’s Spring ’08 lineup – a flirty, feminine and wearable ‘40’s-inspired theme that’s reminiscent of Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby. Some silhouettes on my radar screen: a knockout navy cocoon sleeve blouse (pictured above), a pale rose, short-sleeved cowl neck sweater (makes a killer ensemble with Lee’s slit cuffed shorts), a breezy silk blouse with an over-sized bow on the back, a cream tank dress with cascading ruffles and a royal blue cropped silk bell sleeve jacket (a perfect layering piece). Other signature details include delicate pleats, origami trims, puff sleeves and balloon-hemmed bottoms, all of which come in a variety of eco-friendly earth tones such as eggshell white, rose, pale yellow, forest green, navy and black.

With its wrinkle-free fabrics, no wonder Dorothy Lee is adored by time-pressed, jet-setting women. Think of all the money you’ll save foregoing all those trips to the dry cleaners!

  • Dorothy Lee
  • $97- $328
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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Spring Fling

Having recently attended the Fashion Group Int’l Spring ’08 ready-to-wear runway overview, I thought I’d share some crib notes with my readers. I know, you’re probably thinking it’s way too early to plan your warm-weather wardrobe. But with pre-spring shipments having already hit boutiques, you’d better take some notes if you don’t want to be left out in the cold. 

imageEverything’s coming up roses and daisies and lilacs and tulips! That’s right, larger-than-life flirty ‘n feminine floral prints are emblazoned on just about everything from long, ankle-grazing gowns (the must-have length this season) to billowy tops, bags and shoes. Finally, a look that’s fun and flattering for everyone.  Emmett McCarthy Caroline dress, $395,

imageStep into spring with Grecian-inspired gladiator sandals, the footwear of choice for fashion influencers’ Ashley Olsen and Kate Moss. Bring out your inner goddess by donning this gleaming gold, leather number. Sport ‘em with a slinky tunic dress for a luxe, lengthening effect. Tory Burch metallic gold gladiator sandals, $275,

imageDon’t put away your patents just yet! High-gloss leathers in candy-colored hues will continue to outshine matte. That includes pretty patent shoes, bags, cropped jackets and even faux eyelashes (I kid you not!).  Marc Jacobs Rocker Fergie Clutch in acid yellow, $895,

imageRemember those hippie dippy, maxi dresses? Well, guess what… they’re back! Whether adorned with tribal prints or tie-dye (two other big trends), this sophisticated floor-sweeping silhouette will make dressing from April to August a cinch. Plus, it’s much more wearable than last year’s must-have mini skirt in my humble opinion. Lacey Parker Silk Ombré Gown, $398,

imageTribal prints on dresses, skirts, shorts, belts, shoes and tops have come a long way from tacky. Be it African (zebra stripes to leopard spots), Indian or Asian-inspired patterns (cool dragon motifs), this ethnic look consistently tops the fashion charts. Too loud for your taste? Try a more subdued khaki-colored shirtdress with a chunky beaded necklace and stacked heels. Paul & Joe zebra top, $265,

imageIt’s time to put those dreadfully drab midnight black and dark gray threads in storage. For spring, its ultra bright, eye-popping fabrics that will reign supreme. Work your warm weather wardrobe with punchy hits of neon including lime green, citron, sunburst orange, hot pink and electric blue – a bevy of in-your-face shades that are already ruling the streets of Manhattan.  Christian Louboutin patent d’Orsay wedge, $645,

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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Lost and Found

imageA born scatterbrain, I’ve lost many things over the years such as keys, jobs, boyfriends, my mind and even shirt sleeves (that’s another story). But nothing compares to the anxiety I felt after carelessly leaving my beloved black beret behind in a taxi – a perfect-fitting Parisian velvet design, which worked wonders for bad hair days. Fortunately, while escorting a client on a recent shopping safari, I spotted a knockout knit hunting cap from designer Lara Kazan, which has quickly become much more than a suitable replacement.

Perfect for absent-minded women like me, the haute Lara Kazan cocoa-colored hat (pictured above) comes with a handy conjoined scarf, ensuring maximum warmth and style. Better yet, the neckwear can be detached, giving you two killer accoutrements for the price of one. Now how cool is that? And yes, the extra-long scarf looks just as chic when worn solo.

A New York-based designer who kicked-off her hand-knit accessory line in 2000 with “Lara Legs,” a funky, vintage-inspired collection of hand-crocheted legwear, Lara recently added a jaw-dropping assortment of clothing and other cutting-edge accessories. My personal faves: a pair of chocolate knit cuffs with detachable mittens, Lara’s signature ‘80’s-inspired legwarmers (much more fashionable than the Flashdance kind), arm warmers in edgy checkered-color combos like charcoal and violet, chic riding hood capes, cozy cocoon sweaters (the electric blue ensemble is to-die-for), fitted vests with contrasting piping and leather saddle belts.

Now that Lara Kazan’s headpiece has neatly filled the void of my erstwhile beret, my only fear: what happens if I have another senior moment and lose the hat and scarf altogether?

  • Lara Kazan Designs
  • $75 and up
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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Blast From The Past

imageRemember those iconic Members Only (MO) bomber jackets from the ‘80s? Well, guess what… they’re back! After a 20-year hiatus, MO – the once-hipster outerwear label, has been reincarnated with a star-studded women’s collection designed by former tabloid mag editor, Kelli Delaney.

Having recently previewed the line at a “VIP” shopping event at Henri Bendel, I thought I’d share my take on the revamped MO. While the cheese factor still exists, MO’s new silhouettes are surprisingly sexy with an edgy twist. No longer fabricated from cheap nylon and polyester, MO’s “new and improved” celebrity-driven line is made from buttery soft Italian lambskin leathers that look even hotter when paired with stovepipes or leggings.

Brace yourself for colors and cuts that are radically different: from Winter white belted trenches, midnight blue men’s-inspired vests, black quilted patent biker bombers, capped-sleeve ensembles adorned with glitzy gold buttons to body-hugging mini knit dresses in strapless, plunging v-necks and keyhole back cuts (ooh la la!). My favorite newcomer: a flashy metallic gold bomber that Cameron Diaz just bought.

Sopranos fans rejoice! You’re still getting the same wide knit waistbands, zip-up front and buckle neck closures along with the classic tagline, “When You Put In On, Something Happens.” But with prices topping $1,430 (eek!), it might be tough to join the club.

  • Members Only
  • Henri Bendel, 712 Fifth Avenue @ 56th St.
  • 212-247-1100
  • $330-$1,430
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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Earthly Delights

imageFashion designer Nina Valenti’s raison d’être is to minimize waste. So much so, that she recently designed a formal dress made entirely from trash! Created exclusively for world-renowned concert pianist Soyean Lee, during her Carnegie Hall debut in New York this February, this wearable work of art (pictured above) was compiled from over 6,000 recycled juice pouches and took Nina over 2 months to make. Now that’s what I call dedication!

While the “garbage” gown is guaranteed to generate some buzz, Nina’s biggest claim to fame is Nature vs Future, her cutting-edge, yet eco-friendly and biodegradable clothing label. Designed for confident women who aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd, Nature vs Future has received accolades for its ultra flattering fit and innovative use of sustainable fabrics. Even celebs such as Parker Posey and Tina Fey are fans of Nina’s earthy, yet edgy approach to fashion.

Unlike traditional eco-friendly clothing lines that often resemble potato sacks, Nature vs Future’s silhouettes are sexy yet sophisticated, with tailored, architecturally designed shapes. Each piece is produced from organic wool, hemp, soy, bamboo, seaweed, lyocell (a.k.a. wood pulp) and Ingeo (made from corn), along with recycled and technologically-forward fabrics such as Polartec, which is made from soda pop bottles and industrial waste (who knew?).

A few earth-friendly numbers I have my eye on: a fitted Polartec fleece jacket in chocolate brown, a swirl collar tunic dress in black, a leaf-green top with ruching and a silk charmeuse button-down shirt in dove grey. As for Spring ’08, standouts include a soft pink, body-hugging jersey dress with edgy shoulder cutouts, a pleated, bubble hem shift with multiple shoulder straps (made from recycled polyester) and a delicate sea foam, linen sheath.

Just goes to show you, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Exclusive Deal Just For YOU! is giving Fashion Junkie subscribers 20% off any Fall/Winter items of your choice from Thursday, January 24 through Thursday, January, 31st. Simply enter the promo code “FJFIX” upon checkout to redeem your discount. Happy shopping!

  • Nature vs Future
  • $100-$600
  • within 7 days of purchase with receipt
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Filed: Clothes Encounters