Posts by Dara

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
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed: Shop Talk

Color Me Pretty

imageWARNING! Stop reading if you’re easily offended by racy subject matter. Phew… now that we got that public service announcement out of the way, let’s get back to today’s Beauti-Fixation.

I can deal with a few stray grays on top of my head. A quick cab ride to my colorist and in a matter of hours, I’m back to my natural shade of chestnut brown. But salt ’n pepper hair down there is another story. Since I can’t bear the pain and monthly maintenance of Brazilian waxing, I now put my pubes in the very capable hands of Betty – a do-it-yourself hair coloring kit especially designed for beautifying below the belt.

Thanks to Betty’s brilliant line-up of semi-permanent shades, there’s no need to be bashful when exposing your nether region in front of strangers at the locker room. A safe and sassy way of ensuring “the collar matches the cuffs,” Betty may even spruce up your sex life. Perfect for prima donnas who can’t stomach the thought of clashing colors, as well as nudists, Betty offers an eye-catching array of au currant shades including blonde, auburn, black, brown and sunburst (a bright orange hue that comes with a sexy temporary tattoo). And for those who want to go Frenchie-style for Halloween, there’s even a flashy, hot pink “fun Betty.” Makes a great gift for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and dare I say, weddings. In fact, I just bought the six-pack for a friend’s bridal shower.

You’ll also be pleased to know that each of the dyes are formulated with a gentle, no-drip formula and are free of harmful chemicals like ammonia, so you can freely spread the mascara-like applicator wand across your entire woo-woo without worrying about leakage into your sensitive areas. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to perform a skin allergy patch test 48 hours prior to use. Another bonus: you’ll only need to touch-up your triangle’s tresses every 3-4 weeks to maintain your desired shade. One thing’s for certain, now that I’ve found Betty, I just can’t help flashing my privates.

  • Betty Beauty
  • 212-308-0028
  • $20 per kit
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed: Beauti-Fixation

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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed: Clothes Encounters


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.


  • 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!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed: Shop Talk