Category Archives: Retail

OOTD


Yesterday I was bluffing (but my poor feet so wish I wasn’t). Anna is actually visiting today. So I have the awful dressing dilemma as follows: a) do I dress for the 120957598 snow storm this month? b) do I dress for comfort since I have class until 10:30 tonight after my internship? or c) do I dress for Anna’s visit? It’s a much harder decision than it sounds. Especially since my feet wanted me to cut them off to relieve them of their pain (a la 127 hours). My compromise: the most comfortable, but tromp l’oil at the same time black dress pants,an embellished tee and a lightweight black and navy tartan blazer (just believe me since in the pic it looks black). And the kicker? I’m wearing snow boots, but swapping them for my dress boots once I get there. I can’t wait for these to get here, so I don’t have to do that.

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Red carpet magic

In the most inspired red carpet move of the year, Natalie Portman wore a stunning black cocktail length frock to the Gotham Independent Film Awards Nomination presentation. The best part? This gorgeous dress is part of the Lanvin for H&M capsule collection and costs less than $200. Natalie accepted a nomination for her role in Black Swan, which I can’t wait to see!! A ballerina thriller with costumes designed by Rodarte. Swoon! Teen Vogue’s Beauty and Health Director Eva Chen tweeted this after seeing the premier: “Black Swan will shock & awe you. Shock bc it’s kind of freakydeeky & scary, awe bc of the Rodarte costumes.” Um, I can’t wait to see this movie, but I’ve already said that… about three sentences ago.

The Lanvin for H&M dress in aubergine (far right):

This visual reminds me of the visuals I saw while in Paris and London! It’s like something from a Harvey Nichols or Galeries Lafayette window display. And the thought bubbles are genius. Here are some more Lanvin for H&M images because I’m now slightly obsessed. The only reason these haven’t been on here already is because I’ve forced myself not to look at the H&M website until the Dallas location opens – at Northpark (or I move to NY… whichever is sooner).


 

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H&M + Lanvin

This article from Thursday’s Styles section in the NYT brought even more buzz about the very hush-hush Lanvin for H&M line, which launches later this month. The article’s gallery only had three images with it, but that was more than enough to get my mind railing about when else the collection will have to offer. It also makes me yearn for opening day at Northpark for Dallas’ (and Texas’) first H&M. Long overdue, but if you read my blog alot, or stumbled upon that WSJ article, you already know that. Maybe I should ask for an H&M gift card for Christmas? Hm…

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Ten minutes with Tim Gunn


Two nights ago I was stressing out in one of the best ways possible – I was standing in front of my closet trying to decide what I’d wear to interview Tim Gunn. At that point it still hadn’t completely sunken in that in less than 24 hours I’d be seated next to him firing away some carefully selected questions for only a ten minute time slot. That’s a lot pressure, but I was up for the challenge.

Last night at 5pm dressed in a LOFT watercolor portrait graphic tee, LOFT chunky tweed mini, LOFT faux fur knit vest and my favorite heels (let’s call them my power heels), I gave those ten minutes my all. I spent my first questions asking him  about generation y, then asked a question that relates to a previous post (intellectual property law for fashion and his thoughts) and learned that he has actually been to Capitol Hill working with a lobbyist on the issue and wants the US to have a law that acts “like a shield, not a sword” against design plagiarism (noting that we’re the only country that doesn’t protect our designers in this manner), and then I finally asked him for any words of wisdom regarding my future internship at Conde Nast. During the interview he confided that he should have done some homework reading up on gen-y to prepare for my interview – I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of my interview skills!

(Pssst.) Prior to the event tonight I did an e-mail interview with Mr. Gunn, the answers to which can be found at the Star-Telegram online.

I tried really hard to keep my cool, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t start smiling really big until after I left the backstage area, but then again after the interview I couldn’t have told you what he was wearing (a lightweight suit – possibly wool, a purple gingham shirt and a purple/gold/orange striped tie). I can tell you he has blue eyes and maintains fantastic eye contact. He was so easy to talk to, I didn’t feel like he was this larger-than-life person I had dreamed up. He was calm and shot some of my questions right back at me! Even if he wasn’t Tim Gunn, it would probably still be one of the best interviews I’ve ever had because of the discussion I was able to generate between the two of us.

After the interview there was, you know, the actual event: Liz Claiborne fashion show showcasing the Liz Claiborne line, now exclusively available at JC Penney. Because I’m a rock star I had a reserved seat on the front row (sitting front row at a fashion show is definitely on my bucket list, but I don’t know if this really qualifies). After reading through my scribbles of notes, here are some of Mr. Gunn’s key iterations from this event:

– an item should never serve only one purpose in your wardrobe (exception: a bridal gown), always think of how an item works multiple ways
– always think about being “on trend, without being trendy”
– always try to enhance natural proportions and always, always, always elongate (the biggest example of this at the show was black opaque tights paired with the same color pumps)
– think about the body in thirds: shoulders to hips, hips to knees, knees to feet and dress in thirds – never cut your body in half
– purple (my fav color!!!) is popular for fall – even on guys – as is grey
– personalize your look, don’t try to be someone else if it’s not true to who you are
– mix patterns! – as long as both patterns aren’t to the same scale. Mr. Gunn had paired stripes with plaid, stripes with argyle
– jackets that hit at the widest part of the hip are most flattering
– I thought it was funny that halfway through they mentioned the fluctuating Texas weather as a packing challenge for the trip! haha
– an untucked shirt (on a male, but the same probably goes for a female) is a disaster! but add a sweater vest and you’re good to go
– cap sleeves help to mitigate larger hips

Truth? We all probably knew about most of these, only one or two were shockers. The real treat was seeing the styles walking down the runway. I was pretty impressed with the offerings. I must also add that I was even more impressed with the model selections – every size, shape, age and body type was well-represented. Here are some pics.






And just for fun, here’s another with me and Tim. I can pretty honestly say that this was the best night of my life. 🙂

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Intellectual property law for fashion

I’m going to get serious for this post, but it’s because I’m an academic at heart and this is an issue I frequently ponder: should fashion designers be able to copyright their intellectual property?

Read, read and watch.

NYTimes Copyrighting fashion: who gains?
Yglesias We don’t need fashion copyrights
Ted Talks Johanna Blakley: Lessons from fashion’s free culture

Now it’s my turn. So basically my opinion has been that I’ve been completely in favor of having intellectual property laws that protect fashion designers and their designs. I’ve even had previous posts on how outrageous it is that Forever 21 and Steve Madden can totally recreate a high fashion or ready to wear design from the runway and sell it for a tiny fraction of the designer price. Granted, sneaky business savvy like this is what makes the fashion world go ’round – and that’s what I’d thought right past. Before reading these articles and watching this short video, I had been in the corner, rooting for design copyright laws without thinking about it cerebrally.

Yeah, it sucks that fast fashion retailers can do this, but I’d be a total hypocrite if I didn’t think they were good at what they do (I even praise fast fashion on this same blog where I’ve gotten on their case for knockoffs, see?). But what I’d been missing before is that if fashion designs were copyrighted there’s no way we could afford to dress ourselves in the stylish clothes. Fashion exists because of the freedom to duplicate trends so they are available to everyone and so that fashion can have participants at all economic levels. And that’s one reason I love fashion! I’m even more a hypocrite than I thought, please tar and feather me appropriately.

I mean retailers at all price points want to give their consumers what they want: the latest trend or classic style. While yes, I think this can be achieved without blatantly copying a design (see above images), there’s no way to eradicate that misuse of the ability to duplicate without shunning the trend followers who want – no, they crave – the trends affordable to them.

I am aware of a bill that could be making its way through the US legislature that would grant intellectual property protection to fashion designers, but now I’m not so sure it’s a good thing (and also, would it be more like similar laws for the EU or more like Japan?)

In the end I suppose intellectual property law for fashion is like deciding between the lesser of two evils. Without it, the world is a frustrating place for designers who get shorted by Forever 21 and Steve Madden (among others!), but it is also marketplace for ideas that yields the most creative and innovative designs. With it, the world would be much a much harsher reality for the trend mongers and style bloggers like me.

Am I changing my tune about this topic? I think I might be.

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The WSJ and me redux (H&M answers prayers)

For the last week and a half television ads for this H&M trench coat have been tormenting me! Why, you ask? Well, remember the WSJ article I was interviewed for back in May? (Read it here to catch up!). After participating in the interview and reading the article once it published, I had to adjust to the sad fact that the Swedes running things for H&M had a grudge on the Texas climate, taking for granted the fact that to many Texans 50 degrees, while warm in Northern European states, is actually cold and grounds for wearing chunky sweaters and heavy(ish) coats.

H&M had already established locations in American cities with climates I would compare to Texas, i.e. Atlanta and Orlando. I even have a sorority sister from Scottsdale, Arizona who commented on my blog saying that she considers her hometown to have fewer climate fluctuations than Texas, and they’ve had their H&M for a considerable amount of time. And in fact, Scottsdale has two H&Ms. That’s right, there have been retail locations in the desert before the Dallas metropolitan area. And on top of that, if Texans want to shop H&M, the closest locales are in either Las Vegas or St. Louis, MO (e-commerce still has yet to be addressed, but maybe it’s on the horizon *wink,wink/nudge, nudge* ?)

So with all of this weighing on my mind, I was understandably peeved and befuddled that H&M was dangling its product in front of me as I watch some of my favorite television programs. My conversations with friends included comments like “That’s so cruel!!” and “Don’t tease us like that!!”. Well, our prayers (hey, we’re in the Bible Belt, praying is one of our first instincts when it comes to getting what we want) have been answered because earlier this week the Dallas Observer published this article that put our doubts and hopes at bay. The article says that dates for the opening are not set in stone, but will be released once legalities are taken care of (like when they sign the lease on a space),  adding that “It should be really fun” – um, understatement of the year? decade? century? I think so.

I guess I’d like to think I had something to do with this or that Elizabeth Holmes (the WSJ retail reporter who gamely sought me out for interview) and her article made some impact in the H&M corporate decision-making processes that led to the announcement of this highly probably new location. And the people said, Amen!

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Retail using social media correctly

Sometime around 1:30 ET Ann Taylor posted an album of its Holiday 2010 press preview to its Facebook page. Fans of the retailer can preview the collection, due to be in stores starting in early November and see which magazine editors were browsing the collection. Just to name a few: Hal Rubenstein, InStyle; Alexis Bryan Morgan, Elle; Roberta Myers. Elle; Joann Pailey, Elle; Adam Glassman, O; Susan Kaufman, People Style Watch; Regina Haymes, More; Jane Seymour, More and Meredith Melling Burke, Vogue. Sounds like the kind of press event I could have been at, combining two of my favorite things: Ann Taylor and magazines

It’s not really news that the fashion industry is taking social media by storm and using it to better connect with the industry consumers, but with retailers like Ann Taylor leading the way in showing the consumer what to expect months in advance, the retail industry is changing. The internet, and especially social media, are bringing the consumer closer to the product. Magazines have done this with blogs and allowing reader comments creating a conversation that brings readers closer together. And blogs have allowed little gems like Tavi to make it big before hitting puberty. It makes me pause to wonder what the next twitter will be. What will the industry, and the world, come up with next to bring everyone closer together? And have consumers feeling like they’re not just passing through stores, but actively participating in the business.

My guess is, whatever that next big social media movement happens to be, Ann Taylor will be one of the first retailers to start using it. Ann Taylor’s social media and press team are taking the lead and should be watched closely. From the impressive repositioning of the brand to its business acumen where connecting to its consumers is concerned.

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