Category Archives: Manolo Blahnik

The Tourists: NYC

For the past couple of days, my mom and I have been playing tourist in New York City.  Here’s what we’ve been up to…

Friday we walked a few blocks from our hotel to Lincoln Center, home of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, to see the fashionable arrive and depart the ongoing shows.  We talked to an Australian girl with awesome tights but there wasn’t much else going on at the time.  Then we ventured to Century 21.  If you’re not familiar with this haven, please add it to your To Shop list next time you’re in New York.  It has designer clothes and shoes at up to 80% off.  It’s where I got my first pairs of Manolo Blahnik and Valentino shoes in September.  (Expect to see a post about these glorious acquisitions in the future.)  I didn’t get anything THAT spectacular this time but I did get a beautiful taupe dress from MICHAEL by Michael Kors and a taupe tank with a black Peter Pan collar and buttons.  At the moment, I have a thing for taupe/tan and black.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – Photo courtesy of Business Insider

Then we ate at P.J. Clarke’s across from Lincoln Center, a casual, but upscale pub with a good selection and great service.  Their French onion soup is one of the best I’ve had.  And I love me some FOS.  Afterward we REALLY turned up the tourist notch by taking a cab to meet my mom’s cousin, George, at TKTS at Times Square to get tickets to a Broadway production.  After hesitantly agreeing to see “Other Desert Cities” with Stockard Channing we walked to Macy’s.

My parents watched a special about Macy’s and were fascinated to discover that some of the original wood escalators are still in use today.  Riding these historical escalators was the highlight of the trip thus far, according to my mother.

Times Square

Mom on Macy’s escalators

After I regained composure from all the excitement from Macy’s escalators, we walked to the Shake Shack for a light dinner before the show.  Mom and I shared a ‘Shroom Burger.  Delicious.  “Was there a Portobello mushroom in it?” mom asked.  There was too much Muenster and Cheddar cheese to tell.

On our way to the show I dashed inside Forever 21 for what I thought was a quick look at the store I know and love.  But this location has four floors!  FOUR floors of trendy, cheap clothing and I hadn’t even seen some of the items before.  I grabbed a frilly blue & white polka-dotted wrap dress, two sheer fishtail skirts in pink and black and a shiny black pleated tower maxi-dress.  Expect to see these in posts this summer.

We ended our night in one of the best ways possible in the Big Apple… at a Broadway production.  “Other Desert Cities” was the first non-musical that I had seen in New York.  It was exceptional.  I was looking forward to seeing Stockard Channing.  Yes, the actress who portrayed Rizzo, the bad ass Pink Lady in Grease.  But more importantly to me, she was Aunt Frances Owens in Practical Magic, my favorite movie.  But I wasn’t sure about the play.

The Booth Theatre is small, intimate and there can’t be a bad seat in the house.  Much to my delight, Rachel Griffiths, from Brothers and Sisters, appeared on stage along with Channing.  I laughed.  I cried.  I felt what they felt.  Exceptional.  Following the standing ovation, we waited by the stage door for the actors to exit.  Mom and I were ecstatic to meet and get the autographs of Stockard Channing, Rachel Griffiths, Judith Light and Justin Kirk.

Stockard Channing & I

Rachel Griffiths

The autographed playbill

Saturday we traveled to Rockefeller Center to see the famous Christie’s auction house, which was unfortunately closed.  Guess we’ll have to plan another trip to NYC, mom.  We watched the ice skaters and stopped in the stores of NBC, Lego, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Girl.  Check out my new shirt from NBC.

Rockefeller Center

The Lego Store

Call me Kelly

Then we went to Soho, known for its trendy shops and art galleries.  We ate at the Broome Street Bar at the recommendation of a man on the street, where we tried their famous hamburger in a pita.  It was very tasty.  On our walk through the hip neighborhood I spotted Topshop,the super trendy and fantastic British store, which also had four stories.  (FOUR!)  I’ve visited topshop.com but it was my first time in an actual store, as there are only two in the states.  It reminded me of a more upscale Forever 21 (forgive me for loving that damn store even though I am clearly not forever 21) but several pieces were more unique and better designed.  They are known for recreating designer pieces.  I ended up with a pair of very dangly gold Grecian earrings, perfect for my shoot on Monday.  TopShop is my new love.  We also visited Amarcord Vintage Fashion, which was on my To Shop list for its collection of European vintage clothing and accessories from the 1940s to the 1980s.  It had several beautiful and interesting pieces from Christian Dior, Versace and Gucci, to name a few.  I only lusted.

Broome Street Bar’s chalkboard walls

Broome Street Bar

Mom’s burger

In the subway

Exhausted from our two days of being tourists, we made the long trek back to the Hudson Hotel to rest up for Sunday, the day of the Derek Lam show.  The show was amazing.  Details to come…  Thank you for following along on my adventures.

My new earrings from Topshop and a sneak peak of what I wore to the Derek Lam show

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Filed under Derek Lam, Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, Fashion, Gucci, Manolo Blahnik, New York City, New York Fashion Week, Shopping, Versace, Vintage

Big lights have inspired me

Guess who’s going to New York Fashion Week!  That’s right.  This girl!  Eeeeeeeee!

Thank you to the wonderful people at Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair for selecting me as the winner of the Camera-Ready Style Contest!  I won a trip to New York, NY, tickets to a Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week show, a makeup session with an Estée Lauder makeup artist and a photo shoot with a Vanity Fair-caliber photographer.  I am beyond excited for this incredible opportunity that I will never forget.

Some of you who know me may be thinking, “Didn’t she go to fashion week last season?”  Yes, I went to New York during fashion week and attended a few shows of up and coming designers at Nolcha Fashion Week.  It was an amazing experience and I met some very talented people, who are in the beginning stages of potentially launching their brands.  New York Fashion Week is a time when across the city designers new and experienced showcase their next season’s designs.  Many of the “big” shows, of highly anticipated collections from famous designers, are at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Lincoln Square.  Which show am I attending?  I’m not sure yet…  The contest coordinators will choose.  I’ll let you know who I’m hoping for soon.

First, let me tell you about my first trip to New York Fashion Week in September of 2011…

I arrived on Thursday, September 8 just in time for Fashion’s Night Out (FNO), a worldwide celebration founded in New York of fashion, designers, retailers and most importantly, shoppers.  FNO, hosted by Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and NYC & Company, is the industry’s way of connecting fashion, especially luxury brands, to the average shopper.  Stores entice guests with free drinks, deals, celebrity appearances and unique experiences.  I planned my attack on FNO based on who I wanted to see, knowing I would absorb the scene of chic shoppers on the way.  Since my flight was delayed, I scrambled to get ready when I arrived at my apartment for the week and threw on a red dolman-sleeve top, dark skinny jeans, a statement necklace of silver chains and large black beads and black slightly pointed flats.  (I was properly warned that it’s all about flats when you’re walking all over the city!)  Then I was off to Manolo Blahnik with hopes of seeing Sarah Jessica Parker. I had big city aspirations before Sex and the City debuted but it was Carrie Bradshaw who convinced me that living in New York can be glamorous and attainable.

My mom and I jumped on the subway, pretending like we were pros except for the MTA map I triple checked, and headed to Midtown.  There was a crowd of fashionably dressed women standing outside the large window next to a plate that read “Manolo Blahnik, Office Entrance.”  Just as we arrived, a silver sedan paused and Sarah Jessica Parker stepped out wearing a leather Prabal Gurung dress and white pointed-toe Manolos.  She briefly paused for photographs and then entered the discreet brick building to celebrate her collaboration with the legendary shoemaker, a redesign of the Carolyne.  My goal was achieved – to see SJP in NYC.  Next stop: Tiffany & Co. to see Leighton Meester, star of Gossip Girl, perform with Check in the Dark.

Meester, dressed in a cloudy sky printed Carven maxidress, jammed with the folk rock band under the disco balls on the fourth floor.  From Tiffany’s we took a stroll down 57th Street past Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, Miu Miu, Chanel and Dior to the subway.

We arrived at the door of Jeffrey New York shortly after 10 p.m. and with ample time to wait for Harry errr Daniel Radcliffe to arrive.  We waited impatiently while only certain people on an enigmatic yet dogmatic list were permitted inside and a few privileged early arrivers made their exit.   One of the guests leaving early was hip hop mogul, Russell Simmons.  Finally the doorman turned away a hopeful with an unconvincing story and announced that no one else would be let inside unless he or she was the editor of a fashion magazine.

“What about a fashion writer from far away?” my mom shouted.

“How far?” the doorman asked.

“Toledo, Ohio,” she replied with a smirk.

I think he was so amused that either this lady had the gumption to yell this at him or that she replied with a place like Toledo, Ohio, but either way he said with a smile, “Come on in.”

I hadn’t even heard what happened but as my Mom pulled me toward the door I asked, “Can my mom come with me?” I asked.

“Of course,” doorman said.

Miraculously, we were in, both doubled over with laughter, and just moments away from seeing Daniel Radcliffe!  As we waited, a well-dressed woman wearing sunglasses and a short bob brushed by me and after she passed I realized it was Anna Wintour, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue.  Jeffrey New York was the place to be.  Moments later the stars of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Mr. Radclife and Rose Hemingway, swept through the crowd. The grinning, fair-faced actor, who I fell in love with as a wizard, greeted the long line of fans, giving me ample time to take more than enough pictures.  We also got a taste of the renowned excellent customer service from a very kind salesman as we browsed the Manolos and Louboutins.

Carrie Bradshaw, a Gossip Girl, the pioneer of hip hop, the Devil (who) Wears Prada and The Chosen One… and that was just my first day in the Big Apple.

Monday came the reason for my trip: fashion week.  I awoke early, ate my breakfast, put on my perfectly planned ensemble – a brown dress with pink metallic ballet flats and a thrift store find choker of pink and gold – and headed to 18th street.  Being from Ohio I was one of the first to arrive at Nolcha Fashion Week, which gave me time to browse the exhibition prior to the show (get fake nails applied thanks to the ladies at Kiss) and mingle with the designers.  The agency behind this event is an award-winning global platform advancing the business of independent fashion, beauty, consumer and lifestyle brands through  ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, industry connections and event production.

I took my seat next to a distinguished gentleman named Frank, who thought I was just perfect for his son, and waited for the lights to dim.  My first fashion show in New York began with Carlos Luna, a Columbian born designer who began his label this year.  His line was characterized by sheer panels, color blocking, excellent tailoring and light weight fabrics that moved and draped beautifully.  The palette of the silk garments included aqua, royal blue, red and coral.  The high-necked, sleeveless, floor length gown with high slits in either coral or aqua is something that I would wear to a black tie affair this spring.

One of my favorite lines was presented by Eredappa Hart.  From Nigeria, Hart combined African Ankara fabrics of intricate and vibrant patterns with beadwork and classic European lines.  The result was an exquisite collection of cocktail dresses and suits completely covered with beads that shone brilliantly under the lights of the runway.  The feather-like patterns of green, blue and pink added welcome variety to the sun-inspired collection comprised mostly of bright yellow, white, black and brown.  While tribal prints are presently on trend, the authenticity and beautiful intricacy of the beaded African patterns make these pieces continually unique and stylish.

The fashion forward style of Zula Studio was one of the most memorable of the day.  Russian designer Zula Khramov, inspired by the movie Avatar, used woven fabrics, unconventional shapes and bondage elements.  Contrasting soft, shiny, sheer and reptile-inspired textiles made the collection even more eccentric.  From stilettos to skirts and neutrals to neons, snakeskin made a major comeback this fall.

Amelia Boland, a young designer from New Zealand, unveiled a feminine collection inspired by the clothing of children and dolls and the effect that their proportion has on the womanly shape.  The sheer fabric, high stockings and baby doll shapes gave the whimsical frills, oversized bows and velvet an edge.

Most of the designers at NOLCHA fashion week are just beginning their fashion careers.  “This is a stepping stone for me,” said Devon Thomas of presenting her second collection.  For Thomas, it’s a stepping stone for her dream of becoming a fashion icon.  For me, this experience was an eye-opening milestone toward many goals, some of which I just discovered in the fashion capital.

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Filed under Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, Fashion, Manolo Blahnik, New York City, New York Fashion Week, Sarah Jessica Parker