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Fashion Week 2009: Diane Von Furstenberg
02.16.09 | No Comments

Diane Von Furstenberg NYC Fashion Week I think I’ve told this story on Purse Blog before, but I’ll be brief: ever since Diane Von Furstenberg was mean to Toccara, the plus-sized model on one of the first seasons of America’s Next Top Model, she gives me a frownie-face. But since she’s actually fairly influential and makes some interesting things, we’re going to talk about her (somewhat crazy) collection anyway. You want pics? We’ve got them, after the jump.

Diane Von Furstenberg Fall 2009So, this is basically what she did. 40 separate looks of THIS. And it was something to watch, I’ll give her that. Her collection was called Nomad, and apparently to DVF, “nomad” means “wear all my clothes at once so I don’t need a suitcase when I travel.” It reminds me of that episode of Friends where Joey is pretending to be Chandler, and he comes running in wearing layer upon layer of random stuff, and exclaims, “Hey everybody, I’m Chandler! Could I BE wearing any more clothes?!?!” Ok, enough with the jokes. Some people will disagree, but I don’t find this particularly interesting. If you’re going to layer in an editorial way, give me different textures, different ideas - not just a bunch of sweaters. Sure, some of them have a pattern or two. So I guess that’s different. And stab me in the face, I hate the hats. And I had to look at them for the entire show.

Diane Von Furstenberg Fall 2009 But I’ll stop complaining and say some nice things, because parts of her collection were actually kind of cool. Somehow, she has managed to convince me that I need leopard-print tights. I’m not sure how she accomplished this, but she did, and now I’m wondering what the price point will be on these when they hit stores. DVF isn’t overly high in price, so they’ll probably be within reach. They might even start a trend.

Diane Von FurstenbergAnd this dress, for instance. It’s really cute, and it might have a subtle animal print to it, if my eyes aren’t playing tricks on me. The shape is nice, and I think most women don’t realize that brown can be quite a flattering color against a lot of skintones. It’d be great with a sweater and some chunky boots as next fall creeps in.

Diane Von Furstenberg Fall 2009 For some reason, in the world of DVF, nomads wear liquid silver jersey party dresses. That totally makes sense. As does that hat with that outfit.

Fashion Week 2009: Jason Wu
02.16.09 | No Comments

Jason Wu Fashion Week Fall 2009If only New York’s fashion elite would have known months ago that Michelle Obama had planned to wear Jason Wu to the inaugural balls - he probably would have gotten a better slot at Fashion Week. Nevertheless, we kick off Purse Blog’s coverage of the goings on in the tents at Bryant Park with his Fall 2009 Ready-to-Wear show. As it turns out, his show is a fitting aperitif to the more editorial shows to come; his clothes are accessible, beautiful, and would sell if sent to stores tomorrow. After the jump, take a look at his big ideas for what we should be wearing come fall.

Jason Wu Fall 2009I will have this dress, or one like it, even if I have to MacGyver one myself out of duct tape and doilies that I colored black with magic markers. And I will wear it around my house while sipping cocktails and listening to jazz and be FABULOUS. Wu showed several slick sheaths and even more dresses bound by thin belts - the perfect day-to-night combo.

Jason Wu Fall 2009 The full-on-bottom, tailored-on-top silhouette is one of my favorites of all time, and I couldn’t be happier to see that apparently Wu is welcoming it back. A printed full skirt in blacks and greys is accented with a jewel-tone, close-fitting top and an enormous necklace (another Fall 2009 favorite that has already appeared in several shows). I’m checking ShopBop for full skirts right now. I WILL be ahead of the curve on this trend.

Jason Wu Fall 2009Not only does this look mirror the previous silhouette that I so adore, but it’s super tailored in a very 1950s, Mad Men way that so many women would look so wonderful in, if they would just try it. Plus it’s yellow, which seems to be gaining momentum in the trend department. Yellow is hard to wear at times, but there’s a shade out there for almost everyone - don’t be afraid of yellow, girls! Mr. Wu implores you!

Jason Wu Fall 2009 And finally, we see the formal wear skills that made him the belle of the inauguration fashion ball. The ombre patterned effect of the beading on a beautiful blue silk gown is majestic and easily worthy of an awards show appearance. I’ll take two.

Fashion Week 2009: Reem Acra
02.16.09 | No Comments

Reem Acra Fall 2009 In the current economic climate, many designers that would have normally had lavish runways shows are opting instead for private viewing of their collections for buyers, journalists, and critics. One of those designers is Reem Acra, which may strike as odd anyone that’s familiar with her clothing. Acra is, by definition, lavish - lush materials, floor-length gowns, and lots of jewels. And as a stark contrast to the restraint that a private viewing would indicate, Acra’s clothes were just as posh as ever.

The model over there may be looking a bit like Morticia Addams in that dress, but I kind of love it. A lot. I want Angelina Jolie to wear it, although I think she wore something similar a few years ago when she was still nuts and making out with her brother (anyone else kinda miss that version of Angie?). As it is, I’d like to see it on someone super curvy - perhaps Christina Hendricks? If you don’t know her, Google, my friend. Google.

Reem Acra Fall 2009Hmm. I love this dress, hate the way it’s styled on this particular model. More or less all of Acra’s models were working the oversized necklaces that we’ve seen elsewhere (ahem, Jason Wu) this week, and I know that designers strive for continuity in styling during shows, but the necklace is seriously competing with what could be a stunning neckline. Lose the necklace here. Other than that, a great candidate for an award show dress for a major star - I see it on a Jennifer Garner type.

Reem Acra Fall 2009We’re not reinventing the wheel here, folks. Pretty dress, pretty material, pretty color, and pretty beading at the chest panel. I’d like to see Charlize Theron wear it, but she only wears Dior. So.

Reem Acra Fall 2009Ladies and gentleman, we have a winner. I don’t know how they dyed the fabric to make it so…awesome…but it is. It’s dyed in awesomeness. And then it’s fun and layered and a little more challenging, visually speaking, than your average ballgown. And I don’t want anyone to wear it to an award show, because I want it all for myself, and obviously I can make that happen. What? I can’t? Oh.

Enjoy a Meal Designed by Peter Som
02.16.09 | No Comments

Peter_som

Fois Gras? Caviar? Exotic truffles? Just what does an A list fashion designer enjoy for a culinary splurge?  If you're Peter Som...mac 'n cheese! "Delicious, satisfying, hearty, classic, humble," the designer recently explained to The Daily, about his version of the dish, which he makes with three different cheeses and chantarelle mushrooms. He's also been known to bake pies for his lucky staff, and even bring in the odd vanilla-frosted chocolate cake.  An avid fan of the Barefoot Contessa, Lydia Bastianich, and Ruth Reichl's Gourmet magazine, he recently read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" which has added some locavore flair to his adventures in the kitchen (which have included smoking out the entire house attempting flank steak.) "Cooking is kind of like making a dress, in a way," he muses. "You think about the balances - if you have something shiny, like a fabric, you pair something matte with it. Then you contrast textures and colors. It's the same thing with food - you want it salty, sweet, hard and soft. You want a little crunch. I wouldn't liken a crostini to a dress, but I think about them in a similar way."

Here are some of Som's tips & recipes:

Cooking with Peter:

ADD SALT "Salt. It just heightens flavors. I use it in desserts. I also like chili-pepper flakes."

SIGNATURE SOUP For his minestrone, he makes his own chicken stock. "I try a different variation every time. Try throwing in a little pancetta. It's a great one-pot meal, especially with bread and apple pie."

CHIC COOKWARE "I use All-Clad Copper Core stainless cookware, which I really like a lot. The handle doesn't get hot. I don't really use nonstick that much. I adore my Global knives. They have nice torque."

Crostini

APPETIZER: Crostini with Pear, Maytag, Honey and Walnuts (Serves 4-6)

  • half a baguette cut into 1/2" slices & toasted lightly
  • chunks of blue cheese (try Maytag or or Roquefort)
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, toasted in a dry skillet on low heat for 1 minute
  • honey to taste
  • 1 pear (try Bosc) sliced thinly with a mandolin & tossed in lemon juice (prevents browning)

Make it: Top the bread with pear and then some cheese. Add a walnut and drizzle with honey.

Panzanella

MAIN COURSE: Winter Panzanella (serves 6)

Salad ingredients:

    • 1 bag carrots cut into lengths of 2" each
    • 1 red onion - slice into wedges
    • 1 zucchini - cut into cubes
    • 1 yellow squash - cut into cubes
    • 2 shallots - quartered
    • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
    • olive oil, salt & pepper
    • 1 small sourdough boule - cubed
    • 1 cup Parmesan - grated
    • 1 cup pine nuts - toasted

Vinaigrette ingredients:

    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1 lemon - juiced
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • champagne vinegar - 3 Tbsp.
    • grain Dijon mustard - 1 Tbsp.
    • kosher salt - 1/4 tsp.
    • pepper - 1/8 tsp.
    • chili-pepper flakes - 1 tsp.

Make it: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a sheet pan with olive oil, salt & pepper - toss the carrots, onion, shallot, zucchini, and squash. When the veggies are on a single layer, bake them for 20 minutes or until they are browned and tender.  While they are baking, saute the bread cubes in a large skillet; use 1 Tspb. of olive oil and medium heat, and saute until they are lightly browned.  Remove the bread cubes from the pan and replace with pine nuts; toast for about a minute until they are lightly browned.

Vinagrette how-to: combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl.  While whisking the mixture, slowly pour in the olive oil until everything is emulsified. 

Final touches: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, toss with the vinagrette, Parmesan, and flat-leaf parsley...and enjoy!

Chocolate_dipped_ice_cream_sandwich

DESSERT: Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches (serves 4)

    • 8 white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (try Tate's)
    • softened dulce de leche gelato (try Ciao Bella) - 4 large scoops
    • chocolate ganache: 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, 2 Tbsp. heavy cream, and 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper combined in a double-broiler over low heat until smooth & glossy

Make it: Scoop gelato onto a cookie, sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel, place another cookie on top, and press down to form a sandwich (be careful not to break the cookies). Dip into the chocolate ganache, and immediately place on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Freeze at least 1-2 hours, or overnight.  For a tangy twist, add 1 tsp. chili-pepper flakes to the ganache, and omit the fleur de sel.

- Lesley Scott

(photos: Peter Som - oregonlive.com; crostini - wikipedia.org; panzanella - cream puffs in Venice; chocolate-dipped ice cream sandwiches - ehow.com)

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Nancy Gonzalez spreads the love…
02.15.09 | No Comments

Nancy Gonzalez Purple Clutch And you thought we were done? Not so! We are continuing with our last few fabulous designers to have them spread the Valentine’s Day love. One of our favorite designers of exotic skins, Nancy Gonzalez, shared her Valentine’s Day thoughts with us recently.

Is Valentine’s Day celebrated in Colombia, if so how is it similar/different from the US? Valentine’s Day in Colombia is on September 16 and it is actually called the day of Love and Friendship (Dia de Amor y Amistad).

What would be the most romantic Valentine’s Day, from start to finish, for you? Most romantic would definitely be in Marrakesh at the Amanjena Hotel, spending the day getting lost through the streets of the souk and ending with dinner at Le Yacout restaurant.

What is the best Valentine’s Day gift you have received? Best Valentine’s gift I ever received is definitely a Buccellati diamond cuff.

Are you a romantic? I am a romantic…

Your favorite romantic meal? Favorite romantic meal depends with who?

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year: I like to be surprised for Valentines day plans.

The best Nancy Gonzalez bag for a Valentine’s Day gift, why?: Best Nancy Gonzalez bag for a Valentine’s day gift is a small, soft, pouch clutch in colorful crocodile skin. It’s like candy but much better :-)


Buy Nancy Gonzalez at Saks!

Lambertson Truex spread the love…
02.14.09 | No Comments

Lambertson Truex Nikki Clutch in Coral Snakeskin, $1895

In - what I believe to be - the final episode of this year’s Spreading The Love segment, the two gentlemen from Lambertson Truex, namely Richard and John, took a minute to share their thoughts on this year’s V-Day. Enjoy!

Your best Valentine’s Day memory: In grade school, the entire class would exchange cards…I think it is so sweet.

Your worst Valentine’s Day memory: Receiving a box a chocolate that was the shape of a heart. If I see a heart shaped box coming my way….I run!

Do you buy Valentine’s Day cards or hand-make them? As a kid, I always made. To this day, I hand-make. It is so much more personal.

What is the craziest thing you have seen happen on Valentine’s Day: An entire restaurant of people just staring into each other’s eyes….it was a little surreal.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year: This year, we are going to Palm Beach for a little sun and relaxation!

The best Lambertson Truex bag for a Valentine’s Day gift, why?: Any gift is special….as long as it is not chocolate!

The pictured Lambertson Truex Nikki Clutch in Coral Snakeskin ($1895) is available through Lambertson Truex boutiques - call 1.888.800.0970 for store info.

Devi Kroell spreads the love…
02.14.09 | No Comments

Devi Kroell Small Envelope in Raspberry Known for her use of exotic skins, Devi Kroell’s handbag line is just as stylish as the designer behind it. We had the pleasure of getting to learn more about Devi Kroell and her handbag line and since then I have a long list of Devi Kroell wants on my wishlist.

Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions? Usually I celebrate with my husband. He always has a beautiful giant bouquet of flowers for me to wake up to, followed by breakfast in bed, and finished with a lovely late lunch date with a glass of champagne to celebrate!

If you could celebrate Valentine’s Day in any city, where would it be and why? Paris - of course! - It is the city of love and has the perfect romantic back drop.

The perfect bottle of wine for Valentine’s Day… A wonderful Brunello di Montalcino.

The most romantic restaurant for Valentine’s Day is… La Grenouille on the Upper East Side for its fantastic french food, delicious fine wine, and enchanting atmosphere. They also add the most beautiful flowers to complement valentines day colors of pinks and reds and deep purples.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year: For the first part of the day, I will be working on adding the final touches to my collection for our FW09 ready to wear presentation that takes place on the 18th of February, followed by a charming date at La Grenouille with my husband.

The best Devi Kroell bag for a Valentine’s Day gift, why?: Option 1: Small Envelope in Raspberry not only is the pink toned color perfect for valentines day, and it is also the perfect sized bag to carry on such a romantic evening with your admirer.

Shop Devi Kroell online

CC Skye spreads the love…
02.14.09 | No Comments

CC Skye and boyfriend David This morning while I was running errands I couldn’t help but notice it was very much, in fact, Valentine’s Day. I saw flowers, reds, pinks, chocolate, and most importantly, I saw love. Whether it was a young couple or an old couple, some friends or an entire family, everyone seemed to appreciate each other a tad more. Speaking of appreciation, CC Skye took some time to show how much she appreciates all things related to love. Just like when I had a chance to meet CC out in LA, her answers reflect her fun, fresh and amazing outlook on life and her brand. (PS - How cute are those pictures of CC and her boyfriend? Welcome to Purse Blog, David!)

Since you’ve told us before how much you love the beach, have you ever spent a Valentine’s Day on the beach, if so, tell us about it. Yes, good idea! Beach Valentine’s Day! Why haven’t I done that yet? Picnics are the best on the beach- great idea… I’ll forward my boyfriend this article! ;) Even if you’re in cold weather, a surprise picnic on the floor of your house or apartment is super fun too!

What was your favorite Valentine’s Day gift ever? The best vals day gift I have ever received was the very 1st vals day I spent with my current boyfriend of 4 years.. We decided to stay in and he had cooked me lobster with champagne and caviar- my 3 faves.. Then he presented me with a small red basket containing all these little scrolls which he had tied himself with little red ribbons.. In opening one of the scrolls, I discovered that each one contained a memory about the past 6 mos of our relationship.. I was told to open one per day until they all were opened– it took a few months to get thru them all! They were all funny, yet romantic and so thoughtful to say the least.. I think all guys should do that one at least once.

CC SkyeIf you didn’t have a significant other, would you spend Valentine’s Day with your friends or alone?If I were single this vals day, I’d probably go to yoga and then dinner with my BFF. We have always find ourselves in the most romantic places together, so this would be no different! :)

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year? This year it’s all up to my boyfriend to plan..! I am always the planner in the relationship from my own birthday to every vacation, but this time I’m leaving it up to him..! I told him to be romantic and creative and to surprise me! Everything’s always better when its a surprise!

What is the best CC Skye gift for Valentine’s Day? Why? I think the best CC SKYE valentines day gift this year is our nameplate script LOVE knuckle ring.. Its actually really easy to wear and makes everyone smile.. It may not be a big rock, Girls, but it has the same message, and its more creative!

Click here to fall in love with CC Skye handbags and accessories!

Hayden Harnett spreads the love…
02.14.09 | No Comments

Hayden Harnett Violet Clutch

Happy Valentine’s Day! No matter what your plans are, make sure you spend time with the ones you love. Today we have a few more designers who have taken time to answer Valentine’s Day questions for us. Part owner and Creative Director, Toni Hacker of Hayden Harnett has brilliant answers. This really comes as no surprise, Hayden Harnett is after all brilliant brand!

What is your most memorable Valentine’s Day? The year that Ben whisked me away to Iceland…seriously life changing trip. He knows that I love volcanoes, thermal vents, tiny ponies, and exposed continental plates more than anything.

If you could be anywhere for Valentine’s Day where would it be? Back in the Hotel Borg in Iceland with Ben or at Machu Picchu.

Is dessert a must after a Valentine’s dinner? Not if amour is calling.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year? Ben and I are going to “Elixir of Love”, an opera presented by the Opera Company of Brooklyn. The opera is staged inside a private residence in Gramercy Park…should be unusual and romantic.

What is the best Hayden Harnett gift for Valentine’s Day? Why? For a guy: our Maldives weekender with a sexy note that a romantic adventure is in store. For the ladies: our Ramone studded cuff in ruby is very romantic in a cool girl way…even comes in a gift box

Treesje spreads the love…
02.13.09 | No Comments

Treesje AsherWe are winding down our Valentine’s Day interviews. We hope that you’ve all enjoyed what we’ve had to bring as much as we’ve enjoyed providing the content for you! Today, we have some great answers from some great designers over at Treesje. Sheila Dardashti and Laura Darrah provided some Valentine’s Day insight for you to enjoy below.

What is your most memorable Valentine’s Day? The most memorable Valentines day we both can remember is our pre-children days. We took our husbands Chris and Page on an ultra lavish trip to Bali. Where we had candle lit dinners on the shore, Couple massage after a few bottles of wine (which we highly recommend), long days at Kuta beach and we top it off with a romantic stay in the Ubud rainforest.

Valentine’s Day, over-rated, over-hyped, or exactly as it should be and why? We both feel that Valentine’s Day is exactly as it should be as girls NEED to be spoiled by their honey’s!!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year? Laura and I have dates with the new “loves” of our lives…sheila’s little Joelle ( 3 month) and laura’s little Hawkens (3 months)!!! Our husbands both have special days planned to spoil us!! As it is much needed…..we will keep you posted with the details!!!

What is the best Treesje gift for Valentine’s Day? Why? The best gift for Valentine’s day is the Asher in Fushia and the Hendrix in black shine…. These are laura and I favorite bags of the season. We love the texture of this ultra luxe shined lamb skin. Another bonus of these bags are that they are a perfect combination of casual and edgy bag that can be worn from day to night.

Click here to check out the fabulous Treesje designs!