Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Gem From Barbara: Double Vintage

In the late '70's I made a dress and a matching bag for myself using a Simplicity pattern and my mother's (Alison's grandmother's) old, vintage lace.  The dress is now vintage, too.  Alison was up here for Memorial Day weekend and asked to borrow the dress for an upcoming event at the zoo.  I loaned it to her, and hopefully she won't be holding any parrots while wearing it.

Dress and bag with vintage lace

Front of fold over clutch bag

Back of bag

Close up of vintage lace detail at the hem of the dress

Alison loves this dress and asked me to make her one in black, but I can't find the pattern from thirty-five years ago.  In the meantime, she's going to wear this one and pair it with some colorful accessories.

Friday, May 30, 2014

May Favorites

Thought I'd share some of my favorite accessories that I spotted in May.  Three are flower necklaces, so I'm going to say that's a trend for Spring/Summer 2014.

This gorgeous flower necklace was made by jewelry designer Wendy Neuss using vintage lucite flowers and leaves, semi-precious gemstones and rosary chain.  It is a prototype and Wendy is planning to do a limited line of one of a kind pieces that mix vintage lucite and semi-precious stones. I originally did a blog post on Wendy's jewelry in Dec (;postID=168526997716006443;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=30;src=postname) that featured many pieces in her current collection.  For information about the jewelry Wendy can be reached at

Wendy Neuss one of a kind vintage flower necklace
(photo courtesy of Wendy Neuss)

Close up of some of the vintage lucite flowers
(photo courtesy of Wendy Neuss)

Oscar de la Renta made some flower jewelry this Spring including this beautiful necklace made of resin and enamel.

Oscar de la Renta necklace

Close up on the flowers

I was hosting a table at a charity luncheon and a friend of mine walked in wearing an amazing outfit in shades of yellow that she had put together.  It was a perfect backdrop for this statement necklace. I don't think the photo does it justice, but trust me it was really pretty when she had it on.  It's from Anthropologie and if you Google "Anthropologie flower necklace" you can find a better image.

Anthropologie flower necklace
(photo courtesy of Kathleen Giordano)

I saw this necklace in TJ Maxx and thought it had an Indian look.  I love all the colors.  Obviously this is for a special occasion and makes a big impact.  It's by a company called Natasha.

Natasha necklace

My friend, Joyce Brooks, the Editor-in-Chief of Black Tie International Magazine, gave me this fabulous headpiece, because she knows how much I love hats and fascinators. It's a cross between a fascinator and a headband and I just love it.  The patriotic colors are fun and I think it's great for summer.

Me wearing the fascinator headband

And, finally, I "rediscovered" this bag in my closet and pulled it out to carry to a charity luncheon. It's by a company called Asia Bellucci, made in Italy, and I got it at TJ Maxx.  I know absolutely nothing about the company, but I love the shape and the leopard print, which I'm also a fan of in bags.  The reverse side is black patent leather.

Asia Bellucci leopard print bag

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Summer Saver Clutch

Hopefully everyone is enjoying this beautiful Memorial Day weekend:  getting some rest and relaxation, meeting up with friends for picnics and cocktails and taking advantage of all those Memorial Day sales! I know summer wardrobes are on everyone's mind and I found some fabulous summer clutch bags from Target of all places!  They are made by Merona.  I first saw them featured in a recent issue of In Style magazine and then went to the Target web site to check them out.  For $14.99 they seemed like a fun summer accessory that would survive getting wet at the pool or beach, and they are certainly inexpensive enough to buy two or three (which I did using my friend's Target card for free shipping). When mine arrived I loved them so much I ordered a third one in black and white and my friend loved them so much she ordered one for herself.   We await their arrival!  They are big enough to fit a phone, keys and some cash, and they come in about five or six different patterns.  They are made of a kind of pleather and have a soft skin.   If you go to the web site make sure you order the hinge wallet and not the hard case wallet, they look the same in the photos, but the hinge is the clutch size.  Some of them have already sold out, but others are on clearance for only $10.48!  Totally worth it for daytime casual wear and you can save your Louis Vuitton and Prada for water free zones.

Merona clutch in fun summer colors of turquoise, white, orange and tan.

Merona clutch in baby blue with navy polka dots.

The polka dot clutch is now on sale.  Here is the link: 

The inside looks like a wallet, but can fit a phone--trust me I tested it!

Inside the clutch

If you're a luxury brand girl like me and are afraid these are too "low end", let me just say that Michelle Obama wears Merona dresses from Target.   I think the most stylish women are the ones who can combine high and low and make it their own.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Hat Luncheon Countdown Part 5: The Big Reveal & the Luncheon

After many weeks of creating my hat, by Tracy Young of Millinery Treasures, and me planning the rest of my outfit, the big day finally arrived this past Wednesday and it was off to the Women's Committee of the Central Park Conservancy's Frederick Law Olmstead Awards Luncheon, aka the Hat Luncheon, with Tracy and my friend Gail.

Tracy Young, Me, Gail Karr

It was an absolutely beautiful day in New York, just perfect weather for the luncheon and for my outfit of a light long jacket over a cotton dress.  I think my style is generally classic and I like to liven things up with fun accessories, but for this luncheon I wanted something a little bolder.  I had asked Tracy to make me a red hat and when I saw a zebra print coat at Talbots everything clicked.  I already had a black dress with a white hem, also from Talbots, and the jacket hit it just at the right spot.

The entire ensemble
(photo courtesy of Jeffrey Hirsch of the New York Social Diary)

But, of course, the piece de resistance was the hat.  I know I'm biased, but I truly think my hat was the most fabulous hat at the luncheon!  Tracy did an amazing job on it and I was so lucky to be wearing it.

Happy in my hat during the pre-lunch reception

A close up of the masterpiece!  Stunning detail!

Tracy made her own hat, too, of course.  It was a hat luncheon themed hat, complete with table and chairs!

Tracy's awesome hat

Tracy and me having fun in the luncheon tent

Enjoying the luncheon

Gail was sporting a new suit and matched it with a delicate, ladylike hat.

Gail's hat decorated with dainty bows

Another woman at our table had a beautiful blue hat decorated with butterflies.

Trish and her butterfly hat

I wanted to take photos of a lot of the fabulous hats, especially ones that my other friends were wearing, but with twelve hundred (1200) women in attendance it was a bit overwhelming just to say hello to everyone we knew.  So, once we got to our table I made a short video to show some of the hats in our vicinity.  As you can hear from the noise level it was very high energy under the tent.

One of my favorite photos of the day (of me) was taken by David Patrick Columbia of the New York Social Diary and appeared in his column on the NYSD.

Me at the table
(photo courtesy of David Patrick Columbia for the New York Social Diary)

Gail and I were featured in a photo in Jeffrey Hirsch's column on the NYSD.

Gail and me 
(photo courtesy of Jeffrey Hirsch for the New York Social Diary)

The luncheon was a splendid affair, as always.  This year former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was honored with an award and there were many notable New Yorkers in attendance.   It's sad to think the luncheon only comes once a year, because everyone looks so elegant in their gorgeous outfits and pretty hats.  But, we did get some nice parting gifts to remind us of the fun: a bright orange umbrella from Wathne and an eye shadow set from Bobbi Brown.

Wathne umbrella & Bobbi Brown eye shadow

Hats off to the Central Park Conservancy for another wonderful annual hat luncheon!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Accessory Generation In The News About Signature Bags

Colleen Barry of the Associated Press wrote an article about iconic bags and included me and Accessory Generation!  It just hit the newswire this morning and has already been picked up in many papers in the US and Europe.  Check out this link to ABC News:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Lunch With Carolina Herrera

I'm so glad I joined the Fashion Institute of Technology's Couture Council!  They have wonderful fashion events and special opportunities, including a small private luncheon earlier this week at the Carolina Herrera boutique on Madison Avenue.  About forty of us had the pleasure of meeting Carolina and seeing a private fashion show of her Fall 2014 collection while we ate a lovely lunch.  It was especially exciting because Carolina is one of my favorite designers and my mother's as well.

Carolina Herrera speaking with one of the luncheon guests

Among the guests were some other fashion and beauty experts, designers and executives including:  Fe Fendi, Yaz Hernandez, Yliana Yepez, Julie Macklowe (Vbeaute), Dr. Joyce Brown (FIT president) & Dr. Valerie Steele (director & chief curator of the museum at FIT).  

The clothes in the fashion show, and in the store, were all beautiful, but of course I had my eye on the accessories, including some amazing earrings that are hopefully going to be sold as part of the Fall 2014 collection.  I would love to get a pair!

Amazing earrings on the runway
(photo courtesy of Julie Pietrzak's Pinterest account)

More of the earrings featured in our private fashion show and in the 
Fall 2014 runway collection
(photo courtesy of via Marianna H's Pinterest account)

Carolina Herrera scarf with a fun vintage vibe


Beautiful satin shoe in shades of green, designed by 
Carolina Herrera and made by Manolo Blahnik

There were some sweet treats at lunch, including cookies decorated with the current Carolina Herrera clothing prints!

Cookie with Carolina's bird print 

Whenever I have entered the Carolina Herrera boutique, including this week for the luncheon, there is always a very specific fragrant aroma.  We each got a goody bag with a candle as we were leaving and when I got home and smelled it I realized it was the same scent!  Now I can close my eyes at home and feel like I'm in the Carolina Herrera boutique enjoying all the fabulous fashions.

Candle gift from the luncheon