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September 13, 2013
By Shivani Vora | Fashion

A Bentley Collection of Handbags
Courtesy of Bentley

British luxury car brand Bentley is giving handbags its famous handcrafted touch with a limited-edition, 160-piece collection debuting next month. Taking cues from the renowned vehicles—smooth-grained calfskin, lambskin, polished hardware with the same textured finish as the controls of a Bentley—the accessories are a natural extension of the storied automaker.

Daniele Ceccomori, the company’s head of product design, collaborated with designer Vincent du Sartel, who in his 20-plus-year career has created leather goods with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Cartier. “The craftsmanship of the interior of the Bentley has much in common with the great couture houses and ateliers, and the handbags incorporate our expertise in leather and stitching as well as design,” Ceccomori explains.

Choose from two styles: The classic Barnato ($7,000), named after the late Diana Barnato-Walker, company muse, high-spirited socialite and daughter of Bentley chairman Woolf Barnato; and the sporty Continental ($5,500), which eponymously honors the fastest line of Bentley autos. Crafted at a manufacturer in Tuscany, the bags come in a handful of colors (black, reds, blues) and mirror the cars in interesting ways. Their silhouettes are drawn from the horseshoe shape on the trunks and the split side panels mimic the wing-shaped buttresses of dashboards. The Continental even has the same cross-stitching as its namesake’s steering wheel. Arrange a viewing appointment at bentleyhandbagcollection.com.

May 15, 2013
By Departures Dispatch | Fashion

New York Fashion Week
Photo courtesy of American Express

On February 12, Departures fashion director Amanda Ross (pictured above, right) joined Bergdorf Goodman fashion director Linda Fargo (above, left) at the Todd English–designed American Express Skybox, poised between the two tents of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week with a window overlooking each runway. They discussed the role of the modern fashion director. “Fashion casts a wider and wider net these days, especially with the growth of the Internet,” Fargo said. “Each of us attending the shows brings to it our own specific prism through which we are looking.” Ross agreed: “We interpret the designers and try to tease out what’s relevant now.” And oh yes, they both said at once, the accessory of the season is a pair of white suede Manolo Blahniks ($595; available at Manolo Blahnik New York, 212-582-3007).

May 10, 2013
By Ingrid Skjong | Fashion

Ferragamo L'Icona shoes
Photo courtesy of Ferragamo, L’Icona

When Ferragamo debuted its Vara shoe in 1978, the chic, mid-heel style with a grosgrain bow at the toe became an instant classic. Thirty-five years later, the label is celebrating Vara’s success with L’Icona, a digital portrait series of 20 stylish women photographed in their element and wearing the shoe. Curated and shot by photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank, the portfolio features the likes of Lauren Santo Domingo, Elettra Wiedemann, Olivia Palermo and Camilla Belle.

Furthering the anniversary fun, for the first time both Vara ($550) and Varina ($550), its ballet-flat sibling, are customizable, allowing wearers to play with color combinations and hardware. It is the perfect way to get reacquainted with the iconic footwear—and to get just the right amount of lift for the season. Icona.Ferragamo.com.

April 26, 2013
By Jamie Wiebe | Fashion, Miami Art Basel, Style

A Pop Art–Inspired Valentino Collection
Photo courtesy of Valentino

Valentino’s iconic dots get a little sweeter in the brand’s newest capsule collection, Pop Pois, which features candy-colored, polka-dotted espadrilles, clothing and accessories in tangy shades of blueberry, cherry and lime. Launched last December during Art Basel Miami Beach, and scheduled for a European release in Valentino boutiques this month, and a release in Asia in May, the Pop Art–inspired collection plays up Miami’s sunny, retro-modern vibe with a wink to the brand’s history. The modular centerpiece is a polka-dotted scarf emblazoned with the Valentino logo, which has been resized and transformed into flowing silk maxi tops, pajama pants and day dresses that can be mixed and matched for a seamless transition from beach to nightclub to bedroom. The glamorous showstopper? A flirty, gold-chained VaVa Voom studded clutch, updated with a matching polka-dot cover. Caftan dress, $1,290; valentino.com.

April 26, 2013
By Erin Schumaker | Fashion, Events

A Night of Color
Photo courtesy of Textile Arts Center

New York’s Textile Arts Center, which has supported the city’s fiber artists and designers since 2009, is throwing a benefit called a “Night of Color” on April 26 at the center’s Greenwich Village location. The event is designed to bolster awareness about the use of natural dyes while also raising raise money for “Sewing Seeds,” an educational initiative run by volunteers that holds free classes, workshops and readings and sponsors an artist in residence and a natural-dye community garden.

“Natural dye is important in the same way that eating organic or locally-produced food is important,” says studio manager Isa Rodrigues. “Synthetic dye is pretty toxic to the environment, to the user, and to the artist.” In keeping with this ethos, tonight’s event will feature displays curated by Frank Traynor, naturally dyed cocktails, and an interactive performance by Study NY x Cat Lauigan of Cave Collective, in which a limited-edition line of garments and accessories will be naturally dyed in real time and available for purchase. All proceeds will benefit the project’s summer programming, which is always free and open to the public. Tickets, $20; 26 West 8 St.; 646-225-6554; textileartscenter.com.

April 04, 2013
By Ingrid Skjong | Fashion

Valentino
Photo courtesy of Valentino

It is safe to say that the pieces in Valentino’s new Camouflage capsule collection will do anything but blend into their surroundings. The Valentino Garavani Lock bag ($1,995) pictured here, as well as totes, sneakers and sweet espadrilles, all go under cover, thanks to the label’s creative approach to the trend. To get the 3-D textural effect that the pieces display, materials were heat bonded and overprinted with various elements, resulting in a look that morphs in the light. For those wanting an even more glamorous edge, a small stash of studded shoes (two flats, two heels) and bags (two sizes of the VaVa Voom handbag) come bedecked with Swarovski crystals in an abstract camouflage pattern. Try hiding that. Available at Valentino boutiques worldwide and select retailers; valentino.com.

March 26, 2013
By Erin Schumaker | Fashion

Longchamp’s 20th Anniversary Handbag
Courtesy of Longchamp

Longchamp’s iconic Roseau bag turns 20 this year, and to celebrate the occasion, Sophie Delafontaine, the label’s creative director and granddaughter of its founder, set out to update the classic. “Our brand’s key words are leather, family, fun, quality and creativity,” she says. “I wanted to design an upgraded version of this emblematic bag, which would be at the same time modern, contemporary and more luxurious.”

The resulting Roseau Héritage bag (from $1,170) is crafted in calfskin leather and includes upgraded versions of the original Roseau’s detailing, such as a heftier bamboo toggle and a larger embossed-leather racehorse trademark insignia. The family-owned brand prides itself on leather craftsmanship, and the Roseau Héritage exemplifies just that—each handcrafted bag requires about 300 operations, from cutting to stitching to mounting gussets on the underside. The bag, which comes in two styles and four shades (brown, terracotta, taupe, sandy), is available at Longchamp stores worldwide. 713 Madison Ave.; 212-223-1500; longchamp.com.

March 14, 2013
By Amy Tara Koch | Fashion

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Photo courtesy of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Any vintage vixen worth her bugle beads knows that scoring top-tier pieces is anything but easy. We’re talking about the sartorial standouts that radiate the panache (but not the eau de camphor) of a bygone era. Many fly to London or scour the arrondissements of Paris. But this month the vintage action is stateside. On March 19, Chicago-based Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will offer property from the Ebony Fashion Fair Collection—almost 800 lots of jaw-dropping gowns, daywear ensembles, furs and cocktail frocks curated by Eunice Johnson, fashion empress, Johnson Publishing Company co-founder and super-chic philanthropist.

Johnson expanded the Johnson Publishing umbrella in 1958 with the Ebony Fashion Fair, a touring exhibition designed to bring the high-fashion experience to small American towns like Selma, Alabama. The collection (view it here)—amassed over 50 years—is stunningly diverse, showcasing pieces by runway heavy hitters (like the jacquard dress by Christian Dior pictured here), European micro-houses and influential African American designers.

What do all the items have in common? Drama. Johnson was a fan of wow factor and it shows in sleek gowns (Lanvin, Zang Toi, Ralph Rucci, Givenchy), avant-garde silhouettes (Stephen Burrows, Issey Miyake, Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood) and lots of Lurex, sequins, leather and painted silk (Halston, Mugler, Zandra Rhodes). March 19, 10 a.m.; 312-280-1212; lesliehindman.com/auctions.

March 06, 2013
By Erin Schumaker | Art, Fashion

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Photo courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

On Monday night, Sotheby’s and Dolce & Gabbana co-hosted a night devoted to contemporary art of every stripe on the tenth floor of the famed auction house. The exhibition “Passion + Transmission: International Contemporary Art from the CAP Collection”—open to the public through March 6 at noon, with pieces auctioned off on March 7—showcased big-name artists like Christopher Wool, Francis Alÿs, Tracey Emin, Sue Williams and Enoc Perez. But it also drew bold-faced New York names like Harry Brant, Julie Macklowe, Kelly Rutherford, Stella Schnabel, Will Cotton and Lauren Remington Platt (pictured here).

The evening, which honored the New York Academy of Art, dedicated a portion of its sales proceeds to the CAP Foundation, an organization that promotes education, the arts, medical research and environmental studies. Fueled by DJ duo AndrewAndrew and free-flowing Champagne, the atmosphere was lively as guests got up close and personal with neon signs, graffiti art and a lacquered bronze balloon. Auction, March 7 (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.); catalogue available at sothebys.com.

March 04, 2013
By Jamie Wiebe | Fashion

Lucky Brand bag
Photo courtesy of Lucky Brand

Southern California style meets international luxury in Lucky Brand’s new collaboration with globetrotting textile designers Carolina Irving and Lisa Fine, who started their clothing label, Irving & Fine, after a fabric-sourcing trip to India. Irving & Fine for Lucky Brand’s 11-piece Spring 2013 collection blends Lucky Brand’s vintage Americana look with the exquisite textiles and intricate embroidery that Irving & Fine is known for. Vibrant Moroccan-inspired jackets ($199), detailed peasant tops ($169) and bohemian totes with woven leather straps ($129, pictured here) mix and match easily with Lucky Brand’s handmade, SoCal-inspired denim, jackets and sweaters for a healthy dose of East-meets-West couture. luckybrand.com.

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