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March 31, 2011
By Shannon Adducci | Fashion

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Every season shoe designs become more and more outrageous: more studs, more exotic skins, more death-defying height (who could forget Alexander McQueen’s ten-inch Armadillo heels a few years back?). Which is why the new spring collection of Aperlaï, designed by founder Alessandra Lanvin (granddaughter-in-law of Jeanne Lanvin) with Central Saint-Martin grad Geraldina Bassani Antivari, is a welcome change. The 40 pairs in the collection, which feature ladylike details and sumptuous shapes, are sexy but feminine. To be clear, the styles still have their share of super-thin metal stilettos and rich python and croc—plus the new exotic favorite, stingray—but they’ve been mixed with softer, colorful details like raffia ruffles, thick satin ankle wraps and even seersucker. Take the Clara heel, trimmed in black raffia, or the hot pink–strapped Chiara, with subtle nude snakeskin details. Each heel is at least four inches, but Aperlaï also offers suede and python moccasins for true comfort. The shoes are available at Bergdorf Goodman—albeit in limited quantities—and a Paris boutique is in the works. Shoes, from $570. For more information, contact Aperlaï at aperlai@aperlaiparis.com

March 29, 2011
By Sarah Smith | Fashion

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The chic shops of Paris have added a few new members to their ranks in early 2011. A month ago on the Rue St.-Honoré, Michael Kors opened his first store here, which, at 7,000 square feet, is his largest retail space to date. The focus is on accessories, with a lineup of handbags, shoes, eyewear, watches and fragrances featured prominently on the first floor. Up the dramatic staircase and under the expansive glass ceiling are the women's ready-to-wear collections. A few blocks away, the Herrera mother-daughter team debuted their 3,330-square-foot CH Carolina Herrera boutique earlier this month. Lit by six enormous windows, the interior is a combination of dark woods, silk, raw linens and aged-brass fixtures. The space is divided into four distinct atmospheres: women's, men's, handbags and footwear, and special home and travel items. Not to be missed and exclusive to this store is the Paris shopping tote ($940) featuring a colorful map of the boutique's elegant neighborhood. A special side note: For an après-shopping lunch with the international fashion set—Christian Louboutin, Bruno Frisoni and Lanvin's Alber Elbaz have all been in—take a 20-minute walk through the Tuileries and across the Seine to Ralph's, the American restaurant Ralph Lauren has opened adjacent to his St.-Germain flagship. The fare includes Maine lobster and strip steaks from Lauren's Colorado ranch. Michael Kors, 279 Rue St. Honoré; 33-1/70-36-44-40. CH Carolina Herrera, 10 Rue Castiglione; 33-1/58-62-41-03. Ralph's, 173 Boulevard St.-Germain; 33-1/44-77-76-00.

Photo Clockwise from top left: Courtesy of Michael Kors, Courtesy of CH Carolina Herrera, Courtesy of Michael Kors, Courtesy of CH Carolina Herrera, Courtesy of Michael Kors

March 23, 2011
By Dispatch Departures | Fashion, Aspen

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Some fashion shows are serious, haughty affairs, but not at Aspen Fashion Week, where models danced and walked happy Saint Bernards down the runway. The event, now in its third year, had something for every type of skier, from the black-diamond expert to the cocoa sipper at the bottom of the mountain. aspenfashionweek.com.

For the haute-couture skier: First on the Snow Stage was Rossignol by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who came to Aspen straight from his Paris presentation. True to JCC form, the women's clothes were wild and bright: zebra stripes paired with primary colors, paint-splattered parkas and pants, bolero down vests and a panther profile motif, which the designer said was a lighthearted take on traditional coats of arms. For men, the highlight was a series of authentic red-tartan numbers in waterproof fabrics. rossignol.com.

Technically stylish: Serious skiers can't go wrong with Kjus. The company uses material worn by NASA astronauts to regulate body temperature and includes thoughtful utilitarian details like air padding in the shoulders, where skis rest when being carried. But great technology doesn't come at the expense of design. In fact, Kjus collaborated with Loro Piana for two gray wool and cashmere jackets, both weatherproof, that could just as easily be worn in the city as on the slopes. kjus.com.

Urban on the mountain: There was a rock-and-roll-meets-preppy vibe at the Obermeyer presentation, where leopard prints and silver snowboarding pants appeared alongside striped V-neck sweaters and rainbow-plaid trousers. If Kanye West hit the slopes, he would be wearing Obermeyer. obermeyer.com.

The rookie hits: Local label Authier (founded by the owners of the Performance Ski shop in town) had an edgy look, sending plaid bandanas and what looked like leather snow pants down the runway. One of the strongest and best-styled shows of the week came from NUMBER:Lab, a superchic men's après-ski collection of fitted gray blazers with neon yellow accents. We'll have an eye out for them next year. authier.com; number-lab.com.

Sidenote: If you're headed to Aspen and on the hunt for new skis, try a set of handmade Heidiskis—chances are they will lead to a much-treasured purchase. heidiskis.com.

Photo Riccardo Savi

March 09, 2011
By Dispatch Departures | Fashion

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The star of Chanel's spring-summer accessories collection is most certainly the new half-moon-shaped Mademoiselle bag, but the house is also debuting some chic reinterpretations of its classic flap bag. Of the new styles, two standouts are the pastel-flecked tweed adorned with whimsical gold ladybugs and a bejeweled dragonfly ($3,150), and a gold goatskin covered in glitzy gold strass ($7,000). When it comes to bijoux, Chanel is never one to shy away from a bit of costume drama. An eye-catching enamel brooch is accented with pearls and interlocking Cs at its center ($475), while a resin cuff is inlaid with hundreds of stones ($3,795). Both feel thoroughly modern but would pair perfectly with a timeless Chanel tweed blazer. Spring has sprung rather stylishly, it would seem. Mademoiselle bag, price upon request; 800-550-0005; chanel.com.

Photo Courtesy Chanel

March 02, 2011
By Dispatch Departures | Fashion

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Red was out in full force at the New York fall shows, sometimes as a kicker to a mostly black-and-white ensemble, but more often as the main event. First down the runway at Chado Ralph Rucci was a neon-red Mongolian lamb jacket worn with a matching hooded dress, gloves and over-the-knee boots. Soon to follow were a scarlet-and-black chinchilla coat and a gold-and-carnelian paisley jacket lined with red mink. Michael Kors's all-crimson suit paired a dyed-fox coat with a jersey bodysuit and high-waisted wool-crepe trousers. At Marchesa, the candy apple-colored numbers included a puff-shouldered trench and lacy cocktail dresses. Ralph Lauren favored more romantic, wine-tinted hues, sending out a duo of bordeaux velvet dresses and a burgundy tuxedo jacket (while accenting the black looks with red-heeled shoes). Oscar de la Renta's collection delivered a Park Avenue meets Silk Road feel, showcasing a fuchsia and plum chiffon-trimmed alpaca coat, a bordeaux cashmere-jacquard cardigan atop a laser-cut suede skirt, and plum fox-brimmed hats. It seems that seeing red will have a whole new meaning this fall. Chado Ralph Rucci, 212-819-9066; michaelkors.com; marchesa.com; ralphlaurencollection.com; oscardelarenta.com.

Photo From left: Courtesy Oscar de la Renta, Courtesy Michael Kors, Courtesy Ralph Lauren

February 28, 2011
By John Wogan | Fashion

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© Courtesy Patrik Ervell

Spring is almost here (finally!), and the first order of business is stowing away those heavy wool coats and breaking out lighter outerwear suitable for cool nights and the occasional spring shower—the best of which comes from Patrik Ervell, a multiple CFDA-award nominee and this year’s contender for GQ’s Best New Menswear Designer. His hooded Air Jacket Pullover ($460; patrikervell.com) is water-resistant and features open gussets for ventilation as well as a drawstring waist for an adjustable fit. It’s stylish, functional and comfortable. We like to pair it with Ervell’s simply handsome leather Daypack ($600)—think of it as the sophisticated grown-up version of your favorite backpack—which is perfect for storing all the necessities while running around the city. Another hit from the emerging master of minimalism.

February 22, 2011
By Dispatch Departures | Fashion, Kids

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Brooks Brothers, which has long defined preppy chic for grown-ups, got in on the kids' game last fall when it debuted its Fleece line for boys and girls. On the heels of that success, the spring collection—a nautical theme, replete with anchors and sailor stripes—is rolling out just in time for the March 1 opening of the 3,000-square-foot Madison Avenue Fleece offshoot. The work of cult kidswear designer Nikki Kule (her namesake children's label, KULE, shuttered last year), the pieces are not simply miniature versions of those available to adults. For girls, there are cotton poplin tennis dresses, ruched floral blouses and argyle sweaters in pastel pink and peach, while the boys' department has striped rugbies, swim trunks embroidered with goggles and, for more formal occasions, seersucker pants, houndstooth dress shirts and the iconic blue blazer. brooksbrothers.com.

Photo Courtesy Brooks Brothers

February 16, 2011
By Stellene Volandes | Fashion, Watches, Whims

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© Courtesy Ralph Lauren

We first spotted this Ralph Lauren watch at the annual Salon International de la Horlogerie watch fair in Geneva. We've been fans of Ralph Lauren's überelegant Slim Classique model since the designer debuted it two years ago, but add the diamonds and a purple satin strap and our admiration turns to utter devotion. While we're dreaming about this watch, we're trading in the brown crocodile straps on our own timepieces for ones in the royal-purple hue. Ralph Lauren 42MM white-gold Slim Classique with one row of baguette diamonds and purple satin strap, $41,700; ralphlaurenwatches.com.

February 15, 2011
By Dispatch Departures | Fashion

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We're used to seeing the Lauren name in stylish places, and as of this month, another member of the famed fashion family is making his own unique mark with a debut collection. A former actor turned artist and photographer, Greg Lauren hadn't considered following in the footsteps of his uncle Ralph or father Jerry (the executive VP of men's design at Polo Ralph Lauren) until two and a half years ago, when he was working on "Alteration," an exhibit of iconic menswear he re-created from paper. Intrigued by the idea of "wearable pieces," he experimented with the materials then at his fingertips, ripping up and sewing back together pieces of canvas and drop cloth. His first collection, currently on display in the windows at Barneys New York and available at boutiques like Maxfield in Los Angeles, features mostly outerwear, handmade by Lauren and a team of artisans, from deconstructed vintage military duffel bags, sailor uniforms, Army tents and repurposed cashmere. The pieces come in various silhouettes—military coats, blazers and tuxedo jackets—for men and women. No two are alike, and prices range from $1,875 for an army tent jacket to $3,125 for a destroyed cashmere tuxedo jacket. greglauren.com.

Photo Courtesy Greg Lauren

January 31, 2011
By Dispatch Departures | Fashion

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Leave it to Bruno Frisoni to rethink the norm. Back in July, the creative director of Roger Vivier opted to skip the house's customary couture show and instead presented Rendez-Vous, a limited-edition collection of handmade shoes and bags that married the craftsmanship of couture with the energy of prêt-à-porter. Two weeks ago during the Paris shows, Frisoni unveiled his second version of Rendez-Vous with 20 new pieces that put a rock ‘n’ roll spin on the traditionally elegant Vivier sensibility. It's a collection rich in textural contrasts and drama: a high heel with gold chain mail draped over black velvet, a gold-striped Mondrianesque wood-and-resin clutch and a decked-out reworking of the classic Pilgrim clutch, its iconic buckle framed by braids of sequins and chains. Frisoni also reimagined other signature items, like the Tube clutch and the comma-shaped Virgule (now Vertigo) heel, which comes in styles flaunting feathers, sequins and wood. The pieces—numbered and produced in small quantities—will be available this September by special order in Vivier boutiques worldwide. rogervivier.com.

Photo courtesy Roger Vivier

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