Monday, July 28, 2014

Meet Julie Macklowe of vbeauté ... the beauty crusader

Today the beauty business is a major part of the fashion business. We live in times when youth is regarded as a necessity rather than a rite of passage. The media has created an obsession and celebrates youth even more so than the fabulous “youthquake” of the Diana Vreeland era. So, keeping this in mind we need to address “the war against aging” and meet a warrior who is helping women win the battle! So here goes …  meet Julie Macklowe who is redefining, recalculating and recalibrating the process of accumulating birthdays!

When one thinks of the beauty/cosmetic business in general, there are a few women who come to mind...Estee Lauder, Mary Kay and Helena Rubenstein. They are the ladies who created an industry built on beauty, creams and color and now we have a new entrant in the game… Julie Macklowe. She is certainly not a doyenne nor some dowager in any way shape or form. Julie Macklowe, CEO andFounder, of vbeauté is truly a renaissance woman of the 21st century. She has been a wiz in the world of finance, a presence on the social scene in NYC and a one of a kind when it comes to breaking the mold. And all this with less than 4 decades under her belt! Yes, she is a mom/wife, with a family, as well who prides herself on making that her #1 priority. P.S. She is a power house …  a force to reckon with and she is an ORIGINAL, the real deal!

 After meeting her, one can’t help but be impressed with her “realness,” her smarts, her humor, her spirit and dedication to her product and what it stands for. (I would also be remiss if I didn’t say she sure reminded me of Peter Pan! And that is said adoringly) She launched the skin care/ anti-aging regimen, vbeauté, and assorted products at Bergdorf Goodman in 2011 and she never looked back. This all started with an “IT” kit and it will be a magical journey as she spreads the “gospel” of how vbeauté will arrest or better said deter the aging process through its diverse product mix, natural ingredients and ethical standards.

As the slogan goes “V is your Victory over time!”

Read what is running around in the mind of Julie Macklowe ….  Entrepreneur extraordinaire! And pretty soon ... Mogul!  Mogulette? Tycooness?  Oh hell let’s just say a fabulous one off!... and you might just want to pop over to White’s Pharmacy in Easthampton this Friday to meet her in person 1-2 pm

 1-What is the most treasured possession in your wardrobe?
an aspen belt buckle by Clint Orms

2-What is your most sterling trait and what trait do you treasure most in your friendships?
I am extremely loyal and value loyalty above all else in friendships.  Trust, respect and loyalty are the key elements to all true friendships.

3-What is your bliss?
Skiing in a fresh powder day in Aspen, Colorado my hometown.

4-What is your guilty secret?
I enjoy shopping for hard to get clothing items on Ebay.

5-Where is your ideal home?
Aspen, Colorado.

6-What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to date?
My daughter, Zoe Macklowe.

7-What is on your bedside table right now?
Evian water, an alarm clock, an eye mask and ear plugs

8-What do you wear to bed?
A tank top and sweat pants

9-What, if any, book are you reading now or last read?
Watching the Black List – isn’t TV the books?

10-What’s your advice to the “newcomer?”

11-Who or what is your inspiration/style icon?
Nan Kempner.  She had amazing iconic style and didn’t care what others thought.

12-What is the best advice you ever received?
Stop talking and listen – I am still working to improve upon this point.

13-In 3 words or less, describe the current state of fashion.
Repetitive & Recycled.

14-If you could select a dream project, what would  it be?
Going to fly to outer space.

15-If you won a $200,000,000 power ball (lottery), what is the first thing you would buy or do? 
Purchase a seat on Virgin Galactic to outer space.

16-If you could invite up to 4 people for dinner, who would they be…dead or alive?
Madonna, Neil Armstrong, Charles Darwin, Catherine the Great.

17-What is your favorite movie /or movie star? 
Lauren Bacall , To Have and Have not

18-What is the one thing you would change about yourself? 
Why change, I like being myself.

19-Whose opinion do you value most and why? 
Mine.  Then my father.

20-What store or which designer do you most like to shop in or wear ? 
Random tee shirts with fun slogans.  Balmain Jeans. Lucien Pellat sweaters.  Nike wedge hi tops.

21-What’s your take on magazines, books versus the internet?
 Internet trumps all.  Everyone is now ADD – magazines good for summer and skimming when bored.

22-Do you have a dream collaborator ? 
Iggy Azalea

23-Have you ever wanted to just throw in the towel and why? 
Situations change.  Sometimes you respond as those things change but I never would just throw in the towel, unless the fundamentals no longer make any sense.  Then you need to change with your situation and adapt to the new circumstances.

24-What’s your music library like? 
Very eclectic music.  Everything from Jazz to Depeche Mode, Talking Heads, Janet Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, to Blondie and current Top 40 hits – it’s really a bit all over the place.

25-What and where is your favorite meal? 
A Laguvalin 16 neat.   Food is overrated.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rodrigo Otazu .. A harbinger of design

Following in the footsteps of some of the great masters of costume/ fashion jewelry and haute joallier, there comes along the Argentine born Rodrigo Otazu. He has the sensibilities of those who came before him like Coppla e Toppo, Shara Pagano, Calderara, Ciner, Ciro, cartier, Van Cleef, Boivin,  and Ornella. Given this “heritage” the end result is a stunning mixture of 21st century product combined with old world esthetic. The jewelry is made in Italy.

What sets this man and his product  apart from the flock is simply that at a time when retailers decided to abandon costume/fashion jewelry, he decided to expand its vocabulary as well as its DNA. Mr. Otazu not only produces arresting “faux” gems but he is also responsible for astounding and amazing precious gem pieces as well. His product lines may be very much the same in esthetic and overall appearance but quite different in their raw materials. What also further distances him apart from the sea of “me too” collections is that ALL of his work is treated as if it is fine jewelry given the attention to detail and the level of manufacture. It impressed me no end that so many closures were so integrated to each style as they were almost invisible to the naked eye. Large faux stones are set stylistically in much the same way as precious stones in the manner of Buccellati and Bulgari. Small stones are set as if they were pave as well as in a wide variety of “precious” jewel settings. 

What is trying to be said here is that Rodrigo Otazu is a designer’s designer and he is a designer that designs. The nuance and intricacy of the pieces is of great interest to this seasoned observer and while it is the overall design that catches the eye for those who are only able to see the obvious. He is a designer who literally references and does not copy, meaning you see a piece that reminds you of but is not a duplicate of; case in point is the serpent bracelet which he renders in all crystal or in chalk and pink gold tone….. Just incredible no matter which way you take to it.

The take away is simple and clear: Rodrigo Otazu has the product that belongs in the finest of international retailers. Rodrigo Otazu delivers what few others can and do. Rodrigo Otazu is a man on the move and eventually will be known only to the cognoscenti of jewelry aficionados.
Meet him through his body of work and see what happens when a designer designs …. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

meet Jean-Michel Cazabat .. Shoe designer

Can we talk? Let’s speak of shoes. Yes, SHOES … they have become one of the most covetable and collectible of fashion accessories especially within the past 2 decades. So it is my pleasure to have met and chatted with Jean-Michel Cazabat, he of the glorious high heeled beauties that can be found in the luxury emporia of your choice.

Monsieur Cazabat hails from France, as if you couldn’t guess, and gained his expertise via legendary brands such as Charles Jourdan and Stephane Kélian.  In la very short period of time he left his native country and built his luxury shoe brand here in the USA.  In the not so distant past, part of his trajectory included a flagship for his brand in New York City. All the components of the equation were coming together and falling into place. 

For shoe connoisseurs, his name is synonymous with celebrity and luxury as well as with women who adore, wear and covet shoes that define them. It was my pleasure to ask some very detailed questions about the shoe business and what part shoes play in the world of fashion. Monsieur Cazabat was kind enough to reply in all honesty and he imparts his insights on various topics.
So please meet the designer and listen to what he has to say. My hope is that he educates and informs... As they say Écoutez ….

1-how do you go about designing a new collection as far as silhouettes including heel heights, colors and materials? Also do you think that the higher and 4 inch heel has seen its day?
I always start the collection with designing first of all the shape of the last of the shoes and the shape of the heel. We call this the construction of the shoe. After I think about the type of story we are going to tell. For example it can be a Romantic one, a Sexy one, a Rock one etc. …  Today Women don’t want any more the crazy 4inch high. Maximum it is 3inches even 3,5inches who still give a nice long look at the legs without hurting too much the arch of the foot.

2-why did you choose Bleecker Street for your brand’s flagship store? Do you foresee any future locations and where?
First of all I choose Bleecker Street because I like the romantic side of the West Village. I used to live there on Waverly and Charles Street for many years. It is a very charming area. I am looking for new investor for to open Uptown on Madison Avenue.

3-whats your feeling about the internet in terms of sales and for fashion coverage vs brick and mortar and magazines?
I think Internet E-Commerce and Internet Magazine is what is happening now. The new generation love it and us we need to adapt ourself about it

4-what do you consider to be the necessities of a comprehensive shoe wardrobe for men and women in terms of materials shapes etc.?
You always need different styles from the different moments of the day and of the week.
That’s mean nice comfortable elegant and sexy sleepers for home, Dressy mid-heel shoes for the office, High Heel sandals for evening cocktail. Sneakers and espadrilles or rubber boots for the country side and the weekend. 

5-do you think that “dyables” will ever make a comeback as well as true evening shoes? What do you consider to be the most appropriate evening shoe for women?
For me the perfect evening shoes can be in Black or Red Suede. Also in nice metallic Leather. For the silhouettes the best for me is a Sandal or a Pee-Toe Pump.

6-what’s your feeling about this fashion moment where athletic shoes/trainers/sneakers have suddenly become fashion statements?
I understand people love them for the comfort but I don’t feel it elegant at all. I own myself few pairs but just for work out not for to wear during the day. It is not my taste level.

7-with whom do you most consider to be your peers in this business and is there anyone who you consider to be your inspiration or style icon/muse?
I use to admire Charles Jourdan, Stephane Kelian and Michel Perry. Three Designer with who I use to work for. My style Icon/Muse my Wife Tess.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Interviewer's interview

Editors note - I decided that it would be fun to interview all the various people that write here on Shrimpton Couture's Curate and also work behind the scenes to bring you all the amazing content and Vintage Couture that you see posted daily on our sites. I asked Maria to set up interviews with everyone (and then I will turn the tables on her at some point). We decided to break each interview into two sets of questions - the first set is a more focused and in-depth look at each member of our team and then the second set quick round that will be asked of everyone. Today we meet Jeffrey ....

If we read to feel we are not alone, then Jeffrey Felner’s world is one of unmatched sartorial splendor. Felner has penned hundreds of book reviews spanning every topic of personal adornment, and along the way, has acquired an invaluable wealth of fashion knowledge. And while his career was focused on production and sales, Felner has the soul of a critic. His voice is as discerning as it is bright, and one would be smart to follow his guidance up and down the world’s glossiest runways, not to mention along the ever-growing bookshelves of fashion tomes. Be sure to catch his wonderful series “Impossible Conversations” on CURATE, and if you are feeling frisky, head over to his blog for the latest review of the Fall 2014 Haute Couture presentations.

I’d like to start with your Impossible Conversation features, which are a real gas. Have you always been imaginative and clever?
I am pretty savvy when it comes to life so I hope I am very clever even though I can honestly say it is a skill that gets honed over the course of one’s life. The “ghost” interviews or the truly “impossible conversations” are fabulous for me as I get to play a character after having read and studied about the person. I try to be faithful to the subject and I try very hard to be a bit bitchy but honest as that surely adds to the fun of it.

One of the points I take away from the series is that fashion is an industry full of strong voices – in your opinion, what individuals have the strongest voices in fashion?
I have little to no use for those who regurgitate press releases and discuss front rows and venue when reviewing a collection. Today we have fawners and panderers for the most part who are afraid of insulting a potential or existing advertiser. I don’t buy into the Tavi’s and Bryan Boys as I believe that in order to truly open a discourse on fashion, one needs to be educated by what they read, by literally working in the trenches of fashion, whether it is retail or wholesale, and being able to apply experience to knowledge and then translate that to what is presented to you. There are very few reviewers that I truly respect but I do like Robin Givhan as she is bright, articulate and knowledgeable.

I really enjoyed your book reviews, which are concise and instructive. Can you tell us your favorite fashion book?I have come to enjoy so many of my books … my favorite subjects rather than specific books are Mrs. Vreeland who I find endlessly astounding and inspiring; Dior, both brand and designer as they are an endless source of history and education; and Karl who is a walking book in himself exclusive of his creative output but there are so many fabulous one off books that I have loved. Books need to be impulsive, covetable and visceral for the reader.

What is your least favorite?
Without naming names let’s say that there was a book on Minimalism in fashion that was written in the most arcane and esoteric language and manner that I found it almost laughable. It might be trite to say it but it is clothes not rocket science and while I take fashion very seriously, I understand that it is not a cure for cancer or a solution to world peace. What also causes me to be offended is when I believe that the author has no clue about the subject or that some information within a book is incorrect and has not been thoroughly fact checked.

You have worked in many facets of the fashion industry, as a textile designer, buyer, critic. I was wondering how you felt about the current pace of fashion, and the hoopla that surrounds the shows? What improvements would you make and do you think change is possible? I think designers talk too much for starters. They design clothes and while it may be perfectly fine to discuss one’s inspiration for a collection there is no reason for a treatise on the subject... What is often ignored and rarely spoken of when a collection is reviewed is whether or not a collection is salable, merchandised well or who the target audience might be. Another factor that seems to be excluded is the price of some of these wonders which does play a part in the business of fashion. Lastly it would be nice for the reviewer to be smart enough to make a reference if a theme has been done before or a style or technique etc.

What is your favorite thing about New York?
New York City is a living breathing runway show every single day no matter where you go and no matter what you do. For me, it is just a visual feast that allows me to see a variety of subjects whether it is people in the street, store windows, buildings, and subway riders or dogs being walked. I am educated and enlightened every day even if I have only been to the supermarket and the dry cleaner that day.