Tuesday, December 29, 2015

the 10 Best Reads for 2015

As a respected, seasoned and recognized reviewer of books  ( New York Journal of Books) dealing with international fashion and style, it seemed timely to offer my choices for the best reads of 2015 when it comes to the subject of fashion in its broadest sense.

The selections below have all been released and are quite worthy of reading as well as owning. The subjects deal with fashion and style as seen via some of the great fashion icons of the century as well as those who contributed to this ever growing category.

Fashion has evolved and will continue to evolve in a way that has become much more inclusive as it is no longer only the territory for designers and of apparel. Fashion in its current configuration includes fine jewelry, Time pieces, collectors and aficionados of couture as well those involved in the world of media.

So without any further explanation, here’s hoping for  great new year filled with fashion and style. By the way, there are no bad choices here.

1-‘Vacheron Constantin: The Artists of Time Box Edition’ by Franco Cologni

… Saying or thinking that Vacheron Constantin makes watches is like saying Michelangelo was a ceiling painter. Vacheron Constaintin is a manufacturer and purveyor of some of the world’s most coveted horological time pieces as well an innovator within this rarefied sphere of mechanics and design…

2-‘If These Jewels Could Talk: The Legends Behind Celebrity Gems’ by Beth Bernstein

… One of the great successes and joys of this season is If These Jewels Could Talk. Bernstein is a gifted storyteller who offers history, gossip, and biographical information on the jewelry itself, its various owners, and possibly even the provenance of a particularly large stone …

3-‘Dior by Dior Deluxe Edition: The Autobiography of Christian Dior’ by Christian Dior

… This is the most intimate story of a world class designer as well as a man who loved his gardens and every single piece of haute couture that he ever created. He considered his creations to be his children, and once they were shown, they were the children who had left home to start another life…

4-‘Philip Treacy’  by Philip Treacy

… There are no words to adequately describe this book or my reaction to this book but I am willing to try. Philip Treacy is a rarity among designers as he is an original. His creations are far beyond the fantastical and of a quality that is as rare as a rooster with socks on! BUT, I digress, this is coffee table book but chock a block with such arresting images and of such quality that the reader is rendered awestruck and slack jawed and that is just the beginning…

5-‘Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman: The Bazaar Years, 1936–1962’ by Alexander Vreeland

… Apparently there is an inexhaustible supply of material when it comes to the subject of Diana Vreeland. There is only one other name that comes to mind who can rival the amount of  ink devoted to a fashion personality and that is Christian Dior. Having read countless books dealing with the woman referred to as the “empress of fashion,” it becomes startlingly clear that she was endlessly captivating, inspiring, and prescient in so many ways…

6-‘Art and Fashion: Collaborations and Connections Between Icons’ by E.P. Cutler & Julien Tomasello

… Next up is the content, which can only be defined as educational, entertaining, visually arresting, and informative. Cutler and Tomasello raise the question of whether or not fashion is an art form or if art be fashion. Remember that these types of collaborations with artists and those in fashion go back to the turn of the 20th century so it would be a mistake to toss off a casual answer. The authors have made their case on all fronts… 

7-‘Ingenue to Icon: 70 Years of Fashion from the Collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post’ by Howard Vincent Kurtz

… C. W. Post told his daughter in so many words, “Don’t let the money rule you . . . don’t let it possess you.” C. W. was the Post of Post cereals, General Mills, and C. W. Post College just to name a few of his notable accomplishments. His daughter was none other than Marjorie Merriweather Post who was nothing if not an obedient daughter of privilege who lived her life with maximum ├ęclat and grace among surroundings befitting American royalty. Ingenue to Icon pays tribute to one of America’s most stylish and famous personalities…

8- ‘Electric Fashion’ by Frederic Aranda & Christine Suppes

… Electric Fashion stands alone in the genre of fashion monographs as this is a book that can be appraised and applauded on multiple levels. Suppes and Aranda describe this project as a journey, but this is an unbelievably intimate demonstration of one woman’s adoration of fashion with her “partner in crime.” Together, they have created one of the great fashion books to have come along in this millennium to date …

9-Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty’ by Robert Lacey

… Lacey is to be commended because he has provided much more than just a snapshot of a life well lived by absorbing the reader into the life of Eileen Ford, warts and all. This is not a fluff book that only tells the reader of how great she was but it also offers the reader a chance to realize that not everyone is perfect nor do they always make the correct decisions no matter how great their eventual success…

10- Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis’ by Fern Mallis

…Fern Mallis has brilliantly compiled her interviews from the 92 Street Y series and Rizzoli was sage enough to publish them and the combination produces a book that brings a very personal, insightful and very human and sometimes intimate side to a business that is often considered vapid and superficial…

For the full reviews please see my pages at www.nyjournalofbooks.com/reviewer/jeffrey-felner

PS. they are in no particular order of recommednation 

Friday, December 18, 2015

JW Anderson pre-fall 2016

Here is an excerpt from a so called high profile reviewer...  it’s highly wantable, and highly likely to be copied—and he isn’t one to stick around and wait for others to take advantage of an idea before he can sell it. “You can’t overthink things in fashion,” he said, alluding to the speed at which ideas are turned over now. “It’s what you feel in the moment.

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My take is quite simply that every season no matter how minor, needs a clown car and presto... your car has arrived. This is the sort of so called fashion that turns the art, craft and business of fashion into a full-fledged joke. Again, no matter what these people write and worse yet, no matter what these designers espouse, this is a business of selling clothes. Maybe that statement needs to be clarified to explain that a brand must sell clothes to a consumer, not just a store. A store can cover its mistakes and its need to be hip/relevant by simply marking down their mistakes and requesting markdown/ allowances from the brand. When the maker refuses, it is not an issue; the simple solution is that the collection is no longer carried by the retailer.
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With all of this spewed out, the question I have for you is simply this…. WHO IS BUYING THIS AND WHERE DO THEY HOPE TO WEAR IT? Not being interested in the blah blah blah, these clothes speak to those who wish to show themselves as fashion’s victims or fools as well as the designer’s wont to turn women into caricatures or cartoon characters. The one thing that most people forget is that it costs a pot load of dough to look this foolish. Someone needs to explain to me... what this is and why? Why in every way!
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Yes it is true I tend to be more set in my ways as being more of a traditionalist when it comes to fashion but that is my personal leaning and that doesn’t stop me from liking or understanding what is supposedly forward thinking fashion. That being said, this is laughable, inexplicable and above all, this shames fashion. The upside is simply that this pile does not preclude the designer’s talent; it just says to me that someone needs to whisper in his ear about staying in business and remembering that he is not the first one to do many of these looks!

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HYPE does not equate to sales .. never has and never will!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Delpozo pre fall 2016

While I may preach about the salability of fashion, I would be remiss or possibly stupid to think that there isn’t a discerning customer for Delpozo. This is a collection that boasts incredible design linked to astounding workmanship. No, it is not to say that clients will be busting the doors down to own it BUT I can hope that anyone who appreciates the art and craft of fashion can understand what I am saying.


I have this gnawing feeling after seeing this collection that if Gucci had a true designer and not an arts and crafts counselor that they too might have a collection that oozes talent, originality and real design prowess. Make no mistake in thinking that I believe this is a highly commercial collection but you can know that I believe that there are clients who can truly appreciate and will buy what Delpozo offers as the others don’t offer anything close on any level!


Okay so, to love are the amazingly over exaggerated knits and then of course it is the precision with which these clothes are made that can just take your breath away. Rarely does a viewer or retail customer get to touch, feel and see such workmanship. One of the other great aspects of the collection is that the brand handles detail as well as what is unmistakably obvious, the small but beautiful nuances that are used such as an arching hem of a ruffle.  The distinctive use of color, fabrications and of prints sets them so far apart from the others as well as their ability to handle the “hard” fabrics as well as the most ethereal with equal skill and aplomb.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Why Don't You? Christmas 2015

This series is dedicated to Diana Vreeland and how she came to the world’s attention followed by eternal admiration.  While the suggestions might not be as outrageous or imaginative, these articles will have one unified theme and that is the gift giving season of 2015.

Today it is about finding that special something for someone. You can opt for fashion jewelry, fine jewelry, apparel or a fashion accessory of the season. Colleagues and resources from around the world have sent me their ideas of what would make a great gift for a friend, a dear one or even yourself. The selections cover a multitude of categories and budgets that allow for the most fashionable gifts for men and women.  All of them are accessible online, at brick and mortar establishments or by phone so shop on!

With the Festival of Lights (Chanukah) an almost memory and Christmas just around the corner, let the games begin and my question to you is “Why don’t you?”

Why don’t you select an excruciatingly fabulous treasure from fine jewelry designer Cynthia Wolff. She is the jewelry designer to the stars but keeps their identities concealed due to her integrity and lack of desire to capitalize off their names. She does the most incredible traditional pieces as well as some of the most delicious and decadently fashionable pieces so you better get a hold of her ASAP and see what she can do for you. Oh, and you can find her at www.cynthiawolff.com or find her on Facebook.

Why don’t you hurry on down to Club Monaco and select some really groovy new threads for every day wear or even for holiday occasions? My dears, the stores are just brimming with fabulousness for almost anyone on your gift giving list. Now kids, you do know that Club Monaco is owned by Ralph Lauren so you are assured or fab pieces for your every need and desire. Anyway grab your coat and wallet and head on over to your local branch or shop online at www.clubmonaco.com/home

Why don’t you take an adventure and give the most fantastical and whimsical piece of fashion jewelry to a loved one? Of course we are talking of Moutton Collet, yes them, the duo who has been commissioned by the likes of Gaga, Mugler, Kenzo, Nina Ricci, Margiela and so many more and now you can bestow a piece of grandiosity that has been bathed in 24k gold or maybe even one made of sterling silver or leather. Maybe, just maybe you can get your hands on one of their one off pieces such as masks and even hats, but you will have to be lucky and very adventurous. Find the boys at www.moutoncollet.com

And one last thing my cherished ones, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always give the gift of a fashion read which lasts far beyond just the season of giving so Why don’t you buy the best of best here for half the bookstore price at  www.ebay.com/  from seller jeffyb50?