Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christy Turlington on saving lives of mothers

The Quirky Chic of Jenna Lyons

A towering 6'5" in heels, Parsons Grad (and former J Crew Intern!) Jenna Lyons has become an influential style ambassador for J Crew as their Creative Director....establishing yet another take on street style mixing day pieces with evening pieces, menswear pieces with girlish pieces along with the addition of Thriftshop and Army surplus items tossed into the mix with a sure eye for oddball ( but GREAT!)proportion combos and fresh combinations of fabrics, prints, textures and bold  statement accessories.Like the iconic YSL back in 1960's Paris, Miss Lyons has changed the look of the streets of NYC.

Jenna with a model styled in her image.....a classic clone of the star stylist.

“You have to make quick decisions,” Jenna Lyons, the president and creative director of J.Crew, told BoF. “Ultimately, fashion is all about gut anyway — there’s no science to what this should look like or that should look like or how many times you can redraw that or resketch that or redo that catalogue cover. The fact of the matter is, either it grabs you or it doesn’t.”
Indeed, it’s trust in instinct, perhaps more than anything else, that has enabled Lyons, in close partnership with fast-charging CEO Millard “Mickey” Drexler, to transform New York-based J.Crew from a stale catalogue company, once mentioned in the same breath as L.L. Bean and Lands’ End, into a creatively credible and highly desirable brand that’s stocked alongside Alexander McQueen at Net-a-Porter, counts numerous Vogue editors and Michelle Obama as loyal fans, and, on April 19, will launch hotly anticipated capsule collections designed by 2011 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Joseph Altuzarra and runners-up Creatures of the Wind and Pamela Love.
The impact has been felt on the bottom line, as well. Revenue for J.Crew Group Inc. — which also includes Crewcuts for children, younger-leaning casual brand Madewell, and weekend-only online outlet J.Crew Factory — has more than doubled in the past eight years, while EBITDA, a measure of profit, has increased from $75 million in 2004 to $260 million in 2011, despite the challenging economic environment. J.Crew is also planning further international expansion, including a brick-and-mortar flagship in London’s Regent Street.
Successfully executing this impressive transformation has been a team effort, said Lyons, under whose creative direction the company has replaced the boxy acrylic cardigans and boiled wool clogs of yesteryear with sharp button-downs, fashionable cropped pants, and cute ballet flats in Italian leather.
“Ultimately, my job is really to make sure that everything that comes out of this company looks visually unified and looks good, looks like the brand, looks in my opinion beautiful,” she said. “But people think being a creative director [means] I’m actually touching everything and getting to create everything,” she continued. “In the end, honestly, what it’s about is taking care of all the creative people that work with you, really trying to make sure you’re nurturing them to the best of your ability and getting the best out of them. That’s the most important part of my role.”
So what does a day in the office look like for Jenna Lyons? “Never the same. Cramped. Crazy. Between the different things that I get to touch, whether it’s store design or store windows or the catalogue or the web or clothing design and Crewcuts and Madewell, I get to meet about a lot of different things,” she said. “I met with Mark this morning about locations for Fall catalogues; I met with Alice from Madewell about casting for Spring; we’re rigging the presentation for Holiday right now; I’m looking at marketing campaigns for Summer; and we’re talking about a brand book for international. There’s so many different things happening.”
Lyons grew up in Palos Verdes, California, and first moved to New York in 1987 to study at Parsons School of Design. After graduation, she worked briefly at Donna Karan, but left after a few months to join J.Crew, starting as a design assistant in men’s knitwear. “I realized I wasn’t touching anybody beyond the [fashion] world… and it felt really small,” she said. “Now I am fortunate because I have the opportunity to work in this company that touches a huge amount of people, but I also get to make things that are really beautiful.”
Striking a balance between creativity and commerciality has been a critical part of J.Crew’s success and something Lyons has managed to do extremely well. But that doesn’t mean it comes easily. “Honestly, it’s the thing that keeps me awake at night,” she said. “I swear if I had a formula for that, I would sell it,” she continued. But for Lyons, it comes down to instinct. “It’s just sort of looking at something and being like, ‘God, that looks too commercial,’ or ‘Wow, when you put all of those things together, it looks kind of boring.’”
In her more than 20 years at J.Crew, Lyons has worked in practically every single design department and faced some rough periods. After a private equity firm took a stake in J.Crew in 1997, the company cycled through four CEOs in five years. “I’ve had some hard times and some moments where I really wanted to leave,” Lyons admitted.
But the arrival of Mickey Drexler — known as the ‘Merchant Prince’ for his transformation of the Gap in the 1990s — was a turning point for the company. “When Mickey joined, it changed everything,” she said, describing Drexler as a veritable dynamo: “He has so many ideas and so much energy. He goes in ten million different directions. He’s funny and charming and serious and driven and excitable and supportive and intuitive and never sleeps…. I actually really love it. But it’s also chaos. He drives really hard. He will have input down to the button level on something and then he will have a 25,000 feet viewpoint on something else.”
“One of the first things that Mickey did when he got here was talked about quality, and one of the things we talked about was cashmere,” Lyons continued. “I was like, ‘Ugh, all the cashmere kinda sucks.’ And he was like, ‘Then change it.’” Today, fashion insiders rave about the J.Crew cashmere offering as one of the best available anywhere.
But far from an overnight revolution, driving change at a company the size of J.Crew was an evolutionary and iterative process. “It’s totally been organic. It’s been about trial and error,” said Lyons. “It’s not like we ever sat down and strategically said, ‘Okay, well, in the next couple of years this is what I’m hoping we can look like.’ I think it’s actually really hard to have those conversations when you’re talking about moving something that’s so big. I mean, this is a big company,” she said. “You can’t do anything quickly. You kind of have to go slow because you have a bunch of customers to get there with you. You can’t flip on them because that can get really confusing to people,” she added. “And so it’s really been a slow burn in terms of just trying something and then maybe tweaking it and saying, ‘Wow that really worked or this got a great response, this didn’t.’ And then trying something else.”
If Lyons has a philosophy of retail, it’s this: “make people feel special. Making people [realize] you’re paying attention to them is going to be increasingly important, because I don’t think people feel very special anymore.” It’s an insight she has brings to everything the company does. “Instead of the classic model, like, here’s a Gap store and here’s a thousand other Gap stores, we’ve really focused on trying to make sure each of our New York stores feel really special and jewel box. We want you to feel like there’s a reason to go into the store. You were in the downtown store, but that actually has slightly different product, has a different mood than the uptown store.”
And unlike many of its competitors, J.Crew isn’t afraid to take a real stylistic point of view, most famously with ‘Jenna’s Picks,’ a wildly successful section in the company’s catalogue and website — currently on hiatus — featuring products hand-picked by Lyons. “It was totally not my idea, just for the record. It was actually the person who ran marketing at the time, who’s no longer here, and wanted to do something that felt a little bit more personal. We were trying to make people feel like there was a selection of things.”
This kind of magazine-like curation has been an important part of J.Crew’s success. Indeed, the company even curates products from other brands —Belstaff jackets, Tretorn sneakers, Ray-Ban sunglasses, and Globe-Trotter luggage, for example — to sell alongside it’s own merchandise.
“Ultimately, I think what we’re trying to do is create something that feels a little bit more like a magazine and a little bit more like an inspirational piece — but that is also shopable.” To that end, the company’s catalogue has recently been rebranded as The J.Crew Style Guide. “So much more than a catalogue,” the company website states, “it’s your source for what to wear and how to wear it.”
Asked if she has any advice for aspiring fashion designers, Lyons replies: “Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. But do be afraid to not learn from them. In the end, it goes back to just wanting to change things and do a little better. It’s a constant process of always asking, ‘How can we be better? How can we be better? How can we be better?’”

Old world grandeur discovered in Paris

Madame de Florian inherited a Parisian apartment from her grandmother in the city’s 9th arondissement. The apartment building is located by the famed red-light district and the Opera Garnier. When the fighting of World War II threatened to spill into Paris in 1942, de Florian left the city and her apartment at 23 years old to live in the south of France in the French Riviera.
The apartment remained completely untouched for the next 70 years and de Florian continued to pay rent on the property during the entire time it was unoccupied. In fact, the apartment was only discovered when de Florian died at 91 years old.
Auctioneer Olivier Choppin-Janvry and his team were commissioned by the family to visit the apartment in order to take stock of de Florian’s estate. Inside, there was a surprise waiting for the team: an apartment-sized time capsule of the Belle Epoque era in Paris, a period when the city enjoyed a cultural renaissance.
Some of the highlights of the decor included a taxidermy ostrich, retro stuffed animals (mickey Mouse and Porky the Pig) and other glamorous accessories befitting  a grandly elegant French lady.
Perhaps the most exciting find within the apartment was a portrait of Madame de Florian’s grandmother, Marthe de Florian by artist, Giovanni Boldini, a famous portrait painter of High Society. Boldini, much like John Singer Sargent, perfected a technique of supremely flattering his outrageously wealthy clients by exaggerating their elegance, grace and poise.
Marthe de Florian had been a socialite, a theater actress, and a muse of Boldini. The painting took time to authenticate because it didn’t have the artist’s signature. It was also never listed, exhibited, or published. Luckily, a visiting card with a love note written by the artist was found in the apartment. This information was confirmed by a short reference in a 1951 book commissioned by the artist’s widow, Emilia Cardona. Based on the book reference, the actress was  24 years old and the work was painted in 1888.
The painting sold for 2.1 million euros in an intense bidding war. It was the highest price ever paid for a Boldini work.

paris-time-capsule6paris-time-capsule7paris-time-capsuleViral Nova

This apartment would have been the perfect setting for the late great photographer Deborah Turbeville to capture in her unique , grainy, fuzzy, ghostly way. Miss Turbeville adored dusty old grand homes that once were vibrantly alive with a sparkling social life.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dramatic Eye Makeup for Asian eyes

The quest for large open eyes knows no bounds with this non surgical approach.

 Kinda Spooky.... but must work for guys into dating living DOLLS!lol

The witty Imagination of NYC Artist RUTH MARTIN

My friend Ruth Martin's unpredictable and witty imagination is one of the most original anywhere.
She applies it to re-configuring and re-booting the context of old world etchings with her extraordinary draftsmanship in drawing and highly detailed illustration techniques leaving the viewer bewildered, in awe and DELIGHTED!


Anna -n- Grace at Home

Two Powerhouse English Style Queens make NYC their ( NONMINIMALIST!) Homebase.

Grace's Chelsea Apt:
Anna's Long island summer home:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rihanna: Non stop Fashion

Rihanna's passion for playing dress up takes her from Soigne' Superstar to Street Chic to Video Vixen, Girl next door to Rachet from Da Hood with the studied tilt of a gold baseball cap or teetering on sky high heels... making her a stylists' Dream-Girl for the new Century.
I particularly like this softer cover look..., the dark hair and lips makes her eyes glow like amber.
Rihanna in Elle magazine December 2014 wearing Atelier Versace Fall 2014 couture gown
Rihanna in Elle magazine December 2014 wearing Armani Prive Fall 2014 couture red dot-covered mesh veil
Rihanna in Elle magazine December 2014 wearing Dior Fall 2014 couture floral embroidered coat and Colette mesh and diamond hand bracelet
Rihanna in Elle magazine December 2014 wearing Valentino Fall 2014 couture sheer black gown, Giuseppe Zanotti chain-embellished lace-up ankle boots, Holly Dyment skull pearl earring
Rihanna in Elle magazine December 2014 wearing Giambattista Valli Fall 2014 couture black and white fur coat and Yeprem Wildfire diamond ring
Rihanna in Elle magazine December 2014 wearing Schiaparelli Fall 2014 couture birthday hat and bleeding heart sweater, Falke tights
Rihanna in Elle magazine December 2014 wearing Alexandre Vauthier Fall 2014 couture black strapless gown and Yeprem diamond hand bracelets
Rihanna in Elle magazine December 2014 wearing Ulyana Sergeenko Fall 2014 couture yellow gown and Jennifer Fisher double diamond choker
Rihanna wears Jil Sander in Elle magazine May 2012
Rihanna wears Emporio Armani in Elle magazine May 2012
Rihanna wearing Stella Jean Barbara ankara print layered dress, Manolo Blahnik Chaos black suede sandals, Balmain Pierre handbag
Rihanna wearing Rihanna for River Island Fall/Winter 2013 camouflage t-shirt, cuffed jeans and camouflage sandals

Rihanna wearing Christian Louboutin Sean Girl boots