Tag Archives: New York

New York Fashion Week

9 Feb
Fall is texture, faux fur, loose knits, netting, embroidery. Multiple layers of fabrics that create color like a transparent watercolor painting (Chanel is right on the money) Fall is beautiful this year. The short jacket over body concious under pinnings, sexy, fun and luxe.

Super Bowl madness in NYC

1 Feb
Bill Cunningham reports on the Super Bowl.

The Great VM’s from the 70’s

13 Nov

Back in the 70’s when the boomers were taking hold as the largest consumer class ever, retail display went through a radical change.

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Robert Currie’s.. Divine intervention

The “Fern and Column” approach to display of the 50’s and most of the 60’s was being replaced by a small group of daring VM’s. New York windows were HOT, Candy Pratts at Bloomingdale’s, Robert Currie at Bendel’s, Robert Benzio at Saks and Victor Hugo for Halston. Pedestrians were being assaulted with presentations unlike anything that came before. Windows gained daring narrative themes or took on a reality look that was shocking to those used to the all so pretty, flower strewn confections of past decades.

Fern and column display was "OUT"

Fern and column display was “OUT”

Candy was "IN"

Candy was “IN”

Bendel"s was hot.

Bendel”s was hot.

Robert Benzio was the VM of the moment

Robert Benzio was the VM of the moment

Halston's Victor Hugo was the "Baddest" of all

Halston’s Victor Hugo was the “Baddest” of all

Hugo was doing picking taboo themes.

Hugo was doing picking taboo themes.

The young designers of the same period had everything to do with the the new look, names like Steven Burrows, Sonia Rykiel, Diane Von Furstenberg, and the king of Disco fashion, basically any dress on the dance floor at Studio 54 was made by Roy Halston Frowick. Maxi dresses in draping, shimmery fabric have become synonymous with Seventies fashion, and it was almost exclusively because of Halston’s designs. While punk and high-fashion may not seem like they would go hand-in-hand, that was before Vivienne Westwood came onto the scene. Westwood was deeply influenced by the hard-rock movement, and it lent to some of the most iconic and interesting styles of the Seventies.

Steven Burrows "Dancing Gowns" at Bendels

Steven Burrows “Dancing Gowns” in a retrospect

Stephen Burrows When Fashion Danced  Museum of the City of New York - Google Chrome 11132013 72933 AM

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Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Everyone was “coming out” or “going out” at least three nights a week [sometimes more]  A new outfit was essential for a night of dancing the “hustle” drinking and general debauchery. Retailers and designers were more than happy to provide the styles that best fit the moment [ they were also “going out”] It was an exciting time, we dressed up to go out, we danced in couples, actually HOLDING HANDS and saw the dawn more often than not. Cher, Liza Minnelli and Diana Ross were the reigning disco Divas.

I embraced the “New Window Decor” as the Inquirer named it, here I am the “Bad boy” slopping suds on the dishes in the The Peasant Shop window.


An ancient shot of a window change, I’m still climbing ladders to this day.

Vori Kriaris - Google Chrome 11132013 91122 AM

My  BIG  break came when I staged an “Alien Abduction”, my friend the green man [ a friends handiwork that I borrowed ] holds the frightened mannequins at bay with his ray gun, which he just fired causing a de-materialization of one of the group. The German Shepard looks on in the foreground [we had guard dogs back then] His name was Lobar, animals and kids can steal the show, but not this time. This was the moment I realized that controversy is the best publicity.

Vori Kriaris - Google Chrome 11132013 90929 AM

I received letter denouncing me for promoting violence against women, which never occurred to me. C’est dommage, get over it. I received more compliments than complaints, and I got in the paper. I have carried this lesson with me ever since..”Give them something to remember”

The green man and I did more than one gig together, here I am addressing retail merchandising students at Drexel University.

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I look back with fondness for my days of naive creativity, before I knew nothing about, focus groups, marketing, perceived value, customer demographics and all the other retail rules that have influenced my work. Still every once  in a while the old “l’enfant terrible” surfaces and I do exactly what I think is right for me, and the result is always memorable.

Zoe Strauss

26 Oct

I am very proud to count Zoe Strauss among my circle of Philadelphia friends. The extraordinary Strauss family has produced under the guidance of an exceptional mother the most talented people I know. Heres to you ileen, You did a great job.

T day 1

an always remembered Thanksgiving.

 International Center of Photography in New York is showing Zoe’s  “Zoe Strauss: 10 Years,”  her moving photo history of Philadelphia through the lens, to quote,

“an epic narrative about the beauty and struggle of everyday life.”

If you are not familiar with Zoes work you should be.

The New Yorker Mag published an announcement about the event, http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/photobooth/2013/10/zoe-strauss-10-years.html#slide_ss_0=1

Everything Old is New Again

21 Apr

Duckie Brown for Florsheim

In a previous post I brought to light the return of the barbershop. A number have been opening in NYC and even here in Philadelphia,where we still have a few that have survived from the past generation. It’s no surprise to me that the latest trend is the handcrafted shoe, it all goes together, first the grooming, then the suit, then the shoe. I’m not speaking about sneakers here, whose rise in popularity all but destroyed the classic mens dress shoe, let me make that clear. I’m talking ten eyelet wingtip brogues, the most classic style in menswear.

 While I was in high school I was a salesman for Florsheim  shoes. I remember well the oxblood wingtip called the “Imperial” that sold for the hefty price of one hundred dollars [ it was 1966 after all]. I loved that shoe, it was a work of art, handmade right here in the U.S. As a salesman I was instructed in the proper methods of shoe fitting. One would straddle the fitting stool and place the “Braddock Device” on the floor, for those not “in the bis” the device is the means by which a salesman determined the proper size. I would ask the customer to place his left foot on the Braddock, left foot because supposedly the left is always bigger than the right. One would then slide the guides to measure width and length. There was a time when shoes were produced in a full range of sizes from double “A” to triple “E” widths and custom orders were always an option. Out came the shoe horn and I would assist the slide into the shoe, then tie it, ” how does that feel sir?” I would ask, more often than not the reply was “Just fine” I’ll take them. the operative word in that statement was “fine” because they were FINE shoes, produced by a company that took pride in their product.  I was proud to sell them,especially the Imperials which carried a high commission paid to the salesman.

Along with the return to barber shops, custom suits and shirts, the succeeding generations of Jr. executives are discovering that there was a time when fine quality and dressing well was the order of the day. I once worked for a mens retailer who told me that “Dressing well was the means by which one shows respect for the event or place one is attending” I’ve never forgotten that and perhaps it’s becoming apparent to others as well. The current jump in high-priced handcrafted footwear seems to be a testament to the fact. Duckie Brown is making it new again.


Click the link to read the N.Y. Times 


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