Category Archives: in the field

The iPad is Wondering What to Wear

And the answer, on a springtime Friday evening in SoHo, is Closettour.

Cheers, Hamish!

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Bags, Tags and Automobiles

This is my favorite purse. It’s by Jerome Dreyfuss. I got it in Paris four years ago, and to replace it at the designer’s new store in SoHo today would probably cost close to $800. Although it cost a little less then, it is still the most expensive accessory I’ve ever owned. (It was a different place and time, when I traveled to France for fabric shows, and designers subsidized my purchases so they could examine my choices.)

If you’re gasping at the price-tag, consider this: Most women in New York City do not drive cars. Sure, we ride the subway, but in many ways, our purses are our vehicles. They carry our valuables, they are with us everywhere we go and might be one of the first things someone notices about us (depressing, as it is with cars, however true).

image from Chicago Classic Cars

Therefore, like a car, bags must be reliable, comfortable, functional, and ideally, beautiful. But reliability is of utmost importance, lest you end up like Malika Ritchie, who I met during Fashion Week. Malika had traveled from Seattle to work dressing models backstage, and this was after the Karen Walker show, midway through her week:

I’ve had better luck with my Jerome Dreyfuss. I would estimate I carried it every day for the first two years I owned it, and then for the following two, gave it temporary breaks until occasions like Fashion Week or travel required the convenience and convertibility offered by the bag’s design details: the genius key-leash (long enough that you don’t need to detach them), the outer and inner pockets for passports and pens and the inner straps that let you gather it up small when it’s empty-ish, and expand it to hold a notebook when necessary.


That’s not a bad record, when you calculate the price per wear. But then just yesterday, as pictured above, a strap gave way. The bag didn’t come crashing down, no cell phones skipped down stairs. It happened quietly, the strap held strong by reinforcements and buckles until I could knot the end in a temporary fix.

I brought the bag to Sweden last week, where all my cameras, recorders, notebooks and cosmetics likely did it in. That’s also where I met Mike Schragger, at Stockholm’s Sustainable Fashion Academy. There, he proposed an interesting solution: leasing, rather than purchasing clothing. That way companies would be compelled to make their products more durable, since they would be responsible for the maintenance. He compared it to leasing a washing machine from Electrolux–a concept as foreign to a New York City girl as automobile ownership, but compelling nonetheless.

You might be thinking you already heard this idea, from Jennifer Hudson’s character in the Sex and the City movie.

But Schragger’s proposal sounds different–more like making a purchase from a company reliable for repairs and returns like Patagonia, rather than renting a patchwork Louis Vuitton until the trend passes. The benefit, of course, would be that rather than dropping $800 on a new bag (or $1800 in the Vuitton case), you could make smaller payments over the long-term, either working towards ownership, or returning it for a new ride when the time is right.

For the moment I’ll have to take of my own bag maintenance–although there is an updated model at Jerome Dreyfuss’ new downtown dealership I’d love to take for a test-drive.

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F/W10 Fashion Week Part 1

Hi! Good thing I got those boots fixed, cause they’re running all over this fair city for Fashion Week. (Thank you, sun, for shining!)

Here are the shows and events I’ve covered over the last few days (those that don’t link aren’t up on Dossier yet, I’ll link them up as they come.)

Taking a load off Sunday morning at Lorick

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All’s Well That Ends Well

As I mentioned this morning, Day 2 of Fashion Week presented a bit of a challenge. It was the footwear, or rather, the combination of snow and footwear, that threw me. On Day 1 I wore my Yeti boots (and even got some love from NBC for it!), but today I planned to work straight through until an event this evening at the New York Public Library, and they just didn’t seem appropriate. 

Aftermath of Day 2 Dressing

My plan was to go straight to CUNY to get the pictures posted from yesterday’s Rachel Comey show, then pop by a panel on Entrepreneurial Journalism, then go to Gotham Hall for the Cynthia Rowley show, then go back to CUNY to write up yesterday’s John Patrick show, then go swim some laps and finally head to the Bryant Park Library around 8 for a party given by the CFDA and the South Korean Ministry of Culture.

Today’s Outfit: Designed for Endurance

But it seems every day needs a bit of drama. Yesterday my iPhone imploded (see new white one in photo above) and today CUNY was closed for Lincoln’s birthday. So, in place of actually attending the Paley Center panel on “Solving the Challenges of the News Frontier,” I set out to solve a few of my own–all of which stemmed from my lack of workplace and computer. 

Bill Blass Reading Room, New York Public Library

As I wrote this morning, I ended up at the library a bit sooner than I expected–not for a party, but to run up to the reading room and request reinforcements via a library laptop. I wasn’t carrying a laptop, but I was, however, carrying my portable hard drive, my camera, my cords, my iPhone, my FlipCam and my swimsuit. But the laptops at the library don’t have Firewire ports, so I was S.O.L., as they say. I broadcasted for help via Twitter, email, Facebook (maybe I forgot about Facebook), and text. Just two blocks west, at The New York Times building, a message landed in Drani Datta’s inbox.

Well, it’s a good thing the grey lady hasn’t succumbed to the “Challenges of the News Frontier,” and that may be due in part to the hard work of interns like Drani. She kindly loaned me her laptop momentarily, so I could publish a post about a calmer moment at Rachel Comey’s show on Dossier, and even brought me up for quick lunch before I had to hit the road for my next show: Cynthia Rowley, one of my very favorites (see notes from last season), at Gotham Hall. I was a little bit early (which is to say, on time) so I was nicely settled in my seat, and gazing happily at the ceiling when the rows began to fill up. 

I’m beginning to realize that I really love those few hushed moments in the dark, after the lights go down, but before the music begins to thump. (Maybe ladies like Rachel Comey and Cynthia Rowley exacerbate this by using terrific bands like Hex Message and Preacher and the Knife.) Of course, I adored what was to come marching down the runway too, but you’ll have to wait to read about that on Dossier

Since I didn’t have anywhere to work after the show, I headed back home to do my post for John Patrick Organic before turning around (without a wardrobe change) and heading back to the Bryant Park Library to cover the Concept Korea event, with Kristen Joy Watts on photography. Wonderful wing-girl that she is, Miss Mega-Watts held the camera to get this little video gem below: a dance number taking place in the very lobby I dashed through this morning in a rush to the reading room. 

And that brings us to this very moment, sitting at my desk, still wearing that dress, tapping away, supremely sleepy. 

If only there weren’t all those clothes on my bed.

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Limited Resources

This morning I tweeted (I know, I know) that one of my challenges of Fashion Week is to dress like an editor on a blogger’s budget. Today the result was a massive pile of pants, dresses, skirts and sweaters on my bed, and in the end, a delayed departure wearing the exact outfit I initially put on straight out of the shower: one of my sister’s friends old prom dresses from the ’90’s (black bias cut shiny fake satin slipdress by Betsey Johnson) with black Hogan motorcycle boots, a sample jacket from Cynthia Rose (taupe heathered cashmere with sheared mink pockets) and my favorite scarf. (Links and images to come–you’ll soon know why.)

When I left the apartment, 40 minutes later than planned, I foolishly assumed my wrestling with resources for the day was done.  I swung by the tents and went to the CUNY newsroom, ready to load some photos from my portable hard drive to start posting from yesterday’s shows.  When I swiped my little card the security guard said, “it’s closed.”

Closed!?!?

“Lincoln’s birthday, nobody’s up there.”

So that’s how I found myself on a loaner laptop at the Bryant Park Library (directly across the hall from the Bill Blass Reading Room, no less!) with 16 minutes remaining on a version of Internet Explorer that does not allow for opening multiple tabs, tweeting, facebooking and now, blogging for anyone nearby with a moment and firewire connection to spare to open their hearts, and their laptops, to this one-man-band.

But at least I like my outfit.

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Morning Boost: Boots

These boots were a bright spot on the subway.

“They’re from Austria,” said their pretty blond owner when I commented.

It reminded me that usually when things look really special, it’s because they are.

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