Tuesday, November 4, 2008

SNAPS: Double Trouble

Kings Head Tavern, NYC
Day of the Dead

OBSESSION: Fashion Pass

Gilt Groupe makes New York-only samples sales accessible to shoppers across the country. Founded by two longtime friends, Alexis and Alexandria, Gilt Groupe (gilt.com) provides access to men's, women's, and children's coveted fashion brands at prices up to 70-percent-off retail. But there's a catch. The invitation-only website requires that you receive an invitation from a friend to join the members list.

Gilt Groupe features 36-hour sales every week. Past sales included pieces from Nina Ricci, Valentino, and Marc Jacobs. In preparation for each week's sale, you receive an e-mail that introduces each brand, provides designer bios, and offers a preview of the pieces available at half the cost. Just like your first job, that back-stage pass, and the right social organization, it pays to know someone. But in this case, a connex means a ticket to a much better wardrobe.

REVIEW: Charlotte for Penney

Yes, you read right. Charlotte Ronson, the young trendsetting designer, is teaming up with JC Penney to launch a line of affordable, and may we say, incredibly great fashion finds. If Charlotte’s devout clientele doesn’t make you turn your head - think Nicole Richie, Gisele Bundchen, Gwen Stefani and Kate Moss - the prices will. Ranging from $35-$65 , these steals make any fashionista weak in the knees. I Heart Ronson enters stores beginning February 2009.

NYLON has supplied your sneak peek at what’s to come. Get excited!

PROFILE: Kaiser Karen the Karl of Syracuse

Professor Karen Bakke, program coordinator of the Department of Fashion and Design Technologies at Syracuse University, opens her bottle of diet Pepsi. Beads of cool water drip down the plastic container and over her bijoux-adorned and frosted mauve-polished fingers. She licks her lips and grasps the blue plastic cap. She shares Karl Lagerfeld's passion for dark carbonated cola, but Karl only drinks diet Coke in a glass. With ice. Bakke, from her outfit to her beverage choice, exudes an efficient blend of high and low and epitomizes Karl's statement for his H&M ads: “It's all about taste, if you are cheap…nothing helps.” Her sweater might be from Penney's, but Karen, a self-proclaimed garmento, knows her fibers. (Always natural, of course.)

Karen's signature look consists of using liner as shadow, custom-made tri-focals made from oversized Ralph Lauren sunglasses, and frosted pink lips. Her hair, white and wiry like that of a feisty Norfolk terrier, falls only a few inches above her shoulder, too short to be tied back with a black ribbon like Karl's. The necklace she wears is bold, asymmetrical, and shiny. In a speech to the Fashion Communication students in spring of 2008, Karen said she uses her necklace as a beacon to attract friends that share her tastes. An aficionado of chunky precious stones and bold jewelry, Karen's best market might be big-haired Texans. (Karl, on the other hand, embellishes his fingers with Chrome Hearts jewelry and caters to the Parisian chic and a waifish clientele).
Groundbreaking and scandalous at 16 year-old, Karen bought her first pair of high-heeled red shoes while Karl was competing against Yves for a coat design contest. The similarities continue. Karl recently refurnished his Parisian living space with all new scientific textiles and industrial materials. So new, in fact, that he does not even know how they will abrade. The only entity that he kept through his many reinventions: the photograph of his lover Jacques de Bascher, who passed away in 1989. “I am whore,” he says, not referring to his love life, but his career, “I go where they pay me.” During class Karen once reminisced about her late husband. He was her painting professor in college, and she fell in love. Today, Karen continues to explore painting and drawing — just like Karl continues to pursue his photography and publishing company. Karl believes that designers must be interested in everything. "It's like being beyond; you don't have to care anymore, good or bad reputation; it doesn't matter."

CRUSH: Zac wants YOU!

After two years of pollsters, talking heads, SNL skits, and debates, the day is here. Since you can’t vote in the buff, keep it fashionable and take a cue from designer Zac Posen, who found a way to inject a little style into Election Day chaos WATCH ME!. Since fashion earned as much airtime as healthcare and taxes ($150,000 shopping sprees, Naughty Monkey red pumps, and Michelle Obama and Thakoon), it only seems fitting that you wear your best outfit to the polls. In return, Zac might give you the 15 minutes of fame you deserve. V.O.T.E., and look great doing it.

WARNING: Unfortunately, you can’t wear your fabulous creations to the polling stations in these states: New York, new Jersey, Delaware, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont! But don’t let this discourage you from creating something fabulous.