I don't care what the world is going through, how poor a country is, or how bad the economy is faring, women want to look good. And men will do whatever it takes to capture the attention of women, make no mistake. A perfect example comes from nature. The peacock is best known for its extravagant eye-spotted tail, which it displays prominently as part of courtship of peahens.
Houses have been built for fashion -- Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Lauren, Yumi Katsura... the list of Haute Couture goes on.
Each season during fashion week, globally produced by IMG and Mercedes Benz, a who's who of established designers, take over the tents, from New York, Miami, London, Paris, Milano, Australia, Russia, Berlin, and Japan. The fashion world continues to grow in strides.
But fashion is more than the fancy frocks one puts on to avoid walking around in one's birthday suit. It provides untold creative freedom for one's soul, the ability to produce a garment for which the body can serve as a canvas, is beyond creative. I have heard from countless artists that if it wasn't for the arts, they don't know where their lives would be now. That speaks volumes.
Some fashion houses, like Donna Karan are currently going to countries such as Haiti to buy products from native artisans, which creates a sense of pride and motivation. They're given the power to provide a living for themselves and their families. Priceless.
As I watch one of my dear friends Monica Phromsavanh, Creative Director/Founder at ModaListas, in New York City , it blows my mind. To think, this young woman started in fashion as a sales person at Burberry. She left such an iconic house to start her own on-line business, representing young designers, fresh out of school, giving them a platform to showcase their work during fashion week, providing them with PR, Marketing, and sales teams that would otherwise cost them a fortune and years to develop. Ms. Phromsavanh and her partner Marcela Arruda have in less than two years expanded their operations from an on-line business, to a brick and mortar location at the historical NYC landmark, Limelight Market Place (located on 656 Avenue of the Americas). They initially started out with just one booth of less than 100 hundred square feet, and now they take up the majority of the entire first floor. Talk about ambitious... (See Modalista on YouTube)
Then, we look at the peacock of our species, Devon Scott. I met this young man while throwing a party for NFL player Daniel Wilcox, while covering it for World Bride Magazine. Scott, from the moment he walked into the room had a presence that was undeniably memorable, from the well-tailored shirt, to the perfectly well-crafted suit. Men have limited options for fashion, so I appreciate a well-dressed man. Scott has dressed the likes of model Tyson Beckford. His showroom sits in the heart of the fashion district, where he sees his private clients, and buyers. This young designer is not a neophyte to the world of retail fashion. He worked at Jeffrey's New York in the Meatpacking District. Spending some time in Italy only fueled his passion even further. So it is no surprise that his collection has captured the eyes of the some of fashion's most affluent dressers.
No wardrobe is complete without the proper accessories. So I can't help but think of some of my favorite accessory houses, Bvlgari, Mikimoto, David Yurman, and Movado, to name a few. For unique and non-traditional pieces, my go-to person has been Christine J. Brandt, whose amazing use of natural resources, wood, gemstones, semi-precious stones, silver are beyond artistic. Brandt has single-handedly carved her way into the fashion world and continues to climb her way to the top. Not only are her unique pieces being sold in her Williamsburg showroom, but she has a presence in the US market and in Dubai . This coming September will mark her 7-year anniversary, and I just can't wait to celebrate it by adding a piece to my wardrobe. When I asked her what was the must have piece for every woman was, she suggested one of her signature cocktail rings. I am already one step ahead of the game, as the proud owner of a Christine J Brandt Original.
With each step that I take, I can't help but kick my feet up and realize, that beyond those red sole bottoms lays a world that women would die for. Nothing, I mean nothing, makes a statement about an outfit better than a great, not good, great I repeat, shoe. For as long as I can remember, starting from the three closets filled with shoes that my mother had, I have had an endless obsession with shoes and handbags. So, as I glance at my feet, wondering what possessed me this time to buy this particular pair of shoes (as it was my 15th pair of black shoes). Yes, 15 if you can believe it -- the Gucci stiletto with the silver Swarovski heel, the BCBG ballet slipper that I was forced to buy because my feet were on fire the last time I overstayed my welcome in my Chanel suede lace-up. My obsession with shoes is just as bad as my endless collection of bags, from Louis Vuitton shopping bag, my mini-office, to the beach bag, the vintage Chanel clutch.
I just can't be cured. Nor am I looking for a cure. But don't get me wrong, I love the unique, underground designer that is funky and a statement-maker, who you won't just find everywhere. Or if you've got the money, you can get this... My new must-have will come from African designer Aprelle Duany, who made her debut in New York City this past winter. Using authentic African skins, this young emerging handbag designer will definitely get a handle on the handbag market.
So it is with great anticipation that we eagerly await the next season of Fashion Week as it begins this January in Milano, leading with men of course. Let the games begin. Happy New Year!
See you on the catwalk.