STACY LOMMAN : NEW YORK - Luxury Apparel

STACY LOMMAN : NEW YORK  -  Luxury Apparel


Vamps in Vogue

Can The Twilight Saga actually be continuing so quickly? The third installment, Eclipse is coming to theatres in June. I seem to recall that we just went through this feverish frenzy over the Christmas Holiday because I have a friend who is nuts over these films. It looks like this obsession that America (or is it the entire world?) has with Vampires is still going strong.

Dave Vanian and The Damned: Shadow of Love, 1985

Why now? If Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise weren’t able to cause this kind of a stir after Interview with the Vampire, then who would have guessed Mr. Pattinson (a.k.a. Edward) could? Not me. I, for one, have always been drawn to and intrigued by the dark, gothic appeal of the Vampire. I thought Dave Vanian of The Damned was “all that.” He definitely set a trend of sorts, but it only reached a narrow group of people. The Goth look was certainly not mainstream; in fact, Goth’s were considered strange, outcast and people assumed they were witches.

Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt: Interview with the Vampire, 1994

Dave Vanian of The Damned

So, while Dave Vanian, Siouxie Sioux and death rockers in general were judged and scrutinized, Robert Pattinson turns into a worldwide heartthrob and Twilight becomes a major phenomenon. Go figure. I think we need to credit Buffy the Vampire Slayer with making bloodsuckers seem cool. Spike stole hearts of girls all over the country including that of my beautiful friend, WendyB! Wendy “hearts” him (click here to read Wendy's post and to see her heart and spike ring!!).

Spike from the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I’ve never paid any attention to the Twilight films, but they must have sunk in by osmosis. The first film of the series was released in the end of November, 2008. The same year, I dressed as Countess Dracula for Halloween, so either I was just ahead of the trend or Twilight got under my skin somehow. Eerie.

scary looking me as Countess Dracula - October, 2008
I snapped my own photos before I went out on the town... to hunt!!
*Don't worry mom and dad, I covered up with a cape!!

How long will this trend last? Who knows, but with bands like Vampire Weekend and shows like True Blood and Vampire Diaries all enjoying huge success, my guess is a while…

Vampire Weekend: Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, 2008


No SEX and No City

Sex and the City is kind of a misleading title for a film that takes place in a desert where sex is pretty much forbidden! Nonetheless, sexy siren, Samantha managed to get a smidge of action, though not without repercussions. Samantha (Kim Cattrall), pretty much stole the entire movie with her sharp tongue (you can read into that one, people!) and her hilarious antics. One of the best scenes was when a strappingly handsome Danish man speeds over sand dunes in a jeep and approaches the women and their hotel errand boys in the desert. As the gorgeous Dane drives off, Samantha collapses onto the girls laps in a faint of lust. “Lawrence of my labia,” she sighs. I know some people thought that joke distasteful, but I found it absolutely hysterical not to mention pretty damn witty.

Stacy (me) & Cleopatara/WendyB
both wearing WendyB 18K yellow gold and diamond Cleopatra earrings and I am also wearing the necklace!!

Forced puns and the type of cheese ball humor that I adore made the film light and fun. WendyB was telling me a story about a woman she knows who wrote a book about anorexia. “Is it a very thin book?” I asked. Ha ha. I’ll be here all night folks. Try the halibut, it’s fresh. This is the kind of necessary tongue-in-cheek that the film incorporates to avoid taking itself too seriously. Smart choice. After all, nobody is looking for drama in this movie. We got our share of that during the seven amazing years the show was on the air. At this point, it’s a party, a total girl’s night out, a fashion fest.

me (left) & adorable Jen Weitzman (right)

Last night, a posse of bloggers gathered to celebrate with dynamic jewelry designer, Wendy Brandes whose 18K yellow gold and diamond Cleopatra earrings appear in the film – one of the most iconic fashion films of all time! Shout out to WendyB! I suppose it was a coincidence that Samantha was wearing Ms. Brandes’ 4 ½” dangles in my favorite scene that I described above and we all let out a “Woohoo!” when they went in for a close up.

Kim Cattrall as Samantha in my favorite scene wearing WendyB 18K yellow gold and diamond Cleopatra earrings

Like the fabulous New York girls that we are, we met for cocktails before heading over to the Ziegfeld. The ever so glamorous and generous WendyB passed out 10 pairs of her Cleopatra earrings for all of us to wear to the show. I don’t know if it was because I had thousands of dollars of gold and diamonds dangling from my ears or simply the fact that they made me feel beautiful, but I walked with my chin a little higher as I pranced along with the other girls to the theatre. Heads turned. Tourists took our photo. We stopped traffic. OK, we didn’t stop traffic, but nothing can stop a NYC cab flying up 6th Avenue!

coy Tina (left) & sophisticated Ann (right)
wearing the silver version of Wendy Brandes Cleopatra earrings

After the film, we rallied the troops and made our way over to Benoit for more cocktails! MrB looked like a king surrounded with a harem of babes decked out in Cleopatra earrings. I thought at any minute someone may start fanning him or feeding him grapes! Actually, I have to give Wendy’s easy going husband kudos for dealing with all of us. And he was so proud of his wife; I think he would have worn a set of the Cleopatra earrings if Wendy had asked. Instead, he was outfitted with her brilliant Freud cuff links which suited him much better.

beautiful Tricia (left) & sultry Amy (right)

Here is a group photo with all of the lovely girls! (left to right): Tina (theoccasionalcook), Jen W. (40isthenewfabulous), Jen D., me, Amanda, Ann (holierthannow), Cleopatra/WendyB (wendybrandes,) Amy (midtowngirl), Alyssa,Tricia (fashionherald), Suzanne (ideefixe).


What's Old Is New - Third Installment

A while back I wrote about Cristobal Balenciaga and how the label sat fairly dormant for quite some time after the great designers’ passing, but came back strong in the 21st century, thanks to Nicolas Ghesquiere. Then, I posted about Pierre Balmain and the struggle the brand had after the designer died in 1982. Finally, in 2005, Christophe Decarnin rescued the brand. To complete the trilogy, I wanted to add Jean Dessés to the group although nobody has revived the label, it is making headlines again today.

Kristin Davis in Jean Dessés
Photo: Getty Images

Hopefully, most of you read my recent post about the Sex in the City 2 premiere in NYC on Monday evening. Kristin Davis (aka Charlotte) wore a marvelous, pink chiffon dress by the late Jean Dessés. I thought she looked flawless, although I would like to have seen some larger earrings since she kept her neck bare. Wendy Brandes’ Cleopatra earrings would have been PERFECT -- Kim Cattrall wears these amazing 18K yellow gold and diamond, 4 ½” dangles in the film.

click here to see Wendy's post about her fabulous earrings

Anyway, back to Jean. I knew that I had some information on the great designer somewhere at home so I pulled out my old book, Couture by Caroline Rennolds Milbank. There he was in the glossary hiding below the “Three Jacques” as I refer to them (or Trois Jacques); Jacques Heim, Jacques Fath and Jacques Griffe. Good grief! Jean, Jacques and Pierre. Is there anything else to name a French designer? Yes, of course there’s Yves, Hubert, Gabrielle, Christian… Somehow, this all reminds me of a scene in one of my all-time favorite slapstick films, Top Secret! Watch as Val Kilmer is introduced to the French Resistance...

This is hilarious!  And Val was so cute back then...

So, back to Mr. Dessés! Sorry, I am easily side tracked. You know my motto, “I’d have an obsessive personality if I didn’t get bored so quickly.” Jean Dessés is actually of Greek descent (born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1904). He moved to Paris to study law, but found a passion for design instead. Dessés started sketching dresses in his notebooks during class (like another great designer, Geoffrey Beene) and by 1925, he started selling his drawings.

Dessés black crepe dress, 1952
Photo: courtesy of Roger-Viollet from the book, Couture

Dessés worked as a designer from 1925 – 1937 at the Maison Jane in Paris and upon leaving, he opened his own house. Mr. Dessés worked in chiffon quite frequently and he fancied ombré fabrics. His elegant gowns were draped, twisted, gathered works of art often showcasing uneven hems. The designer was also fond of kimono sleeves, asymmetry and architectural manipulation.

the great designer in 1960
Photo: Willy Maywald from the book, Couture

In 1963, Dessés closed his business and retired to Greece where he ran the boutique he had opened there in 1955. He died in 1970. Occasionally, his pieces can be found in select vintage shops, one of them being Decades, where Ms. Davis apparently picked up her perfect pink frock.


The Girls Are Back In Town

So, as most of you are aware, Sex In the City 2 premiered last evening in NYC.  I was hoping to go to the premiere, but no such luck.  I guess it's not such a big deal because I would rather avoid the chaos and crowd and go see the film another time.  The only thing I missed last night was Jason Lewis :-) 

SJP in Valentino

Of course, I was curious to see what the ladies would wear!  What designers would they choose?  What colors would they wear?  Hair up or hair down?  These are all serious questions my taffetadarlings!

Kim Cattrall in Naeem Khan

I wondered if SJP would finally wear Halston and would Kim Cattrall wear Wendy Brandes earrings?  Well, the answer to both of those questions was, NO.  Apparently, Ms. Parker opted for an asymmetric, yellow dress from the Valentino Collection.  Ms. Cattrall was statuesque in an ornately embellished Naeem Khan gown and I could find no mention of her jewelry.

Cynthia Nixon in Carolina Herrera

Cynthia Nixon looked impeccable.  The sophisticated actress selected a strapless black, body-conscious Carolina Herrera dress -- the epitome of glamour.  All of the women looked amazing, but to my surprise I was most taken with Kristin Davis.  I suppose that I just associate her with her character, Charlotte, who is a bit of a "girly girl" for my taste.  But, Ms. Davis made (in my opinion), the best choice of frocks in her Jean Desses pink chiffon, columnar gown.  Her Desses dress was perfectly appropriate since the late designer was born in Alexandria, Egypt and was known for his complex draping that turned out a very refined look.  

Kristin Davis in vintage Jean Desses for Decades

Ms. Davis' gown seemed to evoke the feeling of the film more so than the others, but all the girls brought their "A game" Monday evening.  The one fashion tragedy that I did see was poor Miss Liza Minnelli.  WTF?

Liza Minnelli in... something horrific

All photos: Getty Images


Me Likey...

The last thing I need is a pair of shoes! But, I'm quite taken with these... ah, what's a girl to do?

Roger Vivier plaid rosette stiletto



Illustration by George Stavrinos for the New York Times
(dress design by Mary McFadden)

No... not STAVROS, I said STAVRINOS.  There is a huge difference between Paris Hilton's on-again, off-again man candy, Stavros Niarchos and the brilliant illustrator, George Stavrinos.  The latter was an amazing artist who sketched those fabulous Bergdorf's ads in the New York Times.

"Woman with Six Portraits" by George Stavrinos, 1980

Born in 1948 in Masachusetts, Stavrinos went RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) to pursue his studies.  After graduating (in 1970) and studying for a year in Rome, Stavrinos made his way to New York and soon after, his work started appearing in The New York Times, Gentleman's Quarterly and Cosmopolitan. In the 1980's he created a series of drawings that were used to promote the New York City Opera.

Stavrions sketch "Figure with Sculpture" for Bergdorf Goodman, 1979

Apparently, the master even *taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the 80's which was, unfortunately for me, prior to my days at my alma mater.  Sadly, the great Stavrinos passed away in 1990 at the young age of 42 due to complications from pneumonia.

"Ladies in Black Leather" by Stavrinos, 1984

Still, Stavrinos was one of my biggest inspirations despite his relatively short career.  I found the realism of his fashion figures refreshing.  I tried to copy his style to teach myself to draw, but I never quite came close to his genius.

*UPDATE 5.22.2010:  I received some information from Brad Harmann...
George never actually taught at FIT. This is a common misconception that I was able to clear up just recently. He did come in every so often to do a demo and review student portfolios and advise. But he never taught.


La Dolce Vita

As promised, I'm sharing a bit more of my leopard lined dress that I mentioned in my last post. Thank God I don't have to pay Roberto Cavalli any royalties for his patent absurd claim on the invention of leopard print!

busy Wendy Brandes poses with one her pooches, Henry, on their way out for a walk

The lovely and talented jewelry designer, WendyB (whose Cleopatra earrings are featured in the Sex in the City 2 film -- click here to find out where you can purchase these glorious dangles) for whom I designed this dress, offered to pose for a photo op. Doesn't she look divine? It's so rewarding to see my pieces on beautiful people (well, ALL of my clients are beautiful!).

chatting with her publicist

As most of you are aware, Wendy is an extremely busy woman, but she is one of the most glamorous people I know.  I've never seen her without a perfect pout -- I mean, her lipstick never moves.  I'm beginning to think she had it tattooed on like Michael Jackson's eyeliner, except that the color changes occasionally.  MAC cosmetics should seriously hire her as their spokesperson... if she could squeeze it into her schedule.

multitasking... getting dressed, reading the Style section of the Times while on the phone (and I think she may have been chewing gum!) 

Gigi needed attention too...


Can A Leopard Change Its Spots?

Roberto Cavalli, Spring 2007
Photo Credit: Firstview

I was at a little party last night and happened to have one of my new pieces with me to show my friend. The dress just happens to have silk charmeuse lining – leopard print. More on the dress in a couple of days, but in the meantime, I thought I would share a funny, little story.

my leopard lined dress

One of the girls at the shin-ding (and I can’t mention any names here), said, “Oh, we did an interview with Roberto Cavalli and he apparently told the writer that he invented leopard print.” We all chuckled at the idea of “inventing” something that has existed for centuries, not to mention a leopard is an actual animal so I don’t think anyone can really be credited with the invention of leopard print.

Norman Norell leopard bodice dress, 1949
Photo Credit: from the book "Couture" by Caroline Rennolds Milbank

Dolce & Gabbana leopard print dress, 2009
(left to right: Scarlett Johansson, Whitney Housten, Madonna)

“I need more of an ego,” I commented after we all decided it took a very egocentric individual to credit themselves with something so grand. “I am convinced I would be a more successful designer if I were just a delusional, self-absorbed diva, who felt that the world revolved around me,” I said.

Versace, 1991-1992
Photo Credit: Irving Penn for the book VERSACE for F.I.T. 1992-93

Now, I don’t have a problem with Cavalli, in fact, I like a lot of his work. I think some of it borders on the excessive, or tacky, but it all comes down to personal taste. He is a unique visionary, I’ll give him that. But, let’s be real; leopard print, pattern, skin, whatever, has been around for ages. Deal with it Roberto.


Final Reveal...

So the answer to the "Add it Up" post and the "Missing Ingredient" is below...

Sheer/Shimmer Nylon Knit with Nude and Blush Color Tulle and Shell Pink "Honeycomb" Skirt

Front View Bodice with Heat Transfer Gold Metal Paillettes 
Back View Bodice


Mad For Plaid

1977: Dan Aykroyd & Steve Martin as two "wild and crazy guys" (left)
Fall 2008: Dolce & Gabbana channel their inner Georg & Yortuk Festrunk (right)
Photo Credit (right): Firstview

What a versatile pattern plaid is. It can be classic, it can evoke nerdy, preppy or even punk. Plaid can be masculine or feminine and when worn as a kilt, sans skivvies, tartan can be traditional.

Fall 2006: McQueen tweaks traditional tartan
Photo Credits: Firstview

Craig Ferguson dons a kilt...

I am not preppy or very classic, so I prefer my plaid with a bit of edge. I also like to see it utilized in unexpected ways, whether it be in styling or in the fabric. After all, part of what makes up good design is the ability to creatively interpret things in ways that others have not.

always classic, Burberry

Fall 2009: Ralph Lauren's "Americana" plaids
Photo Credits: Firstview

UPDATE 5-12-10: "Spaceballs I has gone to PLAID!"