Behind the Scenes in NYC

Behind the Scenes with our fashion designers in NYC:  As a former NYC native, I was excited to do some family sightseeing at the Statue of Liberty, visit Ground Zero where two waterfall monuments have been built, naming all of those who passed during 9/11, eat fabulous food and of course,  SHOP!

wr-blog-3-chloeThe shopping in NYC can have your head spin with high end fashions and large chain stores that have cute fashion, but EXPENSIVE –  I was so excited to visit some of our biggest names in fashion to see what they had coming down the pike for fall- Marc Bouwer, WDNY, Indigo Thread Co. and the manufacturer who creates V by Vanessa Williams for Evine.

wr-blog-3-marcFirst stop – the meat packing district – a hot fashion mecca downtown just steps away from Ground Zero and Marc Bouwer Unlimited Headquarters.  Marc was the picture of a working designer in jeans and a t-shirt, working on a stunning gown for some of his big name celebrity clientele’s red carpet moment.  I saw racks and racks of fully beaded gowns, shirts, jersey gowns that he was adding crystals to and day dresses for spring!  He had bins and bins of jewels, trim, lace, Swarovski crystals and all color coded – an artist’s dream!  He began showing me the gowns wr-blgo-3-sequinsworn by celebrities, telling me who wore what and to which major event, and then showed me works in progress for us at Evine – let’s just say sleeves are BIG: bell sleeves, details on the sleeves, and faux suede.  I have his faux suede pants and LOVE them!  What would his fall collection be without a moto jacket in faux leather? Of course those are coming!  While I was there he had me try on some of his samples and I loved them!  They fit so well and his print is fun and inventive!  Marc is a genius with fashion and can make any body look their best – that is the ‘mark’ of a true designer.

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wr-blog-3-yellowNext was a visit to Warren Donner, fashion designer for WDNY.  Warren has been in the fashion business for 35 years and has impeccable taste for trends!  When I saw his studio it was well-organized by color story and I saw so many beautiful pale pink romantic blouses, full bell sleeves with chiffon, sequins galore for the holidays, faux fur chubbies in black and white, and one I wanted to take home featuring chocolate/pale pink and ivory.  He is a master at bringing us affordable trends that make bold and fun statements.  You’ll LOVE what is coming up!  Warren himself has a penchant for ‘Veuve’ and apparently a day doesn’t go by without a glass of his favorite champagne –  you won’t hear me complaining!

wr-blog-3-wdYellow is his color and his yellow Corvette makes a statement everywhere he goes – he drove me to his favorite restaurant, Mr. Chows downtown where everyone knows his name.

wr-blog-3-wd-vetteMy daughter, a budding fashion designer, experienced duck for the first time. Great ready for a fabulous fall line up from Warren!

wr-blog-3-wd-dinnerThe manufacturer who works with some of our most popular brands like Indigo Thread and V by Vanessa Williams is located in NYC, and Susan Gainsborg is instrumental in working with our celebrity lines and helping them to bring their ideas to life!  Vanessa is bringing us jeans in the fall, along with more accents of color that flatter all body types.  There are a few pieces from Indigo, as well – of course I loved the sleeve on this top!  wr-blog-3-white-bellIndigo is bringing you more of what you love in faux suede, tie dyes, tunics, dramatic sleeves, lace and earthy tones that are denim friendly!  we’ve got a lot of Fashion coming up on the calendar, with a big Fall Fashion Day on the list.  See you there!

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I Love Collecting

I love collecting.  But unlike people who collect to accumulate, I collect to use.  My Waterford collection gets quite the workout.  My home furnishings collected over time bring me and my guests great enjoyment.  And my not-so-secret obsession with luxury goods at bargain prices brings me extra excitement in life.  Remember: shopping is a sport and I went professional at the age of nine.

I never should have jumped on EBay.  But I did.  And there is nothing I can (or want) to do about it.

bk-blog-4-ebayYou know.  It seems crazy hearing about Ebay.  People gone wild with excitement and you just think your friends are foolish for spending their money buying something from some stranger on the other side of the globe.  And then, suddenly, something catches your eye.  For me, it was a pair of Puruti Crocodile loafers in mint condition in my size, that new would have been $2,400, which I couldn’t pass up for $130.

bk-blog-4-hermes-ribbonThen it was an Hermès scarf that I wanted to hang as wall art in my second floor landing: The Real Escuela Andaluza Del Arte Equestre.  The colors in red, gold and black just pop and it indulges my love for all things equestrian.  And then I spotted my prize: a rare edition of the Hermes Attrape Tes Reves in Hermès orange that made me hit the ‘Bid’ button again.  Luckily, I had the good fortune of coming across 12 huge, gold wooden frames with glass for $1 each that I’m able to get my contractor to rebuild to fit these silk scarves and other art I’ve collected for my home.  Each frame has saved me about $150- $250.

bk-blog-4-real-framedLooking back, I think I’ve bought more Hermès for others than I have for myself.  They receive new items, and I buy myself a mix of vintage and bk-blog-4-horsenew.  And that’s perfect.  They’re friends that appreciate great quality.  My favorite Hermès tie is one of horses in the most beautiful collection of colors.  May the patron saint of plastic bibs always watch out for me.

But hold your horses, there’s a bit of home schooling you need to do before you go crazy on the Bay.  Lots of luxury goods are knocked off left and right, and sell right beside the real stuff on so many websites.  My advice: learn about what you like and then proceed with caution.  The only thing worse than owning a fake is having paid authentic prices for your trifles.

And trifles they are: things of little value or importance.  Whether it’s race cars or clown figurines, Fiesta ware or velvet paintings of bullfighters, your real wealth is your health and that’s where your money needs to go first.

Back to shopping.  Now, if there was ever a person with a divining rod for luxury bargains, it’s my Aaron.  His first score in this sport since we met was a mint condition Gucci wool blanket that he found at a hipster resale shop for $39.  It was an odd item for them to resell, so likely they didn’t know that it sells today for $1,500.  His second score was a pair of vintage Ray bans made with solid 14K gold frames.  They’re worth about $525.  He got them for $30. Then, (because everything has to be done in 3’s :-0), Aaron bought me a black leather Dolce & Gabbana jacket that was new with tags (and still selling on their site for $5,000), which he grabbed for $100.

I’ve always said and I stand by it today: the world is a bargain if you know where to shop.  Whether it’s $3 or $3,000 . . . it’s only worth what someone will pay.

For those of you who are curious as to this legacy brand I collect:

HISTORY OF HERMÈS

A family-owned label for five generations, Hermès is the epitome of true class and the perfect picture of ‘blue blood.’

bk-blog-4-hermes-boxIn 1837 Paris, Thierry Hermès founded his namesake brand as an equestrian harness and saddle workshop. I wonder if he had any idea that he was creating a dynasty that people all round the world covet among the best brands in design and quality.

bk-blog-4-hermes-horse-logoIn 2016, Hermès luxury goods are sold new and resold pre-owned at jaw-dropping prices, because the lasting quality and designs are just that good.

Some notable points in Hermès History:

bk-blog-4-kelly-bag1929:    Hermès first women’s couture collection was previewed in Paris.

1930’s:  Hermès began to sell their products in the US in Neiman Marcus, New York.

1937:    The first Hermès silk scarf is born.

1956:    The Kelly bag debut after Grace Kelly carries a crocodile handbag to hide her pregnancy.

1984:    Actress Jane Birkin replaced her straw handbag (Thank God! See photos)with a leather Hermès handbag, and thus began the trend of the Birkin handbag.

bk-blog-4-birkin-bag2016:    The Birkin bag has the longest wait list for an accessory today, 6 years.

Remember the episode in Sex In The City when Carrie Bradshaw quipped that she would be “the woman who lives in her shoes”. Well, take a look at the tiny crocodile house that one might be living out of some day, should the money run out.  This Hermès handbag and/or future home could have been yours if you had only bid a single dollar over $300,000.00 on June 6th at Christies, NYC.

bk-blog-4-birkin-bag-saleKnow that you would not be the first person to find an Hermès scarf while thrifting.  A friend of ours found one for a dollar at Goodwill and sold it to someone in Japan for $450.  May the Vintage Gods be with you.

Please share your collections with me.  We will then know each other’s Achilles heel and can keep our eyes out for the must haves that excite us.

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Get out of your comfort zone!

As many of you know I’m the newest host here at Evine.  Taking the job a year ago followed many months of uncertainty and a visa process so lengthy it probably deserves a blog of its own!  I finally moved here from London in January this year.  Arriving in Minnesota in the middle of winter might sound like the worst time of year, but I had done my research, got some good boots and a big coat. With the beautiful houses and the snow it was like landing in Christmas-land!

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When most people talk about stepping out of their comfort zone, they think about doing something extreme like bungee jumping or leaping out of a plane.  But those are short, sharp shocks that are over quickly.  Moving to a new country, everything you do is new. New, job, new home, new people.  Even the car I drive (and the side of the road!) and where I buy groceries have all changed, so it takes a while to come down back to earth because there’s nothing familiar to come home to.  Plus, as there are so many decisions on a daily basis there’s no time to procrastinate!  You have to seize every moment, a way we often talk about in terms of living our lives but rarely get the chance to.

I’ve always had a love affair with America.  When I was little I used to watch Moonlighting from my bed and imagine that New York was outside my curtains.  I first went to New York when I was twenty years old and, in 2005, worked on the BBC documentary series ‘Soul Deep: The Story of Black Popular Music’ where we traveled the country interviewing some of the most influential names in soul music.  On my travels I’ve visited San Francisco, Las Vegas, LA, New York, New Orleans and Connecticut.  I’ve always found people in the US to be open, friendly and even an exchange with a stranger in a elevator can brighten my day.

Right place, right time..

Moving your whole life is a huge, but I had so many signs that this was the right place to be.  I’d lived in London for 10 years and always thought I would move after a decade but just hadn’t decided where yet.  Then my apartment building was sold and I’d be talking to my coach about moving to the States.  I was working in Dublin and walking down a street that could have been straight from Minnesota, thinking to myself that I always thought I would live in America one day and just weeks later I was approached by Evine!

In Minnesota, people are always curious when they hear me speak. “I love your accent”  is a daily thing, or “I could hear you talk all day” to which I say that can only be a good thing as I talk for a living and tell them they can watch me on Evine!  The question I get asked the most is, “What the biggest difference?” or “What do you miss the most?”  My advice to anyone going to live in a new country is to say your goodbyes to what and whoever you’re going to miss before you set foot on the plane, and look for connection rather than what’s different.

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When I first arrived I did miss being able to walk everywhere, as well as the architecture of London.  Unlike most Brits, I don’t crave PG or Tetley tea (British tea brands); I’m more of a Pukka girl when it comes to having a ‘cuppa’.  There aren’t any TV shows I can’t get online or live without.  In terms of fashion, I was sad to leave was my beloved Topshop.  I actually cried when I saw they’d come to Nordstrom’s – to see the familiar logo I’ve loved and worn for years in an unexpected place brought up unexpected emotions!

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There’s a French expression, ‘Vive la difference’ and ‘long live the difference’ is how I feel about living in America.  I love the four seasons that we have in Minnesota, I’m a water-baby (which you can read about in my last blog) so very well suited to lake-life.  I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of making new friends with the interests and person I am now.  I adore the weather here because, although Minnesotans refer to it as a short summer, three months is a cause for celebration and very different from our wet summers in the UK!

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Here’s my advice if you’re thinking about taking plunge and moving somewhere new:

Embrace the new

One of my mottos has always been ‘I’ll try anything twice’.  I hated sushi the first time, now I love it!  If you’re somewhere new you’re not the same ‘you’ so, be adventurous – you might surprise yourself!  When I came over last year, I went to the State Fair to sample the many foods on a stick and then drove to St Paul to hit up the yard sales.  A few months ago, I volunteered at the Minneapolis film festival; both to meet new people and so that I had to drive across Downtown in rush hour!  I often set myself ‘missions’ just to get myself up and out and about.

Laugh at yourself

Taking yourself too seriously can leave you feeling overwhelmed.  Another motto of mine is ‘Lighten up and let go’.  I like to try and laugh at situations and notice my negative self-talk.  Telling yourself, “I’m such an idiot” doesn’t serve you.  Try laughing at the situation rather than making it your fault.  We can’t all be comedians 24-7, but sometimes cracking up at a situation lightens the mood and gives you a new perspective.

Let yourself mess up

Things will go ‘wrong’ but, as a life coach, I’m a great believer that the only mistakes we make are the ones we don’t learn from.  Allowing yourself to fail allows you to grow.

*Pssst! I failed my written Minnesota driving test the first time and then spent two days revising the whole Minnesota drivers handbook!*

Make it your own

I’ve practiced yoga for 16 years and love to swim, dance and work out in the gym.

I bought my yoga mats with me and joined a studio the first week.  If your life is feeling all over the place, try and create your own routines to feel grounded and move your body to get those feel good endorphins.  I love the quote, ‘If Oprah has time to meditate you have time to meditate.’ (Even if I don’t always find time to meditate! 😉

Get out there!

Don’t stay in and wait for life to happen. Meetup.com is a great way to meet people with the same interests as you.  If you’re feeling you can’t go alone, post a message to say that you’re feeling nervous!  A lot of meetups wear wrist bands or something to make it easy for you to find the group. Go for it!

 

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