Friday, February 29, 2008


Angel Sanchez, who became a household name thanks to Sandy Bullock, continues to impress with his body-conscious, figure-flattering designs, like this purple floor-length strapless number.

Amanda Wakeley's graphic take on the gown breathes life back into the black-and-white look.

Bottega Veneta, always sophisticated and flawlessly draped . . . this eggplant off-the-shoulder dress with fishtail hem is breathtaking.

Jenny Packham, new on the scene, creates a fluttering cocoon-like gown. The neckline here is simply divine, and refocuses your attention on the decollete after you are awed by the draping of this elegant taupe chiffon. Made edgier by the bright red booties peaking out from beneath the full, floor-grazing skirt.

BEST SALES & MARKDOWNS!!, up to 70% off, end-of-season sale

Barney’s Warehouse - LAST DAY IS SUNDAY!

La Petite Coquette bra bins, up to 60% off (see Stella McCartney dress)


Intermix sample sale, ending this weekend at the Metropolitan Pavilion on W 18th Street - the next one is in August (see Derek Lam bag, 50% off)

more to come . . .

COOL SPOTS IN NYC - Fab Restaurants & Bars in Manhattan


36 E 4th St. betw. Lafayett and Bowery
* great wine and Italian eats - 9.5 rating on Citysearch

Bar Americain
52nd betw. 6th and 7th
* gorgeous space; must try homemade potato chips with blue cheese dipping sauce

120 Hudson St.
*famous brunch; good place to catch celebs in repose, with their kids, etc.

Cafe des Artistes
1 W 67th St (Cross Street: Central Park West)

* great people-watching, $$$

Chinatown Brasserie
380 Lafayette St. at Great Jones St.
* great "scene" and dim sum

Cube 63
63 Clinton St. betw. Rivington and Stanton
* byob sushi place, a fave of Gwyneth; tiny but awesome - must make a res and be on time!

Da Silvano
260 6th Ave.
* top Italian for 20+ years plus celeb hot spot

Dos Caminos
* outdoor tables - great for happy hour margaritas
when the weather gets nicer

* delish northern Spanish food and good DJ; try the fried goat cheese app!

Extra Virgin
w 4th St.
* celeb hot spot

68 Clinton St.
* excellent, inventive Italian (rec. by Dave from FI)

Highline Thai
835 Washington at Little West 12th
* 3 mod bars and delicious affordable apps

Il Baggato
2nd and Ave. A

St. Marks Place
* classic French bistro. Good lighting; great date spot!

La Mela
Little Italy

La Orange Bleu
* belly dancer - great for bdays

Le Souk
47 Avenue B at 3rd St.
* awesome Moroccan cuisine and belly dancer! Make a res., especially if you want "the bed"; good bar scene late night as well!

E. Houston at Allen St.
* excellent affordable tapas and good Spanish wines. Live music some nights

161 Ludlow Street
* excellent reasonably priced Spanish cuisine and cool bar scene

Little West 12th
* outstanding French cuisine and special events in interior garden in Summer

* nice newsletter about tastings and trips - really enthusiastic oenophile owner


Meatpacking, across from One
* despite being a tad overrated as a celeb-sighting spot, excellent steak frites - worth the wait

35 W 64th (212) 724-8585
* amazing cheeses

Room 18
18 Spring St. at Mott
* phenomenal tapas; go early and get one of the cushion-laden window banquettes

344 Bowery
*tapas - yummy small plates

190 First Avenue; 212-358-7171
* French Bistro w/ outdoor seating

1st Ave. betw. 10th and 11th
* awesome affordable tapas - must try bacon-wrapped figs!


Beauty Bar
231 E. 14th Street

* get a cosmo and a manicure at the same time -what’s better than that?

Bemelmans Bar
Carlyle Hotel, Madison Avenue at 76th
* luxe, lively piano bar with delightful wraparound mural by the author of Madeline
* best (free!) mixed nuts/snacks in the city

Buddha Bar
Little West 12th Street

* a tad overpriced but quite the scene - just don't go on a Sat. night because of the glut of B&Ts

East Side Toy Co.
102 Norfolk St (betw. Delancey and Rivington Streets)

* speakeasy vibe

Five Ninth
Meatpacking, across from Pastis
* renovated brownstone w/ hip bar scene downstairs and great eats up; unmarked entrance - big wooden door

Gansevoort Hotel (Penthouse Bar)
18 9th Ave. in the meatpacking across from Pastis
* $18 cocktails on cozy leather banquettes; great patio and pool

Hudson Hotel Bar
356 W 58th St. (betw. 8th and 9th)
* Philip Starke-designed space w/ floors lit from underneath, lucite chairs; great cocktails

Mercury Lounge
The Pink Pony
* funky hipster crowd and "library" decor; good for after-dinner coffee

Punch & Judy
26 Clinton St at Stanton St (Directions: F, V at Delancey St.) (212) 982-1116
* great chocolate fondue; excellent date spot

Shalel Lounge
65 W 70th @ Columbus
* good date spot

The Stanton Social
99 Stanton St. on LES
* must try the onion soup balls; great cushy banquettes - good place to take your date if you want to impress her!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


No longer is a poufy Cinderella dress the norm for gals walking down the aisle. Lauren Davis, for example, wore a custom-designed floor length Olivier Theyskens Couture feathered gown which the designer "sheared" to a minidress for the party (See VOGUE March 2008).

White is still customary, but a splash of color or band of black might be added. I positively ADORE the idea of wearing blue or green satin shoes with an ivory dress. Let it be noted, however, that Christian Louboutin has traded his signature red sole for baby blue when it comes to bridal footwear. Clever!

Above are some examples of dresses which may not have been designed with matrimonial pursuits in mind, but which would suit the occasion divinely. Top, a white Alice & Olivia gown is elegantly accented with black spaghetti straps and a wide black cummerbund waist. Bottom, Douglas Hannant translates the one-shoulder trend from day to evening, with a whisper-light silk gown trailing two thin sashes to the left, balancing the asymmetry of the design.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


CHAINS (2+ stores)
The Intermix, NYC
Barneys New York
Forever 21

Henri Bendel, NYC
Bergdorf Goodman, NYC
Hildegard's, Aspen
Stacy Gemma, NJ
Nature’s Emporium, Fair Haven, NJ

The Town Shop, NYC

Filene's Basement
Tuesday Morning

West Elm
ABC Carpet & Home
Smith & Hawken


You know that go-to outfit you can always rely on to get noticed, no matter what? It is like solid gold! Here are my favorite "Sure Things" for getting attention when I go out.

Most Complimented Clothing & Accessories:
1) DVF dresses. This woman is GOOD. I have NEVER gone out wearing a Diane von Furstenberg wrap and NOT gotten compliments. It’s a sure thing. I have a friend named Lo-Lo who is trying to get a DVF in every color and I don’t blame her!
2) D&G heels. Shoes may not come readily to mind when Dolce and Gabbana are mentioned, but the Italian designing due really has a knack for constructing unique and sexy slingbacks and peep toes that get everyone’s attention. The secondary line is amazing as well. Get a pedicure. Go to the store in SOHO and try some on. {And as long as you’re in the neighborhood, nip into Té Casan – the amazing new footwear Mecca to which celebs and mere mortals alike are flocking}
3) Ultra-long boot-cut jeans. The best ones are Rock & Republic. They fit like a charm and have the longest inseams. Girls, don’t shy away from the 34-26” inseam, even if you are short: you can get some fab platforms and make you and your legs look a mile long. Better too long than too short, I always say. One caveat: don’t let your pants pool around your feet. You want to have a small break, and avoid letting the rear hem scrape along the sidewalk. Nothing looks sloppier than a muddy cuff. Skinny jeans are great, too . . . if you are skinny (see Stella McCartney's, courtesy Net-a-Porter).
4) Hair Extensions. Don’t scoff! These are an easy and fun way to play dress-up, and people are sure to notice your gorgeous locks, but they’ll never know that the extra length is faux as long as you match your color correctly. Err on the dark side, because the lower layers of your hair naturally have deeper tones. Ask your colorist if you’re not sure. [Btw, the best colorist in nyc is Hubert Cartier at Frederic Fekkai in Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue. Well worth the hundreds of dollars he charges for double process color.] Back to extensions: Jessica Simpson really does have a wonderful line. Her “Hair Do” clip-ins are phenomenal and affordable. Go to They have periodic sales and you can get everything 20% off. Also, they say that the extensions can only be worn a few times but I’ve had mine for over a year and worn them to nearly a dozen events and they are still going strong. Have fun with it! The hardest part is not blurting out:”They’re extensions!!” when people comment on how amazing your hair looks tonight.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Fellow Fashionistas, I am well aware that it is not yet March, and I have just listed the must-haves for Spring 2008 (see below), but I have just viewed a lion's share of the runway shows from Milan, London, Paris and New York [if you are so inclined, has excellent coverage of the tents in Bryant Park and other fashion meccas], and I feel compelled to begin my shopping list. Not only can we keep an eye out for end-of-season deals that fit the bill, but we can assess our closets and determine what to pull out of cold storage (hi, leg warmers!) and what to buy.

> Winter White, particularly in layers. You can even throw in some nudes here. Sweater dressing is definitely still IN. See interpretations by Blugirl, Tuleh & Verrier, above. Note that beige, light blue and white look SO chic together!

> Anything plaid. And don’t be afraid to mix & match. See photo at left of the D&G show, where tartan tights were paired with a dress of similar checks in different colors. Brazen, unabashed, commendable.

> A textured or furry dress, preferably cinched with a wide belt. There are amazing contributions here by Burberry Prorsum, inter alia

> A floor-length coat or some other interesting topper. See Aquascutum's full-skirted version, left.

> Crazy patterned tights. They are cheaper and thinner than pants, and they allow you the freedom to wear ridiculously short minidresses with wild abandon. I am absolutely in love with The site is delicious and the selection is incredible. Pucci-esque and Versace-inspired sheers and opaques, even thigh-highs, in over 50 patterns. Wow!

> An interesting, possible outre, hat. Practically every designer sent at least one gamine gal down the runway with a gorgeous cloche or woolen cap of some sort.

> A gorgeous blouse. Something complex and/or sheer fits the bill. See, for example, Temperley and Balenciaga, below.

> More Florals! Yes, the flower has staying power. Flora dominated the runway for Spring, and it is carrying over into the Fall Collections, particularly in Paris. Check out Christian Dior's plantings...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar Fashion Review

The best & worst of Oscar 2008:

I jotted these observations down last night as I watched the show. I was shocked that the interviewers didn’t ask many people that oh-so-popular-question, “Who are you wearing?” So in most cases I have not specified a designer. I will go back and modify as more information becomes available. I just wanted to put my two cents in before US Weekly and Stacy London trash all my favorite outfits!

Flawless as usual:
1) Penelope Cruz, in a gorgeous feathered strapless gown, I am guessing by Chanel Couture? And I absolutely adored the half-up hair, cascading down her back.
2) Cameron Diaz – I loved her bustle back peach strapless dress.
3) Heidi Klumdelish! The bold-shouldered red gown really suited her. She was the superstar of the red carpet.
4) Nicole Kidman. Incredible, and loved the multi-strand necklace.

Nice Surprises:
1) Miley Cyrus – red cap sleeve, maybe a little grown up but she looked happy and exuded confidence and often, that can make all the difference!
2) Amy Adams – a bit safe with the black strapless, but the sweetheart neckline of this gown was just stunning!

1) Fortunately, RED was the color of the evening. Unfortunately, two lovely actresses wore nearly identical dresses. First, there is Anne Hathaway, who wore a one-shoulder red gown with what looked like a misplaced lei across her chest. It She was eclipsed by Katherine Heigl, who wore an even better asymmetrical crimson number. It fit better, was more flattering to her shape, and furthermore, she looked more confident wearing it. I’m not saying these women looked bad, just that it’s a shame they were dressed like twins.
2) More support for my thesis that RACHEL ZOE IS EVIL. Previously, I hated her for her bobble head and overrated talent as a stylist. Now I dislike for a real reason: she is a total hypocrite! After telling of the New York Times, “I would never put a girl in black on the red carpet. . .
She brazenly made poor Jennifer Garner (who admittedly cannot dress herself and actually gave credit to the little vole Zoe on the red carpet for selecting her gown) wear, you guessed it: a black dress. The gown was strapless, and textured with ruching, so it wasn’t run-of-the-mill. But Zoe made a fool of Garner. I hope she is eating her words today (because we know she won’t be eating anything else). I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but if your JOB is to dress people, and you are extremely overpaid to do it, don’t make blanket statements or act like you are too good for everyone’s favorite color. I have heard that WOMAN is the new black, but I don’t think that’s a reference to garments.
3) Keri Russell. Oh No! The dress might have worked if it had fit better and been in a bolder color. As it was, the nude strapless gown was swimming on her in the bust, and just accentuated the fact that the girl needs a sandwich. Is no one going to comment on how scary skinny her arms are? I would rather have her chubby with a bad haircut, a la Felicity circa 1999.
4) Rebecca Miller, Daniel Day-Lewis’s wife. I mean, I know you wanted him to shine and all, but did you have to get dressed in the dark? Too many layers! Strange jewels!
5) Ellen Page. I guess she is hoping for career longevity, and one of those “How Far She’s Come” spreads in Elle Magazine in 10 years. I am hoping that this matronly frock was a self-conscious error. And who told you that you could wear a third grade ponytail on the red carpet? Brazen disregard for all that is holy on Academy Awards night.
6) Kelly Preston. Orange not a good shade for her. As my ex-boyfriend once told me: “That color flatters a tan.”
7) Jennifer Hudson. She just can’t get it right, the poor thing. I don’t think André Leon Talley was responsible for this disaster, at least. She looked inflated. Literally. And since when are plump girls allowed to wear white? I know I must sound like the heartless Jone Rivers, but please!
8) Hilary Swank. I know the one-shoulder thing is all the rage right now, and I think Ms. Swank has a gorgeous body, but this Versace gown simply doesn’t flatter a muscular build. She looked a bit Me Tarzan, You Jane for my liking.

Tilda Swinton. Velvet BAD. Velvet drapes VERY BAD. How could anyone who cares about this woman let her into the limo looking like that? When you have a nice figure, I want to see more of it that just your forearm. Welcome to L.A., my darling. Show some skin, Best Supporting Actress!

So these are my thoughts, unaided by outside information and influences. What do you think?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

THE GOOD, Part Deux

A. I've got High Fashion in Low Places
Now we all love couture, and of course are all waiting with baited breath for the Academy Awards Red Carpet to begin in a few hours, but let us try to economize from time to time, shall we? Here's how to look fab without breaking the bank. And don't shy away from a high/low mix a la Sienna Miller. Keep everyone guessing!

Great Finds at:
  • Old Navy (hello bikinis and scarves, layering tanks)

  • Forever 21 (j’adorable boy briefs and cocktail rings; the occasional fab dress)

  • Loehmann’s for high-end, obscure designer pieces. It's hit-or-miss, but you can stumble upon a Roberto Cavalli gown or a great pair of Michael Kors shades.

  • Kohl’s [gulp!]: Vera Wang has some nice pieces there – but not everything is passable, so shop skeptically, as you always should anyway.

  • Target (Isaac is leaving at the end of the year, but there are still other second lines, from Jovovich-Hawk and Loeffler Randall, for example)

B. Sometimes it's rather enjoyable to remind oneself of life's pleasures. So here are A Few of My Favorite Things:
- Starbucks triple lattes
- The Times crossword
- Free samples [kinerase will actually FedEx you a bunch if you make a request via their website – what dolls!]
- Virgin magazines (unopened, untouched, glossy and hot off the press! Just got my Spring Issue of the Bible, aka VOGUE, yesterday – every page a delight!)
- McDonald’s black & white shakes
- Warm Brie & Granny Smith Apples
- Anything by Designer La Petite Salope – delish corset tops and dresses, ideal for all little strumpets!!
- My frozen yogurt guy at 90 NUTS on Broadway
- The Sunday Styles
- Good plastic surgery
- The new Macbook Air
- J Brand skinny jeans
- Throw pillows
- B&W photography
- Positive Feedback on ebay
- Fresh strawberries, preferably with crème fraiche
- Dressing up!
- Picnics (even in the winter – have you tried using one of those reflective lightweight metal “blankets” favored by hikers? You can actually picnic in the snow!!)
- Wrapping presents
- Luxe lingerie [see the A-list from March, above]

Saturday, February 23, 2008


This being one of the gorgeous Northeastern snowy mornings, I thought I'd devote today's entries to other things that are uplifting.

A. Genius Ideas that we wish we had thought of or really delight in:
* Bra strap extenders (if you just HAD to have that Kiki de Montparnasse bra but it's a tad snug around the midsection, adjust the band for a mere $1.39 with Dritz® Bra Back Extenders, on
* You love your sexy kitten heel mules but they slip off and make a wretched slapping noise when you walk down the stairs or try to tiptoe out of your office on a Friday afternoon unnoticed. Then you need Heelstraps! They are ingenious little contraptions that wrap around your shoes and your foot, binding them together in a comfortable, temporary manner. And they're just 2 for $9.99 at They come in a variety of colors, including clear. So no one will be the wiser and nothing will detract from the innate beauty of your Jimmy Choos!
* The Infinity Scarf. Hello! We all look so silly searching for the end of our Paul Smith wool neck wrap after dinner, struggling to put it back on just so before heading back out into the brisk evening air. So why not have a neverending scarf: a big circle of fabric that has no beginning and no end. Kind of like an wedding band for the unwed. Enjoy (see Alexander Wang's modal and silk version, e.g.).

B. Awesome Websites
* A guide to all that is chic and fabulous in major cities across the globe. If you haven't discovered it yet, you simply must subscribe. And btw, dear Readers, I am not on the payroll of any of the brands I endorse here on CoutureCarrie, just an avid shopper and reader. As Dailycandy says, "No Pay for Play". Although no one has offered me any money yet, so I reserve the right to change my mind!
* - Doesn't pretend to be anything more than what it is: a website dedicated to photographing celebrities. The descriptions are less offensive than those on tmz, and there is never any white "graffiti" littering the pages a la perezhilton.
* - For the whereabouts of my favorite celebs in the Big Apple. NOT because I want to follow them around [hello Jack stalking Kevin Bacon on Will & Grace!], but because I do enjoy learning about how the better half lives. I am not saying that I am dying to get into Butter, but I have been to Bungalow 8 and it really is nothing to sneeze at. There is a reason that rich people frequent the places that they do, and it's not simply because they are highfalutin. Although I would avoid Sarafina and the Meatpacking on the weekend. If I see one more actress having Sunday brunch at Pastis and acting shocked to be photographed, I think I am going to hurl.
* I don't exclusively prowl celeb sites. I also luuuuurve to shop, and I am truly in ecstasy when I can get my favorite designer duds (a) immediately and/or (b) cheaply. This online store has an excellent and varied stock, ranging from low-end items like hanky panky low-rise thongs (which are the BEST, you simply must pick up a few pairs) to Designer lovelies from Derek Lam and Proenza Schouler. What is more, at the end of each season [read: 2x per year], shopbop does the most amazing thing, putting thousands of items on sale for up to 70% off! Last year, I got a $900 Karl Lagerfeld long tuxedo coat for a few hundred bucks - incredible! And this year, I picked up a few backless T-Bags dresses for a mere $52.80 each. See the photo here on my blog of the bright, unique patterns which are now the intellectual property of the L.A.-based designer. Furthermore, the customer service reps are knowledgable and get back to you promptly when you have requests or product questions. The only downside: they do not (YET, hopefully) carry size 41/11 shoes . . .
* Even though it's offensive that they call themselves the BIG O, there really are some sweet finds if you check often enough, particularly in housewares.

This entry is to be continued, and of course it will be followed, in time, with THE BAD and THE UGLY, because I just can't help myself. Would LOVE your feedback, blogophiles. Any other genius ideas out there that we should enumerate? xoxo, Gossip Girl (oh wait, just kidding)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Must Have Items for Spring 2008

Okay, so we’ve all just finished watching the Fall 2008 Runway shows, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, we must enumerate the MUST HAVE items for Spring 2008:
· A Unique Trench, either patterned or sheer (high end see Jil Sander and J. Mendel; low end, see Bebe). Above: Christian Dior zebra print, Heatherette red stripe, Richard Nicoll chiffon.
· Perfect lightweight slim [not skinny] jeans; straight leg, dark denim. I really adore J. Brand, but if you have the means, Chloe has an awesome pair as well. Go to
· Wide Leg Pants. I must admit, I am not a huge fan generally speaking, but with the right blouse and ultra-high heels, the high-waisted sailor trouser can be quite fetching. See, inter alia, Peter Som, Chris Benz, Felix.
· Sculptural and/or hand-painted Heels. Marc Jacobs and Dries van Noten have the most ubiquitous pairs, but if you are on a budget, try Stuart Weitzman
· Something Bright. Make it a frock or jeans, whatever you can handle without feeling like you are in costume. Loving Philip Lim and Ralph Lauren, but even Banana Republic has some cute pieces in bold shades.
· Something Sheer. Aside from the trench, which is an amazing layering piece for spring, consider some sheer pants. They are a bit looser than tights, and of course you will wear them in the same manner, under a tunic or dress. I also fancy a pair of those chiffon gloves that are featured in Louis Vuitton’s latest ad campaign. Although I would prefer to spend less than $700, so I am going to get mine from
· A Safari-Inspired Piece. I am truly taken by the adorable Old Navy khaki romper I am seeing splashed across the pages of all my glossies, but I am fairly sure that only models [and toddlers] can pull it off. So I am endorsing a more staid adaptation, either in the form of a blazer or a shirtdress.
· A Really Fun Dress! Girls, work with me here: Get something adorable and kicky that you are proud to put on and that doesn’t require Spanx (I am not a fan – see the “scuba suit” scene from St. Elmo’s Fire) or any other hoisting/squeezing/corseting. If you need help to get into your outfit, reconsider the combination. I am absolutely drooling over T-Bags, the eponymous L.A.-based line of flirty patterned dresses and tunics. Check out fab steals on shopbop and ebay. I am also admiring the numerous one-shoulder dresses out there for Spring, especially those by Diane von Furstenberg. And florals are IT as well. Dolce & Gabbana is preferable, but Simply Vera by Vera Wang at Kohl’s is tolerable.
· A Wide Belt or 2 (or 10!). If you don’t already have one, it is time. They are ultra-flattering and timeless. You should have one leather cincher, preferably with multiple buckles, and one trendier wide belt, either in a bold shade or in a more outré fabric. No need to go Designer here, gals. While I love what Fendi is sending down the runway, you can really do alright at the Junior’s Department at Nordstrom. If you ARE going to invest, make it in cowhide, not suede. And for Pete’s sake, start taking care of your leather pieces. Maintain them with the proper moisturizing and polishing, and they will last you a lifetime. Hey, don’t you want to pass on all your fab clothes to your daughter(s) someday? We mustn’t let those Guccis and Puccis languish in the attic!

Anything I am missing here? Let me know!

Many thanks to New York Magazine for these amazing runway pictures!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Intro.: Fashionista

Helllllloooooo fellow fashion devotees! I've decided that it's time to start documenting my obsession in a more public way. Having undertaken a successful ebay retail business and begun my search for a career at a top mag, I am now ready to publish. Tune in for tips, ideas, info., opinions, and elucidation of even the most obscure trends.

For starters, I want you all to know my favorite shopping websites so you'll get a sense of my tastes:

Favorite places to shop IRL:
Barney's Warehouse Sale (2x per year in nyc: late Feb. and late Aug., gals!!!)
Target (just picked up a tiny floral triangle bikini from the New Jovovich-Hawk line - adorable!)

My Top Designers these days:
Burberry Prorsum
La Petite Salope (see dress pictured above; just bought it on ebay!)
Stella McCartney

Have recently begun a quest for the best luxury lingerie and have narrowed my search down to the following purveyors:
Malizia BY La Perla
Kiki de Montparnasse [did everyone note that Lucy Liu wore an incredible bra and panty set from this collection in last night's episode of Cashmere Mafia?]
Elle MacPherson Intimates
Spoylt - delish corseted bras

TV shows I won't miss:
nyctv 25's coverage of Fashion Week
SATC reruns
Lipstick Jungle
Cashmere Mafia
Gossip Girl

I want to hear YOUR ideas and opinions about anything fashion-related, from the banal to the stupendous. Feel free to comment anytime!!