Rumor Has It: Outnet.com Launching 4/16

So, for a few months now we’ve been teased with talk and speculation about theOutnet.comNet-a-Porter’s discount diva sister site where shoppers will be able to snag last season’s Louboutins, Diane von Furstenberg, Chloé and more StyleMaxim favorites for 40-60% off.  Well, we’ve received word that the much anticipated launch is rumored to happen THIS THURSDAY, 4/16!!  In the meantime, you can visit the site and register your name, kind of anti-climactic but still, it’s something.  We have officially begun refreshing the page.

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Obsessed with DVF: Brady Jacket Hot off the Presses!

You know we’re DVF-obsessed, right? Right! Here’s the scoop on the iridescent seersucker Brady jacket featured in the May ’09 issue of Lucky Magazine, page 166 to be exact.  After some serious detective work (ok, ok, we just called the number listed in the mag), we found out that the jacket will be available sometime in May and will come in Grey and Gold.  They’ve had so many people call in about the Peach version below that they are considering producing it!  We’ll keep you posted!

Diane Von Furstenberg Brady Jacket, $298

Diane Von Furstenberg Brady Jacket, $285

Saks’ Fashion Faux Pas?

Saks Fifth Avenue received much criticism last November when it jumped the gun with its huge pre-holiday sale and slashed pries by 70%. After seeing this month’s ad campaign, we wonder if there’s a big disconnect between what’s going on in the retail world and Saks’ marketing strategy, which seems very short-sighted and in poor taste (or totally brilliant).

The campaign, which features Communist propaganda-inspired ads designed by Shepard Fairey, revolves around a mantra of conspicuous consumption that Saks has actually been using for a few years now. “WANT IT!”, scream the ads un-apologetically in bold, lipstick red font – and yet there’s not much to want. Saks, like its luxury retail counterparts Neiman Marcus and Barneys, has cut the number of featured designers leaving anemic looking racks.

More importantly, last month, the Wall Street Journal ran a great little interview with Anna Wintour in which she articulated what we’ve all been seeing not only in terms of fashion, but consumer behavior in general; the emphasis has shifted away from materialism – anything “too Dubai,” as Wintour puts it – towards simplicity and quality. On top of that, those who are still purchasing luxury goods don’t necessarily want to make a big show of it. Don’t get us wrong – the campaign is great and we LOVE Shepard Fairey, but it’s just the wrong time and place.  So what exactly is Saks thinking – is this a desperate ploy amidst the rumors of bankruptcy, an ill-timed move or are we just being too sensitive? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Style Matters 2009 Recap

A fun, eclectic group gathered at The Foundation Lounge in Kenmore Square on Thursday, March 19 to sip delicious vodka cocktails, talk Spring fashion and Boston entrepreneurship and support Dress For Success Boston.  The event was produced by the BU Entrepreneurs of Boston University’s Graduate School of Management.

Among us were our good friends, Grace Shin Im (our MC and 1st Runner Up for Miss Massachusetts) and Aileen Benson, founder of Style Fashion Production (our production consultant and runway coach).  Also in attendance, was Kim Todd, the Executive Director of Dress For Success, as well as a TON of friends and entrepreneurs from Boston’s growing fashion/media industry.  Together, not only did we raise over $4,000 for Dress For Success, but we had an incredible time!

The highlight of the evening was the Spring Silhouettes fashion show, which featured looks from Nirva, our favorite Boston designer and Lit Boutique on Newbury Street.  Hair and makeup were done by Phillipo and his team at Phillipostyle Hair Studio.

Click here for more photos from this fabulous event, read the article on BostonFashionIndustry.com and watch a short clip courtesy of New Brahmin!

Gucci Boston Event

FAB Gucci Event 2/24/09

We have to hand it to the Fashion & Retail Association of Boston University (FAB) – it organized a wonderful private event for its members at the new Gucci store in The Shops at Prudential Center on Boylston Street.

We arrived with plenty of time to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and browse the store. Our Italian friend, Silvia – a long time Gucci aficionado and retail marketing guru – offered her perspective on Frida Giannini’s impact on the brand since she became Creative Director in 2005. Silvia is unimpressed with the recent crystal GG collection, but maintains that the classics (especially the original Jackie hobo) are must-haves for any serious handbag collector.

Patrick Valeo of Gucci

Patrick Valeo of Gucci

What we anticipated would be an intimate affair became quite a crowd as FAB members gathered to hear Patrick J. Valeo, Vice President of Stores for Gucci America speak about his career path and the state of Gucci.

Valeo, who has held positions at Baccarat, Kiehl’s and LVMH was suprisingly young, very personable and down to earth. He shared personal career anecdotes and tips for succeeding in the retail industry. Networking is key (“use LinkedIn to make and keep track of contacts”), as is being proactive (“I pass along every unsolicited resume I receive”) and taking the time to listen to both customers and employees is extremely important.  Although he addressed a primarily undergraduate crowd, he gave a shout out to the MBAs in the room by stating that “managing four walls” is one of the best ways to put MBA training to good use.

Valeo also made it quite clear that Gucci is in great shape and has plans to expand despite the economic climate.

Congrats and thanks to FAB for a great event!

Designer Profile: Carlee Santarelli

Carlee Santarelli, a native Virginian and graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, knew from a young age that fashion was her life.  It wasn’t until she began working for Sonya Ooten, however, that she discovered her passion for jewelry.  Carlee’s first entry into the world of jewelry design is with a lovely collection of rings.

We love to make a statement, so when Carlee sent us her signature vintage fabric cabochon rings, we were thrilled!  Each hand-made ring is undeniably bold and one of a kind.  Carlee tops recycled vintage fabric with a cabochon to magnify the beauty of each unique textile.

Rings are $50 and available exclusively through Carlee’s studio and select LA boutiques.  For ordering information, email Illona Szabo.

Men: The Secret to Great Style

If you get a chance, take a look at the video of last week’s Louis Vuitton’s Men Fall/Winter 2009/10 Show in Paris – for two reasons.  First, you’ll undoubtedly catch a glimpse of Kanye West getting really excited over the debut of his sneakers (right), which will be available at LV stores in June for around $500 (btw, leave it to Kanye to wear the shoes that are in the show to the show!).

Second, you’ll notice that the looks are surprisingly accessible, simple and really easy to find inspiration in.  When we work with men, we find that they often think there’s a secret formula or a set template that once we give them – will secure them a place in the well-dressed category.  “Just tell me what I should be wearing,” they say.  It’s not that simple, and yet, it’s actually simpler.  It’s a misconception that whatever comes down the runway is meant to be “the template” (perhaps this is something women understand a little better than men).  Templates change from season to season.  The key to sustainable style is finding inspiration in the little things – the way a scarf is tied or a coat is belted, an interesting color/texture combination – and working those things that appeal to you into your everyday look.  It’s not a quick fix, but over time, you’ll notice the difference.  That said, here are some of our favorite looks from the LV show.