Monday, December 20, 2010

Lights all a-glow

As we started to pack up for the festivities to come in the days following, our eyes kept catching on a new glint in our jewel cases: Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer’s spring-inducing collection of hand-woven neon jewelry.

The collection rendered by Mayer and inspired by artist, Genger’s rope-like sculptures, is a true collaboration, and representative of the creative cores of both designers. Genger’s work is at once simple and monumental, challenging the eye and space it occupies. Mayer is joyful in her approach, and capable of hard and soft – as evident in the splashy colors of rope, intertwined with gleaming dark chains.

The collection has been adapted to the runway work of designer Victoria Bartlett of VPL, and Lela Rose – arguably opposite ends of the ready-to-wear spectrum, and has instant tactile and visual appeal. Wonderfully vibrant statement necklaces will anchor floaty frocks come spring break. In the interim, thick bracelets that are light as a feather stand in for an updated, season-less take on the classic Nantucket rope bracelet. The new film, TRON comes to mind with slick silver, deep blues and pops of orange and yellow – buy now, wear now, and wear later!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cherries in the Snow

It was once the name of a Revlon lipstick worn for ballet performances. We were struck this week while updating the arrangement of collections at debut that the idea of this moniker applies to fashion in a new way: it is freezing outside, yet pink, fantastical concoctions still work this time of year. Think of The Nutcracker’s Dew Drop or Sugarplum Fairy – ladies who wear the frothiest, sparkliest of costumes with aplomb. It’s time to shed the black and Barbour jackets for a few weeks of parties…

If Dew Drop were to step out of her conjured universe, and into the New York social whirl, she might look to Elisa Palomino for her wardrobe. Palomino has been on a swift ascent following her debut collection presented during New York’s Fall 2010 Fashion Week. She is a nominee for Franca Sozzani’s “Who Is On Next”, yet possesses a deeply integrated and pertinent body of work, from Moschino to John Galliano, Christian Dior Haute Couture, Roberto Cavalli and finally Diane von Furstenberg. There is no shortage of whimsy, creative forces or technique in her repertoire.

 A cherry-picked group of Palomino’s pieces hangs at debut, including a fuchsia velvet mini dress – Twiggy might have worn this with sweet ballet flats – a snowy hand-knit shaggy sweater, and the loveliest chiffon layered gown we’ve seen off the runways as of late. We’re feeling the romantic pull of this long and bare look, anchored by warm knits, or a sporty vest (Palomino’s is fitted, shell-pink, and hand-painted with white flowers). Perfect with rugged heeled boots at a dinner beneath a glowing antler chandelier, and the mistletoe. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010


MAWI, the standout new accessories collection we wrote of last week, has already developed a loyal following, which we hinted at. Namely one lithe, bob-haired Brit who appears in this Sunday's New York Times Style Section. She's been marked as that ineffably cool, international girl - the one who wears flats with ball gowns and a denim jacket, and still has a trail of admirers - male and female from Los Angeles to Tokyo. It would be easy, but a bit boring to wax poetically about "it-girls" we'll leave you with an image. The endorsement has been made:

Debut will soon receive this collection favorite - a jewelry box cluster of mixed gold and silver-plated chains, with pale sky-gray costume pearls, and a delicately suspended sapphire and skull charm. You'll need one for you, one for your sister, one for your mother...the list goes on.

For inquiries and to pre-order, please call Debut at 212.343.2717

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Future Pre-History: MAWI

There is something comforting and eternally right about costume jewelry; it’s as if the pieces are proven keepsakes before purchased. The history and technique – not to forget the unusual and often twisted material elements – that are involved with the art are inherent and essential. And something about the quirk factor and variant nature of costume pieces appeals to an inner sensibility of the soul.

Take Mawi – London-based, naturally (home of effortless, top-notch quirk) – a new collection of hard-edged metal and brilliant or darkly-colored gemstones dappled by a skull and spike motif for the Autumn/Winter collections. They traverse a line that can best be described as “upstairs-downstairs”. Picture a family of chic women: the matriarch with her mother’s chandelier earrings, baroque pearls and gold-leaf foiled necklaces, which she keeps stored in soft velvet boxes in the master suite; the daughter, who grows up admiring and then stealing away the jewels for nights of dancing. Perhaps she pins a brooch to the slick satin lapel of a menswear tuxedo blazer. Then she winds a tangle of metal and weathered gemstones around her wrist. It all takes on a vibrant new personality, while maintaining the past life.

Mawi’s respect for the elegance and stature of yesteryear’s work is ever-present, and enhanced by a strict motivation for contemporary craftsmanship and design. Gold plating becomes futuristic in aerodynamic tubes encircling the neck. Hematite spikes and jade crystals trump the dusty diamond multitudes roving private clubs. Each as unstoppable as the next in visual punch, and simply put: mesmerizing, just as the costume jewelers of days past intended. 

In order of appearance:
Gold plated Sunray Tube Necklace - $585
Hematite plated Onyx and Crystal Skull Necklace - $630
Gold plated Jade and Crystal Skull Bracelet - $495
Assorted Drop Earrings: $315 - $360
Gold plated Double Claw "ruby" Crystal and Spike Bracelet - $608

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bananas for Loquita

We wrote about Loquita’s silken scarves this summer, which have since wafted off the shelves and onto the shoulders of many. Mesh-like, yet substantial…cool-handed, but with texture, the prints range from classic chain link to just south of twisted (pink and red guns, vintage axes interspersed with Swallows). Why, you might ask? Why not – the scarves are, in a word, perfect.

Everyone will wear these, whether self-bought or received tumbling from a neat white gift box in the weeks to come. Now Loquita has taken us again, not with a print, but with a new take on the scarf: soft, deeply-hued fox furs backed in silk twill prints. The pieces are meant to be add-ons for fall and winter, worn beneath the lapels of an overcoat or tuxedo blazer for added warmth, or looped over a slim sweater.

In two variations: a simple circle, a bit like a snood (that will also lie flat, as a shawl), or a cravat-like version, clasping just below the collar bone – the finishing element to all we’ll wear these coming days. While today is rather warm for mid-November, we feel like peacocks as we write and wear our new Loquita – something of the decadence of the 20s, when women wore mink and had dresses for different times of day, feels present when cozying up to silk and fox. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

That Timo Year

We first wrote about Timo Weiland this Summer, introducing our readers and customers to the fresh collection of polished dresses and separates. The confections rapidly became essential for girls dashing off to weddings, or looking to simply feel pretty and uncomplicated.

The need to strategize how to wear, or categorize one’s existing closet and where a “Timo” piece might fit is entirely unnecessary. It works as follows:

1. See dress/blouse/coat/blazer
2. Try garment(s) on
3. Smile at self in mirror; admire a bit longer than necessary
4. Reconsider that office mate's holiday party; make mental note to RSVP
5. Take home; wear again, again and again
6. Freely accept all compliments

Timo is a Southern born gent who knows how girls dress. He resides presently in New York surrounded by pretty things, and with business partner Alan Eckstein continues to put forth bright new – totally timeless – looks.

Take a phoenix-red pleated swing dress and pair with tough black ankle boots or sweet ballet flats. Top with a lean camel blazer with teardrop hemline, or take the latter out with denim and riding boots to Sarabeth’s for brunch.

A mother’s jewel box was surely raided for the emerald and jade tones Timo whirled together for his washed silk wonder – a mini dress with flowing cape clasped by skinny blue satin belt. The colors cascade over one another and the movement is fleeting but perfect – American sportswear for late nights to come. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

That Touch of...

We remember as children reading our first magazines, perhaps even a few young adult-style novels with variations on a phrase that stuck with us: “Furrier to the Stars…” Surely, if a woman had a go-to fur specialist, she had made it in life. The effect of a silver screen beauty clutching a pelt over her figure epitomized a certain cozy glamour that is absent from the slink of an evening gown or cling of a cashmere cardigan.

Chubby fox and silken minks had – and have – an immediately catalyzing effect, and lasting allure for those who are comfortable with the concept. Like a good fragrance, a good fur is rare, personal and lasting; passed down between generations of women, who alternately step out in the finery, or choose to safe-keep the piece. Little girls grow up catching at the hems of coats, and falling asleep beneath them. The history and craft of furs is at once storied and ever-present.

When a young man working in Paris by the name of Quentin Veron came to our attention, we were curious: here was a person creating and building a business around the controversial but enduring fur trade, and in a very modern way, staging carefully styled and highly inspired runway shows. The theatrics at once amplify and belie the truly beautiful work.

Shaggy white Fin Raccoon and moody Curly Lamb with Ink-purple Fox trim offer an entry for those not in pursuit of their mother’s fur. Classic auburn and black fox are formed into circular vests that rest on the body with a sense of buoyancy. The shrunken jacket is present, to top the evening gowns of future sirens and passed down to stylish women for generations to come…the past marches forward, energized by the future as envision by Veron.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The quest for IT. The ineffable qualities of must-haveness. The existence of perfect proportions, materials and minute details that, while imperceptible from afar, constitute THE bag every woman must own. Rare indeed. If anyone knows how to seek out and render these characteristics, it would be designer Sang A Im-Prop. 

Hailing from South Korea, Sang A embarked on a very early, enduring and highly successful career as a dancer and true pop star. Through the creative channels so oft-associated with performance, Sang A cultivated an identifiable and influential sense of style, and was drawn increasingly to fashion as a profession. On her own volition she took a right turn – no pun intended – and traveled to New York City, enrolling at the Parsons School of Design upon arrival.

For Spring 2006 she launched her namesake collection of exotic skin handbags with catchy names, a carryover from her record deal days. Inspired by downtown New York street attitude, and the exotic skins and construction she researched in the workshops of European luxury houses, SANG A hits a mark that straddles high concept design and visual gratification.

SANG A's colors, materials and shapes have near-addictive, instant appeal. From moody, multidimensional metallic pythons to fantastic, trippy seasnake, croc and mink. The POP is an elongated bucket style with shoulder and handheld straps. MINI POP is an abbreviated, but still roomy version of POP. And this holiday season will undoubtedly see a lot of the FLASH, a signature angled clutch, in crimson metallic fish and stardusted leopard suede.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Recessionistas

“After everything that’s happened…”
This line has become a common kickoff to discussions evolving around Manhattan’s financial profile as of late. Now, more than ever, spending, speculation and savings are intrinsically and necessarily linked; we try our best to remember the fallible nature of our system, while keeping in mind that life is to be lived and enjoyed.
Oddly, in the aftermath of meltdowns it is the consumers who have become beacons of hope. The old Lipstick Index and Hemline Diversity concepts have been recalled, and our Mayor champions the fashion industry with Fashion’s Night Out – a global event. Spending tendencies are tracked, and acknowledged as indicative of a healthy market, specifically with regards to the fashion industry.
People have reemerged with an invigorated, if slightly altered approach to shopping: mulling over purchases before splurging when the moment and object in question are right. At début we celebrate this educated consumer.
We will also celebrate this Wednesday, October 20, the appropriately titled novelThe Recessionistas, by Alexandra Lebenthal. The author, impeccable and as fashion and business-savvy as they come, will hold court at the boutique, and autograph copies of her glossy hardcover. Of course we voraciously read the book, and insist that The Recessionistas must be read by any and everyone – it documents the “Too Big to Fail” implosion, while taking record of the style, moral fiber and humanity against the sparking backdrop of a Judith Lieber-bedecked NYC skyline.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Bangles

A good bangle is like a good song – once you catch wind of one, you commit it to memory and pull it out time and time again to feel good. We’ve found this with Nicholas King’s collection of translucent, sculpted chunky bracelets: smooth, clear and optical with studding and crystals inlaid deep within. Each piece will become a go-to favorite, and looks the part of a venerable costume collection.

King possesses as richly varied a background as one could possibly have. A career in ready-to-wear led him to John Galliano in Paris, and Donna Karan in New York. Here, he moved on to work with Alexis Bittar, of cult pop jewelry renown. Following these rich layers of experience, King returned to the UK and founded his namesake collection to immediate accolades amongst industry insiders home and abroad.

The range consists of substantial cuffs, lightweight bangles and bold earrings. Vintage-inspired and modern in approach (as well as handmade), Nicolas King is marked by a simple linear crown motif hidden on each piece. It is fitting that he has crowned this collection, since it will surely reign in the near future, and prove an enduring investment for modern Babe Paileys everywhere seeking the next collectibles.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Blueprint for Dressing

UK-based Clare Lopeman has created a collection of look-again separates for her international debut, and the Fall 2010 season.

In a pure vision of the palest of shell pinks, the base of each silky jersey sheath dress début carries serves as canvas for Lopeman’s inspired transcriptions of vintage patterns found in ‘100 Dresses’ – a classic Soviet dressmaking book reflecting key shapes and silhouettes established in 50's French couture. Evident is the meta concept of infusing, and revising these patterns into body-conscious, classic shapes for the modern wearer.

Ranging from complex and literal with Russian notations, to the abstract distillation of these, the dresses garner energy from the blueprints of their predecessors. The graphic blockings and lines of the pattern – or concept of pattern – add a contoured effect to each garment.

Lopeman further defines her silhouettes with softly sculpted shoulders. The work is eye-catching, deserving of further inspection, and will stand alone or serve as a layer beneath a cool leather jacket and piles of chains this season.  

 Clare Lopeman Jersey Dresses - $726