Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year from The Berkshires and Petria.  I snapped this photo for the Berkshire Record Holiday Gift Guide.

In Defense of THOSE Pants

It has become an established pattern that, like more than a few precocious women who live and breathe clothes, I find myself wearing a new or revised trend that hits the mainstream one to two years later. We have felt copied for a lifetime. Sometimes it is flattering. Sometimes not. It forces us to struggle, repeatedly, to seek out uncharted sartorial territory. In reality, everyone seems to be emulating someone. For an entire year, I wrote a blog to document my on-the-cusp style ( On it, in mid-2006, I am wearing a pair of vintage 1980s Issey Miyake thick, silk, drop seat pants, along with a brocade Prada tank and a pair of Pierre Hardy calfskin boots (photo reprinted here).


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Diary of Comme des Garcons Sale at H&M.

Comme des Madness
Retail may be doing poorly--I don't doubt the grim statistics.  But let's just say that I witnessed an exception.  
On Thursday November 13, Comme, 
designed and privately owned by sartorial original Junya Watanabe, made its mark with the masses.  
The morning started at about 5:30 because I could not sleep any longer, likely due to an anticipation of the adrenalin rush to come. 
Once through the doors of the Lexington Avenue store, I went for the drop seat pants that I already have in silk (from Issey Miyake).  I grabbed about three pairs because there simply was no time to look at sizes. I ran to the men's shoes because they were the ones in the deep indigo blue with black rubber--I can get polka dots anywhere and the women's shoes were polka-dotted.  A lot of people were distracted by eye-catching polka dots on Thursday.  I bought the shoes 1 size too big, since the smaller sizes were gone--I'd photographed the Japanese girls at Sturbridge wearing their Chuck Taylors like clown shoes.  Why not?  I want to wear my Comme version with a Greek sailor's striped cotton shirt (one of my international staples).  
I needed to pare it down:  what would seem silly later?  What wouldn't wear well?  What would not truly fit into my life?  What looked more like H&M and less like Comme?  What could I get from the main line for a good price somewhere out there?  When all was said and done, I bought the clown shoes and a pair of the droopy pants, which I'm wearing as I write.  Well, that was almost all.  
We ran off to the Fifth Avenue store after finding out that it was the only one in New York City with the full collection.  Merde, alors!  We were so far behind the curve at the point that it was virtually hopeless.  
Aside from the collection, which was very well executed and equally sweet and serious, the customers were uber-stylish (see the rope scarf, furry vest and awesome deconstructed bomber jacket) and seemingly serious and intelligent.  Nevertheless, all we really wanted to do seriously was to shop.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama Won.

My friend Nayia voted for the first time in the United States after becoming a citizen just a few months ago.  She snapped this license plate on the FDR Drive on Wednesday, November 5.

The Chevrolet emblem adds a nice touch. Now if this person could trade in the behemoth for a smaller, greener car, we'll be all set.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Laura Stephen Appears in Dress Code

Introducing Laura Stephen, the subject of my most recent Dress Code column in Berkshire Living magazine.
According to Laura, business changed at the end of the summer due to pressing economic concerns.  She discussed the two extremes dancing in shoppers' heads: necessity and desire.  "People want something that speaks to them emotionally," she explained.  

"Really speaks to them in a powerful way," if the luxury market is going to survive in light of our current economic reality.  

As for Armani, where Laura is vice president of women's ready-to-wear, "We are watching our business," she revealed.  "Business is steady for us." Nevertheless, when it comes to trying new and untested merchandise, the company has to be cautious to avoid adversely affecting its profits.  As for the fashion industry overall, Laura does not mince words:  "Business is terrible right now."  

Indeed, about two months after I spoke to Laura about how the downturn is affecting the luxury end of the fashion industry, the stock rating of high-end retailer Barneys New York was downgraded to below junk bond status.  Ouch!

As shown in the bottom, behind-the-scenes photo, we needed to tape Laura's fabulous silk Fendi dress to her back because the straps kept falling.  

What helps to keep Laura's life in balance?  She runs about 25 miles every week and travels around the country to run in relays for various causes.  Whenever she's not traveling, she runs across the Brooklyn Bridge daily, usually beginning at about 5:30 am.  

Monday, August 4, 2008

Martina Arfwidson, Face Stockholm Maven

Martina looked sooooo cute in this vintage 1980s Mila Schon trench dress from Petria Boutiq.

She visited the boutique with her mother, Gunn Nowak, Face Stockholm's maitresse and Rosalyn Gershell, one of the funniest, wittiest people I have the pleasure of knowing.

Alexandra in the Country.

Understated as she conquers the style world daily, Vogue editor Alexandra is simply one of my favorite people.

Mrs. Fabulous Fiona Kotur Marin.

Handbag designer Fiona Kotur reminded me that her vintage dress came from Petria Boutiq when it was located in Norfolk, Connecticut. It's nice to see (again) that my picks go off to live exciting lives with talented women.

To see Fiona's collection, visit

Macho Bag, by Anthony...Jones.

Well hey, that's some bag. Animal, all the way! The designer is Anthony, according to its keeper, pictured here. When I asked him if Anthony has a last name, he said "Jones," but Anthony prefers one name. We won't hold it against him.

Anthony's macho bag is ravishing (and looks like it could take off your arm, and some shoulder, too, with one chomp). The thick strap is alligator and the color deep blood with lots of black overtones. There's nothing girly about this big hunk of creativity.

Photographed at Cafe Colombe on Church Street in Tribeca.

Life in the Lipstick Jungle.

Brooke Shields needed a bit of primping for her role in Lipstick Jungle. The show set up camp on the corner of 57th Street and Lexington Avenue, in front of Starbucks. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Frank Faulkner's Top Pet Peeves.

  • Overhead lighting. It washes out the drama and ambience.
  • People who make introductions with first names only.It’s hostile because there’s no information.
  • People who say “At this point in time.” It’s redundant. It’s either “at this point” or “at this time.”
  • Going to someone’s house for drinks or dinner and on arrival, seeing no evidence that the hosts were expecting guests—no lights, no fires in the fireplaces, no drinks ready, etcetera. What about trying a little harder?
  • People who love to center the dinner party around the host’s or hostess’s preparing the fucking dinner in their kitchen. I don’t like to see the dinner in the making. That’s not informal. It’s just bad hosting. My heart sinks at a dinner party when you’re two hours into the party and you see a plate of raw meat on the way to the grill.
  • People who invite people for cocktails and serve only wine.
  • Couples who have children, usually late in life, and are so inured with the little brats that they don’t notice them dismantling the house from over their heads.
  • Hosts or hostesses who hijack a perfectly pleasant dinner table discussion by clanging on the wine glass to present a topic for general discussion, as if it were a seminar.
  • Theme parties of any kind.
  • Parlour games of any kind.
  • People who sand their floors and polyurethane orange. I like very pale or very dark floors. Never red brown or orange varnish.
  • Shelter magazine photos with jumping subjects.
  • Shelter magazine photos with barefoot subjects.
To view the article in Berkshire Living, go to:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Beth Adams in July Berkshire Living.

Here are photos that I took of Beth Adams, this month's subject for my Dress Code column in Berkshire Living magazine.

I chose Beth's dollhouse studio for the photo shoot because it reminded me of the Virginia Woolf ideal which so many of us strive to attain. Striving is good. Attainment is better. Contentment is best.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stuff I'm Loving Right Now.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces at the moment.

You probably recall that I was wearing a flapper hat back in October when Isaac Miz. asked me about it. Well, I still love flapper hats. The red one here is straw. Happily, it is the kind of straw that one can wear year-round, since it is a nebulous, fabulous looking fabric. Pop on a bit of red lipstick and yes, you will be fired up and ready to go.

The authentic black and silver flapper hat here is an amazing find, even to me (haute price notwithstanding). It had the original, crumbly paper Made in France tag on it. The interior is delicate mesh and it slips easily onto an average-sized head. As far as I'm concerned, skip the jewelry and wear an authentic flapper hat made of real silver. 

The vintage Zandra Rhodes dress has already been sold at Petria Boutiq. The buyer was Patrick Robinson, formerly of Perry Ellis and Paco Rabanne fame and currently, chief of Gap. Gap is looking good these days.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Walton Ford Opening, Paul Kasmin Gallery

On May 8, Great Barrington took a road trip to New York City to attend the Walton Ford's opening at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in Chelsea. Walton's sunny disposition found its way to the city, too in a well-fitted Paul Smith suit. Trendy acid green shirt, too.

Spectator pumps (Nine West's take on Chanel), big woven bags (Bottega style), metallic silver boots, skintight biker jackets, fishnet black pantyhose (with a nod to Prince), fedoras (Amy) and all manner of sartorial goodies added to the atmosphere of really good eye candy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where Have All The [Hippies] Gone?

Posted in front of the Village Voice offices.

Frankly, I'd rather know where all the hippies and artists have gone. 

Other People's Dogs 1.

I enjoy other people's dogs. This one is in SoHo, in front of a shiny, new public library (but for the new graffiti) near the Puck Building.

One of the people I met on this day for dogs handles two huge dogs for a living. Wow. Bow wow wow. Nice woof if you can get it!

Petria Playing Tourist in Her Own Backyard.

When I'm actually a tourist, I'm sure I have one of those vibes I so often chuckle at in others: heightened awareness, heightened friendliness, heightened happiness. Why not be curious always?

Here I am, in my own backyard asking someone to photograph me for a possible small book about shoes (my rosa mosa shoes are not in this picture). That's the very vintage Brooklyn Bridge in the background.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Five Years as Society Writer.

Dear Amanda, fellow Yalie,

Congratulations on your five years as society columnist at The New York Sun. As you know, I had absolutely no idea that the 740 Park Avenue (building shown) party was being held at what has been called "the most famous address in New York City." In my heart, I'm still a midwestern girl; we don't always know these things. Thank you, dear Mr. and Mrs. Tisch for the party.

Oh, and you did wear the most fantastic shoes, as shown.

And there you were, just by chance, the very next day in Grand Central Station! Gotta love New York. And I do.

Avik, in the polo ensemble, also graduated from Yale.

P.S. Amanda said that the best part was that Mayor Bloomberg wrote a letter to her.