Leather and Repeat
October 19, 2009

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“Six thousand dollars? And it’s not even leath-uh,” exclaims Joan Cusack’s bridge-and-tunnel Cyn to Melanie Griffith’s Tess in the ’80s classic Working Girl. Well, working girls as well as ladies who play all day will have a generous bonus of leather options come spring, since plush plongé and couture calfskin were all over the recent runway shows.

I’ve talked about the Celine collection from Phoebe Philo before but her luxe minimalism was a game-changer in fashion – in nearly every exit she worked leather into a series of stark shapes – effortless T-shirts, cropped pullover “shrugs” and gently shaped dresses like the one above. On this side of the Atlantic, Michael Kors’ tastes were decidedly more vanilla as he put a ’80s spin on a white leather shift.

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Donatella Versace reaches back one decade more for her ’70s-centric yet thoroughly modern spring coat, intricately worked with pretty pastel trim, in a standout collection that also included candy-colored leather minis, sweet even with their studded spirals.

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If you just want a little something-something to ward off an early spring chill, Londoner Giles Deacon offered a zipper vest in (with apologies to Tom Wolfe) kandy-kolored tangerine flake. Baby!

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You’d expect the house of Hermès to have the last word, and its “Tennis, Anyone?” collection did not disappoint. Leather master Jean Paul Gaultier’s ingenious pleated skirts of strips of leather and chiffon made for adorable little tennis dresses that will probably see plenty of action – just not on any court. Game, Set, Match!

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The Butler Did It!
October 7, 2009

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Let us now praise famous men. Or, as Rachel Ray might say, “Yum-o!” I came across this picture of Gerard Butler at last night’s premiere of Law Abiding Citizen and, as far as I am concerned, 20061110justinlongthis is the new template for Hollywood men on the red carpet. I’ve been styling in Hollywood for 10 years and for most of that it seems time male stars affected an “I-don’t-care” dishevelled appearance whenever they showed up in public, in their T-shirts, ball caps, carpenter jackets – and worse. No longer – now you see lots of sharp suits on the red carpet. In recent months, Eric Bana, Chris Pine and Shia LeBeouf have especially stood out. If I had to put my finger on it, I’d say the turnabout started with Daniel Craig a few years back when he was cast as the original sartorialist James Bond and transformed himself from a casually-clad British character actor to a dashing worldwide movie star – faultless in a wardrobe of sublime Tom Ford suits. (So much so, the story goes, that at a photo shoot with the leading US men’s magazine, he pushed aside the editor’s rack of pro-offered duds to wear his own fantastic Fords he brought along with him!)

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From afar, Butler deftly bridges old and new Hollywood in his sleek dark suit, looking both leading-man handsome and chick-magnet sexy. He definitely wears the pants (and jacket) in this realm; no way does the Versace suit “wear” him and the fit is perfect, right down to the exposed amount of shirt cuff. Up close, you can clock the cool fashion details – the genius black-on-black patterned tie, the subtle stitched cording on the jacket lapel. Of course it’s Hollywood, so the scruff is still with us. But like his casually cropped hair, it just takes the edge off. Hello there.