Welcome to the New York Sartorialist and thanks for stopping by. I'm honored and hope you enjoy!
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Warmest regards and thanks again for being here~ Michael Cress

Friday, December 31, 2010

Distinctive Depictions

Miss Massachusetts 2011 ~ Alida D'Angona
Recently crowned Miss Massachusetts 2011, Alida D'Angona.

OK. Yes, I'm a sucker for pictures with beautiful woman. Thanks to Jan "Archee" Bloch for taking hold of the camera for this one.

Happy New Year!

Michael Cress ~ New York Sartorialist

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Distinctive Depictions

Bebe Spring 2011 RTW~ Look 1
'Tis the season. Through no fault but my own, I look back over so many wonderful images in 2010 that were never published. Snapshots of moments in time through my eyes. I have struggled with not providing commentary but sometimes the pictures say it all. I finally talked myself into publishing all the ones I thought you may enjoy. Well, it would be a waste not to share! Not settling for the average "Picture of the Day" a little wordplay led me to a new category for the site, "Distinctive Depictions" (we need to be stylish after-all). I hope you enjoy!

OK, maybe a little sporadic commentary. The above shot was look number one from the Bebe Spring 2011 Ready-To-Wear (RTW) collection. The runway show was part of this past Fall's New York Fashion Week (NYFW)... and more specifically, Elle Fashion 360 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The Bebe show was on my short list for best shows I attended.

Michael Cress ~ New York Sartorialist

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New York Sartorialist column in "Life With Style" Magazine

Click page to enlarge (then click again to magnify)... or just use a magnifying glass

Many thanks to Birri O'Dea, editor of Life With Style magazine. For the photoshoot, tremendous gratitude to Christina Pierce- a wonderful stylist who pulled a family of rabbits out of the hat to make it happen on a tight deadline. The fantastic Mizu Salon not only did the hair styling but also became a homebase as we shot two models with twelve total looks at various locations in one day. Also many thanks to make-up artist Teague Vivolo, Holiday Boutique and Moxie Boston for the wonderful clothes and accessories. Finally our two stunning and highly professional models, Hollis Crowley and Ashley Bickford (shown). I look forward to showing more images from the shoot- I only wish more could have published with the column. Love all of you guys!

Michael Cress ~ New York Sartorialist

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Louis Welcomes Designer Roland Mouret

Roland Mouret

Louis, the grande dame of New England luxury retail, welcomed internationally acclaimed designer Roland Mouret to the new spacious Louis location to meet with customers and discuss his latest line. The event offered a rare opportunity to meet the talented French born London resident in the United States. Louis was the first stop for Mouret on a four-city whirlwind tour which was followed by appearances the next day at Bergdorf Goodman's in New York and additional stops in Chicago and Miami. Mouret shows his Spring and Fall RTW during Paris Fashion Week so this was my first opportunity to both meet the designer as well as see his collection on display.

Roland Mouret

Louis was abuzz during the event with cheerful customers energetically taking advantage of the rare opportunity to gain invaluable and gracious input from the designer himself as they tried his latest line. Roland Mouret himself was clearly in his element dealing directly with Louis' clientele and his joyful enthusiasm was contagious. A radiant smile throughout the event and an eagerness to assist clients made for a great environment.

Roland Mouret's designs are known for celebrating the feminine form, excellent drape, minimalism and wearability. He says the perfect dress would be made with one piece of fabric and comes close in many designs. In his first runway show 10 years ago, he pinned all the pieces and without a stitch the show was a tremendous success to viewer and critic alike. I asked Mouret about the challenges of seasonal changes the fashion industry demands with his minimalist style. "It would be easy for me to design pieces which are very avant garde, but none of them would be wearable", Mouret said. This is a striking response. Perhaps it is easier for designers to showcase wildly costume-style designs for the runway at the cost of wearability. The real talent is creating "wow" pieces that can be worn straight off the runway. 

Michael Cress and designer Roland Mouret
Mouret has maintained the minimalism of construction and most pieces in his current line have only one or two seams and some well placed darting. What results are elegant, figure flattering pieces with none of the unnecessary frivolousness. As the models and clients tried on Mouret's different garments, it was striking how timeless the looks were. A classic has relevance in the past, present and future.  Mouret's designs are instant classics.        

Roland Mouret

Roland Mouret

Roland Mouret


Michael Cress ~ New York Sartorialist

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Belle Parish Runway Show

Denise Richards Walks Young Model Down Catwalk

When Fashion Week rolls around, the focus is on the latest looks for woman's ready-to-wear. It would be easy for a line of children's clothing to take a backseat to the adult's and become an after-thought. Belle Parish overcame the hectic noise of Fashion Week and become a memorable, fun show that had a little for everyone at the Elle Style360 series.

I know from having my own daughter that finding stylish, unique, age-appropriate classic clothing can be difficult. Ali Landry, former Miss USA, model and actress discovered this same problem after having her own daughter. Along with like-minded friend and partner, Annie Kate Pons, the two Southerners set out to start the Belle Parish line.

Ali Landry
So just how do you go about having a runway show when the models are from infants to five or six years old? Their solution was to recruit other mothers (and one father) to escort the little girls up and down the runway. Notable escorts included Ali Landry herself, Denise Richards and Alex McCord. Kids being kids, there were fun moments as the models strayed a bit from the usual catwalk routine; an occasional stop along the way, a little coercion, kisses blown to Mom and even a young sleeping model couldn't stop the show from being an enjoyableThe Southern-inspired outfits were lovely, practical and well above what parent's would find in the typical homogenized big-box stores. The Belle Parish website can be found at www.belleparish.com
Alex McCord

Ali and Annie have done such a wonderful job with the Belle Parish line for little ladies, perhaps they will become inspired to fill the even deeper sartorial void that exists for little boys. We can only hope.

These two stole the show as they sashayed down the runway to the soundtrack from Annie. 

To see the slideshow of the entire line plus a few bonus images, visit my Belle Parish Gallery

Michael Cress ~ New York Sartorialist

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eliz Lind

Eliz Lind
New York can be a bit of an odd place. Combine the large number of people, the vast amounts of wealth and the media- you'll find that people can react very strangely. Not a profound statement, people act strangely everywhere. But this is New York and if it's going to be done here-  it's going to be big.

The rarified air of New York's "High Society" can make otherwise seemingly reasonable and rational people go to extreme measures to be part of this elite group. Social climbing is not a new phenomenon but with the media and social media as it is and websites dedicated to following the gentility through a host of photographers and gossip journalists, both transparency is at it's highest as well as the desires of some to get into the club. A humorous aside; there's actually a website that ranks individual's notoriety based on an algorithm that includes how many events they attend and are photographed at, as well as the number of mentions in certain media such as the "Page 6" gossip column. How much attention is paid to the rankings by the corps d'elite is uncertain. I would need to review Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs but it's safe to say that concern over where one falls in the societal popularity contest is trivial to the masses.

It's refreshing to run across someone that's welcomed as societal royalty but truly seems to be apathetic about it all. So many are striving to be "in", there must be gnashing of teeth at the thought of one's nonchalance. Eliz Lind doesn't show signs of disdain over this cultural hierarchy, she simply seems indifferent . In many ways she's the girl-next-door; down to earth, unassuming, friendly and just assume learn more about you than talk about herself.

Beautiful classical features with high cheekbones and a delightful Lauren Hutton smile, she turns heads wherever she goes. Humorously, she thinks they think she's someone else. Someone in Europe once either confused her with or told her she has a striking resemblance to a notable European beauty. Since then, she assumes gawkers must be making the same mistake. This is perhaps one of the greatest illustrations of how down to earth Eliz is.

A Manhattan native, Eliz has long been considered one of the "It" girls of both the New York and Palm Beach social scenes. So much so that Vogue and other publications have listed her as one of the top eligible bachelorettes. The Vogue spread then led to modeling for Burberry as well as other advertising campaigns. Is there little wonder why people recognize her?

Unfazed by it all, Eliz works in Real Estate in Palm Beach (where her family now resides full-time) and writes for Q magazine- work she throughly enjoys.  Previously described as "Bohemian meets the Upper East Side", the dichotomy is evident. Her personal style is unique and honest. Elegant but unpretentious. There is a sense of being caught between two worlds and the bohemian artist is trying to escape and find refuge- unsure of the unchartered territory.  Shuttling between New York and Palm Beach, the Elizabeth Lind story is continuing to unfold but will undoubtedly be as interesting as the earliest chapters. I look forward to the rest of the story.

Eliz Lind

Michael Cress ~ New York Sartorialist


Friday, August 13, 2010

Martina Mori

Martina Mori
Who needs to go to Florence when Florence comes to us?

In this day and age of social networking, we're able to make "friends" all over the world. As the destination city it is, New York offers the opportunity to meet "virtual" friends in the flesh.

Martina Mori and I have been cyber-friends for awhile. In planning her trip she gave me a heads up she was coming from her home in Florence, Italy to NYC and were able to grab coffee (and a few pictures).

Lovely, charming and working on her English (excellent progress- far better than my Italian), Martina is making the most of her visit by hitting all the usual spots. She did run into the unfortunate practice of many of our museums being closed on Monday's when she made her way up to the Met but found locked doors. 

A painter/artisan, Martina is one of the legions of people who make Italy and Italian craftsmanship among the best in the world. Unfortunate that the rest of the world has become so cookie-cutter and one-size fits-all; filled with the Gap's and Target's of the world. At least we have Italy!

Martina looks lovely here with her simple summer dress with vibrant colors and her Louis Vuitton bag. A nice ensemble for a hot New York summer day while making the rounds and a lot of walking.

In another note. Hope you didn't think my brief hiatus meant I was going away! Oh no. Working on several editorial photoshoot spreads and slowly making progress on the New York Fashion Online and New York Fashion House websites. I'm really excited about the two niches in the market that these will fill and I think you'll enjoy them. I can do a lot of things but code and HTML isn't one of them! I'll keep you updated on the progress.

Michael Cress ~ New York Sartorialist

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Designer Spotlight: Loris Diran

Loris Diran
What is the "American" vision in design?

That's a question Loris Diran wondered aloud with no definitive answer. For well over a century we've been heavily influenced by European design but 7th Avenue and the American press eschews designs that are too European.

Loris should know. A French-Armenian son of immigrants who moved to New York at an early age. He took his design skills he learned from instinct, his impressions of great designers of his childhood and a degree in Fine Arts from NYU and went abroad to work for major fashion houses such as Versace and Chanel. 

His perspective of both European culture and design are equally balanced with that of the U.S and his designs reflect that dichotomy. 

Continuing to wonder aloud, Loris said, "perhaps its because all Americans come from immigrant families... this true melting pot, that there's no real answer".

Indeed, as he walked me through both his men's and woman's lines I was struck with how I couldn't put my finger on any one particular influence. Depending on the piece, I could see some French, Italian and Savile Row influences, but not purely enough to label any given one. A highly sophisticated and refined melting pot of design that flawlessly works.

Loris Diran's designs reflect his perfectionism down to the last stitch of detail. It's obvious how impeccable the craftsmanship is. Both the woman's and men's lines have a wide variety of luxurious materials with wonderful silhouettes and drape. 

The men's line stretches from more avant garde and fashion forward to classic. Even the the more classic designs have small touches to set them apart from any other. Loris repeatedly says, "the beauty is in the detail". How true he proves this to be. The cuts, stitching and linings made every piece stand out to illustrate his uniqueness in design. I dare say I could now pick out a Loris Diran design from a mile away, purely on detail. 

Surprisingly, his sizable men's clientele is generally younger than his female clientele. For woman, he's very body conscious in his designs and I found the looks to be generally less avant garde but no less distinctive than the men's. Little wonder woman of all ages flock to his designs.

Loris Diran started his first woman's line in 2003 and his men's in 2005. Two years ago he opened his first of what he hopes will be a number of boutiques on 3 East First Street in the East Village.    

His visibility and notoriety continue to rise as time goes by. Well known customers such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Beyonce and Ricky Martin have increased his visibility as well as designs featured in "The Devil Wears Prada". For many, Loris Diran's familiarity comes from frequent appearances on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New York" this past season (many of whom are clients and good friends). Who knows? Maybe he'll have his own show before long.

Personally I've been fortunate to see Loris frequently at a variety of events. From the first time I met him I was struck with how impeccably dressed he was, down to the last detail. His perfectionism is not limited to his designs, he clearly strives for it in everything he does. A prince of a gentleman, pleasant, warm and approachable, he's always been an absolute pleasure to spend time with. Perhaps Loris Diran is that epitome of American vision. It couldn't come from a nicer, more deserving gentleman.

Loris Diran
3 East First Street

Michael Cress ~ New York Sartorialist

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jasmine Pagán ~ Dating & Relationship Coach

We all know people who are constantly attracted to the wrong people. Most of us have had periods in our lives that whatever we're putting out there is not getting the results we want for dating or relationships. Friends. There always seems to be at least one friend that we feel confident enough in to vent our relationship (or lack of) frustrations to. More often than not, that friend is on our side. He's a jerk, she's crazy- yes, yes, yes.

There's an old saying, "people who say they're your friend tell you what you want to hear. True friends tell you what you need to hear". It's hard for most all of us to listen to someone who's struggling and in emotional turmoil and not be supportive and comforting. On the other hand, to truly be supportive you may need to tell them what they are doing wrong. What they need is someone objective.

This is where Jasmine Pagán steps in. About ten years ago, Jasmine discovered she had the Midas touch for friends with relationships problems and for those having a hard time finding the right type of person to date. A combination of tough love and nurturing comfort- a deft balancing act. With people beginning to approach her because of her outstanding reputation, five years ago she turned it into a business- Dating & Beyond. I recently asked her, "how do you find your clients?" to which she said "they find me, word gets around".

Jasmine starts with the "inner game". What are you putting out there to people? What are you really saying? You say you want a nice guy or girl but only get excited about bad-boys and girls; nice ones are a bore. Perhaps you're only attracted to rescue-missions who need saving. The list of potential problems preventing people from finding that ideal person is long and varied. She starts with "who is your ideal mate?". Inevitably, people have self-inflicted obstacles preventing them from being ready for the right relationship. In short, Jasmine is an MBA is self-awareness. She shows people where they're psychologically at as well as where they need to be to find the person of their dreams. I honestly can't do justice for everything Jasmine brings to the table and her extraordinary value. I can think of a number of friends who I really wish would talk to her.

Great sense of humor, highly intuitive and a bright spirit- we had tremendous fun in our photoshoot. If hunger pains didn't set in, we probably would have kept shooting into the dark. As soon as we met up, I said "Oh my god- I love that dress!". I asked where she got it- she made it. The night before. Two large scarves stitched together to create the most beautiful piece and silhouette. She has a second career if she wants it. Once again we found that style has a story

I have never had nor seen anyone create so much much awe and attention- from men and woman alike. Comments, people stopping to take pictures with their camera-phones and general gawking. At one point I looked up across the street and there were groups of people looking out office windows on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors. I told her she really needs to be modeling. "I like hamburgers too much". I think she and her hamburgers work well for the camera... and obviously in person. 

With so many great images, it would be a personal injustice to only publish one or two; here are a few more for everyone's enjoyment. Also, be sure to check out www.datingandbeyond.com for that friend who keeps repeating the same dating and relationship mistakes.

Michael Cress ~ New York Sartorialist

Monday, July 12, 2010

Skinny-Ties: Style or Fashion? A Case Study

Picture Source: Brooks Brothers

A recurring question I receive is the question of tie widths, these days mostly about skinny ties; are they a fad or stylish?

To answer, it comes down to proportions. Like most clothing items, the choice of proper tie width must take other things into consideration.

The fashion industry enjoys cycling proportions. They must feel it will increase sales if they can make people feel their wardrobe is obsolete because its not in style with fashion's latest push. Pant widths, skirt or dress hemlines, ties, jacket lengths and virtually any item that can be proportionally resized will be during the endless fashion cycles.

Classic style is timeless. There are ranges of acceptable proportions and styles that will remain classic in spite of fashion cycles: they'll always look good. It's up to us to hold true to our own style and tune out the whimsical nature of high-fashion and their advertising machines. If we understand which styles and proportions have withstood the test of time and buy accordingly, we have a wardrobe that transcends the latest "fashion".

Tie widths are a perfect example. First, the choice of width is not a decision made in a vacuum. To be proportionally correct, the width of the tie should match that of the jacket lapel. Wider lapels- wider ties, thin lapels- thin ties. Historically the acceptable range of widths for both is between 3 3/8" and 4 1/4". If one was to have all his jackets and ties fall within this range, the wardrobe would be immunized from the whims of fashion cycles. They won't look too wide nor will they look too narrow.

If one was to buy a new wardrobe or more realistically, begin slowly replenishing it- where within this range should they fall? Think proportion. A larger man with wide shoulders and chest would be better proportioned at the wider end. Blazers, sportscoats and suits being the larger ticket items; thus less easily replaceable, it's imperative to purchase the best proportioned jacket for their body type with the lapel falling within the classic range. The tie width follows accordingly.

Think of fashion as a pendulum moving from one extreme to another over time, back and forth. There are times when fast-fashion is pushing 2 1/2 inch ties (and jacket lapels) and others when they swing out to 5 inches. A fashion victim would feel the need to always be on the cutting edge and follow suit. True style understands the difference between classic style and the fashion industry's moodiness. Stay within the historical classic range and you're always in-style. It's hard-earned money that we put into clothing, let's make the best investment we can by insuring it will look just as good 10 or more years from now as it does today. Personal true style has no fashion victims.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Marco Radakovic

Marco Radakovic
I admit it. I'm much tougher on men than I am on woman when it comes to good subjects for the New York Sartorialist. Why? Because I am one. I hold them to the same standards I hold myself in both dress as well as personal style and character. If I'm walking the streets of New York, I pass by literally thousands of men (and woman). As far as dress and presentation, woman have greater latitude in what they can look stylish in. For men, we're dealing with a more confined set of sartorial guidelines. Even those who are wearing nice clothes, tailored well and nice shoes- there is inevitably something missing most of the time. Panache! 

The Wall Street uniform doesn't do it for me unless they add personal touches to express their unique style (Bugs Bunny ties are not what I have in mind). Things the way they are, I inevitably find things that are "deal-killers" for me. For woman, the obvious sartorial deal-killer are their shoes. That's the beginning. Boring, mundane and lazy will kill a look. For men, that same rule applies. However, being a guy I know exactly how a jacket, slacks, ties, colors, patterns and fabrics should all work together and look as well as perfect tailoring. I'm pretty tough on my fellow man in this regard. It's slim pickins' out there, which is why I show more woman than men. That said...

I met Marco Radakovic a while back. Always a gentleman. Always dressed impeccably. The irony is we got together on a warm working Saturday afternoon and he had pulled the shirt out sans jacket. Knowing his style, he gets sartorial slack here. Being a straight male, I'm not wired for picking out really good looking guys and those who aren't. For Marco, he's a damn good looking gent. Even I can tell that.

Marco is Croatian. A football (soccer) star in his native country, he came to the U.S. in his early 20's to play professionally. About two years into it he suffered a career ending torn ACL injury. This is the beginning of explaining the soul of the man. In retelling the story to me, he said countless times how much he loved his surgeon. To this day he has tremendous warmth and sincere gratitude for the Dr. Why? He did his job and did it caringly and honestly. One would expect that those feelings would be reserved for someone who performed a miracle and got him back onto the field. No. Told from the beginning it was over and indeed it was. Short of not being able to play anymore, he's 100%. That deep gratitude for someone else in the now distant past tells me a lot about who Marco is. You won't hear that heartfelt talk from selfish, egocentric people. It's all about them and there's no room for anyone else. That's character. That's style. 

An entrepreneur, Marco has lived and is living the American dream... the opportunity of which is something else he's very grateful for. It would take pages to list his bio since his football career; let's say it's inspiring. Even in the face of people telling him he can't do something, he inevitably proves them wrong. Business? Got it. A few years ago he started playing with the idea of modeling and acting. Modeling? You're too old! Oh really? Guess again, his sideline modeling and acting career has come into full bloom. Versace runway, Four Seasons print ads, undercover special agent in the new Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz film, "Knight and Day". Too old my foot!

Aside from the blossoming modeling and acting career, Marco is currently spending most of his time as the COO of the newly formed Wold Model Pros Modeling Agency as well as the Manager of Business Development for Couture Fashion Week. When I previously mentioned it was a "working" Saturday, they were casting for the event. 

The real deal. Character, optimistic, gracious, warm, open and honest. The kind of gentleman a gentleman wants to surround himself with. If only there were more.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ashley Bickford ~ Miss Connecticut

I found this to be amazing.

While in Boston, I attended a wonderful fashion show presented by Eye Candy benefiting the Massachussetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (M.S.P.C.C).  Three previous New York Sartorialist featured individuals; Christina Pierce, Amy Patt and Elena Kollarova were walking in the show- how could I resist? It's for a good cause after-all.

I met up with Ashley Bickford after the show and found her to be charming, gracious, accommodating and sincere.

Yes, she's Miss Connecticut USA 2010. Attending college in Rhode Island, she won Miss Rhode Island 2007 and as a result was that state's representative for Miss America. Ashley's only the 7th "Triple Crown" winner in pageant history to have won her state's title and competed in Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and Miss America.

It would be a big mistake to stop there. O.K. Ready? Classically trained ballerina since childhood. Undergrad degree in Accounting. MBA. Professional print and runway model (including Town and Country Magazine and New York Fashion Week). We're still going... Audit Committee for the Hope Funds for Cancer Research Inc., previous volunteer for AmeriCorps, television host of "Northeast Adventures" and recently in the film "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" with Matthew McConaughey as one of the "future" girlfriends.

Here's the kicker. Remember I mentioned that degree in Accounting and the MBA? For the last two years she's worked as an accountant for Price Waterhouse Coopers, one of the "Big 4" accounting firms. Accounting. My father was an accountant. I know accountants. Ashley is not in the same universe of the stereotypical accountant. All of this and she's 24. Her ability to expand time as if in slow motion to accomplish so much is striking. How would you like to have Ashley sitting in the cube next to you at work?  

When you think of pageants, it's easy to stereotype those participants as well. Who can forget some of the notoriously bad moments of the occasional ditsy answer to a question that's later played repeatedly in the media? Ashley, her intelligence, graciousness and energy should be an example of why it wouldn't be fair for any of us to make assumptions about pageant participants, models or for that matter- extremely attractive individuals.

The look: The form-fitting two-tone dress is very flattering. I didn't ask but it looks like it may be a Parker dress. Crush Boutique in Boston featured a flattering Parker Tuxedo dress in the Eye Candy show that had a similar two-tone pattern, so there's my best guess. The sandals. I have seen a number of beautiful woman wearing these heeled sandals with minimal straps including Alessandra Ambrosio and Adrianna Lima. Needless to say, I approve. I'm seeing too many flip-flops and flats these days for my taste. Those can ruin, or at least detract from an otherwise perfectly stylish summer ensemble. I hope others will follow the lead of these three beautiful ladies.      

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Christina Pierce

Do you ever have one of those moments you see someone you know but you can't place them right away because they're in a different place or element than you're accustomed? Something like that happened with me recently. I was at an event last week and two friends, Joe Miceli-Magnone and his partner Ed Garou were showing me pictures from Providence StyleWeek. There was an event photo taken with a beautiful lady that I knew. I just couldn't put it together! Joe and Eddie live in New York. After a few moments, it dawned on me the third was Christina Pierce, friend from Boston. NYC fashion crowd, Boston fashion crowd. Together. It took a moment but I got it. In a related note, I heard nothing but rave reviews on the Providence show. I'll definitely make it a point to make it next year.

Christina Pierce lives fashion. Growing up the north shore from Boston, she attended Boston University where she graduated from the School of Management. Taking her love of fashion and combining it with her business degree, she worked for a major clothing retail conglomerate for three years. Working as a buyer, stylist, marketing and projecting and spotting fashion trends- she learned a tremendous amount about not only fashion but the business of fashion. It's a rare combination for one to understand both; usually it's all fashion or all business. 

Christina and her entrepreneurial spirit set out on her own after realizing she had learned One of the great things about having your own business is that no one will put you in a box preventing you from exercising all your skills, talents and passions. Having good business sense helps to ensure monetizing those talents to the greatest possible degree. For example, Christina works with larger companies, hotels, boutiques and designers to help with the fashion side, business side or both- all falling under the large umbrella of fashion consulting. Many designers are fantastic at designing but fall short on the business side. This is where she adds tremendous value by bridging that gap.

Christina's personality mirrors her background. She can be the fun bubbly blonde or she can be deadly serious and businesslike. It's a great balance. Very kind, gracious and thoughtful- a delight. Today is Christina's birthday (June 24th). I think she's been celebrating all week, which is good since she's working two shows tonight. Not surprisingly, with her beauty she's asked to walk runway at a number of shows as well as perform her duties as a stylist for the designers. I have the good fortune of seeing her on the catwalk tonight on her birthday. Good thing that celebration was a week long... no rest for the talented and hard-working Christina Pierce. In my small way, my Birthday present is having this published today. Happy Birthday!

The look: The above image shows her sporting a beautiful brown dress with a pleasant sheen from the Boston boutique Bobbles and Lace as well as Chanel heels. Love the look. Simple and elegant.

Below, Christina's sporting a very different look with J Crew shorts, H&M suspenders and Giuseppe Zannotti with serious bling! It's fun. Thought the American flag was a nice touch for the all-American girl look with a twist.

Additional Credits for both images:
Necklace: Tiffany & Co.
Bangles: Alex and Ani
Earrings: Chanel

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jennifer Layne Cardon

It’s a New York story. I was in my regular home-away-from home, office away from the office: Starbucks. Shocking for those of you who know me I’m sure. This perpetually busy Starbucks had its typical perpetual line to the lone restroom. In a related note, kudos on the renovation and adding another one. Countless patrons (as well as non-patrons) appreciate the addition.

When you frequent a place enough, you get to know the regular crowd. As it happened, the usual suspects were congregated in the back. I was holding court. The line of ten-deep for the restroom were a captive audience if they hoped to reach their ultimate destination. I have no idea what the topic was but my recollection was it was fairly humorous. Some in line were listening in, some were busy playing with their phones; needless to say their options were limited.

One person in particular seemed to be mildly engaged in the insanity, smiling at the humorous moments. An eclectic group, one friend leaned over and said “wow, she’s a knockout!” He’s a master of stating the obvious. Line moving slowly, the banter continued. I was in rare form that evening. Perhaps not rare enough but I digress. More than happy to add participants, I rattled off questions for the unsuspecting restroom patron. “What’s your name?”, “Where you from?”, “Are you a model?” (not an odd question for this particular locale) and clearly dressed for a night out, “Where are you off to tonight?”

Playing along and politely answering the barrage, it was finally her long-awaited turn for the restroom. As she came back out, I introduced myself as well to the rest of this ragtag bunch, one of which she clearly recalls thinking was a homeless man. Did I mention eclectic group? For the record and in the event he reads this, he’s not homeless- he just seems to enjoy dressing like one. He probably had his two Apple laptops in front of him, but that did little to alter his impression. I’ve long given up on trying to help him along in the style department. Only in New York.

We exchanged cards so we could connect online and stay in touch. This is how I first met Jennifer Layne Cardon last fall.

As it turned out, we knew a lot of the same people. It was a wonder we hadn’t run across each other before. Perhaps it was inevitable but the circumstances were odd enough to make for an interesting story.

Some personalities are easier to describe than others, although I admit never adequate enough. Jennifer is outgoing, a bit of a free-spirit. She speaks her mind and is definitely fun. Plenty of depth, highly intelligent and always on the move. An idle moment and she begins to get antsy. This I fully understand. Sometimes images can do more justice than words for illustrating someone’s personality, I only hope these begin to do justice for Jen.

A native of Richmond, Virginia she just knew NYC was the place for her. New York is a place where a bunch of misfits in more conservative environments can finally feel free to be themselves. Just as I, she had always felt a bit like a fish out of water. Not so in New York. It’s home; a place where you can be an individual and not be looked at like you have three heads (except perhaps by tourists). Jennifer went to the University of South Carolina. Having spent my fair share of time in Columbia, I know it’s not too different from Richmond; conservative and not quite big enough to remain anonymous. There’s plenty of opportunity for those with the inclination to attempt to squash a free-spirit into their societal conformity. Two years ago, she settled into the City. Taking on a variety of different jobs and working her way up with each one, Jennifer’s enthusiasm and hard work are in Public Relations.

The look. It’s hard to go wrong with white for summer. The dress is has a sexy edge. The white frames her face beautifully with her darker skin tone and hair. The blue platform stilettos are a show-stopper. The blue blouse also was a perfect color for Jennifer. Well accessorized, Jennifer owned this look and did it perfectly.

This is one truly special lady, inside and out. Thanks to Starbucks for that long, slow line. For the chance to meet a great friend I adore, I owe you one.

Special Thanks:

Hair: George Crittenden, Celebrity hair stylist from Pierre Michel

Sultana Perovic, Chanel Analyste

Clothing: Big Drop Soho

Friday, June 18, 2010

Suzy Malick

Suzy Malick
Everyone is unique. That said, there are individuals that fall into an exceptional sub-category. For me, the true artist is a special group. It doesn't seem to make a difference which artistic medium it is, they make them all look easy. The artistic mind looks at the world in a different way; the world is a blank canvas of possibility. Whether it's painting, literature, music or the vast array of other creative endeavors, the artist seems to move with impunity from one to another with an ease that the rest of us find unfathomable. Call it "right-brained" or whatever you wish, I dare say we all know people who fit this description.

All evidence tells me that Suzy Malick is one of these rare exceptional individuals. Beautiful? Unquestionably. It would be a mistake to simply stop at this obvious point, as  pleasant as that may be. 

A native of Detroit, she spread her wings and began modeling at 18; work which took her all over the world. By her own admission, as well as it was going and in the face of high demand she couldn't help but get what some would consider sidetracked. Sidetracked with what? Artistic endeavors of virtually every kind. As a result modeling was on-again, off-again. There seemed to be an artistic void that needed to be filled with more.

Acting came naturally. Even with all the natural talent in the world, tremendous hard work must accompany that talent to become successful. Suzy works hard, no issue there. Her acting career blossomed as her modeling career had. Commercially a dual threat- what next?

In idle moments some people like to do crossword puzzles or play solitaire on the computer. Suzy wrote poetry; she just enjoyed doing it. Expressive, enjoyable and a natural thing to do. One day a friend pointed out that music and poetry are in many ways one in the same. The seed that was planted began to grow and eventually bare fruit.

Suzy Malick's first live concert was... in front of 40,000 people. Thrilling? Oh yes. Nerve racking? You better believe it. She thanks God it was for a song she wrote and for her acting experience to help get her through it. She came through with flying colors. Currently she has music which she wrote and performed coming out in a few new films. She's working on two more singles at the moment and will be releasing her first album. 

Suzi has been and will continue to make touring appearances with EMI Music's Latin-crossover band "Sussie 4" for their new CD. The new CD, "International Sonora" was nominated for the best disco/dance album by the Indie Awards only 3 months after its release. Appearances with the group have been taking her back and forth to Mexico on a regular basis and shortly she'll be going back for a 6-week stint. I didn't detect the Mexico appearances bother her in the least as she's found an oasis on the Yucatan Peninsula coast. It sounds unspoiled and serene... so I won't spill the exact locale.  

Her website is still trying to catch up to her but should be worth keeping an eye on. One of Suzi's singles, "Sunday" from Sussie 4's album "International Sonora" is available, so its worth a visit.

Couldn't go all this way without noting the look. She's wearing a beautiful and classic dress designed by New York designer Elliot Mann, who has a boutique in Manhattan's East Village. The color works perfectly for her hair and skin tone. The dress has a subtle sparkle to it which is a nice touch (you may need to click on the image to enlarge and see the detail). As your New York Sartorialist, I'll be planning a trip to check out the rest of the line and report back. Overall, a classic look that transcends time and "fashion".

Did I mention she's still modeling? A little "oh by the way"... in the next couple of months Suzi will be on the cover if Maxim Magazine in Latin America with a multi-page spread and interview. May take a little looking but I'm confident we'll find a copy in the international newsstands. It's OK if we can't read the language, we got an interview here- we can just enjoy more photos. Now we know how much more is behind the beauty.
Suzy Malick

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Takara Sewitt

Takara Sewitt
In the middle of a marathon of work that looked to be stretching into a 36 hour day, I caught up with up-and-coming actress Takara Sewitt.

Her look underscores how simplicity in dress can really work. Seemed like the only simple thing for her in this day. Next stop was a 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM shoot for an independent movie. Growing up Takara didn't envision a life in entertainment, she thought it would be in business. Along the way she started acting and found she had a tremendous passion for it. Whoever thought being an actor or actress was easy have been greatly mislead. Tough, tough business. Even on no sleep and none to come soon, there were no complaints. Passion works that way.

For all practical purposes, Takara's a native New Yorker (family moved here when she was 6). She mentioned her mother was Australian, so I asked an otherwise unusual question- "So how did your parents meet?". I'm glad I asked.

Turns out her father managed KISS and they were in Australia on tour. Her mother was a beautiful model and was asked to come to dinner with the band. Running late to dinner, in Takara's words "she got stuck sitting next to my father". That started a long-distance relationship that led to her mother moving to the States four months later. Taking a big chance on a wing and a prayer, it obviously worked out. Now that's cool!

Tired but still moving forward, next stop- that 7:00 shoot. After that? We'll have to watch. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Walk in the Park with Kerstin Lechner

Kerstin Lechner
I've tried to imagine what I would have felt. You grow up in a small town in Austria that virtually no one else has heard of. At the age of 18, you have a dream. To pursue it, you pack your bags and move to Milan. Then Paris. Then Miami, New York and Los Angeles. The culture shock(s) would be incredible. On top of the geographics, you find a way to thrive in each environment. It would take a special person and personality to have the guts and passion to pull it off.

Kerstin Lechner did just that.

After moving and settling in New York, she finally felt at home and would never leave. She was thriving. Within the last year Kerstin started spending some time in L.A. and loved it. A feeling came over her that if she didn't move to find out if that was the place for her, she would always regret it. I understand, I've felt that way twice before as well. Ironically, the first time was L.A.. Of the two times, one worked out and the other didn't- but I'm happy I did both.

I was thrilled to grab her during a 5-day trip back to NYC for work and take a walk through Central Park and catch up. One of her recent jobs will be bringing her back once a month so she can get her fill. Happy, at ease and feeling peaceful- the more laid-back lifestyle is doing her good.

As much as I love Manhattan, I've long realized we have to get off this little island to really appreciate it. A weekend, a trip or even an extended stay somewhere else breaks up the monotony. After-all, it takes contrast to have gratitude.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Black Swan ~ Chapter II

Alexa Winner

Be sure to read The Black Swan (Chapter 1) 

Sometimes to discover where the boundaries are you have to cross the line to find out.

Alexa Winner and I were having a great time pushing on to get better and better shots in Black Swan (Chapter I). Creativity, adrenalin and a mood of infallibility sets in.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for the story), the lawn area at Washington Square Park was fenced off with some dismal excuse that they had recently seeded  the grass (not true). Ironic shots are always fun so we (Alexa) had the great idea to get a shot in front of one of the signs, clearly snubbing the rules. One sign had fallen over so I stepped over the fence, boldly went to pick it up and carried it over to a spot of our liking. At least it was visible now! Seems I was, in part, being of service.

Placing the sign in the brick-hard ground was difficult, I hadn't thought to bring heavy equipment with me for the job. Finally barely in the ground and balanced to stay up, Alexa laid in front of the sign and we began shooting away. Mind you the park is crowded, the barrier fence rung with people. As if on a stage in full display, we didn't care. You don't go to these lengths to not get the perfect shot so we kept clicking away.

For the 5th time, the sign fell over from the small indention in the ground I was able to muster. Stopping to walk over and straighten in back up. I look to my right and walking across the lawn directly towards us was a lone NYC Parks ranger. Uh oh.

Given the humorous irony of the shot, I really was expecting a half-smiling request to move on to join the little people side of the fence. We got that half-smile, but it wasn't so easy. "I'm not sure if this is serious or just a test!", Ranger Rick uttered. Does the NYC Parks Department routinely send undercover rule-breakers out just to see how their employees respond? I guess this would have been a good cover. Flagrant to the inth degree. A beautiful sexy woman. Beautiful woman tend to get out of a lot more trouble than the rest of us. That's the aristocracy of beauty.

Alexa Winner
Ranger Rick is serious about his job. I can tell you with certainty he's been on the job for nine years since he mentioned it five times. For whatever reason it struck him that fact was important to us. No, not so much.

He asked for my I.D. OK, unless I'm driving or going somewhere I need to prove my age or identity- I don't carry my I.D. with me in NYC. Showing what I had... a credit card, my gold Starbucks card with my name engraved on it (sad I know!) and my business card didn't suffice. Ranger Rick turned to Alexa and asked for hers. Nope. Nothing.

Asking for all our critical information, he said he was going to call it in and if it didn't check out he would call NYC's Finest to come get us. Now we have a threat of going to jail. Pressure was really on to remember which past residence I was living in when I had my license renewed. He called in but mentioned nothing about our identities, just a courtesy call to make sure HQ knew he had a big bust taking place.

Sure enough, he's writing a ticket. Two tickets actually. For heaven's sake. I'm not sure if laughing was helping matters. Writing his ticket with full concentration I mouthed to Alexa "Oh, I've got to get a shot of this!". She smiled, nodded and mouthed back, "Oh yea!". While working on her ticket with the occasional question, I slowly started nonchalantly moving back to get a full frame. He's a serious guy. We're in trouble. I can't take pictures of him (I must assume it must be a rule). For the second time in 10 minutes, this falls under the "It's easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission" rule. This is priceless. MUST... TAKE... PICTURES.

In position, Alexa started doing her thing. He must be deaf in his right ear and blind out of his left eye- he never looked up. Above is one of the great shots. For the record, Alexa could be an actress with all the emotions she was channeling for the camera.

We got our tickets and the inevitable request to move to the other side of the fence. We were nice to Ranger Rick. We understood. He's important and we were breaking rules, we deserved to be punished. Then again, we looked at it differently. It was the cost of doing business. How much would it cost to hire a model to dress in uniform, get a ticket pad, clear the lawn and get this shot otherwise? A lot more than the tickets.

The Visa ad came to mind. Taxi fare to go meet Alexa: $8.50. Two tickets for "Failure to comply with signs": $100. Getting the perfect shot and memories for a lifetime: Priceless.

Alexa Winner and Michael Cress
Laughter all the way as we moved along. We're done. Out of curiosity, I had asked Ranger Rick if a fountain shot would be lawful, he said it would be. It wasn't necessary. How could we beat this?

Back out on 6th Avenue, perhaps the 6th person stopped us to ask if he really gave us a ticket. After answering, we asked if he would mind taking a picture of the both of us. The integrated fashion degree showed again for Alexa as she quickly made a bangle out of her ticket. For me, a new pocket square... er, rectangle.

Like I've said, style has a story. Our parents will be so proud.

Dress: Rolando Santana
Gold Cuff: Stephen Mikhail
Headband: Made by Alexa
Shoes: Bordello (Spraypainted gold by Alexa)
Stylist: Alexa Winner of course!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Black Swan

Alexa Winner
So what do you get when you put me with a celebrity stylist who has stunning model looks? Here's the answer... in part. 

I say in part because there's really two chapters of this story. Chapter one is such a great variety of looks. Yes, I have pictures that are less dramatic and perhaps more "real". When I met Alexa Winner, I knew this was going to be different- the fun kind of different. This was going to get interesting.

Alexa, as a stylist is used to putting together looks for celebs, individuals and models on modeling shoots as well as clothing lines (some big ones at that). She's used to being behind the camera, prodding people to do things they may feel a little uncomfortable doing. Having the spotlight in front of the camera, her boldness to get the right shot comes through. She was more than willing to position herself in places 99.9% of people wouldn't dare. We did find out how far we could push it. Laying on the railing at NYU's 1 Washington Square North where they have faculty offices and classrooms, unintentionally timed when classes happen to be getting out? No problem. Only in New York will people just walk by as if it's just another day in the City. Except for the occasional gawking male. Can we really blame him?  

Alexa Winner Graces NYU Campus
Credits for all images  below.

We were thinking (her idea) that our last shot of the day would be in the fountain at Washington Square Park. Let's just say that the two of us together are like throwing a match on gasoline, both more than willing to throw caution to the wind. We never got that fountain shot... didn't need to. But I digress, that falls under the Chapter 2 part of the story for tomorrow. 

A Parsons grad in Integrated Design, she understands so many aspects of the industry. An artist. Her shoes were black, she wanted them gold- so she spraypainted them. I dare say it would take a little previous hands-on experience to do that confidently knowing it would be a good outcome. Her talent is obvious and she's in high demand. I personally think she should be in high demand in front of the camera as well.

Alexa Winner
Alexa had read that I inevitably have word-association with people I spend a little time with and profile, so she asked what hers would be. Black Swan. Why? First, she has this beautiful long neck that you can't help but notice. A "Black" Swan because, as highlighted in "Swan Lake", they're extremely rare. Rare she is. The wonderful refreshing kind. I thought it was fitting and she took to it as well.

One of the many beauties of Alexa Winner
Dress: Rolando Santana
Gold Cuff: Stephen Mikhail
Headband: Made by Alexa
Shoes: Bordello (Spraypainted gold by Alexa)
Stylist: Alexa Winner of course!

Wonderful time but we're far from done. In tomorrow's Black Swan-Chapter 2, we found out just how far we could push it before we (somewhat humorously) found out how far is too-far.

Click here for The Black Swan (Chapter 2)...