Powerful and sleek, the Jason Wu woman doesn’t walk down the runway – she owns it.
In a muted palette of blacks, beiges, and burgundies, she is Katharine Hepburn meets Sharon Stone, she is 90s heroin chic meets CEOs. You watch as luxury is visually defined via the ripple of plum velvet over her legs as she walks right by you. She borrows her husband’s oversize coat and pairs it with her slinky, sexy second skin of a gown. You watch in awe as she passes by, head held high.
Whoever this woman is, you can’t afford her…because she’s above your paygrade.
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Another New York Fashion Week is beginning today, which means a full week of beauty, glamour and all sorts of gowns…but I thought it would be nice to kick off the coverage by focusing on a brand that really thinks about the world around us and changes it for the better one mouth at a time.
FEED, founded by the wonderful Lauren Bush Lauren in 2007, has so far been able to provide over 75 million school meals globally through sales of a collection of totes, handbags, wallets, jewelry, t-shirts, scarfs and more. This season, FEED is introducing a new luxury collection of leather bags (I personally LOVE) handmade by master artisans in Kenya. Each item you purchase, whether it is one of the leather totes (available this fall) or a burlap all function bag, has a number on the back which tells you how many meals for the year you have provided with your purchase. I was intrigued by this design decision, because it’s so rare that you get to know and fully understand the personal impact of something you buy. When I complimented Lauren on it, she said she wanted to make sure FEED was tangible and meaningful in a way you can relate to personally and not simply a “percentage of proceeds” product.
The amazing thing about the production of the FEED products is not only the good that is brought about from the sales but also that it provides sustainable employment to the local craftsmen in Kenya or Guatemala who can then send their kids to school where they can have nutritious meals sourced from local farmers. Lauren’s passion toward the work she does with FEED comes through so clearly, whether she’s talking about how the beading on one Kenya Messenger Bag took two and a half days, or through watching the 8mm films of school children in Africa she shot on her most recent trip.
So here is to remembering this Fashion Week that there is nothing more fashionable than doing good.
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My relationship with Prabal Gurung goes back quite a ways now: from the CFDA incubator to the successful fashion name we all look forward to at NYFW. Each season, his show is one to look forward to as more of an experience than a runway of looks, and today was no exception. When the entire collection of girls lined up to start the show behind plastic walls, my entire body had goosebumps. Like a beautifully choreographed fashion ballet, the girls stepped out one by one into our world, just long enough to see the translucent look of the heels, Swarovski crystal beading on the gowns, and the surprising and fascinating cuts Prabal is known for. To me, these women look like modern day Barbie dolls, standing behind the plastic in their cotton candy colors and bright comic book lips…but the kind of Barbie who owns her own flat, negotiates her own deals, and picks up the check because she’s somebody in the world.
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