About the Preppy Princess Blog

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a rather unusual post.

It has been more than 6 years since I started writing in this space, chronicling events on what we lovingly call the Preppy Planet. It has been beyond fun: an absolute delight and privilege. I like to think most readers enjoyed most posts; I certainly enjoyed writing them. Reading comments you were gracious enough to post was even more rewarding. There’s been lots of fashion fun and faux-pas, a snarky instance or two (cough-cough), and constant and unrelenting whining occasional complaints about those people or institutions referred to as Anti-Preps. There have also been times we stepped away from standard topics – isolated but traumatic moments for the country – when a collective hug seemed to be what we all needed most.

But lately the posts have begun to feel forced. Manufactured. Another look at LL Bean’s spring line? The umpteenth iteration of someone’s decree that “Preppy Style is Back”?  It could only follow that if posts are difficult to write, reading them must be tedious for even the kindest of souls. So your fearless scribe is going on a brief hiatus. I will pop in to crow about new goodies we get in at the shop, and natter on about things that genuinely spark an idea for a post. It would mean the world if you took a nanosecond to share things you would like to see covered: ideas or topics you find appealing in a format like this. Then I’ll better know what you like reading about when I’m back.

In no way is this goodbye to the interwebs: we love our incredible customers and vendors at the Princess, we’re still Twittering and on Facebook, as well as Pinterest. And I’ll be back here; I think I just need to give my brain a spring cleaning.

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“The New J. Crew?” & A Different Kind of Mayhem

Hello-Hello, and happy middle of the week to you.

Today we follow-up on a story previously discussed, the launch of a retail endeavor from two young women familiar with fashion, more from the Daily Mail.:

Fashion entrepreneur Chris Burch’s daughters, Pookie and Louisa, have struck out on their own this week with the launch of their label, Trademark.  The girls, 29 and 25, respectively, have been raised in fashion (they still call Tory Burch, married to their father until 2006, a stepmother).

Trademark

Trademark

That story is headlined this way:

Is this the new J.Crew? Chris Burch’s daughters Pookie and Louisa strike out on their own with Trademark – an affordable fashion label full of fun, preppy goods

More looks via Style.com.

StyleFile Blog

StyleFile Blog

There isn’t a huge selection of merchandise at this point, but you can certainly grasp the style aesthetic the young women are reaching for.  Below, the Wright Dress in navy plaid, also available in citronelle plaid ($168.)

Trade-mark

Trade-mark

Back to the Daily Mail story:

Part American preppy, part Japanese minimalism, Trademark offers pieces that have been created ‘to be worn as one’s own trademark,’ according to a statement issued by the label, which launched online yesterday following three years of development.

These modern art references manifest in Trademark’s color palette – an Albers-signature combination of natural tones like dark evergreen and rust, juxtaposed by brights and pastels including royal blue and pale yellow.

Trademark

Trademark

A touch of the blues the Daily Mail talked about: the Scuba Cardigan ($198) in royal blue, white, and turkey blue.

Trademark

Trademark

An unstructured jacket and skirt.

Trademark

Trademark

StyleFile’s story references the duo’s background and early exposure to fashion.

Trademark’s aesthetic is an extension of the pair’s own collective fashion experience, which includes summers spent in Nantucket searching for the consummate sweater; scouring Tokyo or other exotic locales for inspiration (much to Pookie’s dismay, as she hates flying); collecting Breton-striped shirts (Louisa); or even eavesdropping on Chris or Tory’s phone calls during car rides from suburban Philadelphia, where they were raised, to New York.

A few more pieces are shown below: on the left, the Koorsgaard Shirt ($128) and the same plaid seen above is used for the Saleci Skirt ($158). The skirt is available in solid colors as well.

Trademark

Trademark

Trademark has a crisp, casual vibe: there is very little clutter on the site and product images are hipper, clean of frou-frou embellishment.

Trademark

Trademark

Trademark offers some basic wovens: the Cole Shirt ($148) and Eliot Tee ($108) are both made of cotton poplin.

Trademark

Trademark

This is one of the stronger looks on the site, the Noddings Jacket ($188) and Mantinea Kilt ($168).

Trademark

Trademark

The Daily Mail article mentions something yours truly noticed:

One of the more distinctive things about the label, though, is how not one of the looks in its promotional images have been styled with heels.

In fact, Trademark is solely offering two flat sandal styles (from $195 to $225) as its introductory footwear designs – each one appearing as tapered riff on classic Birkenstock styles.
Read more:

Below, the Pajama Sandal ($225) in brown, navy and honey. While not my cup of tea it looks über-comfy. The other shoe is the Cadiz Sandal, $195, not shown here.

Trademark

Trademark

The brand also carries bags and jewelry; we show a selection of bangles.

Trademark

Trademark

Referring to the company’s styles as preppy does a disservice to the brand. By and large the looks are not “preppy,” a term being used more and more to define a fashion interpretation far removed from its original loose definition.  Many items in the Trademark line may, and will, appeal to those who also appreciate a Brooks Brothers shirt. But the company really targets a trendier, more youthful clientele. There are wonderful wardrobe basics one can build an entire look around and the pricing doesn’t seem outrageous, presuming the quality is excellent. StyleFile addresses the quality issue:

Their stock will be replenished with new styles every month, and is comprised of beautifully constructed garments that reflect the girls’ reserve and practicality.

This one will be fun to watch.

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Also today, fashions created by someone much younger than the Burch sisters.

via

@2Sisters_Angie Instagram

Say hello to Mayhem, the 4-year old style child shown above. Here is more from the Huffington Post:

It became clear Angie’s daughter (she calls her “Mayhem”) was more interested in fashion than the average 4-year-old. Mayhem shunned her store-bought princess dresses and started wrapping herself with scarves and sheets creating her own styles.

Then one day Angie got tired of finding her clothes in Mayhem’s toy box and suggested they make a dress out of paper. Mayhem loved the idea and they haven’t stopped creating paper dresses since.

Writer Ilana Wiles of Mommy Shorts says the dresses started out this way, as relatively simple ‘fashions’ …

2Sisters_Angie

2Sisters_Angie

But they soon blossomed into far more complex designs.

Via @2Sisters_Angie Instagram

Via @2Sisters_Angie Instagram

As for the supplies Mayhem uses? Back to Ilana’s HuffPo story:

We use a lot of construction paper, but we also use tissue paper, wrapping paper, and gift bags. We have also used silk scarves, tulle, and aluminum foil. Basically, if we can find it laying around the house and it’s pliable, it’s fair game. Clear packing tape and glue are our adhesives of choice

Seeing these two frocks my immediate thought was, “Oh, dresses for St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras”.

Fashions by Mayhem @2Sisters_Angie Instagram

Fashions by Mayhem @2Sisters_Angie Instagram

As for the question of how much is done by mom and done by daughter, the dress above right was created entirely by Mayhem with no help from her mother whatsoever.  Below, Mayhem at work.

Fashion by Mayhem

Fashion by Mayhem

The story about Mayhem that Ilana Wiles wrote for HuffPo brought an awful lot of attention to Mayhem and her family:

First, we can’t begin to tell you how humbling it is to have so many people reaching out to us and sharing that our story of making paper dresses has either touched or inspired them in some way. The kind words have brought smiles, laughs and at times, even tears (the good kind). I’m literally still shaking my head and saying “but we’re just hanging out at home making paper dresses…”.

Sometimes Mayhem channels a haute couture piece.

2Sisters_Angie Instagram via Huffington Post

2Sisters_Angie Instagram via Huffington Post

Mayhem’s mother wrote about the pressure of the notoriety:

…we put the brakes on. And stopped panicking about the hundreds of emails labeled “Urgent”, “Immediate Response”, “Oscars”, “Red Carpet”, “Exclusive” and “Extremely Time Sensitive”. We stopped answering the phone. And we started asking questions like: How do we keep Mayhem safe? How do we keep this fun? How do we maintain our integrity? How do we manage all this? Do we want something else to come from this? Which opportunities could we embrace and still have the kind of family life that is important to us? So we made phone calls and put some things in place to make life a little more manageable.

The Fashion by Mayhem site offers more than just photos of Mayhem in her dresses, there are tutorials and tips. Below, a look at the finished project for the “Anatomy of a Project Runway Dress“post.

Fashion by Mayhem

Fashion by Mayhem

Here are the elements of the dress.

Fashion by Mayhem

Fashion by Mayhem

Mayhem (with help from Mom) came up with a number of Oscar-related frocks this week.

Fashion by Mayhem

Fashion by Mayhem

We’ll leave you with two more of my favorites: a pink and green style accompanied by this caption: “Because yesterday she learned what “flip your hair back” means ;) ” The other just shrieks ‘spring,’ something desperately needed here in The Great Midwest and elsewhere.

Fashion by Mayhem

Fashion by Mayhem

That is one creative duo. If so inclined, visit Fashion by Mayhem or follow the Instagram account here.

 

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Lilly Pulitzer Auction Results

Hello-Hello, and Happy Monday to you.

Today we do a follow-up on our previous posts about the auction of Lilly Pulitzer’s estate items ten days ago.  We begin with a snippet from Guy Trebay’s article about the event in Saturday’s NY Times.

They came from all over, seeking a fragment of Lilly Pulitzer’s life and a souvenir of a woman they called an icon. Will Bannister and his wife, Leslie, came from Fort Worth, Tex.; Brandon and Cheryl Forbes Plunkett from Nashville; and Eva Cox from Cleveland, where she had built up a kitty especially for an auction of property from the Pulitzer estate.

Some of the items up for auction.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

From Mr. Trebay’s story it sounds as if the auction house, Leslie Hindman, even spruced up its sale rooms.

… the auction house rooms were painted for the occasion in the raucous colors Pulitzer — untutored designer, daughter of Eastern aristocracy, nearly lifelong resident of Palm Beach, a 10-square-mile beach town where the richest Americans take their leisure — made her signature.

The story was titled, “A Designer’s Palm Beach Jumble Sale,” very àpropos.

“We expected interest but not this much interest,” the auctioneer Leslie Hindman said when the 500 bidders in the auction room on sale day were joined by 600 people who had registered on the Internet or planned to bid by phone.

The sale generated an awful lot chatter, as one would expect for someone of Lilly’s stature. From an Architectural Digest piece:

Given Lilly Pulitzer’s blue-blood origins and preppy preeminence, it comes as no surprise to learn that the fashion star—she of the sprightly shifts in whimsical prints and zippy colors—lived amid overstuffed classic upholstery, heirloom knickknacks, and polychrome flamboyance.

The contents of the bohemian Palm Beach compound… are being sold…. the 295 lots are lively yet largely undistinguished, but a few pieces deserve a shout-out, including several examples of stunning Victorian furniture, among them Pulitzer’s bargelike canopy bed.

Below, the bed mentioned above, described in the catalog thusly: “Victorian Bamboo and Lacquer Bedroom Suite, comprising a half tester bed, an occasional table and a side table.”

Leslie Hindman

ESTIMATE: $1000 – $2000  SELLING PRICE: $22,500

Another of AD’s choices, the pair of 38-inch-tall Chinese export porcelain urns; this lot brought the highest price in the auction.

Leslie Hindman

ESTIMATE: $2000 – $4000. SELLING PRICE: $42,500

The Architectural Digest post included the Victorian Painted Conservatory Birdcage.

Leslie Hindman

Leslie Hindman

ESTIMATE: $500 – $700. SELLING PRICE: $12,500.

Two more interior views of Lilly’s house.

Via the Glam Pad

Via the Glam Pad

The Guy Trebay story quotes Steven Stolman, Scalamandre Textiles President, and an authority on Lilly:

At the Jungle, Pulitzer’s sprawling compound on South County Road, Mr. Stolman noted, there were untamed gardens, three structures encompassing 11 bedrooms, a seven-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty, a flexible and always expanding menagerie of pets and friends and a Sub-Zero refrigerator upholstered in one of her tropical prints. “I knew I was in the presence of genius when I saw that,” he said.

The cast metal Statue of Liberty Mr. Stolman mentioned.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

ESTIMATE: $200 – $400. SELLING PRICE: $2,500

Robert Stevens/Brown, Rice, Stevens

Robert Stevens/Brown, Rice, Stevens

The Orlando Sentinel also covered the auction.

The auction of furniture and decor from the lavish home of Lilly Pulitzer — a socialite known for her parties, personality, taste and clothing line — was reason enough to fly here on a moment’s notice for Cincinnati cookie shop owner Peggy Shannon.

“Because these things belonged in Lilly Pulitzer, they’re bringing in unbelievable prices,” Hindman said. “She was a very dearly loved lady.”

Pulitzer became famous as much for her approach to life as for her clothing line, fans said. Her sprawling Palm Beach home was decorated in colors and patterns as bright as the ones she designed for the shift dresses her clothing lines always featured.

The crowd at the auction.

The Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando Sentinel

This Chinese Export Porcelain Jardiniere also exceeded its pre-sale estimate. Substantially.

Leslie Hindman

Leslie Hindman

ESTIMATE: $100 – $200   SELLING PRICE: $40,000

This oil painting seems to portray an element of Lilly’s decorating style: adorn your home with pieces and styles you like, not things that “will be a good investment,” or what an interior designer says “you should have.” The piece is a 1978 original by John Kiraly. (The catalog misspells the artist’s surname.) Mr. Kiraly is a well-known Florida artist, you can see why Lilly would appreciate his work.

Leslie Hindman

Leslie Hindman

ESTIMATE: $150 – 250 SELLING PRICE: $4500

We return to Guy Trebay’s article:

In keeping with Pulitzer’s unrestrained exuberance in all things, her house was a welter of mismatched objects held in harmony, though just barely, by the conviction of her eye: papier-mâché parrots on baroque consoles, Chinese porcelain urns next to concrete cats.

Robert Stevens, Brown Harris Stevens

Robert Stevens, Brown Harris Stevens

One of the more interesting elements of the auction? Where the bidders were physically located; only a third of them were actually onsite in West Palm Beach. More from the Shiny Sheet:

The South Dixie Highway facility drew a crowd of about 400 people over the course of the sale of 295 lots that once graced the rooms of Pulitzer’s island house. Another 800 bid absentee, via the Internet or over the telephone, said Maura Ross, a director of Hindman’s Palm Beach office.
Bids came in from China, Great Britain, Ireland and across the United States.

It seems to me many items fetching higher prices are those offering a sentimental value, or a link to Lilly. Two watercolors by artist Tania Vartan show interiors of the house are a good example. It makes perfect sense to me this lot would sell well over its estimate, it offers someone a tiny slice of Lilly’s life.

Leslie Hindman

Leslie Hindman

ESTIMATE: $800 – $1200   SELLING PRICE: $3750

Another good example of sentiment trumping other criteria? Lot #283, the Printed Canvas Map of Palm Beach, the inflated (by some standards) price makes perfect sense to me.

Leslie Hindman

Leslie Hindman

ESTIMATE: $40 – $60   SELLING PRICE: $16,250

The Trebay article includes quotes from notable names in the land of Lilly Lovers; among them, Susan Romano Trader, founder of the wildly successful Re-Lilly page on Facebook.

Susan Trader was one of those who had made her way to Palm Beach from elsewhere — Cape Coral, Fla., in her case — determined to be first in line come sale day and claim a perch in the front row.

“Her whole premise was life is supposed to be fun,” said Ms. Trader, who bookmarked her catalog at a page picturing Pulitzer in her rich-hippie prime — flowers tucked in her hair, painted around one eye and with a lily sprouting from her décolletage. A Pulitzer quote accompanies the image: “That’s what life is all about: Let’s have a party. Let’s have it tonight.”

Not everything sold at wildly inflated prices. The 19th century oil painting was estimated to bring $500-700, it went for $688.  The Enameled Table Casket estimate was $300-500, it sold for less than that, bringing just $188.

Leslie Hindman

Leslie Hindman

Again, the prices realized make sense. Neither item shrieks “Lilly,” the subdued colors and subject matter are at the opposite end of the spectrum from the vivid colors most associated with Lilly.

All told the auction brought in quite a sum of money, back to Robert Janjigian’s story in the PB Daily News, quoting Maura Ross from Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

 The total auction take was almost $600,000, which includes the buyer’s premium of 25 percent of the hammer price, which was significantly higher than Hindman’s pre-sale estimate of $132,310. No lots went unsold. “Many items, especially things that reflected Lilly’s distinct taste and fun-loving personality, went for triple or quadruple their original estimates,” Ross said.

Looking through the catalog a second and third time, I did not see several lots noted in the Leslie Hindman news release about the auction, notably the lots described in the news release about the event, a Tiffany Nautilus Lamp and Meissen Porcelain Fourteen-Piece Monkey Band, mentioned in our previous post about the auction.

You can view the entire auction catalog and prices realized by clicking here. If interested in our previous post on the auction, with some lovely interior photos of Lilly’s house, click here.

G’bye until next time!

 

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The Consort Has Seen Enough

Hello-hello, all.  The Consort here shuffling mikeside to dazzle and baffle you while The (Very Talented and Lovely) Princess engages in some retail therapy.  And therapy, in whichever form it takes, is a very welcome thing right about now.  Why? This.

Looking out the front door

This is the scene outside the front door of The Prepatorium.  The actual temperature is in single digits and the wind chill tonight is expected to hit -30° F.  That, gentle readers, is cold.  And I’ve had enough.  The snow and cold feel relentless this winter.  Last week we finally saw temperatures above freezing for the first time this year.  The balmy 40° weather lasted two days.  It was a tease and now we are paying the price for the folly of thinking Spring was nearing.  But what should I expect?  I was born and raised in this area.  You’d imagine I would embrace the winter weather and not go all whiny on you.  Maybe I need to change my point of view and find some opportunities.  Like these people.

Paul Harrison/SkyNews Twitter

The French ski resorts of Val Thorens and Les Menuires recently squared off in a snow rugby game.  I don’t know who won (don’t really care) but love the idea of thumbing your nose at the elements.  I can only imagine how much fun it would be to wash someone’s face with snow in the middle of a scrum.  Or maybe something less involved.

When was the last time you made a snow angel?  I can’t remember when I flopped down in the snow and created a work of snow art.  Maybe that’s part of the issue here.  I need to recapture that childlike sense of joy at seeing the snow. Go back to a time when a big snowfall meant a day off of school, making snowmen and angels.  And Mom going crazy when we left our snowy boots and mittens all over the house. Then enjoying the mug of hot chocolate she’d make to warm us up.

Time passes.  Responsibilities build and demands must be met.  Nuts to that.  I’m going outside to make a snow angel.

Thanks for indulging me today.  The Princess will return very soon with tidbits of information that will be much more important than my ravings.  Remember to take care of your waitperson today because they’re working hard for you.  Good-bye for now, everybody!

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Downton Abbey Season Finale, Johnny & Tara Returning to Your TV

Hello-Hello, happy new week to everyone.

Last night presented quite the conundrum for those of us living in the dark ages without a DVR. Downton Abbey or the Closing Ceremonies? Fortunately there was some divine intervention, we were able to watch the Closing Ceremonies live on CBC. Did you enjoy them?

The Rachmaninov was outstanding.

©2014 XXII Olympic Winter Games

©2014 XXII Olympic Winter Games

It was fun seeing the nod to that little glitch with the five rings in the Opening Ceremony…

1507823_10152285539395329_527815709_n

©NBC Olympics Facebook

…before all five opened fully.

©2014 XXII Olympic Winter Games

©2014 XXII Olympic Winter Games

The evening was as vibrant as the Opening Ceremony.

Ralph Lauren Facebook http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Features/2014/February/19/NBC-Olympics-announces-television-schedule-for-Sochi-2014-Paralympic-Winter-Games

Ralph Lauren Facebook

It was certainly as colorful.

Sochi 2014 Facebook

Sochi 2014 Facebook

Julie Chu (hockey) carried our flag.

Ralph Lauren Facebook

Ralph Lauren Facebook

Then it was time to change directions and look toward PyeongChang in 2018.

©2014 XXII Olympic Winter Games

The flame that had been burning for 2-1/2 weeks…

Sochi 2014 Facebook

Sochi 2014 Facebook

Was put out.

©2014 XXII Winter Olympic Games

©2014 XXII Winter Olympic Games

The fireworks were spectacular.

Sochi 2014 Facebook

Sochi 2014 Facebook

And Sochi Bear said goodbye.

1689723_10152285694065329_1623502198_n

NBC Olympics Facebook

It was also time to start thinking about March.

US Olympic Committee

US Olympic Committee

The Paralympic Games get underway in Sochi on March 7; to see NBC’s broadcast schedule for the click here.

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Also today, good news for everyone who enjoyed the Olympic figure skating commentary of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.

Today Show Facebook Page

Today Show Facebook Page

It turns out the duo will be back on TV in less than a week.  More from the Washington Post’s Early Lead blog:

The Olympics may be over, but nobody — nobody — is ready to quit Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, the former Olympic figure skaters who were NBC’s dynamic duo with their commentary from Sochi.

They’ll be back next week to talk fashion for “Access Hollywood” this weekend at the Academy Awards. It’ll be tough for anyone on the red carpet to top Weir, whose Olympic outfits were a daily amazement.

Johnny Weir Instagram

Johnny Weir Instagram

This should be an enormous ratings boost for Access Hollywood.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Then it was time for Downton Abbey.

Carnival Film Television/PBS

Carnival Film Television/PBS

SPOILER ALERT: The following reveals information of a ‘spoiler’ nature.

From a visual perspective it was a feast. There were pretty party frocks.

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film Television/PBS

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film Television/PBS

And royalty.

Nick Briggs/ITV

Nick Briggs/ITV

From HuffPo:

The finale began almost like a season première: Eight months have passed since last week’s bazaar, and the entire Downton clan has packed up and shipped out to the spectacular Grantham House in London to prepare for Lady Rose’s ball and a visit to THE Buckingham Palace.

Nick Briggs/

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film Television/PBS

Not everyone (understatement of the century) was positively impressed with the finale. This was how People magazine’s review opened:

Sunday’s Downton Abbey on PBS Masterpiece brought a nice, gentle close to a difficult, unsatisfactory season.

Kevin Fallon at the Daily Beast really didn’t care for the finale or most of the season.

That was quite a ridiculous season of Downton Abbey, now wasn’t it? What happened to the formerly addictive, splendid, elegant costume drama?

Season four of Downton Abbey, which concluded Sunday night, was all about acceptance. It was about accepting the death of two major characters and the need—for us and the residents of Downton—to move on. Accepting the budding love between a white heiress and a black singer. Accepting the conception of a child out of love—and out of wedlock. And, most of all, accepting the fact that Downton Abbey is a shell of the seductively elegant costume soap opera we all became so addicted to four years ago.

Ouch.

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

TV Guide wasn’t tickled about things either.

As finales go, it wasn’t as sad as last season’s tragic shocker. So, yay for not offing another beloved character. Points also for finally giving Edith her autonomy back, Daisy her pride and Mr. Sampson another lesson. Other than those very satisfying events, the whole was just a continuation of the baffling and disjointed trend of this season.

Overall, the season felt muddled and like it was laying groundwork for more (i.e. Mary’s suitors). It’s clear that this was a transitional season, which wasn’t completely satisfying, but at least it gives us hope for Season 5.

There was also intrigue. (That was really just silly IMO.) As the HuffPo review asks, “When did “Downton” suddenly become an episode of Nancy Drew?”

PBS Masterpiece

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

There were elements of the season that TV Guide also liked.

To end on a positive note, here are some points that felt natural to us this season: the introduction of new technology in the kitchen, Mary taking an interest in the estate, Lady Edith’s fashions and mothering instinct, the return of Branson’s political interests, Mrs. Crawley’s heartbreaking struggle with grief for Matthew and Molesley dealing with job security.

Overall, the season felt muddled and like it was laying groundwork for more (i.e. Mary’s suitors). It’s clear that this was a transitional season, which wasn’t completely satisfying, but at least it gives us hope for Season 5.

The Huffington Post has hope for next year:

“Some of you have complained about Downton having devolved into a predictable cycle of soap-operatic clichés in Season 4, but the 90-minute finale, with its gorgeous gowns and magical ball and the arrival of some very special American guests, has surely restored faith again in our beloved British series.”

Nick Briggs/

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

From TIME’s review:

Carson is charged with organizing an outing for the staff. All of his suggestions are boring, but eventually they decide to go to the beach. At the beach, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes go wading together and hold hands! Gah! Is this a romance brewing? Is this cute, or disappointing because it implies no platonic male-female friendships? It’s unclear.

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited

G’bye until next time.

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Filed under 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Olympic Games, preppy

Women’s Preppy Shoe Styles? Maybe Yes, Maybe No.

Hello-Hello, happy middle of the week to you.

We are brief today (must watch Ladies Figure Skating short program), due to a number of commitments. (HehHehHeh.) Town and Country has done a style feature that might be of interest, “Eighteen Preppy Shoes for Women.” The list offers some interesting choices, with several from brands you will recognize.

We begin with two pairs of flats from the list, the iconic Ferragamo Varina Ballerina Flat in ‘morning rose’ patent ($450 at Nordstrom). (I’m not sure I want to know how many Varinas called TQM’s closet home over the years.) Below right, Loeffler Randall’s Milla Scallop Flat in ‘mint’ leather ($250).

Ferragamo/Loeffler Randall

Ferragamo/Loeffler Randall

Two pair of heels from a Princess favorite, Oscar de la Renta: the Laura Plaid, a pointy-toed slingback and the Roberta, (both are $695) a two-tone pump. The navy suede sets off the neon green nicely.

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta

Two more styles, the Hallie by Coach ($248) and Desi Printed Pump from Tory Burch ($295).

Coach/Tory Burch

Coach/Tory Burch

Next, two pair of flats from longtime prep purveyor Stubbs and Wootton. On the left, a very fun fuchsia called the Kaboom! in velvet with grosgrain trim, the pair on the right is a touch more sedate, the Tennis in Emerald green linen. Both are $400.

Stubbs and Wootton

Stubbs and Wootton

Thus far the suggested styles make sense. But then we have these (envision TPP shaking head) from Charlotte Olympia.

Charlotte Olympia

Charlotte Olympia

Now, yours truly is a Charlotte Olympia fan. Very much so. The designer creates accessories that are distinctive, whimsical and of outstanding quality. But to suggest that the platforms shown above are ‘preppy’ stretches the definition. At any rate, the pair on the left is the Monacoco ($350)and the Florence Neon Woven Sandal ($700).

We move on to a classic pair of Gucci Horsebit Loafers in pink patent ($525), Charles Philip’s Shanghai Canvas Flat in lemony yellow ($195), and the Intrecciato Driving Shoe from Botttega Veneta ($540).

Net-a-Porter

Net-a-Porter

There are other styles we haven’t shown, click here to see the entire feature.

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion

Fashion Weeks Bring New Clothing Lines for Two Heritage Brands

Hello-Hello, happy Monday to everyone.

Today we look at two heritage brands launching their first collections of RTW (ready to wear) styles, the clothing debuts with the fall 2014 season. The first is Coach, previously discussed in this space on more than one occasion. Frequently your faithful correspondent would whine & complain voice concerns about cheapening of the brand: the bags buried in logos, a factory outlet store on every corner, and sporadic quality issues are the primary culprits. A more educated view comes from Stan Ackman, a stock analyst interested in one thing: the company’s performance.

Factory Stores Caused the Brand Problem

The problem all stems from factory stores. It is OK to have small amount of your store base as factory stores to sell aged inventories at a higher margin. But over-reliance on factory stores is a problem. A while ago, in order to gain consumers who would otherwise not buy a regular-price Coach bag, Coach came up with a solution to promote its factory store bags. It has opened more factory stores than regular stores in North America for years and frequently gave coupons to the factory store channel.

Just a few days ago Coach introduced its first collection of ready to wear at New York Fashion Week. Women’s Wear Daily profiled the company’s new Creative Director, Stuart Vevers:

In four months, the designer pulled together the new direction for the brand, which he hopes the fall women’s collection will crystallize. It features a full apparel lineup — outerwear being a focus — and a new, younger vibe for Coach’s accessories assortment.

If there was an added pressure to turn around Coach’s less-than-stellar recent financial results, particularly in the North American market, Vevers doesn’t show it.

More on the line itself from The Telegraph:

For a designer who’s been brought into re-invent a 70-year-old brand, there’s probably no bigger compliment than the “of course” reaction.

Of course Coach’s brand new ready-to-wear line should look the way Stuart Vevers has conceived it: a bit preppie, a hint of down-town and wholly American.

Coach Courtesy Photos

Coach Courtesy Photos

Suzy Menkes reviewed the collection in Friday’s NY Times:

Stuart Vevers, who set out to give the brand a streetwise edge and a bit of downtown cool but without forgoing its status as an all-American fashion label.

Most of all, in an era when American designers sometimes seem to forget that sportswear is their country’s heritage, Coach looks ready to step in, to modernize and to make good outfits — from round top hat to shearling-covered toe.

Taken alone, removed from the ensembles and ashen models showcasing the looks, there are many isolated pieces that work. I’m sure several of the sheepskin coats will be dynamite, especially on the younger demo the brand is trying to attract. The exaggerated houndstooth will be fun for that age group, the parkas and other jackets are likely to be snuggly warm. Are the styles going to bring all those customers Coach lost back in to the fold? That is doubtful, at best.

Back to the WWD story:

Much of it captures a workwear vibe. Some coats are rendered in sheepskin; typically American references include varsity jackets and a knitted sweater with a motif of Apollo One. “It’s the American dream,” he said.

Coach Courtesy Photos

Coach Courtesy Photos

A brief portion of Fashionista’s story, touching on a key challenge for the brand:

Consider this a warning Michael Kors, Tory Burch: Coach is coming for you.

Or they’re trying to anyway.

The handbag and accessories titan is getting a makeover–and making a play for the lifestyle sector of the market, currently dominated by Burch and Kors, is part of their new strategy….

The Kors/Burch/other labels issue is a challenge for Coach. Competitors focused on growing their core brand while Coach seemed to be focused on opening factory outlet stores.

More from Suzy Menkes:

Standout accessories in his collection are solid platform-soled boots with furry linings, and bags with a focus on useful pockets rather than elaborate hardware, which he said would start at a modest $400 rather than the $2,000 European luxury pricing that is common today.

Most of all, in an era when American designers sometimes seem to forget that sportswear is their country’s heritage, Coach looks ready to step in, to modernize and to make good outfits — from round top hat to shearling-covered toe.

Stepping back from the apparel line, a look at spring footwear shows a range of styles, from chunky, boho heels…….

Coach

Coach

To elegant fabrics and basic heels, proof the company can still do many things right.

Coach

Coach

Other spring styles are sleek and understated.

Coach

Coach

Yours truly hopes Mr. Vevers and his team can find a way to resuscitate the brand. It will be a very tough road, especially if $458 sweatshirts remain part of the mix.

Coach

Coach

If interested in looking at the full range of next fall’s Coach clothing & accessory styles shown at Fashion Week, click here.

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When thinking of Hunter the company’s boots come to mind. Some may envision the classic original boot while others think of hipper styles, like the collaboration with Rag & Bone shown on the right.

Hunter Facebook

Hunter Facebook

The company, “…long a symbol of British Country life,” has continued to grow, changing with the times.

Hunter Facebook

Hunter Facebook

Now the heritage brand is launching clothing. More from British Vogue:

Hunter has a lot going for it. It has heritage, it has reason (its product – wellingtons – being especially relevant in Britain right now), it has fashion resonance (you can’t move for a Hunter welly on the festival fields), and now it has a new creative director in the shape of Alasdhair Willis – Stella McCartney’s husband – appointed to the role this time last year.

Hunter Boots Facebook

Hunter Boots Facebook

The new collection was shown at London Fashion Week this past Friday. Once again we turn to The Telegraph’s Lisa Armstrong for insight; from her article on the collection:

 ”…the first Hunter ready-to-wear collection, comes at Britishness side-long, with Paddington Bear duffels in sou’wester yellow, cobalt blue and pillar-box red, scores of wellingtons, chunky knitwear – and neoprene.

There are men’s and women’s style in the collection, we’ll focus on the womenswear.  Ms. Armstrong’s column references the weekend in 2005 when model Kate Moss was seen wearing a pair of the boots at the Glastonbury Music Festival, the quotes are from creative director Alasdhair Willis.

Ever since Kate Moss resurrected (that’s not too strong a word) Hunter, which was teetering on insolvency, by appearing in a muddy field in Hunter willies and miniature hot-pants in 2005, the brand has been fighting back. Willis was hired a year ago and has been grappling with the slippery subject of Britishness ever since.

“In this country, everyone knows it’s British – there’s an incredibly strong emotional connection. Abroad it’s more elusive. That’s good. I hate it when brands milk the British angle by simply slapping on a Union Jack. True Britishness is the opposite of that. It’s quirky and it’s independent. It’s an incredibly valuable asset and you don’t want to flog it to death and ruin it for everyone”.

Hunter Courtesy Photos

Hunter Courtesy Photos

From Style.com’s review:

When the first looks hit the runway—as if by magic—any lingering skepticism melted away: The clothes were really good.

Functional details abounded: double enforcing with two zippers on a fleece jacket, big pockets to carry survival instruments, shorts for wading through floods, a fierce balaclava—presumably to rob Mother Nature, not a bank.

Willis also said he wants to move Hunter away from the “festival girl” tag it has been saddled with in the U.K.  The label did outfit soldiers in the muddy trenches of World War I long before anyone pulled on its boots at Glastonbury.

British Vogue’s verdict:

“Focused, practical and in a paint-box palette of shades, it was a great and strong start for a new chapter of this brand.”

This one looks poised for success.

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