Sunday, September 30, 2012

Models of a Certain Age: We Model Marla Wynne Fashions

On Saturday, we and several of our women friends of a certain age participated in a fashion show of Marla Wynne's clothing at the Fab Over Fifty Bash at Manhattan's Metropolitan Pavilion. Marla Wynne Ginsburg, a highly successful TV producer worked in Paris and Montreal before returning to NYC to reinvent herself as a fashion designer who focuses on women over fifty. Her Marla Wynne line is making a big hit on HSN. (Photo from

The Fab Over Fifty Bash was an all day affair from 10 AM to 7 PM, with the fashion show starting at 5:30 PM. We were asked to arrive at  3 PM, to make sure everything was in place, so we took a few photos as we all began to trickle in. Here are Debra Rapoport, Judith Boyd (aka The Style Crone), Valerie and Jean in our version of "street clothes".

Geri Brin, mastermind behind the Fab Over Fifty blog, and the Fab Over Fifty Bash, stopped for a photo with Valerie.

We met three women, all named Judith. ("Judy, Judy, Judy" - what are the odds of that?!) They are  image consultants and have a book on the subject to be published in the Spring of 2013.

We had a little time to spare before the show, so we strolled around the Metropolitan Pavillion, where the FOF Bash was held, to see and be seen. We met these three fabulous sisters and loved their hair.   They were sweet enough to indulge us with a photoraph.

Linda Derector (Out of the Ordinary Eyewear) had a fabulous selection of vintage and new eyeglass frames and sunglasses. AND we loved her vintage Claude Montana shirt. Check out her collection at 

One of Marla's ideas, in showing her latest styles, was to show how they looked on women of different ages. Here are three generations - Tziona and her daughter and granddaughter - all of whom modeled in  the show.

From left to right, Gerri Shute, Lynn Dell, Valerie, Jean, Debra Rapoport, and Joana Avillez, author and illustrator of Life Dressing: The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas.

The FOF Bash attracted lots of beautiful, tuned in women.  Case in point: this pair of gorgeous audience members. There were several presentations held on the stage during the course of the day, but we think we might have had the best audience of the day. (Or are we just biased???)


Marla Wynne (right) enjoys a well-deserved moment of triumph, walking down the runway with one of the models.
Our friend Style Crone Judith Boyd came all the way from Colorado to participate.

Debra Rapoport styled her selections with a hat, brooch and bracelet she made herself.

Lynn Dell looks great in black and white, and finishes off the look with a parasol.


This Marla Wynne outfit looks like it was made for Gerri Shute.

Marla featured us together in each of our runway appearances.  We each modeled three outfits and for the first, we both wore the same top and added our own bottom, accessories and hat. Valerie paired the burnt out patterned boat neck tunic with pleated ruffle with a grey wool sleeveless dress by Blayde, Gareth Pugh for Melissa gladiator sandals and Marla Wynne necklace.  Vintage hat by Hattie Carnegie, drop earrings from a flea market, black metal cuffs from Matsuya Ginza.

Jean paired the same tunic with Issey Miyake balloon pants, Marcia Lyons neck ruffle, black patent custom-platform Dansko clogs, MOMA black and white polka dot shibori bag, Victorian straw hat, black Chinese fan and vintage bakelite bangles.

Backstage was quite an experience with a dozen women all trying to change clothes, locate and put on their accessories, shoes, hats, etc. in a VERY short timeframe. In order to keep straight what she was wearing with each outfit, Jean made little "Cheat Sheet" index cards in which she drew each of the outfits and matching accessories. Here's her cheat sheet for her first outfit.

Brett Cooper and his partner were our backstage managers. And what a terrific job they did! They arranged three racks of clothing so everyone had enough space to navigate, kept all the clothes grouped by wearer, asked us in what order we'd like to wear the clothes and decided the order in which we showed, laid out all of Marla's accessories on a table so they could be picked up easily, offered to help us in and out of clothes if we appeared to be struggling, managed a full spectrum of personalities, did all that in a space no larger than two bread boxes, AND managed to smile and be gracious the entire time! We sort of knew there were a lot of logistics involved, but we really had no idea until we saw it with our own eyes.


Without prior consultation, it turned out that we both used red accessories for our second outfits. "Great minds ... "

Valerie modeled Marla's black and white sleeveless tunic and black knit jacket, to which she added her own black pants (Betsey Johnson), red and black straw hat refashioned from an African basket, vintage red celluloid earrings, felt cuff by O-matic, red lacquered Japanese bud vase worn as a necklace and red leather gladiator open-toe boots by Nicole. Check the front row audience reaction to our appearance. We hoped they were laughing with us ...

Jean watches Valerie show off her sleeveless tunic top.

Jean modeled Marla Wynne's black long sleeve tunic and black pants under a long sleeveless tunic. She added her red lacquer coolie hat, red fan, red wooden gum ball necklace and bakelite bangles, red leather shoulder bag and black and white Jeffrey Campbell platform boots.

We had coordinating black and white reversible animal print tops and black tunics as part of our third outfits. Valerie wore the jacket and Jean wore the shrug.

Valerie paired Marla's tunic and black and white jacket with her black beret, black and white felt pyramid pin by Danielle Gori-Montanelli, black and white 'target' earrings, vintage Mexican silver and onyx pin, and red leather gloves with black suede shoes by Arche.

Jean added an H&M long tube skirt, vintage red felted wool hat (from Stacey LoAlbo), lucite and dice Kirsten Hawthorne necklace, lucite skull necklace by Made Her Think, vintage wide lucite bangle bracelets and rings, carved lucite bird cuff by Joyce Francis (one of the FOF vendors), Brooklyn Museum black and white fan, white socks and black and white Underground creepers.

Just before the show, Joyce Francis, who designs Lucite accessories, and was showing them at the Bash, brought several pieces around to us backstage and offered to let us walk down the runway with them. Several of the women wore some of Joyce's wonderful Lucite handbags, and Jean wore this bracelet of birds with the outfit above.


We had a blast and learned a lot.  After the show, we went to dinner around the corner at Cafeteria on 7th Avenue and 17th Street, with Gerri Shute (who flew in from Chicago to model at the event).  We totally spaced the opportunity to take photos to memorialize our delicious meal. Needless to say, once we finally got home and unpacked our things, we were exhausted!

What we wore before the show (our so-called "street clothes"):

Valerie: no hat!  Squid earrings by Olya (Nepinka), unlabeled bolero, Talbot's shirt, bi-layered metal cuff from the flea market, wooden bangle from Japan, red plastic ring from El Museo del Barrio, silver and enamel ring from Pastec, Betsey Johnson pants, Melissa shoes (designed by Gareth Pugh).

Jean:  Ignatius hat, Gauge and Cable peplum shirt, Issey Miyake balloon pants, black patent custom platform Dansko clogs, black leather street vendor cross-body bag, vintage bakelite earrings and rings.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

On Saturday afternoon, we treated ourselves to a viewing of the documentary "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel" which had just opened the day before.  We sashayed down to the Angelika Theater in Soho.  Diana was famous for her love of red, so we both sported scarlet nails and just couldn't resist modeling ourselves after the film's poster.

Well, when we saw who was right in front of us in line, we certainly knew were were in the right place at the right time! Here's Who's Who, dahlings: Valerie is next to legendary illustrator Robert W. Richards, whose work we have loved for years and whom we had finally met last year at the New York Public Library's exhibition of theater posters by Fraver aka Frank Verlizzo. Next to Richard is none other than hairstylist Steven Knoll who has elevated the craft of hairstyling to an art form.  His studio on Madison Avenue at 59th Street is in the middle of everything. On Jean's left is the Uber Dandy himself, Patrick McDonald. In one of the bags he is carrying is the most fabulous tie with shadow figures wearing top hats.  He was sweet enough to let us drool over it.  In the front row is entertainer extraordinaire Joey Arias. Famous for his impersonations of grande dames as varied as Billie Holiday and Joan Crawford,  his performances are memorable.  One wonders if he's gathering material for a reincarnation of D.V.!?!  Right before we entered the theater, Patrick said goodbye for the group, saying they'd make a mad dash for seats together.  We were seated across the aisle and noted the occasional appreciative chuckles emanating from their vicinity.

So many things we could tell you about this very thorough and quite interesting movie, written by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, her granddaughter-in-law, and full of great photographs, video interview snippets, and anecdotes from her friends and family. Why don't we just tell you a few, so you'll go see it yourself? Diana (that's Dee-anna) spent her early life in Europe. Her parents were well connected, so Diana got to see Diaghilev's Ballets Russes on numerous occasions, and decades later was still wide-eyed telling of seeing Nijinsky leap through a prop window.

Vreeland never kidded herself that she was a great beauty. Her own mother pointed this out to her - repeatedly - very early in her life. Asked by an interviewer to touch upon the subject of her looks, she replied "Oh, let's not go there." Still, Vreeland clearly knew how to style herself early on. Here one can see a classic look of the time, reminiscent of a Georgia O'Keeffe or a Frida Kahlo.

While working at Harper's Bazaar, Vreeland discovered Lauren Bacall, only one of her many discoveries.

Vreeland's granddaughter-in-law interviewed photographer David Bailey and his 1960s model/collaborator Penelope Tree, who separately both told a story they still clearly cherish. Asked to do a photo layout for Vreeland, by then working at Vogue, they made several different attempts, all of which were rejected. Finally, they came up with a series they were both quite proud of, and Diana was ecstatic over it. "Of course, I can't use it", she said finally, after lavishly praising it. Here both Tree and Bailey burst into laughter in their separate interviews, quoting Diana as explaining "There's no languor in the lips."  Vreeland was apparently famous for cryptic pronouncements that her staff had to do their best to interpret.

One of Vreeland's children said that she preferred the nightlife of the '70s to the company of her own children, saying she needed to be around younger people. This photo of Diana with David Bowie (at his most magnificent) reminds us of an interesting factoid:  Joey Arias used to work at Fiorucci where he met and became good friends with musician Klaus Nomi.  Joey and Klaus appeared on Saturday Night Live with David Bowie for a live performance of TVC 15. Talk about coincidence.

When Vogue let Vreeland go, she was already 70, and went into a tailspin.  Luckily, she soon found work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, bringing out of storage the Met's astonishing collection of vintage clothes. Vreeland tells of Philippe de Montebello ostentatiously asking Vreeland to state her credentials at a large meeting, knowing that she had no academic training.  Vreeland went on to describe giving the new director a thorough tongue lashing at that same large meeting, pointing out that it was thanks to her shows that people were finally returning to the forgotten museum. Below is Vreeland with a very young Andre Leon Talley.

Vreeland at her desk, surrounded with photos.

Vreeland in her famously crimson apartment, which she asked interior designer Billy Baldwin to decorate "like a garden in hell".

Go see it! 

What we're wearing:
Valerie: vintage Hattie Carnegie hat, beaded squid earrings by Olya (Nepinka) on Etsy, shirt by Talbot's, unlabeled bolero, felt cuff by O-matic (of Brooklyn), Betsey Johnson pants, Chinese Laundry high heeled sneakers.

Jean: Amy Downs turban; Lilith jumpsuit; Donna Karan turtleneck; Pataugus shoes; vintage black polka dot bag; black leather cross-body bag (from a street vendor); vintage wooden gum ball necklace; vintage bakelite and plastic bangles and earrings.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

We Walk the Walk: One Last Time at Lincoln Center

On September 9th, we were invited to join several other Advanced Style ladies to participate in an impromptu runway show on the plaza at Lincoln Center during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Naturally, we dressed for the occasion! We got so caught up in the process that we neglected to memorialize the moment. So this posting includes just a few pics of our fellow strutters, and then we cover other participants in the Lincoln Center festivities.

Debra Rapoport and Elke paused for a photo after the defilé.

Jean and Rita Hammer vogued for the camera.

We ran into Cocoa Bella for the third time that week! First at Bottega Veneta on Fashion's Night Out, next at the Concept Korea runway show, and finally here. She had put together completely different looks every time. Wish we could still do shoes like hers!!!

We just loved this woman's turban. And glasses. And retro dress.  She confided that the dress had been her mother's and that she was lucky enough to have several more. On the right is Christina Viera, who walked the runway in a hat, shirt, pants and bracelet she made herself!

And continuing on the turban theme, how about this woman's turban? And how about her leggings!!!????

This woman attracted a whole phalanx of reporters!  Wish we knew who the heck she is ...

Isn't she fabulous?

Collars are one of the trends we noticed at Fashion's Night Out that we saw repeated on several women at New York's Fashion Week. This feather number is one of the best executed.

Gorgeous gal and lucky devil.

We ran into this gent on Fashion's Night Out and photographed him in front of Bergdorf's.

His metal-toed boots from Costume National were the cat's meow. Loved the happy face equivalent of the famous Comedy/Tragedy masks at each ankle.

We've photographed Ben for you before. Here he is with Valerie.

These striped jackets are all the rage now. Very fine strips of plastic or leather are sewn onto mesh backs, so they're very flexible, AND see through! And what about the furry jeans?!

Although this pic contains more ladies than men (and spectacular ladies they are), in the spirit of being Fair and Balanced, we want to focus on the man in the mustard suit. Not all suits are blue and pin striped, thank goodness!

Here is one of the few men who's brave enough to wear orange, and who does it up proud. Note also his orange belt and tie, and black pocket handkerchief.

We loved this gent's glasses, but we also loved his bi-color mohawk.

Last Spring, we were interviewed by Emanuella Grinberg from CNN. We ran into Emanuella and her mother, Pat, on the plaza.

We were interviewed for Chinese TV by these two young women. The white sunglass frames on the lady on the left were terrific.  Check out her bi-level skirt -- another hot trend we've been seeing about town lately.

Here we are, honing our media skills. Each of the several Chinese stations we spoke to had a different logo on its microphone or hand-held character.

We were even interviewed by Croatian TV.

Stylist Elysze Held was kind enough to stop for a photo before dashing off. Her website is

We loved Elysze's shoes with the outfit she was wearing. They gave her gauzy skirt that extra oopmph!

When we ran into Chloe, someone was kind enough to memorialize the moment. Isn't she just gorgeous?

Speaking of gorgeous, check out this fab couple.

We ran into this lady as we were leaving the plaza. Loved her man-repeller pants and her wonderful attitude.  When Jean contemplated wrestling her to the ground for her ice cream, we knew we needed to stop and grab a bite to eat.

From Lincoln Center, we retired to the rooftop at the nearby Empire Hotel to relax. While on the rooftop, sipping intriguing cocktails with Amaretto, ginger and another forgotten (but essential!) ingredient, we ran into dapper Hannibal. Great suit, hair color and hair cut! We suggested that Hannibal must take a lot of guff for his name now. "Yes", he replied, "but I'm not going to eat you ... yet!" Touchée!

And so the whirlwind is over for the time being, and we can catch our breath until The Next Big Thing comes by and sweeps us off our feet again. What we're wearing:
 Jean: Victorian-era straw hat with bakelite hat pin; Issey Miyake pants; Cable & Gauge peplum top; black & white Jeffrey Campbell platform boots; Victorian gutta percha chain necklace; 16 vintage bakelite and plastic bangles; bakelite rings; black cross-body bag; and black & white shibouri bag from MOMA Store.

Valerie: Vintage Issey Miyake men's hat, imitation Warring States bead, unlabeled bolero jacket, Ivan Grundahl dress, unlabeled shoes. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * AND THIS JUST IN! We will be Walking the Walk again at Geri Brin's Fab Over Fifty Bash this coming Saturday, September 29, where we will be modeling Marla Wynne fashions (maybe you've seen her styles on HSN) styled with our own accessories. This will be the second Fab Over Fifty Bash, with all sorts of goodies for Women of a Certain Age (like us!). The Bash will be followed by Fab Over Fifty Week, with special promotions all over town for participants. To go to the Marla Wynne Collection Facebook page, click here. Want to be part of the FOF fun? Tickets are available at, and if you enter the code "AARP" when you check out, your ticket will be $45 (a $75 value).