Archive for March, 2012

Oldies, but Goodies!

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Most people come down pretty strongly on one side or the other…they either LOVE vintage or HATE it.  For those with a love for “older” rather than new and disposable, this is a BIG weekend.  The Vintage Fashion Expo is coming to SF!  There will be 85 dealers of vintage clothing for both men and women, along with jewelry, textiles and accessories.  In college, I regularly scoured the one vintage store in the small upstate N.Y. town where I went to school, searching for great buys on my meager budget.  I felt like a kid in a candy store when I was there.  I branched out when I moved to Manhattan post- college, and found some of the best vintage stores around.  Once I entered the professional world, my love of vintage faded as I tried to emulate Melanie Griffith in Working Girl (the “after” not the “before”).

Over the past 10 years my love of vintage has been rekindled in the form of handbags!  I adore vintage handbags.  I especially like when it still contains the little lipstick mirror that so many of the bags of the 30′s- 50′s came with.  You won’t be surprised to know that I am a huge fan of the TV show, Mad Men.  I think for me, it’s all about the thrill of the “find”.  I’ve found treasures in the most unlikely places.

I imagine what the original owner of each bag was like.  Did she work or was she a typical 50′s housewife?  Where did she go and with who?  Was she happy, did she go to fun cocktail parties?  Did she live in a city, the suburbs or the country?  I love imagining what her life was like.  It’s one of the things that draws me to these pieces, they’re a part of history.








Two of my favorite bags were steals and that adds to their appeal.  The cinnamon colored vintage Christian Dior bag was in a clearance bin at Labels Consignment Store in Walnut Creek.  I think I paid $20 or $30 dollars.  My all time favorite, an alligator one- handled bag with a tortoise shell clasp was at a garage sale.  I questioned the owner about the price not wanting to give away my excitement.  He looked at me shyly, careful not to offend and said ”how’s $5?”.  I was elated, handed him the five bucks and grabbed it before he could change his mind…SCORE!!!

Vintage Christian Dior handbag









vintage alligator bag









I’d love to hear about any vintage finds that had you jumping for joy (at least on the inside).  Please share them with me and include photos if you can.  The Vintage Fashion Expo happens this weekend, March 17 & 18 at the Concourse Exhibition Center at 635 Eighth St. (at Brannan) in San Francisco.  You can check their website at .  I’ll be the one looking for the perfect vintage bag…



Neiman Marcus Opening- part deux, the GALA…

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Many in the east bay turned out last night for the pre-opening Gala at the new Neiman Marcus in Walnut Creek.  This is a big deal for the area as there has not been a big “retail event” this significant since Tiffany opened 10 years ago!  The mood was festive as we walked the “pink carpet” with the trademark NM butterflies projected around us.   We were greeted by young, great looking  gentlemen ready to open the doors to the kingdom.  Waiters were ready with trays of drinks; wine (WHITE, of course), champagne, lemon drops and a lovely light pink concoction.  Barbara Llewellyn did the catering so you know all the food tasted great.  Stations were set up all over the store with basics like 3 different kinds of mac-n-cheese, a raw oyster bar, grilled veggies, chicken satay, and  sliced steak and pork.  Desserts included cake pops, mini s’mores and fudge filled brownies.  Definitely something for everyone!

Phat Strad at MN Gala

There were 2 different bands playing, one on each of the store’s 2 floors and they were terrific.  I especially liked the group Phat Strad that played as you ascended the escalator.  They are an all girl electronic string quartet that plays rock n roll.  They had a crowd around them all night that was well deserved!  These ladies rock…

Models walked the store in the latest and greatest designer clothing, shoes and accessories:

NM model in Brunello Cucinelli


NM model in Michael Kors












NM model in Missoni












NM model in Etro and Ralph Lauren












This was a sold out event and proceeds from the $200 ticket benefited 4 bay area non-profits:

- Diablo Regional Arts Association

- Monument Crisis Center

- The Taylor Family Foundation

- The Junior League of Oakland – East Bay

As we were leaving, we received the requisite “swag bag”.  What I LOVED, is that one of the items in it was a brown handled bag that you could fill with much needed items for a particular non-profit beneficiary of the night.  In exchange, you drop it off at NM over this weekend and get a $50 Neiman’s gift certificate.  Fashion and philanthropy…a winning combination!!!








New Neiman Marcus in Walnut Creek, a work of ART!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

I just attended the press preview for the new Walnut Creek Neiman Marcus store, set to open to the public on Friday.  The space is AMAZING in many different ways.  The space is bathed in natural light from the windows to the far reaches of the store.  The store was designed to bring the outdoors in and to use many organic and natural elements while showcasing the height of luxury products.  We were given a very in depth tour of the store by some of the execs from the headquarters in Dallas, as well as the Walnut Creek executives and associates.  There are 143 pieces of original art in the store, including pieces from some 30 local artists.  Stanley Marcus,  son of one of the founders of NM had a penchant for art and had one of the most impressive art collections around.  His first acquisition was a large scale mobile, Mariposa, by the artist Alexander Calder in 1951.  Today NM has a full time curator and over 2500 pieces in their collection.   The tradition continues in Walnut Creek…

Jamie Broadhurst, General Manager, moved up to this area from the Newport Beach, Fashion Island NM store and couldn’t be happier to be here.  He loves how “active” our demographic is and has felt a real connection to the community.  Jamie says “the openness of the store and the art really set it apart”.  Meghan Mino Murray, Public Relations Manager, is a local girl returning “home”,  as she is originally from Danville.  She was previously at the Beverly Hills NM store.  Other than a handful of executives, most of the 200 employees, culled from 800 applicants,  are from the surrounding area.

The Walnut Creek Neiman‘s has several “shops” within the store including Chanel, Gucci and Balenciaga handbags.  For men there is Ermenegildo Zegna and Armani Collezioni.  In women’s there is Chanel, Jil Saunder, Michael Kors, Stella McCartney and Brunello Cucinelli.  These in addition to the many other designers the store carries.  The women’s shoe department is my idea of what heaven is like…beautiful shoes laid out as far as the eye can see!  It feels like there is more square footage in the Walnut Creek women’s shoe department than is in the San Francisco women’s shoes.  Of course they carry the obvious designers like Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin along with Valentino, Prada, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Vera Wang, Michael Kors and MANY more!  That space in particular is stunning, as it is right along the exterior windows with plenty of cushy places to sit including several pairs of mid-century modern chartreuse chairs.  These looked nap-worthy to me,  I promise husbands and partners will LOVE them.  Speaking of husbands, there is a wonderful men’s lounge incorporated into the men’s fitting room area.  Comfortable chairs, TV, Wifi and the gentlemen are good to go!

There is also a well appointed personal shopping area that will be used by many a stylist, including MOI.  There are spa/treatment rooms adjacent to the cosmetics department on the first floor along with a small, but cozy Neiman‘s cafe on the 2nd floor.  This store will be the 42nd full line store for Neiman Marcus and that brings it to 7 stores in California, tied with Texas and Florida.  It seems as though the excitement has been building as the opening date gets closer and I can’t think of a better addition to the Broadway Plaza retail scene than Neiman‘s.  Welcome to the East Bay Neiman Marcus, we’ve been waiting for you!!!







Gaultier is coming to town!

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

For those fashionistas wanting to be ”in the know”, Jean Paul Gaultier is coming to town!  Starting on March 23rd, there will be a rash of special events, a gala and an exhibition sure to inspire and excite.  The name of the exhibit is “The fashion world of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the sidewalk to the catwalk”.  I spent the better part of this morning on the phone and online trying to score tickets to the Saturday (3/24) event “A conversation with Jean Paul Gaultier and Suzy Menkes, Fashion Editor of International Herald Tribune”.  Much to my dismay, the website couldn’t handle the traffic and the call center never had access to the tickets from the start.  So after a VERY frustrating 1.5 hours, I gave up and settled for an angry call to the deYoung Museum members line.  Well, the squeaky wheel got the grease and a very nice member relations person called me back with an apology and 2 tickets to the event!  I’m SO excited for this event and exhibition!

Jean Paul Gaultier with Madonna


The de Young’s website had this to say,  ”Dubbed fashion’s enfant terrible, Jean Paul Gaultier launched his first prêt-à-porter collection in 1976 and founded his own couture house in 1997. Emerging as a designer in the 1970s, he developed his own dress codes that reflected the changing world around him. The openly gay Gaultier uses his designs to tackle gender and transgender issues through androgynous, gender-bending styles, meanwhile delving even further into some of the darker areas of the sexual revolution.”  Gaultier may be best known for the costumes he conceived for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour of 1990, punctuated by cone shaped bra tops and lots of garter belts.   Also included in the exhibit are 140 couture designs, sketches, documents, photographs and film clips.



I feel so lucky to live in a place where we get to see these amazing programs and collections.   The exhibit opens to the public on March 24th and there is a members preview on March 23rd.  Tickets are still available for some of the other special events including the big gala on Friday night ($250).  Check the de Young website for the whole scoop, and I hope to see you there!