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The Best Spring/Summer 2014 Runway Looks to Scoop Up Before They Sell Out

Style File: Big Day Out

Style File hung their cameras round their necks at Big Day Out in Auckland, snapping the coolest threads hanging from the music loving crowd. Sun safe accessories were predictably big – oodles of visors, caps and sunnies. The festival fashion overall was a pleasing mixed bag of rockers, hipsters and fashionistas as well as the practical and the comfortable.

Check out some of our favourites in the gallery below and share your thoughts in the comments section:

– www.nzherald.co.nz

Golden Globes: Live blog on the red carpet

Lena Dunham, Zooey Deschanel and Lupita Nyong'o arrive at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards. Photo / APLena Dunham, Zooey Deschanel and Lupita Nyong’o arrive at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards. Photo / AP

It’s time for the glitz and glamour of the Golden Globes – the first awards bash of the season that honours everything that’s been good about movies and television from the past 12 months.

And we’re blogging all the action live.

Photographer, fashion commentator and blogger (here), Katherine Lowe will be sharing her wit and insights on the red carpet with Life & Style Editor Nicky Park from 12pm.

The main event will kick off at 2pm, with nzherald.co.nz television expert Chris Phillpot joining the chat.

Keep up with the highlights, debate the winners and losers, share your thoughts and bring some banter to the blog below.

– www.nzherald.co.nz

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Home >Fashion >Womens Style >The Best Spring/Summer 2014 Runway Looks to Scoop Up Before They Sell Out
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Fashion Editor | JustLuxe.com

The Best Spring/Summer 2014 Runway Looks to Scoop Up Before They Sell Out

Apr. 9th, 2014 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment

Photos Courtesy of Tom Ford

In the fashion industry, the name Tom Ford brings to mind images of post-coital women writhing around naked with bottles of expensive cologne pressed between their legs—but not everything in the world of this designer is sex and money. To some, Ford is a style icon, while to others he’s a peddler of smut and perversion; but somewhere between the runway shows and the raw lust is a focused man who fought his way to the top, battled depression and refused to let anyone else take control of his own artistic visions.

 Tom Ford

Designer Tom Ford was born Thomas Carlyle Ford in Austin, Texas August 7, 1961, to parents Tom Ford Sr. and Shirley Burton. Both real estate agents, his parents often left him with his grandmother, where he spent days swimming at her pool or visiting the local petting zoo. Since he was a young child he remembers being very interested in artistry and the imagery in the world around him. “I was always very visual, always interested in design,” he tells Biography. “I don’t mean that I sat around at age 5 sketching clothes. But if my parents went out to dinner and left me alone, I would rearrange all the living room furniture before they came back home.” It was during this time that he began to learn from the two women he later credits as the main inspiration in his life—his traditional, classic mother and flashy, Texan grandmother.

 Tom Ford

When the family relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ford attended the Santa Fe Preparatory School—an alma mater to which he later returned in 2007 to give a guest graduation speech. Attending New York University after high school, Ford remembers his college years quite fondly. “This nice guy from my art-history class in this cute little blazer came in, and he asked if I wanted to go to a party. Andy Warhol was at the party, and he took us to Studio 54—wow,” he told New York Magazine. “Even today, I still start shaking when I hear Donna Summer, because it’s the music of my coming of age. Every party I have, if I’m not careful, I end up putting that music on and whirling some girl around the dance floor.” After flunking out a year later—because that’s what happens when you disco instead of study—Ford moved to West Hollywood to try his hand at acting. Retaining mostly commercial work he realized he needed to go back to school and used his savings to move back to New York and enroll in Parsons School of Design.

 Tom Ford

But he didn’t study fashion. Like so many artists it was the love of creating that got his juices flowing, and he was in his senior year as an architect major before he realized he was in the wrong field. “I just woke up one morning and thought, ‘What am I doing?’ Architecture was just way too … serious. I mean, every architectural project I ever did, I worked a dress into it somehow. So I realized that fashion was the right balance between art and commerce, and that was it,” he told Biography. He switched to fashion and graduated in June 1986, without any experience, connections or knowledge of the industry.

 Tom Ford

Like so many successful people, however, he was determined to find a way to obtain his goals. Reportedly calling sportswear designer Cathy Hardwick every single day for a month until she gave him an interview, Ford finally got an appointment to see her—and landed a job as her design assistant. It was during that time he met his longtime partner Richard Buckley; the two met in an elevator while Ford was gathering clothing for his employer. “As the elevator opened, there was the man with the eyes the color of water,” Ford recalls in Out Magazine. “I decided in that elevator ride that I was going to marry him. I’m very pragmatic, and I was, like, okay, there’s some kind of connection here. He ticked every box, and—boom—by the time we got to the floor, I was like, okay, sold.”

 Tom Ford

Two years later Ford moved to Perry Ellis where he designed jeans under then head-designer Marc Jacobs. He stayed there for two years before he was offered a position in Italy—designer for women’s ready-to-wear at Gucci. Within four years he was also designing menswear, shoes and handbags, and took the position of creative director at the struggling fashion house.

 Tom Ford

During his decade as creative director, the brand’s sales increased from $230 million to almost three billion dollars, single-handedly bringing Gucci to the forefront of fashion. “There was a period of time where it seemed as though everything I touched turned to gold,” Ford told Business of Fashion. “From the moment I started at Gucci, our numbers doubled and then doubled and then doubled again.” Sex definitely sells—his gutsy designs and risqué campaigns oozed seduction—and more than one caused a bit of a public uproar; but for Ford, the more skin the better. “Why shouldn’t women have sex for enjoyment? Why should showing off be a bad thing?” he asks in New York Magazine. In 2010 the Gucci Group bought Yves Saint Laurent, leading Ford to also head up design for YSL. After 10 years at Gucci and four at YSL, the Pinault-Printemps-Redoute Group obtained the company and Ford refused to work without complete creative control; he left the brand in April 2004.

 Tom Ford

Leaving Gucci, however, was easier said than done. “I went to my house in London at 4 p.m. on the afternoon that I left Gucci and got into bed. I was super-depressed. I had terrible, terrible nightmares. My life at Gucci was like being married, having two kids, and living in a house you’ve built. Then you come home one day, the door’s locked, and your wife is in there f**king someone else,” he told New York Magazine. He’s not afraid to admit that it took the help of a professional psychiatrist to help him get his priorities in check. He looks back on that period as one of the darkest times of his life, but something that he did eventually recover from. “I had no identity. I had nothing to get up in the morning and do, other than play tennis. My values were in the wrong place. I think that I had got so caught up in being successful and making money, and making sure the company made money, making sure each quarter our share price went up,” he tells Vogue.

 Tom Ford

Now with the freedom with which to be his own creative genius, Ford started his eponymous label a year later. He signed with Estée Lauder in 2005 to start a line of Tom Ford cosmetics and fragrances, as well as Marcolin Group for a line of eyewear to include optics and sunglasses. It wasn’t until 2006 that Ford came back to ready-to-wear, producing his first line of menswear, accessories and shoes. “It’s much, much, much harder starting from scratch,” Tom Ford told Business of Fashion. “I didn’t have any idea how hard it would be, and I have had every advantage that anyone could possibly have.” But as luck would have it during that same time he served as guest editor of Vanity Fair, and posed for the infamous nude cover (even parodied on a later issue)—once again returning the designer to the media spotlight.

 Tom Ford

By 2007 Ford had his own New York flagship store and was announcing plans to open multiple stores internationally—including Milan, London, Hawaii and Los Angeles. While rumors speculated that he may never return to the womenswear, three years later in 2010 he finally made his debut—launching his women’s line with a spectacular invite-only selection of guests to a show that included name like Beyoncé, Lauren Hutton and Karlie Kloss as runway models. Completely unexpected, even his close friends were surprised they were going to be in his show. “He asked me to do this six months ago, but I thought we’d just all be standing around at a cocktail or something. So when I got there and he said we had to walk, I said, ‘Holy cow!’ ” Julianne Moore told Vogue.

 Tom Ford

In March of 2005 almost a year after leaving Gucci, Ford opened his film company FADE TO BLACK and co-wrote, directed and produced his first film, A Single Man. Taking a leap into the world of cinema the fashion designer could not find a single studio that would allow him creative control over the movie—so he financed the $7 million dollar project out of pocket. Adapted from a book of the same name, Ford revised his script 15 times in two years and poured himself into the endeavor from financial responsibility to on-screen designs. “I styled all that,” Ford told the New York Times. “Every bit of it is me.” The film debuted at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win 22 awards and 28 nominations including AFI Movie of the Year Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor by Colin Firth.

 Tom Ford

In most recent years his designs have been worn on the red carpet by celebrities from Anne Hathaway to Lady Gaga and even the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Now with over 60 freestanding stores around the globe including Tokyo, Dubai, Zurich and Russia (100 expected by the end of 2014), the Tom Ford brand has grown exponentially. “There’s really nowhere in the world that my name isn’t known,” Ford told New York Magazine. As a designer he has won over 25 awards including multiple CFDA Awards for Designer of the Year, lifetime achievement awards and numerous Man of the Year awards.

 Tom Ford

In his personal life Ford is ever cautious, a man focused on precision, presentation and making sure that everything from his family life to his business is running smoothly. After having his son last year, Alexander John Buckley Ford, with his partner of 25 years, Ford splits his time between London, Los Angeles and Santa Fe, where his family is located. And while Ford may seem the opposite of a quiet family man; he considers his sex-driven persona to be a large part of his brand image and not necessarily who he is. “I’m getting too old to care about sex anyway,” he told New York Magazine. “Sometimes, I feel that I’ve controlled my image too much, and no one knows who I really am.”

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Fashion > Womens Style > A Chat with Anzhelika Steen-Olsen, Founder of Eliann, NYC’s Maker of Handbags for the Stars

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A Chat with Anzhelika Steen-Olsen, Founder of Eliann, NYC’s Maker of Handbags for the Stars

Jan. 3rd, 2014 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment



Eliann

Photo Courtesy of Eliann

It is not often that a phrase originating from the lexicon of sports is also perfectly suited for the world of high fashion as well. However, there are exceptions. When a nascent luxury label comes out of left field and is heralded as a coveted “it” item of the A-list community, such as the handbags and purses made by Eliann, it is an instant classic. The word-of-mouth popularity of these women’s custom-made bags has also created a new celebrity in haute couture circles.

Anzhelika Steen-Olsen is the creative force and the founder of Eliann. Having previously spoken with her, I was impressed by her benevolence; her graciousness was overwhelming. In our second conversation, it was obvious that she also was a savvy businesswoman balanced by professionalism and passion for her enterprise. The benevolent, brainy and beautiful Steen-Olsen was kind enough to take time from her busy day and chat about her past, her present status as the “it” designer of high fashion, and the future of Eliann.

JustLuxe: Tell us a little bit about the purses and handbags that are rapidly vaulting into a prestigious luxury label to be reckoned with?

Anzhelika Steen-Olsen: Thank you. Since early childhood it was my mother who had a strong influence on my passion for fashion and style. Growing up I remember a ritual we had where I assisted in choosing her outfits and added a finishing touch to her look by adding a handbag or other accessory to complete her. In addition I would create little bags for my dolls by using, paper, shoelaces even seashells.

JL: When did you know that this is what you wanted to do?

ASO: Some time after giving birth to my daughter, I found myself craving to do something creative. I simply started with a sketch. A friend commissioned the second bag I ever made. So, I began designing one-of-a-kind handbags for friends and family. Then when others started approaching me, I thought of making the leap to developing my own line. After being so well received at the Open See at Henri Bendel, I designed a fall line and debuted it at the Accessories Show in 2012.

 Eliann

JL: You have a celebrity clientele … who was the first celebrity “on your block”?

ASO: This all began through word of mouth, and friends of friends; I had a few women ask if I would be interested in designing a bag for them. Since by then I was naming my designs after strong, inspirational women in my life, it was a natural progression. One of the first celebrities I met in New York was Katheryn Winnick.

JL: Without naming names just to name names … please drop a few, would you?

ASO: Of course, since it will make you happy. I have been fortunate to share my creations with Katheryn Winnick, Halle Berry, Kerry Washington, Kelly Ripa, and a few others I greatly admire.

JL: Which came first … the celebrities or the designs?

ASO: For me … the biggest celebrities in my business are the people who support me; family, of course, but also the craftspeople who enable me to find what I love within a deep desire for the exotic shapes, fine materials, and custom hardware developed in a small specs and found by combining rare elements in new compositions.

JL: You are looking into the mirror, mindfully. Do you see a creative type or a businessperson?

ASO: The business people I admire are fascinatingly creative, so I am blessed to see a creative type nightly, and a business type daily. I am rather flexible, philosophically.

JL: If you had to pick being one or the other … which would it be … a businessperson or an artist?

ASO: One validates the other, so it’s like picking communication or silence, sometimes it’s both, and neither. I do what I do for pleasure, not commerce.

 Eliann

JL: You named your company Eliann, which is after your daughter. How does she influence your work?

ASO: Having Eliann, my precious daughter, redirected my energies in such a creative boost, having overcome difficulties and sadness that we all experience. I was in such joy and clarity, as I used my time to create designs. I left my previous job in the finance industry, seeking a journey of discovery. My daughter inspires me every day … just seeing her.

JL: If you had had a little boy instead of a little girl, is it possible that we would be here today talking about your men’s leather bag collection?

ASO: Yes, it is possible. If you and I were to talk again next year, we just may be at that point. We’ll see.

JL: Let’s get serious for a moment. Tell me a little bit more about what goes into making an Eliann handbag or purse?

ASO: It definitely has a made-in-New-York concoction, just like my daughter. We have interpreted the styles of the last century, taken the best materials we could acquire, and hand built the parts we couldn’t find, to make each piece a unique work. I like to think of each piece as being wearable artwork.

JL: Which came first … the businesswoman or the creative force?

ASO: Definitely, it was the creative force.

JL: You mentioned that you are a musician. What instrument do you play? Does music influence your designs?

ASO: I’ve played piano since I was 6 years old. Music has been and usually is in the background during all the things I love to do. It enhances our senses, touches our emotions and creates memories … I could go on and on with this.

 Eliann

JL: It is one thing to be creative, it is another to harness that drive or energy and transform it into a purposeful direction. Tell me how you did that?

ASO: Like most things, being free to make mistakes, lots of them, is what gets the focus on what ultimately transforms the merely good into something great.

JL: Well that gives me hope, I think? Is this your first entrepreneurial business endeavor?

ASO: I worked in finance for years. So, yes. this is my first creative endeavor.

JL: How large is your firm, personnel-wise?

ASO: We are under 20 people at the moment, but exploring a down-line expansion in the new year.

JL: We spoke earlier about the quality craftsmanship that goes into your bags and purses … please tell me a little more about that. What distinguishes an Eliann bag from other deluxe handbag and purse makers? What makes yours different?

ASO: There are designers I admire greatly, but I can’t speak to their methods in producing their goods. We make each piece by hand in New York City. We use the finest skins and linings and 18k hand-carved gold plated hardware. I assure you that there is a level of attachment to each bag we make that is not present in even the best mass-made high fashion products.

JL: The first time we spoke, you said that there are four styles of handbags that are must-haves for all women. Which styles comprise that “fab four”?

ASO: Every women should have a clutch, a tote, a satchel and a hobo purse and handbag.

Eliann

JL: Where do you see Eliann being five years from now?

ASO: My expansion will come from global platforms, that is, Western and Eastern Europe, and Asia. We also want to evolve to a down-line for value-department retail and online/network.

JL: Is there anyone in the fashion industry that you would like to work with or do a collaborative effort of sorts?

ASO: I have been and continue to be inspired to work with couture fabric and jewelry designers. Several come to mind, but I would prefer not to mention one or two for the fear of excluding so many others.

JL: Speaking on behalf of many men, I carry more accessories than I could ever jam into my wallet and pockets. I am ready for a men’s purse line right now. So, is it just me, or is it possible that you …. sooner than later … could be designing bags for men too?

ASO: It is more than a possibility; Eliann would love to offer a keen eye for all the fashion-forward guys. You touched on a very sensitive subject in the fashion industry. Overall, but especially in accessories, the industry could perhaps be friendlier to men.

JL: We discussed on how you feel it is important to give back … or to pay it forward … if you would. Let’s talk a little about some of the other activities you are involved in … and how that ties in with your high fashion firm.

ASO: I have always been involved in charitable work. And since autism has touched my family, we have the intention to thread good works into our company philosophy, and this will extend and build with our brand.

JL: What is your firm’s mission statement? What are you seeking to accomplish?

ASO: Unlimited by corporate oversight and not bound by trends or types, we seek to create products that are unique, timeless, and made to last. Our genuine attention to detail and quality of expression aims to pierce the mundane commoditization of fashion as utility and bring useful, wearable art to the few.

Eliann

JL: Are there any questions that you would have liked me to ask you?

ASO: James, I am appreciative that you asked me so many different types of questions. This has been an excellent experience for me.

JL: Okay—this has been way too easy! You have not squirmed an inch throughout our two chats. Let me toss one last eclectic, frivolous question your way, if I may: Aside from chatting with me all day, what makes Anzhelika Steen-Olsen happy?

ASO: What makes me happy is hearing someone play piano as I walk by their window, especially on a nice, crisp autumn day. The sound of children’s laughter, nature’s beauty and seeing my sister’s smiling face. What is it that makes me feel the happiest is my daughter; anything and everything that has to do with her. How is that?

JL: That is beautiful, Anzhelika. Thank you very much for providing the readers of JustLuxe the opportunity to get to know you better. It was a pleasure chatting with you.

ASO: Thank you, James. It was my pleasure as well.

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Fashion > Womens Style > The Fashion World’s Best of Everything: A Look Back at 2013

The Fashion World’s Best of Everything: A Look Back at 2013

Jan. 2nd, 2014 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment



Kate Middleton, Lara Stone and Kate Upton

Credit: The Duchess of Cambridge, Shutterstock & Vogue

We’ll confess: creating this list is a lot harder than it seems. Seriously how can you choose between Lara Stone and Cara Delevingne? While it would have been easier to flip a coin, we dug our sparkly heels in and stuck it out—choosing between favorites, tossing aside a few ideas only to drag them back in and then fling them out once more. We laughed, we cried, we had moments of nostalgia, moments of wow-what were-they-thinking and moments of awe. While we’re sad to see it go, we can’t wait for what this new year has in store, so to wave the year goodbye we curated the best fashion moments of 2013.

kate upton

Best Magazine Cover: Kate Upton on Vogue

We love Kate Upton, so while that should be reason enough to make her our number one, she had some serious contenders. The reason we chose the gorgeous blonde (aside from the fact that she also posed on the cover of Vanity Fair and Sports Illustrated this year—both beautiful) was the controversy this Vogue cover seemed to cause. She’s too curvy? Too voluptuous? When did these become bad things? It even prompted Anna Wintour to come to Upton’s defense. Anything that gets us thinking and allows us to have real discussions about positive body imagery is a win for us.

Kate Middleton Prince George

Favorite Style Icon: Kate Middleton

Kate is the style icon in the JustLuxe offices. From sartorial wedding perfection (yes, we know that was so 2011) to styling around her baby bump, she always looks fantastic. Besides how great did she looking walking out of that hospital with Prince George the day after giving birth? We literally counted down the days, hours, minutes, seconds—milliseconds, if there is such a thing—with bated breath until he was born, and then immediately started planning outfits for him. Can you blame us? His mom is such a fashion maven we’re sure the little prince will be one adorable lady-killer. We can’t wait to see what this next year will bring for the happy royal family.

Prada Candy

Best Beauty Campaign: Prada Candy x Wes Anderson

As much as we love sulking men who give you that smoldering stare just a little too long, we had to choose something fun and artsy for our favorite beauty campaign. We loved the Prada x Wes Anderson videos that we’ve been treated to all year; they’re like mini fashion movies. But our favorites by far were the Prada Candy episodes. Who wouldn’t want to be so adorable that hot French men are competing for your affection? Anyone? They bring you double-vanilla-chocolate-almond-cream birthday cake, for goodness sake! And everything is in pink. How badly do we want to live in Candy’s world?

saint laurent

Best Fashion Campaign: Saint Laurent

Okay Hedi, you win this one. We’re not too keen on that fact that you dropped the Yves from Saint Laurent, but what can you do? We’ll take it with a grain of salt and hope for the best—and these campaigns were indeed the best. The Saint Laurent Music Project ads featured edgy rockers like Daft Punk, Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love. We get it, you’re making a statement, and we actually think it’s pretty cool. The chic black and white with the rebellious rock ’n’ roll vibe—definitely perfect for a darker, new Saint Laurent.

Moschino Runway 2014

Favorite Runway Show: Moschino Spring/Summer 2014

After trying to find a clever way to sneak our top three favorite shows into this one slot, we realized it couldn’t be done. It had to be about the show and less about the collection, but it didn’t stop us from hours of internal conflict and wresting with our emotions. In the end the Moschino fashion show won (with Louis Vuitton in a close second!), but it really was a spectacle. Dancing, singing, a full on encore—you can’t really beat that. There were girls jumping around in shopping bags, boogieing with loaves of bread and balancing teddy bears on their heads. The best collection? Not really. The best show? OMG yes.

Isabel Marant for H&M

Best Designer Collaboration: Isabel Marant for H&M

There were so many collaborations this year it wasn’t even funny. Seriously, we’re not laughing. We loved the Damien Hirst x Alexander McQueen scarf collaboration (we’ll take one in every design please), but this year what really took the cake was the lower-end brands that teamed up with high-end designers. Think L’Wren Scott & Banana Republic, Phillip Lim 3.1 for Target and Isabel Marant for H&M. And while we’re not big Target shoppers (except for the occasional tube of toothpaste), some of the designs were amazing. We’re going to have to give this one to Isabel Marant for H&M just for the sheer amount of insanity it caused. Seriously, it wasn’t even Black Friday and women were lined up at the mall the night before. Wow.

Favorite Model: Lara Stone

Yes, we love Cara, we do, but we see her everywhere and sometimes it’s just a little too much—just a tad. After having a baby earlier this year (and still looking gorgeous by the way), gracing international magazine covers, making Forbes highest paid models list and being named the new face of L’Oréal, Lara is having a super fantastic year. And after such a bumpy rise to the top it’s good to see the Dutch model having the time of her life. There’s something to be said for the underdog and we can’t help but root for her.

carven

Photos Courtesy of Carven

Favorite New Designer Men’s: Carven

Sure, the brand is over 50 years old, but it’s been seriously revitalized in the last few years by creative director Guillaume Henry. His first men’s collection with Carven was Summer of 2012, but over 2013 it’s been thriving tremendously and we can’t wait to see what this designer has in store for men’s fashion. We’re big fans of the gorgeous shapes and classical cuts in the women’s line, and so far we’re loving the colors, layering and varying lengths that we’re seeing in men’s. Plus, they have some of the hunkiest models ever in their campaigns.

joker's closet

Photos Courtesy of Joker’s Closet

Favorite New Designer Women’s: Joker’s Closet

Okay, this one was pretty hard, but in the end we are always going to side with the brand that lets us design our own shoes. Besides, Joker’s Closet started this year and are already collaborating with designers and showing for Paris Fashion Week. They are totally doing something right. Available in flats, heels and wedges there are lots of colors to choose from, without any strange floral patterns or bow accessories. Everything is pretty trend-on without coming in sky-high stilettos or ridiculous heels we can’t walk in. They’re fun, functional and super-stylish shoes. We’ll take three.

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Fashion > Womens Style > Missoni’s Pre-Fall 2014 Collection Features Separates For a Transitional Wardrobe

Missoni’s Pre-Fall 2014 Collection Features Separates For a Transitional Wardrobe

Dec. 20th, 2013 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment



 Missoni Pre-Fall 2014

Missoni’s usual wave of brightly colored patterns is missing from their Pre-Fall 2014 collection, featuring instead cool tones of grey, black, brown and nudes that seem chicer than previous lines. Inspired by the ornithological artistry of Fortunato Depero and Max Ernst, the designs are a contemporary reinterpretation of birds, seen through the natural gradation of colors and form. Knits, furs and wools blend together to create the perfect sartorial set for a seasonally transitional closet. A collection of mostly separates are beautifully styled together in modern layers – scalloped edge skirts are paired with knee-grazing sweaters, fur-lined knits are worn under chiffon shirts and striped gloves are matched with lady-like capes. It’s a collection of easy-to-style pieces made chic with a soft-handed use of peacock hues and ombré patterning.

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 Missoni Pre-Fall 2014

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Fashion > Womens Style > Million Dollar Shoppers: Amy Salinger Chats About the Best & Worst Clients and the Hottest Fashion Finds

Million Dollar Shoppers: Amy Salinger Chats About the Best & Worst Clients and the Hottest Fashion Finds

Dec. 19th, 2013 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment



million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Credit: Gregg Asher via Twitter

Furthering our talks with the personal shoppers from Lifetime’s Million Dollar Shoppers, JustLuxe spent some time chatting with Amy Salinger, and got a little taste of what it’s like to work for all those crazy clients. Starting with no fashion experience Salinger worked her way through the ranks with nothing but taste, class and a spunky personality. Easily a show favorite, she didn’t choose this career for the money, the fame or even the clothes (of which she has many), but rather to give each client a whole new outlook on themselves, something she knows she’s achieved when they do “the model walk.”

 million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Courtesy of Amy Salinger

Going to school at Northeastern University in Boston, Salinger opted to participate in the co-op program, where she switched between work and school in six month intervals. After trying several jobs she quickly realized a life in a cubicle was not for her, and decided to try her hand at the one thing she knew she loved—shopping. “I had no experience, no education, it was kind of a shot in the dark,” she explains, noting that she took to the internet as a way to find something, anything that would give her experience in the field. “I literally just started googling stylist jobs or opportunities. I ended up with an agent—I have no idea how, I will be honest,” she laughs. For a while she did what came naturally to her and said yes to everything. “When you’re 21 you’re like ‘whatever, I can do whatever!’ It was shopping for a living; I figured I’d be good at it.” But it turned out to be her lucky break. The agent found her a few gigs, but was soon transferred to Harpo, and took Salinger with her over to The Oprah Show.

 million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

After doing backstage makeovers for a few years, Salinger broke off on her own, shopping for everyone from modest to limitless budgets, and styling fashion editorials and celebrities. When Lifetime approached her to be a part of the show, she was thrilled. “I look at it more like, I like to help people, it’s not so much about, you know, being a celebrity, it’s about teaching people how to look and feel their best and I thought this was a good vehicle,” she explains. Since the “audition” process for the show was basically a meet and greet, Salinger was anxious to get started. “I am a fashion expert that goes on camera; I’ve been doing it for years. It goes kind of hand in hand with the personal shopping business because I work with real women, and men for that matter, every day. Unlike a fashion stylist that usually works with perfect, beautiful people, I work with all different types of people. I really like to help the general public as far as body shapes, body sizes what looks good,” she said.

 million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

But sometimes, not always, that pleasure can be short lived. With all the crazy shenanigans we’ve seen on the show, it’s hard not to imagine that her real world clients aren’t just as terrible. She assures it’s not as bad as television drama, but every now and then, she does get a client that tries her patience. “The worst type of clients that I get are the ones who are not open to change; it’s kind of like ‘why did you hire me?’” she asks. Before she even begins to shop or brainstorm, she will ask numerous questions to be sure she’s creating a look for them, not just grabbing that purple dress they saw at Neiman’s last week. “It’s part of my job to ask leading questions to understand their personality, their lifestyle, what they’re comfortable in. I could dress you up for a black tie event every day, but if you’re running around with your kids, why would we put you in that?”

 million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

After hours of shopping she will edit down the clothes based on what seems to interest the client, trying to find the best cuts, shapes and colors to flatter their body. “Eventually we get to a point where I’ve honed it down to exactly what it is that they’ve described that they want and then I bring that exact item and they’re like ‘I don’t like that’ so I’m like, ‘that’s what you just told me!’” she laughs. But her least favorite client is the one who either can’t decide, or doesn’t know, what they want. She’ll shop and in the week or so between purchasing the clothes and styling, the client has combed through it all and returned half the merchandise. “I always tell them: DO NOT RETURN ANYTHING before I come back, because you’re thinking, ‘what the hell is this’ and I already know 50 things I’m going to do with it,” she explains. But they don’t listen. Sometimes they’ll decide they love it, and call her later asking her to return it.“People are inside their heads too much and then they have a husband or a friend that’s like ‘I don’t get it,’ and it’s like, ‘of course you don’t, because you dress badly!” she adds jokingly.

 million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

Most of her clients, however, are fantastic. “By the time someone gets to hiring me they want me to tell them what to do. I’m the expert, I’m the one that knows what’s going on, they’re paying me top dollar to be the expert,” she explains. Which makes total sense; you call in a personal shopper when you need help finding a new style, not when you want to stick with the same LBD you’ve been wearing to every holiday party. But even the best clients need to be taken with a grain of salt. “It’s part shrink, part stylist. You are dealing with people’s idiosyncrasies, insecurities, issues with getting rid of things you have to be ready for anything at any moment,” she says.

million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

Despite the little bit of crazy, there are moments that make it all worth it. Her favorite part of styling? “I call it the model walk,” she notes. “It means I’ve put them in some fabulous outfit after this whole process has gone on—and they literally change the way they stand. They change the way they walk because they’re seeing themselves in a whole new light.” And that moment is what drives her passion; whether it’s on modest housewives or the swankiest millionaires, helping people grasp that feeling is what she loves most about her job. “It doesn’t matter what the budget is,” she explains. “It’s the end result.”

million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

Even the saleswomen know she has the best clients. “My girls at Bloomingdale’s the other day were like ‘How is it that all your clients are nice? You’re in here all the time with nice people.’ And I was like, ‘because I’m not going to work with pains in the asses,’” she laughs. It’s this relationship with department store staff that allows her to shop seamlessly not only for her clients, but herself as well. “On my own I’m a great vintage, flea market, consignment, designer-discount girl. I do not pay full price for things—it has to be the greatest thing ever for me to pay full price,” she explains. She mentions a fur jacket she saw once that she was tempted to get—until the one of her salesgirls told her to come back in a few days for a pre-sale. But even before the sale hit she found it at Loehmann’s—in her size. “I literally saw it from across the room and it was like the freaking clouds parted and the sun came out and I was literally talking to myself. I was like ‘Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God’ running after this coat,” she says excitedly. And she snagged the jacket at almost 60% off. “This is all that I do,” she explains. “How can I pay full price?”

million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

For the holidays, Salinger suggests a mix of comfort and style, not sacrificing one for the other. “Wear. Stretchy. Clothing.—no I’m just kidding!” she laughs. “I’m half-kidding. At the end of the day the worst thing in the world is having to undo your top button, and I don’t want to be reminded that I just ate too much.” But while some are planning on going all out, others might want to take a leaner approach to holiday meals. “If you want to stop yourself from eating—wear a high-waisted belt,” she suggests. Sounds like a good idea, and it might stop us from grabbing that second helping of pie. Extravagant, carb-laden meals or not, she suggests one fail-proof outfit for any body shape, no matter how much you plan on indulging. “The greatest style on any size woman during the holiday season is always some sort of tights, a high boot, some sort of jersey dress that has ruching across the front so it’s a little flattering on your stomach and a long sweater with some sort of tie.”

million dollar shoppers Amy Salinger

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

And in case you’re out of ideas for gift-giving this year? Salinger and her pro-team of shoppers can revamp your closet and help style you into a whole new wardrobe. She even suggests hiring one just for the man in your life—because we know how much guys love to shop. “I have wives who I’ve worked with passing me along to their husbands who are like ‘wait, this girl will buy me all this stuff and have me looking good and I barely have to be available for it? This is amazing.’” Every client that received it as a gift loved it. She laughs, “I’ve never had a woman be like ‘well that was a crappy idea, sweetheart.’”

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