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Maria Sharapova & Gymnast Nastia Liukin Front Row, Anna Wintour & Sarah Jessica Parker Throw a Party

Well, it is a Friday.

And that means NY Fashion Week is kicking off, with more parties, functions and events that any human can possibly attend. And that’s before we even talk about the actual runway shows! TP is not at all disappointed to be passing on the big do this time around, and if pushed, would acknowledge a slight sense of relief at this fact. PreppyPrincess.com is consuming all our time and energies when we aren’t fulfilling social, charitable or familial obligations, which is as it should be.

Above we have a couple of advance sketches from designers, including a ‘nature-inspired sleeveless dress’ from Tracy Reese, and an enchanting floral halter “diary dress” designed by Wenlan Chia for Twinkle. The latter link is a delightful little site full of surprises and information in addition to the fabulous clothes, incuding the 2008 Holiday Collection. If interested, there is a great blog or running commentary that even has pictures of the models they selected for their show, some fun behind-the-scenes stuff for Fashionistas.

And should you fancy Tracy Reese, there is a quite substantial sale underway if you care to shop online. For example, the Flared Skirt with Pockets in Marine is discounted 60%, as is the Large Tote in its vivid turquoise and green tones (and lots of other goodies!).

While celebrities have always been a part of Fashion Week, this year there will be even more athletes and sports celebrities also in attendance. Tennis star Maria Sharapova invited Olympic Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin to attend the Peter Som show with her, something the teenage gymnast is very excited about. But that isn’t the only show for Nastia; she is also going to Isaac Mizrahi and Cole Haan. Below, Ms. Sharapova at the Valentino Couture show in Paris this July.

Photo by Eric Ryan/Getty Images

Photo by Eric Ryan/Getty Images

Here, a photo of Nastia in Beijing, wearing all of the medals she won at the Summer Games, followed by a promotional partnership benefiting the Susan G. Komen Fund.

The talented teen has been hyper-busy since returning from the Beijing Summer Games, inking sponsorship deals, making appearances and trying to relax. She is already working with Vanilla Star Jeans to launch Nastia Liukin Gold tops and bottoms in time for the holiday selling period, and hopes to do some designing herself. She is signed with Cover Girl Cosmetics, Adidas, AT&T, and a host of other companies. The Texas superstar is slated for an appearance of Gossip Girl. And then there is the Wheaties box….

One reason the Vanilla Star Folks are pleased to be partnering with the gymnast is explained in a MediaPost story:

“…Liukin embodies the brand’s “anti-jean” philosophy by opposing the trend of exploiting young teens’ bodies in its ads. “We always try to find personalities that our core Vanilla Star customer is attracted to and will set a good example…”

The company’s slogans are “Smart girls rock,” and “Live the dream.” And don’t we find that refreshing, albeit somewhat ironic, as the Fashion Week celebration of the “You can never be too thin…” philosophy gets underway.

Below we simply had to include what is arguably TP’s alltime favorite photo of Miss Liukin, taken at the Liukin’s training facility in northern Texas before the Games. We love the sensation of floating, weighlessness, as it appears she is simply suspended in air, all symmetry and lines, grace and strength, captured in this one shot.

As far as runway shows go, one of the first this weekend is Lacoste, at 10am Saturday, in the tents at Bryant Park seen below. Others we have an interest in are Carolina Herrera on Monday morning, the edgy Z Zegna and Ports 1961 are both Monday afternoon, Monique Lhuillier Tuesday morning, Milly and Oscar de la Renta both next Wednesday, plus Ralph Lauren on Friday morning. And that’s a very disciplined and highly edited list from the Princess!

Above, a shot of the tents in Bryant Park as preparations turn into realities, with shows starting today. Unfortunately the area stands to get as much as 4-6″ of rain from Hurricane Hannah, and that could be a challenge. Here’s something of a hot ticket, depending upon one’s political persuasion and capacity to donate their way into the party….

The Runway to Change party is Tuesday night, co-hosted by Le Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker; it will be held at desinger Charles Nolan’s studio. There is a *long* list of “Participating Designers” on the invitation, including Beyonce, Vera Wang, Russell Simmons, Zac Posen, Jay-Z, Juicy Couture, Isaac Mizrahi, and many more.

For those who are interested, don’t forget that Monday’s season opener for Oprah features 150 Olympic athletes and others, including Debbie Phelps accompanying Michael Phelps. Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots:

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Above we see Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, Olympic gold medalists in volleyball, arriving at Millenium Park for the shoot. Below, the family that fights together stay together…or something like that, here are Steve, Mark and Diana Lopez, Olympic taekwondo medalists, followed by members of our Gymnastics team, also all medalists.

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

May everyone enjoy an absolutely divine weekend free of stress and nasty weather!

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Does Fashion Rock?

Well, if it isn’t really and truly a change of seasons – it simply can’t be ignored any longer. Fall fashion magazines have started clogging the mailbox; the poor postal carriers must be simply smothered under the weight of them all!

Before anything else, The Princess has a pout. It’s about this, the annual Fashion Rocks supplement accompanying many of your Conde Nast September magazines, like Vogue, Lucky, Wired, and many more.

Well, actually, now it’s two things we’re feeling a bit peevish about because we discovered the second problem while looking for the page number to point out the first problem, which is an *enormous* typo. And we would tell you what page said typo is on, except there are no page numbers in the magazine. No page numbers. Not in the Table of Contents. Not on the pages. None. Nary a number. So now we are up to three irritants and trending down if we were to be asked. We apologize for being disturbed by the lack of page numbers, it really is just too linear of us, isn’t it? (Don’t even think about answering that one.)

So now we’re back to the 2nd issue which was originally the first (and only) one: the typo. Lacking a page number, we can only say that it is in the first paragraph of the first story of the first person they profile, who also happens to be the superstar on the cover of the publication, Justin Timberlake. Could we not have gotten this much correct? (The sentence in the story reads “I don’t how it works…” when TP thinks it is meant to read “I don’t know how it works…”)

We now get to the third problem, which is fairly simple: the Fashion Rocks website says “Stay Tuned.” It is essentially inactive other than cycling through a lot of previous photos of earlier concerts. This is a huge event with a concert at Radio City Music Hall with performances confirmed from the following: Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Fergie, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Duffy, Keith Urban, Kid Rock, and Lil Wayne, Chris Cornell, OneRepublic, Pussycat Dolls, Solange Knowles and Timbaland, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, to name but a few.

It is the Fifth Annual concert, but the first time with all the hoopla of three network news anchors formally announcing plans for it back in July. Now, there is an AOL site that has loads of pictures and information, should that pique your interest. The Princess merely thought a website for a fundraiser of this magnitude would be a bit more well, active or something, wouldn’t it? If you would like your social secretary to pencil this in, the concert is on CBS on Tuesday, September 9th. (It is actually taped on the 5th.) Proceeds from this year’s concert will benefit Stand Up To Cancer.

Now that TP has that little tirade episode behind her, let’s talk fashion magazines, shall we? All is not hunky-dory for at least for more than a few of them when it comes to the all-important September Fashion issues. For openers, Vogue’s September issue with Keira Knightley on its cover is down by about 50 advertising pages from last year, a rather stunning development.

Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan and W are among those magazines losing traction on the advertising side of the business. On the other hand, it turns out that Elle actually boosted its advertising $$$ by a good percentage; it features Jessica Simpson on the cover.

What’s Elle doing the others aren’t? TP thinks it may have something to do with the cover girl selections. Last month’s cover showcased Mariah Carey, before that Mary-Kate Olsen, and the month prior to that it was singing star Rihanna.

Unless we’re misreading things, they seem to be trending toward a *much* younger demo. Vanity Fair and their slight shrinkage? Well, we don’t know about everyone else, but here at the Prepatorium, the increasingly strident attacks on so many different things and people have become tiresome. Perhaps we’re poor citizens, but we’re just tired of all the yelling.

One way publishers try to goose sales a little can be with different covers, like the two Bazaar used for their September blowout, both with Tyra Banks.

We received the blue issue in our mailbox. Some designers actually spent more on magazine advertising this year than they did last year. One of those doing so is Oscar de la Renta, one of TP’s favorites. Below we show two looks from his 2009 Bridal line.

That provides the perfect opportunity to showcase what has to be one of the most scenic locales for a fundraiser TP has ever seen. Ever. Seen.

We’re talking about Oscar de la Renta’s 8th Annual benefit for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. One arrives by boat for the party, in what appears to be a classic Chris Craft or perhaps a Century. Regardless of make, it is TDF. Totally. (TP was used to the family Century, but realizes the majority were Chris Craft.)

Is there a better locale for a fashion show that you have attended? If so you simply must tell us about it so we can share that info with the rest of the class.

We leave with something from a line TP currently doesn’t have in her walk-in, and it will probably stay that way, but we definitely applaud any new designers willing to take on the fashionistas with something new. So, how about this for the ultimate in ‘lighting things up”?

‘Rhyme and Reason” is a design firm using light as a material to enliven white knitwear and “…create transformative fashion.” Besides, one can alway multi-purpose their clothing in ways previously unexplored.

“When not being worn, the pieces double in function as lamps, avoiding the fate of hanging neglected in a closet.”

As always, our thanks to Luxuo.com for their eye.

And then there’s Miss Little Bow Prep, oh she of the chic taste and fast fingers, typing up a storm of preppy goodness and culturally broadening blogdom. MLBP has been exceptionally generous in bestowing upon us a Diamond Award…whoo-hoo! The rules of the Award state that one must acknowledge on their blog they are a recipient of it and then tag seven others with the Award and link to their blogs. So here we go:

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Shoes @ Burberry, Selma Hayek’s Brother @ Target, LL Cool J @ Sears, Men @ Hermes

Burberry Shoe Boot at Nordstorm

The Princess is beyond mystified at this juncture by the ups and downs, the little vagaries of the retail world, so without editorial comment here’s what we can report about the varying ‘marriages of commerce’ recently announced.

Burberry Stud Plate Bootie at Nordstrom Available for pre-order  Burberry \'Armor Plate\' Buckle Flat

First off, the numbers are in, the data never lie, and the shoe sales at Burberry are more than sizzling, they are on fire. Therefore the luxury retailer plans to expand this segment of their business tenfold, and accomplish that massive task in five years time. The Princess loves capitalism. Really. Above you see the company’s ‘Stud Plate Bootie’ (left) available for pre-order at Nordstrom, and the Burberry ‘Armor Plate’ Buckle Flat (right), also from our good friends at Nordstrom. Those who think The Princess is merciless in her criticism of this firm for their commercialization of the brand should note the second shoe shown above, as it is a style perilously close to “cute,” also something we might actually purchase and wear! Egads! Not to worry. Our keepers will ensure that doesn’t happen.

Also Wednesday, word from everyone’s favorite discounter, Target, they have another limited-edition collection on its way, this time from Sami Hayek, brother of Hollywood actress Salma Hayek. The line will feature contemporary furniture, bedding and stationery. Prices will run the gamut, with a low of .99 cents to a high of $149.99 for an office desk.

Sami Hayek™ for Target® Floral Comforter Set Sami Hayek™ for Target® 220-Thread Count Sheet Set - Pink Star

The collection is aimed at college students and according to Le Boutique, it will be done “with minimal packaging that is designed to be reused or recycled, making the items both stylish and practical.” Hayek is quoted as saying the Target collection reflects his “core design beliefs, which include structure, humor and a commitment to sustainable design.” Below you see the Sami Hayek™ for Target® Striped Comforter Set in Brown on the left and the Reversible Coverlet Set in Gray/Tan on the right.

Sami Hayek™ for Target® Stripe Comforter Set - Brown Sami Hayek™ for Target® Reversible Coverlet Set - Gray/ Tan

 

The snooze news release goes on to say that “Anyone who values function and practicality housed in great design will gravitate toward Hayek’s product.” Of course; we were thinking just that. When one does a search at the Target site for ‘Sami Hayek,’ 17 results are returned. We do know there are pieces also available for purchase in the stores, we just don’t know how many or what kind of merchandise they are. Have any of our fearless readers spotted any Hayek pieces yet? Anyone with early reviews they can share? As best we can ascertain, this clearly isn’t the Whim line from Cynthia Rowley, but then it’s not intended to be. Some of the pieces appear to have bright colors that pop and reversible fabrics – and you know we like reversibility!

And now for some truly significant discourse. I know, I know, you have been very patient these past months and previous 99 posts, wondering if we might ever engage in some kind of meaningful conversation about life, man’s inhumanity to man, that kind of thing. Well, that time has arrived, and to whom do we give our thanks for initiating the dialogue? Eddie Lampert* and his gang of goofballs at Sears. (This is definitely a candidate for the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” list.) Evidently LL Cool J is going to save Sears, with a casual clothing line for juniors & young men, girls’ & boys’ that is supposed to hit stores starting this September. The price points will be at the higher end of the spectrum for Sears, $22 for a graphic tee and approximately $50 for a pair of jeans, according to Women’s Wear Daily. What greater topic for meaningful conversation than this?

LL Cool J LL Cool J for Sears

According to WWD “The collection of casualwear for juniors, young men’s, girls’ and boys’ will roll out to 450 of Sears’ 900 stores in September and could generate as much as $100 million to $150 million in its first year, sources said.” A 40-year-old hip-hop star at Sears? I dunno’. Apparently he’s at Macy’s (See reference below) with a different line, and has been for a few months. BTW, we don’t know about the hyphenation of hip-hop, and that is causing us all sorts of aggravation…. guidance from any of our, well, our hipper readers? 

LL Cool J for Sears look #2 LL Cool J

Think of all the other old dullards like TP learning what LL Cool J stands for: Ladies Love Cool James. Oh. Duh. Did everyone but yours truly know that? Huh? I mean, I might have walked into a Sears to learn that fact (doubtful), maybe (not) looked more closely at an ad, perhaps (please call Sister Mary Hand Grenade as this whopper is getting bigger and bigger) watched a TV commercial more closely if I had the time. Or not. Gone into a Sears to return a Lands End purchase gone bad? In a heartbeat. But then, we are not, most assuredly not the demo Sears is after. Not even close. And as mentioned above, we are a raging capitalist at heart, and nothing would be better than to see this little endeavor go great guns. 

Now, The Princess does know celebrity lines are what it’s all about in terms of branding and buzz for retailers. Think Vera Wang at Kohl’s. Or the upcoming Avril Lavigne at Kohl’s. Can we talk about Jessica Simpson? Martha Stewart? Hello? It is not as though this is unheard of. But it is also not as though Sears hasn’t tried this. Repeatedly. Again. And. Again. And Again. The Chicago Sun-Times covers Sears quite well, they have to – the company is practically in the paper’s backyard. And according to an article in Wednesday’s paper, Sears has been down this path 97 times:

“Sears previously launched 97 multicultural concept stores in its stores, and has offered African-American-themed items in its catalogs. It also has sold labels by Latin TV star Lucy Pereda, as well as well-known designers Liz Claiborne and BCBG’s Max Azria.”

“Meanwhile, analysts expect another dismal quarter at Sears when the Hoffman Estates-based retailer reports earnings on Thursday.”

Where the Princess becomes completely confused is this: no one seems to mention in any of today’s coverage that LL Cool Jay just launched another line of clothing this spring, the Todd Smith line! (The star’s real name is Todd Smith.) Nor do we see mention of Smith’s 2006 apparel line; this link takes you to a 2006 MSNBC story that makes interesting reading. The photos below are datelined March 8 of this year with a caption reading “LL Cool J Debuts His New Clothing Line ‘Todd Smith’ at Macy’s Department Store,’ so TP is most confused. Why start an additional line, arguably competitive line?

LL Cool Debuts Todd Smith Clothing Line at Macy\'s Culver City

We leave this confusion behind for the time being, and move on to the news that Hermes will open its first stand-alone Mens shop in New York sometime this fall. The success of its men’s and women’s apparel lines has been explosive, and added emphasis on menswear has been in the works for some time. The luxury goods seller wants to continue raising its mens ready-to-wear profile; the heavy focus on men’s products at its Financial District Boutique that opened earlier this year is proof of that. Below, a few looks from the Hermes Spring and Fall 2008 RTW Collections.

Hermes Spring 2008 Hermes Fall 2008

Tomorrow we’ll celebrate our 100th (or 101st, we have to check!) post and chat about the competition Hermes will face from another upscale mens retailer also planning to open a store on Madison Avenue. 

 

TODAY’S ABBREVIATIONS DEMYSTIFIED:

 

 

 

 

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