Tag Archives: Chip Kidd

Lisa Birnbach Wishes She Was Betty Draper Sometimes

Hello-Hello, what a delightful Tuesday it has turned out to be, we hope yours is the same, filled with sunshine and lots of laughter.

It seems like a good time for an update on True Prep, there have been oodles of articles on the book, as well as loads of parties and book signing events, like this one at the Sperry Top-sider store in Kansas City.

Tim Umphrey/Getty Images

And this one at the Lilly Mother Ship store in King of Prussia.

Michael S. Wirtz/Philadelphia Inquirer

There has also been a significant amount of news coverage for many of the goings-on as well. We adore the way this Palm Beach Daily News story begins:

“In the beginning, there was pink and there was green. They mixed, quietly, beyond the fray of fashion magazines and designer mandates.”

Fortunately, the always-gracious Lisa Birnbach us fit into her more-than-busy schedule, we were able to catch up for a chat about the book’s progress and reader reactions.  We started out discussing the book’s popularity, something the author calls “humbling,” sharing that she has been “… surprised at how many people show up at things!”

She has also been taken aback by the intense affection people still have for The Official Preppy Handbook, saying she didn’t realize how much it meant to people, let alone the impact some readers say it had on their lives.

“The number of ‘you’ve changed my life’ stories people are telling me is amazing, I never expected that.”

Reading about the antics of preps getting together in other parts of the country is always fun, below we see two of our faves, Hopsy (aka Monograms & Manicures/Kappa Prep) as well as Miss Tickled Pink & Green at the Dallas event in October.

Photo via Kappa Prep

Discussion about the “commercialization of prep” as it relates to the book prompted us to ask Ms. Birnbach about products and brands heavily showcased in the new book and/or at events on the book tour.
“Is there some sort of quid pro quo with Brooks Brothers? Absolutely not. Not at all, there’s no cash exchanged for events being held at their stores, no. It’s very simple how this all happened, we were very late calling merchants to provide things to photograph for the book, and when I called Brooks brothers they decided they really wanted to get involved.”
The conversation digressed (at length) with chatter about some of the natty Brooks apparel Ms. Birnbach has been sporting at B2 book functions.  Your trusty correspondent has been a little gaga about several dresses worn by the author, especially the one seen below left in Adam Tschorn’s photo.  We think it is the Black Fleece Silk Button Back Dress shown below right. (For more on the Brooks Brothers launch party, click here.)
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Back to that nasty and oh-so-not-done conversation about True Prep and merchandising, there are products being marketed for which Ms. Birnbach does receive some compensation. The licensing agreement with Vineyard Vines is a good example of such an arrangement.

Vineyard Vines

The collection includes a True Prep Polo, a tie and Beach Bag.
We then moved on to the next topic, asking Ms. Birnbach about reader reactions to the book.
“Some people want more rules, there are people who are really not happy about the inclusiveness, this is the area that seems to provide the most controversy.  I don’t think it’s nice, it’s not appropriate.”
As an FYI, the harshest criticism the author can level at someone or something is that it “isn’t nice.”  And when discussing the “too inclusive” crowd, she is understandably emphatic.
“They are old school and they don’t like the way the world is shaping up, and the worst thing is, they spew and use new media and its anonymity to post their rage online, where they can say anything and be safe from other points of view. We have to draw a line in the sand.”
It is at this point where both Ms. Birnbach and TP commiserate about “how things used to be”.
“Life was much more pleasant, I did have to dress up to fly, I miss the soft-spoken courtesy in the world I grew up in. Now my kids know more about plastic surgery and violence and other things that I never knew about at that age.”

“But then, we didn’t have access to so many things that we do now as far as careers and other things go… am I grateful for the opportunities I have had because of the way the world has changed? Of course I am, there is a part of me that is very pro First Amendment, and very independent as a woman, but there is a part of me that wishes for that world where we were polite, and people were admired for actually accomplishing something… sometimes it all makes me wish I was Betty Draper.”

Makeover by The Consort

Amen to that sentiment.

One nice thing about the book parties has to be the food, where else would one see Sperry cupcakes? (Thank you for the photo Miss Wendy!)

Wendy's Picture

And since we are talking about cupcakes we simply had to share these darling pink whales from the big party celebrating Vineyard Vines’ grand opening of its new store in Palm Beach Gardens.

Vineyard Vines Blog

We’ll have a look at some of the reviews for True Prep later this week.

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A quick note geared more toward the MOTH (Man of the House) in your life, the first involving a Princess fave, Bill’s Khakis.  In honor of its twentieth year in business, Bill’s is launching a special pair of khakis, the Camerton Twills.

Bill’s Khakis

A portion of proceeds will benefit the USO, another reason we adore Bill’s.  Our thanks to The Trad for the tip.

On that note we say g’bye until next time!

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Filed under Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People, True Prep & TOPH

Lilly Pulitzer Furniture, Target Design Collaborations

Hello-Hello, it is a glorious fall day here at the Prepatorium, bright skies and sunshine abound, we hope it is the same in your corner of the world.

We begin with an early look at some of the Lilly Pulitzer Furniture Collection, officially launched over the weekend.

Clearly there is potential for some serious Pretty in Pink.

As promised, the collection is alive with vivid colors.

The new line is being created in partnership with HFI Brands. One of the more interesting pieces is an ottoman, seen in green and white below.

The piece opens to reveal shoe storage.

Gimmicky? Absolutely. Practical? Probably, especially for many Lilly Lovers, occasionally (cough-cough) in need of a bit more shoe storage.  Also debuting next spring, the home decor and upholstery textile line by Lee Jofa.

Both lines clearly hold promise, we look forward to seeing them on our next market trip.  We send our thanks to Sophie Pyle for her generosity with the photos, to see more, click here.

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Next, word that another noted name is doing a line at Le Boutique Targét.

The creator of the Glossy Posse, cosmetics pooh-bah Napoleon Perdis, makes his move into bath products with his new line at Target.  Women’s Wear Daily reports the line launches this Sunday.

A reminder about another designer collaboration, the Target Mulberry collection arrived online and in stores this Sunday.

Unfortunately every style online is sold out, one’s only opportunity to find the bags is at an actual store.

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We have a few notes to share, the first about our friend Tickled Pink & Green: her blog has returned to its original home at Blogger. A nasty humanoid has hijacked her URL and is holding it hostage for an insane amount of $$$.  So pop in for a visit at this address, not the recent URL. Today is a good day for a visit, you can read about her excellent adventure with Hopsy at the Dallas True Prep event.

Courtesy Tickled Pink & Green

Our other note involves OPB (Official Princess Business): Hanukkah falls early this year, so personalization deadlines are also early.

We are excited about our Hanukkah and Christmas goodies from Clairebella, including Cutting Boards (seen above), Monogrammed Coasters, and Notecubes.

We’ll also be sharing some of our Christmas goodies in this space, but wanted to be sure and get the word out on the cutoff date for most Hanukkah orders.

Finally, if wondering how the Mad Men cast celebrated Sunday’s season finale, many were at a watch party.

 

Neilson Barnard/Getty

Above we see Cara Buono (Dr. Faye Miller), Elisabeth Moss (Peggy), writer/executive producer Matthew Weiner, Christina Hendricks (Joan) and Jon Hamm (Don Draper) before the big do at 21.

Until next time,may your day be filled with sunshine.

 

 

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Filed under Collaborations, Preppy clothing & brands, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink, True Prep & TOPH

Is Prep Dead? (More Importantly, How Did We Miss This?)

Hello-Hello, is everyone ready for a weekend?

We thought it was time for another True Prep update, the volume of media surrounding the book is significant, including multiple declarations that ‘prep is dead’; in at least one instance responsibility for this hypothetical occurrence is linked directly to the book.

We begin with this headline from a September NPR story:

We haven’t heard the entire NPR story, but did read what is posted online and were unable to decipher exactly how the book’s existence translated into a sign that prep was dead.  The NPR story does carry a lengthy quote from this story in The Atlantic:

As always, the Atlantic review is very well done, essentially positing that ‘prep’ has  been absorbed by a larger, international class.  From the piece by Benjamin Schwarz:

“Whereas OPH was crammed with fine-grained analysis— defining, say, the subtle distinctions between Brooks Brothers (mainstream), J. Press (old guard), and Paul Stuart (urbane)—True Prep’s analysis seems vague and flabby. Whereas OPH’s preppies belonged to a distinct and inward-looking subculture, the preppies of True Prep, defined largely by what they buy and wear, are in many ways indistinguishable from fancily educated professionals.”

The writer doesn’t fault the skill set of authors Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd, looking instead at the consumption habits of the era, particularly those of the conspicuous kind.

“Cracked heirlooms, threadbare antique rugs, sturdy L.L. Bean boots, duct-taped Blucher moccasins, and workhorse Volvo station wagons defined OPH’s aesthetic. True Prep’s preppies, armed with BlackBerrys and iPods, wear Verdura jewelry and Prada and vintage Gucci loafers, tote Goyard and Tory Burch bags, and adorn their desks with tchotchkes from Smythson (a firm whose success, Ian Jack notes in The Guardian, has been built “on selling baubles to the impressionable rich”).

It’s no secret we whined struggled with some of the brands featured in True Prep. (For Ms. Birnbach’s comments regarding the J. Crew metallic Top-siders at J. Crew, simply click here.) We have been vocal about the volume of J. Crew & Burberry products showcased in the book.  Frequent readers know the tragic truth: TP and The Consort are two boring, old-school preps.  Our style is basically no style.

However, we do take issue with this claim from a column in the Journal, the headline reads “Preppy Pitfall: All That Madras, Not Enough Effort.” It is the subhead that is irksome:

Did Lisa Birnbach’s original ‘Handbook’ drive people lazy?”

Eric Felten cites TOPH (The Official Preppy Handbook) as a factor.

“One simply mustn’t try too hard. A key principle of what Ms. Birnbach called the Preppy Value System was Effortlessness: “If life is a country club, then all functions should be free from strain.”

The notion that Ms. Birnbach is responsible for the work ethic of a generation is ludicrous.

“Unless you actually have a fat trust fund to underwrite your nonchalance, an aversion to effort is hardly a strategy for success. Which may explain some of our national woes.”

We like Ms. Birnbach; she is talented, witty and loads of fun, but while wielding significant influence, she is not quite so powerful as to be responsible for this:

“Over the last couple of decades we’ve seen the contempt for effort spread far beyond the original preppy demographic. Now it’s commonplace for middle-class kids to go to college and behave as though they are scions of the gentry—abjuring studies and indulging in the bottomless kegger that a recent book dubbed “The Five Year Party.”

Blaming These Challenging Times on any single author just doesn’t work for us.

Next on the review list, AOL’s Daily Finance offers this:

Bruce Watson’s story takes a more reasoned approach:

“…she attached a philosophical component to the look, explicitly wedding the preppy style to a hodgepodge of social values, including traditionalism, thrift, and brand loyalty. In Birnbach’s analysis, preppies buy Brooks Brothers and Orvis because these companies have been in business for over a hundred years and have proven reliability.”

As the monolithic 1980’s preppy culture has fractured into a variety of brands and styles, from Gossip Girl to hip-hop Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren to Vineyard Vines, it’s worth wondering if this explosion of prep may also signal its demise.”

Mr. Watson points to the efforts at updating the fashions offered by some of the stalwarts, like LL Bean’s Signature and Black Fleece at Brooks Brothers, a necessity if such establishments are to compete against trendier, “hipper” (ahem) offerings at retailers like J. Crew. Unfortunately the writer misses an important point in this portion of his story:
“In True Prep, however, conversation positively drips with references to the signs of wealth, as Birnbach instructs readers: “Your car wasn’t in the shop; your Mercedes was getting fixed. You didn’t wear shoes; you wore Manolos.”
The book isn’t instructing readers to converse in this fashion. To the contrary, this specific segment laments the way people speak these days, bemoaning the ostentation and name-dropping and label flashing.  Melanie Spencer’s story in the Austin Statesman illustrates this distinction with a quote from the author:
“”People are oft misbehaving and name-dropping and talking about money,” she says. “It is vulgar. It’s becoming normal. I’m here to help correct. Something as benign as ‘Sex in the City’ sort of sanctioned gross materialism. Instead of saying, ‘Oh, my shoes hurt,’ it’s, ‘My Manolos hurt.’ You are sending all kinds of messages. You can say ‘My car is in the shop.’ You don’t have to say, ‘My Jaguar is in the shop.’ It would be so refreshing for people to go back to those basics.”

We had to laugh aloud at this part of the story, it seems not everyone in Austin was fond of the prep aesthetic. (Gasp!)

“”Preppy fashion was the lowest point in the history of women’s attire,” says longtime Austinite, style and design writer and Austin Monthly Home editor Helen Thompson.”
Oops.  Hopefully Melanie, I Pick Pretty and other notable Austin denizens won’t tell Ms. Thompson next time we visit.
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Enough of the deep thinking, we have an eye-popping Pretty in Pink & Green to share:
The Argyle Pullover is available at Elegant Baby, and there is also a version in blues if looking for something a little more sedate.
With that, we are off to enjoy the weekend, and hope you are able to do the same!

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Filed under Gossip Girl, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, True Prep & TOPH

Fashion Week: Trina Turk, True Prep Party at Brooks Brothers

Hello-Hello, welcome to a Wednesday!

We have more Fashion Week goings-on to share, beginning with last night’s bash, the Brooks Brothers True Prep party.

Via True Prep Facebook

The festivities were at the Brooks mother ship on Madison, above, one of the theme windows.  The gala drew a big crowd,  as explained by Los Angeles Times writer Adam Tschorn in his blog post on the event:

“…the night’s stack of books had dwindled from 400 to just three in less than an hour, according to our madras-clad mole.”

Authors Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd were on hand, madly signing books and looking well, preppish in Mr. Tschorn’s photos.

PHOTOS: Adam Tschorn

Again, he describes the scene:

“The enthusiastic crowd took the opportunity to don its preppiest threads. As we arrived a a clutch of young girls in pink Lilly Pulitzer patterns spilled out the door, and, once amid the sea of Sperry Top-Siders, all-over embroidered trousers and navy-blue blazers made us feel like we’d fallen into our own version of “The Hot Tub Time Machine.”

For those recognizing Mr. Tschorn’s name, we have previously quoted from his stories in the Times, as well as his blog posts; he does a splendid job covering fashion and culture. It sounds like the True Prep special edition at Brooks Brothers (previously mentioned in this post) was quite the popular item. To read Mr. Tschorn’s piece in its entirety click here; it will make you smile.

The scene is likely to be similar this evening at the Vineyard Vines party in Georgetown.  That function gets underway at 6pm, showcasing not only the book and Ms. Birnbach, but also six new True Prep products.  We have previously shown the Vines tie featuring the book cover’s Golden Retriever, Henry; that pattern is also used on the new Vines True Prep tote.

NBC/Universal

Look for a fleece vest and several other co-branded items.

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Back to Fashion Week runway shows, a speedy glance at a label we love, Mulberry. We rarely feature apparel, generally we’re gushing chatting about the company’s handbags; here are a few styles from WWD’s brief review.

Any company willing to put a pooch in a picture or two will grab our attention; the photos are all by Pasha Antonov via WWD.

Nothing to make us gaga, but some lovely prints and stellar bags.

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Showing for the first time  in New York, a Princess fave, Trina Turk.  Some pieces were simply outstanding, with vibrant prints in rich, saturated colors.

This also held true for the menswear, making us wonder if this is what a marriage of Lilly Pulitzer and Loudmouth Golf might produce…?

As always, Ms. Turk presents some solid basics as well as pieces for fun and sun.

From the Women’s Wear Daily review:

“Trina Turk celebrated her 15th anniversary with her first New York presentation, offering pop prints and retro-infused wares with a Palm Springs attitude, including one-shoulder dresses in various lengths, airy knits and crisp shorts.”

We do enjoy much of Ms. Turk’s work, especially her home furnishings and accessories line.

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In keeping with our tradition of tracking those former faux-prep school students, we have a few Gossip Girl updates.  More accurately, out and about mentions.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images for ATP

Above we see US Open champ Rafa Nadal with Blake Lively backstage at the Regis and Kelly show yesterday.  The actress then headed to Boston to promote the opening of her film, “The Town”. Also at the Fenway Park showing of the film, Mad Men’s Jon Hamm.

What an amazing place to see a film!

With that, it is g’bye until next time, when we look at the runway shows taking place today, Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch, among others.

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Brian Snyder/REUTERS
  • Bryce Vickmark/REUTERS

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Filed under Gossip Girl, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, True Prep & TOPH

Fashion Week: Kate Spade, Lacoste & More

Hello-Hello, we hope everyone enjoyed a splendid weekend.

As we previously mentioned, Fashion Week is well underway, and today we start with one of the original prep lines, Lacoste.  This is the final collection for creative director Christopher Lemaire, the designer is off to Hermès.

Talaya Centeno/WWD

We continue to appreciate the clean lines and lack of frou-frou from this brand.

PHOTOS: Talaya Centeno/WWD

Not all of the strongly geometric pieces felt right, either the proportions or fit or design just didn’t seem right.

PHOTOS: Talaya Centeno/WWD

We do enjoy a bold graphic approach, and particularly the top in the center photo above. It is interesting to see the higher waist enjoy a continued return to prominence, for both men and women.

PHOTOS: Talaya Centeno/WWD

From the Telegraph (UK):

“Pink and orange striped knits injected the sizzle factor…”

PHOTOS: Talaya Centeno/WWD

Both looks seen above, and the styles shown below have solid elements.

PHOTOS: Talaya Centeno/WWD

Overall the collection showed a lot of promise and we liked seeing models that were actually smiling on the runway, what a nice change. We are intrigued to see how Mr. Lemaire fares at Hermès.

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Also shown this weekend, Band of Outsiders, a line we have chatted about on several occasions.  The presentation included a look at the new “Girl” line from designer Scott Sternberg, offering far more feminine looks than his “Boy by Band of Outsiders” collection.

PHOTOS: Nick Wolf & Piera Gelardi via Refinery29

Below, a better look at two of those styles from the new line.

Photos via LaraPixie

And a few of the men’s styles.

Photos via LaraPixie

Back to the “Boy” collection.

Photos via LaraPixie

One more ensemble:

Photos via LaraPixie

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We move on, taking a look at the Kate Spade show, held Friday morning.  We liked many of the looks captured by WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) for their brief review.

PHOTOS: John Aquino/WWD

We adore both of the dresses show above, they definitely have a 1950’s and/or 1980’s vibe.  More from the WWD story:

“… all the looks were worn with complementing socks and kitten-heeled sandals. In accessories, she layered beaded necklaces and bangles and added playful belts with brooch closures, new this season. Standouts were the oversize, square bead-encrusted neon clutches.”

PHOTOS: John Aquino/WWD

Again, both looks have many appealing elements; the two final ensembles.

PHOTOS: John Aquino/WWD

Below we share a closer look at accessories, the pictures are via this post at Bloginity.

Via Bloginity

We love the whimsical iPhone covers seen above, and both of the items seen next, they also definitely have a retro flair.

Via Bloginity

And two more bags via Bloginity.

A quick Sales & Savings reminder for Kate Spade fans:

Kate Spade

The promotion offering an additional 25% off sale priced merchandise ends tonight at midnight.

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Many readers are fond of Gossip Girl (or the fashions shown on the program), making its reappearance tonight.  It was a busy weekend for many of the stars, with several attending Fashion Week functions. Below left, Ed Westwick at the Tommy Hilfiger show, and on the right, Chace Crawford is seen with Naomi Campbell at the Fashion’s Night Out event held at Dolce & Gabbana.

Another star, Blake Lively, was at the Toronto Film Festival for the première of her upcoming movie, ‘The Town’. Left, Ms. Lively at a news conference and on the right, at the screening.

Ms. Lively’s Gossip Girl costar and real-life paramour, Penn Badgley was also at the Festival, but not at “The Town” showing; the screening of his upcoming film “Easy A,” was at the same time. Here he is seen with costar Emma Stone.  Another star of “The Town” on hand, Jon Hamm, seen with longtime partner Jennifer Westfeldt. (One almost needs a diagram to keep up with this group.)

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A few quick True Prep notes, starting with authors Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd signing books at the Bloomingdale’s FNO event (there are loads of photos on the True Prep FB page).

Also, Brooks Brothers is devoting a new section of its website to the recently released book.

Brooks Brothers

The special edition True Prep tie from Vineyard Vines is now available online.

We do think Henry (from the crest on the book’s cover) looks rather distinguished in silk.  Sadly, there are grumblings from some quarters; evidently others here at the Prepatorium think they should be showcased in silk.

Silly Tilly in silk? We think not.

Doubtful; somehow her blue blankie diminishes the dignity factor.

On that goofy look, we say g’bye until next time!

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Steve Eichner/Women’s Wear Daily
  • Jason Merritt/Getty Images
  • Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Dolce & Gabbana

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A Fashion Frenzy, Gossip Girls and Mad Men

Hello-Hello, doesn’t it feel like time for some Friday Fun?

We are thinking this could be the theme for today’s post, we’ll steer our path away from anything serious or weighty, and have a look at Fashion Week, Fashion’s Night Out (FNO), Gossip Girl’s ‘fashionable new season,’ as well as the Brooks Brothers and Lilly Pulitzer ties to True Prep.

We begin with FNO, for where else would one see this trio?

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Conde Nast

Anna Wintour, Blake Lively and Roger Federer were on hand Wednesday night for what was billed as the largest public fashion show in history (a quick sellout at $250 per ticket), held at Lincoln Center. The function was also taped for a one-hour special airing at 10 Tuesday night on CBS.  Ms. Lively’s co-star, Leighton Meester, was also in attendance.

It has been a busy week for the young actress, earlier Tuesday she was at the J. Crew/People StyleWatch screening of “The Romantics”. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise also were at the private showing; we chatted about the J. Crew product placement in the film in this post.

Back to Fashion’s Night Out, London’s FNO is already in the books. Below left, the Burberry celebration featured models Rosie Huntington-Whitley (L) and Daisy Lowe (R) on either side of Burberry’s creative director, Christopher Bailey.  The photo on the right shows Claudia Schiffer, also on hand for the Burberry party.

On this side of the pond there are multiple FNO events with a preppish flavor: J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons will be at the company’s Prince Street store, while Jessica Alba and Andre Leon Talley will be at the Polo Ralph Lauren location in Soho.

Brooks Brothers’ FNO party starts at 6pm at the flagship store on Madison; we don’t know if they will have the Brooks Brothers True Prep limited edition available, but it can be purchased online at the retailer’s website.

Brooks Brothers

Lilly Pulitzer co-hosts a True Prep event at Bloomingdale’s, both Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd will be on hand to sign books,  there is also a very-limited-edition True Prep Lilly polo shirt, the words “True Prep” are visible when one ‘pops’ their collar.

Lilly Pulitzer

(True confession: we are not collar-poppers here in the Princess corner condo, don’t tell anyone lest they think poorly of us.)

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We move on now, to Fashion Week. Some shows have already taken place, like Jessica Simpson’s, held Wednesday; the entertainer launched her new denim line.

Courtesy Photo via WWD

Christian Siriano showed yesterday, below a sneak peek at some of his shoe styles for Payless.

Getty Images via The Cut

To see all of the designer’s looks from his Spring 2011 collection, click here. If curious about the lighter, summery looks, a reminder the styles being shown are for the spring 2011 RTW (ready-to-wear) season.

Shows we are interested in for today, Kate Spade, Steven Alan, and Ports 1961. Tomorrow’s schedule includes the Lacoste and Band of Outsiders shows, Monday we have Caroline Herrera and Marc Jacobs, Tuesday’s offerings include Karen Walker and Mulberry, while Wednesday is shaping up to be insanely busy with Tory Burch, GANT by Michael Bastian, Michael Kors and Milly, to name just a few of the shows. The big week wraps up Thursday, with collections from Ralph Lauren and the master, Oscar de la Renta.

The run-up to Fashion Week is always chock full of parties and this year is no different; one of the most coveted invites was for last night’s re-opening of Chanel’s Soho boutique. Below, Chanel Grand Pooh-bah Karl Lagerfeld and once again, Ms. Lively.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Chanel

It was quite the do, other guests included Sarah Jessica Parker, Liv Tyler, Claire Danes and Diane Kruger.

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One other event to mention, this one taking place next weekend (and completely unrelated to Fashion Week or Gossip Girl!), but sure to be fun and for a good cause, Baltimore’s first annual Oxfords and Oysters. Below, a sampling of the logos from sponsors and those donating goodies for the VIP Guest bags, definitely a preptastic group.

Oxford and Oysters/Sky Blue Events

The philanthropic soiree benefits the Oyster Recovery Partnership, working to restore the oyster population in Chesapeake Bay. Our pal Jennifer at Sky Blue Events is in charge of the celebration, and several of our blogging friends are attending, we wish we could temporarily relocate Princess InterGalactic HQ to Baltimore so we might go too!

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And finally, GQ’s Man of the Year gala was celebrated Wednesday, the gala celebration was at London’s Royal Opera House, as this was hosted by the UK edition of the magazine. The big winner:

PA/The Daily Mail

Actor Jon Hamm was named International Man of the Year. Also being honored, Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick, recognized as “Breakthrough Talent of the Year”.

PA/The Daily Mail

Likely to also be of interest to Preppy101 a certain favorite blogger, Mr. Hamm’s appearance Thursday at the Venice Film Festival.

Also seen in this photo, co-star Jeremy Renner, director Ben Affleck and actress Rebecca Hall, the group is promoting their film “The Town,” opening September 17.

Two final notes:

  • the latest collaboration for Gap is with (this is amazing) Valentino!
  • don’t forget that Tucker launches at Le Boutique Targét on Sunday.

Until next time, may everyone’s weekend be filled with sun and laughter.

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Dave M. Benett/Getty Images
  • Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Conde Nast
  • Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

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Filed under Friday Fun, Gossip Girl, Prepalicious, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, True Prep & TOPH

A Conversation With Lisa Birnbach

Hello-Hello, welcome to a Wednursday (Wednesday + Thursday) post, we are so swamped this shall have to count for two days.

Today we share our interview with the woman we call the Grand Pooh-bah of Prep, Lisa Birnbach, the author of True Prep.  Yesterday was the book’s official release date, and we still cannot believe she found time for an interview; some readers may recall Ms. Birnbach’s day started with an appearance on the Today show, and it only grew busier after that.

NBC Universal

To say we were flattered to even be on the interview list, let alone on the book’s first day, would transcend understatement. (We will share a little secret: at the last moment throwing on a strand of pearls seemed prudent, because after all, she *would* be able to tell through the telephone what we were wearing here at the Prepatorium, right down to the accessories.  Somehow. she. would. know.)

Ummm, not exactly. From the outset Ms. Birnbach was warm and witty, if anyone was wooden and stiff… well, yes. It was I. Me. Us. (Whomever, honestly Princess, get a grip!)

Sadly, our first question was truly tasteless, we asked the obvious, what (who) were you wearing on the Today show?  It turns out the ensemble was a combination of new and old, both the skirt and the blouse were Brooks Brothers (although we have to apologize for being a witless wonder right off the bat, one was Black Fleece and the other regular Brooks, but it appears we were quite incapable of properly noting which was which), and the shoes were older Manolos. (Because they are still perfectly good shoes.)

NBC Universal

Almost all of the jewelry was on loan from Verdura, including the Beehive Pendant Watch, not unlike the one shown below in a 2007 Christie’s catalog.

Via Christie's

Verdura is covered in Chapter 4, “I Just Found it in My Closet,” sure to be a favorite for most fans, as it covers the contemporary sartorial choices one confronts in clothing and accessories.  Ms. Birnbach explained a bit of the process for borrowing the jewelry, it is not something undertaken lightly.  As mentioned, not everything was on loan, the pinky ring worn by Ms. Birnbach was her own, marking the occasion of her son’s birth.

We only had one other matter to handle before getting into the meat of the interview, a minor issue we felt compelled to discuss before we could comfortably move into more intense conversation.

TP: “There is just one little thing I need to bring up before we move on, um…well….uh, it’s….ah, it’s just something that is very troubling, actually, it’s fairly traumatic, I think some people might classify it as bordering on tragic. I’m worried it might derail our whole conversation, but have to bring it up anway.”

LB: “Oh, really? What is it??”

TP: “The Top-Siders featured on the Today show this morning.”

LB: “The Top-Siders are tragic? How are the Top-Siders tragic?”

TP: “They’re metallic.”

(As a brief refresher, below we share a snippet from our post on the topic earlier this year:

“The women’s Original 2-Eye metallic boat shoe seen below is at Crew, offered in platinum.

J. Crew/Sperry Top-Sider

(TP has stepped away for the moment, she is struggling with the word ‘metallic’ adjacent to the words ‘boat shoe’.)”

There, enough of that tedious blather the background, now back to yesterday’s conversation.

Ms. Birnbach was gracious in responding to our angst about the shoes.

LB: “Susan, let’s talk about this, allright? I know what you’re saying, I really do. But the metallic Top-Siders are sort of like the bad boy in school. You remember? You knew he was not the guy for you, you absolutely knew he was not the guy, and you may even have been repelled by him, but at the same time, there was this attraction, something drawing you toward him. I think the Top-Siders are kind of like the bad boy.  I’m not saying you should get them. I’m just saying I’m open to new ideas.”

TP: “Oh. Okay.” (Heh, heh, heh.)

Of course that exchange was understood by both parties as being in jest. Fun. Funny. Entirely couched in humor, intended to be taken as such, and returned in the same vein.

And Ms. Birnbach is *very* funny, immediately grasping the enormity of a “Princess tragedies” on the level of a metallic Top-Sider. This was helpful, allowing us to feel safe bringing up the next crisis.

TP: Since we’ve dealt with the shoe, can we talk about the skull? Did you see the CBS Early Show Monday morning, that segment on hypothetical Preppy Fashion? They said ‘The new preppy icon is the skull.” What is up with that?!” (Insert a full blast of righteous indignation to achieve the proper sense of total outrage.)

LB: “The skull? No, no, no.  Just no.  The skull of course, is rugby.  And rugby and preps do go back. It’s the Jolly Roger pirate, it’s everywhere, Smathers and Branson have the pirate, all sorts of things have the pirate, the Jolly Roger is everywhere. But it isn’t the new preppy icon.”

Phew. Another close one.

For a sense of that CBS story, here is one line:

“After lying low in the nineties, preppy has once again reinvented itself, this time led by pop stars and gossip girls.”

Indeed.

During the interview we had a splendid talk about the breadth of choices available these days when looking at clothing and accessories, from relative newcomers like Smathers and Branson or Tucker Blair for needlepoint goodies, or Vineyard Vines, to old standbys like Brooks Brothers and Lilly Pulitzer.  The number of bright, gifted entrepreneurs now making things appealing to preps of all ages continues to grow.

The writer shared a story about her own preppy look from years ago when she had one of her very first jobs in the business, this one at the oh-so-liberal (the horror) Village Voice newspaper.  As might be expected, the style was très casual, everyone dressed down. Way, way down. What was a prep to do? Ms. Birnbach went wild, and purchased a Lacoste polo shirt. In black.

No one will be surprised to learn we had fun talking about the Anti-Prep Wall of Shame, we sensed unspoken approval of our existing members. For the uninitiated, this select group includes both humans (think Paris Hilton), as well as other entities (Abercrombie & Fitch) displaying gross negligence to standards of good taste, good manners, or basic decency .  The conversation moved on to the sorry state of what passes for “celebrity” these days.

“Doesn’t anybody miss the day when you actually had to accomplish something to be a celebrity? What is it that says being on a reality tv show makes someone a celebrity or authority on life?”

Amen.

We talked about the challenge of writing True Prep. It was not easy, the enormity of following an iconic book like The Original Preppy Handbook was more than daunting.

“It is scary to come out with this book, it really is.  The writing part itself, the sitting down and typing the words actually wasn’t the difficult part… it was the going through the day, trying to look at every single thing that could have changed in the last thirty years…that part was hard. I hope people have fun with it, I hope they enjoy it, I always worry.

We also chatted about what I perceive as the challenge of the upcoming book tour and other public appearances, almost everyone approaching with a “Why didn’t you include _____________________ in the chapter on preppy colleges?” Or, “I cannot believe you think that _______________ is preppy.”  Miss Birnbach explained that she is not saying absolutely, unequivocally, that a certain school, or community, or club, or sport, or item of clothing, or anything else is the “one and only.” Nor that it should be. And she also said she learns an awful lot when from questions and comments, she very much sees the process as a learning experience.

Again, we stress the fun factor, using the following as a brief example of the writing style:

On thrift:
Do keep repairing old appliances to try to extend their lives. Don’t store them on your front porch or driveway.”

It is very much like the witty irreverence found in TOPH back in 1980.

As far as we’re concerned herein lies the crux of the interview, as well as the new book, the old book, and the entire topic: this is not meant to be taken seriously now, nor was it ever intended to be.  A simple look at the book’s classification makes things clear.

humor, n.

  1. The quality that makes something laughable or amusing; funniness: could not see the humor of the situation.
  2. That which is intended to induce laughter or amusement: a writer skilled at crafting humor.

Both True Prep and its predecessor, TOPH (The Original Preppy Handbook) are meant to be humorous, one need look no further than the chapter and section titles: “Rehab: The New Boarding School,” “What Happened to Mummy’s Face?” and “Truly, Madly, Deeply Preppy: The Second Wedding.”

We didn’t have enough time to cover a few of our most whined-about issues favorite topics, like the documented increase in diagnosed cases of Logophobia, or the deplorable loss of civility accompanying all this new technology (need we even say the c— p—- words), nor were we able to get a verdict on things like Spanx, or an even bigger issue: the Snuggie. (What do you think of one for… oh, let’s say Groton, or perhaps Spence?)

In wrapping up the conversation Ms. Birnbach mentioned the possibility of another gabfest at some point in the future, something we would enjoy enormously. She is much more than fun, and bright, and sophisticated, she is simply a delight to spend time with.

Perhaps the best way to understand Ms. Birnbach is through her simple post last night on the True Prep Facebook page, an example of very few words saying quite a bit.

“I hope all of you enjoy the book. I’m under a lot of pressure to make you happy. I’m a giver, but I’m only one slightly used preppy woman. Hoping you all have a great DAY ONE. xLisa

One quick note before leaving, if there are questions you might have for Lisa, do leave them in a comment; we’ll gather them up in a bit and put them aside for a future (cross your fingers) conversation with Ms. Birnbach in the next few months.  Again, our thanks to Lisa Birnbach, and also to Sara at Random House, they made things fun.

Until next time, g’bye!

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Filed under Lilly Pulitzer Paper & Gifts, Logos, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, The AntiPrep, True Prep & TOPH