Tag Archives: debbie phelps Chicos

The Shocking Pink Chair, Michael’s Million Dollar Donation, Thom Browne & the NY Times

This is one we simply couldn’t resist when we saw it online at the Boutique’s website. The Princess wasn’t looking for a chair, let alone a flaming fuchsia chair, but we somehow stumbled onto it whilst searching for a new Isaac Mizrahi Collection at Target.

The Pod chair in Hot Pink is available online; TP doesn’t know if one can purchase it in stores or not. Target is suggesting this zany lamp as a coordinating piece, but we don’t believe it works well in the Palace, so we shall have to pass on its unique design.

Have a tiny prep in the household who might enjoy this delightful little pink chair? This pint-sized piece of pink puffery is only $19.99 as of this writing, and it looks ever-so-cute. (“When all else fails, alliterate…”, from the film ‘Network’.)

If you are still looking for pink furniture, Target also offers the pink Cloud Chair & Ottoman. (Ouch.) Of course, there is always the Bungie Low-Back Chair in pink and black. A side note here: The Princess really feels compelled to share her impressions of the Cloud Chair. From our limited online perspective it looks like faux fur that may prove…ah…that may prove…um, may prove…yes, it could be difficult for the household staff to keep clean. What with the dog’s hair and all. We’re just looking out for your staff.

We take a moment now to revisit noted designer Thom Browne. (Regular readers have been subjected to enjoyed TP’s thoughts on Mr. Brown’s ‘look’ in previous posts.) It would seem his standalone menswear store has enjoyed a visit from the Times’ “Critical Shopper” columnist Mike Albo. Perhaps enjoyed isn’t the appropriate adjective; we’ll say ‘experienced a visit,’ that might be better.

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Photo: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Mr. Albo has also done Critical Shopper columns on the new Rogan store (click here for more) and the Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue (click here for more of that column) at 44th. The photo above is from the February 2007 Brooks Brothers column.

How did Mr. Albo find his visit to Mr. Browne’s emporium, or more accurately Mr. Browne’s designs?

  • “Across from the gray-hued garments, for example, was a selection of jaunty sweaters. A $3,500 thick cardigan was striped in navy blue and red, and a V-neck tennis sweater for $2,875 looked as if it had been ripped off Jay Gatsby’s dead body.”

(Mr. Browne is seen in his own design above left.)

Mr. Albo is not without humor. In describing a brightly hued overcoat he says,

“Past the three-way mirror was a rack of hilarious outerwear, including an overcoat in a queasily cheery yellow plaid for $4,500 that no one should buy unless he is an exhibitionist looking for a more eye-catching cover-up before exposing himself on the subway platform.”

The entire column is not all pokes and jabs at Mr. Browne’s design aesthetic, who also designs the Black Fleece line for Brooks Brothers. It also makes numerous complimentary points, at one point describing the suits as “light and good-natured, not dogmatic and snobby.” Mr. Albo refers to formalwear as “…beautiful…successfully blended Mr. Browne’s traditional and experimental sides.”

Here at the Prepatorium we simply adore the Critical Shopper; previous columns covered Tory Burch, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Steven Alan. (Note: these links are to the individual designer pages, not the Times columns.)

it is always fun to read another individual’s perceptions of the brand and/or the physical stores selling that designer’s apparel and accessories. Stop by the Times and read this Critical Shopper column, or better yet, peruse some of the back columns, including the previously mentioned Steven Alan review.

Many a preppy is familiar with Steven Alan; we were nudged to pop into the online shop when reminded by the Shopper’s column on the store. We feel compelled to let you know they have several of their men’s “basics” on sale, including the Hidden Button shirt, a classic.

Additionally, many of the Reverse Seam shirts are marked down along with other styles. On the Women’s side, TP is ecstatic to see the Dieppa Restropo Black Patent Lace-ups, although these treasures are not on sale. Of course not.

And while not for us, we do find the Hope Shirt to be absolutely adorable, perfect for someone perhaps a tad younger than TP.

Many of the Kids’ styles are on sale, and while adorable, they are also out of season, to be expected at this time of year. Below, the Girls Camisole Dress.

And ladies, after seeing a quick peek of the Spring 2009 line, we think you will find it more than appealing.

An update now on über-athlete Michael Phelps that many of you are likely to have already heard: he is donating his $1,000,000 bonus from Speedo to his charitable program. (You know, that little check promised if he won all eight Gold Medals.) You can see him below, receiving the symbolic check from the head of Warnaco, owners of the Speedo brand.

Business Wire

Photo: Getty Images/Warnaco

The Michael Phelps Foundation’s “Dream, Plan, Reach” program is going to focus on teaching more children to swim as well as instilling self-confidence in them. Phelps phans can see their hero on Oprah’s season-opener next Monday, along with 149 other Olympic athletes. The 8-time Olympic Gold Medalist was mobbed in Chicago when he arrived to tape the Oprah show.

AP/M. Spencer Green

AP/M. Spencer Green

Below you see Phelps helping a girl learn to swim at a Visa Grant for Early Swimming Program discussion at the McBurney YMCA in New York on Aug. 28th

REUTERS/Joshua Lott

REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Mr. Phelps has been a busy man. In addition to the many public appearances he is called upon to make, he has also purchased a 4000+ square foot apartment on Baltimore’s rejuvenated and renovated waterfront. The apartment has a stunning view, a Jacuzzi and many other accoutrements.

Good for him, he certainly has worked hard enough.

And one more update related to the Phelps family, with news that Debbie Phelps has actually signed a formal one-year agreement with Chico’s clothing. The deal calls for Ms. Phelps, who is a school principal in Baltimore (among many, many other responsibilities that can only have multiplied recently), to promote the company’s merchandise. In exchange Chico’s provides apparel, accessories, as they reportedly did for her appearance on that same Oprah Winfrey show. (You may want to take a glance at the Debbie Phelps Collection, recently supplemented with far more items than previously contained in the group.)

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Filed under 2008 Beijing Olympics, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, preppy lifestyle, Updates

It’s Official: Michael Phelps Book on the Way, & Debbie Phelps is Down with Chico’s

Well, if it isn’t Tuesday already. How did that happen? Sigh. Well it’s gonna’ be a rock ‘n roll rest of the week for The Princess, so fasten your seat belts, this could be a bumpy ride! Whoo-hoo!

AP Photo/Akira Suemori

AP Photo/Akira Suemori

We start with an update about everyone’s man of the moment at the games, at least for some: he *does* have a book deal. ‘Built to Succeed’ is due to hit store shelves in December, just in time for the holidays. According to the folks publishing it, the book will focus in part on Mr. Phelps’ life growing up with an attention-deficit disorder in a single-parent home, while the superstar swimmer has said he plans to write about his life training leading up to the Beijing Olympic Games.

Then comes word today about a possible challenge against French Olympic champion and notorious ‘trash talker’ (that is the term, correct?) Alain Bernard, next year at the World Championships in Rome, in the 100 meter freestyle. (You know that The Princess simply had to include that little tidbit!) This, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport. Oh, and the London Games in 2012? Mr. Phelps has has said he plans on chasing more Gold medals in four more years.

Now in post-Olympic fashion news (how’s that for a non-existent news category?), an update to our earlier story about Michael Phelps’ mother, Debbie Phelps, and her Beijing wardrobe. You may remember that Ms. Phelps is a Principal at a middle school in Baltimore.

AP Photo/Steve Ruark

AP Photo/Steve Ruark

Our post mentioned that much of what Debbie Phelps was wearing at the Summer Olympics was from Chico’s, a midline clothing retailer targeting the Baby Boomer demographic. One of the things we mentioned in the article was that Chico’s execs were very clear they had no ‘sponsorship arrangement’ of any kind with Ms. Phelps. In fact, the most they did apparently was send her a $100 gift card and wishes of good luck prior to her departure for Beijing.

How things can change….here’s what you now see when landing on the Chico’s home page.

Click on that photo link and you are taken to this page….

In fact, there are now three pages in the Debbie Phelps Collection, up a page from yesterday’s two; the boost in the ‘Collection’s’ volume clearly comes via the addition of many jewelry pieces worn by Ms. Phelps. Many of the items are marked by where they were worn, as in “As seen in USA Today” or “As seen on Good Morning America.” Below we show just a few.

Believe it or not, as of this writing, there is still no formal arrangement between the retailer and Ms. Phelps, who even wore one of their jackets for a Johnson & Johnson commercial shoot of a spot that aired on Sunday night. Chico’s President Michele Cloutier told USAToday:

“Customers have been coming in and asking for what she’s wearing,” she says. “They’re saying, ‘I want that jacket,’ and they can describe it perfectly.”

“She completely articulates who we are as a brand,”

If the retailer and Ms. Phelps do come up with an arrangement, we’ll let you know.

There were some other Olympic tidbits/oddities we had not heard about, discovered in our meandering about the internet on a lazy morning. Like Angel Valodia Matos, a Tae Kwon Do entrant from Cuba. Upon hearing the Referee’s decision that he was disqualified from his match, Matos kicked the referee in the face. The World Taekwondo Federation has banned Matos life.

Matt Dunham/AP

Photo Credit: Matt Dunham/AP

REUTERS/Phil Noble

REUTERS/Phil Noble

What follows are great shots of what can happen when one mascot tries to help another mascot….oh my!

REUTERS/Phil Noble

REUTERS/Phil Noble

And how about American Idol adding a fourth judge?

Copyright 2008 Chad Buchanan/Getty Images

Photo: Copyright 2008 Chad Buchanan/Getty Images

Yes, they are. Actually, they have, as Ryan Seacrest announced on his radio show yesterday. The judge is the beautiful songwriter Kara DioGuardi. A story on the Fox news site has more information:

“DioGuardi’s songs have been recorded by artists including Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Santana and Pink.

“We had originally intended for ‘American Idol’ to have four judges,” said “Idol” Executive Producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. “We’ve seen from our international series that having a fourth judge creates a dynamic that benefits both the contestants and the viewers.”

And the other judges? According to USMagazine, Paula Abdul had the following reaction:

On Phoenix’s 104.7 KISS FM Johnjay & Rich radio show Monday, she said she was excited but added, “I am concerned about the audience and acceptance. Time will tell. We’ll see.”

Asked if she, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell have sat down with DioGuardi to test their chemistry, Abdul replied, “Nope,” and laughed.

When queried about her reaction to the news, The Princess refused to comment. Hhhhmm.

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Filed under 2008 Beijing Olympics, preppy, Updates

The Michael Phelps Sports Illustrated Cover & Are Those 8 Gold Medals Helping Chicos Sales?

The Princess apologizes for showing so much ‘Beefcake’ these last two days, but it can’t be helped if we are to do the public service of supplying readers with the most current fashion and lifestyle news. And there you have it:

The most current news of some kind, we are not completely clear what kind it is, other than the photographic sort. But evidently these covers of sporting magazines are quite a topic of discussion following major sporting events. Of course, there isn’t a precedent for an athlete winning 8 Gold Medals at an Olympics. The closest of course, was Mark Spitz.

But that photo of Mr. Spitz up above on the left didn’t make the cover. Mr. Spitz was on three different SI covers as best we can count, while Mr. Phelps has already been on five. Below we share another example, but that’s all. We can’t have people thinking this blog is nothing but a flesh factory! To see the other covers of Mr. Phelps and those of Mr. Spitz, or any other SI cover, just click here.

It never ceases to amaze the Princess how powerful the impact of a Gold Medal athlete can be, for things completely unrelated to the accomplishments of the athlete. Consider for a moment the clothing worn by Debbie Phelps, mother to one record-breaking, mind-bending Team USA swimmer.

Did you pay much attention to it? Wonder where it came from? Where you could buy it? (Neither did we.)

We were too busy marveling at an amazing Mother who piloted her son through a life spent chasing a dream, and then helping him in its ongoing management following his success at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

But someone paid enough attention to find out where Michael’s Mom *did* purchase her apparel, and apparently all, or a good portion of her Beijing wardrobe is from Chico’s. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are generally put in the same group that includes Talbots, Ann Taylor, Coldwater Creek, and a few more catering to women a bit beyond their teens or early twenties. The company also owns White House | Black Market and Soma Intimates.

According to reports from a number of sources, Debbie Phelps shopped at a Chico’s store in a Baltimore suburb before leaving for Beijing. However, there isn’t any ‘sponsorship’ arrangement between the retailer and Ms. Phelps according to a recent Forbes story online.

There is no official sponsorship deal between Debbie and Chico’s. “Fortunately for us, she just likes the brand,” says Bob Atkinson, vice president of investor relations at the women’s specialty retailer.

That doesn’t mean Michael Phelps’ success in the pool and the reflected scrutiny of his mother hasn’t been good for business. Another Chico’s executive shared her thoughts with Access Hollywood:

“Ever since Debbie first wore Chico’s in Beijing, our phone lines have been ringing off the hook. Women everywhere want to know how to get Debbie Phelps’ look!” Michele Cloutier, Chico’s Brand President, said in a statement released exclusively to Access Hollywood.

It turns out that Debbie Phelps will be filming a commercial for Johnson’s Baby division tomorrow; the company named her their “Mom of the Olympic Games”. She is already active outside of her many roles as a middle school Principal in Baltimore and Mom of three; she is the national spokesperson for a Facebook group called ADHD Moms. The group can be found on Facebook.

Access Hollywood also managed to find out that Mr. Phelps will be on a cereal box, actually two cereal boxes: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. Those hit store shelves in September, and heaven only knows what deluge of Michael merchandise we’ll see before then. (Just another reason to have Cook make up an extra batch of Scotcheroos!)

Mr. Phelps has not enjoyed much down time following that last appearance on the podium. His list of sponsors is already lengthy, including Omega watches, Visa, and Hilton Hotels. Now that the competition part of his Beijing stay is completed, many have expectations of Mr. Phelps. For example, yesterday it was the Speedo Athlete Media Day.

And having been to, and around, so many of these type functions for years, TP can assure you it is not all fun and games, despite appearances.

It can be very tedious indeed. And as Mr. Phelps was estimated to be earning between $3 million to $5 million a year through his endorsements *before* Beijing, at that level you know the sponsors must be taken care of.

Michael Phelps (2nd R), Ryan Lochte (2nd L) and Australian swimmers Eamon Sullivan (L) and Grant Hackett (R)

Michael Phelps (2nd R), Ryan Lochte (2nd L) and Australian swimmers Eamon Sullivan (L) and Grant Hackett (R)

Enough of the Speedo shenanigans or we’ll be back to the Beefcake and we won’t sink to that level.

In fact, at this point it is rather enough of all the swimming and things and we’re off to a League function! We hope you enjoy a splendid evening!

(BTW, the photo credit for this most recent SI cover goes to Simon Bruty.)

NOTE: We have corrected Mrs. Phelps’ title, which was originally and mistakenly published as ‘teacher.’ This redacted version of the post now accurately reflects her professional status as a middle school Principal. Our thanks to Becs’ Bohemia for enlightening us on this one!

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Filed under 2008 Beijing Olympics, preppy, Updates