Tag Archives: Lisa Birnbach

Lisa Birnbach + Tommy Hilfiger = “Prep World”

Well, hello there. Did you say sunny and 75?

Sadly, if you were hopeful of a completely escapist post sans any mentions of the “S word” or “B word”, we are destined to disappoint.  Both of us have spent much too much time in Chicago (The Consort lived there for several years) to allow complete avoidance of last night’s storm.  Below, a view of Lake Shore Drive last evening.

Lauran Berta via Chicago Sun-Times

The conditions were beyond wretched, the road remains closed as of this writing, hundreds of people were trapped in a massive traffic jam for hours. How bad was it?  From a Trib story about the mess:

“With snow caked over the windows of his Honda, he called 911 for help. The dispatcher told him to use his best judgment.

So he turned off his engine to preserve gas, called his family to tell them that he was OK and split a snack-size Nestle Crunch bar with his friend.”

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune

Lake Shore Drive remains littered with abandoned vehicles, above we show the road this morning. Below, a CTA bus that had to be abandoned.

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune

Passengers were rescued after six hours.

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

Here is another look at LSD today, this one via ChicagoPhotoSho. The picture is rapidly going viral, perhaps because of its post-apocalyptic feel.

Via ChicagoPhotoSho

Another man’s story:

“Jim Kaczmarek said he was not rescued until 8:30 a.m. after spending more than 17 hours trapped on the drive… He said he called 911 several times, and was told officials were aware of the problem but couldn’t do anything about it.

He also called 311, where a woman who answered suggested he take a bus, flag a cab, or go to a homeless shelter.”

Mr. Kaczmarek also says he realizes he never should have gotten on Lake Shore Drive to begin with.  There is much discussion today about whether or not the City should have closed the road earlier, for more, click here for the Trib story.

Below, how Chicago firefighters got around.

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

We are more-than-grateful to be inside, warm and dry.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

On to our primary topic today, news of “Prep World,” a collaboration between author best-selling author Lisa Birnbach and Tommy Hilfiger.

Courtesy Image via DailyFrontRow

The True Prep author and Mr. Hilfiger are launching a capsule collection with that moniker.  The marketing campaign includes what some call a “pop-up shop,” in this case one inspired by a Hamptons cottage.

John Aquino/Women's Wear Daily

Lisa Lockwood at WWD (Women’s Wear Daily, subscription req’d.) was first with the story yesterday, “A Marriage Made in Preppy Heaven“.

“Prep World, a capsule collection for women and men, will launch this spring with a global tour, featuring “drop-in shops” and events hosted by Hilfiger and Birnbach. The line will include 60 pieces that celebrate Hilfiger’s preppy classics with a twist, accessorized with such accoutrements as boat shoes, duck boots, Ping-Pong paddles and badminton rackets.”

Here are some of the photos accompanying the article.

John Aquino/Women's Wear Daily

More pieces in the upcoming collection.

John Aquino/WWD.com

We do like the look of these shirts, no surprise to those already familiar with our fondness for madras and nautical looks.

There are polos shirts in a rainbow of colors.

Style wrote about last night’s preview for fashion editors, “…at a gin-and-tonic-fueled party.”

“Interested shoppers can get their hands on the goods when the roving store opens in New York on April 28th. But, please, don’t be so vulgar as to call it a “pop-up.” Others pop; true preps “drop in.

Oops. Dopey Princess.

Women’s merchandise will run $35-$298, the men’s line will be priced at $45-$178; the chinos also have appeal.

We have seen the new line referred to as a “True Prep” collection, although we believe the proper name is simply “Prep World,” among other things, Vineyard Vines already has items showcasing the True Prep name.

Many of the new styles look promising, while others are clearly not for us.  Tee-shirts proclaiming “prep” simply don’t work at the Prepatorium, nor do logos. Of any kind.

Yet there are many items we saw with classic lines and appeal.

Via Style.com

The collection mirrors our ongoing conundrum with Mr. Hilfiger’s merchandise, sartorial confusion perhaps best described in this post from last fall about the designer’s runway collection for spring 2011.

“We begin with a brand that we always approach with trepidation; Tommy Hilfiger. (We fear one day we shall be attacked by a giant “TH” logo.)

John Aquino/WWD

Our post went on to say the looks were surprisingly attractive, as we had long ago relegated the designer’s work to nouveau-prep status, verging on Anti-Prep territory, it was that hideous.  But many publications have noted Mr Hilfiger’s efforts to “re-invent” his merchandise, we imagine this is part of that effort.

Daily Front Row also wrote about the upcoming line.

“Their limited edition collection offers modern-day Muffys and Cuthberts prep attire that melds European silhouettes with Americana sensibilities, along with necessary lifestyle adornments like cocktail shakers and croquet sets. The collection channels “Nantucket, in the summer… it’s traditionally preppy but it has a bit of grime to it,” Hilfiger said in a conversation with Birnbach this week. “You know, like a salty dog.”

(We do carry True Prep at The Princess, and have also done multiple interviews with Ms. Birnbach, click here and here for a sampling of the of those posts.) Below, springtime candy colors from the collection.

Courtesy Image

Here is a look at some of the creative you will see in the upcoming advertising campaign.

Courtesy Image via DailyFrontRow.com

To read more about the collection:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We cannot do a post without marking the significance of the day; we simply must note that there is Punxsutawney Phil and then there is Punxsutawney Till.

Punxsutawney Till

(With apologies to our Twitter pals for the repetition.)

Our other whimsical tidbit comes via our friend Christian over at Ivy Style.

Via Ivy Style

An original Preppie video game, circa 1982, we had nary a clue such an item even existed. Just another example of why we love the interwebs. 🙂

 

Advertisements

13 Comments

Filed under Collaborations, Logos, nautical, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People, Tilly, True Prep & TOPH

Preppy is Back (Version 29… or thereabouts) & Identifying the North Shore Prep

Hello-Hello, and Happy-Happy Friday to everyone!

Yes, we do think today merits two Happies, it has been that kind of week. We remain mystified at our ongoing delusion that tomorrow shall possess a marked diminution in stress and activity, it is that point in the season where allofthedaysruntogether.  But it is loads of fun and we are grateful to be doing what we love, if we were still doing television it’s likely we would currently be engaged in weather coverage (you know what we mean, portraying a little snow as apocalyptic, the forecast requiring DEFCON 4 status, that sort of thing) at this point.

As our headline notes, Preppy is Back! Again! To be honest, we have nary a clue if this is Version 29 (as cited in the post title) or 42 or 18; we haven’t kept track in our 774 posts (eek!) of all the times we have reported such declarations and pronouncements.  This time CNBC is the media outlet sharing the ‘news’.

To be fair, the cable news channel’s story approaches the topic from a business perspective. “Straight Up or With a Twist, Preppy’s Back” looks at retailers benefiting from a resurgence of the styles some associate with the preppy aesthetic.

“The preppy style is making a comeback, but before you go digging through your father’s polos and grabbing your grandmother’s pearls, know that this time around “picnic chic” has some new twists.”

The story references Russell Simmon’s Argyleculture brand.  (FYI, the image below is not from the CNBC story, just one we selected when seeking images to better familiarize ourselves with the company.)

Via Blackpreneur

Writer Ashley Kalinke spoke with a stock expert for her article:

“Preppy is starting to make a comeback,” says Christine Chen, a retail analyst at Needham & Co. “It isn’t quite mainstream yet other than in the teen market where you see the varsity jackets, but it’s definitely making a comeback. We’re still very much stuck in the ’80s, and seeing ’80s [inspired trends] in the stores. But, that’s done. The shift is happening. “

Ahem.  A shift? Nay, nay sayeth preps everywhere.

The story looks at several versions of “prep” previously discussed in this space, notably “urban prep,” “hipster prep,” along with other styles not applicable to our personal taste. The ‘shift’ described in the article is attributed to consumers growing tired of denim.

“As a result, the style evolved to corduroy and khaki, which are inherently dressier fabrics that create more formal everyday style. This look can even conjure up a nautical feel that then lends itself to boat shoes, Breton stripes and a navy blazer, and eventually you begin to see a more classic preppy look emerge.”

The story lists LL Bean, Brooks Brothers, Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer as brands benefiting from the increased focus on classic styles.

True Prep author Lisa Birnbach is quoted in the story; we couldn’t agree with her more about a brand currently occupying a place on the AntiPrep Wall of Shame.

“There is some debate whether Abercrombie is a true prep, despite its polos and button-down shirts. Birnbach says it’s not.”It’s not preppy anymore,” she says. “What they are selling now is sex on the coattails of a brand name that’s elegant, and ‘American,’ but it’s not the same.”

Amen to that sentiment.  As always, we smile at the return of something that never left, but in this case we can see where evolving styles have impacted sales and profits at certain retailers, prompting CNBC’s coverage.  Click here to read the story in its entirety.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Trib (Chicago) also had a preppish piece, asking “Who is the North Shore Prep?” Here are a few identifying traits from the story.

  • “The North Shore prep lives in Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Kenilworth. They typically hug the coast (preppies like water)”
  • “Highland Park was said to have too many “new money” families to be prep; while at the Lake Forest Book Store, owner Sue Boucher illustrated the difference: “Someone was just honking (outside the store), and I kept thinking, ‘We don’t honk here.’ In Highland Park, they honk. Decorum is what it’s all about.”‘
  • “…not prone, for instance, to wearing the ostentatious new Ralph Lauren shirts “with the giant Polo pony horrifying to anyone of a true prep sensibility” — so described by Lance Lawson, whose clothing store, space519, in the 900 Shops on Michigan Avenue, has become a North Shore magnet. They gravitate more to regulation L.L. Bean duck boots.”

Writer Christopher Borelli’s piece merits a read, at least for those of us spending a little time on that side of The Large Lake; it also offers a “Select Preppy Reading List”.  (We do count on Third Coast Prep, Preppy Little Dress, La Belette Rouge, Tippy L and others to advise us of any egregious errors in Mr. Borelli’s story.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A few additional tidbits:

  • Nashville preps will be happy to know Vineyard Vines will add a second store in that city, the new one is slated to open in February.
  • J. McLaughlin celebrates its new Westport (CT) store this Sunday.

J. McLaughlin

  • Dior’s flagship store on 57th Street reopened this week after a major remodeling, a number of celebrations marked the occasion. On hand at the store, actress Amy Adams and Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester.

Our favorite look had to be Karolina Kurkova’s (L), while Natalie Portman was stunning.

As many readers know, Miss Portman’s “Black Swan” open across the US tonight, that one is near the top of our list.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Tomorrow we have a special treat, a visit from the Queen Bee herself.  The Bee is going to be popping in now and again to share some of her thoughts and insights on April’s royal wedding, and tomorrow is the first of her posts. We are very excited the inimitable Bee is going to be visiting!

On that sunny note, may everyone revel in a stellar weekend filled with cheer and charity.

.

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Dimitrios Kambouris/Wire Image
  • Steve Eichner/WWD
  • Jason Kempin/Getty

14 Comments

Filed under Argyle, Logos, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People, The AntiPrep, True Prep & TOPH

A Designer Changes Our Mind, True Prep’s Lisa Birnbach & Lilly Pulitzer Get Together

Hello-Hello, happy Tuesday!

Today is hectic (this is new?), jammed with heavy volunteer commitments, so we are über-brief.  We planned to start today’s post by going off on a psychotic rant mentioning our disdain for the “pre-fall” collections being revealed this week. Something about “Do we need yet another season? On top of Spring, Fall and Resort? Really?”

But then this popped up:

Via Style.com

And these, and many more like them, showed up on the monitor.

Did we remain on task here at The Prepatorium? Indeed, we did not.

The pieces are by the master himself, Oscar de la Renta.

They far transcend what would be called ‘eye candy’ in today’s parlance.

The designer makes some seriously spectacular party frocks.

We take back everything we were going to say about an additional season. At least when it comes to Mr. de la Renta we do.

To see the entire collection, pop over to visit Style.com

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Our other tidbit involves a few more-than-notable preps, and a blogger we have long enjoyed reading, Preppy Panache.

Courtesy Preppy Panache

As it turns out, True Prep author Lisa Birnbach was doing a signing at the Lilly Pulitzer exhibit in Boynton Beach, and Miss Panache was on hand to have her book signed and enjoy the exhibit.  To see some of Lilly’s reaction to the exhibit (including some lace trim on a dress) just click here to see the entire post, it is a very fun read.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We leave you with a bit of a “Like Mother, Like Daughter” pair of pictures.

Above left, Princess Caroline of Hanover and on the right, her daughter, Charlotte Casiraghi, at this weekend’s Gucci Masters show-jumping competition. Below, the two together at the event.

Stephane Feugère/WWD

Do you think there is a strong resemblance?

With that, we are out the door and off!

 

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Yves Forestier/Getty Images
  • Robert Mitra/WWD

 

8 Comments

Filed under preppy, Preppy Fashion, Pretty in Pink, True Prep & TOPH

About Those True Prep Reviews, Savings of the Preppish Sort

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a Wednesday.

Today we have our promised follow-up to yesterday’s post.  That piece focused on our recent interview with True Prep author Lisa Birnbach, and we promised to look at reviews for the book. The Palm Beach Daily News speaks highly of the book:

“Like its predecessor, True Prep sardonically skewers the social customs of the blue blooded and Blue Booked — and, in keeping up with the times, is a far more egalitarian sort of social X-ray.

Preppiness is not for everyone, and that is the gift. It is a club that requires a certain comfort in its singularity — and that, book or no, is what continues to give Birnbach plenty to celebrate in her own effervescent way.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Crimson’s story is fairly negative:

“For the most part, the book—a series of short little features on subjects as diverse as trunk shows, second weddings, and different types of loafers—is an entertaining encapsulation of one of the most recognizable (and ridiculous) styles under the sun, and the author certainly maintains a healthy sense of humor throughout. But underneath the humor and behind the fun, the book has an odd dimension that suggests some things that are somewhat less whimsical.”

Birnbach Defines and Undermines the World of ‘True Prep’” was written by a junior at the Harvard daily paper, James K. McAuley; it is unlikely he is fond of “preppies” real, or literary:

“Naturally, there is never an explanation of why prep culture is something worth glorifying or even a subject worthy of two whole books.”

“It just so happens that almost anyone can assimilate into our world of prepdom,” Birnbach says with regard to the subject of preppy Muslims. But, after 234 pages, one has to wonder: why would anyone want to?”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Spencer Baily at the Book Beast is essentially positive in his look at the new book.

“Birnbach and Kidd’s book proves that there’s a lot about preppies that you probably never knew, nor did I, despite my own preppy background—boarding school, a good beat-up pair of Sperry top-siders, and, well, did you notice my name? To the contrary, I discovered a culture far more widespread—and diverse—than I ever imagined. In the 21st century, prepsterdom is pervasive.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Many articles have used a question and answer format, including Allan Peppard’s story in the Dallas Morning News:

What has the digital age done to the foundation of preppydom?

Rocked it to its core. One thing that defines a preppy is our very primal need for privacy and the digital age has disemboweled that. Privacy is fundamental. Having money was never the goal of life. The goal of life was having fun, having friends and outsmarting the hangover.”

Mr. Peppard notes the challenges of following up on a classic:

“Duplicating a cultural phenomenon is Sisyphean work, but Birnbach is on her way back up the hill…”

Elizabeth Wellington’s story in the Philadelphia Inquirer offers a positive critique in addition to her interview with Ms. Birnbach:

“Certainly 30 years has not been enough time to break through the members-only barriers of some preppy pastimes (still sacred are private school, a second home on the beach, even the three-martini happy hour), but the door to prep fashion is now open to the masses. What once were elitist department store-only brands – Lacoste, Coach, and Lilly Pulitzer – now have their own mall stores (not to mention their own Facebook and Twitter pages). And anyone can masquerade as a preppy, thanks to H&M and Wal-Mart, the modern-day go-to stores for polo-style shirts and khakis.

So much for exclusivity.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A substantial amount of verbiage is devoted to the way the prep world has changed since TOPH (The Official Preppy Handbook) was published 30 years ago. (Eek!)  Ms. Wellington posed a number of questions to the author, including one on a topic covered in many interviews:
How has hip-hop influenced preppy, and how has preppy influenced hip-hop?
Hip-hop borrowed this aesthetic in a big way. They went big and bullish with preppy. It was preppy with a twist. . . What happened is it got to be too much. The logos were too big. Tommy Hilfiger had to ratchet it back a bit because he found it corrupted his mission.”
The hip-hop topic also comes up in the Dartmouth Independent story:
There is a classic prep style associated with Dartmouth and other Ivy League colleges. I’ve noticed, however, that the hipster look has been trickling in lately. Some have joked that hipsters, rather than being true counter-culturalists, are actually ironic preps.
It’s funny―I’ve never heard him say it, but I have a son who I think is a hipster, or at least he thinks he’s a hipster.”

To see the rest of Ms. Birnbach’s answer to this question, just click here.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

True Prep is dutiful where The Official Preppy Handbook was cheeky and seems more interested in promoting the virtues of prep-dom than taking a satirical look at its foibles.”
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A Continuous Lean

The über-cool Michael Williams at A Continuous Lean was pleasantly surprised by the book:

“When I first learned of the new book I instinctively cringed. Not to be pessimistic, but I just couldn’t see how anything could be as good as the original.
.
Though there are a few style related things in the book that I cannot endorse (which will go unnamed here), I have to say that after reading it with the mindset that the book is not meant to be a “part II,” (it is designed to complement the original) I really liked it. I also must admit that I was wrong about Lisa and True Prep. It is a worthy read and money well spent.
Clearly it is a mixed bag among the professional writers, just as it is with the preppy blog world.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Many retailers are not having the much-improved 4th quarter sales they hoped for, and that means prices are dropping, promotional efforts are underway and discounts abound. We leave you with a sampling of several Sales & Savings Opportunities.

Neiman Marcus

Saks Fifth Avenus

J. Crew

We sign off with a wish and the hope that our military veterans will receive special goodness tomorrow, and every day.

1 Comment

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

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.)
.
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.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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!

3 Comments

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.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

 

 

17 Comments

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.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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!

20 Comments

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