Tag Archives: Oprah Winfrey

Gossip Girl Collection Launches & A Coupon Caution

Hello-Hello! Welcome to a wacky Thursday here at the Prepatorium, we are careening from project to project and today’s post is likely to reflect a bit of that chaos!

We begin with the just-launched Miss Selfridge for Gossip Girl collection.

MIss Selfridge

Below, two Blair dresses.

Jenny and Vanessa dresses from the collection.

From the official snooze news release:

“Executives at Warner Bros have teamed up with U.K. chain Miss Selfridge to create a range based on the show’s stylish characters, including Blake Lively’s couture-clad socialite Serena van der Woodsen and Leighton Meester’s Blair Waldorf.”

Perhaps more interesting than the clothes, Chace Crawford’s appearance at the party celebrating the line.  The collection debuted this week; below we see staff from the retailer’s Oxford Circus store sporting the new styles.

PHOTO: KirstinSinclair.com

Miss Selfridge does ship stateside for those interested.

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Lots of bits and bytes, beginning with word of even more three collaborations:

  • The Isabel Toledo collection for Payless hits stores in September, the average price point is expected to be $40.

Courtesy Image

Courtesy Image via Luxist

  • WWD reports (Women’s Wear Daily, subs. req’d.) that NBC is releasing a line of Biggest Loser clothing in the fall. Pieces will retail from $39 – $59 in Sizes Small – 5XL, and fashioned specifically for the plus-size market.
  • A celebrity who doesn’t have a fashion line but would like to: Faith Hill. She shared this information with the AP when commenting for another story.
  • We have two entrants for our When Preppy Goes Wrong category, both likely to ignite some debate. The first is what we call the Cable Sweater pump from Rocket Dog.

Courtesy Photo via WWD

Photo via Luxist

(Truth be told, the shoe really is very appealing in many ways, despite the fact that ‘preppy stiletto’ is an oxymoron.)

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We spend a lot of time here at the Princess blog chatting about lighter fare, preppy style, fashion, jewelry and the like; we don’t do politics or causes as a rule. We shall remain true to our lighter fare when it comes to subject matter. But today we deviate a bit, requesting patience from our treasured readers should the following topics be unappealing.

We have three ‘activist issues’, the first being a note of caution on privacy.

The Times did a fabulous piece on an increasingly popular phenomenon, web coupons. The revelations were almost enough to scare TP right out of her loafers.  Seriously.  Here is a sample from Stephanie Clifford’s outstanding story:

“While the coupons look standard, their bar codes can be loaded with a startling amount of data, including identification about the customer, Internet address, Facebook page information and even the search terms the customer used to find the coupon in the first place.”

“The coupons can, in some cases, be tracked not just to an anonymous shopper but to an identifiable person…”

If interested in online coupons and/or your privacy, this one merits a read. (For anyone wondering about their privacy at the Preppy Princess, rest easy: we do not, nor shall we, ever share, sell or otherwise divulge any information you give us. It’s that simple. All those years in journalism taught many things, including the importance of respecting privacy.)

The second item also relates to privacy, and is one we won’t attempt to explain, something many readers may have already heard about: recent changes to Facebook. For anyone interested in learning more about the growing controversy about Facebook and privacy issues, click here. (Many readers know The Princess maintains a Facebook fan page we have fun with, we post little tidbits of a preppish nature, updates on upcoming sales, etc. It is very low key, and has proven a good tool for staying in touch with some of our customers.)

The third item that may press a hot button involves cell phones and automobiles.

As a rule we are not big joiners, rarely jumping on a bandwagon.  But in this case we thought we wanted to mention Oprah Winfrey’s push for a No Phone Zone.  Tomorrow is the day being targeted by Ms. Winfrey and others to draw attention to the problems created by distracted driving; one can read more about it here.  There is even an online Pledge that can be signed; we are surprised to see there are only 207712 participants at this point and the pledge has been up for some time.

There you have our tedious recitation; perhaps now it is even clearer why we rarely delve into weighty issues!

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We close on an up note, a delightful Adventure in Argyle, courtesy of Talbots.

The Argyle Cardigan also qualifies for a Pretty in Pink, IOHO.

May everyone’s afternoon be outstanding!

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Filed under Argyle, Collaborations, Gossip Girl, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, Pretty in Pink

The Business of Preppy, Frette Kinda’ Sorta’ Goes Outlet, Logo Atrocities

Hello-Hello! Happy Summertime everyone!

We jump back into the daily drill taking a quick glance at the Business of Preppy as we refer to it here at the Prepatorium.  Most true-blue preps are comfortable in their own skin, returning to the brands they were raised with again and again, while occasionally adding a new contributor to their personal style mix.  The overwhelming majority of classic ‘preppy brands’ have always provided outstanding value in exchange for one’s investment, be it a suit from Brooks Brothers or a belt from LL Bean.

The business of marketing to preps alongside ‘faux preps’ (or those aspiring to same) is particularly daunting during These Challenging Times. Many of us marked the loss of classic stationer Mrs. John L. Strong with sadness last week. For those unfamiliar with the brand, this description in the NY Times story suffices:

“Mrs. John L. Strong was the stationer of choice for well-heeled brides and socialites. They were in good company.

Other customers included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (the Duchess had her crest engraved in royal blue), Pat Nixon and Mamie Eisenhower, Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and Vogue’s editor, Anna Wintour.”

Below, a photo from last winter’s Forbes story on the company and its CEO, Nanette Brown:

PHOTO: Dennis Golonka/Forbes

PHOTO: Dennis Golonka/Forbes

Sniff, sniff. (Psst, does anyone have a tissue?)

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Another outstanding story in the Times references changes in strategy for a locale generally isolated from previous economic downturns, the Hamptons:

“The Hamptons wants you to perceive it as conforming to the spirit of these hard times and not to caricature it as the flashy, traffic-choked, over-the-top playground it has increasingly become.”

“Raw glitz is out, confirmed Valerie Smith, owner of the Monogram Shop on Newtown Lane here, where napkins imprinted with “Reduced Circumstances” are selling well. “I didn’t order the $2,500 Italian backgammon board this year, which I sold three of the summer before last,” she said.”

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And then we have news that Frette has opened an online outlet. (Gasp. The horror!)

The Italian purveyor of luxury linens is doing the ‘outlet store’ online only; it opened May 15 and closes at 6pm EDT June 15, so shop early, shop often, but shop soon if so inclined.

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Marketing in this day and age also involves using all available tools, something that has challenged preppish retailer J. Crew.  While the issue seems to be significantly reduced, Crew’s inability to manage basics at their online store is well-documented, approaching infamy in some annals of marketing nightmares.

Now the company’s blogging policy is under the microscope by the folks over at Media Bistro, although the story indicates the primary concern for J. Crew policymakers is likely micro-blogging site Twitter. However, as the story notes:

“If J.Crew’s official Twitter efforts are an indication, they have a lot of work to do to shake out their social voice. McAuliffe’s email signature finishes with @JCrew_Insider which stands at 299 followers, 1 following, and 7 updates at the time of this post.”

As of this writing that number is 334. The last @JCrew_Insider Twitter post is dated more than a month ago, April 21st, mentioning the retailer’s Malibu store opening. If tweeting store openings is a priority, at least one mention of the company’s Hamptons locations should be made.

(In the interest of full disclosure,  the Princess is on Twitter and loves it, as are many of our fabulous blogging friends.)

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Today we have two entries from the land of logo abominations, the first dubbed The Ugliest Rolls Royce Ever by the witty writers at Luxuo.

PHOTO: AutoJunk via Luxuo via Carscoop

PHOTO: AutoJunk via Luxuo via Carscoop

The second item may be familiar to readers, it was featured in Vogue‘s June issue, the Last Look page.

PHOTO: Courtesy via WWD.com

PHOTO: Courtesy via WWD.com

Yes, silly season is still with us. The Fendi bicycle is available in two versions, one selling for $9500 (removable fur saddlebags and other accoutrements) while the budget version (hee-hee) is merely $5900.  The lower-priced model does include Fendi’s Selleria leather accessories, a leather GPS navigation holder, key & bike chain cover. (In all candor, we do this second entry rather tongue-in-cheek, as there simply isn’t lots of logoing going on; it was all about the flow of words, the perfect segue, in a manner of speaking. Heh-heh.)

But we have good news: a new entry to the luggage market will not be triggering a case of logophobia for almost any of our tastefully-inclined readers.  Okay, for our clue, it’s time for a show of hands: how many were raised toting about Hartmann bags?

Aw, you guessed already! The collaboration between Brooks Brothers and Hartmann luggage quietly debuted last week:

Brooks Brothers

722F_TAN

The official launch is slated for this week, but if shopping now, there is special introductory pricing.

Well dollfaces, it’s time for today’s quiz: what classic brands do you swear by? What new discoveries have you made? Any major disappointments along the way? Do tell, we’re dying to know.

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Filed under Logos, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, preppy stationery, Sign of the Times

Finally: Sasha and Malia Obama Election Night Dress Info

Hello-Hello!

Before we say anything, let us publicly thank Miss Fabulous herself, Kate at the Nautical by Nature blog for tipping us on where to get the scooop about those darling dresses worn by Malia and Sasha Obama on election night.  Below, a photo of the future First Family on Tuesday night.

Joe Raedle/Getty

Joe Raedle/Getty

As we reported on Thursday, (although at that time we were not entirely convinced it was actually the same dress), the bright red dress worn by Malia Obama is by Biscotti, Inc. The full name of the item is the Biscotti Girls Precious Jewels Christmas Party Dress with Bubble Hem.

PHOTO

PHOTO

According to this report on the Journal’s Fashion Blog, Biscotti has been inundated with requests from buyers:

“Buyers really, really wanted it. We found out we had more of the fabric so we’re quickly producing more,” said Bernadette Reiss, Biscotti’s co-owner. The label says it has enough fabric to make 150 to 200 more pieces.

Here is the Nordstrom photo, followed by a tight shot of the belt that comes with the dress, although Malia opted for a more understated belt.

The dress is made in Vietnam, and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan’s story notes that this additional run now being manufactured should be available in stores in approximately three weeks.

The story reports that an Obama family spokesperson says the dress was purchased at Nordstrom, which is where we originally showed the item, available at $110.  Best Dressed Child also shows the dress, but at $104. While this style does appear to be sold out/selling out fast, there are a number of *very* similar styles by Biscotti, including this one; the primary difference is in the sleeves and the big bow in the back. We show the dress as available at ‘Shop Girl Super Chic Boutique‘.

yhst-13830604109297_2021_18226307

yhst-13830604109297_2021_18293733

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Here is one of the matching cardigans or shrugs in the Biscotti Girls Precious Jewels Christmas Party group.

We now move on to the incredibly sweet party frock with the giant bow on the front worn by Sasha Obama. We have deliberately kept the photo almost full-size to better show the dress.

Jim Bourg

PHOTO: Jim Bourg

It turns out the dress is made by Gerson & Gerson, Inc., according to another story on the Journal’s fashion blog.  The company’s headquarters and showroom are in New York; their apparel is made under the Iris & Ivy label as well as the Bonnie Jean name.

“… the company has nevertheless sold out of the $72 dress that it makes under the Iris & Ivy children’s label and sells at retailers like Nordstrom and Dillard’s.”

Jason Reed/Reuters

PHOTO: Jason Reed/Reuters

Here is a photo from the Gerson & Gerson website; the URL may also show up in your browser as “Bonnie Jean.”  Gerson is the parent company to that line.

pictures-2532

Ms. Tan’s story includes company President Barbara Zein’s plans for exploiting the Sasha Obama connection to their dress:

“Ms. Zein already has plans to further capitalize on the Obama connection. “We’re bringing back the style immediately in a different fabrication,” says Ms. Zein, who adds that the pieces will probably be in stores by spring. To cement the link to the new First Family, she’s given the style a name: Sasha.”

TP believes there is a very fine line between smart, aggressive marketing and the boundaries of good taste. Ms. Zein’s toe just went over it.

Joe Raedle/Getty

PHOTO: Joe Raedle/Getty

Above all, the Obama children looked beautiful and were charming throughout the evening. Below, a behind the scenes photo shows Sasha giving big sister Malia a little kiss as Mom watches.

Obama Campaign

Obama Campaign

There is an entire album of behind-the-scenes photographs available for anyone to view at the Flckr website.

Another fun set of photos? The “Project Runway Ball Gown Challenge” over at the Daily Beast. Here is just one sketch, from Chris March, a Season 4 semifinalist.

TheDailyBeast.com

TheDailyBeast.com

Another tidbit from Tuesday night we hadn’t shared (for space considerations) is the Vogue magazine chatter. Below, a fun shot of Vogue magazine’s editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, via Fashion Week Daily’s story. TP loved reading this if only for the knowledge she was not hallucinogenic Tuesday evening when watching the events in Grant Park.

Fashion Week Daily

Fashion Week Daily

Mr. Talley and Vogue Editor Anna Wintour hosted numerous fund-raising parties on behalf of the Obama-Biden ticket.  As NY Magazine‘s wonderful blog The Cut reported in June :

“Rumor has it André Leon Talley is just dying to get his hands on Michelle Obama. The New York Post reports he wants to style her, like he did Venus Williams for the Costume Institute gala or Jennifer Hudson at the 2007 Oscars. Only ALT’s not always spot-on with his wardrobe choices; many critics flat-out hated the gold python bolero jacket Hudson wore at said Oscars. And some Democrats are a wee bit nervous that Talley might lead Obama to fashion faux pas–dom as well. (Since when did these politicos become so fashion-conscious?)”

But the real chatter involves Ms. Obama appearing on Vogue’s cover, a tradition for First Ladies, although not always immediately following the elction. Another celebrity in the VIP area of Chicago’s Grant Park Tuesday was super-celebrity Oprah Winfrey.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

PHOTO: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

We have to post this photo collage because we just didn’t realize all the magazine covers featuring the President-elect prior to the election.

Courtesy Gawker.com

Courtesy Gawker.com

We have yet to obtain positive confirmation that Cassandra Bromfield has been selected to create Michelle Obama’s gown for the Inaugural Balls, or that she is designing daywear for the other events on January 20th. Below, another image

Courtesy Cassandra Bromfield

Courtesy Cassandra Bromfield

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Filed under Obama Fashion & Politics, Preppy clothing & brands, Updates

This Just In….the Next Target Collaboration & And Inaugural Party Frocks?

Well, for heaven’s sake – if news isn’t breaking out all over the place this election evening!

We quickly interrupt your election updates to share a few preppy news alerts, starting with the a look at what Michelle Obama plans to wear this evening.  With the Obama campaign clearly hoping tonight’s event in Chicago’s Grant Park is celebrating a victory, in this piece from the Journal’s ‘Heard on the Runway‘ blog we learn about a possible wardrobe selection for Ms. Obama.

The blog showcases a conversation with Maria Pinto, one of Michelle Obama’s favorite designers:

“For Tuesday, Ms. Pinto has a dress in mind that she hopes Ms. Obama will wear. The dress, a coral-red silk crepe sheath with three-quarter sleeves, an empire waist and a high neckline with a burst of sunray pleats emanating from the collar, is a piece that Ms. Obama bought a few months ago but hasn’t worn to an event yet.”

And as far as a dress (more appropriately, a gown) for a certain date in January, should Ms. Obama need a party frock? The designer told reporter Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan “…she’s already begun sketching an Inaugural Day look in her head.”

“Something bright in color, with some movement,” says Ms. Pinto, declining to share more beyond that. “I just did costumes for the Joffrey (Ballet) so I have dance on the brain.”

While Ms. Obama has made no mention of an inaugural dress, über-star Oprah Winfrey has, calling in to a radio show this morning and sharing the following:

“So help me God, I am looking at it right now…. Actually I started in February. I was speaking with Michelle [Obama] and Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver — we were all doing a big rally out in California. At the end of the rally Michelle Obama said something powerful, ‘and I want you to leave here and envision Barack Obama taking the oath of office’…. I created a vision board. I had never had a vision board before. I came home, I got me a board and put Barack Obama’s picture on it and I put a picture of my dress I want to wear to the inauguration.”

In a different story the paper profiles the designer; we show these pieces as photographed by Jens Mortensen for The Wall Street Journal.

We’ll take all three please.

Also tonight, word on everyone’s favorite mass-market retailer, Target. The company is expected to  announce its collaboration with high-end designer Alexander McQueen in a move fashion insiders consider to be the most notable of all Target’s collaborative efforts.

Talaya Centeno

PHOTO: Talaya Centeno

Above, a suit from the McQ by Alexander McQueen line. The Target collection will be closer to this in look and feel than to the regular Alexander McQueen line.  The designer’s McQ group is not entirely unknown to Princess readers; here is an August post featuring ‘Nouveau Prep’ looks, including this McQ fringed skirt at Bluefly in blue, red and black. (Pssst…it is now on sale!)

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Next we show the McQ Dotty wool jacket at Net-a-porter.

The fabric for this piece is a lush and lovely wool with a soft hand and beautiful drape.

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The McQueen collection will be part of a larger initiative from Target, an effort the retailer is calling ‘Designer Collaborations.’

While the often edgy and frequently racy designer isn’t TP’s style, we do think this one will be just oodles of fun!

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

Well, it is a Friday.

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

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

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

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

Photo by Eric Ryan/Getty Images

Photo by Eric Ryan/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

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

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

Tribune photo by Michael Tercha

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

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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