Monthly Archives: September 2012

Culture & couture: One of NYC’s chicest celebrities marks 111 years

Photo courtesy of the Bergdorf Goodman blog


By Elyse Marriott


“It’s eye candy.  It’s sexy and sensual.  It feels, and is, exclusive.” –Angela Cooper, Bergdorf Goodman customer

This chic retailer supplied Grace Kelly’s wedding invitations and .

It has been a guest star on some of the decade’s most popular TV shows, with reoccurring references and sightings in Sex And The City and Gossip Girl.   

It was the first luxury department store to feature designers such as Halston and Michael Kors and has long been known for its exclusive product lines.

Over the years, Bergdorf Goodman has established itself as a vogue icon.  And this year the exclusive New York City retailer will celebrate its 111th anniversary  – in a big way.

Wrapped up like a birthday present with purple ribbon tied around its facade, purple chandeliers draping the ceilings and ornate anniversary window displays, Bergdorf Goodman kicked off the celebration with Fashion’s Night Out on Sept. 6.

The company has not celebrated like this since its 50th birthday party in 1951, completely skipping both its 75th and centennial anniversaries.

That’s because the store’s 111th birthday means more than past anniversaries, and the celebration is expected to reflect that, says Lauren Taylor, social media coordinator for Bergdorf Goodman.

“I think our celebration is more about the uniqueness of the store and company rather than just a number,” Taylor says.

She notes that the celebration is not about years — it’s about the significance of the number “1.”  The number represents one city, one store and one experience.  There is just one Bergdorf Goodman, located only in New York.  And Bergdorf offers one unique experience, she says, defined by exclusivity and a commitment to customer service.

Hospitality is synonymous with retail when measuring the store’s success, Taylor adds.  The staff strive to create an atmosphere where the client feels important.

“Bergdorf’s focus has always been customer service and maintaining the most discerning clientele from all over the world. We treat every person who walks through the store like they are a top client, whether they buy anything or not,” Taylor says.

“It will always be one store because we can pay that much more attention and provide the best service and a luxury experience to each person that comes through.”

Julie Baughman, a frequent Bergdorf Goodman customer, travels from her home in Washington D.C. to visit the luxury department store for its exclusive ambience and vendor options.

“Bergdorf is always on the cutting edge of new designers.  They have such an eye on latest trends and new upcoming designers,”  she says. “You can go and spend the whole day there finding treasures on every floor that no one else has.”

Another regular Bergdorf customer, Angela Cooper, romanticizes her experiences at the legendary Fifth Avenue store: “It’s eye candy.  It’s sexy and sensual.”

She notes that the Bergdorf brand “feels, and is, exclusive, so that the client feels pampered.”

“Half the time I don’t even buy anything, but there is something of escapism when you go in,” Cooper adds.

Bergdorf Goodman dates back to 1899 when two tailors, Herman Bergdorf and Edwin Goodman, founded the store in New York City’s Garment District. The retailer moved to its current location, the one-time Vanderbilt mansion, in 1928.  The building is one of the oldest remaining mansions on Fifth Avenue.

To acknowledge this rich heritage, Bergdorf Goodman has released “Scatter My Ashes,”  a documentary and companion book, for the store’s anniversary.

Photo courtesy of the Bergdorf Goodman Blog. An exclusive line of anniversary items from 111 different designers and a limited edition issue of Bergdorf Goodman’s magazine are also included as part of the anniversary celebration.

Both portray the Bergdorf Goodman legacy through the personal recollections of long-term employees, designers and celebrities.  Also highlighted are the opulent window displays for which the store is known.

In addition, this year the company is releasing an exclusive line of anniversary items from 111 different designers and a limited edition issue of the Bergdorf Goodman magazine.

For more details about anniversary programs and events, check out your favorite social media outlet.

“We tried to incorporate as many aspects of our 111 onto all of our platforms,” Taylor explains.  Even the BG shopping bags have been redesigned.

So if you happen to be in New York during the Bergdorf Goodman anniversary celebration, Cooper says, you can capture some of Bergdorf’s special magic by simply strolling past those famous store window displays.

“They will invite the pedestrian to linger,” Cooper says, and be transported into “the Bergdorf fantasy.”

Baughman likewise describes the store as “ just magical.”   Shoppers can find hundreds of Saks and Bloomingdales in cities across the country, “but there is only one Bergdorfs,” Baughman adds.  ”It is in a league by itself.”


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Sneakers. Heels. Yeah!

Photo credits: Tokyobanhbao

Isabel Marant Beckett Shoes – $665

By Floriane Leger

These Isabel Marrant sneakers have something special… a hidden heel.

At first, these shoes were only worn by the fashonistas, but then they appeared in a music video. Suddenly everyone wanted them!

Created by the French designer, these sneakers are a fall sensation. They are not as difficult to pull off as you might think. Isabel Marrant has settled the never-ending dilemma: sneakers or heels? Well both!

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Confessions of an online shopaholic

By Hillary Johnson

You know you’ve reached a low point when you’re on your knees with a stiletto in your hand, pounding as hard as you can, trying to break open the large ice cube that has your imprisoned credit card inside.

This was reality for Rebecca Bloomwood, the main character of the memoir-turned-movie Confessions of a Shopaholic. When all of her credit cards are declined, Bloomwood, a chronic compulsive shopper, is still desperate for a “fix.” So she makes a determined effort to crack open the ice cube any way she can.

Today, with websites like Shopbop and Bluefly, online shopping has become even simpler. Now there’s no need to even leave the comfort of your own bed to procure your drug of choice, if your need for shoes has overcome your need to pay the rent.

So is Bloomwood the only woman who has dealt with this, or are others just as desperate to satisfy their shopping needs?  In fact, Bloomwood is one of many who suffer from oniomania, or a compulsive shopping addiction.


photo credit: Hillary Johnson

I like to shop versus I have to shop

Sitting with her computer wide open in her 8 a.m. finance class, SMU junior Blair Bigelow feels the symptoms of her online shopping habit.

“I know I should be concentrating in class, but it’s hard when the Internet is at my disposal and there’s so many cute things online I could purchase,” she says.

“It’s just so easy.  You don’t need to even leave your house. All you need is a computer and credit card and you’re set.”

However, although those on-sale Christian Louboutin pumps may seem like a great idea at the time, according to experts on compulsive shopping disorder at Indiana University, you may wish you’d made a different choice when your credit card bill arrives.

Experts agree that managing your shopping addiction is half the struggle.

Before entering that memorized credit card number into the computer, they suggest, try “window shopping” only after stores have closed. If you do “look” during the day, leave your wallet at home.

When a “hobby” becomes a habit

“Having a package at your doorstep is one of the best feelings ever, especially when you know it’s that Equipment shirt you ordered online just days ago,” says Morgan Raleigh, another frequent online shopper.

Photo by Hillary Johnson

While it may be an exciting feeling when a package arrives with your newly purchased waardrobe inside, ultimately we all must face the reality that, in fact, money does not grow on trees.

“I have gotten some pretty angry phone calls from my parents asking what was so important that I needed to buy $300 worth of clothing on Shopbob at 3 a.m.,” Raleigh says.

Adds Bigelow, “Sometimes I’ll order things online and feel like I have to have them at the time. Then months will go by and the tags are still on my clothes that I just ‘had to have.’”

With so many online shopping websites out there, it seems impossible for those suffering from oniomania to avoid temptation.

In 2010 alone, Americans spent more than $186 billion on online transactions.

So next time you whip out that credit card for the annual Neiman Marcus sale, think to yourself:  Do I actually need this, or is it just my habit talking?

According to the experts, if you feel out of control, you probably are.  Their advice: Seek counseling or a support group, such as Debtors Anonymous, before you find yourself with your credit cards maxed out, pounding on an ice cube with a stiletto.

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Making the connection: Fashion retailers see value in social media

By Lexie Hammesfahr

I’m lounging on my couch after a long day of classes, watching the most recent Saturday Night Live recording on my TiVo.

As I idly scroll through the latest pins on my Pinterest feed, I notice something different: Individual users aren’t the only ones pinning their favorite looks and fashion pieces.  Retailers, including big-time fashion brands, are as well.

This trend spans across the entire social media realm, not just Pinterest. Facebook, Instagram, FourSquare and Twitter are just a few of the social media outlets retailers use to reach consumers and clients.

Social media channels weren’t initially on the fashion marketing radar. A survey by the stated that none of the respondents had a Pinterest presence.

Today, users follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on pared with 6.9 retailers for Facebook users, according to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study released by, comScore and the Partnering Group

But despite the growing popularity of Pinterest, Facebook remains the social network used most by the top 250 Internet retailers, with 97 percent of them on the site, according to Campalyst. Facebook is closely followed by Twitter, YouTube, Google + and Pinterest.

Finding the right mix

International fashion designer and SMU student Kira Plastinina uses multiple social media outlets to reach her clients.

“I feel like it is particularly big here because of the nature of the work—very  ‘picture friendly,’” she says.

Plastinina has a separate Facebook page for each of her lines, Lublu Kira Plastinina and her namesake line, Kira Plastinina, “which is very useful in sharing pictures of celebrities wearing my clothes, etc,” she says.

One particular social media campaign that Plastinina used to publicize her  lines was a “spot the dress” campaign in Moscow.  The idea was for girls to take pictures of other girls wearing Plastinina’s limited edition collection on the street.

She also has a Twitter account for each of her lines to tweet about sales, promotions and events where customers can meet her.

Plastinina promotes her collections through Pinterest as well, although this outlet is not as popular in Russia as it is in the U.S., she says.

“I like it, though, because it’s an easy way to get your product into the ‘social media’ bubble.”

Taking social media to the next level

London-based retailer Topshop took social media to the next level during this year’s London Fashion Week.

Topshop’s campaign “Shoot the Show” allowed consumers to pause the livestream on their favorite looks and customize colors and accessories, as well as order pieces to be delivered in three months, according to Retail Week.

Everything in the video, including music and cosmetics, could be purchased.

The company branded the concept as “social entertainment,” says Justin Cooke, chief marketing officer at Topshop. “It’s social, it’s commerce and it’s entertainment all rolled into one.”

Topshop and Kira Plastinina aren’t the only brands that have mastered the social media world. Kristie Ramirez, who writes about style and fashion for Texas Monthly and F!D Luxe, thinks Oscar de la Renta has been very successful with social media ventures as well.

“Oscar de la Renta has done an amazing job, unprecedented really, with their support and promotion of Erika Bearman, aka ,” she says.

Other companies Ramirez praises for their success in blogging are Neiman Marcus, Rag & Bone, and Barneys.

“It’s like retailers now have their own daily magazines where they’re able to translate their point of view through daily posts. It’s brilliant,” she says.

SMU alum Sarah Bray, social media coordinator for Neiman Marcus, echoes Ramirez’ thoughts about blogging: “What’s so fun about my job is that I get to report from inside the fashion industry about the fashion industry, which gives me an unbelievable perspective as a writer,” Bray says.

Showing a different side of the product

Being an expert in navigating social media isn’t always a walk in the park. Grace Davis graduated from SMU with a Fashion Media minor last spring.  As social media coordinator for the self-tanning company Xen-Tan, she says one of her biggest challenges is to “keep it fresh all the time.”

Even though mastering these new tools may present a challenge for brands, social networks allow consumers to see a different side of their products.

For instance, Davis says, social media allow her to show her company’s customer base, as well as new clients, that “Xen-Tan isn’t just for the summer months” or special events.  “It can be incorporated into your lifestyle,” she says.

Davis notes that social media have helped establish the brand as a luxury self-tanner. But “turning up the heat on our social media can take the brand to the next level of success.”

That next level of success can be achieved when a company begins to form a relationship with its customers by reaching out to them through various social networks.

As online shopping gains popularity — and catalogue and magazine orders begin to decline — social media take on a bigger role in the fashion industry.

However, although people may be re-pinning or “liking” an outfit doesn’t mean they’re buying it. A major goal for companies with an online presence will be not only getting their items out there, but also getting consumers to actually buy them.

“Overall, social media helps drive sales and traffic to the stores and is good for [Word of Mouth] promotions and special events that we are having,” says Plastinina.

And who knows, maybe the next time you’re pinning in the middle of class, you’ll actually decide to purchase one of those pieces.

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Maxed out!


Photo Credit: Allison McDonagh

By Floriane Leger and McKenna Cottam


As we make our way into fall, maxi skirts continue to be a hot trend! This breezy skirt trend is a great way to stay cool!  Easy to spot on the boulevard, this trend allows for a lot of versatility. Match maxi skirts with a plain top or throw on a chunky bauble for the daytime. Spice the trend up at night by strapping on some heels and a sexy top.

These maxi skirts are finding their way into every store and in multiple styles. If you’re feeling a little “business in the front, party in the back,” don’t be afraid to try the high-low style. Or hey, why not give it a little and add a slit to that maxi. Oh lala!

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Top tote

Elizabeth Scotti  & Mia Castillo


Wherever SMU junior Maggie Connor goes on campus, her Louis Vuitton Cabas GM bag goes with her. Although it may be pricey, this timeless denim bag can elegantly “multitask,” serving as a schoolbag filled with books or a travel tote filled with clothes.  And with its lifetime guarantee, the bag has a sturdy design that eases any worries about wear and tear. Simply put, you can forget about buying another bag for fall, or any other season for that matter, because this bag never goes out of style.

You can find the bag at Louis Vuitton stores everywhere.


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Total “tote” town

By Mia Castillo and Elizabeth Scotti


Lately the boulevard has turned into “tote town” – it seems everyone is “toting” one of these over-sized bags around. And we can see why: What an easy, fashionable way to lug around that MacBook and those binders. From Louie to Kors to Burch to Jacobs, every designer has his or her own spin on this seemingly essential accessory. Splurge on a Neverfull GM Louis Vuitton tote in Damier canvas or be more reasonable with a Marc Jacobs Pretty Nylon Tote. Dress them up or dress them down — your tote is ready to go when you are.



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Everything old is new again with “Iron Lady” look

By Lauren Knowles

Would you raid your grandmother’s closet?  That’s exactly what fashion designers seem to have done to achieve the “Iron Lady” look, one of the chicest trends for fall 2012.

Take on "Iron Lady" trend

Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazzar

With New York Fashion Week behind us and October within reach, fashionistas everywhere have been checking out the latest fall looks, including the Iron Lady, as the trend has been dubbed in homage to the Margaret Thatcher bio-pic starring Meryl Streep.  Thatcher’s (or Streep’s) attire throughout the film was as sensible and conservative as Thatcher herself.

Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazzar

Inspired by clothing traditionally worn by more “mature” women, this new look will have young women stashing their skin-bearing styles in favor of something more, well, “ladylike” — such as florals, lace and tweeds. Fur accents and leather have also been thrown into the Iron Lady mix.

Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazzar

Many notable designers — from Oscar de la Renta to Tory Burch to L’Wren Scott — are rocking this chic, granny-style trend. Of them all, Marchesa does the best job of conjuring up a younger version of the Iron Lady.  The designer keeps things girly and flirty with a more form-fitting lace dress and knee-high see-through boots.

Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazzar

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Take your favorite fall trends from runway to reality

By Brooke Reagan

Most SMU girls like to look stylish but aren’t necessarily slaves to the runway.

We drool over the September issues of our favorite magazines, but that too-die-for $2,000 dress is not within most college girls’ budgets.  Plus, some of NYC’s most fashionable pieces, tweed or leather for instance, need to be adjusted for Dallas’ “Indian summer” fall weather.

Taking my inspiration from all those lavish editorial spreads featuring the latest fall looks, I partnered with Neiman Marcus PR Director Apryl Churchill and SMU student/photographer Christos Patelis to create a fall trend guide geared to SMU fashionistas.

Although we didn’t get to all of the good stuff – snake bracelets, polka dots, bordeux leather, pastel-hued metallics or lace, to name a few – we tried to hit the high points.

A fashionista’s job, it seems, is never done.

Styling for the sorority formal


Photo courtesy of Instyle magazine

Photo by Christos Patelis; “Torn” dress courtesy of Neiman Marcus NorthPark.

To look party-perfect, I styled a Torn by Ronny Kobo dress with simple black Target heels to let the dress shine.

The dress’ black-and-gold baroque design is definitely trending right now: Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, Prabal Gurung, and Dolce & Gabana all highlighted black and gold pieces on their fall runways.

And September’s InStyle magazine chose the color combination as one of 2012’s top fall trends, noting that with the “high-def depth” of  brocade, “black and gold alchemizes Renaissance, hippie, Asian, and modernist influences in spectacular ways.”

Dallas-based fashion blogger, stylist and SMU alum Krystal Schlegel agrees that “one of the biggest trends I love for fall is baroque.”

Schlegel likes to take extravagant pieces with embellished, highly designed elements and pair them with layers of costume jewelry on her blog, Krystal Schlegel The Style Book.

If you want the look for less, Forever21 is a great place to go for affordable costume jewelry.  Keep an eye out for Forever21’s fabulous geometric and art deco bracelets in black and gold hues.

For our photo shoot, I paired Ronny Kobo’s unique and memorable dress with tribal chic Kendra Scott Skylar earrings in tiger’s eye. The earrings add sparkle but don’t break the bank at $60.

Simple red lips are dominating fall faces so I kept the rest of my makeup and hair simple.

With your outfit under control, all you have to do is grab your gal pals and dance the night away with your lucky date.


Boulevarding on game day

Photo courtesy of Glamour magazine.

Photo by Christos Patelis; Rory Beca top courtesy of Neiman Marcus NorthPark.

For a long afternoon of boulevarding and cheering on the ‘stangs in Ford Stadium, don’t we all want an outfit that’s classic but comfortable?  Say hello to the new classic shades for fall.

“Navy is the new neutral, ” says Rachel Michael, department manager of Cusp’s at Neimans.

Michael paired these eye-catching navy earrings (similar) with a silk crimson Rory Beca top. Crimson was a key feature in Steven Alan, Donna Karan, and Marc by Marc Jacobs’ fall 2012 runway shows, and Glamour magazine called crimson “the new black this fall.”

Colorwise, a good combination for SMU game days.

For comfort, I rely on casual J Brand jeans, a penchant I share with Kristie Ramirez, “Texas Monthly” writer and “F!D Luxe” editor, who likes to stock up on J brand jeans, calling them her “staples.”

“[I tend to] stick to inexpensive staples and upgrade with a few essential expensive pieces,” Ramirez says.

Boots are big on the boulevard. When I first came to SMU as a clueless California girl, I didn’t own a pair of cowboy anything. I soon corrected that mistake and am now the proud owner of brown GUESS cowboy boots (similar). Pony up!

Dressing to impress at a job interview


Photo courtesy of Instyle magazine.

Photo by Christos Patelis; Alice + Olivia dress courtesy of Neiman Marcus NorthPark.

Tweed was a hot trend both on the catwalk and in the coveted celebrity seats at Proenza Schouler’s fall 2012 show.

SMU girls could feel confident in this Alice + Olivia black, white and silver tweed dress during an interview for a summer internship or that first post-graduation job. Pair it with simple pearl earrings and a dazzling smile, and you’re sure to land the gig.

For a twist on the timeless pearl earring, how about putting the pearls on your nails, a la “Cupcakes and Cashmere blogger Emily Schuman?

Photo courtesy of Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Alexis Johnson, co-founder of the beauty and hairstyle blog “Beauty Bender,” suggests wearing simple makeup to a business meeting.

“For any interview, whether a job or an internship, think like a Parisian—less is more,” she says.  “You want to look professional and put together without having your makeup overpower what you’re saying or distract the person interviewing you.”

Rocking girls’ night out


Photo courtesy of “”

Photo by Christos Patelis; Parker top & PJK leather jacket courtesy of Neiman Marcus NorthPark.

Blogger Krystal Schlegel describes her personal style as “classic with a bit of an edge.”

“I will style an embellished top or jacket with a T-shirt and jeans to make it a bit more casual,” she says.

Taking a cue from Krystal, I combined a Parker teal green embellished top with J Brand jeans. This top reflects the season, as mixed shades of green enchanted the onlookers at the fall Badgley Mischka runway, among others.

A PJK black leather jacket over the embellished green top adds an “edge” to the outfit.  The long sleeves of the unstructured jacket – by far my favorite item from the shoot (Neimans, can I please keep it?)  –  would have hidden any bracelets, so I stuck to cocktail rings from CUSP for a little sparkle.

I’m a firm believer that ankle-high “booties” are the best boots for fall. My black suede Tory Burch boots, pictured here, are from last year, so I highly recommend Tory’s new Elina bootie.

With these style tips, you’re sure to sparkle and shine at your next girls’ night out.


Earn A’s for fashion


Photo courtesy of

Photo by Christos Patelis; Bailey 44 shirt & Deux Lux hobo bag courtesy of Neiman Marcus NorthPark.

We all know it’s easy to roll out of bed, throw on Nike shorts and a sorority tee, and hightail it to class. We’ve all had those mornings that require a double shot of espresso.

I’ve been guilty of not looking put together for class on more than one occasion, but here’s the thing:  We don’t impress our teachers when we show up dressed like we don’t care.

Here’s a look with effortless appeal to get you to that early class.

This Bailey 44 cobalt blue shirt with luxurious leather cuffs couldn’t be comfier. Plus, you’ll look like such a trendsetter: Sea, Ter et Bantine and Rebecca Minkoff are all showing leather sleeves in their resort 2013 collections.

Leggings and boots are always trusty sidekicks in the fall and winter months. And the Deux Lux studded grey hobo (similar) is both stylish and practical—usually an oxymoron.  I love that the bag is roomy enough for all of my textbooks.

If you have a little time to spare before class, try out a fishtail braid, a trend inspired by Tory Burch’s spring 2013 runway show.  This is a look I’ve been dying to try but haven’t yet mastered so you’ll have to use your imagination.  But you’ll look as if you made an extra effort to appear fresh and on-trend for the day: A+.

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Oscar de la Renta children’s line

By Ginna Wilbanks

Gone are the days of the neon onesie, baggy denim overalls and platform sneakers that ruled the children’s wear of our college-aged generation.  Designer children’s clothing has become all the rage, with an increasing number of high-end womenswear designers producing lines for stylish tots.

Photo courtesy of OscarPRGirl 

Oscar de la Renta followed suit by debuting his first full children’s collection at New York Fashion Week.  Little munchkins ranging in age from 3 to 9 hopped, skipped and even scootered down the runway.

Photo courtesy of OscarPRGirl

Strutting their stuff in pinstripe blazers and polka dot party dresses, the tykes were adorable yet sophisticated.  Like a proud grandfather, Mr. de la Renta sent miniature versions of his always-elegant clients down the runway.

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, FoxNews 

While his womenswear clients can drop around $5,000 for a dress, eager moms dreaming of owning the designer duds can spend $100 to $350 outfitting their little ones.

The question on my mind is: While the dainty bows and crisply pressed oxfords may transform these tots into mini-adults, will the clothes transform them into perfectly behaved children?  Experience tells me that the designer label sewn into their delicate smock dresses will not deter the little rascals from sippy-cup spills and finger paint fiascos.  Adventurous boys will still come home sporting grass stains and casualties of their lunch despite the thread-count of their fine merino wool pullovers.

Mr. de la Renta created a brilliant collection, but kids will be kids.

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, FoxNews




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