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Is Tom Ford Tossing a Made-to-Measure Gauntlet on Rodeo Drive?


Tom Ford has cojones (not that we were in any doubt). His newest store opens in L.A. across the street from Gucci, his former employer. Game on.

Legendary French couturier Ted Lapidus died Monday at 79; the safari jacket, however, robustly lives on.

We know launch dates are merely vague proposals for when business will actually start (see: Top Shop, Soho), but seeing as we’re in the countdown spirit, we’ll celebrate the expected February 2009 launch of, Net-a-Porter’s off-price sister site.

Thanks to newly minted “venture capitalist” (and confident wearer of birds) Björk, Iceland may no longer hold the honorable post of country in the worst economic shape in the world. Yes, worse even than ours.

MAC’s new spokeswoman, er, spokesperson, Dame Edna, knows a lot about makeup, specifically makeup worn in vast quantities and violent shades. Get the look.

Bare To There On The Spring Runways


While statement-making pants are big news for spring, some designers clearly feel that less is more. Peter Som’s peekaboo panties matched an otherwise conservative shirtdress, and the bottoms at Hermès were almost long enough to qualify as running shorts—almost. On other runways, models stalked out in glorified underwear and not much else (click for slideshow). A few adventurous It girls have taken this trend to the streets, or at least the short strip of sidewalk that separates town car from nightclub entrance. Our question to you: Would you be seen like this in public? Click here to get a leg up on the trend, then bare all below.




Photo: Marcio Madeira


Love at First Sight: Electric Feathers Little Black (Or Blue, Or Red) Dress


What: A silk minidress with a sultry low, curved back and a matching sash that can be worn as a belt or scarf.

Why: When I picked up Electric Feathers’ U-back dress, I found I was in good company. Designer Leana Zuniga informed me that stylist Melanie Ward bought the same style in three colors. Since then, every time I’ve worn it, women have hounded me on where to buy one. Girls, that’s how you know you have a winner.

Where: $450, available at Jumelle in Williamsburg or No. 6 in Manhattan, in navy, black, red, slate, and a few one-of-a-kind versions in printed silk.

Waiting For The Other Balmain Sandal To Drop on Boutique Closings


If you missed the news just before the holidays, Tracey Ross announced that she was closing her trailblazing Los Angeles boutique on New Year’s Eve, after 18 years of selling high-end fashion with her particular SoCal slant to a dedicated, celeb- studded clientele. There’s been a lot of bad news on the fashion front between Thanksgiving and now, so we’ll remind you that in November, retail doyenne Linda Dresner also announced that she would close her famed Park Avenue boutique. It opened in 1983. Though Dresner is keeping her original shop in Birmingham, Michigan, both she and Ross cited department-store desperation in the form of early sales and deep discounts as a major factor in their demise. How can the little guy (or gal, as the case may be) compete with 70 percent off at Neiman Marcus? Apparently, not very well. But these specialty stores don’t merely offer just another cash register to buy a dress. What fans of Dresner, ranging from Jackie O to Carine Roitfeld, loved was her eye—one that enabled her to support designers like Tom Binns and Rick Owens early on. In a recent interview with WWD, Dresner decried the lack of creativity in retailing. There are, of course, great specialty stores still standing in both New York (Opening Ceremony, Jeffrey) and Los Angeles (Opening Ceremony, Satine, Mameg), as well as San Francisco’s Susan and Chicago’s Ikram. And Milan Vukmirovic’s soon-to-open Miami boutique The Webster is the source of much buzz. But it wouldn’t be surprising to hear of yet another closing in the near future. Is the ever-worsening economy spelling the end of the boutique with a finely honed point of view? Tell us what you think.

Beyoncé’s Other, Other Favorite Designer


By now, most fashion watchers are aware that Beyoncé is a dyed-in-the-graphic-geometric -wool fan of Gareth Pugh and of Thierry Mugler, now that the latter designer will be creative- directing and costuming her upcoming tour. But B’s latest video for her song Diva—which some liken to a reprise of Pugh’s Spring 2009 show —also features the work of 25-year-old designer Brian Lichtenberg. The patchwork bodysuit and matching lace leggings (pictured here) that the designer custom-made for Mrs. Jay-Z also echo his Spring 2009 collection. But Lichtenberg isn’t exactly a newbie when it comes to the wardrobing needs of pop stars. M.I.A. reportedly flipped over his hologram leggings and now owns several pairs; the designer was even an extra in her Bucky Done Gun video. “Beyoncé came up with the idea [of the bodysuit], as she wanted to dance in it for her music video,” explains Lichtenberg. The designer, who shows at L.A. Fashion Week, has an aesthetic that’s futuristic, bold, and graphic—which is, of course, right up Beyoncé’s currently avant-garde fashion alley. Lichtenberg’s collection includes clothing and jewelry in collaboration with L.A.-based accessories duo Alex & Chloe. He has also teamed up with Franc Fernandez on a range of sharply architectural hats (imagine what Grace Jones’ millinery collection would look like), which Beyoncé did wear for Diva, though the segment ended up on the cutting-room floor. For more on Lichtenberg, go to