Last night, Ann Taylor hosted editors and celebrities alike—including Maria Bello, Bridget Moynahan, and Bebel Gilberto, who performed—at a preview of its Fall collection. The office-friendly, working-girl separates that have long been AT staples were in evidence here, like a long sleeveless trench cinched with a double-wrap belt, and the retailer nodded at trends with outerwear like the sporty olive parkas with fur collars. But the real draw for fashion watchers was the accessories table. It’s there that the brand’s designers were most successful at translating top-tier styles into affordable, everyday versions, from the python clutch ($138) to the sculptural silver cuff ($68). The standout was a pair of cheetah-print haircalf “shootie” platform heels (left): at $228, at the upper end of the Ann Taylor range, but reasonable—even for the working girls.
There are plenty of ways that Levi’s is tailoring its approach to life circa 2011. The heritage American denim label is pushing made-in-America options; eco-friendly, low-water production processes; and even, in a savvy move for the fixed-gear set, debuting a Commuter jean aimed at the biking class—one with 3M reflective tape details for safety, stretch for mobility, a cropped length for easy pedaling, and stain-resistant fabrics to fight the grit. But, following the lead of the last few seasons of designer denim, the company is looking to the past for some of its styling cues—specifically, the flared, seventies past. In fairness, no one’s got a better archive to draw upon. To create the patch-pocketed, slightly slouchy flared style at left, one that is a major focus of the Fall offering, house designers went back to the original 1970′s styles. The result looks totally today.
Club Monaco is officially on the hunt for a new member. The retailer announced today that it has parted ways with its men’s designer, Thom Browne alum Tim Farah. [WWD]
In happier news, Rachel Zoe has introduced the world to her baby, Skyler Morrison Berman. How? By Twitter, of course. [Fashionologie]
One happy upshot of the return to ladylike chic? A boon for the traditional French lacemaking industry, as The Wall Street Journal reports. (At left, a fetish-y take on lace at Marc Jacobs.) [WSJ]
And speaking of Zoe progeny, her former assistant/sidekick/BFF Brad Goreski has big news of his own: a brand-new, bouncing…TV show. Bravo has announced it will start production on It’s a Brad World. [Just Jared]
Will Liz Taylor get a West Hollywood street named after her? According to L.A. Weekly, requests are flooding city offices—though, as Gawker notes, fitting Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky Ave. on a street sign may pose a bit of a challenge. [Gawker]
Miu Miu announced today that, for the first time, it will bring its collections online: On April 6, Prada’s sister label will launch e-commerce in the U.S., Japan, and 17 European countries, with runway-only pieces and online exclusives as well as the standard ready-to-wear and accessories. It’s a big step for the company. But the brand is also thinking small—as in mini. We’ve noticed a trend over the past few seasons of shrinking bags, but Miu Miu’s new charms take things to a whole new level. The tiny purses are available now at all Miu Miu stores nationwide, ready to hitch on to a larger-sized bag—or perhaps to keep as a talisman while you save up for the bigger version.
Dustin Horowitz is admittedly a Philo-phile, but his admiration for infallibly cool, stripped-down elegance dates back to mid-nineties Helmut Lang. “It’s an aesthetic we grew up with, everyone from that era,” said Horowitz, taking a break from his lookbook shoot last week. “It’s something that’s really not gone away for a lot of people, but it’s also kind of just back in the air again.”
That brand of imminently wearable minimalism informed the new Fall ’11 direction of his under-the-radar dress label Pipit. Though Horowitz has always worked within a few clean silhouettes, focusing on fabric and texture, what was once quirky (overdyed and pleated tartans, dresses made of Tyvek) chez Pipit is now clean, quiet, and color-blocked. A piece like the straight-cut shift in bone Ultrasuede with its sleeves and back pieced in black cotton—reportedly a favorite of his main stockist, Barneys New York—has grown-up, no-brainer chic in spades. He’s also introduced a new bag, a kind of unconstructed drawstring hobo.
There’s a distinct seventies feel to Pipit’s Fall range in its apronlike simplicity and, of course, the Halston-y Ultrasuede. Horowitz had a copy of Helmut Newton’s Page From the Glossies close at hand. But his slightly off-color palette of grays and earthy yellows comes from contemporary furniture designer Roy McMakin’s subversively classic work. And while Pipit’s new look—with its sensible and on-trend hemlines—is undeniably less girlish, it avoids being overly serious or preciously ladylike. Happily, so do the prices, which hover between $260 and $290, and aren’t going to be nudged up by the more sophisticated outlook. “I like working within this co-op price point where you have to stretch and come up with stuff within that price point,” he says. “It’s challenging and fun.”