Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Easter!

Easter is approaching (this coming Sunday!) and we've compiled a list of goodies from Trocadero for each & everyone's Easter baskets...

For the little one (clockwise from top left):

Babies love to learn! eeBoo Alphabet Flash Cards provide stimulating activities for baby and toddlers alike.

Protect your little one’s skin wish Susan Brown’s Baby nourishing lotion, sunblock lotion spf 30, and moisturizing cleansing cloths. Susan Brown’s Baby products are ultra gentle on sensitive skin and are dermatologist tested.

Crocodile Creek bibs combine quality material with creative designs. Not to mention they make clean up a breeze.

Only the best for our little ones! The Swankie Blankie minky toile hooded towel is perfect for bath time with a soft minky hood attached to a thick luxurious terry cloth towel. Also available in yellow and green.

A classic! The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl is a beloved story with easy-to-read words and beautiful illustrations.

For the child (nephew, grandchild, niece, student):

What’s more perfect for an Easter basket than a whimsical bunny rabbit? Kid Robot’s happy labbit comes with four interchangeable accessories (a banana, a pipe, a lollipop, an ice cream cone, a moustache, and much more!)

Yummy Breakfast zipper pulls are always a surprise. Each box contains a mystery “yummy breakfast”. They make great additions to backpacks, jackets and keychains.

Personalize a Munny of your own! Paint, draw, or scribble whatever you imagine on your mini Munny (4”). Also available in large Munny (18”).

The ultimate pop up book. Robert Sabuda’s pop up books make kids want to read. Shown are Alice’s Adventures to Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz (also available: America the Beautiful)

For him (boyfriend, grandfather, husband, father in law, brother):

Paul Labrecque’s daily finish matte pomade adds texture to hair and never dries hard for touchable hold. The matte finish adds definition without unwanted greasy or shine effects. Perfect for shorter styles.

John Derian’s shaving tray is perfect for any guy’s countertop. Derian’s handmade decoupage trays combine charm with practicality.

Can brushing your teeth be a luxury? Marvis toothpaste makes brushing more of an experience than a chore. A favorite is the jasmin mint, but the paste is also available in classic strong mint and aquatic mint.

Malin + Goetz bar soaps are purifying and balancing for all skin types. Plus they come in irresistibly refreshing scents –peppermint, rum, and lime

It’s all in the details. Kikkerland cuff links give your man a way to personalize his look. Airplane links featured, but also available in fire extinguisher and wheel cuff links.

Update his shaving routine with Proraso classic shaving cream, pre-shaving, and liquid cream. They deter painful razor rash and are alcohol free to protect skin.

Treat him to Michael Recchiuti Fleur de Sel Caramels. Covered in dark chocolate, each chewy caramel is the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

For her (mother, girlfriend, sister, wife, daughter):

And now she can wear all of New York: Bond no. 9 New York collection brought 18 of their popular fragrances in pocket spray form in their Bon Bon Box (including: Bryant Park, Chelsea Flowers, The Scent of Peace, Chinatown, Andy Warhol Silver Factory, Eau de New York, Bleecker Street, Broadway Nite, Nuits de Noho, Wall Street, Fire Island, Little Italy, Park Avenue, Chez Bond, Coney Island, So New York, Hamptons, West Side). Who can resist such alluring scents in candy wrapping?

Diptyque’s hand-poured candles are made of paraffin wax and come in an assortment of ambrosial scents. The violette and geranium rosa fragrances are perfect for the approaching spring!

Razzle Dazzle ‘em: She’ll love Scarlett Cosmetics Glamo Glitz Eyeshadows. The shadows come in a loose powder for easy application and a look that stuns.

Alex and Ani expandable wire bangles are always a classic. With Russian gold and silver finishes, these beauties are ornamented in a variety of dainty charms.

She can keep her essentials sorted with Anya Hindmarch’s loose pocket purses. Great for organizing the one thousand necessities in her handbag.

Malin + Goetz lip moisturizer is fragrance and color free for the perfect everyday look and protection her pretty lips need.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Alice's Best Beauty Buys, #10-13

This week's installation of my favorite beauty products include a couple things that are sold at Trocadero. One of them is a best-seller already; the other is definitely one that I feel is something every woman should carry in their purse.

Best Everyday/Travel Toothpaste: Marvis Jasmin Mint
I would use this toothpaste every chance I get if I had enough disposable income. Instead, I have it as part of my morning routine so that I don't go through the tubes too quickly. A great compromise is to use it whenever you travel; the smaller tube is carry-on regulation size and it adds an extra treat when you're on a vacation. The jasmine mint adds a hint of sweetness to make brushing truly a pleasure. I first received my Marvis Jasmin Mint toothpaste from my friend Shin (working at Paul Labrecque, they carried the brand in their salon shop) and from that day forward I was hooked. So many of my customers have become addicted as well. It whitens, brightens and tastes so damn good it makes even the most finicky become a daily brusher.

Best Hand Cream: Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
I love the eucalyptus scent of this hand cream but that's really secondary to the moisturizing effects with no greasy residue. I love that it quickly absorbs into the skin and leaves a fresh scent of eucalyptus that makes me feel like I just left a high-end spa's steam room. It's really good for doctors and other people who tend to have to wash their hands a lot. It almost has a wicking effect with water that keeps the hand moisturized even between washings. I highly recommend it; I won't leave home without it.

Best All-Occasion Lipgloss: Scarlett Contreau
I have known Scarlett Messina since her New Hope boutique days, when she turned me onto lines like Jurlique and other not-so-well-known boutique beauty brands. When she launched her eponymous collection, I jumped on the bandwagon to feature it at In Style. With the opening of Trocadero, I knew one day I would get her involved in the product mix. I carry both her amazing eyeshadows called Glamo Glitz and her super high gloss lip shines. Her lipglosses are fantastic formulas that go on smoothly with lasting color. The Contreau color is a berry red that would work on almost every skin tone. Personally I don't like to wear lipstick because it always looks so "makeup-y" but occasionally I need to look more presentable and polished and when I do, I go to my trusty makeup bag where I'll find my Scarlett Contreau lip gloss and I know I can get camera ready!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Alice's Best Beauty Buys, #7-9

I definitely miss the perks of working for a magazine: the semi-annual or sometimes quarterly beauty sales that would take place in the conference room. This was a free-for-all beauty sale of all the products that came through the beauty department. Unlike the fashion department where samples went back to the companies (and from magazine to magazine), beauty products were sent to never be returned. It's not like the beauty companies would send a magazine another magazine's used and tested lipstick (though, really, these days anything could be photoshopped). Every item was marked at $1, fragrances and other bigger ticket items were around $5 and all the proceeds would go to a women's charity. It was a great way to stock up on shampoos, nail polishes, shower gels and to experiment with items at a bargain basement price tag. I usually donated $20 regardless of whether I took 5 or 15 items. A lot of the items I still use to this day were things I got at a random beauty sale. But my next three "can't live without" items all have other beginnings...

Best Liquid Foundation: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk
I've used many liquid foundations in my lifetime but this one seriously beats the pants off every one. I was lucky to have the official GA makeup artist, Tim Quinn, do my makeup on a few occasions and then be given a whole bag of products to take home with me. I still own several bottles, though some are in the matte formula as well. I prefer the Luminous Silk version for its sheer and dewy but full coverage. I have hardly any left of my #5, so I have been mixing my #6 Luminous with my #4 Matte and making it work.

Best Every Day Hair Conditioner (Rinse Out): Paul Labrecque Daily Condition Moisture Mud
OMG. The best conditioner in the world. I actually never used this until I moved to Omaha. I have been getting my hair cut at Paul Labrecque's East Side salon for years (by Shin, the most talented cutter ever!) and when I decided to include a hair care line at Trocadero, I contacted Paul and his partner Brian and they sent me full size bottles of all the products they thought I should carry. Well, I was hooked in a nano-second. Everything from the scent to the packaging to the conditioning effects. The smell of the mud conditioner is earthy but clean and I love the vacuum sealed packaging with the "no waste" pump dispenser. The conditioner itself is super thick and rich but doesn't weigh down the hair. It can be left on the hair for a minute or up to 20 minutes for a deeper conditioning treatment. I love it and can never get enough of it!

Best Curling Iron: Conair Instant Heat 3/4 inch Barrel
I love that it's so basic but literally the best curling iron I've ever used. While it's not a professional barrel with the reverse grip handle (which I find so hard to use), I prefer the easier-to-maneuver simplicity of this very affordable curling iron. I didn't find this at any beauty sale; my mother was the owner of a Conair Instant Heat curling iron and after borrowing it and telling her how good I thought it was, she told me to take it (that's what moms do). I find that a 3/4 inch barrel works best on most hair to give ringlets but also to create fuller waves as well. And I love the twisty temperature control that goes up to "25." It's super fast heating and definitely provides a top-notch curl on even the finest hair. My first Conair Instant Heat was accidentally broken by housekeeping at the George V in Paris so they replaced it with some Euro iron that was undoubtedly more expensive but just did not curl my hair the same way. Save your money on those expensive brands and ceramic barrels from CHI and Babyliss, this one does the trick and for about a fraction of the price (under $15).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Trocadero Featured Film: "All About Eve"

My original intention was to watch the Trocadero movie list in alphabetical order, but I was apparently so excited to watch "Annie Hall" that I skipped over the 1950 classic "All About Eve"! I took a step backwards and immediately sat down with my cuddly kitten and a fuzzy throw to watch the classic black & white film.

src: googleimages

With stellar performances featuring the unforgettable Bette Davis and a short appearance by Marilyn Monroe, the film was a biting look at an aging stage actress and the backstage antics of "the theatre." Bette Davis played Margo Channing, a 40-year-old star with a sharp tongue and quick wit. Margo takes in a young, bright-eyed woman named Eve who wants nothing more than to be near the stage, and turns out to be quite the character. I don't want to give anything away, but the movie's twists and turns were unpredictable and very enjoyable to watch. 

As for the fashion, the clothing screamed of old Hollywood glam. Big baubles and fabulous furs reigned supreme, and when the cast wasn't dolled up, calf-length skirts, smart suits, and feminine blouses filled the screen. In fact, I watched the movie right after viewing Marc Jacobs' fall 2010 collection for Louis Vuitton, and was surprised to find that the fashions in the film were timely and classic (just like the recent runway show). 

Margo Channing: Lloyd, honey, be a playwright with guts. Write me one about a nice normal woman who just shoots her husband.

The cast of "All About Eve" would surely find much to love at Trocadero - we have an amazing selection of evening shoes and accessories that they would surely wish to wear to fancy soirees. (clockwise from top left)

For an evening out, this Kara Ross velvet and lizard clutch ($475) is an absolute must-have. The classic shape and bold hardware ensure that this bag will never go out of style, but the black lizard square is a unique detail that will not go unnoticed. 

One of the standout fashion moments of this movie was in the beginning, when young Eve stepped out of the shadows of the theatre in a rumpled trench coat and floppy hat. Surely these ladies would appreciate this homage to the classic day coat, The Trench Book ($35). Before they left the house, they'd probably want to spritz themselves with Bond No. 9 Nuit de Noho, ($198/lg, $148/sm) a delightful fragrance with top notes of jasmine and mandarin and a solid base of vanilla and patchouli. 

These are ladies that appreciate the "bling," and the Troc has a few timeless pairs of evening earrings that are sure to feed their need for glam and glitz. We have two pairs similar to these Lee Angel chandelier earrings (both around $130) that deserve to be worn to a fabulous f√™te. As for matching footwear, we have that too - and these Brian Atwood 'Dorian' heels ($325) are sure to elicit gasps from even the most haughty Hollywood actress - just ask Reese Witherspoon, who wore them to the Golden Globes and found her photo in every style magazine the day after. 

src: googleimages

Complete the old Hollywood look with this classic Devi Kroell box clutch ($1300) - but it's not your average evening bag. This beauty is made out of wood - yes, wood - and is coveted by every member of the Troc staff. If you want to get the "All About Eve" look, then perfect skin is a must, but it's easy with our flawless, tried-and-true products. Try this Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation cream ($48), a chemical-free formula that reduces fine lines and skin discolorations almost instantly.

You can't discuss "the theatre" without talking about where it's at - New York. This Up and Down New York book ($20) was originally published in 1926, meaning that it could have easily been on Eve's shelf during the movie!

Find all the elements you need (and more) to transform yourself into a star here at the Troc! We're on standby to provide you with enviable evening shoes, covetable clutches, and shiny baubles for any occasion. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Alice's Best Beauty Guide, #4-6

In my continuing education about all the best beauty products ever made, here I offer three more of my favorite items currently in rotation:

Best Cotton "Balls": Cotton Clouds cotton pads
My college ex-boyfriend actually turned me onto these suckers. He was from Manhattan and clearly shopped at Duane Reade his whole life (okay, to be honest, growing up on the Upper East Side, he shopped at Zitomer's) so he was in-the-know about great drugstore items. A cotton ball doesn't have enough surface space and is an awkward shape for using toner on the face or for removing eye makeup or nail polish. What I love about Cotton Clouds is that as its slogan says, "Pick it thick or thin." The pads are individual but they stack nicely so if you want a thicker amount for let's say, nail polish remover, you can just put a few together. I've never been able to find these except in NYC so whenever I have friends go there I ask them to bring some back for me. I still have a full bag of them left (as seen in the photo) so I should be good for a few more months.

Best Nighttime Toothpaste: Crest Pro-Health Night
This is a fairly new product and just a recent addition to my beauty regimen. I love that there are granules that are "crunchy" in the gel paste that seem to really exfoliate and clean my teeth. I like anything crunchy, so the fact that I get to "eat" something crunchy before going to bed makes me really happy. Plus, it's minty and makes my breath feel fresh too. Yay!

Best Hair Finishing Spray: Philip B. Shin Shine
A really, great lightweight and soooooo fresh-smelling finishing spray. It's great to use on dry hair for sleek, straight looks but also does wonders on curly, frizzy hair by calming it down. A true wonder product. It has a slick but not too greasy feel and the scent reminds me of ripe green tomatoes. You can also use it on wet hair as a styling product and it honestly does not weight down the hair at all. I also love it because it was formulated with my good friend and hair stylist, Shin An.

A New Level of Shopping

No matter how many clothes I own, I like to always update with a few things each season. The only problem is that I don't take my own advice and get rid of things that I haven't worn in years or more importantly dispose of seasonal, cheap stuff I wore the heck out of and enjoyed but aren't really investment pieces worth taking up coveted real estate space in a closet.

I used to make a few bigger purchases each season and then do some filling in with some trendy, cheaper items. Some great investment items have been my Prada wool trenchcoat, a Katayone Adeli lace dress, a Jil Sander navy wool and cashmere skirt, a Dries van Noten cotton blouse, a Chanel spring tweed jacket and a YSL gray wool tunic. All of these items still remain in my closet and are in full wardrobe rotation at all times (well, except for the Jil Sander skirt which honestly is a tad small...but I am hopeful to fit into it again by next fall/winter!). My favorite "filling" stations back in NYC were Strawberry's, J. Crew, American Apparel, Club Monaco and one season, Bloomingdale's flagship's second floor. I often didn't have much luck at Zara or H&M though I definitely own a few items from both (and based on my advice, should have gotten rid of these items long ago as I don't really wear any of it anymore). The remaining items in my closet are sample sale purchases, gifts from the designers and stuff I bought while on vacation or business trips.

On my current budget, I can't afford to buy the high-ticket items and while I do miss, at times, the beauty of really well-made and well-designed items, I must say that I am really happy to find some very fashionable and inexpensive finds at my not-so-secret retail therapy "boutique." That place is called Target. Have you heard of it?

All joking aside, I really have replaced Prada and Barneys with Target and Kohl's. And I have to say, my wardrobe hasn't really suffered too much from it. The other day I went to Target to check out the new Gaultier collection. Unfortunately, that Target didn't have it so I took to the phone to call around and finally tracked it down to another location closer to my home. Hurray! as I thought about adding a fun, navy and white nautical stripe top or dress or something else to my spring wardrobe. I had heard about a leather motorcycle jacket (for a whopping-for Target $200!) as well as his signature "tattoo/grafitti" patterned items. With full anticipation I entered the Target and....disappointment! Honestly, it was all so bad but I couldn't just leave so I decided to at least try on the navy and white striped dress. As I was making my way to the dressing room, a dress against the wall caught my eye. It was a black tank top style with a long skirt in a shimmery silky taupe with a double stitched cuff-like hem. I loved it but the only ones left were a XL and XXL. Feeling fat these days, I took the XL and thought maybe it would work. Along the way, I grabbed a floral tunic top in lavender and some drawstring cotton sweatpants in a pretty wisteria color. And off I went to the dressing room.

"Disastrous," is all I could sum up for that JPG nautical dress. Maybe on someone who weighed less than 100 pounds. The horizontal stripes, the weird extra material that looks like a diaper and goes between the legs and the totally 100% polyester material = Totally NOT Tubular. More like I looked like a tube.

The Mossimo tank dress, on the other hand, was splendid! Absolutely perfect...except for the size. I had to have it; it was very minimalist and had a Dries-like quality but at a Target price ($24.99) on my MUST DO TOMORROW ASAP LIST was stop at one of the other nine hundred Targets in Omaha to track down the dress.

And as already predicted, the floral top and sweatpants were comfy, sweet and definitely something to lounge around in at home on the weekends. And the top paired with a skirt and cardigan could work outside the home as well. (Who am I kidding, I'll be wearing the sweatpants with the shirt with heels and rocking it at the Troc! In comfort!)

Needless to say, I became obsessed with my Mossimo dress and finding it so it became priority numero uno. There were three Targets on my list and I went to the first one and...voila, my dress was hanging on the wall in a S and a M. I grabbed both and en route to the dressing room I found myself in the Liz Lange Maternity section and then the store went quiet. Or, more appropriately, I stood there silently but mumbling in my brain, "I mean, really Alice, c'mon, I mean, can you really? No. ALICE! Really? I know you think you're kind of chubs these days but you can't really shop from the maternity section of Target! But I know, it's really cute. I mean, R-E-A-L-L-Y cute. Looks totally like your Marni khaki cotton trench.
But, really,'s effing Liz Lange Maternity. Says so on the freaking label on the back of the coat! It just doesn't seem right. But not like you really care..."
and with that last thought, I looked around me and stealthily grabbed the Small and Medium and headed off to the dressing room.

"OMG. I love it!" was all I could say but my mind was still in that purgatory known as "I'm not pregnant, can I really get away with buying something from a maternity line?" But it fit, the empire waist was very chic, I loved the belt, the length was perfect and the olive green looked fresh. I tried to look at myself from every angle to see if it looked like there was too much extra fabric in the middle section. And to be honest, it wasn't much different from my own Marni empire-waisted cotton trench in terms of the shape. To me, this Liz Lange Maternity trenchcoat was a winner. And at $39.99 you couldn't beat the price. I finally decided I didn't care that it was maternity and who knows? Maybe one day I will be pregnant and then I will already have something to wear! "SOLD!"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You are cordially invited...

It's a new dawn and a new day...

EVERYONE is invited via Facebook to watch the Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2010 fashion show, live from Paris. It is also available on your iphone by going to this. I must admit it's absolutely genius. And an incredibly awesome press magnet.

These days it seems like anything goes when it comes to admission to the twice annual fashion shows. So why not just make it completely accessible to the whole world to view since, let's face it, everyone and their mother is now a critic, a fashion expert, a stylist. The front rows are now reserved for bloggers and the like who post faster than the magazines can about all the happenings in front and behind the scenes. Now, Louis Vuitton has taken it one step further and can make couch critics of us all. Who needs to wait for Cathy Horyn's live blogging? We're right there with her.

But the one thing that the masses will never get are the limited edition souvenir-quality invitations and favors. I, for one, have saved quite a few of them. One of my favorite favors left on our seats was this wool lap blanket that came rolled up and had leather belt closures. One season the run-of-show program came in this hologram notebook, which I use as a writing tablet and keep my phone list inside. Another invite came in a gold plastic case that I still use for business cards, there was another invite that had the show information on one side and was a mirror on the back and came in a LV monogram case and lastly there was the invitation that came in a mustard suede case that is the perfect sized passport holder.

Alice's Best Beauty Buys

After writing today's earlier post about Best Beauty Buys, I started to think about what I think are the top items in my own daily or weekly regimen. As a former assistant beauty editor and general beauty junkie, you can be rest assured that I've done my due diligence. So I've decided to post my own tried-and-true products that have remained in my makeup bag, my dop kit, my purse, my medicine cabinet or my pocket over the course of many years or even within just the past couple of months. In no particular order, here are the first 3 items and why they have proven to be invaluable. So keep checking back to see more of my top beauty buys in the coming weeks and months:

Best Barrette: Goody "tortoise shell"
I can't find this in stores anymore and it absolutely kills me. Talk about a classic. It is by far the best barrette in history ever made. My friend Vicky, another fashion veteran, also swears by these and we both used to buy them in bulk whenever we found them available. Although I can't find them anymore I still discover them tucked in items in my closets whether they're the pockets of jackets and skirts, interior zipper compartments on handbags or random makeup bags. What's so great about these barrettes is that they hold both small amounts of hair or the thickest up-do. They never failed to keep my hair up and away from my face, they always stayed put and they never hurt, pinched or gave me a headache. I love these barrettes! If anyone finds them, please tell me!!

Best Mascara: Maybelline Lash Discovery
Forget about Maybelline's Great Lash. I've never personally been a fan of the perennial award winner in the pink and green tube. Maybe because of the straight lashes I have, maybe because it's never done anything but clump and look messy on my eyes. I think I probably got my first tube of Lash Discovery at a beauty sale at the magazine and ever since that day I have been hooked. The secret "ingredient" is the mini brush; it separates each lash and puts on the perfect amount of black. This mascara is the drugstore version of Lancome's Definicils, also a really great one but it costs 3x as much. But I honestly think that the Maybelline is better. I once tried the waterproof version and it wasn't the same -- very "dry" and didn't seem to do anything to my lashes.

Best Facial Creamy Cleanser: Shiseido Benefiance Creamy Cleansing Foam
The key factor for me is a facial wash that actually washes off my makeup. That makes sense, no? I find that many cleansers don't take my foundation off (the true test is drying my face off and seeing if my white towel is stained with lots of beige). This Shiseido stuff is the bomb because all you need is a smidgen, half a pea-sized amount of the creamy cleanser with tiny granules (tiny squeeze of the tube!), rub it in your face with some warm water and it foams up really well and you can feel it penetrate your skin. Once you wash it all off, your skin feels clean with no residue. Another favorite of mine, but admittedly I have not used it some time now, is Shu Uemura's Oil Cleansers. It seems weird to put oil on your skin but it doesn't leave your face greasy whatsoever. The oils really clean the makeup off your face and leaves the skin soft but not oily.

The Blurred Line Between Church and State

April  1997 - Courteney CoxIt was the first issue I worked on, with the now infamous "Best Beauty Buys," and it's definitely made a lasting impression when it comes to my knowledge of beauty products. I remember all the research and calling in hundreds of products for the photo shoot. While most of the items were easy to call in because they were from well-known companies like Maybelline, Neutrogena and Estee Lauder, there were the ringers, the products whose parent company we did not know, the items that makeup and hair stylists across the nation used on their clients but weren't readily known or available to the general public. And it was my job to track them down.

I spent much of my time
calling these artists to find out where they purchased these items. Because this was all pre-internet and email! YES, I ACTUALLY HAD TO USE A PHONE AND DO MY RESEARCH! I left messages for a famous hairstylist here, an uber-makeup artist there in the hopes they would call me back and tell me a little more about the unknown product and if they had a clue as to where I could get my hands on a bottle, a tube or a tool. Sometimes they would have the product in their hands while they spoke to me and I would ask them to read off the tiny print which listed the manufacturer or city that it was "Made in."

I was quickly given a corporate card and spent a lot of time at beauty supply stores all over NYC. I had my list in hand and searched through the aisles for Mane 'n Tail shampoo, Spornette round brushes, random concealers "to cover up tattoos on set," Terax products, flat irons, hair relaxers, blow dryers, specific hair elastics. You name it, I had to find it. I think at the end of the whole process I had 5 things from a list of 250+ that I could not locate.

But I was in hog heaven! I was already a beauty junkie and having a job that required me to play with products (and have access to anything and everything) was a dream-come-true. Since I was a pre-teen I had been a sucker for the gift-with-purchases at the Clinique counter and the Estee Lauder makeup caddy gift with any fragrance purchase was always the big ticket holiday item for my mom.

I never worked on a Best Beauty Buys again but I've forever been branded with the knowledge of the quintessential beauty favorites. I remember all the random beauty pro items that made it into the final cut and those that were on the "cutting floor." And I loved that after the shoot I was able to pretty much take anything that I wanted. I still have my many Mason Pearson brushes (one that is still in the box, never been used!), my Denman D3 nylon, my Babyliss crimper/flat iron, my "I can't remember the name" combs and hair dryer. I was introduced to my once favorite shampoo, Terax Latte (now unfortunately reformulated and totally different), Seche Vite top coat nail polish (which I sell at Trocadero), Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, Shu Uemura eyelash curler (though I must admit I like my Shiseido one better), Kiehl's Silk Groom and NARS everything.

Glancing at the Beauty Buys from 2009, it reads like a page out of the TOP TEN BEAUTY ADVERTISERS. It's disheartening to see that all those special products with "no names" are now replaced by Garnier Fructis, Pantene, L'Oreal and Revlon. Part of the problem is that the major makeup artists now work directly for a cosmetics company and the same goes for many of the hair stylists out there. The other problem with these Best Beauty Buys lists is that the same things are mentioned again and again. It sure isn't exclusive anymore when 9 out of 10 women can tell you that Shu Uemura has "the best eyelash curler." Is anyone doing the "TOP OBSCURE BEAUTY ITEMS." I remember when Elnett hairspray and Klorane dry shampoo were hard to find; now I think you can get them at Walgreen's.

It might be 2010, but for now I'm going to stick to my favorite beauty items circa 1997.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscars 2010, The Recap

Call me a party pooper but I have to admit I wasn't actually planning on watching the Oscars this year. With 10 nominations for Best Picture, I was ready to boycott what I believe was a terrible ploy for ratings to get a broader, younger audience instead of recognizing the true standouts in filmmaking this year. But I just wasn't able to ignore it; no matter how I tried, just when I thought I was out, the annual ceremony just pulled me back in.

So there I was during the E! pre-game telecast standing on the red carpet donned in a turquoise lace "gown" and black patent with major bling Sergio Rossi stilettos. The other "actress" on the red carpet with me was wearing a hot pink chiffon evening dress with satin Jimmy Choo kitten heels with Swarovski crystals on the toe. Perhaps what it took for me to see the fun side of the Oscars was doing a little dress up myself. And with some live-action interviews on the red carpet, well, the evening definitely was off to a lively start.

I guess a lot of my curmudgeonly attitude is due in part to the overly focused nature to these award shows in my prior profession. Frankly, I just have lost interest in both the fashion and what people are wearing as well as the ceremony and who wins. And for the aforementioned 10 movies being nominated, well, I just really, really lost interest. But yesterday was a different occasion entirely partly because I didn't have any vested interest in who won (I haven't seen most of the movies unlike past years) and I looked at the dresses from a purely "outsider's" viewpoint.

I don't know what people were wearing and whose jewelry they had on (and still don't really know or care for that matter) but I do know what I liked and who I thought looked good. So my BEST AND WORST DRESSED AT THE OSCARS 2010 (in no particular order):

1. Demi Moore...okay, she may have had a lot of help under the knife, but I liked her nude dress and her tousled up do.

2. Penelope Cruz...I really liked the color of the dress and the tucks and pleats. Dramatic but did not take over (unlike Vera Farmiga's way too much going on pleating and bedspread cover-like fuchsia dress)

3. Rachel didn't read like a Monet watercolor on the television monitor but I liked the soft, ombre-look of the dress

4. Elizabeth Banks...just remembering I liked the grey and floating layers of chiffon. Thought it was very elegant and fit her well.

Honorable mentions include Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Miley Cyrus, Helen Mirren, Kristen Stewart.

I did not like SJP's dress. I know it was Chanel Haute Couture but I just thought she looked way too broad shouldered; plus no matter what, I don't like that yellow color on an evening dress. No thank you. I also did not care for Charlize's gown...the rosettes placed right on the breasts were so distracting and almost laughable. It reminded me of a spoof dress or something really bad done by someone on Project Runway. And I thought Zoe Saldana's purple ruffle explosion was a mess. It was too costumey and something that belonged on a Flamenco stage (I should know because I just saw the Flamenco show at the Orpheum last week and it really could have used some of this color and flounce!).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Logo-ed OUT

It's no secret at the Troc that we aren't the biggest fans of Coach logo bags. I think part of the problem is that for the same amount of money you can purchase a bag with style and not be carrying the same thing as everyone else. These days, the classic hobo style featured on the bottom will set you back $358. That's a lot of money to look like an unfashionable clone.

As a fashion editor, I loved watching the direction that the creative director, Reed Krakoff, had taken the brand and liked many of the leather offerings, small accessories and outerwear. I own many wonderful Bonnie Cashin-era Coach bags and still love the classic turn lock closure on my very The Official Preppy Handbook-style leather pocket bag and mini backpack. I have a great leather coat, a shearling and the most vintage-looking trench coat cape from my years of covering the brand. I was even the very lucky recipient of a custom-made satchel in suede with pastel python trim, stitched inside with "Made exclusively by Reed Krakoff of Coach for Alice Kim."

So don't get me wrong; I like the Coach brand for its great American heritage, its workmanship and classic lines. I just wish that women would branch out from the brown logo (or worse yet, the pastel ones) and either get a beautiful leather bag from them (like the one featured here, which is $398, only $40 more than the not-stylish-at-all logo hobo) or look to other designers who are making very fashionable totes and purses. At Trocadero, we feature handbags from MZ Wallace, Rafe, Botkier, Be & D, Anya Hindmarch and L.A.M.B by Gwen Stefani. Trust me when I say that I've seen almost every brand out there. I try to bring the best bags at various price points and for the greatest value for what you're getting. And you'll be happy to know that you're one of only a few who have the bag, especially in Omaha. As a former magazine editor, I know women spend lots of money because they want to look good and seem fashionable. And that's why I'm telling you that there is not one fashion editor in America who is carrying a logo Coach bag. There's a reason for that.

So the next time you're at your local mall, resist the urge to buy something with that logo print. Actually resist the urge to buy a brand that everyone else has. If one day your fantasy is to be a fashion editor or stylist, it's all about having a unique point-of-view. So that means not being a follower. Plus, as a twenty-two year old do you really want to be carrying the same bag that many married forty-year olds with three kids are toting around at their local grocery store?

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Troc's "Virtual" Shoe Store Spring 2010

Today I did some "virtual" shopping on the internet. This time I was looking at shoes on net-a-porter and was completely stupefied by the prices. I'm so glad I'm not a fashion editor anymore. I know that there would be no way in hell that I could feature these outlandishly priced shoes in the magazine and instead I would be relegated to showing crappy shoes from mainstream brands. Ick. That's not what fashion is about to me but I know these days, most of the "consumer-driven" magazines show "affordable" looks that are available at your local mall. It's what the direction of my magazine was going and I'm glad I got out before I only was able to shoot items under $100. I don't know about you but I buy the magazines to show me the stuff I don't readily see in the basic stores in the strip malls and beyond. If I want to see the bubble skirt from Aeropostale, I can go and check that out myself. Instead, can you please fill your glossy pages with clothing from Derek Lam, Lanvin, Prada and Dries please? And while you're at it, I want to see covetable clutches from Balmain and Miu Miu, not cheap plastic ones from Intuition and Fossil.

But going back to shoes. It's pretty crazy, to say the least, that the average price point of a decently designed spring shoe is around $895. Yes, that's right, EIGHT HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE DOLLARS! I "shopped" on net-a-porter and found that the majority of the shoes hovered above $795. As a shoe retailer I will emphatically state that I do not carry any new spring shoes even near that price point. And to be honest, I can't say I even liked that many that were so ridiculously over-priced. Actually my favorites tended to be updated classics and styles that could remain in your closet for a lifetime. And they were all under $695. If I could only stock 5 shoes (from net-a-porter) in my shop right now, they would be:

1.Jimmy Choo platform clog sandal in desert suede, $395. Great price for Jimmy Choo and a great casual sandal for the spring/summer. I love it with shorts, jeans, sundresses, you name it. The neutral color is key here. I WISH I had this shoe in my shop for real. I would snap the size 7 in a second for myself. Love it.

2. Rupert Sanderson black patent pumps, $585. If you don't have a black patent pump, now's the time to invest in one. This is a REALLY nicely shaped one; great toe, nice heel, sexy deep cuts on the side. I would tell all my customers to buy this if they didn't have a basic black pump. It's that good.

3. Maison Martin Margiela two-tone peep toe mary jane, $695. Really pretty, very feminine but smart at the same time. Not a basic but definitely can become a key piece in a shoe wardrobe because of its two-tone neutral colors and very day-to-night usefulness. A little on the higher price side but definitely something that I would recommend for that working woman who has everything else in her shoe wardrobe but is looking for a practical but fresh updater.

4. DKNY two tone wedge in black suede and nude patent, $245. I love a good wedge that will go with almost everything and can be dressed up or dressed down. It's not a showstopper but will definitely be a workhorse in your shoe wardrobe for the summer.

5. See by Chloe tassel loafers, $245. It's a stretch for Omaha but I loved these when I saw them at the shoe show last August. They're preppy, a bit 80s but all the while being current and in many ways, classics. Wear them to the club, on vacation, with a seersucker jacket over a floral sundress. It doesn't have to be cliché and it certainly doesn't have to be predictable.

Some other notables:
6. Miu Miu platform black patent slingback, $575. These are amazing high heel sandals to incorporate into a spring shoe wardrobe. They're not necessities but I like them enough that if I could, I would buy these for my shop pronto.

7.Giuseppe Zanotti leopard-print peep toe pumps, $595. I like when an animal print is done well (read: not tacky) and this one is almost perfect. I love that it's on a lower heel and the little splash of red gives some added color. Great way to liven up a black, beige, red or white dress or pants. I like this almost more than the Margielas.

8. Jimmy Choo classic leather pumps in black, $495. I would definitely offer these as an alternative to the Sandersons because of the heel height. This pump is so utterly awesomely perfect. The heel is ideal, the cut is classic. If you don't have a good mid-sized "walking" black pump, this is the one to buy. Go do yourself a favor and get this shoe if you need a basic black pump. If you're 25, you'll have it until you're 40. If you're 30, don't waste your money on buying a cheap black pump from somebody else. And if you're over 40, really, please invest in a nice, expensive black pump. Jimmy, Christian, Manolo, Brian. You know who you are...