Sunday, September 26, 2010

Downtown Pop-Up Details

The staff at Sigerson confirmed that the downtown pop-up would open this Thursday. It will be at 2 Great Jones Street in Noho--or, as I like to think of it, just by NYU.

Mayle/Sigerson Pop-Up: More Details

First of all, I have no images. They are not allowing photographs of the Mayle collection so much of what you've seen already either comes from behind the dressing room curtain (I didn't think about taking photos while I was in there) or from press photographers. There are also a few cellphone photos circulating but my dinosaur of a phone has such a low res camera that anything I snapped would be all but unintelligible. Still, this is a capsule collection and by now, every item in the shop has been photographed in some way or seen on the lookbook poster. I am hoping for a couple of surprises but given the description of this as a 30+ piece capsule collection, some quick counting indicates that there won't be many more pieces left to be unveiled. There may be some pictures following on Caroline's blog as befits her status as a pro and a press photographer. So I can only offer words.

First of all, the Sigerson Morrison store on 71st St and the corner of Madison Ave is a laboratory store, by which they mean they offer collaborations with other designers and artists. It has two rooms--the front is mainly Sigerson (I don't think they have their full collection though) as well as some jewelry and art. The back room is for Mayle, and there is also a rack of items in the space adjoining both areas, as well as a few pieces hung on the wall. There's also a small Mayle window display. The shop itself is not big so it fills quite quickly with Mayle shoppers. Staff are very nice and helpful but there is only one dressing room (not surprising as SM is a shoe store after all), an ad hoc affair behind the register where they have curtained off some space with a curtain made in the ivory/pink silk used for the ruffled blouse. Besides the Mayle, I also saw some appealing shoes which makes me think this is a good deal for both lines.

My insane work schedule made it impossible for me to get to the pop-up before Saturday (canceling class to look at clothes is, of course, a no-go). I missed out on seeing a few items--whether they have sold out entirely or have had stock reserved for the downtown pop-up, I don't know. I would assume the latter. The missing pieces were the lace romper, lace dress (often described as the Stevie Nicks dress--I don't know its real name), and the Chanel/Marant-esque blue jacket with zippers that I believe was the most expensive item at $920, along with the Nicks dress which was likely in that ballpark area. Obviously, I can't comment on these--I would have liked to see all three as they were interesting and the romper was somewhat appealing. I hope I will get a chance to look at them downtown.

On the plus side, stock had rolled in so Saturday's shoppers were able to take most purchases home with them. The peplum dress, the burgundy and green versions of the tie dress and (I think) bags and belts were still advance orders only--presumably more stock will trickle in next week.

Onto the stock, dresses first. There were two in stock, one yet to come and one (the long one) no longer on display. I guess there are four dresses in this collection, but maybe there will be another one or two specially unveiled for the downtown pop-up as there are supposedly new pieces coming in each week. That might also mean new fabrics, however. The black lace version of the tie-dress appears to have sold out (at least in the SM pop-up and, possibly, for now). Other colorways of the dress were available in a variety of sizes--up to size 10. But available sizes were sporadic and varied with the fabric choices--I don't know whether this was because they were still waiting for orders or had sold out their allocation of dresses or something else. I tried on the blue and the black top/ivory/gold/purple flower print versions of the tie-front dress, the former in a size 8, the latter in a 10. I thought it ran a good size small, with the 8 barely zipping up on me (I have a small waist and usually that's not the problem with Mayle or any other brand) and it was tight in the back despite the puffed sleeves. The 10 was a comfortable fit but it wasn't my style. I would literally only have been buying it because it was Mayle. At $520 plus tax, that would have been silly so I put it back. I didn't try on the other dress option--the peplum dress with a gathered front--because they only had the size 4 in stock. It looked small (an opinion confirmed by others) and would never have fit on my body. I think it was also $520 or thereabouts but it had no price tag. The "samples" are not true samples--they are identical to the production dresses and are sold for the full price. I image the peplum dress will come in other fabrics.

The more contemporary, less retro/classic dress pictured on the poster is the Kala or Lala dress (I heard both) and is not yet in stock. I thought it was the more interesting of the two day dresses and want to see it in person. I hope it doesn't have a narrow skirt as that would rule it out for me. It may also be ruled out on the grounds of price--I heard it would be over $600 which appears a little high as none of the dresses were lined. Maybe this one will be different, given its slightly higher price point.

The jackets were a mixed bag. So far, there are three of them, with the cropped jacket again no longer on display. First of all, there was a classic blazer with a nipped-in waist looked well made and while it wasn't necessarily what you'd expect from Mayle (at least in recent years), it does fit in with current trends while also having a certain classicism that could make it a great investment piece. It was around $350 and came in a brown tweed, pale grey wool, a darker grey and possibly a camel or oatmeal color. I forget the exact details.

Another jacket was, for me, the nadir of the collection. A v-neck, longer line, loose fitting piece made in a very lightweight knit/woven knubby fabric with a chiffon-esque lining and lace lined roll up sleeves, this piece was a head-scratcher. It had some of the bar fastenings from Fall 08 on the front (which hid snap closures) and just appeared to include too many disparate details. I tried it on, assuming it may be one of those pieces that came to life on the body but it looked even cheaper and sadder on. Maybe it's just me but I was baffled by it. It was over $600, money that could have been spent better on some of the really nice items--like the bags. It came in two or three neutral colorways I believe, including gray and camel.

There were either two or three tops (Caroline claims three and is probably right as I didn't look at these as closely). One is ruffled with a tie and was my favorite out of the blouses. It is $495 in most fabrics, $525 in a leopard print grey lace. It seems to run very big and was just too voluminous for me and just not what I wear. Still, the one in the silk with the pink print was particularly pretty and very well made. The other fabrics weren't as interesting, save the lace, and didn't seem to have as nice a drape. The top with the elastic waist and sleeves--or two tops that were similarly cut--was not for me, something I knew as soon as I saw the first pictures. I'm tall and elasticated waists ride up and just don't work no matter how pretty. I thought the tops--and the tie-front dress--were a lot like Lyell, esp circa 2005-8. They hit the spot where Jane and Emma's visions seem to mesh. The black lace top had sold out or was not on display when I was there. The tops seemed to be the most popular item--people tried on the dresses but walked out with tops and I don't think that was just because there were more tops in stock.

Coats. These were, in my opinion, the best deal, varying from around $700-900. I think there were three, but I was so in love with one that I didn't try the others on. I remember two clearly but seem to recall a third one. In terms of craftsmanship, these, the belts, the bags, the blazer, skirt and leather shorts and pants seemed to be of the highest quality--the same as or close to the quality of Mayle's regular lines. I got the Vera coat. It is the one pictured in the poster and it is $745 plus tax, coming to $811. It comes in at least four-five colorways--the grey heavy tweed on the poster, the softer and slightly lighter weight black tweed with a lighter fleck that I bought, a brown tweed, a light brown tweed that's like my Lyell jacket from 2006-7--I believe it is the same fabric--and, I think, an olive green wool. I'm fuzzy on these details and may be wrong. As with most items, all fabrics are the same price (the exception seems to be some of the lace items and some of the bags). I have the original Vera jacket from FW 07 which appears to be the inspiration, with its oversize fit, smaller collar that can be left open, folded back sleeves and signature thick half-belt and draped back detailing. This coat runs very big but rather than wearing it as oversized, I sized down to a 4 which fits me very well and has a slightly sleeker, mid-1960s, Mad Man-esque feel. I loved the colorway I got and the wool was so soft it felt like cashmere. I will wear this coat for years and it fits a nice hole in my closet--I had no tweed coats, just jackets. Length-wise, this coat came to just above the knee.

The second coat that I remember seemed to be inspired by the Fedosia jacket and the Fedosia coat from the final sample sale. It was--I think--$895 and was shorter than the Vera coat. It comes in a variety of plain thick wools like Fedosia and has a double breasted front and dolman sleeves with button detailing. It is pretty but I didn't dare to try it as I was already carrying the other coat around as though it were mine--not that I needed a coat on such a beautiful sunny day with temperatures well into the 80s.

I think there is another coat that was also 3/4 in length but have no memory of the details. I think it was also more than the Vera, but I could be hallucinating.

The other items of clothing that have yet to be mentioned are the leather pants with a frill detail that were around $900, leather shorts (same detailing as the pants) for around $560, and a black wool skirt. The skirt was very Mayle--fairly narrow cut, to around the knee, high waisted with some button detailing. I think it was just under $400 but it wasn't something I needed and it looked too narrow for my body. It was a nice skirt but not an obvious show-stopper so I imagine that accounts for it getting little coverage--and black is, of course, very tough to photograph. There were also two different t-shirts--white with the pop up design printed in black, pink and yellow. At $65 (I think) these weren't cheap and I am not really a printed t-shirt person. I think they also had unfinished wide necks but I could be wrong.

Including the lace romper and the dress that hadn't yet made it into the shop, there were 16-18 items of clothing either in store or on the lookbook. I imagine there are a couple more surprises left but probably not many more.

Onto accessories. There will be three ankle boots--one you have likely seen with buckles and straps, another flat plain boot and a higher heeled plain ankle boot. No shoes, no clogs. I am a little disappointed as I'd hoped for shoes but I hope Jane will produce new shoes again some day. The boots will be in the $400+ range, I believe, judging from what I overheard.

There are supposedly four belts. I saw three. Marti has pictured them on her blog and you've all seen how pretty they are. I loved the one with lucite apples--it is $295, can be worn backwards or forwards and is very well made. Like all Mayle belts, it runs a little small. This is the most expensive of the three. The third belt I saw was striped and resembled one of the belts from the last holiday/resort collection.

The bags round out the collection. There are 6 styles and two canvas totes.  They are great--but a little more expensive than we're used to. The most pricey is the newest bag--the JM bag and tote. It comes in a beautiful pebbled leather, a suede in dark jewel colors, including a wonderful green, and what appears to be a thick corduroy style fabric, all with regular leather trim. Both the bag and the tote are $720 I think, slightly cheaper in fabric ($695 or so). The other bags include Billies in black, a neutral camel color, wine and some other colors, including the green suede, baby Billies (I only saw the green suede with brown leather trim but know there are other colorways), new Billies which have a short strap, a rigid handle and studs on the bottom--they also have leather and suede bodies, with suede panels on the front as well as the sides. All are really nice. The Samira fold clutch has also been reimagined as a shoulder bag with a leather strap (a brilliant addition) and a leather snap closure on the front. It is $295 and comes in a striped black corduroy-esque fabric (used for the JM bag) and the blue tweedy/denimy fabric used for the cropped jacket. Canvas totes are $35 I believe. According to the poster, there will also be lace pouches.

All in all, this makes around 30-32 items, depending on how you count the canvas totes and t-shirts and whether or not I'm imagining the extra coat and top. It looks like there will be just a few new pieces--and other than the dress that's missing and the pouchettes, I didn't notice anything else on the lookbook to cue me into thinking that there are other major deliveries in store. Still, promotions promise the last week of the three will deliver the coat of your dreams--which may mean something else is afoot. We will only know when it is over, I guess.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Super tired

This week has been extremely busy, capped off with an MA defense this week. I couldn't even make it to the Mayle pop-up until today. But once I have rested a little, I will give a more comprehensive recap of my visit to 71st Street and my thoughts on the new collection.

Mayle Pop-Up

I visited the Mayle pop-up today with Caroline and bought a Vera coat. This is the coat featured in the poster, although the one I got was in a black tweed which is softer and draped far better. This coat runs big and is supposed to be oversized, or so I gather. But I got the size 4--I am usually an 8--as it seemed to fit a little better than the 6, although I am not sure there was that much difference in sizing.

It looks a lot like a coat from the mid-early 60s. It has a great half belt at the back and rolled sleeves (elements of Belda are also present). It felt so me that I knew I had to take it home. Quality appears comparable to older Mayle, maybe slightly less fine tailoring but not much difference.

The tie-neck dresses were not for me and I've never been one for elasticated waist tops so I'm hoping that the Alexa Chung black dress is still at Madwell.

 A full report of the pop-up will follow--the belts and bags are amazing, at least two of the coats are really great and there are some pretty blouses. Quality varies--some is better than Ten Little Indians, some comparable and other pieces not as well made. The leather pieces are beautiful. Jane also has a plain jacket/blazer which comes in multiple colorways and may be a good staple--it is reasonably priced at about $350.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Whither Mayle?

It's not disturbing my concentration, but on a quick break from writing this chapter, I checked my email as I know the pop-up is supposed to open soon--with Sigerson having their Mayle room open this week. I've heard nothing and a google search brings up no more info. No poster/lookbook has arrived in the mail and there is nothing on the website. As I am so busy with teaching and writing this chapter, not to mention an MA defence and meetings galore this week, I actually hope the pop-up is late, that stock is plentiful and reasonably priced, so I can spend this week in the trenches and maybe buy something as a reward for getting my work done.

The Sick Kitten

We had an update on Remy's condition after she went to the specialist. She doesn't have TB (as I suspected), nor even leprosy but she does have a nasty bacterial infection. Thank you for all your well wishes. It looks like she will be fine but she needs to take her medicine. That's the rub. We waited up until around midnight for a delivery of three specialist medications from the vet but Remy will not take them. She has to be pilled twice a day and given two liquid antibiotics--and she refuses to cooperate. I have experience pilling a very sick cat (dear Lupin) in the past, and as feisty as she was (one broken cat piller, liquid antibiotics spat onto the wall, pills hidden under her tongue), Remy is far worse. We spent about an hour with her wrapped in a towel and that didn't work. Last night, I thought I got a pill into her, but she hid it by her teeth. So we're hoping a compounding pharmacy can rejig the meds so they are palatable to her. We're both completely swamped with work--to the point where neither of us has a day off, or even more than a couple of evenings off, per week so the little time we have spare is not enough to pill her. She is also supposed to have a powder mixed into her food to offset the effects of the antibiotics on her digestive tract, but this makes her refuse the food and go after Blue's dinner. As she's not taking her antibiotics either, I guess it doesn't matter.

Anyway, I wish she was as obedient as the tabby in one of my favorite very early films--George Albert Smith's The Sick Kitten (1903) which features a very early close up as an attraction, something Smith tried a couple of years earlier (with another Smith family cat) in Grandma's Reading Glass. Here it is in all its 35 second glory:


Saturday, September 18, 2010


Yesterday evening, after three days of solid teaching (and very little else, except insufficient sleep), I decided to check out the Alexa Chung for Madewell collection--or at least, what remained in store. I presumed Evan would be in Long Island with his family for Yom Kippur so rather than rushing home to the cats, I thought it was a good chance to sneak in a little window shopping.

Earlier in the day, I'd actually thought about shopping and what I really need vs what I want for the future. I'm trying to save--owning property at some point is important and I would prefer a house to an apartment so I didn't have to deal with neighbors waking up earlier than me and running around above my bed. And children are also a priority--so do I need yet another black dress?

Of course, it's easier to have willpower right now with the new Mayle collection about to be unveiled. Will I be able to afford any of it? What pieces should I go for (a patterned dress is my top priority, and I'd also like a dress with sleeves, should one exist)? It's tough to plan when you don't know what will be available and have even less idea of the price. Buying one item may be it, realistically speaking, especially with the other life goals I've set myself. But if the dresses are over $800, I may just be window shopping. Part of me wishes this wasn't happening, eager as I am to see it all.

Back to Madewell. I tried on the black velvet dress I loved. It is soft, lovely on but the length wasn't my favorite--an inch longer of shorter would be more flattering on my legs, but maybe with tights it would have been perfect. I decided to get it--it has sleeves, it fits my style, and even though I have misgivings that it would be immediately recognizable, I decided to go for it.

That was until I went to pay. Madewell are not offering the educator discount for this collection. With tax, the $178 dress would be nearly $200. So I showed some steel and passed. Maybe if I'd seen what Mayle had in store it would have been easier to pass, or easier to splurge. But I'm trying not to buy just because I love an item and I can. For the record, the quality was pretty good on all pieces. But somehow not getting the 15% discount made it cross the line. I don't necessarily consider the collection overpriced, but when you factor in NYC tax at nearly 9% it isn't cheap, and maybe is more expensive than it should be.

I'm still thinking about the dress, still half tempted to call the store and I know it has sold out online. But discipline builds character, right? And I have a lot of black dresses from Mayle and Lyell already. Just because I love something I shouldn't have to buy it, right?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Burst Pipe

Yesterday I was busy writing when I heard a light tapping. It had just rained earlier so I presumed it was more of the same. After a while, the sounds appeared more persistent so I went into the kitchen and bathroom to see if there was a dripping tap. The kitchen was fine, but when I went into the bathroom, it appeared that a bath tap was leaking--until I looked up and saw several major leaks in the ceiling, water all over the floor, my lovely shower curtain drenched and pieces of plaster melting away from the ceiling.

Evidently there is a burst pipe in the building--our downstairs neighbors have the same problem and, for once, it doesn't appear that our upstairs neighbors are the culprits (they tend not to put their shower curtain in the shower). Fortunately, the mess is contained to the bathroom but it's yet another thing I could do without at the beginning of the semester.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


We got some bad news yesterday that distracted us from the stress of the early semester. Evan took Remy to the vet last week because (we thought) she had some cuts resulting from (what we assumed) was a fight with Blue. These were incurred in May, had healed and then opened up again, possibly as a result of Remy licking them after the heat and humidity had irritated her skin. This hypothesis had always seemed problematic, not least because Blue is a sweetheart, even if he has his feisty moments. He may look like he wants a tussle, but he's never hurt Peeps and generally just enjoys a chase and tumble, like most young tomcats.

It turned out that poor Blue was indeed wrongfully accused. The results from tests came back yesterday. Remy's cuts are not cuts but a bacterial infection--possibly (best case) feline leprosy, which is (fortunately) not contagious and doesn't cross over to humans. It's also possible she has feline TB, a far worse diagnosis (prognosis is always guarded even if treatment is successful). It can also be contagious although many cats have a natural immunity (I hope my dear Peeps and Blue are OK). Obviously, it's very stressful for us, particularly poor Evan. She's an indoor cat who only eats Wellness soft food and has never been exposed to cattle or unpasteurised milk so it's somewhat of a mystery how she contracted this very rare condition. It is possible that the mouse she caught (and ate) two years ago is the culprit. Whatever the case is, she's off to the feline dermatologist at the feline hospital on the Upper East Side where, exactly two years ago, she was admitted for treatment of hepatic lipidosis--the illness that Evan's dutiful care helped cure (along with the $6,000+ in vet bills). She may need surgery and certainly she's going to have some heavy duty medical treatments. I am hoping for the best and trying to keep Evan's morale high. It's strange when you hope it's leprosy that's afflicted your cat--it is also slightly less rare than feline TB.

So here's to our chubby green-eyed girl. She's a fighting 19 lb-er and as sweet and feisty as they come. I so hope she is able to recover and that the next few weeks aren't too tough on her or her family of humans and fellow cats.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


If this is how the beginning of the semester feels, I don't know how I'm going to feel at the end. I'm teaching an overload--and tomorrow have no time off between 10 am-6.10 p.m. I just got home and am finishing the syllabus for the second class I teach tomorrow. I don't have time to xerox it in school so I have to print it out at home tonight. I just got in and have to eat.

It was cool today (and with the a/c at NYU, positively frigid). I wore my monogram clogs, a pair of toothpick J. Crew cords in an almost identical color and a loose ivory and grey patterned silk Club Monaco shirt and a boyfriend cashmere cardi in light brown. It wasn't the summery start to the semester I'd expected!

Alyssa and I may be going to Fashion's Night Out tomorrow--that is, if I am still awake at 6.10! I think I need to go to Madewell just in case any of the Alexa Chung sneaked in early. Still, if there is nothing I want, that's more for Mayle...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lace Rompers!

I've been INSANELY busy today--just about to eat dinner and then go to bed. I had to finish two syllabi--easier said than done when they are new classes and not conventional ones at that. One is Media and Fashion--fun but not a doddle as it isn't really an established field.

Anyway, I got the email about the Mayle pop-up just now and am salivating over the idea of lace rompers and silk patterned dresses. My poor bank account.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More Mayle for Sale

Up this time is a blue cotton Araceli dress. This is size 6, worn once, briefly in the house, and is in like new condition. It is from SS 08 and was Jane's update of the legendary Elvira. It was also not photographed for the look book and is one of the more coveted pieces from that collection. Measurements are 17" bust, 14.5" waist, 19-20 hip (all flat across) and 35" length from top of shoulder. I will be posting this dress on ebay tomorrow so email me if you are interested.

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Leo Dress

I bought the pale blue Leo dress from Vain and Vapid for the summer and it is one of my favorites. Pretty and cool on hot days (at least relatively speaking), it's also something I plan to wear with dark tights, a camisole, cardigan and boots this fall. If I didn't already own it, I'd be tempted by the fall version which will be available from the Vain and Vapid shop today.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sort of Ready...

Other than going to yoga, I spent most of this beautiful sunny day inside constructing the syllabus for my grad class on the woman's picture. Perhaps it's because this does overlap with the new book project (on femininity and popular film/TV), I've spent ages on the reading. The students have three assigned text but the scholarship on woman's films is so dated--largely petering out in the early 1990s after a major paradigm shift in the field. I'm trying to have a mix of conceptual, historical, theoretical and textual studies, complete with some reception and institutional work. Alas, some areas are scantily covered at best. I've put 11 articles up on Blackboard and the syllabus really leans heavily on my reaearch--as yet in progress. It's going to help me cover some corners but I'd love to reteach this when the book is out so the gaps won't be quite as obvious--to me, at any rate.

Tomorrow, I just have to chose films. Some are already in there--films like The Group, Valley of the Dolls and The Best of Everything that are at the core of the chapter I'm currently writing.

Valley of the Dolls

Others are impossible to pick--how do you just cut a whole area down to one screening and a few clips? I'm starting with The Women. Nothing could be more perfect, right? Especially with its Technicolor fashion show (below).

Now time for Mad Men. My favorite show and it certainly is almost too perfect for my book, and my long-held love of the early and mid-1960s.

Barneys Warehouse Sale

As is our custom, Evan and I always hit Barneys Warehouse sale in its final days when the markdowns are high but the girls' pieces often very picked over. The men's floor is generally in much better shape--the racks are somewhat more organized, the merchandise doesn't have tears or pulls, and there is a lot more room. I'm not sure if this has something to do with the consumers or the retailer (Barneys was, of course, originally a man's store), but it makes me somewhat wistful when I head downstairs and see a well-stocked arrangement of near-pristine clothing.

I wasn't after anything in particular. I'd hoped that they might have some boots but nothing in my size (40-40 1/2) was wearable. Some pretty heels but at 5+ inches, they were more ornamental than anything else. I'd hoped to find some dresses, maybe Jeffrey Monteiro, Phillip Lim or some cheap Marni, but that was not to be. I saw one beaten up Phillip Lim dress, two old and worn out looking JM dresses and a few tops, but even had they been in my size, I wouldn't have wanted any of it. I did snag one thing--a blue and white Acne shirt--which was just $23. I would have dug deeper into the jeans pile (after the markdown, they were all around $20) but there was so little in my size and you really need a mirror to buy jeans and I couldn't face jostling with 20 or so other girls to get a glimpse of my reflection.

Evan had more luck. Two pairs of pants, a linen shirt and a blue Aretha Franklin t-shirt (which seemed to be his favorite find)--all for $49. All in all, we did pretty well. Not as good as the JM red slouch dress and purple Phillip Lim dress I got for less than $150 combined last time, but we're happy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

96 degrees on September 1

All I need to say, really. Where did the year go?

Got it in.

Not only is it the run up to the semester starting (writing syllabi, meetings, etc--in other words no free time) but our annual conference paper call deadline was today. I got up, reread the proposal I and made a few changes and got it in by 11. Now I'm going into school. So much work to do that I'm even forgetting about Mayle's pop-up (temporarily, of course).