In honor of the holiday season, I asked a few of my favorite tastemakers to share their best holiday gifts (both given and received). Their answers may surprise you.

Tastemakers Talk Best Gifts Given & Received

 

CHRISTINA CALDWELL, Online Director, W magazine
“My favorite gifts are always the sentimental ones – my father engraving his vintage Rolex for me, the blanket a friend knitted for the birth of my son, and a very simple gold star necklace from my mom that was the first present my father gave her 35 years ago.”

NEIL BLUMENTHAL, Warby Parker
“Do genetic gifts count? I endowed my teething two-year-old son, Griffin, with a love of Philly-style hard pretzels. Best gift received? Easy. Optimus Prime Transformer when I was eight years old. I’d just seen the animated movie the day before, so I was primed for maximum gift impact.”
Continue reading “Tastemakers Talk: Best Gifts Given & Received” »

December 21, 2012

 

The Rue holiday party is fast approaching, and the entire office is abuzz with one seemingly simple question: What are you wearing? But – as any girl can tell you – that question is most definitely not simple. Finding that perfect dress is far easier said than done.

Unless, of course, you have the help of, say… a couture designer. Like Georgina Chapman of Marchesa.

That’s right. We’ve teamed up with luxury charity auction site Charitybuzz – which has raised more than $65 million for nonprofits worldwide by auctioning exclusive access to the world’s biggest celebs and brands – to offer a fashion lover’s dream experience: an intimate shopping and styling experience with Georgina herself.

Included? A dress from Marchesa’s line (which Georgina will oh-so-expertly style), a custom fitting with an in-house seamstress, dress delivery, and more.

Finding that perfect dress is suddenly yesterday’s news. And better yet, net proceeds benefit Rose Children’s Home in Delhi, India, a charity which provides a long-term, safe haven – as well as education, healthcare, and livelihood skills – to abandoned and vulnerable girls under the age of 18.

Now, that is glamour you can feel good about.

Personal Styling by Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman opens Monday, December 10, at 11AM ET.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

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December 10, 2012

Alvin Valley was crowned “The King of Pants” by Women’s Wear Daily in the mid-nineties thanks to his amazing trousers – beloved by women of all ages and sizes. The designer lost his business a decade later and took a hiatus, returning to the fashion fold earlier this year after buying back the rights to his name and relaunching his newly reconfigured line of pants for Fall 2012 as an online-only venture. I recently stopped by Alvin’s Garment District headquarters to get the lowdown on his typical day at work and the secret to his beautifully cut trousers.
Continue reading “At Work with Alvin Valley” »

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November 23, 2012

 

Tory Burch “Alice” Nylon HoboFrom the rich navy nylon exterior and gleaming black accents to the roomy interior and space-saving compartments, this handbag has “gift for Mom” written all over it. All that’s left? Stuffing it with a few of her favorites (like a new planner for all her organizing tendencies).

The Get Gifty: Our Holiday Gift Shop Boutique is now open.

 

November 14, 2012

Dinner with Nima

I’ve known designer Nima Taherzadeh since he was knee-high to a grasshopper, as they like to say. OK, slight exaggeration. But the first time we met was back in 2006, when Nima was a senior at Parsons and I was on the senior thesis panel (an annual event during which industry experts come in to review and critique the work of Parsons’ graduating class).

I was instantly struck by the maturity of his designs – Nima specializes in feminine, elegant cuts with a decidedly modern twist – and by the fact that he produced a full range of shoes and bags (really, really good shoes and bags) to accessorize his thesis collection. And I wasn’t the only one impressed. Within months of graduating, Nima’s collection was hanging on the racks at Saks Fifth Avenue. Not bad for a fashion world newbie.
Continue reading “Dinner with Nima T.” »

August 8, 2011

Rachel RoyWildly chic and completely on the pulse of women’s sartorial cravings, Rachel Roy is a force to be reckoned with. The New York-based designer has made quite a name for herself in the fashion world, turning out collection after collection of strong, incredibly wearable pieces. Here, we sat down with the fashion favorite for a few questions.

Rue La La: We imagine you were born stylish. Tell us how you got your start in fashion.
Rachel: I had wanted to be a designer since I was 8 years old. While back-to-school shopping, I realized that I wasn’t happy with the selection I had to choose from and decided to do something about it myself. My first job was in retail at the age of 14, and I’ve worked in the industry ever since. When I moved on to the more behind-the-scenes side in licensing, I got a firm understanding of the business side of fashion which helped me to build the foundation to eventually start my own company.

Rue La La: You always look so put-together. Do you have any guiding rules for your personal style?
Rachel: I love mixing things – hard and soft, masculine and feminine. I mix prints, colors, and textures and take risks by trying new things. My style tends to lean toward the classic side, but there is always a twist. If I have a simple, feminine dress on then I will wear a strong statement piece of jewelry to balance it out.
Continue reading “Five-Minute Pow-Wow: Rachel Roy” »

August 3, 2011

David Leaser

Two things we love: bright, bold flowers and exquisite, museum-quality art. So we were more than thrilled to sit down with artist David Leaser whose innovative techniques produce museum archive quality pieces and bring a whole new (wildly detailed) life to flowers.

Rue La La: In our Rue Style Report: Brights For The Home Boutique, we’re featuring your limited-edition dramatic botanicals. What’s the background for these pieces?
David: I had just finished work on the book, “Tropical Gardens of Hawaii,” and was visiting the Huntington Library and museum in California. They were exhibiting a collection of artwork from Frederic Church, one of my favorite painters from the 19th century. Many of the works featured his trip to the Amazon and Andes in Ecuador. When I left the exhibit, I started thinking, “Maybe I should go to South America and retrace Frederic Church’s footsteps.”

Rue La La: And did you actually go?
David: I hopped on a plane and went to Ecuador. When I was deep in the Amazon, I started taking primitive photos of the small flowers on the floor of the rainforest. I was struck by these little ecosystems. When I came back to Los Angeles, I tried to recreate this “bees-eye” view. After a lot of trial and error, I was able to perfect my craft to create highly detailed images.
Continue reading “Five-Minute Pow-Wow: David Leaser Talks Flowers & Art” »

July 19, 2011

We love packing our beach bags with cheap novels, stacks of magazines, and the literary gems we’ve been meaning to finish. We checked in with some of our favorite designers, bloggers, and style authorities to see what they’ll be toting to the shore this summer to get some inspiration for passing along. Our personal reading recommendation:

1. Pick your own favorite summer reads (or take a suggestion from below!).
2. Print out bookmarks for all your friends.
3. Tuck a bookmark into every beach read you pass along this summer.

Who: Ben Busko, of Ben’s Garden
What: The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, Rainmaking Conversations by Mike Schultz, and House Beautiful and Martha Stewart magazines
Why: “My summer reading plans will be sure to include late afternoons by the oceanside, hopefully sipping mojitos, and listening to the whisper of the ocean as I dive into my latest favorites. To keep on point at work my Ben’s Garden employee book club is reading, chapter by chapter, Rainmaking Conversations; I enjoy discussing points of interest with everyone every Monday. Somewhere in my beach bag, and before the sun sets I would also be sure to get to my essential magazine reads.”
Continue reading “A Good Read: Rue’s Summer Reading List” »

July 1, 2011

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE STAR SHOE DESIGNER

Beverly Feldman

Just dripping with rhinestones and festooned with floral embellishments, Beverly Feldman designs footwear that whisks us off our feet. Needless to say, we were beyond excited to chat personal style with the designer.

Rue La La: You’re a bold and confident woman with a very definitive sense of style. What advice do you have to offer other women looking to formulate their own personal style?
Beverly: You need creativity to have personal style. Personal style is the same as package design. You are the package. It is how you choose to present yourself to the world. I decided when I was very young I wanted to be a “star” so I started to dress like one. And voilà, people began to think of me in star terms. All of my outfits were and still are memorable.

Rue La La: Why shoes?
Beverly: I always loved shoes from the age of ten. And the cutest boys worked at our local shoe store. There will forever be a connection between shoes and sex, from both sides.
Continue reading “Five-Minute Pow-Wow: Beverly Feldman Schools Us on How to Shine” »

June 8, 2011

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE BUZZED-ABOUT MENSWEAR DESIGNER

scott james

We love the fruit-hued style of menswear guru Scott James – so much so that we wanted to give Members an inside peek at the amazing color-on-color styling that he’s known for. (Check out the behind-the-scenes pictures from our photo shoot above!) We turned to the designer himself for his take on how to pull off these fresh spring combinations.

Rue La La: Your looks are all about color stories. Can you give us a few pointers for carrying off bright hues?
Scott: If you’re new to trying bright colors, start with one item –  like an orange shirt under a navy blazer. As a rule, try not to wear brights on both the top and bottom. Instead, pair a bright shirt with denim, khakis, or grey trousers – I love the Julian Stone Trouser or the Isaac in navy. It’s okay to layer brights on top though. A purple shirt and a tonal purple sweater make for a cool, monochromatic take on brights.

Rue La La: What’s your favorite color combination of the moment?
Scott: For Spring 2012 (already!), we have a soft grey with a soft orange that really looks great together. A few years ago, I was in a bathroom at the Airport in Turkey and saw the most amazing tiles of grey and orange. I photographed them, saved the picture, and have been waiting for just the right moment to use this color combination.
Continue reading “Five-Minute Pow-Wow: Scott James on Color, Style, and Global Inspiration” »

April 18, 2011
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