Donatella! The Powerful Woman Behind the Versace Brand

“If you were not running Versace, how would you be spending your time?”
“Having a nervous breakdown probably.”
-73 Questions with Donatella, Vogue

Watching Penelope Cruz play a delectable Donatella Versace on American Crime Story renews my interest in this fixture in the fashion scene. One of the sartorial greats, WSJ calls her, “an icon of survival, beloved as much for her vulnerability as for her pluckiness.”

I’m a fan of strong women in business, and while I’ve always known who she was, I didn’t know much about her work.

Rising out of tragedy, Donatella has kept her family’s fashion house relevant for 20 years. It’s a brand best known for a very distinctive point of view — loud prints, gold, Italia baby. But Donatella has made some smart fashion and public relations moves, especially with the help of celebrities.

Even though it’s not the biggest fashion house, Versace gowns grace the red carpet every season, and some of the most notable dresses in red carpet history have been Versace. Think J.Lo. in that plunging green gown (after seeing Donatella wearing it) and Angelina in black velvet showcasing her now infamous right leg.

She shines at understanding her client. “We know our insecurities” she told the New York Times. “Male designers work for an ideal woman; female designers work for real women.”

And she’s made a smart move towards more day clothes. She said, “I figured the day clothes are more important than the evening clothes. Because most of the day you are wearing ‘normal’ clothes, not long evening dresses!”

In a recent segment of Vogue’s 73 Questions, Donatella talks about the importance of technology and social media. And that the brand is pronounced Versach-eh, not Versach-ee. When asked what it means to be a woman in 2018, she says: “It means to be aware of what’s happening in the world and do something about it.”


Your Idyllic Summer in New England with KJP and Camp Foxhawk

Only recently have I stumbled across the magical world created by Kiel James Patrick and his wife Sarah Vickers, a wormhole that started by following their golden retriever Bennie on Instagram.

At once I was hooked, and sucked into a world of New England beaches, classic cars and historic mansions, dripping in Americana.

But seriously, who is this couple and how can I have their life? (They had their wedding at Christmas tree farm for goodness sake!)

For Kiel and Sarah, the journey began by selling rope bracelets out of Kiel’s parent’s garage, and has since turned into a full fledged clothing brand, online and in stores, as well as a slew of partnerships with other brands like Kate Spade and Brooks Brothers.

In the crowded and competitive market of fashion, a keen understanding of social media is key. Kiel told Huffington Post, “The strongest marketing has always been word of mouth, or trusting a friend’s advice and opinion on what they like to wear or eat. Everyone on our team and in our factory has their own fan base and you’re buying into his or her lifestyle by wearing the products we’re making. We don’t pay for advertising.”

What sets the KJP brand apart is accessibility. In a New York Times article, children’s clothing designer Noelle Daly said, “You can envision having a clambake on the beach with them. They’re romancing you with each photo.”

Even their internship program is unique, and billed as Camp Foxhawk Adventure School, which promises “sailing trips, polo matches, bonfires on the beach, tennis, canoeing, classic cars, waterskiing, soirees… the quintessential New England summer of a lifetime.” Interns will learn about “American-made manufacturing, retail, social media marketing, brand photography, and product development.” Town and Country has even recapped previous summers at the camp.

I’m hooked, though perhaps a few years too far into my professional career to apply. 😉

Jackie O and One Famous Pair of Sandals: A History


Photo from The Buggy Blog. 

“I want to live my life, not record it.”

Jackie Kennedy Onassis. What an icon. The eldest daughter of a Wall Street stock broker and socialite, a teacher described her as “a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil.” Jackie started as an inquiring photographer for the Washington Times-Herald before meeting then-Congressman John Kennedy. The rest is Camelot history. The embodiment of style many of her classic looks look just as fresh today.

The sandals she made famous seem almost like fashion folklore.  Read More

What’s the 2016 Color of the Year? It Depends on Who You Ask

Color-of-the-Year-2016-Rose-Quartz-Serenity-PinterestIn a quick Google search for the 2016 color of the year, I saw conflicting reports. It’s white, no it’s alabaster — wait no it’s rose quartz AND serenity.

Puzzling to say the least, but of course it depends on your source. With the publicity behind Pantone’s color of the year in recent years (marsala in 2015 and radiant orchid in 2014), other companies are also gaining exposure for choosing their own color to define the upcoming year. Read More

New Year’s Eve Whimsy — What to Wear to Ring in 2016

I’m a sucker for a great party dress. New Year’s Eve is one of the most fun times of the year to dress for, because why not be a little whimsical? Sequins, feathers and luxe fabrics are all totally approved to bring in the new year. And perfect for meeting Ryan Atwood at the top of the Four Seasons Newport, seconds before midnight. Let’s be real — nothing can compare to when you roll the dice and swear your love for me…

Birds of a Feather

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Left to Right: Elizabeth and James – Dania DressHoss Intropia – Feathered Mini Dress and Milly – Blair Feather Dress

Sparks Will Fly


Left to Right: Parker – Elijah Sequin DressBCBGeneration – V-Neck A-Line Dress and La Maison – Sequin Cap Sleeve Dress

Gorgeously Wrapped
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Left to Right: Bec&Bridge – Jacques DressDonna Mizani – Knot Front Midi Dress and Nasty Gal – Hells Bells Crepe Dress

Christmas in the Tropics — Dreaming of the Perfect Holiday Getaway


Albert Camus once wrote that “in the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” And as the rain pours down outside my window two days before Christmas, I certainly agree that I’m dreaming of a sunny vacation. For those of you that make it a family tradition to Christmas in, say the Bahamas, I convey my deepest jealousy. Meanwhile stateside in D.C., I’ll continue to fantasize about that perfect tropical getaway (to perhaps the Four Seasons in Nevis), with the following imaginary packaging list.

The Airport Outfit
So your bags are packed and you’re ready to go. Simplicity, and a good pair of flats, are the keys to the perfect airport outfit.

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From top: Paige Denim – Los Feliz pant, Madewell – Slub Longsleeve Crewneck Tee, Humble Chic – Globetrotter Scarf and Jeffrey Campbell – Vionnet in Black flat.

Travel Companions
There are only a few more accessories needed for your trip: a great wheelie bag you can spot in any lineup, and a chic pair of headphones to play all the Frank Sinatra Christmas tunes to your heart’s content.

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Left to right: Herschel – Navy Window Pane Campaign Luggage and Friends with Benefits – ‘Layla’ headphones.

Take Me to the Beach
You’ve landed and are ready to soak up the rays. An immediate wardrobe change to sandals and swimsuit is in order, while contemplating how Santa will find you without a chimney.

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From left to right: Palm Beach Sandals – Classic Cork/Gold, La Blanca – Caged Strap One Piece Swimsuit (check out the back on this one!) and L.L.Bean – Crescent Beach Sun Hat.

The Christmas Eve Dinner
Now you’re rested and tan (!), it’s time for a feast of the fishes in paradise. What do you wear? You’re at the beach, so a maxi (remember those from summer?) and a low heel sounds about right. I’m also really digging these trident-like earrings for an unexpected edge.


From left to right: Show Me Your Mumu – Kendall Maxi Dress, Jeffrey Campbell – Des Moines Sandal and Luv AJ – The Barbell Earjacket.

Christmas Morning
As you gather around the holiday palm trees and you share gifts, and perhaps mimosas, you’ll add a dash of whimsy with a caftan and some oversize sunglasses.


From left to right: Conde Nast – On Duty Beach Towel, Lilly Pulitzer – Sydney Caftan Dress and Native Eyewear – Perazzo.

So no matter whether you’re in a tropical paradise or spending time at home, here’s to a happy holiday and fantastic new year!