New York State of Mind

The Man Repeller, a celebrity blogger spotted in New York City

If you follow fashion, you’ve heard of New York’s Fashion Week. It has star-studded, fabulous runway shows, celebrities who want to see and be seen, and it’s great for a retail buyer who has an extra week on her hands.

But Fashion Week is not for buyers who need to select fashions for their stores. Half of the fantastical designs on the runway are never produced. They are too unrealistic and unwearable.

Instead, those pieces set the tone for the designer’s collection. After the runway show, designers adapt and pare down their collections to saleable items.

Those of us who work for a living descend on New York the week after Fashion Week. We go to see new spring collections – for real, not for show – and attend the Fashion Coterie, a trade show with more than 1,600 different designers and lines.

New York is always its most chaotic during our September trip. The United Nations is in session, and takes all the hotel rooms. And President Obama apparently wants to be in New York at the same time I am each September. His Sept. 18 visit blocked streets and snarkled traffic.

To escape this chaos, we stay at a great hotel by the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, which is serene compared to the rest of the city. The area exudes dignity and a respect for life, a welcome change at the end of each day.

What is the Fashion Coterie? The dictionary says a coterie is a small group with shared interests or tastes, and is exclusive of other people.

Indeed, the fashion industry thrives on exclusivity. Many designers and lines scrutinize a store before they give the merchant permission to carry their precious products. They want to see photos of your store. They want to know if you carry the correct blend of other designers.

The Coterie, which began as a small show at the Plaza Hotel, is now held in New York’s massive Jacob Javits Convention Center and features designers and buyers from around the world – Barcelona, Miami, Milan, Munich and Istanbul.

Some people might think we fashion buyers spend our time in New York’s fashion district, around Seventh Avenue from 34th to 42nd streets. In the past, a designer had a showroom in front and manufacturing and shipping in the back. Showrooms still occupy the Fashion District, but they’re just a part of the fashion industry. Cool designers wants to be in the Meat Packing District, SoHo or in a modern mid-town high rise, the funkier the better. Rundown buildings are popular.

We just got back from the Coterie Show and I’m processing what we saw. I did notice a few interesting trends for spring:

• Stores were capitalizing on fall’s successful trends, adding to selections of cowl neck tops and dresses, Missoni-esque zigzags and contemporary tops that appeal to a broad audience.

• Spring fashions will continue to be colorful, but the color palette is softening. Mint will be huge, neons are the counter balance.

• Patterned everything is in. Now solid color jeans and bottoms are in, the trend is moving to print bottoms – floral, graphics, mixed up collages and optical illusions.

• Peplums are emerging as a popular silhouette in dresses and tops.

• “Made in USA” labels are showing more in garments and are becoming more sought-after.

Celebrity sightings are popular at the Coterie. Tres Mariposas’ contemporary buyer Gesuina Legaspy was beside herself when she sighted The Man Repeller.

In case you’re not up on blogging celebrities, The Man Repeller is a successful and quirky blog by Leandra Medine about trends that women love and men hate. It has a huge following and is a celebrity for fashionistas.

FEMAP gala – What to wear

Three sparkly, gala-appropriate gowns


The FEMAP Foundation, as you may know, is one of our region’s most important charitable organizations, helping thousands of people living in abject poverty.

To help fund their good works, they host one of our area’s major parties, the Friends of FEMAP International Gala. Each year this event has grown in attendance and significance; the seventh annual gala will be this Friday, Sept. 28, at the Civic Center.

I have been a serious supporter of FEMAP – Federacion Mexicana de Asociaciones Privadas – since I visited the organization’s hospital in Juárez about 10 years ago. I was amazed at the quality and quantity of medical services provided with miniscule resources. Truly, I was astonished.

Since then FEMAP has expanded and focused on economic as well as public health concerns of the U.S.-Mexico border region. Well-known community leaders involved in FEMAP include Guadalupe de la Vega, Adair Margo and Dr. Jack Heydeman, as well as Mary Ann Dodson. It was Mary Ann who took me and five other women to Juárez in her famous vintage station wagon.

It was a girls’ day-out road trip with all the appropriate laughs on the way over. I came back humbled by the extraordinary dedication and results that I had witnessed.

The FEMAP gala is an opportunity to pull out all the stops, look like a princess, and remind yourself of your inner and outer beauty and glamour.

Tickets are still available. Visit or call Anna Aleman, executive director of the FEMAP Foundation, at (915) 544-4151.

This gala is a Venetian Masquerade theme, and the exquisite invitation states “formal attire.” Anna tells me that every year she hears from many women wondering what to wear. Well, here is the scoop.

Either cocktail length or long ball gowns are appropriate. Both are in fashion now, so choose the length that makes you feel the most fabulous. You can find some fabulous short, flirty, and glamorous dresses in El Paso stores this season – shop around this week and try some on. Long, of course, is always safe and very dressed-up.

Either way, remember that one of this year’s top fashion trends is the return of lace and illusion – sheer fabrics used to keep a dress modest, but not necessarily all covered up. For instance, think of black lace over nude-colored fabric – it’s not as heavy as solid black and it can look very sexy without being immodest.

The best evening dress colors are nude, rich Bordeaux red, chocolate browns, emerald greens and sapphire blues.

You aren’t likely to feel like Cinderella at the ball in that tired old dress in the back of your closet that you drag out every year. So get out there and pick out something new that makes you feel like a million bucks.

The dress is just the start. Here are some tips for feeling over-the-top beautiful this Friday night:

• Impeccable fit. Have your dress fitted by a professional. Truly, this is one of the keys that make celebrities look a cut above. You should do it, too.

• Elegant shoes. Wear something strappy and feminine in platinum, silver, titanium or nude. You may want an evening shoe with a platform that gives you height, but still has the comfort for dancing.

• Makeup. Few of us are really pros at applying our cosmetics, so make an appointment with a professional makeup artist. You will be shocked at how beautiful you really are in the hands of an expert.

• Fresh manicure and pedicure. You may want to add a little sparkle or experiment with a daring new color.

• Jewelry. You may have the perfect jewelry in your vault. If not, add glitz and glamour. Focus on lots of layered bracelets and stunning flamboyant earrings. At Tres Mariposas, we just received some gorgeous evening pieces in well-priced costume jewelry from designer BeJe. You might want to take a look.

• Spanx. Even skinny girls like the confidence boost of a foundation garment’s smooth line.

• Host a pre-party. Invite a small group to your house for a get-together before the gala. Share the excitement of the evening with a few of your favorite people.

• Limousine. Hiring a car service is another way to make the evening elegant. Have the limo pick everyone up at your pre-party. You’ll have a built-in designated driver for the trip home.

• Plan ahead. Line up a reliable babysitter, so you won’t have to panic at the last minute. A few smart women I know also have “Plan B” for child care on a special night like this, just in case.

You will be ready to treat yourself to a beautiful evening in support of a beautiful cause!

Your fashion style: the zodiac knows

Nan Napier

Which of the fabulous exciting new fashion trends is a must-have for you? Just look to the stars for the answer!

Even if astrology is for entertainment only, it’s always fun to think about what styles would complement which personalities.

And this fall, with so many flattering and fresh new trends, we have no shortage of great looks to choose from. Let’s start with this month’s birthday girls:


Aug. 23 – Sept. 22

Satisfy your practical side and your penchant for quality with a tote bag in luxurious leather. Go wild with something in emerald, ruby or bright cobalt blue. Make sure your bag has plenty of detailing such as a phone pocket and zip compartments to satisfy your desire to have everything in its place.


Sept. 23 – Oct. 22

Your inner goddess loves ethereal, flowy, harmonious looks. Silk tunics or blouses in moderate, balanced colors of greens and blues will suit you perfectly. Or try another fashion-forward look – the flowy black blouse with an open, slit sleeve.


Oct. 23 – Nov. 21

You may be charming and sociable, but you also have a sensitive side. Protect that aspect of you in fashionable armor: the color black. Make it interesting with details such as black leather trims or illusion lace.


Nov. 22 – Dec. 21

Confidence is your signature. Put some more bounce in your step with bold boots. Choose this season’s over-the-knee style or ankle boots with swagger.


Dec. 22 – Jan. 29

Statement jewelry is fitting for the authoritarian Capricorn. Load up on plenty of arm candy in the form of multiple bangles. Bright and shiny gold will command the attention that you handle so naturally.


Jan. 20 – Feb. 18

You seek the unusual in fashion. You can be surprising or shocking, but never dull. Now is the time for a fun fur in mandarin orange.


Feb. 19 – March 20

Fashionwise, your clothes are usually light and comfortable, which are perfect for the travel on your horizon. Choose soft and cozy cashmere cardigans in any of this fall’s rich jewel tones, such as amethyst or sapphire.


March 21 – April 19

Your natural desire for simplicity does not need to be boring. Sexy black riding boots would be a smart choice to seamlessly transition you from work to play – perfect for what could be a very fun and social fall.


April 20 – May 20

Everyone knows how you love to spend money on clothes. Invest in quality instead of frittering your dollars away on too many fleeting items. Invest in a luxurious cape – and if it’s reversible, you will double your options.


May 21 – June 20

Celebrate this year’s fortune with your good luck color – yellow. Try a “pop” of the canary hue in a mustard jacket or coat to get noticed! We’re seeing lots of great accessories in your color, too.


June 21 – July 22

Fall for a Cancer always means a cozy vibe. Be ready for fall football games and get-togethers with something warm and luxurious. This season invest in a cape in 100-percent cashmere wool or fur.


July 23 – Aug. 22

This year gives you the star-studded life you’ve been waiting for! Don’t be shy; feel free to garner some admiring glances with a new studded trim Valentino handbag. Carry it with the regal attitude that only you can naturally exude.

Fall’s here – What’s in and what’s out

A mustard yellow top

Does anyone still care about the prohibition of white shoes after Labor Day? I’ve read online chatter claiming it’s nonsense. Some say you can wear white shoes all year long.

Well, I say there’s a reason that people like to change their attire seasonally and wear autumn tone colors in the fall.

Enjoying the change of seasons is a good thing. Even when temperature shifts aren’t dramatic, the sequence of seasons puts an order to a year, relieves the sameness of the months and makes for enjoyable change.

Throughout the ages, poets and romantics have eloquently spoken to the beauty of changing seasons. Seasons tie us to the world of nature, even for the most die-hard, indoor-living urban dwellers. Seasons carry us through our celebrations, traditions and even our moods.

So, yes, you certainly can wear white shoes any time you want. I’m all for eliminating rules. But if you want to be in sync with the natural order of things – children back to school, sunny vacations ending, football season starting – then you definitely want to transition your closet this week and change what you are wearing.

I don’t know why there’s such a dither over white shoes. I, for one, don’t own a pair. In my book, solid white shoes are for brides and nurses – and maybe the beach. While nude shoes are today’s neutral du jour, who can predict down the road?

White shoes may become a fashion must-have in years to come. Heaven only knows stranger things have happened in fashion.

I may not have white shoes to put away, but I do have some white garments and accessories that need to take a back seat until next Memorial Day. Here’s a rundown of what you can put away and what you should wear at this time of year. If you don’t have some of this season’s must-haves, start shopping, my friends!

Put in back of closet

• White shoes, if you own any

• White pants, white skirts, white dresses, white accessories

• Tropical prints, summery florals, beach motif fabrics

• Spaghetti-strap or halter-style maxi dresses

• Accessories and tops in pastels and summery brights

• All light-colored linen outfits

• Straw handbags

• Flip flops, except for gardening

For the front of closet

• White cotton shirts. The exception to the rule, along with your tennis whites, of course!

• Twinsets. A sweater and layering shell underneath is practical, polished and looks good whether paired with jeans or business attire.

• Jewel-toned scarf to transition sleeveless dresses in black or fall colors

• Maxi dresses in grey heather, dark plum or deep cobalt blue

• Gem-colored jeans – ruby, amethyst, sapphire

• Luxe, sophisticated, print silk blouses

• Accessories and tops in sapphire, wine, deep emerald, mustard yellow, inky blue, grape, deep teal and russet

While you are sorting through your closet and clearing out clothes to make room for this season’s top trends, you are sure to find things you no longer plan to wear.

Clothing in good condition can be donated to women who would love a nice outfit to wear to work or to job interviews.

Tres Mariposas continues to be a drop-off site for clothing, shoes and accessories to be delivered to the YWCA Women’s Transitional Living Center.

Nan Napier: Think global, party local at big fashion event

A mega-shopping bag promotes Fashion’s Night Out.

Join the celebration this Thursday, Sept. 6, at fashion boutiques on the Westside.

Or jump on a plane and celebrate in New York, Paris, Tokyo or Milan.

That’s the night that stars, models, fashionistas and designers will be hopping and shopping around the world, and you can, too, right here in El Paso.

The fashion world’s most iconic extravaganza, Fashion’s Night Out, is only in its fourth year. Created in 2009 by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and other industry leaders to celebrate fashion and boost consumer confidence in New York City during the recession, this business-friendly event has become an annual red carpet night of special retail initiatives.

In New York, Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger will host a fashion trivia game at Macy’s flagship store. Kim Kardashian will be at Lord & Taylor to meet fans and promote her True Reflection fragrance.

In London, more than 400 London fashion retailers will join the celebration. Paris is taking Fashion’s Night Out to the streets this year, specifically Rue Satin-Honore, home to many, many boutiques including Collette, Gucci, Hermes, Lanvin and Longchamp.

In El Paso, Fashion’s Night Out promises to be even bigger and better than before. At press time, these stores are planning to participate, and there may be more: Ella Blu, j. luxe, Nono’s, Tres Mariposas, Ruby Lola, Versailles and tentative at press time, Luka 7.

At Tres Mariposas, the excitement has been building for weeks. We’ve got a countdown on our website and a traffic-stopping Fashion’s Night Out shopping bag outside our doors. This 12-foot structure is generating some interesting looks from drivers on North Mesa!

I’m most excited about our special showing of vintage Chanel pieces that will be for sale that night. They are a rare treat. Other Tres Mariposas events will include demonstrations from 360 The Colour Bar Salon, and demos of the Lipsense18-hour lipstick. We’ll also have a trunk show of clothing from the hip What Goes Around Comes Around line and over-the-top hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

What Goes Around is a line founded by college friends Gerard Maione and Seth Weisser. After more than a decade spent traveling the globe in search of the finest vintage clothing and antiquities, Maione and Weisser launched their new WGACA Collection, a vintage-inspired line.

Taking it one step further, they also collect vintage Chanel pieces and they’re bringing a wonderful selection to Tres Mariposas for our special event. All their pieces are handpicked from around the globe and authenticated by their team of experts.

Take a cue from shoppers around the globe and come out and support your local fashion retailers. We can’t wait to see you Thursday night!