Heidi Dillon Blog

Haute Thoughts by Heidi Dillon: The Hanger Project

Please excuse the old movie cliche, but, ladies please, no more wire hangers! Let’s face it, we all spend a fortune on our beloved wardrobes, so doesn’t it make sense to spend a little extra to take care of them? Though I live in a rather large modern home and am well-known for my insatiable appetite for apparel, my closet space is pathetic. Large closets, as it turns out, are not part of the modernist aesthetic, nor were they part of my husband’s budget. He mistakenly thought that if the closets were small, I would purchase fewer clothes. It gets even worse. I actually share a closet in the master bedroom with my husband. This arrangement is frequently awkward because it is difficult to conceal recent acquisitions and my husband has developed an eagle eye for what’s new and what’s not. (My definition of “new” is something that is still in the store. The minute it is hung in your closet, you can technically answer “no” when your husband asks you “is that new?”) In addition to being a clothes horse, as my mother used to say, I am an organization freak.


Personally, I like to hang things according to designer, which doesn’t

produce the best look in the closet, but that’s how I think about

things. When I am getting dressed I think “I’ll wear the Jil Sander

black stretch pants with the Prada jacket, etc.” I like to have

everything buttoned, zipped and facing the same direction and I hang

things according to color within the designer categories. (I really

have to come up with a way to label each section because my maid, who

can’t tell an Oscar from a McQueen, always puts things in the wrong

place which really confuses me). Until recently I have use all black

plastic hangers that I get at a retail display store but always dreamed

of the perfect hanger. Then a few months ago I met an adorable Dallas

entrepreneur named Kirby Allison who started a company called The

Hanger Project. Kirby’s mission is simple: collaborate with those who

engage in dressing well to design a hanger of both superior style and

function. He believes that a hanger should be as beautiful as it is

functional. Kirby has worked with tailors, dandies and fashionistas to

come up with the perfect hanger. All of his hangers are constructed

from the finest solid maple available and will protect and prolong the

life of your clothes. You can stock up on Kirby’s fabulous hangers at

www.thehangerproject.com

Originally published in Snob Essentials. September 28, 2008

Heidi Dillon Blog

Haute Thoughts by Heidi Dillon: Isabel Toledo Luncheon

Honestly, there’s nothing I despise more than getting get dressed up and going to a ladies luncheon. In Dallas (where I live), they are always the same – the same socialites wearing the same Chanel and Escada suits (the ubiquitous uniform of “ladies who lunch” from Dallas to Dubai) the same awful hotel ballroom and the same inane conversation and inedible food. My prejudices, however, dramatically changed when I attended the Couture Council of the Museum at FIT’s luncheon to honor Cuban designer Isabel Toledo with the “Artistry of Fashion Award”. The event was held at the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Plaza where the 360 degree views of Manhattan are breathtaking and Simon Doonan, the witty Barney’s Creative Director, served as emcee. Being a celebrity-studded New York event, the paparrazi was out in full force snapping pictures of the cream-of-the-crop fashion and social set. Andre Leon Tally was there looking handsome and slim and I ran into Hamish Bowles, Vogue’s European Editor at Large, who said, “As I live and breathe! How lovely to see you. I absolutely love your frock!” (note: said frock was fresh from the Bottega store. Love Tomas Maier).

Simon, in his inimitable style, got things going by introducing Joey Arias who is a singer/performance artist/drag queen/crooner/vocal style impersonator and former Fiorucci employee, which is where he first met Isabel who was selling her line to the legendary retailer in the 1980’s. Joey appeared on stage in a black suite but the jacket soon came off to reveal a body suite with sheer sleeves and princess neckline. He sang a customized rendition of Billy Holiday’s “You’ve Changed.”.It was great and loaded with they type of language that you don’t hear in “polite” Dallas society. (Remind me to tell you the story about when I chaired the Salvation Army Fashion Show and Luncheon and put a drag queen on the runway). After Joey’s mesmerizing performance, Simon came back and pointed out that Isabel has been exploring lace forever and this season it’s suddenly a big deal.

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We also learned some interesting details about her life, for example, her mother was a member of the Cuban all women’s baseball team and Isabel has 18 sisters and she began sewing when she was 9. Andrea Leon Tally presented the award to Isabel and said that “she personally vets every seam of every dress before it is shipped. She makes clothes that women want to wear.” When Isabel received her award, she was visibly moved and spoke from her heart. She said that “clothing affects the way the time looks”. She learned from Diana Vreeland the importance of being able to shape history and realizes that she is affecting her time and is making a difference. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when she ended her speech with “I’ve never thanked Ruben in public — and I can’t”

Meanwhile, the goings on at my table were just as interesting as those on stage. I sat with former interior/textile designer and fashion icon Iris Apfel (I recommend that you purchase her book, Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel) who, in her mid 80’s, was the chicest woman in the room and still going strong.

Rosemary Ponzo, another “rare bird”, joined us. She is a stylist/designer and has personally groomed Mayor Michael Bloomberg (whatever that means!) Ruben Toledo hand painted all of the place mats and we were able to take them home. People got pretty aggressive about it and there was a lot of scrambling for the unclaimed ones. A welcome change from most luncheons, the food was delicious (Cuban style sea bass with coconut rice and black beans) and I cleaned my plate. Leaving Rockefeller Place, I was accosted by a lone paparazzo, some old guy who obviously didn’t have the press credentials to get into the luncheon. He asked me to hold up my Ruben Toledo placemat and he snapped away. Maybe Dallas is a better place for me. At least there I’m more well-known than a placemat.

 

Originally published September 25, 2008 by Snob Essentials

Heidi Dillon Blog

Haute Thoughts: Unibrows– The New Rage

Tween fashion plate Lourdes Leon is well on her way to becoming a major trendsetter. But what else would you expect from the offspring of Madonna who has trained her adorable clone on the finer points of fashion and grooming by providing her with the best stylists, manicures, facials, shopping sprees and one-of-kind frocks by Stella McCartney? A love of fashion and an inimitable sense of style are God-given gifts, but it doesn’t hurt to have your mom, who happens to be a fashion icon, holding your hand at Harrods during your formative years. Mom has obviously given her a lot of tips on how to hold your head just so for the cameras and how to swing an “it” handbag like a big girl. Personally, I applaud Madonna for creating this glossy haired mini me. I have an 11 year old son who, like Lourdes, is a chip off the old block. He wouldn’t dream of missing his manicure/pedicure appointment, buys only designer clothes – Gap is out of the question- is addicted to Chrome Hearts jewelry, and can be frequently seen escorting me to Dallas social events where he always attracts the attention of our local media.


Lourdes provides a wonderful role model for all aspiring young fashionistas. Her look is edgy and hip without being over-the-top or inappropriate. Her impeccable grooming sends a positive message – clean, brushed hair, neatly trimmed nails, tastefully applied makeup that doesn’t look like she’s actually wearing makeup (a welcome change from the harsh black eyeliner seen on so many girls). I think that one of the biggest impacts Lourdes will have on her generation is how they think about their eyebrows. The first time I saw a picture of Lourdes, my reaction was “why doesn’t her mother wax that unibrow?”, but now I get it. Madonna, as you may recall, is a huge Frida Kahlo fan, and has a large collection of her work. Over the years Madonna has plucked and waxed her own previously bushy brows into oblivion, but Lourdes’ brows are in tact, neatly trimmed and brushed up to be sure, but they are the spitting image of Frida’s. So, the moral of this story is: Cancel your brow waxing appointment and throw away the tweezers. Unibrows are about to be all the rage.

 

Originally published September 22, 2008 in Snob Essentials 

Heidi Dillon Blog

Haute Thoughts by Heidi Dillon: Sunglasses

Ask any fashionista girl how many pairs of shoes shoe owns while she is in the presence of her husband or boy friend and she will probably take you discretely aside and whisper a triple digit into your ear. Ask her to divulge the number of sunglasses she has tucked away in her drawers, and you will get the same response. Sunglasses are a fashion accessory that we simply cannot get enough of and, like fashion, one must keep up with trends from season to season.

During a recent trip to Paris, I was invited to a luncheon at the Roger Vivier store to view Bruno Frisoni’s Haute Couture shoe collection. The shoes were divine, but the best part of the affair was receiving a pair of chic black over-sized Vivier sunglasses as a gift which immediately supplanted my barely worn Chanel’s. While the Vivier’s are great – they make me feel like a movie star, even in my exercise clothes, and work well with many things in my wardrobe – they certainly are not sufficient. A true fashionista requires a variety of different styles to compliment her sartorial variations. During the summer months, for example, I prefer to sport light colored or even white frames (if you can work a fabulous pair of white shades, you will turn heads). For the past couple of years the frame silhouette has been thick plastic numbers or oversized sunglasses that were made popular by Rachel Zoe.

Given the glamor quotient of these looks, it’s doubtful that they will go out of fashion any time soon. Kate Moss has been wearing the classic Ray Ban Wayfarer for a while and the look has been adopted by the younger set in classic black as well as bright colors and neon. With the exception of white frames, most sunglasses are seasonless. The weather plays an important role in your sunglasses choice. Bright, sunny days require a darker lens and cloudy days demand a lighter one.

In addition to being an important fashion item – frequently featured on the runways by Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Armani, Versace, etc, sunglasses also protect your eyes from UV rays and help prevent the unnecessary squinting that can exacerbate crows feet. I have been laughed at for wearing shades during rain storms, but those nasty UV rays are everywhere.

My friends at the new Oliver Peoples boutique in Malibu tell me that top sellers among the celebrity set are the Sofiane, a large plastic frame with a gold “suspended” metal inlay, a metal wire encased in two layers of hand-sculpted plastic (my next purchase, by the way), and metal framed aviators worn by Angelina Jolie. Another huge trend is in limited edition collaborations with the likes of Dior Homme’s artistic diretor, Kris Van Assche, and Mosley Tribes x Crooks & Castles Castellano (rapper Jay-Z’s brand). My ridiculously fashionable 11 year old son scored the most important look of the season at the OP boutique- a pair of Paul Smith clear round plastic frames (al a John Lennon) with a made-for-Malibu-only lens called Malibu Blue. He looked amazing in them and I tried them on and looked like, well, John Lennon.

All this pondering of sunglasses has made me nostalgic for a long-gone pair of red shades with green rhinestone-studded lizards on the sides that I purchased while in a stupor at Margaritaville.

 

Originally published in Snob Essentials September 17, 2008