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Invasion of the Blog People

Last night, I invited more than a dozen gorgeous bloggers to Christian’s studio to drink Champagne, see the Spring 2010 collection and shop Fall 2009. Our guests were Jennine from The Coveted, Jordana from Clutch 22, the three Fasshonaburu ladies, Jessica from What I Wore, the Jessica Rabbit-shaped Midtown Girl, Jillian from Nova Style, Pamela from Market Publique, 39th and Broadway, Jeanne from The Periodic Elements of Style, tiny Alixrose and repeat customer Princess Poochie.

I need to invest in a video camera so I can properly capture events like this. Still photos are nice, but they don’t let you hear the high-pitched squeals that followed the presentation of every darling spring dress, not to mention the giggling and gossiping. Christian was quite brave about it, but a couple of times I did find him hiding his office, checking baseball scores in a desperate effort to counteract estrogen overload.

Christian told us that Spring was inspired by the American Museum of Natural History’s famous dioramas. He imagined how the museum might display three species of fashionable New York ladies that he had identified and named. Here are his descriptions:

  • The Wild Sugartooth (cravus sucrosius) is an upbeat, social creature who displays lively colors and a bright smile. A springtime stroll past Dylan’s Candy Bar, Magnolia Bakery or Pinkberry is often rewarded by the sight of this species, which appears to enjoy nothing more than eating a sweet snack and wearing a pretty dress on a sunny day. (A subspecies of the Sugartooth can be found clad in gym clothes near the Cadbury Dairy Milk bars in supermarket aisles.)
  • The Eastern Gameling (brainius cumulonimbus) is a gifted and talented breed with a natural immunity to gloomy weather. While some may nap the rainy day away, the Eastern Gameling seizes the opportunity and invites her flock over for an afternoon of fun and games. But even while she’s perched in her apartment alone, she finds stimulation in the bright colors and bold graphic prints that fill her closet.
  • The cheerful Meadowspringer (novella picnicana) can be found in Central Park, frolicking around freshly mowed grasses or engaged in animated conversation around a picnic blanket. Well adapted to the landscape of fields and parks where she spends her free time, the Meadowspringer is as colorful as a flower shop and as melodious as an outdoor concert.

When Jordana tried on the same tartan dress I was already wearing, we decided to pose as mirror images. We ended up looking into each others’ eyes so intently for so long while everyone got their pictures that I felt obliged to ask her to marry me afterward.

Everyone looked adorable in their purchases. The most fortuitous one was by Fasshonaburu’s Alyssa. She was mourning the fact that she never got one of the graffiti-inspired dresses from the Spring 2009 collection, when lo and behold, we found a lone wrap dress lurking on a rack. How great does she look?

I’m hoping that Fasshonaburu’s Vyque (now the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind Francis skirt) follows through on her threat to organize a Francis-wearing flash mob for Fashion Week. I’ll be checking my phone for your text, Vyque.

Thanks again for coming, ladies! I hope you had a good time. And, to anyone who wasn’t able to join us last night, don’t fret! I’ll give you your own private tour of the studio any time. Holla at me at wendy at cfrnyc dot com and we’ll set it up.

UPDATED TO ADD: I had no idea that Princess Poochie DID have a Flip video camcorder. Here’s a half-minute clip that starts with the Jordana/WendyB mirror pose and gives you a good sense of the volume of voices in the studio. Now imagine that going on for 2 1/2 hours! I love hearing Princess Poochie saying, “Clothes, clothes, clothes…” in a sing-song voice.

Fashion’s Night Out: The After-Party

I expect that quite a few of you readers know about Fashion’s Night Out, the worldwide fashion extravaganza taking place on September 10. But did anyone besides me notice that the website says (emphasis mine), “Champagne may flow; hors d’oeuvres may be passed.” That website has a fear of commitment!

I’m going to be braver than the website. I guarantee Champagne will flow at my FNO after-party at the Francis studio on September 11. I guarantee you’ll meet Christian and peek at the Spring 2010 collection. I guarantee you’ll get to try on pieces from the beautiful Fall 2009 collection. I guarantee we’ll (meaning myself and y’all, because Christian is working) go out for dinner after.

A bunch of gorgeous bloggers have already signed up for the evening.

I might be able to squeeze in a couple more, so if you want to join us, hit me up at wendy at cfrnyc dot com. (You don’t have to be a blogger to attend; civilians are welcome.) It may be the most fun you have all Fashion Week!

UPDATED TO ADD: Also attending … Nova Style, 39th and Broadway, Thrifty Fashionista and Princess Poochie! I think we’re at maximum capacity! If you’ve told me you’re attending and you’re NOT on this list please let me know.

Vintage CFR Dresses Are Not a Dime a Dozen

When I get a particularly amazing piece of clothing, I don’t like to show it to people — or even tell them about it — until I get to wear it. That can take months or, occasionally, years.

I’m making an exception to my rule due to gorgeous blogger Couture Carrie, who last month wrote about money-inspired clothing. (Her post happened to include a dress by one of my new favorite designers, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.)

After Couture Carrie added the covers to her post, I felt I might as well admit that I just scored the dollar gown on eBay for very few dollars indeed. But I’m still not going to show it to you: the dress lost its lining and I have to have a new one made (another job for Jean at Ghost Tailor). When I brought the dress to the studio to show Christian, I swear he gave it a hug. He and the dress were like old friends meeting for the first time in many years. I warned him that I plan to wear the gown to a big event one of these days and that I will probably end up on someone’s fashion disaster page again. I think the dress is too tongue-in-chic for most people to handle. He stopped hugging the dress long enough to give me a high five. The only thing better than the best-dressed list is the worst-dressed list, peeps!

It’s pretty hard to come by Christian’s vintage pieces. I only had a jacket and a skirt until now. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a whole bunch of pieces that I covet. I’m still looking for the famous Rothola crayon dress. If you see it on eBay, don’t even bother trying. I WILL win it.

Here’s what the magazine said:

And finally, making news is designer Christian Francis Roth. “Money is so much on everyone’s mind,” Roth says, “especially in this industry.” In response to complaints that his designs were too expensive, Roth created the Dollar Bill dress (around $1,400). It’s a timely jab at the dictating force of the fashion industry.

So what is he — designer or economic commentator? Called a satirist, an artist and downright pretentious, Roth defies all labels except designer, yet claims, “Cloth is my medium. As conceptual as it can be, it’s not art. It’s not a message.” But he says such pop artists as Lichtenstein and Warhol inspire him, and the themes he favors seem, ultimately, to make a statement. Unlike other designers, Roth produces most pieces by hand himself, and the results are “priced according to labor.”

Nowadays, Christian is not sewing the Francis line himself. That would be insane. Limited-edition, handmade dresses direct from the designer’s own hands … produced in New York, no less? Pieces like that would need to sell for $14,000, not $1,400. The priciest piece in the Spring ‘09 collection was the fabulous Francis graffiti dress, which was $695. (Right now, that dress is on sale at Bloomingdale’s for $417, and that’s a damn bargain. Buy it now!) Considering the detail and quality of the dress, it should have gone for $1,400. I think Jean at Ghost, who sees a hell of a lot of dresses, will back me up on the impressive workmanship. And the reaction I get when I wear this dress? Priceless!

A Few Words From a Happy Customer

The best fashion is transformative. Not just in the obvious way, by changing how you look, but by lifting your spirits as well.

As I previously posted, three friends came to the Francis studio for shopping and sangria last Wednesday . One of them was the beauteous Jennifer Weitzman. After a hard day at the office, Jen battled pouring rain, flash floods, thunder and lightning to make it to the studio. She wasn’t in her “happy place” when she came through the door. But she was so uplifted by trying on Christian’s clothes that she ended the night on a different plane. I mean a different emotional plane, not a plane to Paris, though the latter would have been great too, not to mention super-spontaneous. I was so delighted and inspired by her joy that I asked her to write a few words for this blog. Without further ado, here is JenW, my first guest blogger:

“When Wendy wrote and said I must check out this fabulous new line from Christian Francis Roth I instantly became intrigued. Not only did Wendy design the most gorgeous jewelry I wore for my wedding but my friend knows how to dress. I was ‘gold, Jerry, gold.’”

“After walking along Mulberry Street in the monsoon, I found the design studio and I felt as if I walked into heaven. Besides being greeted by my other fabulous blogger friends Tina and Thumbelina Fashionista, I landed safely in a world of colorful fabrics and rich jewel tones. Wendy led the way, pointing out the spring/summer line of wonderful pieced dresses made from supersoft mercerized cotton and the over-the-top holiday collection. I picked out a tiered black and white holiday skirt with the cutest floral appliqué, a cobalt-blue holiday dress with gorgeous ruffles to wear to a wedding and the pieced dress to wear now. Heaven. All of it. Where has this been all my shopping life? The details are amazing and so carefully thought out. I sashayed out of the dressing room/bathroom and showed off in front of CFR. Don’t you always try on clothes in front of the creator? What’s even better is I got a glimpse of things to come and I’m really excited for more. The only way to top off this fabulous evening was with peach sangrias around the corner with everyone!”

And here is Jen in her new summer dress!

Thank you, JenW, for writing about your experience and for lifting MY spirits! I needed that.

By the way, Bloomie’s has a few different styles of knit Francis dresses here, here and here. If you want Jen’s dress, we have it at the studio, so holla at me and I’ll send one out to you. Remember, if you’re in New York, I’m always delighted to bring you to the studio myself for a try-on session like the one Jen had. Even though the studio just moved to the West 40s from Mulberry Street, I’ll take you downtown to Emporio for the peach sangria too. I promise!

Greetings (and Graffiti) from Paris

I am currently in Paris. I’ve had great timing. Not only was I here for Bastille Day, but I also was able to catch the Cartier Foundation’s graffiti exhibition, Ne Dans La Rue (Born in the Streets). My second and third posts for this blog were about how graffiti inspired a whole group of pieces in Christian’s Spring ‘09 collection.

Luckily, I brought along the perfect Francis dress to wear to the exhibition.

Tag! I’m it!

If you’re in Paris between now and November 29, you should definitely check out the exhibit, which has photos of the original subway art from the ’70s and ’80s, newly commissioned pieces, Basquiats, Harings, video interviews (I loved the one in which former New York City mayor Ed Koch proposed five days in jail for repeat graffiti offenders), movie clips and music videos. And if you want to cause people to do double takes like I did, you can buy a Francis graffiti dress just like mine at bloomingdales.com, where it is currently reduced to $486.50, from $695.

If you don’t get to go, you can get a little of the vibe from the Clash’s This Is Radio Clash video, which was running along with Blondie’s Rapture video on one of the monitors.

I had totally forgotten about the graffiti element in the Clash video. Joe Strummer, forgive me!

UPDATED TO ADD: To continue the international theme, you must check out gorgeous blogger Mer’s post on an Au Revoir Simone concert in Barcelona, where band member Erika Forster wore her Francis subway map dress. And speaking of the dress, FabSugarUK has posted a “love it/hate it” poll on it. WTF? The only voting options should be “love it/love it so much I can’t live without it.”

Working Like a Dog at the Studio

When I first told my dogs, Henry and Gigi, that I would be doing this blog, they said, “Oh noes! We has enuf werk!” (They sometimes speak in loldog.) On my original blog, the dogs are frequently called upon to pose with purses and other objects, so the idea of more camera time overwhelmed them. Henry passed out from exhaustion at the mere thought.

“I’m soooo tired.”

gucci bag and dogDespite his concerns, Henry was energized by his first trip to the studio. It helped that Clementine cuddled him a lot. Henry likes the ladies. He likes the men too. He’s very friendly. I worry that if I turn my back on him for a second, he’ll go home with anyone who pets him. Hussy!

Henry stopped to smell the flowers at the front desk only to discover that some were plaid. The faux bouquet was made by an artist out of scraps of fabric from Christian’s fall collection. Clever, no?

But Henry was most intrigued by something he saw in the bookcase: Christian’s CFDA award from 1990.

He was happy to pose with it.

Henry would be honored just to be nominated!
“I can has award?”

Here’s a closeup to show it’s really Christian’s.

This particular award was the Perry Ellis award for emerging talent. (The award is now sponsored by Swarovski; Alexander Wang won it this year.) Christian was a whopping 21 years old when he won his. Kind of a late bloomer, right? Seriously, though, the typical person’s big accomplishment at that age is legally buying a beer. Meanwhile Christian was doing a whole clothing line.

I have lots of pictures of Christian’s ’90s work on my regular blog. Check out these links:

Christian Francis Roth Archives, Part I
Christian Francis Roth Archives, Part II
Christian Francis Roth Archives, Part III
Christian Francis Roth wedding dresses

Henry will visit the studio again soon and will report back on any other interesting tidbits that he sniffs out.

Sample Sale Reminder

Remember, the three-day Francis sample sale starts today. Click here for the location and times.

If you’re not in New York or just can’t make it to the studio, contact me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com and I will hook you up with whatever is left. I can email you the full inventory list so you can pick out what you want from that. If you already know what you’re looking for, just tell me what it is. We do ship overseas.

One of the pieces on sale is this cute top, modeled here by gorgeous ex-blogger ENC. It’s only $62, and is available in extra-small, small, medium and large.

Other items on sale include the one shoulder zig zag dress, the undone bow tie dress, and the two graffiti dresses modeled here by Jen and Amanda.

Act fast! A lot of sizes are selling out. But if you’re looking for the now-famous subway map dress, we’re out of stock. You can get it from Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s.

Also, Bloomingdale’s has 30% off a number of Francis pieces today, including the rugby wrap dress and the outstanding “tagged” Francis graffiti dress. The latter is now $486.50, down from $695. I don’t know how long this sale will last, but I do know that when you see me wearing the graffiti dress next week, you’re going to be sorry you didn’t get one for yourself!

UPDATED TO ADD: The sample sale has been extended through July 12. Get yourself down to 288 Mulberry Street and buy yourself a present. You deserve it!

The Francis Subway Map Dress Feels the Love

Thank you to subway blogger Benjamin Kabak and the Village Voice for featuring the Francis subway map dress!

Subway Map dressThe dress is based on a ’70s version of the New York City subway map. Click the photo if you want to buy the dress at Nordstrom.com. It’s on sale for $249.90. People won’t be able to take their eyes off you when you wear this. Believe!

UPDATED TO ADD: It’s bad to catch a virus on the subway, but I’m totally okay with the subway dress going viral. Check out some other mentions of it:

Tennis, Anyone?

Wimbledon starts today, but what’s the point? Rafael Nadal won’t be there.

Last week, the muy caliente Spaniard — currently the top-ranked tennis player in the world and last year’s Wimbledon champ — pulled out of the tournament due to knee problems. I bet y’all were pretty upset by this. Maybe you felt like crying and throwing things. Maybe you even felt like breaking a tennis racquet. Well, there’s no need to hurt your racquet when you can express your distress more fashionably by wearing the SmacEnroe broken tennis racquet necklace, designed by Wendy Brandes for Francis.

The SmacEnroe is a big, bad-ass piece of solid sterling silver. Check out that tennis ball picture above. You can practically serve one of those balls with this thing. For some more size perspective, here’s a picture of the necklace next to my smaller-than-a-dime Teeny Genie necklace.

 

I have one necklace available for $375. One of you bad-girl athletes, subversive country club ladies, or provocative U.S. Open regulars needs to have this. Just make sure you are ready to get a LOT of attention, because this piece doesn’t go unnoticed. The only thing likely to draw more onlookers is a shirtless Nadal. Of course, if crazy screaming tennis teen Michelle Larcher de Brito shows up, all bets are off. No one can think straight when she’s around.

By the way, the New York Times Magazine had a great cover story on Nadal yesterday. Click here to read it.

UPDATED TO ADD: The SmacEnroe is SOLD to gorgeous blogger Denise at The Swelle Life. That’s the only one I had in stock right now, but if you want to order one, holla at me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com and I’ll whip up another for you.

Haven’t You Heard? The Bird Is the Word!

Gorgeous blogger Fashion Herald and her colleagues had a great time modeling FH’s new Nerd Bird vest by Francis a few days ago. I loved seeing the Nerd Bird girls looking so happy. And, as a bonus, Fashion Herald included an insane and highlarious Family Guy clip in her post.

Fashion Herald gave you the lowdown on buying the Nerd Bird vest at Macy’s. For you online shoppers, the vest is available at Nordstrom.com for only $129.90 — 50% off the original price. Buy it and join Fashion Herald’s Nerd Bird gang.

As an alternative, you can get the Nerd Bird blazer that I have. It is also 50% off. If you get one and live in or visit New York, I swear I’ll get you together with Christian so you can recreate this picture I took with him. He gets to do throw the Nerd Bird gang sign. All you have to do is stand there and laugh like I did.

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