Joan Vass


  Joan Vass was not your average designer. With no formal design training her early career path took her into the art world, alongside her painter/sculptor husband, as a writer, editor and museum curator. As a hobby, she began to knit, then to design hats and sweaters to be knitted. Before long she discovered there were quite a few women anxious to knit up her creations in exchange for the flexibility of working from home, so she built up a cottage-industry--  by women, for women-- to produce her designs. But the small number of pieces that can be made in...

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Luciano Barbera: REALLY Made in Italy

Designers What to Wear

  Luciano Barbera believes in labels. The "Made in Italy" label sewn into his garments means just that -- made in Italy every step of the way. Seems obvious, doesn't it? After all, for decades his family's mill near Milan has produced, slowly and painstakingly, luxurious fabrics sought out by the creme-de-la-creme of fashion designers. Sewn in Italy from its own fabrics, the Barbera men's and women's collections reflect the style, elegance and uncompromising craftsmanship that as consumers we have come to expect as the hallmark of things Italian. Of course, not everyone thinks like Barbera. There are cheaper, quicker...

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Happy New Year.

Miscellaneous The Store

  Time for us all to take our pulse and and see if we've survived the hectic holiday season. Time to put away the trees and trimmings and unpack our cold-weather coats, hats, gloves and sweaters. We have such a short window of opportunity here for wearing anything warm and fuzzy that it's now or never. And in our part of the world, cold weather coincides with sale time, creating the ideal buy now/wear now opportunity as a bonus for buyers. Shopkeepers know that spring collections will be arriving any day now, so for us it's out with old and...

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Cotton Up

Miscellaneous What to Wear

  While we've been focused on the glamour and glitz of the new spring collections, trouble has been developing elsewhere in the clothing world: costs are going up, and how. Case in point, cotton... that fiber we use to dress men, women and children in everything from diapers to denim jeans to men's elegant evening shirts. Shockingly, the price of cotton has nearly doubled since this time last year. Suddenly it's no longer politically incorrect to be singing "I wish I was in the land of cotton", at least into the ear of your broker. So, what happened? Basically, when...

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Tea and hoopla

Miscellaneous Where to Wear

  Anyone who has visited New York knows it's a city that pulses with energy and opportunity, ideas and aspirations.  (Though naysayers claim that it's all moved to Brooklyn.)  For buyers like us trying to cram as much as possible into the work day that means starting early and ending late, getting too little sleep and running on adrenaline. This particular trip also required time spent trying to dodge all the hoopla and  security in place for the bigwigs in town to attend the in-session United Nations. Consider the scenario: you have a one o'clock appointment at a building conveniently...

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