Archive for April, 2009

Merchant Mamas
April 26, 2009

If you wanna get your shop on during the balmy weather predicted for us this weekend, sisters seem to have it going on. On Friday (4-8pm) the wonderfully down-to-earth celeb designer Ashaka Givens starts her two-day Spring sale and fashion event at 580 8th Avenue 21st floor (between 38th & 39th Sreets in Manhattan) Stop at the ATM, it’s cash only for her sexy summer somethings.


Ashaka Givens and her summer sizzler.

Across the bridge, Wall Streeter-turned-technically-trained-fashion- designer Kenya Rice hosts a cocktail trunk show and sale starting at 6pm at 227 Gates Avenue in the BK. RSVP requested at


One of Kenya Rice’s feminine frocks. The designer herself.

Stylist Joan Van Hees, vintage maven and Afri-centrifugal fashion force, has been holding court at the Brooklyn Flea since its inception and getting some well-deserved shine. She shares her space this weekend with fellow style chile, filmmaker Crystal Whaley, there to recirculate some treasures and spread some Warrior Woman love. Lafayette Avenue between Clermont and Vanderbilt.


Crystal Whaley and Joan Van Hees. One of Joan’s vintage finds.

Just blocks away Erica Hutchinson’s beloved Ft. Greene shop, Addy + Ferro celebrates its last weekend after four years of business with great sale items and loving goodbye nibbles.

Talkin’ Shop: Steev West Fourth
April 23, 2009

While trying to find a fly menswear shop near the Brooklyn home of a makeover candidate, I stumbled on Steev West Fourth on Google. When the team and I pulled into a small parking lot adjacent to a deep gray granite edifice off the beaten path on Kings Highway we were surprised by its clean, modern lines. When we entered the 10,000 square foot store, we were stunned. A little Barney’s Co-Op feel in Gravesend. Michael Kors, James Perse, Rag and Bone, Zegna, Ralph Lauren, John Varvatos and an awesome selection of denims. Though our focus was menswear, the women’s department was bangin’ too–up-to-the-minute, savvy and sexy.

Owner Steev Eitelberg knows the high-end rag trade. For years his first eponymously named store on the Jersey Shore served the fashion needs of affluent patrons who summered there. Smartly, he followed his clientele back home and opened Steev West Fourth in Fall 2007, bringing the style they crave right into their Gravesend backyard. Gregarious and nattily attired, he tells the story of playing congas onstage with friend (and Jersey Shore customer) Bruce Springsteen. He revels in the brushes with fame brought on by his keen retail acumen and keeps his clients happy and well-dressed.

It’s a beautiful shop, set your GPS and go (or hop the N to Kings Highway). It’s worth the effort.


Zegna cardigan, Ralph Lauren shirt, Kors trousers and Varvatos shoes.


Arbiter of style on Kings Highway.

Steev West Fourth

355 Kings Highway

Brooklyn, NY 11233


Open Sunday, 11am-6pm; Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm; Closed Saturday.

Elizabeth Catlett, Going Strong at 94
April 22, 2009

Thanks to a heads up from artist Bianca Dorsey, I was among the many well-wishers on hand at a reception for nonagenarian sculptor Elizabeth Catlett at the June Kelly Gallery last week.  It was my absolute pleasure –and honor –to join the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to the esteemed artist, who at 94 is still producing work in various media from printmaking to sculpture of warm woods, patinated bronze, red onyx and black marble.   Wearing vibrant magenta silk dupioni, she graciously received guests with a radiance that reflects a life lived embracing her passion for creation and arts education.


Ms. Catlett receives a cupcake from gallerist June Kelly.

The native Washingtonian’s impressive body of work was first publicly lauded when in 1940 her figurative limestone piece, Mother and Child won first prize in sculpture at the American Negro Exposition in Chicago. Moving to Mexico (where she still resides much of the time) in the late 1940’s, she married Mexican artist Francisco Mora and became a Mexican citizen, yet her work strongly celebrates African-American identity and remains resonant and relevant into her seventh decade of creating art.


Bather, 2009                                                                                                                       Mahogany

Elizabeth Catlett, Recent Sculpture  (2006-2009) is currently on view through Tuesday, May 2 2009.

June Kelly Gallery

591 Broadway  (between Houston and Prince)

212 226 1660

Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm.

Lloyd Boston, Case Clothed
April 20, 2009

When style expert, author and friend Lloyd Boston approached me to join the dedicated team which would ultimately produce his new makeover show for the Fine Living Network (FLN), I jumped at the chance to work with him again.

Lloyd’s style philosophy is one that is within reach and that accessibility has garnered him a loyal following as the Jones New York “Style Guy” at fashion clinics nationwide. His books have brought the basics of style into clear, user-friendly focus for both men and women and now his show, Closet Cases, which debuted last week, takes a similarly co-ed approach, putting him out there as a “BFF, best friend in fashion” at the ready to solve sartorial conundrums. By encouraging makeover participants to edit their own wardrobes to uncover hidden gems as well as retire those items no longer serviceable, Lloyd helps each make the most of what they’ve already got. A shopping excursion introduces the participant to a local boutique to pick up a few supplementary pieces and gives the show’s closet-designing dynamo, Carey Evans, time to reconfigure the person’s existing closet into an organized, highly functional yet visually pleasing dream.

Though the show is infused with humor, Lloyd’s quick wit never panders to mean-spirited snarkiness, which seems to have become part of the makeover canon. Refreshingly, it is a program done with levity, good heart and realistic, useful and sustainable results. It has been rewarding to hear from participants, singing the praises of Lloyd and the show and sharing the positive impact the makeover experience has had on their lives.

Closet Cases airs Monday nights at 10pm. Check the FLN website for the channel in your area. Tonight’s episode, Let Go My Logo features Clive, who needed to up the style ante to meet his aspirational zeal.


Lloyd Boston. Photo by Jack Parker for FLN.