TALENT: 11 Questions with J. Louise Handbag Designer Janet Louise Fitchner

Design Fashion Shopping & Acquisitions

By Marcy Clark

I had the privilege of meeting an exciting and inspiring handbag designer Janet Louise Fitchner at AccessoriesTheShow in New York last month and now I am lucky enough to represent her brand!

Her handbags are highly structured and incorporate shine and strong, shiny metallic accents with materials normally reserved for high-performance racing vehicles. Her handbags embody the same spirit – high performance, fun colors, versatility and durability. Please see below an in-depth Q&A with Janet about her line, her inspirations and her secrets to becoming a nationally retailed brand in less than six months!

Women’s Mafia: In less than six months your line has become a nationally sold brand. What do people say they love about your handbags?
JL:   They love the unique fashion twist on my handbags and that they are different.  They love that the bags are constructed and hold a shape to them, instead of being a large sack.

WM: What inspired you to start J. Louise Handbags?
JL:  I had left my corporate job and was helping my husband in his fast growing diesel performance shop.   While helping I just had this idea “hit me,” and quickly.  I mean I ran home and spent hours drawing my designs and describing the vision for the line.   I guess my inspiration was being around what my husband loves and what he does best.  He is a mechanical genius.  Working in the shop I was inspired to take my style and mingle it with my husband’s passion, a way to bring bling, fun and elegance to my new world of working in the shop.
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Glam Gloves and Scarves

Fashion Shopping & Acquisitions

by Sonja Leix

Elyse Allen White Lace Gloves
Elyse Allen White Lace Gloves
Even though winter holds back as long as possible it seems, it’s time to shop for new gloves, hats and scarves as Fall slowly fades and Winter arrives. I sometimes found it difficult to find winter accessories that were both warm and fashionable until I met the passionate New York knitwear designer Elyse Allen last summer. She creates gorgeous knitted accessories for men and women with luxurious materials such as cashmere and fine merino wool. Embellished with Swarovski crystals and metal rhinestones her collection really glams up your winter outfit and is the perfect Christmas gift.

Her label Elyse Allen Textiles presents a new collection with different color combinations each season. Elyse only works with the finest materials and even blends yarn to create new unique palettes that activates and gives depth to the surfaces she creates. For people who prefer neutral over loud colors like me, she makes a wide range of black, grey and taupe colored studded and laced gloves and scarves that look both elegant and glamorous.

My personal favorites are the Fingerless Gloves which come in three different lengths: short, medium and long. Fascinating are the different pattern and embellishment that make each pair so unique and beautiful that you will want to wear them indoor and out. This season a line of merino ‘glovettes’ are exclusively available at Eileen Fisher stores and website.

Elyse Allen Merino Cropped Fingerless Gloves
Merino Cropped and Cosmos Fingerless Gloves
Photo: Cathy Carver

Her masterpiece wide cashmere studded scarves with metal rhinestones are simply amazing and come in many different colors that will flatter your eye and skin color. Worn over a beautiful dress the elegant accessory will be the eye catcher for an evening event or your New Years party.

Check out her collection at her UPCOMING SHOW IN NEW YORK on Dec 10-13th at the ‘One of a Kind Show’ located at Pier 94.

Cashmere Studded Scarves
Cashmere Studded Scarves

Visit www.elyseallentextiles.com for more information on the label and to get these must-have knitted accessories.

ART MEETS FASHION: The 2nd Cologne Catwalk

Art Fashion

by Sonja Leix

During the Art Fair in Cologne, Germany the daab publishing presented for the second time the Cologne Catwalk on October 29, 2009. The Expo XXI in Cologne transformed into a fashion hotspot, where ten international emerging fashion designer presented their new creations inspired by Art to their fashion hungry audience.

Stine Ladefoged Continue reading

Fashion Wars: Christian Dior vs. Rupert Sanderson / Karl Lagerfeld Inspirations

Fashion Shopping & Acquisitions

By Rick Weaver,

Never bring a weak shoe to a style fight.  At your next throwdown, consider packing two name-engraved plates or a battle ax.  Choose your fall 2009 accessories – and associated fashion inspirations— accordingly.


Inspiring the Rupert Sanderson/Karl Lagerfeld design, or so the re-telling goes, is the petite Parisian chick, strutting casually one day through Chez Georges.  She is carefree, prone to doing things to cause a stir.  (Why else would one bring an ax to a social gathering?).  You must respect the game though because her style is fierce.  In this style showdown, she is the #1 Contendress. Continue reading

LA Fashion Week: Skingraft Spring / Summer 2010

Fashion Fashion Week

By Courtney Fortune,


Audiences at the SkinGraft show either live in SkinGraft’s alternate universe or have really done their homework – you know your brand has a loyal consumer culture when they look like they’ve just walked off your runway. The dark, modern-edged design house exhibited a beautifully raw collection, which featured an impressive range of new shapes in their remarkably crafted, studded leather jackets. Many of its structured, militant pieces were paired with simple, more wearable (but equally desirable) designs; tank tops, leggings and aviator caps à la Amelia Earhart.

This attention to balance and detail projects a sense of maturity and tact, one that sets SkinGraft apart from other more morose rock/goth designers.


The final look, a gorgeous black gown with ruffled train, studded corset and dramatic feather headdress obscuring the model’s face, stole the show. The piece caused an awed and enthusiastic eruption from the crowd and left us with a lasting impact of SkinGraft’s eerily beautiful fantasy and sophisticated innovation.


Photos by Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times


LA Fashion Week: Louver Spring 2010

Fashion Fashion Week

By Courtney Fortune,

It’s Fashion Week in Los Angeles and as the rain poured as if straight out of a Hollywood set on Tuesday night, I was dashing in little gold heels to my next event. Fashion fans were out in full force despite having to mingle in soggy faux fur, and each show was electric and well-stuffed. Here are the highlights of my night out…

Hailed by the LA Times as LAFW’s “come back kid” Louis Verdad debuted his Spring 2010 collection “Louver” at the Geffen Contemporary/MOCA, downtown. A departure from his Fall 2009 collection, Tuesday night’s show featured an array of crème and metallic frocks, pants, sheaths and accessories. Classic and sleek, “Louver” focused on thoughtful structure and cut, creating interesting but gentle, feminine shapes. It featured fitted jackets, nautical accents, sharp gold jewelry and amazing peep-toe booties which we saw a lot of on NY’s runways. LA-based and a signature of LAFW, Verdad reminds us that he knows how to match sophistication with modern female allure. I definitely would walk off (or flutter away) in the little jacket above.
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Greetings from LA Fashion Week! Guest Celebrity Coverage by Courtney Fortune

Exploits Fashion Fashion Week


By Courtney Fortune

Greetings from sunny Los Angeles!  We are revving up for LA Fashion Week where swarms of designers, celebrities and fashion junkies alike will begin taking over the city this week.  With more than 1,500 showrooms, a countless array of styles and attitudes fuse together in LA’s blossoming scene – I’ll be attending the events and getting a sneak peak at what we’ll be wearing this Spring.

A grim economy hasn’t ruined our need for what’s new and what’s hot.  In fact it’s only inspired a new kind of creativity in this year’s designers, turning fashion, design and survival into an art form in itself.  I can’t wait to find out what emerging trends and breakout designers LA Fashion Week has to offer.  Today is the official kick-off, stay tuned!

01 Cover.indd

About Courtney Fortune, our LA Fashion Correspondent:

CourtneyFortuneSinger-songwriter Courtney Fortune has garnered diverse fans, from Japan to Los Angeles, for her sultry and smooth voice combined with the jazz sounds of The Chris Walden Big Band.  From a young age, Fortune adapted her jazz compositions, incorporating new elements from other genres.  Her debut EP was hailed by Earshot Jazz Magazine, calling Fortune’s jazz technique “a textured, sultry, arrestingly mature torchsinger’s delivery.”
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Ekovaruhuset: The House Of Organic Fashion Show


by Marion Ada Holland

Pink Ribbon weave dress by Tor Soderin and Peach gauze dress by Eko-Lab
Pink Ribbon weave dress by Tor Soderin and Peach gauze dress by Eko-Lab

A friend of mine, looking at some of the clothes on display at fashion week and in recent fashion magazines, was disturbed by the tendency to make women look like little girls or dolls. Initially, upon hearing this I protested.  I personally like the childlike playfulness that comes from dressing women like animals; Bjork’s swam dress was an amazingly gutsy move  which made me love her even more, not a fashion don’t. I had a ton of fun at the New York Couture show at Webster Hall, it was like some 1980’s New York club dream. I am even OK with the bunny ears recently sported by the likes of Madonna and an Olson twin. But on thinking about it bunny ears in the office or an afternoon meeting? Probably not. Continue reading


Fashion Shopping & Acquisitions

by Sonja Leix

Inevitably Fall is making it’s way through the last hot days of summer. It is now time for a wardrobe update and the Women’s Mafia will introduce the hottest Fall fashion trends 2009 to you.

Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2009


Fall’s fashion draws its focus on strong, architectural shoulders. The Forties and Eighties return with accented shoulders and nipped waists. Bigger is apparently better this Fall and therefore you are allowed to pull out your vintage blazers and jackets with the old favorite from the times of excess: the shoulder pads. This trend has quite a feminine look to it, as it is often contoured down towards the waist.

Marc Jacobs Fall 2009 Michael Kors Fall 2009

The new fashion uses geometrical forms to create new silhouettes and cuts. Asymmetrical dresses and tops were all over the runways for Fall in different cuts, colors and styles. A little bare shoulder makes for sex appeal this Fall. Shoulders apparently are the new cleavage.


Coat styles have never been more diversified and jackets get a modern makeover.

Fur jackets were seen everywhere on the runways in the usual blacks and browns but also in bright pink. Sleeveless cropped jacket-meets-fur-vest style, capes and coats made for elegance and extravagance. Skinny belts were used to tie the furry pieces in shape.

Fendi Fall 2009Fendi Fall 2009

Oversized and worn over delicate dresses and skinny jeans, it hides the hips and accentuates the shoulders. Male or Female? This look plays with the sex and gives women a masculine touch with the blazer’s wide cut shoulders.

Stella McCartney Fall 2009Yves Saint-Laurent Fall 2009


The biker look is sure to be one of the key trends for Fall and Winter 2009. Leather is definitely loved by all designers this season and pants, vests and jackets are all the rage.

The versatile leather jacket is the must-have and can be worn in any of this seasons many looks from laid back to sophisticated. Biker jackets will now be paired with skinny jeans, and pencil skirts, but can also be worn over dresses.

This season zippers are not just functional, but used for eye catching decorative effect. Both zippers and studs emphasize the tough-chic trend.

Balmain Fall 2009Jean Paul Gaultier Fall 2009


Recession or not, this Fall belts will nip-in those waists and will be worn over dresses, jackets and blazers. Temper thick layers with a skinny belt worn high on the waist. Michelle Obama has already demonstrated how wearable this trend is.

Marc Jacobs Fall 2009Gucci Fall 2009

The fur stole is seen as a sign of wealth, even though there are quite affordable faux fur stoles out there. Real or faux, they add a touch of glamour to every outfit and will be a must-have accessory for the cold season.

Miu Miu Fall 2009


The Pantone Fashion Color Report for Fall 2009 features the top 10 colors for women’s fashion, along with designer sketches, quotes and headshots. Pantone is the most widely recognized color standard in the world and is used as a tool for the fashion industry. Every season at New York Fashion Week it surveys designers and collects feedback on the most prominent color collections and puts them together in its seasonal report. Open report, click here.

Pantone Fashion Color Report Fall 2009


Solid colors give way to playful patterns like paisleys, florals and flourishes of abstraction. The animal print and polka-dots are back and give room to express ourselves.

Marc Jacobs Fall 2009Christian Dior Fall 2009

Gucci Fall 2009Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2009


Thigh high leather boots in black and grey took over the international runways. Theses killer boots can be worn with oversized flowing dresses, skirts, boyfriend blazers and fur jackets. Heels or flat? They are very versatile and can be worn with almost every look. It should be avoided to combine them with too short dresses or skirts to not give the wrong impression.

Gucci Fall 2009Louis Vuitton Fall 2009

Photos by Getty Images


There are four key bag trends for the season. And there is nothing wrong with shopping your closet first for these looks!

METALLIC – Everything that shines has a long shelf life and will not be going away anytime soon.

BIKER CHIC – Think studs, chains and zippers – the more the merrier!

CLASSIC – Anything framed, draped and pleated will satisfy!

EXOTICS – Last year’s python, croc or ostrich will work but if you crave something new there are plenty of styles to go around, even embossed versions!

Lanvin Amalia Shoulder BagMiu Miu Studded Clutch

Valentino Vertigo SatchelRalph Lauren Fall 2009

Photos of bags by Bergdorf Goodman and Getty Images