Ports 1961 Spring / Summer 2011: Ready to Set Sail

Design Fashion Fashion Week Shopping & Acquisitions Video

By Marcy Clark

Another elegant jet-set collection from Ports 1961. Though they have a new creative director, Fiona Cibani replacing her sister Tia Cibani, the collection retains the labels signature effortlessly elegant aesthetic. I can imagine the looks taking the wearer from premiere party in Beverly Hills, to the Hamptons Classic or a Cannes Yacht, and even to a new business launch in Manhattan.

I’m always impressed with the theatricality and choreography of their shows. For everyone not in the seats in the middle isle the looks walk by twice, with as many as 5 looks being shown at once, reinforcing the unity and cohesiveness of the collection.
Also, it may seem minor to some, but I always love the feminine, gamorous, bouffant hair that Ports 1961 showcases.

Whether in silk chiffon, textured knits, silk brocade, or even rhinestones on translucent silk overlays, the Ports 1961 woman is, true to name, ready to set sail. Continue reading

Deadlines, Delegating & High Design: Behind the Scenes With Lighting Designer Stacy Harshman of Andarina Designs

Altruism Art Causes Design Exploits Fashion Nightlife Talent

By Stacy Harshman

Andarina Designs was just coming together.  Inspired by a set of antique glass swizzle sticks, I had been working everyday, designing lamps and chandeliers that threw beams of light through rods of colored glass.

I told my good friend Marcy Clark how excited I was about starting my company.  After watching Marcy conceive of and launch Women’s Mafia, and attending fantastic Women’s Mafia and Yellow Sky Agency events for years, I told Marcy that within a couple of months, I’d be ready to let her plan the launch for Andarina Designs.

But Marcy had another idea.  She suggested I design the lighting for The Women’s Mafia and EngieStyle fashion presentation and launch party “Once Upon A Time” which would benefit a cause I love, the MillionTreesNYC project.  Marcy said she would love to see some of my pieces hung right over the runway.  I was thrilled!  And Engie’s first collection, Rouge et Noir was done in a palette that seemed just right beside my first collection’s rich jewel tones.  Oh, just one thing: the event was only two weeks away! Continue reading

CAUSES: Transforming the Environment Through Fashion and Philanthropy

Altruism Causes Design Exploits Fashion
Christina Vescovo, Engie Hassan, Wendy Levene-Goldberg, Iman Hussein, Marcy Clark

By Christina Vescovo
NYRP Junior Board Member, Real Estate Professional and Women’s Mafia member

“It is wonderful to see a person contributing to society as an individual human being, regardless of social position or importance.” Raisa Gorbachev, fundraiser and philosopher, (1932-1999)
I was so inspired by the new friendships and the beautiful EngieStyle looks that sprouted in “Once Upon a Time.” It is amazing to work around women who value each other’s skills and talents more than each other’s clothes. However, there’s no better way to celebrate life and success than getting decked out for a fashion fundraiser!
From our first meeting, I intuitively knew that Marcy, Engie, Wendy, and everyone involved in planning this event shared the ability to forge an incredible result…because we each find mediocrity intolerable, our talents must not be wasted.
I was very excited to see a fashion show with an improvisation representing Engie’s early career. I imagine it seemed totally ridiculous that I was actually crying alongside the catwalk, but when I identified with meaning of the story that the models recounted, it was heartfelt. I believe that when you make sense of and find value in your experiences (good and bad), you move forward in life. I know we’ve all had moments that justified throwing in the towel, and I reflected on how much easier it is to attain happiness when you don’t let go of your goals.
I was also reminded that after all is said and done, my happiest moments are when I am able to bring people together for philanthropy. The significance of “Once Upon a Time” to me was that we all came together for a cause to make the city a more beautiful place. I loved seeing Wendy Levene Goldberg encourage several young models to contribute their time to charity; she inspired them to see how amazing it feels to give. I loved hearing my other philanthropist friend Emily Conner’s reaction to Engie’s first look: “I’m wearing THAT to my Christmas party!” And I think we all loved the audience’s applause.
Once upon a time, we each decided that New York City was the place to dream and to make life different. Thanks to Women’s Mafia, on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010, it all came together! Continue reading

Exclusive: Women’s Mafia TALENT Q&A with “Understanding Men” Guru Alison Armstrong

Events Health Talent

By Marcy Clark

A few years ago a friend, who has happily been in a long term relationship for nearly ten years, was listening to me complain about not understanding the man I was dating, not feeling that things were moving forward and feeling overall confused about how to proceed. She told me straight: you need to take this class called “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women.” She then proceeded to tell me some of the surprising things she had learned from the course – such as that shiny hair is one of the most attractive things about women to men (really?!?) or that men who are ready for a serious commitment can tell just by looking at a woman, literally, if she has most of the qualities that would make her a good mate and partner (don’t worry, you can learn to embody them more often!). I have been eager to take her first course ever since then, and finally signed up for it this May 26th and 27th in Tarrytown.

To prep for the course I interviewed the industrious, brilliant and insightful Alison Armstrong about some of the insights she has gained in her 20 years of researching men and women. Enjoy and sign up for a class or buy one of her books today! I read Making Sense of Men: A Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Love, Care and Attention from All Men in one sitting and my life will never be the same.

Women’s Mafia: A lot of New York women are always complaining that the men here don’t want to commit, they seem to be interminable bachelors. What can women look for to spot the non-phobic ones, or the ones that have zeroed-in on them?

Alison Armstrong: The thing they need to know is there are times when a man’s willingness to commit is not personal.  There are stages in a man’s life when a marriage commitment is not a possibility.  It is like trying to load the Halo video game program without enough memory on your computer.  Marriage is the biggest commitment a man can make next to fatherhood.  His life has to be in a particular place before he is going to be able to make a commitment.  That is regardless of how much he loves a woman.  Women think: “If he loved me more he would marry me.”  That is a mistake.

There is another side where a man’s willingness to commit is personal.  When I have asked men “Do you want to be married?” almost all say yes.  It is always followed by “When I meet the right person,” “If I meet the right person,” or “Hopefully, I’ll meet the right person.”  There are things that women do all the time that convince men that they are the wrong person – such as emasculating men all the time without even knowing it.

Women just dive in and hope that things will work, our desire is that strong.  The idea that men don’t want to get married is a myth.  It is just that what it takes for men to get married is different.  Men are much more realistic about marriage and what it takes to be happy in the long term.  If a man doesn’t want to marry you, then he is paying attention to something that is probably important: do you share the same values, do you give each other what you most need, and can you make each other happy?

Men have this idea that if two people can’t give each other what they need, they shouldn’t be together.  This idea is strange to women who go without what they need someone who can’t give them what they need.  Men actually honor what they need.

WM: There is a lot of debate in the post-feminist era about who should be picking up the check at the end of dinner, and how to handle it – how can a modern woman best handle this without emasculating her date? What should the expectations be in the 21st century?

Continue reading

Women’s Mafia Endorsed Designers Shauntele & Belabunda Showing Hamptons & Summer 2010 lines at Stone Rose

Design Fashion Nightlife

Do you remember the gorgeous Fall/Winter 2010 collection of our “Are You Runway Ready?” 2010 winner Shauntele?

She is showing her new Summery looks for 2010/2011 alongside Belabunda Bikinis Summer 2010 collection, which was recently featured in Sports Illustrated. It is a perfect time to start picking out your Hamptons Wardrobe! (Have you reserved your weekends at our Hampton’s House yet?)

Our first 5 members to RSVP get comp tickets to this very high-end and sure-to-be-fun event!

Will we see you this Saturday May 1st at 9pm? RSVP to Marcy@womensmafia.com Continue reading

Another Chance to Run for Prom Queen: FashionIndie & Women’s Mafia host PROM 2010

Causes Events Exploits Featured Nightlife

Do you still have Tiara envy? Do you wish you had gotten laid on Prom night?
It’s not too late!

Next Saturday May 8th we are co-hosting PROM 2010 with FashionIndie Magazine and that means that you get a chance to relive or reinvent your glory days! This time with better music, better hair and – best-of-all – an Open Bar to get the evening started off right!

Get your tickets here and rsvp to Marcy@womensmafia.com so we can save the last dance for you!
Tickets starting at only $20 stag and $30 for couples.

TALENT: Q&A with Shauntele, As Seen In The Women’s Mafia Fashion Show Fall/Winter 2010

Fashion Fashion Week Shopping & Acquisitions Talent

By Marcy Clark

Shauntele Richardson is one of the winners of our “Are You Runway Ready?” contest and was featured in our Fall/Winter 2010 Fashion Show at Tela Design Studio. Her line Shauntelé is deliciously feminine, luxuriously well-made, perfectly tailored and quite modern.

From her first design internship at Nikka to her experience tailoring for the likes of Jessica Simpson and Judy Reyes, Shauntele has developed a style ushering in a new phase of appreciation for the female form. The lines are flattering yet concealing as she strives to highlight a woman’s very best assets. Jorge Ramon, former fashion editor of Teen People, has called her collection “newsworthy,” while women in the know, such as Ivanka Trump, are taking note of this new fashion gem.

Enjoy our Q&A with Shauntele below and contact her to order from her Spring or Fall Collections!
Q: Where did you learn to design and how has your aesthetic evolved over time?
A: That’s the first question?! Of course I think I’m expected to name FIT or Parsons as an alma mater but the truth is that I’ve only taken one illustration class and one sewing course. The rest is self taught through internships, past work experience as well as guidance from family and friends. I pick up any little fragment of knowledge, continue collecting it and depositing in into a mental reservoir I carry with me everyday. As I persist my aesthetic becomes more true to the woman I see myself becoming: a wife,  a mother, an entrepreneur, a voice in the community. All of those roles are so common amongst all women, it comes across in my silhouettes that i am designing for them and I am confident in the direction I am headed.

Q: You are mostly a one woman show, how do you handle it all?
A: I have a lot of people rooting for me to make it and so willing to give of their own talents without pause. Honestly and gratitude, coupled with an almost unwavering loyalty, has equipped me with an unimaginable, invisible “line of credit” amongst my colleagues of the garment district. In my earlier days, assistants doubled as models and day jobs became a cover for my designer alter ego. I would stay absurdly late at the office to print everything from lookbooks to garment tags. I think the more I have to do the quicker my mind works to make it happen, in theory anyway. Besides, I have to handle it, I’ve got something to prove.

Q: When did you realize you could make your passion your career? Is designing in your blood?
A: When I saw someone making an awful mess of their own fashion label, I thought to myself I see what they are doing wrong and it takes less time to do it right. I began seeking out people in the fashion industry who were sincere, helpful and humble. I knew that fashion could be more than superficial, it could be extremely intellectual and empowering. In the end all I want is for a garment to enhance a person’s mood, their appearance and their confidence. The women in my family used to make all their own clothes and still recount wonderful stories of them stepping into a dance as a trio of sisters with the best outfits in the place. The mental image of the creativity, class and fun they must’ve had is something that always keeps me inspired.

Q: What energizes you? Where do you go to find new inspiration when designing a
new collection?
A: It almost never begins with a visual inspiration. First I seek out the music. In my head the the melodies begin to suggest bodies and colors. I later come across an artist like Tamara de Lempicka or Henri Rosseau who appear to embody the visual aesthetic of a song or genre I’ve recently discovered. In my teenage years I wanted to be a singer and would always put together outfits to help the audience understand me as an artist. Even till this day I want my appearance to give people a clear understanding of who I am. A picture is worth a thousand words, so why should we be afraid for people to judge us by our appearance?

Q: You are sponsored by the Garment Industry Development Corp with a space in Showroom New York, because you make your clothes in New York’s garment industry. Why do you feel it is important that the Garment Industry remain in Manhattan?
A: Showroom New York has played a huge role in my collection over the past year. The designers that make up the collective are dedicated to seeing one another succeed and we make it happen by sharing our resources, criticism and encouragement. It would be impossible for us to do so if the Garment District became spread out over the 5 boroughs because zoning laws are forcing manufacturers out. I’ve had to do a lot with very little formal training, the pattern-makers and seamstresses who have supported me since my eager intern days are invaluable to me. They see my vision as well as expand it. Innovation is what happens when ideas are thrust into the air making the atmosphere fertile for a surprise, a movement. Right now fashion is stale, but at Showroom New York there is so much to taste. People are looking for something new and we are what’s new.

Q: Lastly, and please don’t be shy, what can the Women’s Mafia make happen for you?
A: As if I wasn’t already fawning over Women’s Mafia and how great your approach is to supporting new talent. First, you can get me a tape of your awesome appearance on NBC. Second I think Women’s Mafia can help forge a solid connection to women who’ve been seeking out the aesthetic that Shauntele represents which is elegant with just the right bit of sexy to get a room buzzing.

Member Exclusive: The Women’s Mafia Hamptons Share House!

Events Exploits Nightlife Travel

By Elisha Dang and Marcy Clark

Surprisingly soon it will be that brilliant that time of the year when Manhattanites seek refuge in the Hamptons to enjoy a fun-filled summer and escape the doldrums of winter! Yes, we are those people, and whether you know it or not, we know that you are, too!

The towns are picturesque and filled with history.  The beaches are among the most breathtaking on the East Coast.  The people-watching is unparalleled.  Best of all, your fellow vacationers are all very friendly…as long as you stay at the right house!

The Hamptons
The Hamptons

Through our friend David Shapiro, better known as The Hamptons Concierge, we are hosting Women’s Mafia members and guests at one of two Hamptons houses we secured for this summer.

IMG_3536For over 10 years, David has been one of the most respected house hosts in the Hamptons, offering luxurious amenities for all of his guests. Swim in the heated pool, unwind in the 8-person hot-tub, lounge on the spacious sun deck, fire up the BBQ whenever you want, or enjoy a round on the full-size tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts.

Don’t worry about food and drinks! An in-house chef prepares six meals a weekend (eight meals on holiday weekends), and the houses are stocked with enough liquor to keep it flowing all weekend long. Continue reading

Our Jewelry Designer For the Women’s Mafia Fashion Week Events: Lisa Linhardt

Design Fashion Fashion Week Shopping & Acquisitions

By Marcy Clark

You may remember Lisa Linhardt from her TALENT profile with us a few months ago. She has been busy at work creating new and unforgettable socially conscious pieces, several of which we featured in our Women’s Mafia Fashion Shows on February 9th and February 17th. Enjoy the photos and visit her incredibly gorgeous and hip shop at 156 1st Avenue, near 9th.  She’s a priceless gem!

Continue reading

Images From NYC Fashion Week Feb 2010

Exploits Fashion Fashion Week Nightlife

by Rick Weaver, for Women’s Mafia and Icon-Americana

I recently had the opportunity to hang with the ladies of Women’s Mafia during my first ever Fashion Week at Bryant Park. Below are just a few of the photos. The fashion shows themselves were amazing, but what I will remember most is the energy inside the tents, which was electric! I’m glad I was able to experience it before NYC Fashion Week takes its show on the road to Lincoln Center in the fall. Continue reading