DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT - ALL HAIL JOHN VARVATOS

What award-winning menswear designer worked for both Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, has an amazing store in Soho, has a very successful eponymous clothing line as well as a collaboration with a popular shoe line and really gets the needs of his clientele? Give up? It is the amazing John Varvatos , one of my all time favorites.

The clothes are the kind that are well-made, and have that broken-in feeling even though they are created in sumptuous fabrics and hues (sound familiar?). His clean, minimalist aesthetic reflect his design pedigree as former VP of menswear for Polo Ralph Lauren and former head of menswear for Calvin Klein. So how giddy was I then, this past holiday season, when I discovered that Zappos.com carried some of the line. We carry the great 100% cotton pullovers, the modern short-sleeved polos and the “steal it from the boyfriend’s closet” soft graphic tees. So ladies, shop for him but snag a few for yourself. I know I will.

THE STRAWS HAVE IT

Straw bags have arrived! If we know one thing, it’s that a straw tote signals the onset of spring. No more bulky coats (well, at least not out here on the West coast), no more boots, it’s almost time for sandals, flirty skirts and straw bags to match.

Need inspiration? Just look to Michael Kors, with his Michael Kors Santorini woven tote or Michael Kors Santorini woven clutch.

Readers, what will you be getting?

THE DAILY TREND - SATIN

Move over metallics, know your place cotton, all hail the queen of year-round fabrics, satin. From its humble beginnings in the black and white movies to today’s red carpet satin dolls, it is an easy fabric that dresses up any outfit. Take a pencil skirt from day to night with a jeweled colored blouse, pair a patterned blousoned sleeve shirt with skinny jeans to dazzle your date or slip a creamy colored blouse under a jumper to shine on at work.

FASHION TIDBIT: GIVENCHY'S FINE TUNING

He sings a falsetto that makes many gasp (wondering if it is painful to do so I’m sure), has a ‘sexy back’, dances, produces, acts — well, if you call it that. Yes, I’m discussing Justin Timberlake and his newest assignment, being the new face for Givenchy Parfums’ men’s fragrance. I suppose since his tour is finished, his clothing line William Rast is sailing along, and his current squeeze is away in London filming, he thought why not (we know he doesn’t need the money). As for Givenchy, this a great coo for them, because Justin has a built-in audience. With that will come thousands of screaming fans — 13 to 40 — rushing the international doors to get the fragrance, and thousands more of amors, significant others, drowning in the scent to keep their partners happy. Cha-ching!

WE COULD ALL USE A LITTLE POSH

Most of the public might find them obnoxious, but we at Couture love those Marc Jacobs ads featuring the diminutive Victoria ‘Posh’ Beckham. We’re not sure if its the blank canvas approach to the shots, her standing doll like with a vacant stare, the ridiculousness of the big plastic bag, the stepping out of a box, or the haloed angel decked out in black, but they always manage to captivate me. After all, here is a woman that is always tanned just so, never loses that dour expression, dresses sometimes to the extreme, but always carries it off. She is more fascinating than most, because she gets what the public thinks of her and can poke fun of the poking fun. Who else could pose nearly naked in all manner of repose with her hot mate, throw out a baseball in wedge high heel sneakers, or run behind their two-year-old in platforms?

A DOWDY OVERTURE

Am I the only one who thinks Katie Holmes has continued to look older and older as every day passes by? And no, I am not talking about the natural aging process that occurs second by second. In every photo taken of her, she appears dressed well beyond her youthful years, let’s not even get started on the Anna Wintour hairdo. It is hard to believe this is the same ‘Pieces of April’ person of a few years ago. And with that, I ask this: isn’t she only 27/28, why dress 47? Isn’t this the time in her life to be daring, to test the limits, to be adventurous? I know she is married to a much older man, a mother of a young child, step children, blah, blah, blah. I’m all for being tasteful, even a touch of demure mixed with a little edge, but come on. Someone call Victoria B. and tell her to help Katie get her ‘youth’ back.

DANCE LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW

I am not hating on Paula Abdul, really I’m not. She has a successful gig as the emotional judge on American Idol, looks fairly hot for having weathered drugs, yo-yo dieting, tipping a few bottles and having a husband or two. But did she really need to make more ‘bubblegum pop’ music and, better still, make an accompanying video? Please tell me I am not the only one to have seen the ‘Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow’ video? There are three different vignettes going on: in one, she is doing her ‘I’m still in the ‘80s’, over-choreographed Janet Jackson dance routine with male dancers all around her moving in Fosse-style syncopated movements; in another she is dressed in a lace-covered corset mini dress, gripping a microphone and singing with Randy (yes, from Idol) accompanying her on guitar; and of course one of her singing by herself in black leggings and a red top that has an extended train that swirls around her, as she steps back and forth over the mic mimicking singer Ciara’s moves from the Promise video. But, at least the idols that work together stay together – the closing shot is of all the idols: Ryan, Randy, Paula and Simon. Lets have a collective sigh here.

My question to you is why did the former L.A. Laker girl choose now? And more importantly, what would Simon say to her if she were a contestant on American Idol? Here is the link, check it out and then please explain it to me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_FBDaK_Gig&watch_response

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT - ALL HAIL ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

Couture.Zappos has revved it up another designer notch with the addition of the label Alexander McQueen. If you have not noticed — or, even more worthy of a Couture citation — not heard of him, then check out the fab handbags and scarves on couture.zappos.com.

But just in case, here goes: McQueen hails from London originally, left school at age 16 and worked as a tailor on Savile Row — where Mikhail Gorbachev and Charles, Prince of Wales were clients. He has designed theatrical costumes for the famous house Angels and Bermans as well as attended Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, where his graduation collection was purchased in its entirety by the late Isabella Blow. He is and has always been known for his controversial collections, think the Bumsters (pants) and his Highland collection as well as his skillful tailoring and amazing design eye. So now that I have caught you up on who he is, why are you still sitting there? Check out the amazing stuff that Couture has!