There is something very ethereal about the way spring emerges in the Hudson Valley.  As the trees begin to bloom, naked bark is slowly transformed from basic to beautiful.  In the beginning, it is if a translucent veil that floats over the branches.  Every day the scenery grows richer as light and color infuse the landscape  with an airy softness.  From bare to lush, this metamorphosis is nature’s evolution from pubescence to grace.  Until I moved here, I never really understood how much this panorama inspired one of America’s greatest contributions to Art History, The Hudson Valley School.  But now, as a firsthand witness to this quiet beauty, I have a deeper appreciation of this gentle genre.

From the moment I first saw the Trocadéro collection from Simone Pérèle, launching this month at retail, I was reminded of these luminescent pastoral compositions.  They have designed a group of  everyday … ...Read more

This Week’s Intimate Discovery:  Savvy Entrepreneurs Build A Gratifying Intimates Business

The moment I walked into Trousseau  in Vienna, Virginia and saw the gourmet chocolate counter calling my name, I knew that I was in an environment that understood how to address a woman’s needs.  A 3000 square foot consortium of lingerie, this boutique caters to bra fitting, leaving no size untested.  In 2011 alone, they sold 16,000 bras ranging from 30A to 56N cups; and just in case those size selections could not satisfy their customer’s needs, they performed an excess of 6000 alterations.  Every aspect of merchandising, from the range of brands carried in the shop to the visual presentation focused on end use, reinforces the clarity of vision that owner’s Sarah and Michael Weiner clearly possess.  Trousseau, only 12 years old, has endured complete annihilation from fire damage and never had a negative growth year, … ...Read more

We moved yesterday; downsized from a 5 bedroom home on several acres of land to a 3 room apartment.  I am sitting on the porch of our cozy new abode situated on the Hudson River with my morning coffee.  Across the water all I see are the burgeoning trees rising from their own reflections in the NY waterway.  WestPoint Academy, poised among the greenery, adds a classy allure. The April weather is uncharacteristically mild and life finally seems to be calming down.  The move went smoothly, with the few expected mistakes: chairs delivered to the wrong destination, items sold at the estate sale that I could have used here, boxes transported that were meant to be discarded.  But all in all, there is a sense of relief, of letting go, of getting back to basics and I am excited about the proposition.

Another thing I eliminated in this transition was … ...Read more

Brief Preview ~ Cosabella

Retail tides are rising as the resistance to luxury goods ebbs.  Visiting the Cosabella flagship and showroom in Soho, NY a few weeks ago, I discovered an interesting retail tidbit that set off my merchant’s radar.  Cosabella has noticed a real sea change in their business:  Customers are focusing on product in lieu of price. Only a short time ago, it was all about the cost of an item.  Now the priority is in the value added.  I noticed as I reviewed spring 2012 selling and previewed the fall 2012 collection, an increase in design detail, particularly as it appeared to revitalize some tried and true styles from this lifestyle brand.  According to Guido Campello, VP of Sales, Branding and Innovation, it was only a year ago that the biggest volume producers for the brand emanated from their lowest price items. Clearly the economy is evolving, as luxury items in … ...Read more

You have to be an animal lover to visit my sister, Beth.  Her home is the asylum for 8 wiener dogs of varying temperaments, 3 belonging to her and the remainder in foster care.  As an active member of Fido’s for Freedom and Dachshund Rescue of North America, she devotes a good chunk of her day caring for abandoned, abused and surrendered hounds.  She calls them her surrogate children.  Her objective is to provide a sense of security and comfort so that each pup can find a “forever” home.  Training these dogs to participate in Service and Therapy work, she nurtures them with quality attention and consistent discipline.  Her gentle but firm approach is admirable.  I drove to Maryland this week to drop off some items I need her to store during the upheaval in my own household resulting from the imminent closing on my house.  One would expect … ...Read more

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