End of an Era: Oscar de la Renta, 1932-2014

I remember Oscar de la Renta best from moments like these, backstage at his New York Fashion Week shows, about to take his bow on the runway, always letting the models go first and lingering modestly in the back of the podium, always surrounded by smiling employees who were so proud to work for such a generous and elegant man. He understood, better than most designers, that style is about so much more than what you are wearing.

A Prima Ballerina’s final bow

Wendy Whelan, the prima ballerina and arguably the greatest ballerinas of her generation, retired last night from the New York City Ballet. I wish I had seen her farewell performance, but I feel lucky to have seen her dance on so many other occasions. Most memorably in a rehearsal I was invited to watch back in 2004 when I served on a fund-raising committee at the NYCB. I remember being stunned by the beauty and perfection of Whelan’s dancing. Even in rehearsal, when other dancers simply “mark” steps, Whelan was so present and precise. Her timing was incredible and her performance–it was a performance more than a rehearsal–was sharp and crystalline. She was astounding to watch. I had once been an aspiring dancer so I had seen many great ballerinas perform–Suzanne Farrell, Merrill Ashley, Natalia Makarova. But this was different. There was something so unique about Whelan’s style and discipline. I rushed home and told my husband, who writes for the New York Times Magazine, that he had to write a profile of Whelan. I couldn’t remember reading an in-depth piece on Whelan in any national magazine. (Here’s the link to the story my husband wrote) Whelan has retired from the New York City Ballet, but I don’t think she’ll stop dancing. I’m excited to see what she does next.

Charlotte Stone: The Birkenstock challenge

Its funny how sometimes you have to read a French blog written by someone in Paris to discover a new shoe designer in Los Angeles. The internet is magical that way. I found these great-looking Birkenstock-esque sandals on a French blog called What Domino Wants. I wore Birkenstocks on and off all summer well aware that they are in no way chic or flattering. But they’re so comfortable! Charlotte Stone an L.A.-based shoe designer whose sandals might just be the answer to the Birkenstock style vs. comfort conundrum.

Sporting Life: Alexander Wang for H&M

Another designer got the memo on the crossover between ready-to-wear and performance apparel (aka sports gear or workout clothing). Alexander Wang introduced his new collaboration with H&M the other night and, POW, he hit a home run with athletic-inspired looks made of performance fabrics so they can go to the gym and the office. For the past several years I’ve noticed more and more women wearing brands like Lululemon as ready-to-wear–oh those yoga pants! Designers like luxury brands like Hermès and designers like Tory Burch picked up on the trend and launched — or are launching — their own lines of sporting apparel. Even Haute Couture houses like Dior and Chanel started showing and selling very expensive sneakers. I’m sure Wang’s looks for H&M will fly off the shelves when they arrive in store on November 6th.

A Hotel Life: Blog Obsession

I can’t remember how I heard about A Hotel Life, but ever since I subscribed to this info-packed, stylish newsletter I’ve been impressed by the ground they cover and the choice of contributors. Every time it pops up in my inbox I cannot wait to read their latest recommendation (they usually have three or four–one quirkier than the next). They also post useful information about the destination alongside each hotel review–neighboring towns or sites of interest, where to eat locally. The most recent installment got me dreaming of Puglia, Italy–a place I’ve dreamed of going for a while now. www.ahotellife.com