Eleven years ago, on a dare, I posted an offer for my personal shopping services and gained a client within an hour!
Since then, I have helped the newly minted executive find the look and personal brand identity through listening, assessing possible solutions and persuading the client to ‘try one new thing’ to add to the foundation of their wardrobe.
I have been fortunate enough to dress a gentleman for the Emmys, along with other high-profile events in Manhattan, NY.
Photo: Kenzo Kills It
I have assisted a friend who was totally overwhelmed by her pregnancy and how she would manage her wardrobe during the nine months of constant metamorphosis Let’s just say that she ‘crushed it’ at her baby shower!
Finally, I have worked with Tom Ford’s production to create the most amazing 3-piece suit-replete with waistcoat. I had to convince Italy to open the vault and produce the waistcoat. It was a high-point for my client because I worked with him every step of the way.
Recently, I expanded the scope of my business to marketing and PR for Business Professionals and Small Businesses Owners.
In honor of the past 11 years and the newly approved Trademark of my business, I want you to be a part of the celebration. Now through June 15th, I am offering my services at 50% off. Book now to insure availability.
It is my mission to “Find the Brand that Fits You Best”
It has been awhile since I wrote a pure fashion-oriented blog. Thankfully, the hiatus has ended. I have reviewed both Men’s & Women’s 2016 RTW, and once again, I am so inspired that I wanted to share the freshest looks and hottest trends with you.
According to Vogue’s Kristin Anderson and Steff Yotka, boys will be boys—and if the Fall 2016 collections are any indication, they’re about to be boys in exuberant style. The latest round of collections brought with it shaggy toppers, mirrorlike metallics, Technicolor knits, cowboy shirts—and, yes, even a Snoopy cameo or two. We’re breaking down the season’s key trends in all their irreverent, gender-bending glory.
RUFFLES OWN THE WOMEN’S RUNWAY
Flowing, graceful ruffles will float down the runway effortlessly, moving gently as if the subject’s feet are not even touching the ground. Ruffles are easily created by using lightweight sheer to opaque fabrics including synthetics, Silk Organza, Silk Charmeuse, Chiffon, Crepe De Chine & even Rayon Challis because of their inherent properties of movement. Pictured is Sarah Burton’s take on softly elegant ruffles from Alexander McQueen.
CHECKS AND PLAIDS-PATTERNS
Checks and plaids will dominate outerwear and other categories like knit tops, and trousers. If you have an aversion to tartan, you have been warned. Pictured is the AMI large check double-breasted wool coat.
MEN’S OUTERWEAR WILL BE OVERSIZED, BULKY AND HEAVILY LAYERED
Men’s outerwear will embrace largesse to high drama and you will see multiple outerwear pieces worn in a layered fashion such as these two wool coats by Balmain.
BOMBER JACKETS-NYLON BOMBERS REBOOT
The nylon zip bomber will get a redux with whimsical and elaborate prints and treatments. Maison Margiela is showing a solid nylon bomber in a khaki sateen hue, but novelty will abound in this category.
PRETTY IN PINK-MEN EMBRACE PINKERY
Pink dress shirts had a cycle a few years back, we shall see how widely every shade of pink is embraced by the masses. Gucci really went after the spectrum of pinks and roses in their Fall 2016 Collection.
POLYCHROMATIC-A VERITABLE EXPLOSION OF COLOR IN KNIT PRINT AND OTHER INCARNATIONS
Neither Coogi nor Cosby had anything to do with the veritable explosion of color and detail that defines current trends in men’s fashion. Above is an Asian inspired embroidered and appliqued ensemble from Gucci.
SHEER PUFFERY-PUFFED OUTERWEAR-FROM VEST TO FULL-LENGTH
I thought we had our fill of puffer jackets from Moncler, but eau contrare! Puffed outerwear will be the outer-most layer to top off a heavily stacked ensemble. Layering will dominate Fall 2016. Two pieces of outerwear will be the norm rather than the anomaly. Raf Simons shows the oversized version of a puffed jacket that is a recurring trend and common thread through many designers for the Fall season.
KITSCH-NOVELTY AND RETRO PRINTS
Fun and whimsical prints will invade the knit top and the woven sport shirt-the quirkier the better! Gucci and Snoopy-a likely pair!
Men finally get their shot at metallic, but not necessarily gold lame’. Shiny silver and chrome trousers, outerwear and shirts will reflect like a rear-view. The AMI trousers from above will definitely garner attention when you enter a room.
MILITARY REGALIA-FOREIGN LEGION FASHION
I love the structure of military-inspired fashion. The stakes have been raised. Heavy gauge wool top coats with buttons that actually look expensive. Double-breasted outerwear with roping and embellished with gold thread and tassels. Military is a dominant theme throughout menswear.
YOU’VE BEEN CRESTED
Elaborate crests will be donned on jackets, topcoats and sweaters. Multiple crests as shown above from Balmain will be a prevalent detail for Fall.
THATS SO TRACKIE-ALL THINGS TRACK SUIT
Time to dust off your ADIDAS. This incarnation will pair track pants with a washed leather hoodie from Carven.
I WANNA BE A COWBOY
Someone wake Madonna. Western is back (again). Above is Dolce & Gabbana’s shoot em up knit top.
Not Austin Powers shag. Literally, outerwear that looks like a cross between a sheepdog and a Rastafarian. Lots of bulk and volume.
Labels, labels, labels – Our modern society shies from labeling anything these days or risk politically incorrect backlash. I was perusing 2016 Fashion and I was not feeling freshness until I hit BALMAIN and ALEXANDER McQUEEN.
Lots of scandal surrounding Balmain’s Chief Visionary Olivier Rousteing who gets fever for only clocking 30 years of age. Rousteing’s aesthetic is so compelling and appealing, he has most designers who are nearly double his age running scared. I liken his Men’s Fall 2016 Collection to a fantastical journey back in time to a place of royalty, opulence and elaborate beauty. Fabrics are so rich and luxurious they could easily devolve into Elizabethan costumes. Somehow, they avoid this pitfall. The clear narrative he communicates with laser precision is like a pleasant story of a time long past. BALMAIN is hands down my favorite fashion house of right now.
Rousteing’s creations are fantastic yet relatable. I was astounded to learn that Spring 2016 was the first season he produced a men’s line. He knows how to make a man look the part. He offered up his summation in this quote,”What is the BALMAIN man?’ And these guys are exactly like who I am—they are discovering the world, traveling as an aventurier, trying to find treasures … being a strong man discovering the world.” His Spring 2016 line was militaristic safari. His Fall 2016 line is Luxe Prince who has traveled forward through time from Versailles with the volume turned down just enough to make each piece lavish without the over-stimulating vulgarity that Versallies can sometimes devolve into unknowingly. Luke Leitch nimbly explained the collection this way,”We were there- Rococo met Fabergé metWar and Peace met Versailles met Claude Montana met Dune met Highlander, in a dizzying display of resplendence pitched at the aristocracy of money.” Soldier-wise, Balmain conscripted a crack squad of sharp cheekbones: Baptiste Giabiconi not at Chanel? Jon Kortajarena, Sean O’Pry, Chico Lachowski, Lucky Blue? His use of the most luxurious fabrics just elevated the Fall line to a place of transcendent royal splendor.
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN just keeps hitting home-runs in the line that Sarah Burton inherited from the genius Couturier Alexander. He is probably rolling in his grave with envy because she consistently serves up freshness. On the women’s side, the level of execution of ruffles galore mixed with jewel-like open woven overlays is astoundingly beautiful. Men’s styles harken to another century with longer coattails and novelty aplenty!
Some of my other favorites include:
Apparently, Mr. Miyashita draws inspiration from prolific musicians. I found his visual sensibility a journey back to a retro European boy evolving into a man. The cohesiveness of the collection was tight and visually consistent-much like a good album that you allow to play through because you like every song.
My fondness for the collection was a highly unexpected reaction. The use of color so saturated that it looked like it was lit from within. The collection transcended what I usually regard as garish overkill. It was intensely bright, but it worked.
Kris Van Assche’s collection was thematically part skater-boy, mixed with an expected Dior iconic camel coat. The melding of these two seemingly unrelated modes of fashion were somehow stitched together loosely, but just tight enough to work.
Stéphane Ashpool executes the Pigalle line based on a once seedy Parisian neighborhood of the same name. What surprised and engaged me was the use of typically feminine colors to create a men’s line which eschewed masculinity. I love the contradiction.
Lucas Ossendrijver has been designing the line at Lanvin for a decade now. Controversy has gripped this fashion house of late as Alber Elbaz has departed from his role as creative director. No matter. Lucas is soldiering on and executed the best of the oversized outerwear pieces I reviewed.
Always a favorite of mine since the day I was introduced to the line. Hey, CFDA can’t be wrong. A bittersweet cosmic gift was handed to Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow as they drew inspiration for the collection from the 1976 film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth”. Their composition started long before the untimely passing of Mr. Bowie, but still served to honor his legacy. The line was tight and consistent.
DRIES VAN NOTEN
The buzz about this show was that it was held (finally) at the Palais Garnier, an opera house to add drama and atmosphere to a collection. I am sure the location was an extraordinary treat. I simply love the balance between the restraint and no holds-barred details that created a collection that works so well with each item contributing brilliantly on their own. The end result was a collection made stronger by the sum of its parts.
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon apparently drew some inspiration from a Blur concert they attended long ago. I am not sure if the goal was ‘rock & roll’, but the clothes looked young but pulled together. Fresh is the word that comes to mind. I also loved to courageous (in my own mind) use of Logos on some of their pieces. The collection was just coolness executed properly.
This fashion recap has been a labor of love and I have yearned to complete a comprehensive recap for a few seasons now. I am not sure if it is comprehensive, but it sure has some weight to it. It feels substantial. I think it is light on women’s RTW, but it covers Men’s Fall 2016 like a blanket.
I hope you enjoy it and I welcome your kind and/or constructive feedback-or you can just like it!
Gift List Drama? Never fear, Fred is here!
With 27 years experience at the “Retail Rodeo”, I can help you get through that daunting holiday gift list, possibly restore your sanity, and help you regain the true spirit of the holidays. Shopping should be fun-especially at the holidays!
If you are running short on time or your nerves are making you feel like Scrooge, I can help you complete your to-do list, offer a fresh perspective for those problem people on your list, and get you outfitted for any function that the holidays can present.
I am feeling very generous. We can negotiate a VERY reasonable agreement for my services based on the scope your needs. Just email me at email@example.com.
J. Fred Tomberlin-Fashion Consultant & Personal Shopper
For more than a year of my life, I traveled from one luxury retailer in Manhattan to the next: One day at Barney’s, the next day at Saks Fifth Avenue-and then a quick stop by Bloomingdale’s. It was an interesting time and every day presented a new experience.
One day I found myself at Bloomingdale’s and I was literally wrestling with a mannequin who was highly-uncooperative. Suddenly, I heard a crack and ‘he’ toppled into me, smashed my lip and thundered to the floor breaking into what seemed like a million pieces. If you are unaware, mannequins are extremely expensive-they can run well over $10,000. I found myself bloodied and staring down at the carnage of what used to be a mannequin with a feeling of incredulous disbelief at what had just happened.
To make matters more intense, I was scheduled to attend the company’s Holiday party that evening and my lip was swollen and I was unable to get it to stop bleeding. So there I was, drooling blood all over a million pieces of what used to represent a fashionable urban ‘man on the go’. In retrospect , it is pretty humorous, but it wasn’t on that day. Just then, the manager walked up and said, “What have you done? You destroyed my mannequin!” She was unaffected by the blood that continued to issue from my lip without any sign of abating.
So I did what any good merchandise coordinator would do-I gathered the broken bloody bits of my abusive attacker and I put the seemingly endless pieces of him in the “well”. I visited my victim regularly for the next few weeks, and then one day he was gone. Just another day in the life of a merchandise coordinator!
Edna Marie O’Dowd (August 27, 1946 – November 19, 1971)*  was an emerging artist of the 1960’s whose imaginative style of illustration was beginning to garner attention within the art-scene of southern California. Edna’s friend and author desscriber her artistic style like this, “A recent transfer from New York named Edna made ornate figures and faces with pen and ink. Her black and white patterns seemed to move on the paper with a will of their own.”*  She integrated a psychedelic aesthetic with political themes in a synergistic format which delivered emotional impact. The level of intricate detail on Ms. O’Dowd’s illustrations demonstrated a thematic and visual complexity that was unique. The level of detail she could achieve in her artwork could have been related to an ability to hyper-focus or possibly she created while engaging in a ‘modified’ state of being. 
As with any artist, her style developed over a period of years. Her composition of more advanced illustrations was achieved by inserting adjectives or statements in a highly stylized form that expressed her views. She would marry the statements with human faces which seemed to echo the emotion of the accompanying verbiage. The best example of this technique was an illustration entitled “Shoot ’em up, Baby”.
Edna’s artistic forte’ was her ability to deftly illustrate the eyes on the faces within her compositions with subtle, nuanced, multi-layered emotional expression. The eyes she illustrated could convey such emotional complexity, that they almost seemed to express a different emotion based upon the viewer’s mood from one viewing to the next. Edna’s ‘eyes’ were likely an outlet to allow her to communicate her own emotions in a covert manner. In all her paintings and illustrations, the eyes always have a subtle, but tangible suggestion of anxiety, yearning, and sadness. A recurring theme of her later artwork was the state of the country during the Viet-Nam War. It was a time of activism and Edna was very outspoken about her views on the government and the war. Her artwork was a great forum to speak to those subjects. Her illustrations passionately conveyed her views and outrage toward the establishment.
Edna’s most recognized work was the cover-art for the band “Joyride” which was a side-project for some members of Paul Revere and the Raiders including Drake Levin with whom she shared a friendship.  The inspiration for the cover art for the album is a reference to Ezekiel’s view of the human soul. Ezekiel’s writing on the human soul, was represented visually by a chariot pulled by a lion and predates Plato’s version (The chariot is drawn by horses rather than a lion) by 200 years.  An interpretation of this image is recurrent throughout literary history. Artistically, Edna had many influences that can be attributed to the evolution of her artistic style . At least one of her peers in high school made an impact and possibly the illustrator of the original Arzachel album may have informed her aesthetic, but it is unclear since their artwork was composed concurrently so it could be that the other artist evolved based on Edna’s style: which was fully realized by 1969. Both albums were released in 1969. 
Born in Tucson, Arizona, Edna was the second oldest of four siblings: she had an older sister and two younger brothers. Her mother, (Mary Martha Chestosky) who was of Czech descent (on her father’s side) was a contemporary trailblazer for women’s rights as a female certified pilot and one of the first-ever flight attendants. Mary Martha’s father, (Hugo Chestosky) was an attorney, who gained notoriety in 1934 when he represented Adam Richetti, who was an associate of Charles Pretty Boy Floyd – the infamous gangster. Mary Martha found an interesting partner in her second husband, (Mr. Carl Joseph “CJ” O’Dowd). He was of Irish descent and his family played an instrumental role in pioneering and supporting the growth of the city of Tucson, Arizona. Carl was an Officer in the military and enjoyed entertaining. Mary Martha matched her husband’s exuberant personality with a beguiling magnetism and social grace. . The family relocated to Palm Springs at the beginning of the 1960s. Ultimately, CJ and Mary Martha did not remain together, although they were married to each other twice. After the divorce, Mary Martha soldiered on by herself for a time, and the experience created a Herculean bond between the children and their mother. They were ferociously loyal and supportive of each other. The household in which Edna was raised, was progressive for the time. Creativity flourished. During this period, Mary Martha developed a thriving real-estate business. Eventually, Mary Martha wed a high-profile businessman, which took the family to Rye, NY. They rented a house on the Long Island Sound from prolific writer, director Joseph Mankiewicz. During her time in the northeast, Edna got her first taste of New York City. The Beat Movement was in full-swing and Edna got to experience it first-hand. She befriended an eccentric classmate that shared her penchant for non-conformity and they would frequent the coffee houses of Greenwich Village. Fueled by her new-found perspective gained from her exposure to the cultural diversity of NYC, she felt validation as an ‘outsider’ . She began to express herself with more confidence. She also became familiar with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Although Edna was energized by New York and the Beat Movement, she felt isolated at school. Edna expressed her feelings of alienation and loneliness during her time in Rye, NY in an autobiography she wrote as a class assignment in 1963. The family spent a short period in Norwalk, Connecticut and ultimately, they moved back to Palm Springs.
Edna’s aptitude for expression was apparent from a young age. She could express both verbally and visually with a sophistication well beyond her years. Yet, she appeared ambivalent in regard to her aptitude and considerable potential as an artist. The final line of her autobiography reads, “I must not go unheard”. It was clear that Edna felt emotions very intensely, but did not overtly articulate to her friends and family any negative emotions. She often felt disappointed by people and the state of the world she inhabited. She had a few confidantes with whom she would share portions of her dismay, but it does not seem that she gave any one person a comprehensive picture of her inner-most feelings. While in High School, she did find a place of solace. Her Art and English Teachers were very close to her and encouraged her to express her talent. She spent her summers with other artists and musicians at Snow Creek: A burgeoning location for the artistic including some ‘almost famous’ peers.
Socially, Edna seemed well-regarded in High School. Edna possessed a progressive view on dating and interaction with boys. In her senior year, she dated a boy from another High School and they had a relationship which produced a child in 1965. Edna took the situation on largely by herself as she (and her family) were very private. She did not involve the father of the child in the decision-making: much to his chagrin. In late 1965 she flew to Hawaii to have the child in secret. She was only 19 at the time. In October, 1965 she painted “Chick by the House”. She signed the back of the painting with little more than two months to go before giving birth. The painting has many literal statements about where she was emotionally. The woman in the painting is ‘literally’ on the fence and her eyes convey extreme concern and distress. In the background, is a house which could be construed as security or refuge. Edna vacillated on whether to keep her child. It was a torturous decision for her. Ramsey Dennis O’Dowd was born on December 3rd 1965 and shared his middle name with his biological father, Dennis Rusch. It would seem that Edna was leaving a future clue for her son. In March 1966, she ultimately decided that the best decision would be to give the child up for adoption. She filed court papers in March and headed back to California in April 1966. The experience took a heavy toll on her. The child was adopted and placed with a family a few months after spending some time in a foster home. Soon after Edna returned to Palm Springs she painted “The Sun” as a gift to her sister who had just given birth to her own daughter. “The Sun” is one of Edna’s strongest paintings and demonstrates her ability to mix joyous subject matter with a tinge of melancholy. She alluded to the experience she had recently endured during a conversation with her sister, but gave few details. She was still reeling from the decision she was forced to make. Edna left for Paris, France in October of 1966 with a close companion. They traversed many regions of Europe including France, England and spent a long time in Greece. She was away for some time and did not return until 1968. She was home for the holidays in late 1968. Upon her return, she soon became involved with the “Joyride” project.
Marriage and Disappearance
In late 1970, Edna married John P. Addessi. There is sparse information on him or their union. She disappeared soon after they were married. There is a reference to her visiting her mother in February 1971. Undoubtedly, Edna’s ability to cope with whatever she was facing had become unmanageable. Currently, there is no confirmed evidence that she reached out to her family or friends as a support system. The dramatic irony is that her family was available to her and was under the impression that she was with a friend in Los Angeles.
While the ultimate catalyst for her early departure from life remains eternally with her, it is believed that she made her way into the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains which were located only blocks from her final residence. She was never seen again.  Her remains were discovered November 13, 1971 and conditions indicated that she had been there for some time. She was interred at Desert Memorial Park on November 19th 1971. To this day, her death certificate reads: “Under investigation”. She was 25 years old. Her decision not only ended her life, but also what might have become of her potential as an artist, mother and human-being.
As a vegetarian since adulthood, Edna posthumously requested that donations be made to a UK-based charity called Veg-Fam [], a vegetarian organization that supports the hungry without exploiting animals. She also recommended the book, “The Crazy Ape” by Nobel-Prize winning author Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi. A philosophical manifesto aimed at youth. Her actions in life, coupled with her enduring artwork have given her a voice that she did not realize she had during her life. She has not gone unheard.
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Date of Interment-Weifels & Sons
Quote from “I Will Not Go Unheard” by Ramsey O’Dowd. c. 2015