As the year of the accessory turned pony-skin purses, pashmina shawls, and prayer-bead bracelets into couture cash crops, celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch went searching for his own prize in the trimming trade. "I was driving in my car thinking, How can I make a million dollars?" jokes Bloch, who realized he'd hit on something when, after he cut a few long, skinny fabric key chains for himself, Hollywood pals like Salma Hayek, Lauren Holly, and Jada Pinkett were practically swiping them out of his pocket. The collection ($28-$45, available at Barneys and Fragments) comes in an array of materials from snakeskin and suede to gold lamé, though some are available only to special friends: "I sent Cindy Crawford a terry-cloth one for the baby," says Bloch.
While Kate Betts has declared her intention to pepper the pages of the revamped Harper's Bazaar with hip, alternative fashion, Vogue's Anna Wintour isn't about to cede her reputation for discovering cutting-edge talent without a fight. While la Wintour has said she aims to keep her book more upscale than the newly youthful Bazaar, she's savvy enough to make sure she isn't cast in the role of haute-style apologist. Heads turned when Vogue senior fashion editor Camilla Nickerson, a longtime avant-garde proponent and regular Wintour envoy to downtown showrooms, recently popped into the NoLIta workshop of the aggressively noncommercial collective Orfi (an acronym for "organization for returning fashion interest") to check out its high-concept streetwear for an upcoming profile. And Wintour herself was sighted at a performance space on Suffolk Street last week, taking in the runway show of underground designer Miguel Adrover. Though Adrover's asymmetrical skirts and deconstructed tartans have yet to land a retail outlet, they've already been photographed for an upcoming Vogue story.
Top of the Lines
Michael Kors's "Palm Bitch" collection may be trumpeting the return of ladylike dressing for spring, but other designers' muses look more prepared for a day at the demolition derby than for a society pool party. Ralph Lauren recommends a biker-babe look this spring, proffering an itsy-bitsy leather string bikini in classic navy blue and white ($399). (He insists it's water-resistant.) For glittery affairs, Dolce & Gabbana suggests Swarovski-crystal-beaded microtops -- rainbow-colored triangles ($950) that offer slightly more coverage than your standard pasties. At least they're not saying we should wear G-strings with them: Hot pants are the preferred complement for the bottom half.
It's the rare stylish sufferer who hasn't stashed a pair of Diego Della Valle's moccasins in her tote for the times when her feet just can't take another Manolo moment -- and who hasn't fantasized about a shoe that would combine the virtues of both. Last week, we test-drove Tod's debut high heels, which the company claims are as comfortable as its legendary flats. We shivered a bit, heading out in sequined sandals in below-freezing temperatures to drop by Tiffany's for a fashion-week brunch (where the shoes sparkled only slightly less than the diamonds). Feeling a little too cold -- and a little too fancy for Tommy Hilfiger -- we nipped back home to put on some socks. The effect? Definitely more Dazed and Confused than Breakfast at Tiffany's but equally chic, and we didn't even need a taxi to get to Roseland for the event. The shoes' rubber treads were ideal for hopping snowbanks outside the DKNY show and made the hours spent hovering three inches above the sidewalk relatively pain-free -- but we'll admit to feeling the tiniest bit lame at the end of the day, when we watched the Kitty Boots crowd bop around in sneakers as we cooled our heels in the front row and ordered a Tel-a-Car.