Smart Set: Kooba
When Abbe Held decided to launch her own line after ten years in the business side of fashion, working in sales at DKNY and at the helm of a midtown showroom, she took on a trusted partner -- her mom, Bonnie (Kooba is Bonnie's maiden name). "My mom and I were accessory addicts," says Abbe. "So I said, 'Oh, it'll be fun, let's make some bags.' " Suddenly, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys -- the same vendors Held sold to in her showroom days -- were not only placing sold-out orders for Kooba's signature gold-studded leather numbers but asking to see the next collection. "We looked at each other like, 'Next collection?' " says Held. Now, two years later, their houndstooth doctor's bags and rabbit's-fur messenger bags have made Kooba a boldfaced brand. As for the family partnership, "we're still speaking," says Abbe, "so I think it's going pretty well."
Denim's Dark Horse
There's hope for would-be disco divas whose painted-on Sergio Valentes from last spring are starting to fade: Jordache has resurfaced with some new old jeans of its own, based on its iconic 1979 design. The "classic" style has "Funkytown"-fabulous curvy hips, tapered legs, and horses on the pockets; a "retro" version comes in stretch denim; and "disco days" has Lurex stitching. All three styles cost about $50 at Wet Seal and Contempo Casual stores. And those of us who tired of the jeans twenty years ago will still get a kick out of the relaunch of the company's original "You've Got the Look" TV ads, airing on networks this week.
If you had any doubts about the clientele the Hudson is targeting, peruse the offerings in the hotel's library. The stacks -- not to mention such cerebral-chic curios as the space-age Ingo Maurer dome lamp -- have been carefully "curated" by Ian Schrager's "director of creative affairs," Zoe Cassavetes. And it's not just for show: The books may be a backdrop at gatherings like De Niro's Men of Honor premiere party and Jennifer Lopez's VH1/Vogue Awards after-party, but the tomes target the Hudson's demographic so well -- The Work of Charles and Ray Eames next to Hotel LaChapelle; Hollywood Candid against The White T -- that guests have actually been seen reading them. The most in-demand? Brooke de Ocampo's celebration of socialites Bright Young Things, of course.
Remember when Rosie the manicurist dipped clients' hands in dishwashing detergent to soften them? If that seemed surprising, would you believe dish soap as a mood-altering substance? That's right, aromatherapy has breached a new frontier: Caldrea's line of household cleaning products uses essential oils and claims beneficial effects. The soaps, sprays, and furniture creams come in "relaxing" Lavender Pine, "energizing" Citrus Mint Ylang Ylang, and "sensuous" Green Tea Patchouli ($8-$12; 877-576-8808 or www.caldrea.com). So even if you don't have time to soak in the tub, at least it'll smell sweet while you're scrubbing it.