Fashion Reverie’s 2017 Haute Holiday Gift Guide

Aside from religious importance, the holiday season is a time we dedicate to celebrating the people closest to us. We show how much we cherish one another with thoughtful gifts that we hope will bring joy to the lives of the recipient. Usually, those gifts are personal and not too expensive, but sometimes we want to give something lavish and luxurious. This season, we decided to tip the scales in favor of the glamourous life and find opulent presents that we guarantee won’t be under most Christmas trees.

                           Image courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Christopher Jump Rope ($545)For that fit friend who likes to exercise in designer athletic gear, give them a Louis Vuitton jump rope. Made of a leather strand and handles that are covered with Monogram Eclipse canvas, the new Christopher jump rope gives a high-end feel to a low-impact workout. And it comes with its own signature, carrying pouch, of course!

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Gucci Embroidered Kingsnake Cushion ($1,250)The Chinese calendar says 2017 is the year of the rooster, but in fashion, it is the snake—the Gucci kingsnake, that is. Seen on the brand’s most sought after garments this season, the snake motif has taken a firm hold on the fashion world. But don’t be like everyone else. Show off a bit of individuality by not wearing it on your back, but by displaying it on your sofa. This velvet, embroidered pillow adds the perfect amount of bite to any home décor.

                        Image courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna

Ermenegildo Zegna Pelle Tessuta Vicuna Domino Set ($1,295)Sometimes, it’s the simple things that bring us joy. And when simple things are exquisitely made, then even better! This domino set is made of vicuna calf leather, is expertly hand painted, and is stored in a carrying case that is as well crafted as the game pieces. Pelle Tessuta, meaning, “woven leather,” articulates Ermenegildo Zegna’s penchant for craftsmanship and technological innovation that is exemplified in each item the brand creates.

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Versace Tableware ($60–$1,425)We all know that one person who is the ultimate host. Why not help them REALLY wow their guests by giving them Versace tableware. The fashion house makes everything from cutlery and candy dishes to decanters and dessert trays. Don’t fret about what pieces to buy. With such a wide selection, you can buy a few items now, and buy more next Christmas—you’ll already know what to get them.

               Image courtesy of Michael Kors

Michael Kors Smartwatch ($350)These days, technology and fashion go hand in hand, so it’s natural that advancements in tech would crossover to jewelry and watches. This season, Michael Kors released his own smartwatch, compatible with both Androids and iPhones. With three designs to choose from (Bradshaw, Grayson, and Sofie), there’s one for every chic lifestyle, no matter Uptown or Downtown. 

                     Image courtesy of

Saint Laurent x Polaroid Originals Vintage Polaroid SX-70 Camera ($590)With most of us walking around with a 12-mega pixel camera in our smartphones, almost anyone can be a shutterbug. But why not go retro? In collaboration with Polaroid, the house of Saint Laurent created a vintage Polaroid SX-70 camera exclusively for the Parisian boutique, Colette. Coupled with their black and white film (for an additional $35), whoever receives this can be on their way to becoming the new Andy Warhol or Helmut Newton.


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Balenciaga Macro Scarf ($635)Sometimes, we just want to be noticed. No one goes unnoticed in this huge, luxurious scarf. Made of cashmere and wool, and measuring roughly 1’ x 6.5’, this scarf is as warm and comfortable as it is loud and ostentatious (in a good way.) And if the size alone doesn’t draw attention, “BALENCIAGA” is emblazoned on both sides of this reversible neck warmer.

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Missoni Ottoman ($645)The holiday season can mean a lot of hosting at home, and with large crowds, seating is a commodity. Extra chairs and stools aren’t always the answer, as they may be bulky and actually take up more precious room. But an ottoman, something that can be used as an accent piece and can be easily stored, may be the answer. Missoni’s ottomans and cushions make relaxing on the floor luxurious. So, why not gift a posh poof? If you bring it to the holiday party, at least you’ll know you have somewhere to sit.

—Carl Ayers



Fashion Reverie’s Unique Holiday Spirits Round-up (with mixed drink recipes)

                                Image courtesy of

The holiday season is a terrific time for giving gifts, celebrating traditions, commemorating with friends and family, and reflecting on the past year. Amid the festive gift giving and celebration of family traditions and great food, that extra special touch that can give your holiday celebrations a memorable twist is the holiday drinks and libations you serve for friends and family. Fashion Reverie has assembled four unique powerful holiday spirits, as well as some holiday drink recipes, that can make your holiday season more festive and special. Just remember to drink in moderation; holiday celebrations are best remembered if they are remembered with fondness and joy!!

Vodka is a spirit that is not readily associated with the holiday season. When it comes to holiday revelry, one usually reflects on run, gin, wine, champagne, and sometimes whiskey.

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This holiday season experiment with something different; surprise friend and family with  Zirkova One+Together . A Ukrainian vodka, Zirkova One+Together believes that every one of us is unique and a vital part of the tapestry that we call humanity. Zirkova One+Together acknowledges the greatness in each of us, empowering everyone to just be who they are and unite with others in the spirit of optimism and possibility. Sounds like the perfect spirit for the holidays!Zirkova One+Together is meticulously handcrafted in two expressions—Zirkova One (to be sipped straight, neat, on the rocks or in a martini) & Zirkova Together (which marries the flavors with which it’s mixed for cocktails), and is produced by merging centuries old techniques with modern day technology, using quadruple distillation, the purest artesan spring water, and the finest center-cut Ukrainian wheat and rye spirits.

Rudolph’s Relaxer

Zirkova One+Together vodka

3 oz Zirkova vodka

1 oz Grand Marnier

Cranberry juice

Top with ginger ale, garnish with a slice of pear

                   Image courtesy of Tanreo Tequila

Tequila is another non-traditional holiday spirit. Well, that depends on your cultural traditions!! If you really want to get the holiday parties started, you might want to consider, Tanteo Tequila. Tanteo® Tequila is the original 100% agave spicy tequila. With both original Jalapeño and smoky Chipotle expressions, Tanteo is distilled, infused, and bottled by hand in the hills of Jalisco, Mexico. The result is an award-winning artisanal product that is anything but ordinary. Tanteo Spirits Company in New York City and is available in bars, restaurants, and spirits shops across the United States.

Santa’s Sting

3 oz Tanreo Jalapeño or Chipotle tequila

1 oz peppermint schnapps

Top with club soda

Serve in a tall glass, garnish with a candy cane.

                               Image courtesy of

Now, if you want to really get lit for the holidays, and experience some southern comfort, experience Southern Wicked Lemonade. And it’s southern moonshine. That’s right, legal moonshine!!

Southern Wicked Lemonade is an array of certified all natural, organically sweetened, gluten-free cocktail created from a process of fruit infusion and spirits. Southern Wicked Lemonade is committed to a healthy spirit alternative, using all natural ingredients, organic sweeteners and fruit infusion.

North Pole Punch (makes 2 quarts)

16 oz Wicked Lemonade Raspberry Moonshine

16 oz fruit punch

12 oz strawberry syrup

10 oz lemon juice

10 oz pineapple juice

15 dashes of bitters

                                        Image courtesy of

Now, if you are fully committed to conventional holiday spirits, there is no better holiday spirit than Hendricks Gin. Hendrick’s Gin is a brand of gin produced by William Grant & Sons in Girvan, Scotland, and launched in 1999.  In addition to the traditional juniper infusion, Hendrick’s uses Bulgarian rose and cucumber to add flavor. Hendrick’s uses a blend of spirits produced from a Carter-Head Still (constructed in 1948), of which there are only a small number in the world. In contrast, the spirit derived from the Carter-Head still is much subtler with light floral and sweet fragrances. 

Elves Day Off

3 oz Hendricks Gin

2 oz apple liqueur

Juice of ½ a lemon

Top with lemon-lime soda

Pour over ice, and add 3 cranberries as garnish.

—William S. Gooch and Carl Ayers

Fashion Reverie’s 2017 Stocking Stuffers

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The twelve days of Christmas are upon us. And instead of singing about turtledoves and French hens, we’ve compiled a list of twelve gifts, consumers actually want. These stocking stuffers are small gifts guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit!!Bear-y good!Sugarfina, the global purveyor of high quality confectionaries, has taken their gummy bear collection to new heights. In time for the holiday season, Sugarfina has released a limited edition of 24K Gold Champagne bears. While Sugarfina has a standard collection of champagne and rosé-infused gummies, the 24K gold bears are in a league of their own. Made with Dom Pérignon, each brut and rosé bear is hand-gilded in edible 24K gold, making for a snack that looks as good as it tastes.O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches

Deck the halls and stock the bar. Pickering’s Gin has created Christmas Baubles that will adult-ify any home for the holiday. Sold in sets of six, each plastic ornament contains 50ml of Pickering’s gin, enough to brighten your holiday. Simply unscrew the cap of the bauble and drink the shot, or pour the gin into your holiday beverage. Afterward, screw the cap back on, and rehang the ornament on the tree. They are reusable, so you can refill them with your booze of choice. Thank you Pickering’s for helping keep the party going!! 

Delicious, delicate, delectableThe macaron is the quintessential Parisian pastry, and macaron is the place to find this dainty desert. At La Maison, they have created over 150 flavors of macaron, from vanilla to champagne, fig to apple calvados. Made by hand using natural ingredients, and free of chemicals and preservatives, the light snacks dance on your tongue and melt in your mouth. After trying just one, you will attest that La Maison du Macaron lives up to their promise of taste, elegance, flavor, and comfort.Silent Night

Let’s be honest, the holiday season can leave you tuckered out. From schlepping from store to store to get the perfect gifts for your loved one or from hopping from party to party with all of your friends, our bodies get worn down. When the holidays are over, most of us just want good, sound, peaceful sleep. Lectrofan has developed a device to help us get the rest that our body needs. The Lectrofan is a sound machine that redefines the science of sleep. By making advances in adaptive audio and ambient noise analysis, Lectrofan has created a noise-neutralizing device that clears the way to blissful slumber. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Christmas can be one of the most social times of the year. A number of us host holiday parties to celebrate with our friends, and one of the biggest downsides of hosting is the post-party cleanup. Edie Parker has created confetti coasters to help (partially) alleviate mess. Made of acrylic, these coasters add festive décor to your party while preventing rings on your tables.A Little Slice of Heaven on Earth

For some, Christmas is a time for travel and relaxation. There are those of us who actively try to avoid the cold and snow during the holidays and head to a warm climate. If you can’t escape to the tropics, you can bring the tropics to you. Coqui Coqui has a collection of candles that takes your nose on a tour of the Yucatan. Coco Coco is inspired by the palm trees scattered along Tulum’s white sand beaches; the lime and mint Menli fragrance reflects the lush gardens of Coba; and the scent of Rosas Secas reflects the town of Valladolid. Alongside 10 more scents, you can have the olfactory experience of your life via also the company’s linen sprays, massage oils, and hand soaps. With Coqui Coqui, you may not need that roundtrip ticket from Aeroméxico.
I Want To Get Away

Sometimes we need a little motivation to make major plans. If you’ve been thinking about planning a trip to Paris, this petite handbag may give you the extra push that you need. has a clutch with a chenille patch that simply reads “bonjour.” Big enough to store your cell phone, yet small enough to be used as a wallet—Perfectly Parisian—this pochette is apropos for your selfies with the Eiffel Tower, and it even has a special compartment for your passport (hint hint)!Sparkle from your hands to your toes

Holiday sparkle doesn’t have to be limited to your Christmas tree. You can add sparkle and glitter to your nails with Lust Cosmetics nail polish. Founded by Samara Walker, Lust Cosmetics nail lacquer is vegan, gluten free, and cruelty free. The brand’s nail lacquers are “8 Free”colors inspired by seasonal and fashion trends with a feminine touch. And for this festive season, Lust Cosmetics has an exclusive holiday collection that comes in a five-color kit with such sassy names as ‘high fashion diva,’ ‘spicy in the city,’ and ‘pumpkin spice where?’. Though this five-color holiday collection is a little pricy at $125, it is definitely worth it. Remember, all collections are made in the US. So, you can be festive and socially correct at the same time!!If You Love Her, Put It In Writing

Nothing is more meaningful than a personalized gift. Sure, you can have a locket or ring engraved. But you can also turn it up a notch and get a bracelet custom made with your actual handwriting. Etsy craftsman CarolJewelryArt can turn your personal note into a beautiful piece of handmade jewelry. This is a wonderful way to express your love during the holiday and year round.365Cool

Roka has released their Falcon TI aviator shades that will keep stylishly fly every day of the year. But there is more than meets the eye with these sunnies—they are chock full of performance technology. The titanium frame and ULTRA lenses are light as a feather. The pads on the nose and temples areas have proprietary tech that keeps them from slipping. The lenses are anti-scratch, anti-fog, and anti-reflection coatings. Whether you’re running around the mall, running errands or running cross country, these frames are what you need to have with you.Jackery Bolt (portable charger)

We’re all on the go, and we all need a pocket charger to power up our phone batteries. But there are power chargers, and then there is the Jackery Bolt. A few things separate this charger from its competition. First, it has the Android and iPhone cables attached, so you don’t need to carry the cords with you. Secondly, it has a USB port, so you can charge three devices at once. Thirdly, it has a built-in flashlight- a feature that is always good to have. So whether you’re charging your phone and tablet on the fly, or searching for your keys in the dark, Jackery Bolt has you covered. Cocoon Eye Shades

Ensure your rest is unhindered with Cocoon Eye Shades. This sleep mask is made with microfiber for a soft touch against your face and is shaped like sunglasses to reduce pressure against your eyes. The team at Cocoon thought about your total comfort, so they also including a pair of earplugs. So whether you use this mask when traveling, while relaxing poolside, or for drowning out visiting relatives, be prepared to disconnect from the world for a bit.

—Carl Ayers




There is a ‘Movember’ winner!!

                            Image courtesy of Mountaineer Brand

Fashion Reverie would like to thank everyone that participated in our 2017 ‘Movember’ giveaway!! This was a very successful giveaway and our readers should more exciting giveaways in 2018.Our 2017 ‘Movember’ giveaway winner is Kevin C from San Diego, California. Fashion Reverie hopes he enjoys his prize of the Mountaineer Brand beard kit. Readers stay tuned for more giveaways in 2018!!


Social Media Influencers or Celebrities, Which Nod Brings More Value?

                      Image courtesy of

Fashion is never static. And that can be a good thing. One season ruffles could be the big trend and the next season boxy shoulders and oversized jackets could be trending. The mercurial nature of fashion is expected and constant. What is not a constant, particularly in this age of technology is a fashion brand maintain and expanding its consumer base.For the past few decades, some fashion designers/brands have looked to celebrities to expand the brand’s market viability. Over twenty years ago, Elizabeth Hurley wore Versace safety pin dress, known as “THAT Dress,” demonstrating that when a popular celebrity wears a designer’s garment, the combination can give the brand more market viability. (Elizabeth Hurley was becoming an A-list celebrity with starring roles in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Passenger 57.” The safety pin dress helped make Hurley and Versace household names.) Lady Gaga helped further catapult Alexander McQueen to fame by wearing many of his custom designs. And Madonna increased Jean-Paul Gaultier popularity by wearing his cone bra on her ‘Blond Ambition’ tour.

    Lady Gaga in Alexander McQueen image courtesy of, Elizabeth Hurley in  Versace image courtesy of, and Madonna in Jean-Paul Gaultier image courtesy    of

Lately, Fashion Reverie and many fashion publications are pondering a difficult question: does a celebrity nod still bring value to fashion brands? That depends on how you pose the question or whose opinion matters.Some fashion brands opinions are changing as they continue to turn their attention more towards digital and social media influencers. In a recent article in WWD, it was revealed that eighty percent of brand collaborations for the first half of 2017 were co-ventures with influencers, not celebrities. As influencers continue to gain followings as large, or even in some cases larger than celebrities, companies have shifted their marketing dollars.

Images of Hailee Steinfield for Miu Miu spring 2011, Rihanna for Balmain fall 2014, and Jennifer Lawrence for Dior fall 2015 courtesy of,, and, respectively

That isn’t to say that celebrity presence has disappeared entirely, or that these fashion design houses will ever stop dressing celebrities, but there is a cultural and economic shift in marketing. Where some years back, A-list actress would be the first choice for store campaign, fashion brands and some fashion houses have become much more interested in Instagram partnerships with bloggers and influencers who boast six and seven figure followings.This marketing business model concentrates on the relatable factor of influencers versus celebrities to younger consumers. However, this business model doesn’t always work or having staying power. When asked, Fashion Week and editorial stylist Anthony Leroux contends, “Balmain is one example of how [celebrities] run a brand. Look at what the Kardashians did [for] it. You can just put a face on a brand and call it a day. I don’t buy clothes because of a face, so I don’t care if it’s Beyoncé or Kendall [Jenner] up there. Celebrities dilute brands.”

     Kendall and Kylie Jenner in Balmain campaign image courtesy of

The truth is while most influencers give the impression of leading these normal, everyday lives, lives comparable to consumers, with a bit of fashion and glamour thrown in, many of them are highly compensated, and often come from affluent families or have accumulated their own wealth. As tight-lipped as the fashion industry is about the payout for collaborations and campaigns, it’s no secret these influencers are well compensated. According to a recent article in Forbes titled “Earning Power: Here’s How Much Top Influencers Can Make On Instagram And YouTube,” influencers can make up to $5000 per post, and up to $100,000 per campaign for Instagram. For Youtube, where beauty vloggers have found major influence, it’s even more, with rates going up to $300,000 for a video partnership.With the average worker earning $51, 939 yearly, the average social media influencer is earning more. Still, what is the return on investment (ROI) for these fashion brands?

           Images of influencers Chiar Ferragani, Bryan Boy, and Manny Mua courtesy of,, and, respectively

While most brands decline to reveal how much ROI they get from influencer collaborations, according to an April 2017 Forbes article “How To Measure The ROI of an Influencer Marketing Campaign,” influencer campaigns can net 11 times the ROI of banner ads when done correctly. Influencers are also at an advantage because they can work with multiple brands to build credibility.“If you become a face of a brand like Selena Gomez for Coach, you’ll see sales rise immediately after someone like that is signed,” said Alex D’Alessio, a New York City–based advertising art director. “However, an influencer has the power to sell more types of clothes from more than just one brand because they are not signed or contracted to an exclusive deal, so more brands can work with them. Those influencers can reach millions of people with different brands, rather than one celebrity signed to one brand where the majority of those interested are already consumers of that brand.”

Images clockwise courtesy of,, and, respectively

Though some fashion industry professionals might disagree, social media influencers have become the new celebrities. Especially, with some influencers being known by millions of people globally, and becoming the primary association with certain brands (Marcel Floruss at Hugo Boss, hello!). And while some of the old fashion guard might not feel influencers’ fire, they have become the new go-to. Social media is the new mall and Instagram is the new billboard.— Kristopher Fraser

Fashion Reverie Model Exclusive: Michelle de Swarte

                Images courtesy of,, and the

Is there a life after a successful modeling career? Just ask Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley, Heidi Klum, Jerry Hall, and Christy Turlington. Cindy Crawford has her skincare line; Heidi Klum has made a mint creating and producing “Project Runway,” licensing that reality fashion show around the world; Christie Brinkley has appeared on Broadway and had a reoccurring role on Parks and Recreation; Jerry Hall has married one of the richest men in the world, and Christy Turlington has a PhD.It is a given that a modeling career can be very short—lasting just a few years for most models. And while supermodels can have a career that may extend over a couple of decades, the smart ones are always looking to transition into other lines of work. Michelle de Swarte is one such top model.

Fashion Reverie first met Michelle de Swarte when she served on a recent panel discussion about mental illness and the fashion industry. Very outspoken and candid, Michelle impressed the Fashion Reverie staff with her honesty and sense of humor. We later learned that Michelle de Swarte has made that difficult transition from a career that centers primarily being seen and not heard to a career where she speaks her mind and finds humor in human behavior.

From having fashion campaigns from H&M, Burberry, Betsey Johnson, Cartier, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, MAC, Sephora, and many others to making folks laugh at everyday foibles, Michelle de Swarte is one of the few top models that have transitioned to successful careers outside of the fashion industry. And she is still building momentum.

Michelle de Swarte candidly spoke with Fashion Reverie about her life, modeling, and of course, being funny.

Fashion Reverie: How did you get into modeling?

Michelle de Swarte: I got into modeling when I was scouted. When I was about 17, a friend of mine wanted to model but it didn’t work out for her. She took me along to a casting and I got signed to a British modeling agency. I didn’t understand how the fashion industry worked at the time, so the first time around modeling didn’t really work out that well for me. I shaved my hair off and that particular agency dropped me. I thought modeling was over for me at that point.

Some years later, I bumped into a booker from Select Models at a shopping mall and she wanted to sign me. (Now, remember Select, as well as many model management companies were not interested in me when I was 17.) At any rate, I was signed to Select Models and moved on from there to Storm Model Management. I was sent very quickly to the US and in my first month in the US I booked Harper’s Bazaar and a few more things. I originally was only supposed to be in New York City for two weeks, but I loved it and stayed.

                   Images courtesy of,, and

FR: Why did you like New York City?Michelle de Swarte: I didn’t necessarily like New York, but it looked like this was going to be the first time I was going to have some sort of career as a fashion model. At that time in Great Britain—we are talking the early 2000s—there wasn’t really a career to be had for models of color, to actually live in the UK and make a living as a model. Models in the UK at that time got the odd job, but you couldn’t make a good living as a model.

FR: That is very interesting because in the US we all think of British models like Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn doing very well in the United Kingdom.

Michelle de Swarte: They have, but Naomi’s fashion career is mostly in the US and other European countries. Even to this day, when has a British fashion brand hired Naomi Campbell to front their campaign? Additionally, Jourdan Dunn has made most of money in the US. UK clients came on board after Jourdan Dunn became a big success in NYC.

FR: What was your initial impression of the fashion industry when you started having a serious career as a fashion model?

Michelle de Swarte: My first impression was one of chaos. I also found it really had to get my head around things that had great relevance in the fashion industry but had very little importance to folks outside of the industry. The urgency around those fashion particulars really blew my mind and I also found very funny. But, I learned early on that to be successful I had to take the industry seriously, even if it seemed ridiculous.

FW: Could you name some of the famous fashion brands you worked with early on in your career?

Michelle de Swarte: Early on I worked for Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Missoni, Gap, H&M, and Versus, just to name a few.

FR: Wow, that is a very prestigious list early on in a modeling career.

Michelle de Swarte: Yes, it is. But, but at the time I wasn’t thinking about the prestige of the fashion brands. I was more excited about the paychecks.

    Images courtesy of,, and

FW: Who were some of your favorite designers you loved working for, and why?Michelle de Swarte: I loved working for Issey Miyake; he is one of the nicest men you will ever meet. Tom Ford was great to work with. When I first walked in his show—Tom Ford was designing for Gucci at the time—I fell three times. Tom Ford was so nice about it; he was so lovely about me falling down. This was my first runway season. I have also worked with some really nice photographers, like Steven Meisel.

FR: I know that this is a taboo subject in the fashion industry, but could you talk about the kind of money you and other models were making at the start of your career?

Michelle de Swarte: I remember a booking agent telling me once after I booked one of my first jobs that I had to go out and purchase an expensive handbag. I couldn’t understand why this was necessary for my career. This bag was going to cost about $2000 and I had just gotten a check for $5000, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a designer bag. The agent explained to me that it takes money to make money. In other words, I had to look like I was making a lot of money to book the jobs that paid well.

That is one of the reasons that a lot of models don’t want to talk about what they’re really making. They want to appear as though they are making more than they actually are to keep their day rate up.

Magazine editorial rates at magazines are quite low; you are fortunate if you get paid $250. If you are walking in a show and getting $10,000 to walk in that show, if you are from another country, you are lucky if your take home pay is $4000 after they take out taxes, other deductions, and agency fees. A new model coming to NYC from another country is lucky if she is making $30,000 her first year.

When I first came to NYC, I helped out a lot of model friends financially because I was booking a lot of commercial jobs that paid very well, while some of my model friends were booking editorial jobs that don’t pay well. A good example of this is a friend of mine that was seen everywhere. She had tons of editorial work and really had her moment. However, she wasn’t paid well because most of her work was editorial work. She only had one big commercial campaign that was a Jean-Paul Gaulthier fragrance campaign.

How a lot of new models, particularly from other countries, survive in NYC the first few years is getting money advances from the model management companies. The advances keep you in debt to the management companies, plus they charge you interest on your debt—5% to 15%. The model management companies now charge models for everything, from test shots to comp cards, travel expenses to everything. When I first got in the industry at least test shots were free of charge.

FR: In your experience, what fashion brands did you not have a good experience with?

Michelle de Swarte: There were not many. I have had an all-around good experience for the most part. I had a great experience with photographer Terry Richardson, but a lot of models can chime in on that. My experience with Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) was not great because they can be very rude.

I walked in a show for D&G and later shot a lookbook for the brand. For D&G, the hair and makeup team picked the models that they wanted to work with. Being a model of color, I was the last one picked. It felt like being in a gym class and picking sides. The makeup artist who got stuck with me was angry because none of his makeup matched by complexion. He didn’t know how to style my hair. My hair ended up looking like tumbleweed or a bowl of oatmeal with no water. Because my hair and makeup looked horrible, D&G didn’t want to pay the agency fee for my services.

FR: You have always been outspoken, where does that come from?

Michelle de Swarte: Maybe my being outspoken came from my being from South London; maybe it came from starting modeling at the age of 20, which is considered a late start. I never put all my eggs in one basket, realizing that a modeling career can be very short. Now, I can say what I want and it doesn’t affect my career.

FR: You have transitioned from modeling to hosting television programs and doing stand-up comedy. Why that transition?

Michelle de Swarte: In my late 20s I became really aware that I didn’t have a formal education and I wanted to do some other things. I had always been told that I was funny. Now, being told that you are funny in the fashion industry doesn’t necessarily translate to being funny in the regular world. Still, I thought I would give comedy a go.

I started doing stand-up comedy in NYC. I found an agent and I now do standup in the UK and the US. Stand-up comedy doesn’t rely on the way you look. In fact, being easy on the eye doesn’t help you at all in stand-up.

                            Images courtesy of and

FR: Could you talk about some of your stand-up gigs?Michelle de Swarte: I have done stand-up on the BBC and I have appeared on Comedy Central.

FR: But you still model.

Michelle de Swarte: Yes, I do. Modeling is like a bad boyfriend you have a good time with. You talk about leaving, but when a great job comes along, you dust off your heels and dive right in. I am still on Wilhelmina Models board, so the work still comes in.

FR: What’s next for you?

Michelle de Swarte: I have been a part of Gloria Steinem’s initiative “Woman with Gloria Steinem,” I am still a part of that. And I am continuing to write and do stand-up.

—William S. Gooch





Fashion Reverie’s 2017 Black Friday/Cyper Monday Roundup

                                            Image courtesy of Getty Images

In this season of uncertainty, political unrest and a down retail market, nothing perks up the spirits better than market wide sales. And there is better opportunity to take advantage of these sales than on Black Friday/Cyper Monday.As an introduction to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday dates back to the early 1960s when in Philadelphia there was some much foot and vehicle traffic the day after Thanksgiving that the highways and downtown sidewalks in Philadelphia were disrupted by the heavy shopping traffic. Since 2005 Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the holiday season, though in 2014 spending volume fell for the first time in ten years.

That said; Fashion Reverie has assembled a list of great holiday finds that will keep you in the festive spirit and not break the bank.

                                              Images courtesy of

Tadashi Shoji has been the business for over 40 years, and is a favorite of celebrities from former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, Sheryl Lee Ralph, M’onique, Heather Graham, Supermodel Miranda Kerr, Octavia Spencer, Mena Suvari, Regina Hall, and many others. Tadashi has been a first in several categories and the depths of his experience in the fashion industry ranges from making stage costumes for The Jacksons and Earth, Wind, and Fire in the 1970s to dressing M’onique for her Academy Award win. Tadashi was also one of the first designers to expand his ready-to wear line to include plus sizes.For this holiday season, Tadashi Shoji is a great choice for a wide range of women looking for feminine designs in ready-to-wear, evening wear and bridal that are modern, fresh and figure flattering for all sizes, from petite to plus. For Black Friday, Tadashi Shoji is offering his collections at 40% off (exclusions apply) at Tadashi Shoji Boutiques (King of Prussia Mall, PA; Tysons Galleria, VA; Valley Fair Mall, CA; South Coast Plaza, CA; Fashion Show Mall, NV). This great discount extends through Cyper Monday online.

Ok, you may think sunglasses are only for warm and tropical locations; not so. Sunglasses are currently trending very strong and can be worn during all seasons.

        Images courtesy of Rogers and Cowan PR

Privé Revaux Eyewear was built on a shared passion for style and quality with the goal of making it accessible in ways never seen until now. Serial entrepreneur David Schottenstein took aim at disrupting the eyewear market, and he enlisted an elite team around him to ensure the brand’s success. With the help of celebrity visionaries Jamie Foxx, Hailee Steinfeld, Ashley Benson, as well as VP of Celebrity Relations Dave Osokow and Creative Directors Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn, they’ve done just that. For Black Friday/Cyper Monday, Privé Revaux has a couple of deals for the savvy consumer. Buy 3 pairs of sunglasses for $75 (no checkout code needed on Buy 4 pairs of sunglasses and a face case for $150 (no checkout code needed on And on November 27 only, 15% off all single or double product purchases on (no check out code needed).

                                             Images courtesy of

Are you are millennial or Generation Y and looking for great holiday deals but the pockets are not as deep as they were last season? Ready. Set. Go, to the rescue.With 50% to 70% off of product sitewide, you cannot go wrong with the wide range of product on the site.

TOBI been bringing West Coast style and laid back attitude to over 1.5 million TOBI babes since 2007.TOBI is fast-paced, forward thinking, and fashion centered at its core, and our products are designed and curated in the heart of LA, with these ideals in mind. We strive to bring customers the trendiest fashions.

Fashion Reverie has a couple of TOBI faves, which include their Vienna velvet wristlet clutch, the back-me up, halographic mobile charger, and TOBI’s holiday dresses.

If you are a fashionista, there is a constant thirst for fashion-forward clothing that most stylish folks cannot get their hands on. Well, if that is you, Fashion Reverie has the perfect solution for you. On this Black Friday/Cyper Monday the prices will be greatly reduced.

                                         Images courtesy of

Any Old Iron opened on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan eight years ago and exclusively carried the music-inspired collections of Vivienne Westwood, Religion, Taschen, Tatty Devine, Bolongaro Trevor, Sons of Heroes, Horace, and many others. In 2015, Any Old Iron moved to Nashville, Tennessee, connecting to the music community in Nashville.For Black Friday/Cyper Monday Any Old Iron is offering 80%–90% off of original prices in the store or online. Enter code SHAZAM at checkout. Rock on!!

OK, you have the office party or holiday party coming up, right around the corner. No matter how great your holiday ensemble looks if your makeup is out of sorts, it’s a lost opportunity.

Image courtesy of Rogers and Cowan PR

Created more than 25 years ago, Palladio is renowned for its line of color cosmetics enriched with herbs and vitamins. Fashioned for women with all types of skin, Palladio helps you look radiant while helping protect your skin from the signs of aging. With a diverse selection of products and shade availability, Palladio allows you to create the variety of looks you desire. Palladio is a fun, pretty, exciting brand and users are loyal and happy to use the product! Among the ingredients used in Palladio products are antioxidants such as Ginseng, Green Tea, Gingko Biloba, Vitamin E and natural humectants and skin soothers such as Aloe Vera and Chamomile.

For Black Friday through Cyber Monday (Nov. 24–27): 30% off site wide with code: BLACKFRI on


Designer Fallout: The Fashion Industry’s Revolving Door

Riccardo Tisci, Donna Karan, and Francisco Costa images courtesy of,, and, respectively

Elbaz leaves Lanvin; Tisci exits Givenchy; Donna Karan bows out at her namesake fashion brand, and after 15 years Costa bids adieu to Calvin Klein. What’s going on here? Has the top creative position at legendary fashion houses/brands become a revolving door of sorts?Apparently so, if you look at the designer fallout at major brands in the last five years, not to also mention fashion designers who have been eased out of their eponymous brands. With all the Russian roulette on in the fashion industry, one would think there is lots of inside information that’s being shared. Well, it’s not that insidious!!

Not so long ago, fashion designers solidly ensconced themselves at major fashion houses for as long as they wanted to reign at these hallowed fashion institutions. Fashion visionaries created these iconic fashion houses, and it was an honor and privilege to helm the houses of Dior, YSL, Balmain, Lanvin, Chanel, Givenchy, Balenciaga, and others. And though tenure at these fashion posts was occasionally short-lived, most designers maintained their positions for several seasons. Tom Ford began working at Gucci in the early 90s and was creative director from 1994–1999. John Galliano was creative director at Christian Dior from 1996–2011. And Francisco Costa manned the helm at Calvin Klein for over fifteen years.

Raf Simons, Public School, and Hedi Slimane images courtesy of, Industry Magazine,, clockwise respectively

Well, that is history and no longer the standard at many iconic fashion houses. Lately, it seems that designers are leaving fashion houses in rapid succession. Bouchra Jarrar, who was named artistic director of Lanvin last year, replacing Alber Elbaz, was quickly ousted after she failed to turn a fast upturn in profit. (It should be noted that Alber Elbaz was creative director at Lanvin from 2001–2015 and many credit Elbaz with restoring the Lanvin, the first fashion house in Paris, to its former glory.) Raf Simons was at Dior for only three years; Nicola Formichetti worked at MUGLER for only two years; Public School barely lasted a year at DKNY, and Hedi Slimane directed Saint Laurent from 2012–2016.In contrast to diminishing profits, there are designers who can turn fashion houses into mega million-dollar power players, and still find themselves out of a job. Phoebe Philo at Céline is one such example. Philo, who took the company’s revenue from $235 million to $800 million, is expected to exit Céline by the end of 2017.

Some industry professionals find it odd that Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH)—the holding company for many European fashion houses, including Celine—would discard a fashion designer who quadrupled sales and made Céline a more recognizable name in the US. The reason why these turn of events is happening so frequently is hard to answer. Are there outside influences forcing the hands of big holding companies like LVMH and Kering?

                   Images clockwise courtesy of V magazine and, respectively

“In the fashion world loyalty used to account for much and was an integral part of doing business, but with changes in society at large (not only the fashion industry) from the consumer to the designer, loyalty has not withstood the test of time,” says Michael Londrigan, vice president of academic affairs at LIM College. “Whether it is loyalty to the designer or the designer to the company, this virtue has been greatly diminished, accounting for much of the musical chairs that we see. Add to that the notion that you are only as good as your last show, the tolerance for staying with the same designer has been greatly reduced with everyone chasing the consumer and their pocketbooks. No longer are designers at the top held to strict contracts with long term and non-compete clauses, designers are putting personal choice ahead of the customer and the company.”The turnaround at publicly traded companies is even more frequent because stockholders demand exponentially high sales increases from quarter to quarter which can be stifling to designers’ creativity. (In his last seasons at Lanvin, Elbaz couldn’t turn the profit Lanvin’s investors were hoping for, so he was out.)

For many shoppers who were loyal to the design aesthetic of these designers, the turnover has been unsettling. “Regarding Phoebe Philo at Céline, I don’t think she should go, because her bags are sublime,” says Frederick Frost, a stylist and blogger in Venezuela. “Her aesthetic is romantic and chic, but at the same time, it’s all about the business. Perhaps, the brand owners want a new direction; perhaps, [Philo] will start [an eponymous] brand. There are many factors that influence these situations.”

                         Images courtesy of, and, respectively

In the wake of Christopher Bailey leaving Burberry, the company is adopting an interesting strategy. As part of their new repositioning, Burberry plans on reinventing themselves as a super luxury brand in the mold of Gucci and Dior. While Burberry was a must-have brand some season ago, they have lost ground to similar brands looking to appeal to young consumers with deep pockets.Some designers at legendary fashion houses leave of their own accord, wanting to establish their own fashion labels. Unlike in previous decades in which designers would have their own eponymous lines while helming other fashion brands—case in point, Karl Lagerfeld having his own namesake brand while being creative director at Chanel and Chloe, and the same with Galliano while he was at Dior—the pressure to create 5 to 7 collections a year, as well as collaborations is too much of a creative drain. “A lot of these folks have built a name for themselves, and ready to branch out into something that would enhance their brand more,” says Ikponmwosa Edo, stylist and style editor at Fashion360Mag.

This was the case for Peter Dundas, the former creative director of Roberto Cavalli, who went on to launch his own brand to the fanfare of the entire fashion industry. For other designers, the never-ending fashion cycle ends up burning them out. After he was ousted from Lanvin, Elbaz made a notorious critique of the industry cycle, discussing how the over-extension is creatively exhausting.

“The reason most designers, I feel, leave their brands is the growth rate of the brand and not enough inspiration within the fashion design house,” explains Chris Lavish, artistic director of Fashion Week Online. “The acceleration in the pace of the fashion world has sky rocketed; propelling new designers into the spotlight faster, like Demna Gvasalia and Vetements, and well-seasoned designers, such as Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent out.”    

               Images courtesy of and, respectively

While Phoebe Philo, Christopher Bailey, and Alber Elbaz brought more market saturation to Celine, Burberry, and Lanvin, respectively, today’s consumer spending tastes have changed. In an era of social media, stagnant wages, and shifts in culture, building a brand’s value goes beyond the opinions of key fashion editors, celebrities, and advertising budgets. Still, one has to ask if this revolving door of fashion designers is the answer to an over-saturated market with ever-evolving consumer wants and needs. Only time will tell.— Kristopher Fraser and William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie’s ‘Movember’ Giveaway

It’s Movember! November is when men across the globe stop shaving for the entire month in recognition of Men’s Health Awareness. That’s right; their beards and mustaches stay untrimmed for the full 30 days. (Mustache + November = Movember. Get it? Got it? Good.)

We know our Fashion Revelers are a busy bunch, and it’s sometimes difficult to keep those face follicles in line. So in support of our readers, and their beards, during their Movember marathon, Fashion Reverie is giving away one complete Beard Care Travel Kit by Mountaineer Brand. The kit comes with beard wash, beard balm, and beard oil, as well as a military-style beard brush, all in a handy dopp kit. Mountaineer Brand products are 100% natural and made in West Virginia—home of real mountain men.

                                 Image courtesy of Mountaineer Brand

To enter for your chance to win, simply post your best beard picture on your Instagram page and tag @FashionReverieMag and hashtag #FRBeard. On November 30th, we will award the travel kit to the guy with the most likes. And don’t forget to visit Fashion Reverie’s 2017 men’s fall grooming article.So guys, get to posting. Ladies, get to liking. Everyone, for more information on Movember, go to



New York International Bridal Week Fall 2018 Sketches

There is no doubt that New York Fashion Week: The Shows Spring 2018 was a lackluster excursion into an aimless ménage of fashion for the uninitiated. There were a few exceptions, namely Bibhu Mohapatra, Vivienne Tam, Marchesa, Anna Sui, and a few others.

That said; with New York International Bridal Week (NYIBW) fall 2018 only a few days away there is the expectation among fashion industry professionals that there will be more sophistication and fashion-forward beauty. As it should be; we are talking about visions in white, off-white, and pale pastels.

As a part of Fashion Reverie’s NYIBW fall 2018 pre-coverage, whetting our viewers’ fashion appetite, we present a few bridal fall 2018 sketches. Will the real-time collections live up the sketches? Stay tuned, and find out!!

                           Image courtesy of THEIA

THEIA is always a Fashion Reverie favorite. We have covered THEIA’s bridal collections for eight seasons and true to form, THEIA never disappoints. For fall 2018 the THEIA bride is becoming increasing more daring. The Theia bridal customer is moving away from boho with the look becoming sexier. There are lots of illusion bodices, plunging necklines, bare backs and nude linings, but paired with THEIA’s soft romantic Spanish tulle or silk satin flowing ball skirts. THEIA’s signature beading will continue in form fitting sexy silhouettes made new with 3-D floral embroideries that are light weight, yet sparkle with glass and crystal.

                              Image courtesy of Atelier PR

There are a couple of first-timers to Fashion Reverie’s bridal pre-coverage. Though we have covered Reem Acra’s women’s ready-to-wear collections, we have never been privileged to cover Reem Acras bridal collections.For fall 2018 Reem Acra was inspired by something pretty, something delicate, and something floral, all seen through the lens of saintly spirits.

                                               Images courtesy of Atelier PR

Lakum is completely new to Fashion Reverie. Known for their architectural creations, according to co-creative director Zaha Hadid, the brand’s fall 2018 collection was inspired by, ”form and space are woven within structure.”—William S. Gooch



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