After a Fashion

If I were going to spend $1,100 on a jacket, I'd want to feel the fabric first.

After a Fashion

LUXE ONLINE LVMH stands for Louis Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy -- nice initials, no? But what they really stand for, in addition to the bags, champagne, and cognac, is a stable of the finest names in the luxury trade, including Guerlaine, Sephora, LaCroix, and Kenzo. They showcase some of the jewels in their crown on one of the most beautiful Web sites in the cyberscape ( The new site offers only a sampling of products, primarily accessories, but promises to notify us when the fall/winter clothing collections come in. Gorgeous handbags, gifts, and home décor at Dior, to-die-for men's accessories at Givenchy, magnificent jewels from Bulgari, Grigio Perla men's underwear, plus treats from Ferragamo, Celine, Bottega Veneta, Trussardi, Michael Kors, and La Perla are all available. The LMVH Group also has eyes on the online auction business -- since they own the companies whose products they will auction, they will have access to products that other auction services will not.

E-TAILING has beaded evening bags by BadgleyMischka that are so beautiful you could cry; sheets from Frette that are $1,000 a set -- 100% Egyptian cotton sateen, 490(!)-thread count; and a daisy necklace made of topaz and diamonds, from Asprey & Garrard, only $21,700. With over 50 vendors -- including Brioni, Calvin Klein, Lacoste, and Trish McEvoy -- selling everything from luxury underwear to a Lear jet, offers all the indulgences that make life worthwhile... offers an assortment of merchandise, as well as links to vendors of luxury goods. Zegna clothing, Hasselblad cameras, Tufenkian rugs, and Alfa Romeos. promises more delights -- though not up and running just yet, their home page is delightful with dazzling graphics, lovely music, and a virtual fashion show. has clothes by Alan Flusser and Lilly Pulitzer and an editorial layout on "Jacqueline Kennedy: Icon of Style" showing famous pictures of Saint Jackie's inimitable style next to "similar" merchandise that can help you look more like her. They are joined by online shopping from Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Harrods. One anonymous e-shopper says she'd never feel comfortable going into Christian Dior or Louis Vuitton and is more likely to try something from them that she can purchase from her home. On the other hand, if I were going to spring $1,100 on a jacket, I'd want to feel the fabric first.

WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE I was on the phone with an 18-year-old designer and friend, Levi Palmer, the other night, and I asked him what had shaped his theories of design. At a loss, he asked me what shaped mine. Well, Barbie was pretty much responsible for my design theories. Her wardrobe needs became my raison d'être, fashioning daily ensembles for her busy schedule. Whether it be a smart little swimsuit for the Cote d'Azur or a simple nurse's uniform, I was always ready with a Kleenex, napkin, or pair of socks to create some glorious creation. In a legendary story that my sister has co-opted as part of her own lore (sorry, Margaret, I love you dearly, but it was me, not you), I cut up the train of my mother's lovely shot-silk ball gown to make a dress for Barbie. My mother wept. I was crushed that she did not share my artistic vision.

Later, the Troll invasion began. Trolls were everywhere, and my sister and I were smitten. Trolls also provided valuable design opportunities. Their garish and unruly hair, coupled with their stumpy little bodies, tested my skill and imagination and prepared me to deal with many of the clients I later had in New York. Inspired by a record called something dreadful, like 25 of the World's Best Loved Melodies, Margaret and I produced a major fashion event, in which we made Troll outfits to go with specific pieces of music. Margaret's creation for "Waltz of the Flowers" was a confection of candy-colored Kleenex, meticulously manipulated into exotic flowers. But "Song of India" was the showstopper, the coup de grâce in which I dressed my raven-tressed Troll in a sari and headdress made of red and white polka-dotted chintz and strapped her to the spindle of the record player, where she spun around and around. Just like a real model.

I hope the story helped Levi. It certainly helped me to tell it, and to not have to pay someone to listen. But, then again, Levi has never called me back, either.

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