“Beauty is the most fragile of creatures”.
Tiffany & Co: 301 Nichols Rd, Kansas City
Long seen as a quintessential American staple, Coach started out in a loft on Manhattan’s 34th Street way back in 1941. Miles and Lilian Chan joined in 1946 and oversaw the emergence of Coach as a brand thanks to the hiring of Bonnie Cashin in 1961 and, later, (current CEO) Lewis Frankfort in 1979. The Cahns eventually sold Coach to the Sara Lee Corporation in 1985 who helped to exponentially expand its base. However it wasn’t until 1996, when Frankfort hired Reed Krakoff that Coach really blossomed into the worldwide brand that it is today.
Despite the current economic climate, Coach has managed to thrive, posting a turnover of slightly $5 billion in 2013, – an increase of 4.9% in the US and over 6% globally, part due in fact to the increase in sales of men’s bags (which accounted for 11% of total sales in 2013, more than doubling in the past two years).
And what is the relevance of all this, I hear you say? Well, because of this, the Coach store in KC has moved to 336 West 47th Street from its previously much smaller space on the Plaza. This means that the store now has room for a small, but stylish selection of apparel and footwear, (and more end of line Coach footwear can be found in Nordstrom Rack at 9540 Quivira Rd) which lack of space previously prevented. Plus, just as importantly – if not more so – the store now features a thriving menswear section which we will hopefully visit more fully in a future entry.
Mix and matching is particularly easy with Coach, because of which the englishwomaninwesport kindly opened up her extensive clothing vault to put together two assemblages: firstly we have a monochome look comprising headscarf (worn as a neckerchief), wallet and handbag.
(Model: Shelli, Hair: James Pillatzke, Styling: Erin)
The second look is based around seasonal earth tones, including wristlet, sneakers (from Nordstrom Rack) and glitter lizard doctor’s bag (with an additional python Madison bag for variation/accent).
(Model: Jessi, Hair: James Pillatzke, Styling: Erin)
10:00am – 9:00pm
Today’s guest contributor is James Pillatzke, otherwise known as Pinkie of Pinkie Couture which has recently moved into a huge, eclectic, multi-functional space (including a bridal portrait photographer, a roller derby supply shop and plans for a cafeteria) at 7105 W 105th St, Overland Park, Kansas.
The word ombre comes from the French ombrage which, itself, stems from the Latin umbra, meaning ‘shadow’ or ‘shade’, and is a style where the hair gradually changes in color from root to tip.
Ombres have been in the media for a decade, with Christina Aguilera being one of the earliest proponents, and has become a popular trend for celebrities and fashionistas. However, the ombre has grown in popularity, so have the styles started to diversify. James explains more:
“Ombrés continue to hold their place on the throne of high fashion. As this hair trend increases in popularity, ombré connoisseurs have reconstructed the style into a multidimensional blend of high fashion and color. The gradient colors create no visible lineof demarcation, while retaining uninhibited chromatic opportunities. Colors such as green, yellow, and red can be used to evoke emotion and excitement. The ombré is a lasting favorite that upholds practical high fashion and puts bad hair to bed”.
“This is the traditional dark roots to light ends, ombre. Practical because of the lack of line of obvious demarcation”.
“This is the reverse ombre: a light to dark fall usually changing in tones as well”.
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Today we are very lucky to hear from guest editor and celebrity make up artist, Drew Proud. Drew has been in the make up industry since 2003 when she attended Empire Beauty School in Philadelphia. After cosmetology school she then worked with many different salons and national makeup companies such as MAC Cosmetics, Lancôme, Estee Lauder, Smashbox, Dior, Too Faced Cosmetics, Guerlain, Clarins, and many more. Aside from being published in a slew of magazines, she also has several commercials to her credit and can be seen giving make up and beauty tips on Kansas City Live television.
“Here’s to spring forward. One of the most popular trends for 2014 is a sheer wash of green eyeshadow. It makes a statement yet it’s soft enough to wear for everyday makeup. The best two ways to wear this comeback color is smudged around the eyes or a painted across the lid. You can even pair this radiant color with nude lips or even a ravishing orange which also another 2014 spring trend that’s taking over runways…”
You can also find Drew on Facebook.
Steampunk has been around for a lot longer than people think, in fact you can currently buy a compendium of fin de siecle steampunk stories in Barnes and Noble, predating Moorcock’s Oswald Bastable series and the work of K W Jeter (the man attributed with coining the phrase ‘steampunk’) by over half a century. As an aside, for those who are interested in the literature, may I recommend Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy as well as Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
When it comes to steampunk fashion, however, that is a much more modern affair. Whilst much of steampunk is seen as costume, it does have fashion proponents including luminaries such as design icon Vivienne Westwood and has seen the emergence of several bespoke tailors over the past 8 or so years. Although still very much an east coast/British affair, thankfully steampunk is alive and well in Kansas City all thanks to Monkey Wrench Clothing. Owner Celine started Monkey Wrench with two of her daughters, Lea and Rachel, in 2007. They opened their store in 2012 at 1214 McGee in downtown Kansas City (just one block north of the Sprint Center), and promptly won a Best of Kansas City Award from The Pitch in 2013.
Being the only steampunk store in a place that is as surprisingly alternative as Kansas City and its surrounding area means that Monkey Wrench has successfully carved itself quite a niche in local fashion, having customers regularly driving from hours away to shop for clothing and accessories.
Having been sewing since middle school, Celine is interested in more than just steampunk, however, she is also a big proponent of retro/pinup fashion. “Retro styles are timeless, and back in fashion. I carry pencil skirts and dresses, as well as big swing style dresses with fluffy petticoats. I am also the only corset maker in Kansas City, and hand craft steel boned corsets in both the pinup and the Steampunk style. I make four different styles of corsets, Overbusts, Mid-Busts, Under-Busts, and Civil War Style. The Overbusts completely cover the breasts can be worn with or without a bra or top under it. Mid-Busts are the type which are flatter across the chest so the breasts peek out at the top. Under-Busts come directly under the breasts and must be worn with a top. They really enhance the bust, so these are great for smaller busted ladies. The Civil War Style is the type that the ladies wore under their dresses, like in ‘Gone With the Wind’, to give them that tiny waist. It is my most waist cinching style and has 19 bones of spiral steel, while the other styles have 13 bones of spiral steel. I use 1/4″ spiral steel for most corsets, but 1/2″ spiral steel for larger ladies who need more support”.
Monkey Wrench Clothing also has a Facebook page which can be found here. The store is open 11am – 6pm Tuesday thru Friday and 12pm – 6pm on Saturdays. Contact:  547-5885
(All photographs courtesy of Monkey Wrench Clothing)
For those who don’t know, the name doesn’t actually originate from the leftover tiles in a drunken Scrabble game. In fact, BCBG was launched by multi-award winning Tunisian Designer Max Azria in 1989; the initials standing for Bon Chic, Bon Genre (which means good style, good attitude, but can be loosely translated as ‘look good, be good’).
The BCBG store in the Plaza (422 Nichols Rd,  931 7400) is a haven for top end mid price range clothing and this jacket is no exception. The black padded jacket is highlighted with blue hexagonal stitching except on the lapels, lower sleeves and back where it has a more modest horizontal double stitch. Stretch fabric panels in the inner sleeves, plus a modicum of spandex in the main fabric means that this jacket, whilst very structured, also has some give in its wearing.
We are excited for this jacket not only because of the innovative stitch patterns, which give gives off a chainmail honeycomb vibe, but also because of its versatility – it can be dressed up with a formal gown, or dressed down with simple jeans and a t-shirt and does not look out of place with either.
Aesthetic aside, the versatility is key as this effectively becomes two jackets in one – both formal and informal – and versatility equates to efficiency when it comes to spending money on clothing.
Since the KC branch of Saks closed in 2004, it’s been said that the best place to go for designer clothes in Kansas City is Union Station – because that’s where you can get the train to Chicago. Granted, there is a lot of fashion in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean to say that Kansas City is bereft of all sartorial elegance which, indeed, is the raison d’etre for An Englishman in Westport.
Let’s face facts, it can be cold in Kansas City and, as we look out at the dusting of snow that fell overnight, what could be a better starting place than to create a menswear winter look that is both functional and smart. Just because the weather is cold does not mean that one has to give up on style.
We start with the Hugo Boss Ledger Cashmere and Wool coat with velvet collar available at Halls in the Plaza. (211 Nichols Road,  274-3222). This charcoal, (with gray velvet contrast collar) wool-cashmere, single breasted coat is sourced from the Lanificio Colombo mill in Italy and effortlessly combines warmth with a high end executive chic.
Continuing with the black/grey theme we add a two-tone monochrome Calvin Klein scarf from Macy’s in the Oak Park Mall in Overland Park (or alternatively try the John W Nordstrom cashmere scarf available at Nordstrom, obviously, also at the Oak Park Mall).
For the finishing touches we add a charcoal Prada beanie, also available at Halls and last but by no means least, for gloves we pick a fine black leather pair, with cashmere lining, from Coach (336 West 47th Street  561 1771).
And there you have it, a tonal black/grey ensemble that is both warm AND stylish.