March 22, 2007

Haute List


By Danica Lo and Raakhee Mirchandani

March 22, 2007 -- Owl boutique is a hoot: BRAND-NEW jewel-box-size boutique Owl's Lab is a shining beacon of retail hope in the mall-esque wasteland of the Union Square area. Proprietor Ashley Thompson, an Orange County, Calif., native and Parsons grad, handpicks the cult and mainstream girly faves that populate Owl's Lab's rails. Hard-to-find labels such as Los Angeles dress designer Jenni Kayne and hipster favorite Vena Cava hang alongside Italian diffusion import CNC by Costume National.

Ruthlessly edited to include only the best one or two pieces from each designer, the store, while small, is the perfect last-minute one-stop shop for a meet-the-parents date dress or last-minute party frock. Just check out this Graham Spencer polka-dot sleeveless tunic, $286, that Thompson is holding (pictured).

Bonus: Limited, exclusive stock means you'll avoid any chance of an "H&M moment" - i.e. "Oh my god! Did you get that at H&M? I totally have one, too!"

Also on the shelves: pretty French line Paul & Joe, hats from N.Y.C. milliner Eugenia Kim, and quirky prints and knits from Parisian fashion queen Sonia Rykiel.

Owl's Lab: 20 E. 12th St., between University Place and Fifth Avenue; (212) 633-2672.

Clearly, a heel of an improvement

Supportive and comfortable aren't always flattering - think granny panties - and most wedges, according to Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham, make your feet look like they're encased in cement.

Enter avant-gardeist Belgian design house Maison Martin Margiela - the designer's designer who's also a favorite of celebs such as Ellen DeGeneres and Cat Power - who's created this innovative and flattering Lucite wedge heel that makes you look like you're walking on air.

Available in two styles - T-strap or round-toe - we're partial to this sexy version in red patent leather ($645 at Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Ave., [212] 753-7300).

But act fast. The first shipment of Margiela Perspex wedges almost immediately blew out of the Maison Martin Margiela boutique, as well as Bergdorf, Barneys, Jeffrey and If boutique. The sales associate who helped us at Bergdorf said the second shipment "just arrived, and they're already selling out."

Obsessions of the week

* Napoleon complex: So yummy-smelling we want to eat it, we can't get enough of Aussie Napoleon Perdis' Body Delicious fig and pomegranate body wash and lotion ($33 for the set). We're also nuts over his brand-new Smooth Over Body Scrub - a gently microexfoliator perfect as a prep for self-tanning ($33 at Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave.; [212] 753-4000).

* Doggonit: We've gone dog wild over K-Swiss' collaboration with edgy U.K. streetwear label Fake London - three limited-edition sneakers priced from $220 (six pairs are available at cult sneaker retailer Fake London's mascot - a white bull terrier named Bebe - adorns the tongues of our favorite pair, called "Fake Dog."

* Shady ladies: Style-conscious celebs like Rachel Bilson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Richie are plotzing for this season's It sunglasses, Chloe's Myrtle Aviators ($275 at Barneys New York).

* Gold members: Beauty and booze companies are speaking to our inner Vegas showgirls, and we just can't get enough of the shiny, metallic gold packaging popping up everywhere from makeup counters to bars. Some of our favorites include Japanese skin-care company SKII's newly launched Ultimate Revival Cream ($300 at Saks Fifth Avenue) an indulgent anti-aging product sold in a bright gold jar with a tiny gold spatula. Also, La Prairie has a liquified version of the precious metal in its Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold ($525 at Bloom-ingdale's), which promises to plump face, neck and decollete skin in as little as an hour. Superparfumer Clive Christian has entered the shine game with ultra-luxe No. 1 ($735 at, and Absolut Vodka is the best bet if you're traveling international - the Absolut Bling Bling bottle is less than $30 at duty-free shops.