April 26, 2007

Haute List



April 26, 2007 -- The fanny diaries: IT'S a fine line between ugly, ironic and cool, and fanny packs - those round-the-waist pouches proudly worn by style luminaries like Borat - may have amazingly drifted into fashion. Mainstream labels, the kind favored by young Hollywood and urbanistas alike - such as Seven for All Mankind, Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. and Anna Sui - are introducing stereotype-busting bum bags constructed from leather, not nylon, in sleek, structured shapes.

Established luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Gucci have always done fanny packs, season after season, for monogram lovers.
We're especially keen on this Goldenbleu green patent "Yvette" fanny pack, $458 at goldenbleu.com - a glossy and gathered two-pouch variation on the old standard.

We also love this smart "Siena" belt by Claudio Orciani, $298 at Saks Fifth Avenue.


Obsessions of the week

Purse-nickity: "Dig in your garden, not in your purse," says Anne Pinkham, founder of handbag-organizer Purseket. Her ingenious multipocket bag insert holds a full day's worth of essentials - from cellphones to sunglasses, from notepads to pens - and even features a rigid post on which you can pop your keys for easy access. Purseket is available in a variety of sizes and fabrications - from $16 to $25 at purseket.com.

Gold standard: Inspired by Estée Lauder herself, this minaudiere - which comes complete with a limited-edition compact and lipstick - is our favorite piece in the cosmetic house's elegant new Heritage Collection - "Vintage is such a strong trend in home design and fashion today," says creative director Aerin Lauder. "We wanted to revisit some of the unique pieces my grandmother created in the 1960s and 1970s that are considered collector's items today." Minaudiere, $550 at neimanmarcus.com.

Tea'd up: The newly redesigned and reopened Bulgari flagship features 13,000 square feet of jewelry, watches, handbags and accessories. And while the store will be stocking lots of exclusive limited-edition products, our primary purpose in venturing uptown will be to stock up on Bulgari's cult green tea-infused skin care and fragrance line, which we'd otherwise be forced to steal from housekeeping at The Ritz in London or Casa Casuarina (the former Versace mansion) in Miami. Au thé vert shower gel, $41, and body lotion, $49, at Bulgari (730 Fifth Ave.; [212] 421-2048).

Berry nice: See and smell a rainbow of fruit flavors at L'Artisan Parfumeur, where the Mure et Musc fragrance comes in a whimsical blackberry bottle. Even illiterates can tell right away that Premier Figuier smells like, well, fig. Prestige bottles, $280 at L'Artisan Parfumeur (1100 Madison Ave.; [212] 794-3600).

Climb every mountain

Paris Hilton's non-surgical overnight transformation from flat-as-a-board to va-va-va-voom is one of the most inspirational Hollywood makeovers in recent history.

Boob-watchers will notice that the silhouette of choice is a far cry from the low-slung C's of the '70s, the perky athletic B's of the '80s, and the waify A's of the '90s. The noughties are all about the high and round, lady lumps that make people wonder, "Did she or didn't she?"

"The secret to re-creating Paris' show-stopping cleavage is to choose a bra that has a snug-fitting band," says Saleena Sidhu, president of Pfiff Lingerie. "This helps create a stable foundation for a push-up effect. Also, buy a bra that features padding focused on the bottom half of the cup, preferably with removable 'cookies' so you can adjust your look."

We love Pfiff's strawberry pink demi-bra (pictured, $48 at starboudoir.com ). We're also partial to Frederick's of Hollywood's Extreme Cleavage bra - built to push the boobs up and out ($28 at fredericks.com).