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Tag Archives: Krystal Schlegel
By Brooke Reagan
Stanley Marcus knew how to put on a good show. The son and nephew of Neiman Marcus’ sibling founders further enhanced the upscale department store’s illustrious reputation with his traditional fall “Fortnight” sales events and the introduction of the opulent Christmas catalog that Neiman’s is known for today.
Brother and sister Herbert Marcus and Carrie M. Neiman, along with Carrie’s husband Al Neiman, founded Neiman Marcus in Dallas in 1907.
Herbert’s son Stanley was elected president of the board in 1950. He introduced the first Fortnight in 1957 in the hopes that a fancy fête would increase sales during the typical October slump.
The very first Fortnight transformed Dallas into France. One visitor at the time called the theatrical production “an artistic triumph and a commercial success.” The Fortnights continued through 1986 bringing exotic performers, treasures, and even celebrities from all over the world— Sicilian singers and folk dancers, Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, and Picasso paintings all arrived in Dallas for Fortnights.
Stanley Marcus executed another smart business move in 1960. He revamped the Christmas catalogue, published since 1939, filling the pages with extravagant, one-of-a-kind gifts.
Although few shoppers actually purchased these items, the catalogue lured them into the store to buy socks, sweaters, and other more mundane items. The Christmas “book,” as it is often referred to today, remains a well-known part of the Neiman Marcus mystique.
The 2012 Christmas catalogue offers everything from a flashy $354,000 sports car to a $150,000 trailer designed for tailgating at college football games—the perfect gift for that SMU student who wants to stand out on the Boulevard.
Krystal Schlegel is a Dallas-based fashion blogger, stylist, and SMU alumna. She says her favorite luxe items from the Christmas book are the matching Van Cleef & Arpels watches showcasing French landmarks. Included in the $1.09 million price tag is a trip to Paris and Geneva as well.
Schlegel acknowledges that while perusing the Christmas catalogue is fun, that’s not what encourages her to shop at Neiman Marcus.
“Neiman’s is no. 1 in the retail industry when it comes to customer service. Neiman’s really knows its clients,” Schlegel says. “Because I live in Dallas and have grown up here, I have specific salespeople I work with. My relationships with these associates make me feel more welcome.”
Ginger Reeder, Neiman Marcus vice president of corporate communications, believes Neiman’s success and longevity can be contributed to the store’s longstanding practice of nurturing relationships with its clientele.
“Each of our stores is different from the others, in that the core of our business model is the relationships our associates have with their customers,” Reeder says.
Neiman Marcus Downtown is also different from any other Neiman’s, because it’s home to the buying offices for every store across the country, says Marjon Zabihi, the public relations manager of Neiman Marcus Downtown.
“The president and CEO of Neiman Marcus and all of the top execs are all there walking in and out of the stores every day and personally looking at the merchandise and selection,” she says. “So in a sense, it’s all happening in the downtown store location. Downtown is where it all begins.”
Neiman Marcus Downtown also represents a rare breed of luxury retailer in that the store combines a classic emphasis on service with an active social media scene. Many SMU students follow Neiman’s daily blog, Twitter and Pinterest accounts among others. Engaging social media tools bring the younger generations into the store.
SMU Retail Club President Elyse Marriott ’13 says students enjoy shopping at CUSP, Neiman’s lower-price alternative for fashion-forward girls on a budget.
“I especially love the jewelry at CUSP. It has fun spunky items that are versatile, so I can wear them every day, whether I’m just going to class or to a formal function,” Marriott says. “Neiman’s is great in that it has upscale items for the older crowd as well as more contemporary things for young adults who are looking for more stylish things that aren’t quite as expensive as the higher-end parts of the store.”
Zabihi says that Neiman Marcus Downtown’s many events spotlighting designers and vendors also draw crowds of all ages. She compares these VIP events today to yesteryear’s glamorous Fortnights. For instance, the Crystal Charity Ball Luncheon, which honors one designer annually, is hosted at the downtown location. Downtown also holds fashion shows in its iconic restaurant, the Zodiac Room, which emanates history with archives adorning the walls and the traditional popover served at the start of every meal.
With most stores still reeling from the recession and even Barneys New York closing its Dallas location this spring, Neiman’s has been able not only to survive the test of time but to thrive. It all goes back to Stanley Marcus’ simple but effective business ethic of excellent customer service with an extra touch of glamour.
Neiman Marcus Downtown is located at 1618 Main St., Dallas, Texas, 75201. Its hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
By Brooke Reagan
French fashion blogger extrodinaire Garance Doré delighted SMU fashionistas by revealing delicious details about her personal journey through the fashion world Wednesday afternoon. Doré stopped by Umphrey Lee for a discussion moderated by fellow blogger Krystal Schlegel ’12.
Doré started her career as an illustrator. Originally her idea of a dream job, Doré was disappointed to find it lonely and frustrating. She opened her blog www.garancedore.fr/en/ in 2006 to improve her work and share it with the world.
In a digital age where it seems just about everyone with a Nikon and cute shoes has a blog, Doré was the first to showcase illustrations and fashion at the same time. Just six short years later, Doré is considered to be an international style sensation. She has creatively collaborated with Chloé, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chopard, and Tiffany & Co. Doré has also been regarded as one of the most influential women in fashion publications by Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, Vogue, and Elle France.
“Every year, I’m like ‘Shit!’ It just keeps blowing up,” Doré said.
With such a fabulous career under her chic Hermès belt, Doré knew she had made it when the iconic fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier shot a two-page Net-a-Porter ad for Vogue featuring Doré in a Stella McCartney gown. When Doré picked up the magazine she said she thought “Impossible! I can’t believe it!”
It’s hard to imagine that a celebrity of Doré’s magnitude could feel star struck around anyone, but Doré recalled a moment when she met Bridesmaids actress Kristen Wiig. Doré admires Wiig because, she said, “the greatest inspiration is to make people laugh.” Doré drew laughs from the crowd when joked she would “pass out” if she ever had the chance to meet Wiig’s co-star Maya Rudolph.
Doré is happy and at peace with her life. She believes she was meant to be a blogger. That being said, Doré is also looking forward to future opportunities.
“I love fashion because it’s the world where you can dream,” Doré said.
Doré dreams of directing/starring in a movie someday à la her cinematic hero, Woody Allen. She also hopes to turn her blog into a more collaborative effort. A book deal and her popular web series, Pardon My French, are picking up steam, as well.
There seems to be no stopping Doré. And one thing is guaranteed – she’ll wear the fiercest shoes as she climbs to the top.
By Brooke Reagan
Most SMU girls like to look stylish but aren’t necessarily slaves to the runway.
We drool over the September issues of our favorite magazines, but that too-die-for $2,000 dress is not within most college girls’ budgets. Plus, some of NYC’s most fashionable pieces, tweed or leather for instance, need to be adjusted for Dallas’ “Indian summer” fall weather.
Taking my inspiration from all those lavish editorial spreads featuring the latest fall looks, I partnered with Neiman Marcus PR Director Apryl Churchill and SMU student/photographer Christos Patelis to create a fall trend guide geared to SMU fashionistas.
Although we didn’t get to all of the good stuff – snake bracelets, polka dots, bordeux leather, pastel-hued metallics or lace, to name a few – we tried to hit the high points.
A fashionista’s job, it seems, is never done.
Styling for the sorority formal
To look party-perfect, I styled a Torn by Ronny Kobo dress with simple black Target heels to let the dress shine.
The dress’ black-and-gold baroque design is definitely trending right now: Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, Prabal Gurung, and Dolce & Gabana all highlighted black and gold pieces on their fall runways.
And September’s InStyle magazine chose the color combination as one of 2012’s top fall trends, noting that with the “high-def depth” of brocade, “black and gold alchemizes Renaissance, hippie, Asian, and modernist influences in spectacular ways.”
Dallas-based fashion blogger, stylist and SMU alum Krystal Schlegel agrees that “one of the biggest trends I love for fall is baroque.”
Schlegel likes to take extravagant pieces with embellished, highly designed elements and pair them with layers of costume jewelry on her blog, Krystal Schlegel The Style Book.
If you want the look for less, Forever21 is a great place to go for affordable costume jewelry. Keep an eye out for Forever21’s fabulous geometric and art deco bracelets in black and gold hues.
For our photo shoot, I paired Ronny Kobo’s unique and memorable dress with tribal chic Kendra Scott Skylar earrings in tiger’s eye. The earrings add sparkle but don’t break the bank at $60.
Simple red lips are dominating fall faces so I kept the rest of my makeup and hair simple.
With your outfit under control, all you have to do is grab your gal pals and dance the night away with your lucky date.
Boulevarding on game day
For a long afternoon of boulevarding and cheering on the ‘stangs in Ford Stadium, don’t we all want an outfit that’s classic but comfortable? Say hello to the new classic shades for fall.
“Navy is the new neutral, ” says Rachel Michael, department manager of Cusp’s at Neimans.
Michael paired these eye-catching navy earrings (similar) with a silk crimson Rory Beca top. Crimson was a key feature in Steven Alan, Donna Karan, and Marc by Marc Jacobs’ fall 2012 runway shows, and Glamour magazine called crimson “the new black this fall.”
Colorwise, a good combination for SMU game days.
For comfort, I rely on casual J Brand jeans, a penchant I share with Kristie Ramirez, “Texas Monthly” writer and “F!D Luxe” editor, who likes to stock up on J brand jeans, calling them her “staples.”
“[I tend to] stick to inexpensive staples and upgrade with a few essential expensive pieces,” Ramirez says.
Boots are big on the boulevard. When I first came to SMU as a clueless California girl, I didn’t own a pair of cowboy anything. I soon corrected that mistake and am now the proud owner of brown GUESS cowboy boots (similar). Pony up!
Dressing to impress at a job interview
Tweed was a hot trend both on the catwalk and in the coveted celebrity seats at Proenza Schouler’s fall 2012 show.
SMU girls could feel confident in this Alice + Olivia black, white and silver tweed dress during an interview for a summer internship or that first post-graduation job. Pair it with simple pearl earrings and a dazzling smile, and you’re sure to land the gig.
Alexis Johnson, co-founder of the beauty and hairstyle blog “Beauty Bender,” suggests wearing simple makeup to a business meeting.
“For any interview, whether a job or an internship, think like a Parisian—less is more,” she says. “You want to look professional and put together without having your makeup overpower what you’re saying or distract the person interviewing you.”
Rocking girls’ night out
Blogger Krystal Schlegel describes her personal style as “classic with a bit of an edge.”
“I will style an embellished top or jacket with a T-shirt and jeans to make it a bit more casual,” she says.
Taking a cue from Krystal, I combined a Parker teal green embellished top with J Brand jeans. This top reflects the season, as mixed shades of green enchanted the onlookers at the fall Badgley Mischka runway, among others.
A PJK black leather jacket over the embellished green top adds an “edge” to the outfit. The long sleeves of the unstructured jacket – by far my favorite item from the shoot (Neimans, can I please keep it?) – would have hidden any bracelets, so I stuck to cocktail rings from CUSP for a little sparkle.
I’m a firm believer that ankle-high “booties” are the best boots for fall. My black suede Tory Burch boots, pictured here, are from last year, so I highly recommend Tory’s new Elina bootie.
With these style tips, you’re sure to sparkle and shine at your next girls’ night out.
Earn A’s for fashion
We all know it’s easy to roll out of bed, throw on Nike shorts and a sorority tee, and hightail it to class. We’ve all had those mornings that require a double shot of espresso.
I’ve been guilty of not looking put together for class on more than one occasion, but here’s the thing: We don’t impress our teachers when we show up dressed like we don’t care.
Here’s a look with effortless appeal to get you to that early class.
This Bailey 44 cobalt blue shirt with luxurious leather cuffs couldn’t be comfier. Plus, you’ll look like such a trendsetter: Sea, Ter et Bantine and Rebecca Minkoff are all showing leather sleeves in their resort 2013 collections.
Leggings and boots are always trusty sidekicks in the fall and winter months. And the Deux Lux studded grey hobo (similar) is both stylish and practical—usually an oxymoron. I love that the bag is roomy enough for all of my textbooks.
If you have a little time to spare before class, try out a fishtail braid, a trend inspired by Tory Burch’s spring 2013 runway show. This is a look I’ve been dying to try but haven’t yet mastered so you’ll have to use your imagination. But you’ll look as if you made an extra effort to appear fresh and on-trend for the day: A+.
By Krystal Schlegel
Sitting down for a meeting with Amber Venz, founder of rewardStyle.com and fashion blogger at VenzEdits.com, in February 2011, I didn’t realize a 30-minute Starbucks conversation would change my blogging career forever.
I had started a blog after completing a two-week floral design program in Paris during the summer of 2010.
After being inspired by all of the fashion, floral and architectural photographs I had snapped in Paris, I decided to start a lifestyle and fashion blog of my own.
Heading into my junior year at Southern Methodist University, I became completely enthralled with blogging.[SinglePic not found]
I posted every day, not only to get visitors to come back daily, but because it was exactly what I wanted to work on when I had free time. Staying up until 1 every night (or morning) to work on my blog became something I looked forward to.
RewardStyle: Making my hobby profitable
Prior to meeting with Venz, an SMU alum, I had no profit or income from my blog.
I had thought about advertising, but had heard that pursuing advertisers or sponsors could easily become a full-time job. I also wanted to wait until I got my readership up before I tackled advertising.
At our meeting, Venz, dressed in a fur coat and 6-inch heels, told me about a new company she was starting called rewardStyle.com.
She described the company as a website where fashion bloggers could earn commissions for what they sold online. She wanted me to be a “product tester” to get the website started and to let her know what I liked and didn’t like about the site.
That meeting marked a turning point in my blogging career: Once I realized bloggers could earn commissions from building their blogs, I started looking into other websites that offered affiliate links. Most of them were insanely hard to figure out and use.[SinglePic not found]
I soon became obsessed with rewardStyle because the site was so user-friendly and convenient.
With rewardStyle, I simply linked my “outfit posts,” or the outfit I featured on my blog that day, to my favorite shopping websites and was pleasantly surprised by how many sales I was making.
As my commissions rose, so did my standing with the company since rewardStyle ranks its featured bloggers, who participate by invitation only, based on total sales. This is what landed me on the company’s Top 25 Blogger list, alongside my favorite bloggers, Jane Aldridge of SeaofShoes.com, Blair Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific.blogspot.com and Leandra Medine of ManRepeller.com.
That was the moment when I realized, “Hey, I could make a career out of this.”
However, I think the reason my blog succeeded is that I absolutely love doing it every day.
Creating my next post or styling my next outfit is always on my mind.
Interested in starting your own?
I chatted with a few of my favorite fashion bloggers to get their top tips on how to start a blog.
It is free, but I recommend hiring a blog designer to personalize yours. This can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 and is worth the small investment.
Amy Havins, a Dallas-based stylist, recently began blogging to offer tips about her favorite brands, trends and items – a great source for fashion-lovers who may not be in a position to pay for her styling services. Havins says she follows a set of ethical guidelines on her blog.[SinglePic not found]
“It is important to maintain your integrity when blogging by spotlighting only products that you would use or wear yourself,” she says. “I won’t showcase products just to earn a commission, and I think my readership appreciates that about me. They know they can trust my advice.”
Tina Craig is one of the best-known fashion bloggers in the industry today.
Six years ago, Craig partnered with friend Kelly Cook to write about one of their favorite things — handbags – and before long, BagSnob.com was born.
With more than 50,000 Twitter followers and millions of readers, Craig has seamlessly turned her full-time hobby into a full-time job. She now lives in the Dallas area with her family – and commutes frequently to New York and other fashion capitals.[SinglePic not found]
Venz explained that when she started her blog, she developed a business plan that outlined what she is good at and why readers would want to visit her site.
“I don’t post photos from the front row at Fashion Week because I know readers can go to Style.com for that,” she says.
Venz says she posts information or photos about fashion shows and industry events on social media venues like Twitter and Facebook.
On her blog, she instead focuses on more “evergreen” topics such as style tips. And she won’t post photos with friends or what she did the night before. This gives her blog, VenzEdits.com, a central theme and consistency.[SinglePic not found]
Both Craig and Venz shared their stories as part of a Fashion Journalism and Blogging panel on March 27 during SMU’s Fashion Week.
While Venz stressed the importance of planning for an up-and-coming blogger, Craig, who was blogging before blogging was cool, argued that persistence and motivation are just as critical.
In other words: Think twice if you are blogging just to grow your business or make a quick buck. “Be passionate about your subject, and let that passion come through in the writing,” Craig says. “If it doesn’t make you crazy like teenage love, don’t blog about it.”
Photos, photos, photos
Of course, both fashion bloggers and their readers love blogs that feature beautiful photographs. This may mean skipping the Iphone shots if you are serious about your work. Experienced bloggers agree that investing in a quality camera can make an important difference in the overall value of your blog.
“No cell phone pictures in a mirror,” Venz says.
“A good camera is huge, or have a boyfriend or friend take photos. I pay a photographer hourly to take my photos.” Investing in a quality camera makes an important difference in the over all value of your blog.
SMU senior Mary Holbrook likes to start her day reading fashion blogs.
“I go to blogs for style ideas, new things to try and inspiration. I like blogs that are updated frequently and have a theme or pattern. This gives me something to look forward to. I also love photo blogs. Great photography is key,” Holbrook says.
Get some traffic
RewardStyle.com is great to work with, but the company won’t allow bloggers to use the site if they don’t already have a social media following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or the like.
Newcomers should set all of these up in order to grow their social media presence and network with other bloggers.
All of these platforms grow a blogger’s site.
Another important topic to think about: searchability. A great tool to help people find your blog is Google.
You want to make sure your blog comes up when someone types in “red Celine bag.”
The best way to do this is to title your posts with the terms people will search for in Google.
How to monetize
Apart from joining rewardStyle to monetize your site, you can also use websites like Google ads and go directly to brands you want to work with.
Advertising and rewardStyle are options once you have established a following, so be sure to grow your readership through social media networks before reaching out to companies.
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By Krystal Schlegel
She said she would host a dinner for all of us during New York Fall Fashion Week.
The list of attendees included all my top daily reads.
I couldn’t pass it up.
Bright camera flashes, dresses flowing down the runway, and fashion icons gracefully hailing yellow taxis set the scene at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2012.
My “New Yorker” brother says, “You can’t show any intimidation in New York or you’ll get swallowed up.”
That was certainly true when a well-dressed woman stole the cab I had just hailed for my first trip to the Mercedes Benz tents where most of Fashion Week takes place.
But it was worth the battle.
The tents seemed overrun by a sea of fashion editors, clad in stylish high heels and the latest not-yet-in-store designer ensembles.
For the sake of fashion, they seemed willing to shiver in their spring trends since this was the Big Apple’s chilliest time of year.
While waiting for the tents to open for business, I spotted famous fashionistas everywhere — from standing in line directly behind my favorite Vogue editors, whom I follow on twitter, to walking in alongside the high-profile Man Repeller blogger as well as Ken Downing of Dallas’ own Neiman Marcus.
I was like a kid in a candy store all day.
Stepping inside the tents, into fashion week itself, was even better.
I had pictured serious fashion gurus, acting all business, but instead it was like entering a high-end cocktail party with the most coveted fashion insiders.
That first day, I didn’t realize everyone entering Fashion Week is treated like a celebrity.
I had decided to wear my comfortable walking boots and was disappointed when I saw street style photographers – whose pictures could land anywhere from Vogue to fashion blogs – in front of Lincoln Center, snapping my photo.
I wished I had stepped up my game.
I didn’t have an invite to the first show I attended. But I decided to wing it and head inside the tents as if I knew what I was doing.
Luckily, I ran into a blogger I had met in Dallas, Christine Petrick of The View from 5 ft. 2, who let me in on some secrets.
For instance, waiting patiently next to whoever is in charge of tickets until the crowd arrives is a shoe-in for a “standing” ticket – although standing in the back sure doesn’t make you feel like you’ve fashionably “arrived.”
The next show I attended with a standing ticket, I overheard someone say that if you stand in the aisle, when people don’t show up, show organizers will place you in the seats up front so that the space looks filled.
That’s how I got to sit second row at Hervé Leger the next day.
The following day I decided to go big with my tallest blister-inducing heels.
Then I was happy to have my photo taken out front.
It became a little game to walk in and out of the tents to see if any street style bloggers would take my picture or interview me about what I was wearing.
I felt I had officially arrived as a fashion blogger in the mecca of fashion.
One fashion nugget: The hottest item on the front row at the shows wasn’t the expected iPhone or BlackBerry, but the newest “it” bag, the “nano Celine” – even better if the bag was a neon (the hardest colors to get your hands on).
I guess that is proof.
I felt like a princess living her fairy tale moment when my ticket was confirmed for the Monique Lhuillier show seat G-1-1.
I thought to myself, there is no way I’m in the front row.
It was a dream come true to be seated up close and personal, and I just didn’t want it to end.
That evening called for room service and a movie in bed.
Fashion Week is much more tiring than you’d think
The day started with a mad rush to Starbucks and dash to the tents.
The perfect end to the week was actually being placed in the second row, the seat behind the adorable Jenna Bush, at Lela Rose.
Their input was inspiring and made me decide to take my blogging career to the next level and sign with an agent come May’s graduation.
By the end of the week, I was ready to move to New York, or at least say bye until Spring Fashion Week next September.
By Krystal Schlegel and Laura Shepard
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We took to the boulevard on a challenge to find color blocking students, but it was easier to come across than we thought. With a nod to Thakoon’s Spring 2012 collection, we found it was more popular to incorporate small pops of color than a full on rainbow ensemble. We found the men sporting the trend perfectly. A confident attitude paired well. Michael Derbyshire said he combined blue and green with the hopes of “looking fly.” The most popular colors were contrasting hues such as pinks and blues. Everything from tennis shoes to bikes, campus was a sea of eighties brights.