Thursday, August 12, 2010

Helping to Return Life to the Beach

The beach often serves as a breathtaking backdrop in Perry Ellis advertising campaigns. Photos from Perry Ellis Interntational.

WHO can’t help but like Perry Ellis, that legendary purveyor of high quality men's and women's apparel, accessories, and fragrances? Especially when liking PE can spell something as meaningful as helping to clean up that awful Gulf Coast oil spill.

It’s quite simple, really. Facebook users, meaning most of the universe, can prompt a donation to the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund by “liking” Perry Ellis. For each of the first 10,000 new “likes” on the PE Facebook page, said company will donate $1 to the restoration fund, up to $10K.

Trendsetter that it is, PE can see the writing on the wall. Once BP finishes its Keystone cops-style plug effort, there will still be much work to be done, especially in my home of Louisiana. To that end the uber brand is throwing money and, effort at this massive mess through an initiative aptly christened Project Beach. The Facebook likefest is but one component of a multi-pronged effort. PE is wisely partnering with the NWF.

“The coast has always been home for the Perry Ellis brand. Whether winter or summer, our creative team takes inspiration from the beach, and as a Miami-based company, we appreciate life on the coast every day. We’ve also used the beach as a backdrop for our ad campaigns for decades,” Brett Dean, chief marketing officer of Perry Ellis International, waxes somewhat passionately in a company press release. “It’s difficult to watch this disaster and not feel compelled to help. With this initiative, we have an opportunity to reach out to our customers and fans to help National Wildlife Federation toward a long-term solution for the Gulf Coast.”

Amen to that.

During Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week next month , PE is to recognize NWF’s restoration work but is tightlipped about what precisely that entails. Perhaps, Yours Truly will see for herself on 13 September - that is if she is invited. Later this year when its cool to cold in New York and around 67 or 70 degrees in South Louisiana, Florida and Georgia, PE will journey to the Gulf coast to shoot its Spring 2011 campaign - a company first.

Learn more about Project Beach at the Perry Ellis Facebook page at; about the National Wildlife Federation at

Back in N'Hood and Convenient to Famed Train
Deejay Mirandom, above, performing her special brand of magic in the booth. Partygoers, below, are all smiles in Harlem's reburshised H&M store. Photos by Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America.

IS it one’s fertile imagination or is H&M opening and reopening stores all over the place?

Could this be a leading indicator that The Great Recession is loosening its stranglehold on the economy? One can hope; one can pray.

Yesterday a.m., it happened in Soho. Yours Truly was not present. She was, however, Uptown in Harlem for a pretty grand reopening of two sleek, spacious, well-lit floors decked out in the very product that has made H&M a major go-to brand for everything on trend and well within the confines of small budgets.

The joint is jumpin’ and the fish are bitin’. Or rather partygoers are bitin’ the fish, specifically fried catfish nuggets (w/a smashing sauce) from Sylvia’s. The famed eatery and Harlem Institution brings it, too, with fried mac&cheese balls amongst other delectables, including a pork thing that had a strong salad-ey vibe.

Speaking of delectables besides the product, with which H&M is parting for 25 percent less than usual, plus offering various re-opening day promotions. It's also putting gift cards into the hands of members of the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, as well as making a grant to that worthy organization.

Speaking of, there is Ger Duany looking as beautiful as the day I fist clapped eyes on him a few years ago on the Buckler runway. One’s heart is going pitter patter …

Did I say the joint is jumpin’? Deejay Mirandom is seeing to that. When you are situated a block or so east of the Apollo Theater, you gotta bring it. Girlfriend - her resume is so long it causes eye fatigue. In shorthand, she’s a renaissance woman. She goes there. Mirandom isn’t throwing down BeyoncĂ©/Jay-Z/M.I.A. She passes over new school/old school and goes straight to the classics: Marvin Gaye. Yes, Marvin. Gaye. Etiquette dictates that I pay my respects. Mad props to Mirandom.

Speaking of Harlem, my male colleague and I take a numbered train to H&M against my better suggestion. It’s closer, he insists. We board the Express train at Times Square - that is whichever is the 1, 2 or 3. It feels a lot like a local to me but I don’t say anything. When he leaves Harlem for a Missoni party at the Standard Hotel (Meatpacking District), I learn later that he gets the A train.

“I was downtown in less than 20 minutes. I can’t believe how fast I got to 59th street,” said he. “You are so right; the A train is much faster.”

Word: Take the A train!

Learn more about Deejay Mirandom at; Boys & Girls Club of Harlem at

Oh Happy Day! for Betsey (and for Me)
Yours Truly and Betsey Johnson at her birthday party at her Soho boutique. Photo by Lawrence Pinkston

IS that a pink Cadillac parked outside the Betsey Johnson boutique in Soho?

Yours Truly whizzes by so fast she doesn’t get a good look. The pink, though, is unmistakable. The first sight I see is young ladies in hot pink sleeveless dresses. Inside, more young ladies gadabout in tutus and other girly attire. Just as I walk in a pink girl is coming toward me with a tray of chocolate brownies with a raspberry on top. I’ve arrived too late to have a massive cupcake with pink frosting.

Who’s that on the mike? None other than herself - BJ. She’s thanking her fans and followers for coming out to help celebrate her birthday today, 11 Aug. Last year, she celebrated in part by journeying to each of her four Manhattan stores. “It was a zoo,” one of her people gave me to know a couple weeks back when I phoned with my unnecessary RSVP.

Soon, she’s done jawing and is taking photos with a knot of admirers.

I need to talk to BJ. I do some fast, sweet-talking, and the young Michigan-born (like me!) p.r. maven promises to see what she can do. We Michigan girls are a capable bunch. Before BJ dashes out of the store and into her Betseymobile, I have my audience.

“Happy Birthday, my birthday is August 2,” I gush.

“Happy Birthday, BJ says.

Then we say, “Cheese!”

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