Clotheslines by Marylou Luther

     Q Dear Marylou:  What’s your take on the new It bag?__ R.B., Cleveland, OH.

Allison Mitchell It Bag




      Dear R.B.:  My pick, illustrated here, is a bag I met in October at The Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars.  It was being “clutched” by its designer, Allison Mitchell, who had earlier won  the organization’s Rising Star award for accessories.  I was totally taken by the originality of the bag, its sensibility and its comfort quotient.
   To get right to it, the rolled clutch is “the punchy, slouchy, cool-girl bag that you’ll have to keep letting strangers try on for themselves.”  This is its designer’s description, with the following explanation:
   “Pinching the front corners of soft, buttery leather are two brass claws cast from real chicken feet.  This sort of unexpected detail juxtaposing whimsical luxury is exactly what the Allison Mitchell brand is all about.  A hidden magnetic closure keeps the bag secure without interrupting the aesthetic, and four internal pockets provide plenty of space for your essentials.  The bright yellow suede lining is the wearer’s little secret.”  You could say Mitchell is on a roll.
   Retailing at $765, the bag comes in citrine, black, navy, luggage and red.  For a list of stores where the bag is sold, go to  The bag will be sold online beginning in March 2018.

                                illustration by Allison Mitchell


     Q  Dear Marylou:  I just read that a baseball jacket was debuted in December for $40,000.  What on earth could explain this price tag?__ M.Q., Baltimore, MD.

       Dear M.Q.:   If you want a home run on the runways of fashion you hit your product out of the ballpark.  This time, it was Olivier Rousteing of Paris label Balmain, “explaining” the cost of its crystal-embroidered baseball jacket this way:  “It took around two months to make.  When it was completed, it was like Christmas.  It was like, ‘It’s done.  It’s exactly what I wanted.’”  
  To me, this phenomenon is the perfect example of Demna Gvasalia’s credo to make the ordinary extraordinary.  Now all that remains is Will It Sell?  Stay tuned.



     Q  Dear Marylou:   According to a recent article in WWD, Millennials are spending more on “experiences” and less on “things”.  The piece points out  that they spend more on groceries than apparel.  How does this register in the fashion world?__ E.D.G., Newark, NJ.

        Dear E.D.G.:   Retailers, both brick and mortar and online, are spending more and more on mixing shopping with games, entertainment, contests, give-aways, even astrological forecasts.  I think Millennial pleasure-pleasing is a definite signal that the Millennials have been studied and quantified possibly more than any preceding generation.  Result:  There is now new niche interest in seniors, plus sizes and the disabled than ever before—all those the Millennial momentum pushed aside.


  (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to


 ©2018, International Fashion Syndicate


      Marylou Luther, editor of the International Fashion Syndicate, writes the  award-winning Clotheslines column, a question-and-answer fashion advice feature read weekly by more than 5 million.

   In addition to her syndicated newspaper column, Luther is the creative director of The Fashion Group International, a non-profit organization for the dissemination of information on fashion, beauty and related fields.  Her twice-yearly audio-visual overviews of the New York, London, Milan and Paris ready-to-wear shows are must-seeing/reading for industry leaders. Her coverage of the European collections appears in newspapers throughout the U.S.

   The former fashion editor of The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Des Moines Register is biographied in “Who’s Who in America.”  She won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted Eugenia Sheppard  award for fashion journalism, the Women in Communications award and, in 2004, the Accessories Council’s Marylou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism, which will be given every year in her name.

  Her essays have appeared in “The Rudi Gernreich Book”, “Thierry Mugler: Fashion, Fetish, Fantasy”, “The Color of Fashion”, “Todd Oldham Without Boundaries” and “Yeohlee: Work.” A book with Geoffrey Beene was published in September, 2005. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she received the prestigious Alumni Achievement award, Luther is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, Theta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta.