Talk Tuesday: An ICon Affair.

Keeping us updated with everything fashion is what wants to do for the chic ones out there.  The person working on making that happen Sade Strehlke, founder and creator of the website.  The New York City girl, who currently resides in California,  created The Icon Concierge to bring us the lastest events, parties, interviews, and trends all involving fashion.   Sade’s long affair with traveling the world, buying luxury goods and  using social media, has lead her to this create a website to give us the headlines, experiences and know-hows within the fashion industry.

Check out my Q&A with Sade Strehlke.

Vital Stats:

Name: Sade Strehlke

Stomping Ground: Beverly Hills, CA

Age: Old enough to drink, too young for  wrinkle cream

Most beloved possession: Fendi Twins Tote

Fashion Idol: My Mother

What’s your earliest memory of fashion?

Walking through the floors of the iconic department stores of NYC. Barneys, Bergdorfs, Henri Bendel, Saks and Bloomingdales. The displays and scents were overwhelming, yet so colorful and inviting.

When did you start blogging, and why?

I started in December of 2010. I have always loved fashion and was posting online finds and fashion news to my personal Facebook pages. Then I realized I could start my own Facebook business page. From there someone told me to start a blog and I did on Posterous. Now I host my own site on

What is The ICon Concierge about?

The Icon Concierge is simply put, about being iconic. Shopping, fashion, beauty and all the things that make a woman a woman!

Who is The Icon Concierge for?

ICON is for everyone who wants to read something new and exciting. I feature exclusive interviews with some of today’s best upcoming design talent, stores and showrooms in LA and NYC. I also try to diversify my content so that there is always something for everyone.

If you had the opportunity to work for a designer, who would it be and why?

Diane von Furstenburg or Tory Burch. I am all about girl-power and I think these two women represent two excellent business models for being successful in the fashion and luxury industry. Also, they both have some great pieces and staples for every woman’s wardrobe.

A view of The Icon Concierge
A view of The Icon Concierge page

Apart from keeping us updated with the latest in celebrity style, and fashion news, what else do you do? How do you spend your time?

I have a full-time job as a publicist in the telecom industry, which I am currently leaving to devote all my time to ICON due to its enormous growth in the last couple of months. I am also married and have a husband and home to tend to. I also spend copious amounts of time on the phone with my great-aunt Helen, whom I call ‘Aka’, talking about boys, politics and family drama. I also talk to my mom about 5 times a day.

Blogging and keeping your page updated weekly can be time-consuming, if you didn’t have The Icon Concierge, what would you be doing?

Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t remember what I did with my spare time before ICON, but I’m pretty resourceful and love to work so I am sure to find something.

Who are your ‘ones to watch’ in fashion and entertainment 2011 and why?

Fashion – John Galliano, he’ll be back; he is an icon. Entertainment, hmmm … Lindsay Lohan … will she go to jail, overdose, make a comeback? I am fascinated to find out and know the rest of the world is too. Also, I love her court-room outfits!

Professional blogging has become competitive as of late and with hundreds of new blogs popping up every week do you ever worry about falling off the radar and being replaced by another blog with the same aesthetics? And if so, what do you think is needed to keep you above the rest?

No, I don’t. I am a relatively new site and feel that I have something fresh and innovative to offer readers. The interviews I have with individuals are unique as only two people can have one conversation. I don’t worry about falling off the radar, but I do think about more ways to expand ICON such as an iPad app, weekly or daily newsletter and a book. I am starting to incorporate video interviews and have been offered a few hosting gigs. I am super excited about what the future will hold.

What are your best and worst experiences since you started The ICon Concierge?

The worse was setting up the site I have now, it was so hard and tedious. The best was seeing the site I built up! It was so rewarding to have challenged my mind in a new way and end up with a creative, fun and functional result!

Moving on the the clothes, what’s your favorite item in the closet?

My Alice & Olivia cape, which I hardly get to wear because of the weather in LA.

Sade enjoying the shopping times!


Where are your favorite places to shop?

Saks Fifth Avenue and Forever21. I hate shopping at boutiques because I am unable to return things, however at Forever21 the prices are friendly enough that when you wear something once (with high-end accessories) you can make it look like a million bucks and if it is photographed you can easily discard it without feeling guilty. Saks is like a child of mine, I will never ever leave and am obsessed. I love going to the location on 51st and 5th and having sales associates tell me that they’ve loved having me as a customer for 15 years! I am only 24!!! LOL

Complete the sentence: “In 5 years ICon Concierge will be….

The bench mark for digital media in the creative space.

Why do you like Romeo Style?

I can’t explain it, but I love sites that pull me in, and in my only-child imagination could physically live in. To me Romeo Style has that appeal. Glamorous, fun and accessible. Great content too.

The Icon Concierge


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A Skull A Day, Thanks to Marina.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet designers who are talented, love what they do and are also very nice people. Traits that are rarely grouped together in this industry. Yet, when you come across someone who has them all, you cant help but remember, even if he or she is not in your life everyday.  Jewelry designer, Marina Pecoraro, fits the profile.
I meet her briefly over a year ago, and somehow our discussion of her jewelry turned into us comparing life experiences. All the time, my eyes were focused on a necklace she had on.
Giorgie Jewelry Pyrite Cube Necklace
Her outstanding piece in question: her cubes necklace made out of Pyrite.
A year passed since that first and only encounter, until last month when I ran into Marina again! This time I wanted to know more, making the second encounter much more rewarding than the first.  Here is Marina’s interview for

Vital Stats

Name: Marina Pecoraro

Stomping Ground: Upper East Side

Age: 35

Most beloved possession: Giorgie my Shih Tzu Puppy

Fashion Idol: Audrey Hepburn


Q & A

What’s your earliest memory of fashion?
Dressing up in my mom’s clothes and high heels. The  1970 style clothes together with my sister when we were 5 or 6 years old. I love those pieces so much, I still have some of them in my closet.
Where and what did you study in college?
I studied literature,  middle eastern studies and languages at Tbilisi Institute of Asia and Africa then at the University of Georgia, so jewelry designing is something I taught myself.
Why jewelry instead of fashion design?
I can’t draw or paint, and I love gems and metal much more than fabrics, so I transfer my ideas and dreams  not on a mannequin, paper or canvas, but into my jewelry pieces. It’s an amazing experience, I am very happy when creating jewelry.
When you’re designing who are you doing it for? The type of woman you see wearing your jewelry.
I work on combining gems, metals, and different colors. It’s never meant to be for one particular type of woman, it’s for any woman. Each person who wears my piece makes it her own and it is amazing to see how one piece can look so unique on each woman,like I designed it specifically for her.
Giorgie Jewelry Skull Collection.
If you had the opportunity to  collaborate with a designer, who would it be and why?
Kathy Waterman and Alberta Feretti. I admire their work.
Designing, creating and selling your line is a lot for one person, do you have any help?
My husband Larry is a huge help and he even sells at some markets for me.  I am very lucky to have him.
What’s your favorite part about the jewelry process?
It’s something that’s spiritual. I get very excited every time I create a new piece.
So when you’re not keeping us adorned, what do you do with your free time?
I love to travel, wander around  the Met Museum for hours looking for inspiration and  reading.
What are your best and worst experiences since you started designing jewelry?
I love when I see someone wearing a piece of my jewelry.
The worst is seeing when other designers forget why they started creating jewelry and because of that ,they become unprofessional and competitive.
What’s your favorite item in your closet?
My little black dress. It compliments all of my jewelry.
Where are your favorite places to shop?
I love to shop at the markets in Istanbul or Damascus where you can find authentic and unusual creations.
Complete the sentence: “In 5 years Marina will be…
This is a tough one… probably having more freedom to create what I want.
Be able to travel more to get new inspiration for my jewelry.
What do you like about
I like it because it’s cool, clean and the stories are fun.

Where can we purchase your jewelry?

Young Designers Market, Artists and Fleas, or my Esty store at


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Ai For Ai For All

When someone decides to become a fashion designer, it isn’t a typical 9 to 5 they’ve chosen, it’s more like an adventure. One filled with experiences, good and bad, obstacles that sometimes are not easy to get around and sleepless months when deadlines have to be meet. It is not often when siblings decided to take on the adventurous lives of fashion designers together, but sisters Carol and Elizabeth Ai, behind the label AI for AI, are writing their own storybooks and would love for us to be part of their adventures.

Jiro Schneider photo from
The brand AI for AI is still a bit young in fashion years, but their first impression on me last fall at TMRW Coterie, left a lasting one.  I loved their button-up skirts, beautifully draped tops and prints that are loud for all the right reasons.  Now that the brand they’re created together is getting noticed by others, I wanted to know more about the sisters.  Where do they call home, why fashion as a career path, any strange design request since launching Ai for Ai, and who do they see wearing their creations?  I asked Carol and Elizabeth to answer a couple of questions for all of us to get better aquainted with them.

Vital Stats

Name: Carol Ai & Elizabeth Ai
Age: Old enough to still power through an all nighter, too young for marriage!!
Most beloved possession: Carol: my vintage Singer sewing machine Elizabeth: If I told you, I would have to kill you!
Fashion Idol: Our Grama!!

Q & A

Where do you guys call home base?
Echo Park, California
When did you start designing clothes?  Was it something you and your sister started together or did one start first then the other?
Carol: We were just making clothes. I don’t think we sat around as little girls calling ourselves designers. Our grama and mom took us to fabric stores and we got to choose whatever fabric to make our dresses and pajamas in – really kind of a conventional little girl activity, right?
Elizabeth: We started making clothes at the same time – but really, Carol always took more chances. She would pair strange colors together and shapes. I would make fun of her and even after the tears she would still defiantly and proudly wear the clothes she just made.
When or how did your interest in designing clothes begin?
Elizabeth: Carol always knew she was going to working in the fashion industry. She was working at clothing boutiques in the mall before she could get a driver’s license.
If you’ll weren’t working in fashion, creating beautiful clothes what else would you be doing?
Carol: LOL. I know Liz wants to say I wanted to be a dancer!!
Elizabeth: It’s true. That’s what you said.
Carol: I said that once.
Elizabeth: For crying out loud, you were in a dance crew!! Admit it! You wanted to be a flygirl on IN LIVING COLOR!!
Since you guys are sisters running AI for AI together I’m quite sure there are more pros than cons to keeping it in the family, right?
Elizabeth: Hmmmmm….
Carol: Oh come on, you know you love me! It’s great and we have a tough time arguing over buttons and what color we’ll be using every season but in the end – it is worth it and we wear our clothes all the time. It’s kind of an amazing feeling.
So, do you guys share the responsibilities or is it better for you’ll to divide the different responsibilities? For instance, would you say that one of you has more of a head for the business end of your company while the other more of ahead for the design end?
Elizabeth: Exactly. We definitely divide the responsibility. We do both design and business but I have final say on biz decisions and Carol has final say on design. It works.
Since fashion tends to change alongside ever changing the trends, for the young brand that AI for AI is, have there been any major changes or new projects for you guys since your debut at Tmrw/Coterie last season?
Elizabeth: We’ve learned a lot but we’ve been sticking to our original vision of collaborating with creative ladies in Los Angeles.
Carol:  Yes, we have a new shoe! Matiko (an LA based company) helped us make a shoe for our F/W11 season and it is amazing.
Elizabeth: We are really grateful – we didn’t think we’d be making a shoe so early in our trajectory. Thanks Matiko!
What designers do both of you like?
Elizabeth: Have always loved early Moschino and have a super soft spot for those 90s Moschino kitschy things. I am always combing around ebay for them.
Carol: Seriously, I absolutely love Rudy Gernreich, inventor of the pubikini AND the thong. Where would us ladies be without him? His designs will live on forever in my heart.
Who do you see wearing your clothes? Describe your typical follower or celeb you see doing your designs justice when they wear them?
Carol: Would love to see those oft-kilter sense of fashion girls and women wearing our clothes like Christina Ricci, Helena Bonham Carter
Elizabeth: Cher!!!
What’s the craziest experience or request you guys have had ever since you started AI for AI?
Elizabeth: Ummm, Carol and I met Kool Keith from our friend that works at East Village Radio in NYC last September and Kool Keith asked us to make special lingerie for his porn-star friends. It was sort of awesome but something we’re going to table.
What was the inspiration or the concept for your Fall 2011 collection?
Elizabeth: We have a lovely painter, consummately creative L.A. gal pal, Kime Buzzelli, that perfectly embodied our Modern Mystic. We named our collection Modern Mystics, asked her to join us on the ride and we went for it.
Carol: We collaborated with Kime and it worked out perfectly with her dark and moody paintings. We gathered a bunch of thrift store finds of tarot cards, Egyptian jewelry, crystal balls, Ouija boards, masks and astrology books and let it inspire us in the design process. So much fun!
Any fabrics and colors you guys gravitated to for the collection?
Carol: We used a lot of different weights of wools this time. There was a lot of experimenting. We’re happy with the results.
Is this your second or third fall collection?  Any drastic differences from then to now, for instance the amount of styles you guys design, your designing approach each season?
Elizabeth: This is our 2nd fall collection and much has changed since our 1st fall collection. We went for simplicity this time, not too much fancy seam work.
Carol: We let the pretty wools and silks and colors speak for themselves.
Model wearing AI for AI Batwing Top
What are the some pieces you find yourself wearing over and over again from your Spring 2011 Collection and what new styles from Fall 2011 you’re showing now, that you just can’t wait to wear next Fall?
Carol: Liz and I are always in our batwing button top. Seriously it’s the comfiest thing and you look put together when you wear it!
Elizabeth: Too True! And the scorpio skirt is pretty stellar from our fall collection. I think the simple cut makes it easy to wear and the pencil shape with the slit up the front makes it irresistible.
Where can we purchase your designs?
In Los Angeles at either Satine, E.P.I.C. Boutique, Gather, MediaNoche and in New York at LSK in Long Island or at EVA in the Bowery. You could also check our website for additional stores.
Now that Elizabeth and Carol are growing, a collaboration with Matiko, working with West Coast artists like Mercedes Helnwein, Kime Buzzeli, musicians Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast,  Ai for Ai are giving other designers something to think about with when it comes to showing us their beautiful clothes.
Fall 2011 pieces from Ai for Ai


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