Clotheslines by Marylou Luther

            Q Dear Marylou:  Keep telling us about transformables.  I love the idea of clothes that can be worn many ways.  Any news on this front?__ E.P., Cleveland, OH.


Transformable skirt by Pascal Millet




      Dear E.P.:  The tie-on skirt illustrated here is indeed a transformer.  As shown here in Paris designer Pascal Millet’s illustration, the pleated blue and white floral cotton jacquard wrap skirt is worn with a white Egyptian cotton poplin blouse with ruffles at the shoulder.  The skirt could transform a little black dress or a pair of white pants with the swish of its sash.  It could also function as a maxi over a mini—mini skirt or mini dress.  Tied, just above the bosom, it’s a dress.  Tied around the shoulders it’s a cape.
        For store information, contact



  illustration by Pascal Millet





     Q  Dear Marylou:   I realize how important it is for a designer to have celebrities wear her or his clothes on the red carpet.  Is this what is meant by Influencers?__ N.N., Los Angeles, CA.


       Dear N.N.:   That and more—much more.  Take, for example, the influence a blogger can have on sales.  As WWD reported:  “Similar to the rise of the supermodel in The ‘90s, there’s been an ascension of these superinfluencers today—a group that includes Arielle Charnas, Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad, Aimee Song of Song of Style and Leandra Medine of Man Repeller.”
   According to the fashion and beauty trade publication, “These superinfluencers can break into two separate--but equal—categories:  brand builders and converters.”  The difference?  “A brand builder does little in the way of converting (as in converting blogging to sales).” Ferragni is cited in the first category.  Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What is cited as a converter.  Both are seated front row during fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris.  Others mentioned in the Forbes report on top influencers (and front-row-ers),  include Gabi Gregg, Bryan Yambao (Bryanboy), Song, Julia Engel, Nicolette Mason, Jenn Im and Susanna Lau.  According to data from L2,  “Influencers 2017: A New Paradigm in Social Engagement”, top influencers  are “powerful brand builders for the litany of beauty and fashion players they’re paid to promote.”  In other words the followers of these influencers put their money where the influencer’s mouth is.  They buy.  And the influencer gets paid.


     Q  Dear Marylou:  I have a shirt that was somewhat expensive, and I’ve hardly worn it because the back, under the shoulders, has an irregular tear.  I’m hoping to find a “seamstress” (that word seems quaint these days), who could maybe make a patch from the tail of the shirt (it’s extra long” and just fix it up.  If this sounds feasible do you know of an internet source that does mending, etc.? __M.L., New York, NY.

       Dear M.L.:   Maybe that seamstress or tailor could create a tear-covering yoke across the back of the shirt.  Because you’re from New York, I Googled alterations nyc and found a list of these alteration/repairers/tailors you might want to  check out.

     Q  Dear Marylou:   With platform shoes on the rise (as you would say, sorry, I couldn’t resist), I am considering buying a pair of vintage chopines.  What do you know about them?__T.I., Phoenix, AZ.

        Dear T.I.:   You can Google the word and get a lot of background, but the one thing about chopines I’ve learned over the years is that Venetian husbands of the 15th Century reputedly introduced heavy wooden chopines to prevent their wives from straying.  Should you buy the vintage chopines, don’t plan to stray too far without an escort—or a second pair of slipons in your handbag. 


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


 ©2017, 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.