Thursday, August 9, 2007

Shoe Carnival Inc a leading retailer of value-priced footwear and accessories reported sales increased 5.4 percent to $154.8 million for the thirteen-week period ended August 4, 2007 compared to sales of $146.9 million for the thirteen-week period ended July 29, 2006.

Comparable store sales for the thirteen-week period ended August 4, 2007 decreased 7.1 percent compared to the thirteen-week period last year ended August 5, 2006.

Sales for the first six months ended August 4, 2007 increased 1.6 percent to $320.5 million from sales of $315.4 million for first six months last year ended July 29, 2006.

Comparable store sales for the twenty-six week period ended August 4, 2007 decreased 5.4 percent compared to the twenty-six week period last year ended August 5, 2006.

Second quarter financial results will be released before the market opens on Thursday, August 23, 2007. Later that day, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, the Company will host a conference call to discuss the second quarter results.

The public can listen to the live webcast of the call by visiting Shoe Carnival's Investor Relations While the question-and-answer session will be available to all listeners, questions from the audience will be limited to institutional analysts and investors.

A replay of the webcast will be available on our website beginning approximately two hours after the conclusion of the conference call and will be archived for one year.

How to survive pregnancy in style

Paula Cocozza
Guardian Unlimited

1. Enjoy tunic and trapeze dresses without having to worry, like all your non-pregnant friends, about whether you will look pregnant. Of course you will!

2. Don't change your cut of jeans. For skinny, go to Topshop; for boyfriend or bootcut, go to Gap. If you like straightleg jeans, spend money. These, by Paper Denim & Cloth, cost �119 from {} (020-7359 2003).

3. Wear a long vest under your regular tops to lengthen their life as they rise up your middle. The best tops we found are from Gap, home to great T-shirts. This one costs �19 and will be in store early August (0800 427 789 for stockists).

4. Don't be ashamed of your lingerie: these print briefs, �16, and bra, �32, come from Blossom (0845 262 7500).

5. Be fashion forward. This Mamas & Papas dress is Miu Miu-esque and has autumn's grown-up midi length. It costs �45 and will be in store from August 6 (0870 830 7700 for stockists).

6. Blow out on handbags, jewellery, a posh brolly, scarf, gloves and flat shoes. Anything, in short, that the bump has no say in.

7. Try on all your old clothes - then re-try them every few weeks. Look at what you've got with an open mind: a belted trench will go on working well into the sixth month if you stop knotting the belt and buckle it above the bump instead.

8. Don't exile yourself from nonmaternity shops. Cos has great T-shirts, Gap is full of roomy dresses and both have slouchy, long-line cardigans for autumn/winter. Just be prepared to look a little harder.

9. If you pick up something that you wouldn't wear in "normal" life, put it down ...

10. ... Unless you want to experiment. I doubt that I'll wear dungaree shorts once I've had the baby, but right now they look good, have excited inquiries from non-pregnant friends, and they're an experience only pregnancy would have aff orded me.

It was not altogether my usual Wednesday morning routine. I was somewhere north of Oxford Street, trying to find the Daniel Galvin hair salon. And it was a shade before 8.15am; aka ridiculous o'clock.

Sam Leith

Already, I was out of sorts. The deal I had struck with the Telegraph's fashion department was, that as a distinctly low-maintenance man, I should spend a day learning what it was like to be a high-maintenance woman. Ladies who lunch, I had imagined, would start their day sometime around - oh, let's see- lunchtime?

Worse, my itinerary indicated that I was not expected to emerge from this salon until 1pm. I didn't know hairdressers opened before breakfast, still less that it was possible for a human being to spend five hours inside one.

I really don't have that much to say about my holidays. "You're going to have a whole day of being pampered and getting treatments," one colleague had promised. "It will be hell."

I had decided that I was safest not knowing in advance what was coming. I would endure it all - though I quailed a little at the salon, which looked like a set from Doctor Who. The only thing I promised myself was that the moment anybody asked me to take off my clothes and squat like a frog, I was outta there. To paraphrase Meat Loaf: I'll do anything for the fashion editor, but I won't do that.

I didn't have to. But what I did undergo was, in chronological order: micro-dermabrasion and an ultrasound facial mask; eyebrow shaping; manicure; pedicure; hair colouring, haircut and blow-dry; wet shave (from Daniel Galvin's big brother Joshua, who spent his wartime military service as a ship's barber, shaving the men of the merchant marine with cut-throat and strop); suiting and booting by Selfridges' VIP personal shopper; half of a large drink, hour-long full-body massage, other half of a large drink; chest-waxing; very large drink indeed. It took 12 hours.

My host announced, early on, "we've tried to alternate nice and nasty treatments". For ease and speed, I can break my report down into a series of exclamations: "Yow! why are you shooting salt up my nose?"; "Yow! ouch! yow! stop that!"; "Mmm-"; "mmmMMMMM!"; "Blimey - I'm starting to resemble my byline photo- bloody hell - is that Paul McCartney going into the private room?"; "Aahhh- baby-smooth"; "These shoes cost how much? That's more than my car! Still, I'm looking kinda natty, no?"; "Glug, mmm- MMMMM- zzz- glug"; "Ohno, ohno, ohno, ohplease- oh - yaaARGH! Ouch! DAMN!"; "Glug- aahhhh!"

Certain fears were allayed. I had anticipated that the "Hemingway Treatment", at a Bruton Place establishment called Gentleman's Tonic, would involve daiquiris and a shotgun; happily, it involved a stonking Bloody Mary and an hour face-down on a special massage bench with a hole for you to push your face through so that when you fall asleep your drool lands on the floor.

That was lovely. I do still own eyebrows. The pedicurist, whom I imagined would scream with horror and faint away when confronted with The Toenail Of Smaug, did no such thing.

Chest-waxing is worse in the anticipation than in the fact (though I expect it would have hurt like hell if I'd had more hair; as it was, they could have done it just as fast with tweezers).

Some of it was a bit absurd. The reluctance to call conditioner "conditioner", when you could call it "deep conditioning treatment".

The peculiar discussion I found myself having about the relative "naturalness" of different sorts of salt. The promise that the effects of my eyebrow-shaping would be impossible to notice. (I earned my only dark look of the day by wondering what was the point of a paying for a painful treatment with no visible effect.)

But, as they say in South Park, I learnt something today (and not just what "facial threading" and "horny hair" is). I realised that, whether or not you get any real benefit from all these quacky unguents, the ritual is the important bit; the mixture of naked consumerism, crypto-scientific gobbledegook, and ego-massage.

The process is far more important than the results. The point is not to have shiny nails so much as to sit, like the Emperor Nero, in a comfortable barber's chair with a kindly stranger massaging yummy citrus-smelling unguents into your head, while another cleanses your fetid foot with soapy water.

The point is not to get the hairs off your chin so much as to sit with only your nose poking out while your face is swaddled in gorgeous, steaming hot towels. The point is not to relax your muscles so much as to have a snooze. Alles ist gut.

Apart from the whole agonising depilation thing, and the rubbish you have to talk, and the time you have to spend that you could spend doing something worthwhile, and the expense and all the rest of it- you know what? Being a high-maintenance woman completely rocks.

It is way better than working. And, come to think of it, I look down now at my chest and I can see the odd grey blur of bristle regrowing like something you'd see on an unsatisfactory pork scratching. And I think: hmm. Time to go back and get a refresher-

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Looking good when you are pregnant has never seemed more important.

Paula Cocozza shares ten tips for surviving pregnancy in style.
Discovering that you are pregnant can induce a range of responses from exhilaration to desolation, and the life-disturbing enormity of it can just about explain and excuse any of them. Which is a good thing, because within a few hours of learning my own news, I was making myself comfortable with paper and pencil, sketching out the beginnings of a maternity wardrobe. I drew well-cut shorts with empire-line tops, man-size shirts tied under the bump, trapeze dresses (the ones that seem enormous if you hold the hem out wide, but which, left alone, fall into a graceful triangle), trousers with gents' cumberbunds, and dungarees. I am not obsessed with fashion - though I am interested in it - so why is it, I wondered when I came to, that it has become so important to look good when pregnant, and why do pregnant women feel under so much scrutiny?
Ever since 1991, when we saw "More Demi Moore" on the cover of Vanity Fair, the focus on women during pregnancy - first famous ones, and latterly the rest of us - has sharpened. Many have followed in Moore's footsteps, from Gwyneth Paltrow flashing the elasticated waist of her jeans on the cover of W (June 1994) to Britney Spears in Harper's Bazaar last year and Myleene Klass in this month's Glamour. We have seen and scrutinised the marvellous enlargement over nine months of Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sofia Coppola, all of them as famous for their clothes as for their particular talents, and have watched with equal interest their ballooning then speedy shrinking. If pregnancy once led inexorably to confinement, now it is the launchpad for a new kind of exposure.
Miranda Almond is a fashion editor at Vogue, 36 weeks into her second pregnancy, and has been sticking diligently during the past eight months to some low-waisted skinny jeans bought on the non-maternity floor at Gap. "Years ago, you were pregnant and people just left you to get on with it," she says. "There's definitely more focus on it now - partly because there's more focus in general on celebrities. And when these women get pregnant a huge amount of attention is paid to them." Pregnancy acts as a magnifying glass to the pervasive media interest in body image, as if the exaggerated shape of the expectant stomach somehow enlarges our interest - and offers a guaranteed narrative of yo-yoing weight.
The maternity-wear market has blossomed correspondingly. Even while the birth rate was falling, between 1998 and 2003, the maternity-wear market was experiencing a 10% growth. If women were having fewer children, their expenditure per pregnancy was rising as the disposable income of mothers-to-be increased along with their age (Basma Alireza, co-founder of upmarket boutique Blossom, puts its customer profile at age 25 to 40). The high street was quick to spot a new niche. In 2004, Topshop launched its maternity collection. New Look and Marks & Spencer followed. And Gap has finally launched a capsule collection in the UK after years of success in the US.
For years, maternity wear was a fashion backwater - a world in which pinafores prevailed year after year (no such thing as seasons here) and which serviced its hapless customers through nursery shops rather than fashion ones. Now, it is increasingly looking to the catwalk. This summer, the designer Emma Cook produced a collection for Topshop that included softly printed dresses that seemed to view the necessary volume as an integral part of their shape rather than as an inconvenience. Clements Ribeiro has designed a line for Blossom, and even Mamas & Papas - better known for its pushchairs - has found a fashion vocabulary. It has just held a catwalk show for its autumn/winter collection, starring Emma Bunton, and its current collection is referencing Marc Jacobs.
A maternity beauty and accessories industry has sprung up too. These days it is possible to buy a leopard-print nursing bra from Agent Provocateur and an enormous, waist-cinching brief for afterwards. On entering the fitting room at Blossom, in Kensington, London, encumbered shoppers are offered a cup of something called an Earth Mama Angel Baby Peaceful Mama tea (which tastes surprisingly good). On the counter are tins of Preggie Pop Drops - sweets to ward off morning sickness. From beauty line Mama Mio - which in the 18 months since its launch has oiled the expectant bellies of Beckham, Stella McCartney and Christy Turlington - you can buy preparations to see you through each trimester, starting with the Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil ("Say NO to stretch marks!") and culminating in the It's Time! kit, which will enable you to light an appropriately scented candle in the labour room and ready your birthing partner with the facial spritzer.
So why, despite all the choice, was my first proper maternity shopping trip such a depressing affair? Now that Emma Cook has sold out at Topshop, the offering looks unimaginative - simply fuller versions of smocky tops from the shop floor (though the jeans are good). Gap is brilliant for tops, but why do so many retailers imagine that once you become pregnant you want to exchange your normal sense of style for a boho tunic and a pair of bootleg jeans? Why do so many maternitywear providers offer this cut of jean above all others, while the rest of fashion continues to spurn it?
As if the sight of a prosthetic, strap-on bump - a staple of the specialist boutique - weren't bad enough, maternity clothes are often, frankly, insulting. A trawl of high street and online boutiques suggests that the ubiquitous and offensive tankini appears to have become the designated swimwear for the pregnant, even though a sympathetically cut bikini fits perfectly well and looks loads better. The wrap dress, which offered salvation to the stylish pregnant a few seasons ago, now seems testimony only to lack of imagination: like the bootleg jeans, this is not a shape that has any relevance now, yet is wheeled out by every high-street maternity store because someone has decided it's flattering.
"I just thought, I don't like these clothes," says Suzanne Clements, of her shopping trips during her recent pregnancy and whose line for Blossom (which skirts the problem by handpicking non-maternity pieces that will accommodate a pregnant shape) will be in store from the end of August. "I went to Topshop and I was really disappointed. I thought they'd flung a few styles in from downstairs, lengthened it and called it maternity wear. Why would I wear those clothes just because I'm pregnant? It's disgusting. Formes maternity wear? Horrible."
All of which means that while the maternity-wear industry is burgeoning, fashion-conscious women are going for a different approach: spurning dedicated maternity wear in favour of resourceful shopping, because it is the only way to keep looking like you. Clements says that she wears "the same clothes pregnant or non-pregnant". Cook liked her maternity dresses so much she is still wearing them post- pregnancy, belted. Almond, in the front line at Vogue, has made only one maternity-specific purchase during her two pregnancies, surviving on tops from Cos. As for my own hopeful sketches of a maternity wardrobe, the search for that well-cut pair of shorts and dungarees ended only in Rome. Favourite, roomy dresses have come from APC and Phillip Lim - great non-maternity brands that are often cut loose.
Maybe none of this matters. But getting the clothes right seems to suggest you are getting other things right, too. Looking together at work is easier if you still look like the person you were before. And when almost every part of your body is shifting shape beyond your control, holding on to your personal style seems testimony to the fact that you are holding on to yourself.

Versace 10th anniversary

Milan paid tribute to Gianni Versace, one of most famous fashion designers. People mark the 10th anniversary of his death last night.
Last night members of the Versace family joined celebrities and politicians at a gala evening of ballet at La Scala, the opera house, to mark the designer's love of the theatre. The event featured a new ballet, Thanks Gianni, With Love, by the French choreographer, Maurice B�jart, 80.
Donatella Versace, the designer's sister, arrived with her daughter Allegra, 20, who earlier this year it was revealed had been suffering from anorexia for many years.
Other guests included the actors Jessica Alba and Rupert Everett, the Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, and models Naomi Campbell - wearing a vintage Versace gown - and Claudia Schiffer.
Exotic costumes were displayed from Versace's stage archive, as well as a new ballet wardrobe by Donatella, who became creative director of the fashion empire.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

True Religion opens new branded store in Houston

True Religion Apparel Inc announced it has opened its newest branded store at The Galleria in Houston. Located in Houston, the new True Religion store will feature 1,508 square feet of retail space and offer shoppers the entire True Religion line of clothing and accessories.
We are extremely pleased with the reception of our stores thus far, said Jeff Lubell, chief executive officer of True Religion Apparel, Inc. With seven full price stores and two outlets, we now have a greater opportunity to offer our customers the expanding line of denim, denim-related apparel and our entire collection of licensed products.
As the fourth largest mall nationwide spanning 2.4 million square feet of retail space and featuring some of the finest names in American and European retailers, The Galleria is the ideal fit for us to showcase the True Religion brand,” said Michael Buckley, president. “In addition, our retail stores are largely incremental to our wholesale business and provide us with enviable financial metrics and greater control of our growth potential
The Galleria is the southwest's premier shopping center and houses a collection of more than 375 stores and restaurants featuring retailers such as Cartier, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Nieman Marcus, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co., along with an indoor ice rink, two hotels and three office towers. Attracting more than 24 million shoppers annually, The Galleria is the preferred shopping destination of the greater Houston area as well as visitors from around the world.

Kimberly Bardill wins t-shirt design contest

After receiving more than 2,500 original entries from throughout the country, J. Jill announced the top 10 finalists in its second annual "Nature of Compassion" t-shirt design contest benefiting poor and homeless women.
Starting July 16 through July 31, 2007, the public can view the 10 designs and vote for their favorite when visiting any J. Jill store or logging.
Long known for celebrating fashion's artistic origins, J. Jill established the "Nature of Compassion" contest in 2006 as a way to showcase original works of art, pay homage to nature's ever changing beauty and help women in need through its Compassion Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Boston Foundation.
Each year, entrants are asked to submit original artwork depicting inspirational elements of nature. Here are the 10 finalists in the 2007 "Nature of Compassion" contest:

Kimberly Bardill - Wilmington, North Carolina

Susan Handly - St. Helena, California

Busha Husak - Malden, Massachusetts

Anita Gildea - Fort Wayne, Indiana

Paulina Manzo - Niskayuna, New York

Frances McCloskey - Belmar, New Jersey

Carrie Ralston - Wanaque, New Jersey

Jennifer Reagles - Middleton, Wisconsin

Toby Reed - Newton, Massachusetts

Jamie Wyant - Salem, Oregon

Once the voting is completed, J. Jill will produce a limited-edition t-shirt featuring the winning design. The long-sleeve cotton tee will retail for $24.50 and J. Jill will donate 100% of the profits to its J. Jill Compassion Fund, which supports community-based organizations helping poor and homeless women become self-sufficient.
This exclusive tee will be offered in J. Jill stores, catalog and online in November through the '07 holiday season.
The winning designer will receive an artistic getaway for herself and a friend to Artista Creative Safaris for Women in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California.

Harry Collins - Queen's new official jeweler

Harry Collins will remember July 21 forever as the day his dream came true!! This will the day when he will finally be named as official jeweler of the blue blooded Family of UK.
Collins would be taking care of and managing the crown's jewels along with Queen's personal pool of jewelry.
Harry makes his living by a family-owned antique and modern jewellery business at Tunbridge Wells, on London's outskirts. However, he would travel once a week to Buckingham Palace to have a look at the Queen's collection of priceless tiaras, necklaces and brooches, so as to recommend any further variations.
The honored jeweler had worked with the Queen for a short time as a special designer.
Insiders reveal that time for a change was felt by Royals, taking away Garrard from the age old bond.

Ansell adds PawGard gloves to Polar Bear Safety Gear line

New PawGard gloves are the latest addition to Ansell's line of Polar Bear Safety Gear. They allow workers to perform most knifehand and some offhand applications with the highest level of cut resistance in the ASTM-ISEA standard.
PawGard gloves are designed for beef, pork, poultry, seafood, vegetable and fruit processing applications. When combined with Ansell's new Sol-Vex Blu nitrile gloves, PawGard gloves complete an ensemble that is both cut and chemical resistant.
"The yarn used in PawGard gloves is made up of multiple strands of Spectra and other hi-tech fibers to a high level of cut resistance," said Bill Bennett, Business Development Manager of Food Service and Food Processing Markets at Ansell. "This glove is just the latest addition to one of the industry's most recognizable brand names for cut-resistant gloves."
The gloves feature an extended cuff for extra cut protection around the sensitive wrist area. The product is shrink resistant and equipped with Ansell's exclusive TUFF-CUFF II technology that dramatically reduces cuff blowout even after multiple bleach launderings. PawGard gloves are available in white or gray colors and range from size 6 to 10.

Perfect the art of daytime dressing and you'll stand out at the most picturesque racecourse in the country, says Hilary Alexander

Top tips: a day at the races

Last month's Royal Ascot was a case in point, as styles on display veered from the rude to the ridiculous. Some ladies wore hats clearly designed by a blind milliner; others turned up in absurd headpieces that invited derision, not admiration.
I spotted girls in flip-flops and shorts who looked as if they were on their way to the beach, and women in backless and semi-frontless dresses who could have been making their way home from a nightclub.
Finding the truly stylish was like looking for needles in the haystack-hairdos of some of the hat-less guests.
Why dressing for a day at the races should be such a nightmare is a mystery.
The next major meeting on the social calendar is Glorious Goodwood, from July 31 to August 4. Sitting atop the Sussex Downs, it is a beautiful racecourse, often described as one of the most picturesque in the world.
The white stands, tented pavilions, green lawns and beautiful views create a real feeling of being in the country, the sort of landscape that had Constable racing to capture it on canvas.
Edward VII described it as "a garden party with racing tacked on". And ever since he swapped formal morning dress for a linen suit and Panama hat, Glorious Goodwood has become synonymous with English summer fashion.
Today, this translates as pretty frocks rather than formal, tailored skirt-suits; Goodwood is dressy, but not as dressed up as Ascot.
Think tea-dresses, printed silk shifts, retro style halter-neck dresses with full skirts and floral patterned drop-waists.
Whatever style of dress you choose, make sure that it looks right for the daytime.
Goodwood is not a cocktail party, a dinner dance or a bop in a bar with a trendy DJ.
You can bare shoulders - but don't go as far as Zara Phillips did last year when she wore a tight-fitting boob-tube; have a shrug or pashmina handy in case the temperature drops, and slip a little brolly in your bag.
The crowning glory of your outfit may well be a hat, so choose it with care, taking into account our top tips from six leading milliners. And, if you plan on wearing heels, prepare to tread cautiously - the terrain and decking areas can be tricky for stilettos.
Jasper Conran "Wear your hat; don't let your hat wear you. If the hat's busy, keep the outfit simple. Don't ever do bouffant hair with a big hat. Likewise, don't ever do bouffant hair with a small hat - sleek and simple is always best."

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