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The Advocates: Velvet Mafia


The season's blazer of choice is all about sensational sheen

Unless you're a college professor, a frayed corduroy blazer probably won't help your chances for a little action under the mistletoe at upcoming holiday parties. This year, opt for something more festive, without swerving into garish holiday sweater territory. Velvet blazers may bring to mind Oscar Wilde, who famously paired his dinner jackets with ruffled shirts and silk ascots. But the modern-day dandy is more likely to style the piece with a pair of tapered trousers and a solid, button-front shirt, tucked in at the waist with the collar undone (exposed chest hair a bonus). Dolce & Gabbana made the velvet jacket the centerpiece of its fall-winter 2010 runway collection (above right, $2,120), while superb versions in saturated, royal colors are available from Lanvin and Burberry Prorsum. At $398, this red number from Marc by Marc Jacobs is one of the less stratospheric of the season's stellar designer options, while J. Crew and Anna Sui offer up their own seasonal velvet delights for the ladies.

Trend Tip: The Ubertrench
If you're off to see a matinee of Le Nozze di Figaro this winter, there are plenty of operatic topcoats to consider. (Yes, we all love the puffy jacket -- but save it for skiing or barhopping.) New York menswear designer Tim Hamilton has an artful trench in a gray-and-black floral tapestry (right), while Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci sent out a wide-lapel black wool cape perfectly suited for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom. Even the minimalist Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein has a drama coat in a silvery metallic for the urban aesthete.

Style Icon: Bryanboy
Marc Jacobs named a handbag after him. Fendi styled an advertising campaign in homage, and Dolce & Gabbana sandwiched him between editors from Vogue and Vanity Fair in the front row at its spring-summer 2010 fashion show in Milan -- two seats away from Ms. Wintour herself. Meet Bryanboy, the rail-thin gay Filipino whose eponymous blog,, has made him one of fashion's rising young stars -- less for his writing prowess, perhaps, and more for his sartorial persona. Bryanboy's style is anchored in a mishmash of accessories -- delicate handbags and furs juxtaposed with chic costume jewelry. Not easy to emulate. But perhaps that's not the point. It's simply more fun seeing him "werq it" in a mink coat, a white fedora...and a Mickey Mouse T-shirt.

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Alex Galan