By Marni Prichard Manko
Gala season is in full swing— and everybody who’s anybody is headed to the King of Prussia Mall’s new wing for looks from Carolina Herrera, Jimmy Choo, and beyond.
The King of Prussia Mall expansion of epic proportions is sending aftershocks straight up the New Jersey Turnpike to Madison Avenue. With 155,000 square feet of new space, 50 new dining and retail concepts— including more than 20 new luxury brands from CH Carolina Herrera and Jimmy Choo to Diane von Furstenberg and Rag & Bone—and luxe extras like a digital-friendly valet, it’s gone from merely the biggest mall on the East Coast to a truly unrivaled shopping experience. “You no longer have to head to New York to find real luxury designers,” says local celebrity stylist Jen Abrams. “So many more designers will be carrying exclusives that Philly never used to get. Plus, these luxury designers are keeping track—like they do in New York and LA—of what local celebs, socialites, and high-profile women are choosing for the galas so there is less room for error like, for example, two women showing up in the same gown.” For those who want to standout in KOP’s best brands—both new and old—consider this your fashion field guide.
While a gown can make the woman, the shoe can make the biggest statement. Loved by the likes of Kate Winslet, Princess Kate,and Angelina Jolie, Jimmy Choo is where women in the know go for soirée- worthy shoes, like the classic Romy pointy-toe pump or the six-inch Pearl 45 gold-shimmer platform sandals. Stuart Weitzman is also joining the fashion fray with his second Philly store. His simple, chic Nudist sandal has been spotted on every red carpet on the planet; they’ll make a strong showing on local ones this September.
In a sea of fashion designers, none is as synonymous with gorgeous, one-of-a-kind gowns as Carolina Herrera. While you can always find classic Carolina Herrera gowns at department stores, the CH Carolina Herrera boutique has more accessibleready-to-wear options. Her fall collection shines in jewel-tone colors from deep red to emerald green, among the hottest hues for fall, says Nancy Amoroso, the stylist responsible for the looks behind many Philebrities. For those who prefer more tailored looks, try “tuxedo silhouettes in tone-on- tone brocades and jewel tones or Illusion layering, with tulle silhouettes that appeal to all body types,” she says.
Neiman Marcus is a one- stop shop for all of your gala gear, and the jewelry department is a fantastic resource for all things on-trend and sparkly. Chokers in metal, velvet, and pearls are perfect to pair with a strapless gown–look for standouts by Alexis Bittar and Brunello Cucinelli. Tassels are everywhere, from a Lulu Frost glass pearl tassel necklace to shoulder-skimming beaded earrings from Oscar de la Renta.
To add oomph, bejewel your hair with a Swarovski crystal-encrusted barrette from Jennifer Behr. Betsy Hummel, president of the Friends of Rittenhouse Square and a frequent gala chair, is a Neiman’s loyalist. “I’ve used Janet Blessing in the couture department for years. I tell her what event I have and she has everything for me when I get there,” she says. Elsewhere, Cartier and Hearts on Fire boast some of the world’s most coveted jewels.
With its aversion to logos and its meticulous attention to detail, Bottega Veneta offers some of the most sublime clutches around.
The Knot clutch is iconic for its simplicity, but new colorations and a version with multicolor butterflies and black studs provide fresh life for this gala season. The Oro Bruciato Intrecco is made with gold metallic strands and finished with a hand- painted burnt gold. Luxury leather goods brand MCM, also setting up shop in KOP’s new wing, has more than just its trade- mark totes and backpacks: Gala glam can found among the clutch selection, accented with gold hardware, metal studs, and even jewels.