Pelush: Join The Refauxlution

(This article first appeared in the June 28, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


Recently featuring some faux fur coats at Southampton Animal Shelter’s Catwalk for Canines, Anna Tagliabue is the future of fashion. Launched in February of 2014, Pelush NYC is a PETA-approved vegan, 100-percent cruelty free line of faux fur designs.

“I wanted to give the best possible alternative to real fur, to reposition and transform the way people think about [it],” Tagliabue said. “There is nothing that is really truly luxury faux fur.”

Milan native Tagliabue is seasoned in the industry after eight years at Fendi in sales and then 13 years at Prada on Madison Avenue as a personal shopper. Upon entrance into the luxury style industry she envisioned a world of ethically produced and wearable lines.

“It’s something that was implanted in me while I was working at Fendi,” she explained. Back then no such profound technology existed, but times have changed. The sheen, luster, softness, and appearance of animal-free textiles has become so advanced that it’s increasingly difficult to note a difference. “It’s amazing what we can reproduce now.”

Diamonds, fast cars, big houses, and expensive leather or fur coats come to mind when the word “luxury” is considered. But all of these things come at a price much higher than the tag listed: the exploitation of communities and countries that produce these products. Yet, because the product is deemed exclusive or high-end, society turns a blind eye.

“Luxury is pain, so why not feel luxurious while representing the good? The integrity of the brand is very important,” Tagliabue proclaimed.

Pelush is much more than a faux fur line, it’s the new definition of luxury and arguably the best-kept secret in Manhattan (until now).

“I try to give the best possible answer to real fur, by creating a product that is extremely luxurious, extremely glamorous, one of a kind.” Her goal is to recreate an emotion, answering the question “What does a woman feel in real fur?”

Each style is dedicated to the people, or pets, closest to her, many of which are inspired by the women of her family growing up in Milan and Portofino.

My look at the Catwalk for Canines was the Lilly coat, named after her recently deceased cat. With each unique name and design, every individual piece represents a part of Tagliabue.

She has high hopes for the future. She dreams of creating a foundation to help endangered animals. Through education and awareness, actively on the social media accounts, Pelush is a brand of forward thinking and education.

Join in the #ReFAUXlution, or learn about cruelty-free fashion, by visiting

Hilaria Baldwin: Illuminating a Pathway for Wellness

(This article first appeared in the June 21, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


Hilaria Thomas Baldwin is a supermom of three, wife of SNL’s undoubtedly favorite Trump impersonator, Alec Baldwin, and career woman taking over the wellness industry in full force.

Her Instagram account reaches over 250,000 people, each family photo somehow more adorable than the last (what can we say, she has some cute kids!). But being a mom is much more than what’s perceived on the outside. Rather, like beauty, raising happy and healthy children is about what’s inside.

“I’m very careful not to talk about weight issues with my children,” Baldwin explains. “I don’t feel like that’s appropriate at this age. I talk about being strong, and your hair growing long, being able to run really fast, sleeping well, and being in a good mood.”

Her attitude and lifestyle are what make this woman a perfect fit for this year’s Illumination Award at the Wellness Foundation’s 6th annual summer benefit being held Saturday. She co-founded Yoga Vida, a yoga studio located in Manhattan and Brooklyn and wrote The Living Clearly Method, accomplishments worthy of the Illumination Award, which is given to those lighting the wellness pathway for others.

“It’s such an incredible foundation. It’s right up my alley. Bringing awareness to health and health with children. I’m extremely honored that they thought of me,” Baldwin said.

The Wellness Foundation is dedicated to empowering children and adults with the tools needed to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Their programs are guided by scientific information to optimize nutrition, exercise and stress management.

“We love to go to Mary’s Marvelous and get the little carrot muffin,” Baldwin admitted. “I look at their entire day and I think where are we going to have the treat portion. It’s not ‘oh, here’s a lollipop.’ Because what does that do to their body in terms of their behavior? And how does that affect my life later?”

Aside from Mary’s, Baldwin and her family can be seen frequenting Provisions in Sag Harbor or the Second Nature markets in East Hampton and Southampton. Like the Wellness Foundation, she aims to cut time out of her day to help educate not only herself, but her children, about the importance of health.

“People have the best intentions … it comes from exhaustion and lack of education,” Baldwin offered, theorizing why some people don’t adopt healthy habits.

Education comes from all sorts of outlets, thanks to social media. As an expert in the field, Baldwin is proud to see the continued presence of healthy lifestyle motivation on Instagram but is weary on self-proclaimed gurus.

“It’s really about changing the world … being an influencer on Instagram is very much trying to pull people up and creating a community,” she said. “I would always tell my students ‘My job is to have you outgrow me so you won’t need me anymore.'”

Baldwin takes part in what she calls “sound moments,” anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes to do squats, walk around, anything to keep herself moving. Staying active for several moments throughout the day can sometimes be better than a single energy burst after hours of staying sedentary.

“I can’t create time … but I can teach you how to be active while doing your day,” she explained. During the telephone interview, she confessed to walking back and forth just to keep in motion.

Culinary Power Couple Leads ‘A Hamptons Happening’

(This article first appeared in the July 6, 2016 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


The twelfth annual “A Hamptons Happening” will take place Saturday at the home of Maria and Kenneth Fishel in Bridgehampton. This year celebrates the 40th anniversary of the founding of The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Center. Honorees include American television chef and author Sandra Lee, founder and owner of Surf Lodge Montauk Jayma Cardoso and CEO of Lafayette 148 New York Deirdre Quinn. In addition, the event will honor lead chef couple Fernanda Capobianco and François Payard.


Brazilian native, Fernanda Capobianco previously managed and owned The Payard Restaurant and Pastry shops in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before developing all-natural, organic recipes with the freshest ingredients for her own desserts and sandwiches. Having lost her dad to diabetes at a young age, she understood the American health crisis. Upon her move to New York in 2009 she became a board member of the New York Coalition of Healthy School Foods.


Capobianco affirmed that “Vegan or not, everyone will opt for healthier options in the near future,” as she founded the Vegan Divas baked goods and dessert brand in 2012. Her products are currently sold throughout the U.S. with a flagship location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In addition to her successful health conscious products, Capobianco launched her book The Vegan Divas Cookbook in 2014 and has monthly columns in Isweet Magazine and Organic Spa Magazine.


Her husband, François Payard is a third generation pastry chef from France who moved to New York in 1990 upon taking his first position at the three Michelin starred restaurant Le Bernardin. Years later, in 2009, the François Chocolate Bar opened in New York City. It has been described as “a chocolate jewelry shop.” In 2010 the causal bakery, FPB (François Payard Bakery), opened on West Houston Street in downtown New York City.


The year of 2012 proved to be a very successful year for Payard with two additional openings of FPB, a patisserie at the Plaza Hotel in the Todd English Food Hall and his first flagship store on the Upper East Side. In addition to his culinary success, Payard is the author of popular cookbooks Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining, Simply Sensational Desserts, Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone, Payard Desserts, and Payard Cookies.


This year at “A Hamptons Happening” guests can expect a sweet surprise from Payard. He’ll be sharing his Parisian macarons and limited edition chocolate collection, which is 70% Dark Chocolate called “Gran Cru” from the company Valrhona, located in the small French village of Tain L’Hermitage.


When he comes out to the East End, Payard goes straight to the market stands to gather vegetables and fruit, quality that far surpasses that of any grocery store in the city. And, of course, he likes to pick up some wine from the local vineyards. “I really love a deep red wine with dinner or a white wine to go with a summer fish.”


As a culinary power couple there are bound to be some differences between Fernanda and Francois, especially with such individual cooking styles. Payard explains, “We like to eat healthy — regardless of the occasion! Fernanda’s vegan and not a sweet eater. I’ll whip up some fresh grilled vegetables and she’s happy.”


As for the outlook of the culinary arts for the upcoming years, Payard predicts more locavore and farm to table cooking. “A move towards a healthier lifestyle where we create great flavor combinations without compromising the freshness of the ingredients. Simplicity is key.”