All posts by Joan Volpe


Before we say good bye to summer and hello to Fashion’s Night Out and Fashion Week we thought we’d give you one last look at fashion and the International Polo Club of Colts Neck. While Irene seems to have abruptly ended their season, on Sunday August 21 storming winds and rain did not stop the competition, the party, nor the parade of great looks.

Instead of a full match, Simon Garber, founder of the IPCoCN regrouped with a polo shoot out to benefit Work to Ride, a nonprofit  that provides  Philadelphia disadvantaged youngsters with constructive equine activities. What a great idea and great kids who attended.

Present once again, International Polo Star, Nacho Figueras (remember this when you see him at the Ralph Lauren Polo store on Prince St. Thurs. night) scored the first goal and posed for pictures with spectators of all ages with his wife, the model Delfina Blaquier graciously looking on.

The fashionista polo fans were out in full force in spite of the weather – maxis, midis, flirty frocks and those fabulous wedgies paraded around displaying  a wonderful casual chic, and emphasized that this definitely proved to be the Summer of the Hat.

The Garber family is expert at pulling together a crowd proving that when you’re involved with the “sport of kings” you best have a royal attitude when it comes to head gear!

HOT TOPICS INSIDER looks forward to the Summer 2012 IPCoCN Polo season.

For more information:


Simon Garber Makes Ralph Lauren’s Dream a Reality!

For those of you who think “Jersey Shore” is a synonym for leather tans, big hair, and boozy boardwalk crawling, I am happy to report that just a couple of miles west of Asbury Park, in Colts Neck, taxi titan Simon Garber, (think NY Yellow Cab, Chicago Carriage Co., New Orleans Carriage Co.) brings to life the Ralph Lauren “to the Manor Born” concept with fabulous polo matches held throughout the summer.

While the polo playing is quite serious and easily as good as one finds throughout the world, the atmosphere is relaxed chic and reminiscent of summer days in the best of toney resorts.  Just to see the tents, the comfy sofas, the champagne trays and the fabulous fashionistas strutting about in to-die-for  wedgies,  or the  fedora sporting prepsters with their RL clad kids in the latest model Bugaboo’s is such a  refreshing treat, particularly for anyone saddened by what reality TV has done to the image of the  New Jersey shore area.  Who needs the Hamptons or Palm Springs when you can have such a civilized and exhilarating experience just down the Parkway or off the Jersey Turnpike in what happens to be part of the horse capital of the U.S.   Even the tattoos are genteel, as was evidenced on the legs of an avid spectator.

Garber, a Russian-born successful American entrepreneur, has been playing polo for 15 years.  He is professionally ranked and has two polo teams which travel the world to play the most challenging opponents.  Competing with three of his sons, Shaun, Jeffrey and Tyler on the SLS JETS, the Garber family is an inter-generational polo powerhouse, and the entire family makes all who attend the matches feel welcome and special.

Through the International Polo Club of Colts Neck, Simon is sharing his passion for the “Sport of Kings” with all who appreciate the elegance and excitement of the sport and the graciousness of its lifestyle. He believes that polo is a perfect convergence of family, sport, and community.

Speaking of bringing the Ralph Lauren dream into reality, this season’s special celebrity guest polo player is Nacho Figueras. Yes! Nachos steps right out of those “Black label” ads and onto the polo field. In fact, he is an internationally ranked player, often referred to as the “David Beckham of polo” who hopes to increase awareness for the sport by his appearances in Polo brand ads and in matches, such as the one that took place in Colts Neck on Sunday, July 31.

In addition to the Garber family’s generosity in providing an opportunity to experience polo lifestyle, the International Polo Club of Colts Neck has a charity benefactor for each match, such as on July 4th when the charity tie-in was American Friends of  Sentebale Foundation and this past Sunday, Operation Smile.

For information about the International Polo Club of Colts Neck and future matches contact: or [email protected]


Tattoo WhoDoo?

While taking a shirt off my 18 month old grandson, I was amazed and amused to find a skull and crossbones tattoo decal on his arm.  He was quite proud of his “dadoo” put there by his aunt, a rather conservative woman! Back in those Mötley Crüe days when teens were sneaking off to tattoo parlors in forbidden parts of town getting itty-bitty hearts and smiley faces placed in discreet places mom wouldn’t see, this would have been unthinkable.

I used to discuss tattoos with my FMM student as a “fad.” As it turns out this could not have been a fad- it didn’t go away. In fact, there’s an entire segment of all ages, coast to coast, country to country whose bodies serve as a billboard for unbelievable complex tattoo designs. So what’s up, if it isn’t a fad and it isn’t mainstream? Plus the celeb roster now has a Celebrity Tattoo Artist category.

I asked an FIT colleague; Norma Campbell who sports an Edo inspired geisha girl on her leg that I have to admit is “to die for.” Norma says tattooing is now a recognized art form meticulously practiced by serious gifted artists who have chosen the body as their canvas. Wow!

To learn more I talked to Michele Savoia, a high profile menswear designer and custom tailor who teaches for us.  He’s a walking authority on men’s dressing, be it career or social, Michele can be trusted to give you the very best advice on what to wear from the highest brow event to an interview.  Industry gala? State Department dinner? going to Ascot? Call Michele, oh and by the way, he’s “inked” on every body part you can see and probably more places we haven’t. Michele says that not only is this an emerging art form but tattoo artists must have a fine and or graphics art background with knowledge of how to design their concepts to transfer to the human body- a shifting elastic platform. The best parlors serve as art galleries for custom design.

What about that old fear about fading and aging?

Both Norma and Michele say no fear as the ink process is so advanced with tattoos being a balance of art and science including hypoallergenic slim needles and state of the art ink that come in a wide range of colors.  The designs are very personal according to Michele.  Tattoos are a reference to one’s personal life experiences meaning “This is my story” be it Goth, tribal, old school flash, sailor Jerry or Japanese style.  Fascinating and deep.  Should Hot Topics do a series on tattoo culture-what do you think?

Oh and one other tip from Michele. He says “women go crazy for heavily tattooed men- It’s that bad boy thing!” Oo quick let me get my grandson’s shirt back on-

Michele Savoia teaches SXF 325: Men’s Image Consulting with Style