Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby: My Winter Inspiration Board

Winter always gets me down, but no matter how bad it is, I always remind myself it's much worse in Scandinavia, where I spend my last Christmas with Jimmy's family. For the two weeks I was in Stockholm, there were five hours of "daylight" during which I never actually saw the sun. Still, those Swedes know how to layer up, and when I recently found these beautiful photographs from two photoshoots shot by photographer Eugenio Recuenco, in what I'm pretty sure is Iceland (based on the outer-space like background, as well as the Icelandic flag flying in some of the photographs), I decided that they were the perfect inspiration to get me in the mood for this weather. All the soft knitted layers, heaps of fur, and winter whites (!!!) of the first photoshoot, combined with the super structured silhouettes of the second photoshoot, will act as the perfect basis for my winter look: Tilda Swinton's White Witch. I don't know if I liked the Chronicles of Narnia movie because it was my favorite book as a child, or if it was because William Moseley looks shockingly like my husband, or if it was simply because of Swinton's completely McQueen like costuming. Anyhow, I love the way white pops out from the sea of dark colors you see all winter long, and I plan on donning my cream colored Marc Jacobs coat with my white fur hat and my fox fur stole almost every day.

Recuenco's photographs also reminded me of two videos made by an old friend and former flame of mine, Bardi Johannsson of Bang Gang. The Bang Gang videos also are shot in Iceland's scenic naturescapes, and have the same foggy, dreamlike, Lynchian feel as the photographs. The first video, "Stop In The Name of Love," is an oldie, and the second video,"I Know You Sleep," is from Bang Gang's recently released third album, Ghosts From The Past. Both feature girls running through the not-so-warm looking woods and tundras in skimpy white dresses, set to awesome music naturally.

Cozy knitted layers. Photo by Eugenio Recuenco.

Loads of fur pelts. Photo by Eugenio Recuenco.

Architectural cuts. Photo by Eugenio Recuenco.

Winter whites. Photo by Eugenio Recuenco.

Tilda Swinton as The White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

"Stop In The Name of Love" Bang Gang

"I Know You Sleep" Bang Gang

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

On My Ultimate Christmas Wishlist...

The out-of-print JAR hardcover book and slipcase, which is currently selling on eBay for upwards of $3,000.

Jewelry design geeks and luxury enthusiasts alike are probably already familiar with the cult jewelry designer JAR, née Joel Arthur Rosenthal, whose exclusive atelier in Paris produces only 70-80 individually crafted pieces a year, usually designed with a particular client in mind.  To a passing eye, the jewelry may appear fusty and old fashioned, but to any trained jeweler, and the eye of a connoisseur, there is a breathtaking sense of unbelievable craftsmanship and creative ingenuity within the medium.  As one of my jewelry professors said, "they look like they've been made by fairies," and JAR has been called the Fabergé of our time.  Rarely do you see many fine jewelry designers experimenting with such incredibly precious jewels as a costume designer might.  JAR is one of a handful of jewelers who will irreverently flip a diamond upside down and set it with the pointy side up.  

Typical of his notorious inaccessibility, JAR is almost impossible to find information on, and naturally a google search of the broad sounding "JAR jewelry" will turn up a confusing assortment of unrelated junk (hence all of the crappy images, which really don't do justice to the work).  Without visiting his store, his book is the only place to really view the breadth and splendor of his work, which is probably why it has become so sought after amongst designers and collectors.  I once got a chance to look through the out-of-print JAR Paris coffee table book, that one of my classmates managed to get ahold of for around $800, a complete bargain considering that they currently sell anywhere from $2,500-$3,500.  Even if JAR's style is very different from mine, one day I hope to save up enough money to purchase this book, featuring the work of one of the greatest jewelry designers alive.

A plate of an enameled zebra head broach with pave diamond feathers from the JAR book.

One of Rosenthal's thread rings, formed of platinum "threads" set with pave diamonds that wrap around a 10.12 carat mine-cut diamond.  The ring, estimated at $250,000-$350,000 is from a selection of jewelry that Ellen Barkin auctioned off at Christies in 2006.

A pair of floral broaches set with diamonds, sapphires, tourmaline, citrine, and garnet.


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Friday, November 28, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving Gratitudes

Wearing my new Marc Jacobs wool coat with a vintage raccoon fur stole.

In the tradition of the lovely amazing Ginny Branch, I thought that this would be the appropriate time to list a few things I'm thankful for.

1. My husband Jimmy, who makes me a 4-star restaurant quality meal almost every night of the week, and wowed my entire extended family at Thanksgiving Dinner (even though he's a Swede!) with his pasta in gorgonzola cheese and portobello mushroom sauce.

2. Getting together with all my family and cousins to play Rock Band at least a couple of times a year.  I'm starting to get pretty decent on the guitars and drums...

3.  Being so lucky that my two best friends, Christina and Nicollette, just turned out to be the best business partners.  Sharp, creative, resourceful, and still the craziest party girls in Manhattan. We get shit done, girls!

4. My new warm coat---I've been wearing it without a sweater or any layers, and I'm downright hot walking around outside.  I think I will be well prepared for winter.

5. Getting to meet and work with Ron and Laurie from Broadway East, restoring my faith that there are good people in the nightlife industry.  We can't wait to work with them again during the Screaming Mimi's 30th Anniversary Party!

6. Reading this hilarious article in the New York Times today about Scandinavia's loss of sex appeal, while simultaneously hearing my cousin tell me about the randy young Danish exchange students who came to the high school she works at as a librarian, who apparently performed strip-teases in the cafeteria and were scolded for undressing in the middle of a Broadway play.

7. All the cute kids who come out every week to all of our parties---We love you, and we wouldn't be anything without you.

8. Getting to eat leftovers tomorrow!

My Thanksgiving outfit of choice: Catherine Malandrino studded gold leather skirt, Brighdie camisole, Forever 21 Lace cardigan, YSL platform shoes, Urban Outfitter two-tone tights, necklace of my own design, Gerard Yosca bracelet.


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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Seven's Deadly Scents

The entire Six Scents Set.

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by Seven, to take a peek at the wares, and sniff the new scents that they recently released in collaboration with six of their designers: Jeremy Scott, Preen, Gareth Pugh, Alexandre Herchcovitch, Bernard Willhelm, and Cosmic Wonder Light Source. After my recent experience trying out Boudicca's foray into perfume, Wode, I was looking forward to see what other cult designers had to offer. After a round of sniffing, I found myself particularly enamoured with Preen's clean, crisp "Teen Spirit." The idea was to capture the scent of an English Garden after the rain, without being too sweet, and I think they managed to nail it, without smelling like a fusty air freshener or your granny's underwear closet. Whether or not they managed to capture the teenage rebellion associated with the grunge anthem of the same name is debatable, but it definitely has earned a space on my ever-growing holiday wishlist.

Other highlights of the collection are Jeremy Scott's "Illicit Sex", which is as sultry and sexually charged as the name implies, and Alexandre Herchcovitch's "Urban Tropicalia" which is as bold and colorful feeling (if you think of it in a very synesthetic way) as his designs. The perfumes, which cost $85 each, or $450 for the entire series of six, has the added bonus of benefiting DIFFA- Design Industries Foundations Fight A.I.D.S., and is available online via the Seven Website.

The trippy box for Gareth Pugh's "Diagonal" Perfume.
The box for Cosmic Wonder Light Source's "The Spirit of the Wood" Perfume


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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Everybody's Talking About Joseph Altuzarra

Joseph and I at his studio with his dog, Bean. I'm wearing one of his Santiago Calatrava inspired tops.

I've had to wait a few months to publish this post, since Vogue had an exclusive, but now that the article is out in this month's issue, I feel like it is a good time to belatedly fete Joseph Altuzarra, one of my oldest friends in the fashion industry. I first met Joseph when we were naive undergraduates at Swarthmore College, which is known for its rigorous liberal arts curriculum and high academic standards. It most definitely is not known for producing fashionable, or even fashion interested students, and the only famous person within the industry to have graduated from Swarthmore is the Editor in Chief of the decidedly unglamorous Glamour Magazine, Cindy Leive. In fact, Swarthmore is so anti-fashion, that an editor from Women's Wear Daily came and interviewed Joseph and I, questioning us on what it was like to be fashionable in such a decidedly unfashionable setting. The end result, which I have buried somewhere, is one of our first and silliest press clippings, a picture of us together in the back of WWD striking our best blase looking (but still unperfected) fashion poses.

Of course, that was way before we were thrust into the Devil Wears Prada world, where attitude is usually inversely proportionate to intelligence, and inhumanly bitchy bosses run more rampant than the talent they allegedly promote. Many a tear has since been shed on both sides, but thankfully over the years we've both learned enough of the ins and outs of the industry to avoid nasty work environments, and Joseph has definitely learned to thrive amongst the cutthroat competition.

Which brings us to now. Joseph, at the age of 25, is launching his first Women's RTW line. After some intensive stints at Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, and most recently, designing under Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy, Joseph's amazing technical skills and enormous creative talent have finally come to fruition under his own name. Already, is hailing him as the "New Boy Wonder," and he will be selling his Spring 09 collection at Barneys New York, Ikram, and London's Dover Street Market. Not bad for a first season. I got to preview his collection months ago at his apartment/studio, and try on some of the super flattering, body conscious clothing. Here are the pictures from my visit...
The original sketch of the top that I'm wearing, showing the intricacy of the folding and construction.

A python-piping story.

A close up of the impeccably tailored python piped peplum.

A vest in the most beautiful shades of purple.

A model on a go-see wearing one of the perfect little black dresses from the collection.

Julia Restoin-Roitfeld wearing in the same black dress with a pair of YSL tributes out on the town.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Please Don't Tell: Alexander Wang Fall 08 Sample Sale

I know we've been talking way too much about shopping lately, but it's hard not to, when there are so many massive sales going on.  Anyway, I still think you will appreciate some advanced notice on the Alexander Wang Sample Sale, which is coming up in a little over two weeks.  It makes me feel a lot better about not splurging on heavily discounted CDG and Junya at the Saks sale yesterday.  I'm already compiling my wish list of items, remembering how wallet friendly the sale was last season.  Hopefully I'll find a way to finagle a way into the Private Sale.


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Marc Jacobs Madness

Marc Jacobs Coat, Cheap Monday pants, Lanvin boots, and H&M circle scarf.

The Sale: Marc Jacobs Fall 08 RTW and shoes are currently marked down 70%.  163 Mercer St.  11-7pm. Ongoing.
The Strategy: Hurry over now.  There is still plenty of merchandise in stock, even if shoes might be a bit picked over, and the collection is full of warm sweaters and coats, just in time for winter. Plus, it's not crowded at all, and the sales people are very attentive.  The only other sale going on at the moment that is as steep as this one is at Saks, where almost all merch is 70% off, but when we stopped by yesterday, it was a bit of a madhouse, and most of the stuff was disappearing quickly.
The Stuff: I've been looking for a truly warm winter jacket for awhile, without having to resort to buying a hideous Patagonia sleeping bag style coat, which most New Yorkers seem to wear in the coldest darkest months.  I decided to make a very practical buy, and pick up this cream colored cocoon shaped wool coat, not only because I love the style and the cut, but because it's super thick and warm, and feels like you're wrapping a giant duvet around your body.  It was originally $2,200, reduced to $660, which is still steep, but it's an early Christmas present that I know I'll use all winter.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Jewel Tones and Sequins

Wearing a Moschino jacket, a vintage dress, Prada paillette slingbacks, American Apparel purple tights, and Gerard Yosca jewelry.

So today I stopped by the new Miu Miu store on 57th Street, to visit Justin, who's been busy for the past month helping set up the unbelievable space, and to look at all the fine goods that the people of Prada have to offer.  First off, everyone should know that almost all Fall 08 merchandise is on sale now for 40-50% off, including handbags.  The entire top floor is full of great merchandise, including luxurious leather puffer jackets, sequined cage dresses, and plaid bloomer shorts.  I'm crossing my fingers that it will go down a little more, and that maybe I will get a chance to pick up a bag.  In the meantime though, I just spent a lot of money on a Marc Jacobs coat (the store is 70% off, but more about that later), so I have to be a little more thrifty.

While I was there, I also got to take a look at the super hot jewel-toned Resort collection that Christina scanned in a couple of days ago, and even got to go into the back room and get a preview of Spring 09 (scans of the lookbook are on the way!).  Anyway, since I can't have any Miu Miu right now, I opted to wear something with a similar color palette, along with a pair of my Prada paillette heels.


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DIY Update

We started by making a pattern for a simple Aline dress, and then cut out where we wanted the color blocking to be. We cut the pattern the in our desired colors and left the front seam open for the zipper. This is a fun pattern because you can cut the color blocks any way your want. I initially wanted the blocking to be in the shape of a woman's profile, but time didn't allow for it. After all, I do wake up on party days with the pressure of " Three looks by midnight"! We finished the look with highlighter tights and YSL wedges.

These are a few Miu Miu Looks that we loosely based our dresses on.


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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bow Crazy

Maybe I'm a bit slow, but I hadn't heard of the designer Alexis Mabille until the Colette x Gap pop-up store came to Manhattan, introducing a bevy of young independent designers, some with familiar names, others completely new to my ears.  Mabille's grey felted bow bag caught my eye, but by the time I made it to the completely mobbed and way over-hyped shoebox of a store, there was no sign of it in sight.  I recently did get around to finding his website and browsing through his ready to wear collection, and was overwhelmed by the plethora of bows that were used on bags, collars, and headbands to accessorize the runway show.

While the bags might look similar to the box shaped bow adorned clutches that Prada made for Fall 07, call me crazy, but I like Mabille's cartoon style take better.  I love the mammoth sizing, the soft and semi-sloppy slouchiness, the play of scale, and the whimsical choice of colors and fabrics, which seem to lie in contrast to the more serious and structured Prada version.

Alexis Mabille's collection is available at Colette in Paris, in the store and online.  It's still pretty pricey, but if I can't manage to save up for a bow bag, don't be surprised if you see a bunch of bow inspired outfits in the near future.  Speaking of which, pictures of our Rodarte inspired outfits from last night will be coming soon...

The grey wool felt bow bag that was sold at the Colette x Gap popup store in Manhattan a couple of months ago.

Bow bags of every size, shape, and color.

Bows for boys!  These little sequined bow-ties remind me of the dinky black ones we got from the Halloween Store for our Fosse-inspired night last year.  Somehow they look better when you stack three of them on top of each other and stick them on a male model.

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Keep It Like A Secret: Melissa Shoes Samples Sale

I know this a little far in advance, but after all the excitement generated after our visit to the Melissa Shoes Showroom, I thought I would give everyone a little early notice on the upcoming Sample Sale.  I'm hoping to get some of the Vivienne Westwood shoes that we previewed in the showroom, as well as some of their super-comfortable flats (perhaps the famous plastic brogues?), that are suitable for all weather.  The shoes are always very reasonably priced, but it will be nice to get them at an extra discount.  For a preview go to the Melissa Plastic Dreams website.


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Friday, November 21, 2008

An Ode to Wode

So, today I finally got to try on the seemingly mythical new Boudicca scent, Wode, which is looks like a can of spraypaint, and is colored an indigo blue that stains your clothing and skin momentarily, before disappearing without a trace.  I've been reading about the perfume in the press for months now, and was convinced that it was unavailable stateside, until I stumbled upon it at one of my favorite Lower East Side boutiques, Project No. 8, which also carries the Boudicca ready to wear line.  Before I even smelled the scent, I loved the idea of spraying the perfume on like warpaint, in the style of the line's namesake warrior queen, as well as the sleek silver spraycan packaging, complete with an engraved name tag.  Even though I don't own a single item of Boudicca clothing, I've always admired their designs, as well as their seductively idea-rich mission statement.

Now that I've tried the scent, which is meant to be unisex, and smells somewhat woodsy, musky, and soapy at the same time, I feel like it is on the borderline of being too masculine for my taste, since I'm a big fan of super feminine scents (I wear Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb, Burberry Brit, and Theirry Mugler's Angel in heavy rotation).  Nonetheless, it would be a tempting purchase for Jimmy, if he would ever wear it (he wouldn't), or even just to sneak attack him in the middle of the night, which would probably be much more amusing...

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Inspiration To Keep Me Going...

To keep our fingers twitching with inspiration during our 3-outfits-in-3-days Rodarte inspired challenge, I've posted some amazing close up shots of the original collection from Playlust. We're trying to knit up something similar for the Eske Kath Afterparty we will be hosting this Saturday, and given that the task at hand is a lot more challenging than the ones we usually take up, we've started early, using Christina's knitting circles. Christina is incredibly dexterous and finds them super easy to use, while I prefer the feel and rhythm of real needles, which I've switched over to, even if they move more slowly. The key to the Rodarte knit pattern isn't being a good knitter, on the contrary, it's being a bad one: dropping stitches, randomly interchanging the knit and the purl stitch without rhyme or reason, and changing yarn without any particular pattern, creating the perfectly haphazard web that has garnered praise from Fashion Editors all over.  We will see what the result is, hopefully enough to cover our bodies...


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sample Sale Insanity

The Surface 2 Air dress that I'm hoping will be at the sample sale this Friday

So, there's not so much time to post, since Christina and I are busy knitting up some Rodarte style outfits for this Saturday's Event at Broadway East (see the flier in the previous post), but in the few free moments I have, we've been hitting up all the sample sales that have been starting extra early this season due to the seemingly endless economic downturn.  Here is the scoop so far, for those of you in the New York area:

The Sale: Acne/Filippa K/Nudie Jeans through Thursday, November 20th, 11am—8pm. 33 W 26th St between Broadway and Sixth Aves.
The Strategy: There's plenty of stock, but it's still priced pretty high.  $100 for a pair of jeans, $100-$150 for a dress, and around $200-$300 for their sample shoes and boots, making it a little more than 50% off retail.  Maybe it will go down tomorrow...
The Stuff: I was slightly tempted by a ribboned bustier top that looked a lot like the pieces I saw in the Steinunn SS09 show, but it seemed like a frivolous buy, and I left empty handed since the entire sale it didn't seem like much of a steal to me.

The Sale: Martin Margiela and Sophia Kokosalaki through Thursday, November 20th. 10am—7pm. 220 W 19th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 11th floor
The Strategy: Again, there's plenty of stock, but it only seems marked down around 60%.  I actually saw pieces from the SS08 collection that I had bought for half of the sales price many months ago, so I was pretty disappointed to see that the in store markdowns were significantly better than the sample sale.  Hopefully it will be marked down more tomorrow, but don't expect a fire sale.
The Stuff: Once again, I left emptyhanded, even though I was tempted to buy one of their puffy leather handbags ($300) or the giant rectangular shaped pillow soft mufflers ($200), while everything else remained out of my price range.  Still, Madeleine got a really beautiful grey wool coat from MM6 for around $280, and a teal sweater dress that will be perfect for winter.

The Sale: Surface to Air from Friday to Thursday, November 21st, 12pm-7pm. 5 Crosby Street Suite 6D
The Strategy: I will probably go early in the hopes of getting a few items that I already have had in mind all season, and which I'm praying will make an appearance at the sale.
The Stuff: I'm hoping to pick up one of their graphic silk dresses, and maybe a bag and some Christmas presents.  They will have men's and women's  samples from current and past seasons, jewelry and handbags.


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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Vintage Six Six Sick: A shot of Feng Feng and Christina from Summer 2007

So my husband and I are secretly obsessed with the U.K.---but for completely different reasons. For Jimmy it is about football culture, mods, Paul Weller, The Jam, This Is England, Beatles vs. Stones, The Kinks, Paul Smith, fish and chips, and mushy peas. I like all those things too, but for me, it's more about Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Philip Treacy, Louise Goldin, Kabiri, Radiohead, Hot Chip, Isabel Blow, Daphne Guinness, Topshop, high tea, Susie Bubble, Kingdom of Style, fried candy bars, and most recently,

I happed upon Kajsa Hentschel's site during one of my procrastinatory vaunts through cyberspace, and immediately was captivated by her images of fashion-forward London kids out and and about. I usually don't look at party photos from other cities since most of the fun lies in looking at pictures of people you know making fools of themselves, but the photos on Glamcanyon are beyond party photos. Kajsa has an eye for catching the most captivating characters, during the day and the night, with a innate sense of light, color, and composition, which she seems miraculously able to access on the fly.

Even though I only discovered her website recently, as luck would have it, it turns out that Kajsa has made her way stateside, and even came and shot photos at Six Six Sick last year. Alas, I was living in Stockholm at the time, so I missed the chance to meet her, but Christina claims that Kajsa not only took the best pictures of her and Feng Feng that anyone has ever taken, but was also supremely sweet on top of that. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

Halloween in London---I think I know a lot of kids who would like to look like this every day of the week.

This killer headpiece will definitely serve as inspiration for the next crown I make.

I just love this photograph, with the stark contrast of flaming red tinsel that you can practically touch on luminous white skin, against a pitch black background.

I believe that Susie Bubble had this Dover Street Market shopgirl do an outfit diary for her a few months ago.

Finally, another vintage Six Six Sick shot of Christina and Feng Feng from Summer 2007, wearing a new-rave little Indian look.


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Monday, November 17, 2008

This Saturday November 22nd at Broadway East

Here is the flier for the Afterparty we're hosting for Eske Kath's opening at LaViola Bank Gallery this Saturday, November 22nd. Oh Land will perform, and two of our favorite downtown DJs, Jeremy Grandpa and J.R. will spin the music for a marathon set. The exhibition is sponsored by the Consulate General of Denmark, and for those of you with a secret (or not so secret, in my case) Scandinavian fetish, now is your chance to O.D. on contemporary Danish art and culture. I hope you can make it!

We've already posted most of the information in a previous entry this week, but I thought I would put up some more pictures of Nanna from Oh Land, wearing costumes that she made for her various performances---truly a girl after our own heart!


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