Thursday, May 31, 2012

Protective Gear

 All photos by Nikita Karizma

While harnesses and restraints hardly raise eyebrows these days, I do have a high appreciation for the ones that London based designer Nikita Karizma creates.  Not afraid to take on provocative subject matter, Nikita designed her first collection with female abuse in mind.  While the harnesses and restraints play on the idea of restriction and a lack of agency, other elements, such as protective headgear, spikes, and armor act as a form of physical protection.  Nikita even designed a rape/SOS alarm embedded in an accessory that sends a Bluetooth signal to the wearer's smartphone, which then sends an emergency messages to a family member with a GPS location of the wearer. While I sincerely hope none of us would ever have need for such a device, I wouldn't mind having such an accessory, or any of the others Nikita designed, to wear home on a long walk home late at night.


Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gimme A Beat

All photos by Molami

Headphones, in the last few years, have become a surprisingly ubiquitous accessory.  In both New York and Stockholm, many of my fellow subway companions regularly sport various shades of Urbanears (which originated in Sweden, but are so popular that they are even sold in J.Crew's children's section), or, as Christina pointed out, Beats, Dr. Dre's headphone line.  I generally prefer earbuds myself, finding headphones too clunky to carry around, and too easy to get tangled in just about everything.  Recently though, my earbuds broke, and I've been wearing a pair of Eskuches that I normally reserve for behind the DJ booth.  Now that I'm getting accustomed to them, nicer pairs are starting to catch my eye.

I first spotted Molami, yet another Swedish headphone line, at Nitty Gritty in Stockholm.  Since Sweden has pumped out an endless stream of musical talent, while simultaneously maintaining a reputation for forward thinking design, it's hardly surprising that such meticulously designed headphones would originate from the country.  Designer Maria von Euler drew upon her background in tailoring and fashion design to create luxe new headsets that incorporate leather and fabric, as well as silver or gold metallic accents.  The pleat headphones have a dynamic angular shape that flatters the face, while another model features earphones built into a soft silk headband that straps around the head.  They're beautifully crafted, easy to use, and perfectly balance form and function.  If I had a pair, I would wear them everyday---they're simply too nice to wear while hiding behind a DJ booth. 

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's All Ancient Greek To Me...

All photos by LN-CC

Practical summer sandals usually make me weep from boredom.  I've acquired my fair share of gladiators, and various other inexpensive iterations of the necessary basic, which I usually wear into the ground before unsentimentally tossing them in the garbage by the time fall rolls around.  Sometimes, it's worth paying a little more for something that you'll be spending so much time in, and this summer, I'm planning on picking up a pair of Ancient Greek Sandals.  Recently launched by former Balenciaga shoe designer, Christina Martini, the sandals are inspired by bits of Greek mythology, and are hand crafted from vegetable dyed leather.  Even though Vivienne Westwood and Jeremy Scott have both made recent versions of Hermes's winged shoes, I think that Martini's version takes the cake: simple, minimal, but winkingly cute, much like the messenger god himself.


Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Secretest Sale of Them All

Alexander McQueen Sweater, $195

I'm largely avoiding shopping, as I'm trying to save my cash rather than letting it flow freely into the depths of my already hemorrhaging  closet, but I couldn't resist sharing this sale with you all.  I don't know why it's so under the radar, but the annual Pop Shop sale run by JCP (which stands for Jewish Community Project, a pre-school, rather than J.C. Penney as you might assume), is probably one of the best kept secrets in New York.  The two week long pop-up store is comprised of designer items culled from the closets of JCP mothers, in addition to donations from designers like Lela Rose and Charlotte Ronson, and stores like Edon Manor.  The incredible selection of goods includes troves of Comme des Garcons, Lanvin, Marni, Prada, and Dries Van Noten, and is at least 70% off retail prices, and is replenished daily.  The sale is at 64 N. Moore Street, and is open from 10am-8pm every day except Saturday until May 25th.  Here's just a small sampling of what's on offer at the moment, prices will be further reduced as the sale moves along.....

Comme des Garcons jacket, $450

Marni Jacket, $350

Jil Sander leather coat

Dries Van Noten skirt

A sampling of shoes, including a furry pair of Opening Ceremony sandals for $75

Alaia ballet flats

An entire table of designer shoes from the store Edon Manor

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just Swimmingly

Chromat designer Becca McCharen with some pieces from her new swim collection

I know summer isn't officially here yet, but after coming from the not very warm Stockholm "spring" (which involved several incidents of snow), New York feels perfectly sweltering. It hit eighty degrees this past weekend, and if it's any indication that I'm turning into a Swede, eighty degrees means it's beach weather to me.  I am already fantasizing about my first weekend escape to the Rockaways, and when I make my way out there for some surf, sun, and cheap tacos, I hope to be wearing Chromat.  I've always been a big fan and supporter of Becca, who has been constructing her outlandish architectural cages for several seasons now.  I have to say, as impressive as all her previous work has been, she has really outdone herself with her newly launched swim collection, featuring very sexy, very cagey, yet totally practical suits and separates.  They're like no other swim line I've seen vefore, and they're currently only available at International Playground, and off Becca's webshop.  Prices top out at $250, which is a steal for such beautifully constructed, locally made suits.  I personally can't wait to purchase the high-waisted bikini.


Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fierce Looks From Pop Souk

Daniel Palillo dress, Iceberg vest, choker necklace courtesy of Bond Hardware, Triskaidekaphobia tooth necklace, Henrik Vibskov bag.  Photo by @nicollettenyc.

This past Saturday, Christina and I took Triskaidekaphobia and Arms and Armory down to Greenhouse for the second edition of Pop Souk, the one and only market for downtown designers and nightlife personalities. It's always exciting to see all my favorite local talents gathered up in one place, and everyone came out wearing their most outlandish attire, dressed for a night out even though it was really an afternoon in.  I only got to take a quick glimpse at all the offerings, and didn't actually buy anything since I spent most of the time in the booth with the girls, but I did manage to sneak in a manicure with Naomi Yasuda, and capture some photos of my favorite looks.

Sophia, Christina, Riza, and I at the Triskaidekaphobia and Arms and Armory booth

Becca of Chromat wearing one of her fabulous new swimsuits (more images to come!)

One of the fellows from the Asher Levine booth

One of Pam Hogg's many stretchy jumpsuits

Naomi Yasuda was on hand giving out special manicures.  Riza and I opted for the evil eye design.

Another half-man, half-monster creation from Asher Levine

Dana, one half of the design duo behind Bond Hardware, wearing an incredible ombre feather coat that she made and a necklace from her collection

The beautiful ladies from the Kathleen Marie Couture booth


Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jewel School

Kristin Hanson's Fine Jewelry School Workshop

After graduating from college, I went back to school at F.I.T. to get an Associates Degree in Jewelry Design.  While I learned a lot from the program, there's always room for improvement, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to take a sampling of one of Kristin Hanson's courses at her Fine Jewelry School in TriBeCa.  Kristin herself is an accomplished fine jeweler, who specializes in colored diamonds, and who sells her eponymous collection in her own store at 60 Reade Street.  Behind the discreet boutique lies a massive three story studio, which houses her showroom, as well as the jewelry school.

Founded in 2006, the school offers courses ranging from the fundamentals for the complete novice, to advanced workshops for professionals, as well as an intensive two year program designed to help aspiring designers launch their first collection.  The studio is lovely and spacious, yet the setting feels slightly more intimate (and well kept) than the studios at F.I.T.

For the workshop I attended, we did a basic introduction to piercing and sawing, carving out a simple flat pendant from a sheet of brass.  While I've done my fair share of sawing, it's been a longtime (lets just say it's not the most fun part of jewelry making), so it was good to get back into shape.  I was amazed by how fast Kirstin and John taught the course, and with a bit of their help, almost all of the students managed to knock out a pendant during the course time.  I will definitely consider returning to brush up on some of my bench work skills, and I highly recommend the studio for all of the untrained jewelers out there who are looking to take their work to the next level.  Here are some photos from the course, including my final piece, which took about an hour and a half to make (I'm proud to say I didn't break a single saw blade in the process).

Starfish from Kirstin's latest collection, stones, and a wax ring model.

The first step involved designing a flat shape on paper and then gluing the paper to a flat piece of brass to serve as a guide for carving out the pendant.

I designed a simple geometric shape using stencils, and made two prongs that would later be bent over and used as bales to slip chain through.

After our shapes were designed, we used jewelers saws to cut out the shapes from the metal.  Here is Kirsten herself, helping a student complete their piece.

Once the shapes were carved out, we used a metal file to smooth and file down the sharp edges. 

John, the instructor from the class, helped create the bales, and attach the chain to the pendant, before we gave the piece a quick satin finish.

My piece after the course. I might go back and cut out holes and refine the shape.

Pieces from Kirstin Hanson's Men's collection

Pieces from Kirstin Hanson's Men's collection

Stumble Upon Toolbar