Friday, July 30, 2010

Nail Nonsense

Tiny monster nails inspired by Sophy Robson's nail art, which I found on Is Mental.

Ever since I got my 3-D acrylic nail extensions done at The Valley, my nails have been in pretty messed up shape, and I've had to wear nail polish to cover up all the unsightly damage. Of course, after my Japanese style manicure, I couldn't go back to a simple coat of polish, so I've been trying my hand at doing my own 2-D nail art at home. There are hundreds of websites, blogs, and You Tube videos devoted to nail art, so it's pretty easy to find inspiration. I'm still working on painting with my left hand, but I bought a Sally Hansen Nail Art pen in black, and they're super easy to use--I definitely want to buy a few more colors. Here are a few of the manicure's I've tried this past month.

Tiger stripes. I used the Sally Hansen nail art pen to draw the stripes on top of a coat of lilac American Apparel nail polish.

Strawberry nails for the Forth of July! I didn't actually paint these--they're kid's press-on nails by Lip Smackers that I picked up for a couple of bucks at Target. There's also a watermelon set in the kit, that I haven't worn yet. The only problem is that they fall off pretty quickly, and won't last more than a day unless you put a more serious adhesive on the back.


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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Bad iPhone Photo Post

Ashish ice cream cone dress! Gosh my mirror's dirty...

So, on Monday I got my new (hand-me down) computer from my brother, which is a big relief. Unfortunately, I also managed to delete the entire contents of my iPhone, including my address book, which is a huge nightmare. I know all bloggers are supposed to be technologically savvy, but I'm pretty incompetent for the most part. I used to be really computer geeky back in the six grade, but then technology sort of whirred by while I failed to progress to a much higher skill level. So my dear friends, please email/text me your phone numbers--that is, unless you don't want me bothering you anymore! Anyway, I did manage to upload all my iPhone photos before the iPhone sync fiasco, so here are some blurry photos that pretty much sum up the last six months.

Water Taxi Beach on Governors Island. We went to see the free Morning Benders concert, which was heavenly.

Jacob of The Drums reading a corrections letter he mailed to NME after they misquoted him in an interview blahblahblah.

Jimmy's ridiculous meat dinner at Balthazar. Unbelievably, he managed to finish it all. Gross.

My chocolate mouse dessert at La Bergamote.

This coin-operated giant mechanical brain ride was on sale at the Housing Works Thrift Shop near my house. It opens up in the center, and is big enough to fit a child or two inside, but I don't know exactly what happens once you get in. Someone actually bought this thing as soon as it arrived.

Snowmanicide (see snowman with stake through its heart, center) at Madison Square Park after the blizzard.

Marina Abramovic and at the MoMA. I went to see her sit three times.

The Kentucky Derby and Southern finery

The giant mechanical dragon at Wicked. I normally loathe musicals (they give me second hand embarrassment, along with all those dancing shows that Christina loves), but this one was pretty good.

One of the many desserts at my cousin Serena's wedding. Check out her food blog here.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bright Young Things Style Challenge

Bright Young Things LBD worn with my own Comme des Garcons skirt, vintage Turban, Slow and Steady Wins the Race sunglasses, and vintage heels, bag, lace top, and belt from Cobblestones. All photos from You Bright Young Things.

Last week, I was asked to participate in the Bright Young Things Style Challenge, along with several other local bloggers. Designer Eliza Starbuck original created the super-versatile Little Black Dress fom The Uniform Project, in collaboration with blogger Sheena Matheiken. Sheena wore the dress for one full year, styled many different ways, in order to raise money to pay for the educational expenses of children living in the slums of India. Sheena has thus far raised over $100,000 for The Akanksha Foundation, and the dress itself has already been snatched up by hundreds of women worldwide. Basically, it's the hardest working LBD on the market.

We were assigned the challenge of styling the dress to reflect our own personal style, using items from our own personal wardrobes, as well as clothes from East Village vintage store, Cobblestones. I had a great time putting together these two outfits, and hanging out at the store with all the gorgeous ladies from the Bright Young Things crew. Cobblestones has been an East Village must-stop vintage destination for thirty years (!!!) now, and I was overwhelmed by the treasure trove of goodies to chose from. You can spend an eternity looking through the store, and even after two hours of rummaging, I had barely scratched the surface. It was also fun running into some of my fellow bloggers--Pamela of Market Publique is always a sweetheart. Make sure to check out the rest of the style challengers here, and vote for all of us on the Bright Young Things Facebook page by "liking" your favorite style!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that by voting, you are automatically entered into the Voter's Dress Drawing to win a Bright Young Things LBD of your own! Voting ends at midnight on August 1st!

These gold vintage heels from the 40's were so comfortable!

My second look, aside from my Slow and Steady Wins the Race sunglasses, was entirely put together from the vintage available at Cobblestones.


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Monday, July 26, 2010

Stockholm Shopping Guide

PUB shopping center in Stockholm

My friend Maddy just landed in Stockholm (she's married to one of my Swedish besties, Anton), and she asked me for suggestions for good places to shop. I won't be heading to Stockholm till next month, but here is a list of my favorite places, which might be slightly outdated since last year (I know one of my favorites, Black Market, has since closed). Feel free to add any other suggestions that I might have missed!

I always do most of my shopping in this three-story shopping mall, which carries almost every single amazing Swedish brand on the market, including Carin Wester, Rodebjer, Minimarket, Fith Avenue Shoe Repair, Nakkna, and Diana Orving. It's pretty much one-stop Scandinavian designer shopping, and if you only have time to hit up one store while you're in Stockholm, this is probably your best bet.

Jus- Another favorite, which serves as a showroom as well as a store. The store is on a hilly street, so the shop is a bit slanted, and I actually almost slipped down the sloping interior on a wet snowy day which was quite embarrassing, but it's one of the most beautifully built stores in Stockholm. They represent and carry Diana Orving, Pour, and Burfitt, and the sales staff is super attentive and friendly.

- One of the best shops on Soder. They also have a very strong lineup of Swedish designers, including Ann-Sofie Back, Camilla Norrback, David & Martin, Dagmar, Rodebjer, Nakkna, Hope, and Velour.

Tjallamalla- Honestly I've never bought anything at this store because the merchandising is too confusing for me. I think it's organized by color, so all of the designers are mixed in with the vintage clothing that they also carry. Nonetheless, there are some hard-to-find designers in the mix, including Noir et Blanc and Ida Sjostedt, and their buying is very similar to Pixie Market in New York.

Monki- Cheap Monday's little sister line, which is always cute and always very affordable. I usually spend hours in the dressing room trying everything on, and never leave without buying something. I really hope they open a store in New York someday!

Weekday Store
- I'm sad that they don't carry outside designers anymore, but I still love the Cheap Monday line, and their excellent designer collaborations. They also have a vintage store on the bottom floor. I hope they still have the Laura Mackness collaboration when I get there!

Nathalie Schuterman- The best place to get designer clothing in Stockholm, although the markup is pretty ridiculous. They carry Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Chloe, Lanvin etcetera. Nothing you can't get in New York, but during sale season (usually 30-70% off), the prices are very reasonable.

Nitty Gritty- My friend Erik is part of the menswear buying team, and their selection of men's clothes is excellent. I think they're still building up their women's department, but I look forward to seeing what they have when I get back to Stockholm.

Below Outlet
- The only place in Stockholm for sample sales that I know of. They have different sample sales every weekend from Stockholm-based designers, but I think they're currently closed for summer. Hoping that they open up again by the time I get there--I've sent multiple email requests for them to ship overseas, to no avail (note to self: get a life).

Judits Second Hand- Probably the best place for used and vintage clothing, even if it's a tad bit pricier than the other vintage shops in the city. I've found plenty of early Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair there, and they always have a nice selection of vintage.

Beyond Retro-
Strictly vintage with decent prices. It reminds me of Screaming Mimi's.

One final note: it's worth stopping by the stand-up shops of Acne, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, Carin Wester, Rodebjer, and Nakkna which carry their full collections.


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Friday, July 23, 2010

Jersey Girl

Demon Babies tee courtesy of Blood is the New Black, American Apparel bra, Ostwald Helgason x ASOS leggings, Alexander Wang shoes and sunglasses, Antti Asplund cross necklaces, Miu Miu bracelet, Triskaidekaphobia ring.

I'm sure you're already familiar with Blood is the New Black. If, for some reason, you don't recognize the name, I'm certain that you've at least seen the work. In music videos, at concerts, riding the L train. These are just a few places where I've spotted the t-shirts in the last few days alone. Basically, the ubiquitous t-shirt line is all around you, even if you aren't aware of it. And why not? Everyone loves a tee, and in the height of sticky, humid, New York City summer (it's been topping 90 on a very regular basis this month---whywhywhy), who can be bothered with putting on much more than sweat-absorbing, machine-washable jersey?

What make Blood is the New Black different from your average t-shirt line is that rather than obscuring the artist behind the graphics, the company seeks to showcase emerging talent, with the end goal of promoting their careers and introducing their work to a wider audience. Artists in the current lineup include Brian Lichtenberg, Skye Parrot, Keren Richter and Kime Buzzelli, and you can browse the website by the designer. And since they're tees, everything on the site is super-affordable (around $10-$40).

Last week, they offered to send me over a few tees, and after going through the hundreds of designs and styles available, I chose out a couple of designs from Demonbabies and Sumi Ink Club. I immediately put on the Demonbabies Hex Mex tank that I got, and I can already tell it's going to be a summer staple. I love all the evil eyes and the pair of hands, and the whole design reminds me of Rasputin, who will always fascinate me as one of history's biggest creepos. Anyway, here's a peek at some of the other current designs from the Blood is the New Black Summer 2010 lookbook.

Anybody else love this iconic image from The Night Porter?


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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inside Norisol Ferrari's Studio

Norisol in her studio

A few weeks ago, I received an email with some images of gorgeous looking leather jackets and coats from a designer named Norisol Ferrari. If you haven't noticed, black clothes tend to photograph terribly, and design details flatten together into indistinct and nondescript mess. I had a feeling I had to see the clothing in person, and immediately accepted Norisol's offer for an up close look at her work. I stopped by yesterday for a whirlwind tour of her studio, which in itself was a sight to behold, and Norisol was gracious enough to model nearly every piece in her collection for me in spite of the sweltering heat.

Seeing the clothing in person fully allowed me to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of Norisol's work. Each piece is handmade in New York's Garment District, and has a long leather tag inside inscribed with the signature of every single person who had a hand in making the garment. To give you a sense of the work involved, the tag I saw appeared to have over twenty names written on it, since each person specializes in their skill, whether it's putting in the pockets or constructing the lining. Norisol fully believes in supporting the few remaining skilled craftspeople in the district, since industry has shifted increasingly overseas, and this kind of leather work is sadly becoming a dying trade in New York.

While Norisol's designs have a distinct rocker aesthetic, and has attracted fans like Lenny Kravitz and Sean Lennon, she believes in prioritizing function, and then building her designs around suiting the wearer's needs. First and foremost, all of her jackets are constructed to endure a nuclear winter, with each of her leather pieces lined in a thick layer of cashmere, which is then covered in silk. Each coat has plenty of pockets, allowing the wearer to leave their bag at home. One mutton-sleeved leather jacket is even fully reversible, allowing the wearer to sport the cashmere interior for business meetings, should they come up.

A born and bred New Yorker like myself, Norisol has the no-nonsense attitude of someone who always knows exactly what she wants. She started her career at just thirteen, lying about her age to land her first fashion industry internship. While most of her work experience came from working in sales and in showrooms, she taught herself how to design along the way. She therefore doesn't create her collection under the usual model, and even though she designs a new collection every season, she sees her pieces as timeless, and produces them in a limited edition of twelve, continuing to make them until they are all sold out.

Naturally, with such a labor intense construction process, and such luxe materials, the Norisol Ferrari line sits at a very high price point, and is currently available by appointment only at her studio. It will also be arriving exclusively at Maxfield's in Los Angeles this fall. Even though the pieces are out of my budget, they're definitely worth saving up for...

Norisol models the Victory jacket

Another shot of Victory

Norisol models the Alvarez, a goat hair vest with a sheared mink lining

The Alvarez collar can be worn up around your ears, or down

Norisol's desk, brimming with feathers, and two of her hats

A top hat from Norisol's accessories collection

The Marlene long jacket and the Wray jacket, with more hats from Norisol's accessories collection

Norisol's mantle is filled with antiques and curio

The Amelia tailcoat

The Dawn hooded coat


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let's Make Up!

Christina and I at the DJ booth. We wore our Six Six Sick ribbon shirts, Forever 21 boater hats, and Triskaidekaphobia friendship necklaces. All photos courtesy of Urban Outfitters.

Last Thursday night, Christina and I had the pleasure of DJing the Let's Make Up event at Urban Outfitters, celebrating the launch of their massive new beauty department. Anna Sui, Lipstick Queen, Revolution in Cut, Manic Panic, Demeter Perfume, and Stila were all on hand to give free demonstrations, mini-makeovers, manicures, and blowouts. We were busy behind the DJ booth, so unfortunately we couldn't participate much in all the beautifying, although we managed to sneak in a makeover at the Anna Sui booth. Still, plenty of other ladies showed up and got in line for a turn with the stylists, and there was a huge line at the manicure station, where they weren't just painting nails, but creating some serious nail art. At the end of the night, everyone got goodybags stuffed with amazing makeup, including Demeter perfume, Pop nail polish, Nyx glitter eyeshadow, Manic Panic hair dye, Japonesque make-up brushes, and plenty of other goodies. Afterwards, we headed over to The Ace Hotel for drinks and snacks with the entire crew. A big thank you to all the lovely ladies at Urban, who made the night so much fun!

The fabulous ladies of Manic Panic

The phenomenal and super-sweet manicurist Tracylee did the manicures and nail art.

The ladies at the Anna Sui booth doing mini-makeovers

The awesome goodybag

There was tons of candy and Izze drinks

The Anna Sui booth--they always make the best make-up.


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Monday, July 19, 2010

Ukranian Moment

After a visit to the annual Siren Music Festival in Coney Island on Saturday, Jimmy and I took a stroll over to Brighton Beach to visit Cafe Glechik. The small Ukrainian restaurant may be out of the way, but has received rave reviews, and even a visit from Anthony Bourdain. I went there in search of pelmeni, the tiny ravioli-style meat dumplings that have been a favorite food of mine since I was a child. After a full meal of green borscht, pickled vegetables, herring, and plenty of pelmeni (I even bought a frozen bag to go), we stumbled home, and curiously I found an email in my inbox with the subject "Ukrainian designer." Apparently the Ukraine has a lot more to offer than delicious food.

X'U is a label designed by Ksenia Marchenko, who started the company in 2004, and designs the line with minimalist silhouettes and precise tailoring. While the styling of the lookbook and runway show seems a bit understated, the photographs I received in the email revealed eye-catching pieces and accessories, all of which look fun, slightly eclectic, but totally wearable. It's always exciting to see what's going on in places that are off-the-fashion-map, and I really look forward to seeing what else comes out of the former U.S.S.R.


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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Old Good Things

Fuchsia tiptoe low shoes. All photos from Lauro Righi.

If you are, like I am, a big fan of vintage shoes, but slightly squeamish about stepping into somebody else's used pair, then you might want to take a peek at Lauro Righi. The Etsy shop is run by sisters Andrea and Anita Righi, daughters of an accomplished Italian shoe designer who worked for the likes of Sergio Rossi and Casadei back in the day. The pair recently unearthed their father's original prototypes from his eponymous line, with samples from the 60's to the 80's, running the gamut from dainty 80's lace-up ballet flats to seriously 70's wooden mules. Each pair was individually handcrafted, and have never been worn. The prices are reasonable, starting at $40 for a pair of pumps, and the company is currently offering a 10% discount to everyone who becomes one of their Facebook fans. The only drawback is that since they are samples, they only come in small sizes--5.5 and 6.5. Ladies with tiny feet, get on it--once they're sold, they're gone forever!

Blue suede ballet flats

Python Wedges

Black suede pumps

Suede low boots

Beige suede ballet flats

Blue low boots


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