Thursday, July 30, 2009

Barbara Bui, I kinda love you.

Summer dresses, it just isn't working out between us.

I used to declare myself a huge dresses fan, but I find that I can only get through the day feeling comfortable wearing some form of trousers. Ladies, you understand what I'm talking about. When we discuss the dress, we're also discussing leg waxing, proper panties selection, tanning, lotioning (shimmer for some), pedicures, underarm shaving, evening skin tone, back scrubs, working out for a summer body and strapless bras, to name a few. I've seen women go through these long beauty regimens and put on something, American Eagle dress. It's like building a beautiful million dollar home and getting IKEA furniture.

So you and I, Fashion World, we need to compromise, okay? I need something that's figure flattering, leger enough for the day, comfortable, allows me to shorten my beauty regimen list to just working out and shaving, and still have enough artistic flare for the temple that is my body.

Enter Barbara Bui. We would all love to give credit to Balmain's Mr. Christophe Decarnin when we oogle over the glitzy, sexy, Parisian rocker-chic look, but the reality is that Barbara Bui has been doing the look for years. The curse of the female fashion designer.

Barbara Bui's mastermind head is probably going something like,"Le pantalon est sexy." Her Fall collection is the one collection that pumps me up for Fall. My favorite look: a printed sheer robe with satin trims, layered over a sheer black tank, and heavily seamed leather pants. This woman is all about pants: pants with buckle straps going up the side, dip dyed pants with hip pockets, pants seamed to emanate snakeskin. The accessories are absolutely to die for as well: fringed bags, studded slouchy-heeled boots, stencil leather over leather.

Looks like I have a date lined up with her new Soho store this weekend.

All photos taken from Barbara Bui's Website

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sgt Siegel's Little Boots

Everyone knows I am a huge, huge boots fan. There's something androgynous but womanly about them that commands power and ownership when you walk. That's probably why the military has been wearing them for years, and probably why at 79 degrees girls will find any excuse to pair their floral dresses with brown fringe boots and scarves. I hate to brag, but I have worn pants tucked into combat boots several years before the Dr. Martens became such a big hit in street style blogs this summer. I, myself, have adopted a beautiful pair of black Frye engineer boots, which are great for any weather, ten times more stylish than rubber boots (and 150% more hygienic), and will look great with white dresses or harem pants for spring, and with printed leggings, a baggy knit sweater, and blazer for fall (accessorize at your own will). I'm sure these boots will be passed down to my kids.

Okay. Onto my real point. I am addicted to The Living Room in Ludlow, East Village, NYC. They have an amazing playlist of up and coming bands, and if you come in late the way I do, you get pushed to the front center seats and get a great view of the artists' accessories. Exhibit A: Leah Siegel and her Duke of Wellington leather boots with red piping, brass buttons going down the side, and a large pilgrim buckle around the ankle. Brooklyn fave Leah (who sings like a mixture of Judy Garland and Jeff Buckley) lets her music and singing take the stage, but her true accessorization expresses true taste. Especially when boots such as these aren't sold at any regular department store or clothing chain.

Yes Captain, I'm entranced.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Guys and Dolls.

Dietmar Busse's photograph collection, "Lotus Lounge", absolutely fascinates me, because it's like a cross between Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love, and Godard's Pierrot Le Fou. The models in the photos appear locked in space and time --- space, in the form of empty, white rooms with chinoserie furniture and accents; and time, in the form of exaggerated 1960s garb and excitingly bad haircuts and perms. The whole feeling is kind of fervid.

Is it just me or does the sixties-Shanghai fashion era never go out of style? Pointy blue pumps for women, pointy patent black loafers for men; black pantyhose for women, black trouser socks for men; and high hems for both genders. Some vintage looks can be recreated through a camera lens time and time again, yet constantly look new and curious.

all photos taken from

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hey Joo-d.

Even though I am a connoisseur of the color black, I don't often post several photos of friends who wear this shade in my blog.

I met Joo today, and we were both coincidentally wearing black fedoras to a picnic excursion in Brooklyn planned by our mutual friends. Joo and her friend look like a perfect buddy match in their summer versons of head-to-toe black.

I've been coveting leopard accessories, or leopard prints paired as an accent in outfits. Trust me, I've scouted the racks at second-hand store Buffalo Exchange three times, and still haven't found the perfect leopard print item. Joo wore a pair of cute leopard print shorts to offset her all-black outfit. I am also coveting the YSL Y-Mail tote she was carrying, which I spotted at Saks on the second day after I arrived in New York. Totes are the New York equivalent to gym bags in Canada --- there's no way you can get through the day without carrying a satchel big enough for your umbrella, your dayplanner, your phone, your wallet, an extra pair of flats, hand sanitizer, lotion, lipstick, sunblock, picnic blanket, fruit dip, brownies, mozarella baguettes, and a Don Cuervo. And black is chic, non?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dear God, what is the world coming to?

Spotted: Black Gucci skirt in a $5 bin outside a consignment store in East Village.

Also spotted: St. John tweed skirt. In the same bin.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vintageland - A trip to Fabulous Fanny's

I've died and gone to vintage heaven. Angelique showed me a beautiful, quirky "antique & vintage eyewear & clothing, optical oddities" store. That's a mouthful of a tagline on Fabulous Fanny's business card, but it mirrors the endlessness of treasures and glasses frames. The glasses, depending on design, vintage, brand, lens, etc., ranged from $75-$300+. They had beautiful eye mask glasses also (the only ones that were locked up in a glass case), with two noteworthy ones: one was a pair of metal frame glasses that had wires stemming from the rims to form into a large butterfly with stones, and the other was a pair of circle frame glasses studded with large glass crystals in rainbow colors. These exotic frames were a a lot more pricier at $1500+. I have my eyes on a pair of more humble, orange plastic ones that are part nerd, part sassy-cat-eye. Just like me.

After spending hours playing with different frames, we moved into the next room full of clothes, and......hats. Lots of hats for lots of occasions. All at decent prices starting at $25. Angelique tried on this floppy beautiful sun hat with silk flowers attached to the inside brim and a large navy velvet bow on the outside (above).

A small braided pillbox hat...

How about a turban?

Then we had enough, and decided that after all the trying on of hats at this milliner's haven, Angelique couldn't stop thinking about the vintage sequined cardigan.

You can check out the selection of famous funky frames at Fabulous Fanny's

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nespresso. Capsule Art Exhibit & Tasting Bar

Nespresso. Capsule Art Exhibit & Tasting Bar.
Temporary Installation by Ricardo Bellino (June 19th to July 3rd)
on 92 Prince Street - Soho

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bluesy Twing

The moment I heard the guitar chords in minor strike in sync with her raspy, 1920s showgirl-going-through-heartbreak voice, I put down my book and walked across Washington Square Park to see The Bill Murray Experience.

The lead singer, Jessy Carolina Twing, literally had all eyes on her when she was singing, and she looked just the part with her black vintage silk dress, black tights, black mary-jane heels, red lipstick, and a white trilby hat to top. She holds a silk handkerchief in her hand as a prop, sometimes wiping her teary eyes when she hits those heartstrings in her ballads.

The band, with Horatio Baltz on guitar, Jay Sanford on bass, and Hubby Jenkins on second guitar, cites Bessie Smith and the Boswell Sisters as influences (among many). Check out their MySpace.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

happy 4th of july!

It's America Day! My first America day ever. Every year Macy's throws a spectacle of a fireworks display in New York City, and this year they moved it West by the Hudson River. Normally, I talk about art and designisms on this blog, but I can't help but mention this 30-minute firework show, especially when the crowd looked like this for about twenty blocks before it started:

Of course, navigating through the sea of traffic, tourists, NYPD, and locals was well worth it. How did you spend your July 4th?

Friday, July 3, 2009

yes boy

Image from Band Weblogs

Who can possibly be cooler than Kate Moss right now, and be American at the same time? Lissy Trullie, that's who. Her androgynous garcon style has landed her a perfect little section on titled "Boy Genius", where she offers different suggestions on making menswear womenswear. After flipping through all 26 images on a lonely Friday night in the City, it is safe to say that the lowdown on Trullie's style is this: mix any masculine element with a tank top, or heels, maybe one or the other but rarely together...and throw on a dash of a motorcycle jacket for some serious rock star attitude. Her style is like Agyness Deyn without all the fussy color, or Erin Wasson without the "models only" exclusivity. Oh, and her tunes rock too.

Image from Big Hassle Media and Playlist blog

"Bold" over!

Every morning I pass by a (I'm sure what you would call positively charming) exhibit of felt heads morbidly supported by sticks, on the corner of E10th St and Broadway. Yes, that green head has eyes coming out about two feet from his sockets. "Bold as Love" is what Adam Parker Smith has named his display, complete with blood puddles, roses, and heads that weren't so lucky keeping up. There was a great appeal to the combination of materials and content here --- perhaps it suggests the juxtaposition between the muppet-like heads and the unsettling message of death, the tension between the use of grade-school felt and the trompe l'oeil realism presented.

Each head is distinct, too. I'd have to say that my favorite head has to be the guy with the pink hair. He must have been such a babe before the sorry accident.

Even the title suggests a degree of shock-value that is presented by this display on Broadway Street. I wouldn't necessarily associate death with love, but talking about death is about as bold of a topic as love, although not quite as generic. I tell myself, "That's New York City for you, Canadian girl; everything is what you expected, but taken up about ten notches. Don't stop at one head...nope. If you want a display facing one of the biggest streets leading up to Union Square from Soho, you need to do about fifteen different heads."