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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dance & Fashion at the Museum at FIT

dance fashion FIT

Looking for fashion inspiration over the holiday weekend? The Museum at FIT currently has the Dance & Fashion Exhibit going on. If you were remotely moved by the ballet trend of recent years post Black Swan, or gave an exaggerated pose in slinky disco-inspired knits, this show is for you.

The first section you encounter is a collection of extraordinary ballet costumes from the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Artisans made amazing creations inspired by the fantasy aesthetics of exotic cultures. The Ballets Russes and its “Orientalism” aesthetic in turn inspired many fashion designers like Paul Poiret and Yves Saint Laurent.

Balenciaga was famously inspired by Spanish Flamenco dance. Following in his footsteps were designers like Elsa Schiaparelli and Oscar de la Renta.

The collaboration of fashion designer and dancer has a longtime history. In modern dance, Halston is often associated with the body conscious look of Martha Graham’s dance company. The looks then spilled over into high fashion and street wear. Stephen Burrows capture the disco era with dance-friendly knits. Alvin Ailey has often taken street culture and street fashion as muse in their productions.
dance costume ballet fashion

Designers Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, Prabal Gurung, Giles Mendel and Olivier Theyskens have all designed for the New York City Ballet. In turn, their costume director Marc Happel has paid tribute to designers like Christian Dior and Balenciaga in his own work for the New York City Ballet. The designers behind Rodarte were well publicized for their contributions to the Darren Aronofsky film Black Swan in 2010, and tulle and ballet flats hit the streets in the seasons that followed.

The exhibit paired the punishing structure of Anna Pavlova's ballet pointe shoes alongside extreme styles from Christian Louboutin and Noritaka Tatehana that were inspired by them.
Designers’ fascination with dance is so strong that many have featured the dancers themselves on their runway, like Zang Toi’s Ballerina Babes collection and Rick Owen’s spring 2014 show featuring African American stepdancers (watch it, it's fierce).

A good fashion designer makes clothing that is comfortable, functional and beautiful. Dressing a dancer is the ultimate challenge to test those skills. Maybe all designers need to ask their fit models to bust a move. The streets are today’s runway. The runway is a stage. Maybe if all the world's a stage, all the men and women merely dancers.

Dance & Fashion at the Museum at FIT runs until January 3, 2015.
photos by Mariana Leung
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Monday, November 24, 2014

EasyThanksgiving Decor & DIY Foodie gifts

ny botanical gardens party

 Are you getting your waistbands ready for Thanksgiving? Whatever your plans are, you probably don’t have time for intricate décor or homemade DIY hostess gifts. That doesn’t mean you can’t pull off a DIY rustic chic theme for the holiday.

I was positively spoiled at a recent luncheon hosted by Top Chef’s Gail Simmons and Camille Styles with Pure Leaf Iced Tea. The event was held in a gorgeous stone cottage at the New York Botanical Gardens. These modern domestic Goddesses don’t have time for lengthy projects either and showed guests easy tips for the holiday.

Witty, warm Gail Simmons led us through the easiest DIY gourmet gift ever. Tea pickled radishes was delicious with the shaved vegetable salad at lunch, the pickling juice was used as a base for a flavorful dressing. If you have a mandolin to slice the radishes, it is SUPER quick. You can even make this gift while your significant is getting dressed for dinner (see recipe below).

mariana leung

Camille Style’s décor tips were also easy.  For a quick, woodsy place card, Camille just uses a gel or metallic pen and writes guest’s names on a leaf.

For an elaborate centerpiece, find some kind of vase/urn/amphora. Then arrange some kale and fall vegetables on top. After Thanksgiving, just eat the veggies!

If you are stuck with the Turkey, you can also make a dried orange garland.  Just cut large oranges into ½” thick slices. Bake the slices for about 6-12 hours (overnight) in a 200 degree oven. When the slices are dry, string right through the center of the slices (there should be a natural hole). Then just drape the garland along your table, windowsills, wherever. 
DIY fall wedding

Shaved Fall Vegetable Salad with Tea-Pickled Radishes
By Gail Simmons
Serves 4

FOR THE TEA-PICKLED RADISHES:
1 cup Pure Leaf Sweet Tea, warmed but not boiling
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup apple cider vinegar
8 small radishes, thinly sliced or 4 large watermelon radishes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Instructions: In a medium bowl, combine the tea with the salt; stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar along with the radishes, garlic and peppercorns. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight. Drain the pickled radishes, reserving ¼ cup of pickling liquid for use in vinaigrette. Set aside.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blogger Love: Fix The Internet

lalam1120

Sure, none of us can unsee the madness that Kim Kardashian launched on the Internet... but we can certainly get on with our lives. Especially since the holidays are in full swing and, quite honestly, we're busy! Do you want to try the turtleneck thing? Are you gearing up for January resolutions by figuring out what you want out of life? Or do you just want to get out of town for a day? Whatever it is... enough with breaking the internet... let's get to fixing up our lives.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Gift Guide Pick: Etienne Aigner Stag Bags


If you are ever stumped on what to give the most fashionable person in your life, the no-fail gift is always a handbag. If you don’t know her style or her favorite designer, the Etienne Aigner Stag Bag covers all the bases.

If your recipient of honor is a practical gal, the collection is offered in two sizes. The bigger one is a great carry-all size, the smaller accommodates the necessities. They have double zip closures and card holders.

Realistically? That’s not why you are buying this bag. The true fashionista is well beyond such practical details. She knows quality Italian leather. If she is a diva, she would be drawn to the brightly colored striped snakeskin styles. If she is classically elegant, she will love the luxurious untreated vachetta leather edition.  If she is a red carpet regular, the metallic leather is gorgeous in front of the papparazzi.  Most styles retail under $500.

The Etienne Aigner brand has its roots in Haute Couture. The man himself started created high end leather goods after the Second World War. He apprenticed at the House of Christian Dior and Christobal Balenciaga. Today, creative director Daniela Bardazzi created the Stag Bag as a tribute to the Etienne Aigner camera bag her father-in-law carried in the 1970’s.   


Women love their purses. As a gift, you will not have to worry about fit and a trendsetter knows how to build her outfit around her favorite accessory. The bonus gift? Knowing she will have the compliments and envy of everyone around her.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Etienne Aigner. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Etienne Aigner.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

J. Mendel Spring 2015 Collaboration with Enoc Perez

j mendel dress
j mendel enoc perez
The most iconic fashion designers in history are the ones that collaborate with fine artists. Gilles Mendel and artist Enoc Perez showed a distinct partnership on the runway for the J. Mendel spring 2015 collection.

The pair joins the ranks of artist/fashion design pairs like Salvador Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli. The clothing on the catwalk was a wearable interpretation of Enoc Perez’s architecture renderings.  His signature cross-hatched paintings were printed on dresses.  There were highly textured woven/embroidered pieces that expressed the pattern.  Even the luxurious furs that are a J. Mendel staple had elements of Perez architecture. 

Less obvious were the flowing, light dresses that floated beautifully when the models walked.  Some of the simple color blocking or solid colored frocks might have taken the spirit of Enoc Perez’s Shapes artwork. 

The handbags were chic, squared off and stylish. Aside from the colors, they shape or finish didn't correspond to the collection and artist inspiration. 

As Gilles Mendel worked with Perez to collaborate on a collection in tribute to his work, the artist in turn created a book of collages as homage to Mendel’s work. With some fashion collections inspired by an artist, the effect is often great for editorial, or even gimmicky.  However this collection was thoroughly wearable and flattering, regardless of if the customer was aware of the muse or not.  With all of the mass market “collaborations” with designers that water down their aesthetic, I love seeing a true creative collaboration that elevates the work of both parties.
photos by Mariana Leung, artwork by Enoc Perez
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Street Style Meets Street Art in NYC

msfabulous mcqueen dress

I came to New York to go to design school.The city offers endless inspiration with its NYC street art making everything around you an urban gallery. The colors and textures of the murals act as a frame for the style and fashion on the sidewalks.  When Perrier asked me to share the work that I love, I jumped at the chance.

My favorite mural in the city has to be the Eduardo Kobra work in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. I love strolling south along the elevated Highline Park and seeing the bright colors of his second story window unveiled through the trees. It is a romantic piece, his rendition of the famous Times Square photograph of the VJ Day kiss. 

chelsea mural graffiti

In a city of such great work, the walls act as a frame for the pavement runway. The galleries in Chelsea continuously churn out fashionable people who stride from side to side to admire the next artistic genius. I wanted to pay tribute to the psychedelic color palette of this Brazilian artist when I climbed down off the Highline to pose in front of the street level mural of vintage cars and pedestrians. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but Kobra was one of the artists chosen by Perrier to redesign their bottle and label. He helped bring the spirit of graffiti and a Technicolor touch to their new campaign. Perrier was clearly as inspired by his work as I was. 

I see how the super bright colors of Eduardo Kobra art merge seamlessly into the dark industrial edges of New York. The fashion industry is often chided for our love of the color black as a uniform.  Seeing Kobra’s work showed me how to style the most exaggerated of hues with my staple noir wardrobe.  In this world, everything else is the new black.

This post is sponsored by Perrier® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in celebration of its new limited Street Art® edition. This limited edition packaging is a collaboration between Perrier and three of the world’s influential street artists: JonOne, Sasu and Kobra. To see the full line of collectible designs and learn more about this exciting debut, visit www.SocietePerrier.com/StreetArtbyPerrier  and join the conversation with #StreetArtByPerrier
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Perrier via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Perrier.
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