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Monday, November 23, 2015

Blogger Love: More than Skin Deep


The writers in this week's round-up of Blogger Love kept fashion at the heart of their posts. However, they addressed everything from body dysmorphic disorder, parental love, exploring minimalism to stores that offer ethical fashion. Style isn't just about what looks pretty, you can love fashion for the deeper conversations they inspire:
SPONSOR: Amazon's Shopbop Keepsake, Cambridge Satchel Bags, White + Warren Wraps, Edie Parker, Georgia Alice, Recliner, Down Jackets, Scarves & Wraps, Knee High Boots, Men's Culturata

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Global Fashion Capitals Presented by FIT

Do you think that fashion lives only in Paris, New York in Milan? While many top labels choose to show in these cities, there are thriving designers and brands that have a community all over the world. The Museum at FIT recently held a symposium covering global fashion capitals powering the style industry today to accompany their recent museum exhibit.

The showpiece of the event was a runway show featuring international designers. Marina Hoermanseder of Berlin, Richard Seco of Mexico City, Lisa Folawiyo of Lagos, Arzu Kaprol of Istanbul and Lie Sangbong of Seoul showed their collections on the stage.

The symposium covered the history of immigrants who worked in fashion manufacturing to international locations that inspire trends, technology, branding and culture that moves the fashion industry to global fashion bloggers influencing today's style. Students were able to learn more about working and living in the different fashion capitals from representatives who do just that.

The exhibit itself showed notable designers represented cities throughout fashion history and the eras that each city started making a global impact in influence. Think Charles Worth putting Paris on the map as one of the first named "fashion designer" as opposed to a tailor or seamstress then Coco Chanel in the 1920s pioneering sportswear for women. There was the 1930's for New York where career wear, sportswear really flourished with 7th avenue. London captured the world's attention with punk and the youthquake movement with designers like Vivienne Westwood. The 1970's was all about Italians, the 1990's Antwerp and Tokyo.

With so many cities producing great collections, designers have more opportunities and more options than ever in where they do business. I'm seeing more designers returning to hometowns or bringing their home cultures into their brands. Wherever you find inspiration, the fashion world can follow.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Checking In to Jack Daniels Motel No. 7

jack daniels motel 7
jack daniels party

Thursday night I checked in and out of Motel No. 7 and it was the best night ever. The legendary whiskey brand of Jack Daniels transformed a warehouse space in Greenpoint Brooklyn into an epic themed party.

You start by checking into the "motel" to get your key and scan tag which is used to document your photo opportunities around the event space. There was a tiny indoor pool to the right of the retro vending machines and reception where staff provided swimsuits and towels if you wanted to take a dip.

Motel No. 7 was the celebration of Jack Daniels and Rock n' Roll

A vintage styled salon provided makeup and haircuts. Another station had artisans laser cutting the event graphics onto whiskey barrel pieces as a souvenir. You could get caricatures drawn, t-shirts printed for you, pose in the "royal suite" while taking in live performances from the band The Cloud Nothings.

The food menu consisted of old-school breakfast offerings like tator tots with bacon, mini egg sandwiches, and sausage croissants. They paired that with Jack Daniels and your choice of ginger beer, coke, iced tea, etc. I'm not sure a sommelier would approve, but I'm sure plenty of rockers do.

Speaking of rockers, the upstairs contained surprises in every motel room. It was set up like a big rock n' roll party. There was a suite lit with black light and artwork. You could dress in velvet capes, spiked collars. A makeup artist provided an evil eye look if needed and then you could do your best air-guitar performance on the curtain draped bed.

There was a Vegas-style wedding chapel, complete with hyper bridesmaids and Elvis impersonator. I was able to witness real couples getting married, officiated by none other than newly ordained minister Andrew W.K. 

There were multiple rooms with bands performing, rappers, a bachelorette party room, a lounge where they made doughnuts to order with chocolate Jack Daniels sauce and hot cider. Hubby's favorite was the big pillow fight room where the floor to ceiling was filled with pillows. The under appreciated room was the photo gallery of iconic rock n' roll images of people like Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger. Jack Daniels has been name-checked by many a rock star, this gallery was a visual representation of that.

I had so much fun. It was one of those epic nights where you just sound like Stefan from SNL when you describe it to someone unless you have photos as proof. So here are my photos as proof!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Courvoisier's Exceptional Journey- Art and Fashion

courvoisier collaboration
dascha polanco courvoisier

My favorite collaborations are the ones that bring together talents of different genres. Luxury cognac brand Courvoisier worked with Esquire Magazine on two artistic projects and presented them to a stylish crowd last night at Industria Superstudio. Celebrities Rosario Dawson and OITNB's Dascha Polanco were on hand to keep the atmosphere sultry.

The first was a collaboration with French rainjacket label K-Way and contemporary artist Jack Laroux. Laroux is known for his artwork depicting kinetic, reflective surfaces and he incorporated his pieces into two outerwear styles with the K-way design team. The simple silhouette of the hooded jacket turned out to be a great canvas for the artist's work.

French creative lab Bonsoir Paris and streetwear label En Noir by Rob Garcia came together to create a series of photograph installations that combined fashion and texture for the event.

Of course, being Courvoisier, the premium liquor was showcased nicely with two signature cocktails. I liked the Spice Station, which was a mix of Courvoisier VS, lemon, ginger and Aperol. The Exceptional Taste is for the connoisseur with Courvoisier VSOP, cherry bitters and sherry.

You can explore the behind-the-scene videos of the projects:

Whether you are a sexy actress like Rosario Dawson and Dascha Polanco, artist genius, beloved fashion label or a work of art onto yourself, Courvoisier celebrates you!
Photos by Mariana Leung


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Byron Lars Spring 2016

byron lars white dress

Designer Byron Lars took a different approach for his spring 2016 fashion presentation. Instead an impersonal runway show, he opted for a very intimate gathering with select bloggers to share his collection. 
Proving his clothes look great on ALL women, his small squad of models included women of different sizes, ethnicities, and ages. The fans who were wearing his work in attendance also represented the above.

Media figure Teri Agins and author of Hijacking the Runway hosted a conversation with Byron Lars to discuss his inspiration behind spring 2016. This season it was a mix of textures that included power mesh, laser cut fringe, lace, ultra suede and brocade. Silhouettes had its roots in classic Haute Couture like Dior's New Look. Unique details included stamped brass insects and birds. Agins pointed out the interior details of Byron Lars pieces that most people don't see, like horsehair lining the hems to create a flared shape, built up collars or surprise linings that are removable. Those details are often my favorite part of his clothing. I swear some of Byron Lars dresses practically stand up on their own.

byron lars ss16
3D printed details, laser-cut fringe
I helped work on the introduction of his newest details. These were space age inspired silicone appliques (I think he wished I hadn't after the first few rounds). They were a labor of love that ranged from 3D rendering, printing, molds and many other steps. In the end, the result looked fantastic.

There were cheers when he announced he was launching the plus size division of his label. Full figured model Liris Crosse modeled a stunning white sheath with lace and sequin embroidery. She explained that she loved the dress because of all the internal structure to support her curves. She appreciated the design because it was very rare to see dresses for the plus sized fashion range created with so many details and thought (we all know the shapeless tunics other brands produce). Lars had always wanted to extend his size range (it currently goes to size 12) to serve more of his fans. He admitted he took it to heart when he put out a social media post as a fan of Jill Scott and someone responded that if he was a fan, why wouldn't he make clothes that would fit someone like her?

He is committing himself to really perfecting the fit and consulting with women in the size range to put out something worthy of the full figured customer. Byron Lars understands that you can't just size up a smaller size to serve the curves, so he will be developing his pieces specifically for this size range, fit with plus sized models.

If you are looking for truly special fashion pieces for spring 2016 you can collect, I can't think of better work than that of designer Byron Lars. 
Photos by Mariana Leung

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fashion and Virtue - Print and Embroidery Inspiration at the Met

print revolution fashion
vintage embroidery samplers
Is bring properly embellished close to Godliness? In Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, producers of books and art of the 1500's to 1600's wanted you to believe so. Being a virtuoso at your craft, whether it be needlepoint, printing, sewing, was akin to being virtuous.

The current exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art explores the connection of print patterns, embroidery and its influence on fashion. Prior to the 1500s, fashion for anyone outside of the aristocrats was pretty limited to plain, basic function. The technology of print really did revolutionize fashion for the masses. For the first time, fabrics could be printed with pretty motifs, echoing the trends of wealthier classes. Prior to that, only a select few could afford hand-made embroidered clothing. In the pre-Pinterest days, the samplers of stitches or embroidery layouts offered inspiration to those who aspired to make DIY finery for themselves.

It is quite a marketing trick to inspire homemakers to work hard at a skill (and sell product) by aligning their crafts with their church. The exhibit features printing tools like carved woodblocks. There were printed needlepoint patterns where you could see the needle punched holes to transfer the designs onto fabric. There were lots of illustration plates showing detailed crochet and embroidery designs as well as the finished product. You could see a lot of nature-inspired and religious motifs in the mix. These collections of textile patterns for fashion were the Vogue Magazine of Rennaissance times.

At the end of the exhibit, there were pretty examples of both historical costume and contemporary fashion designers who produced clothing with these techniques. French linen lace tunics, Mexican embroidered ponchos, Iranian silk slippers and Russian apron dresses that looked in sync with the 90's Todd Oldham slip dress.  While the textile and print books were mainly from Rennaissance Germany and Italy, you can see how much they resemble the techniques of other cultures in embroidery and color.

Can you achieve virtue being a master of DIY? Well, there are enough current magazines and Youtube stars that will tell you it does.  Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution will be at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until January 10, 2015.
Photos by Mariana Leung
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