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Monday, June 18, 2018

Jazz Age Lawn Party Style 2018

flapper style fashion
jazz age lawn party 2018
It's the Bees Knees baby! I danced the day away at the Jazz Age Lawn Party this weekend at Governor's Island. It was a celebration of all things of the 1920s in the spirit of a Great Gatsby party, flapper style, and jazz. I love that New York comes out in full for an event like this. The full lawn was covered in elaborate picnic set-ups of fans fully dressed for the period. I love that I saw lots of children to lots of seniors from every ethnic group embracing the music and culture of this era. 
jazz dancing charleston
There were lots of beautiful beaded and fringe flapper dresses as you would expect. Due to the warm weather, vintage 1920s style swimwear was a big hit for both men and women as well. I saw more gender fluidity where there were women who embraced the male collegiate looks with other men or more casual suspenders and men's tailoring for a dapper look. Daywear fashion and nautical looks also made the cut.
phonograph dj
Charleston lessons were taught at the beginning, leading to a Charleston competition later in the day. Vintage cars were on display as well as vintage fashion vendors. There was a booth from the Penumbra foundation, making old-style tintype portraits using original techniques involving varnish, silver and bunsen burners.
Music was the driving force behind the event produced by Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra. The awesome vocals of Queen Esther kept everyone dancing. I really love that there was a Gramophone DJ spinning on original machines in between live music.
How lovely is spending a summer day on an island dressed up in some glamor? The bright sun brought out lots of handheld fans and beautifully crocheted parasols, pagoda umbrellas and paper parasols as well.
I missed the Coney Island Mermaid Parade also happening on the same day. My subway car was full of fish people and flappers! How amazing is New York City that there are enough fans of both eclectic events to populate them with crowds on the same day? How great is it that I actually have to choose which one to go to?
I call this a summer crowd-sourced vintage show. You can indulge in retro-themed cocktails while you dance the day away. They do this again in August! Come and show me your best moves at the next Jazz Age Lawn Party baby!
Photos by Mariana Leung

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Living Fashion in Ocean's 8

mariana leung oceans 8
Ocean's 8 is arguably the most fashion movie of the year. One of the first set-piece scenes is of a retro-styled fashion show at the glorious landmark of JFK Airport's legendary TWA terminal. (Yep,  that's me in the bottom left corner with my camera, essentially playing myself in this scene.) The "designer" is an eccentric, overworked Helena Bonham Carter (can anyone relate?). The big heist revolves around jewelry, and it all goes down at the Met Gala, while everyone looks impeccable in gowns doing it. This is a great movie that illustrates how the choices of a costume designer help craft the character.

The diverse group of women teaming up to pull off the heist represents all types of personal style. Cate Blanchett's Lou has a masculine rock-star swagger to her that is downright sexy. Rihanna's chill street style for her character 8-Ball represents her pride in culture, comfortable in her confidence. Awkwafina's street style tells you her character is street smart and city savvy. Sandra Bullock's Debbie Ocean has a tailored, professional look, coolly disguising her criminal intent, knowing people generally believe what they see. Mindy Kaling's character wears outfits that hint at the character's Indian heritage, but the more fashionable, modern look shows she is the new generation. Sarah Paulson's uptight housewife garb is part of why she succeeds in being a con artist under the nose of her husband and community. She looks the part, so people rarely question who someone is beyond that physical impression.
Anne Hathaway's hilarious self-conscious celebrity performance was enhanced by Ocean's 8 costume designer Sarah Edwards' choices. She wore carefully chosen outfits that she was not clearly comfortable in, like a celebrity relying too much on a stylish to craft a fabricated image. Carter's fashion designer character was supposed to be an aging icon, who was no longer cutting edge, looking to update her status with a celebrity affiliation. Dressing Hathaway in bright pink in a gown with an older silhouette and pattern with an oversized diamond necklace was the perfect picture of a look she wore for the sake of other people's agenda.
The Met Gala itself. I have only been to the exhibit previews, so I don't know how accurate the depiction was in the movie. The staging of the exhibit was not unrealistic. There is some dramatic flair to many of the shows. The broad theme and how the looks relate to them. I suppose Anna Wintour or Andrew Bolton had to have been consulted. Ms. Wintour would have to give her blessing for her character to be portrayed in the film. You see the signature hair bob and tweed jacket at least.
Was the execution of the heist believable? Well, not exactly. There is no reason that every single suspect needed to parade herself down the famous Met Gala red carpet in front of paparazzi when police are looking for them. Does anyone care? No, it was just an opportunity to see our favorite stars cleaned up and sparkly. That was the point of the movie right?
I hope there is an Ocean's 8.2 very soon! (And bring me back!)


Monday, June 11, 2018

Zang Toi Fall 2018 - Roman Holiday

Happy birthday to the extraordinary talent that is Zang Toi. His Fall 2018 NY Fashion week collection brought us on a romantic journey to Rome.
His color palette this season was a mix of rich red, orange, pink and black. The florals evoking the sunny Mediterranean regions of Italy with the elegance of its capital city.
Think of the classic movie star glamor Anita Ekberg dancing around the Trevi Fountain or Sophia Loren's sultry looks. While the silhouettes took inspiration from retro fashion styles of this era, they were executed in luxury fabrics of today.
Rich silks are painstakingly embroidered with delicate blooms. Delicate handmade flowers were appliqued onto the body or assembled into glorious caps. A subtle ombre stripe cape in pink cashmere perfectly complemented a gorgeous floral print.
This isn't a collection for casual day-to-day. This is what you wear to that once-in-a-lifetime opera gala that you will attend or perform in.
That's how I think of Zang Toi's fashion shows at NY Fashion Week. As I cover fewer collections at NYFW, I only attend the ones that are special to me. Toi puts so much detail into his shows, from the clothes, model casting, and direction, lighting and collaboration with the photographers to gifts for his guests that everyone present feels it is a special treat to be there. My colleagues, both in editorial and photographers feel the same way, with fashion week completely fragmented, this show is where we all plan our schedules around to reunite.
Bravo and have the most wonderful birthday Zang Toi!
zang toi fall 2018 photos by mariana leung


Friday, May 18, 2018

Dances of Vice Neptune Ball

neptune ball
nemo cosplay
mermaid cosplay
Taking another trip under the sea! The latest extravagant soiree by Dances of Vice celebrated all things nautical.
The party was hosted at the historic India House Foundation near the South Street Seaport Saturday night. 

The crowd arrived at the Neptune Ball in all manner of mermaids and sailors. There were plenty of elegant ship captains. Many of the costumes were accented by twinkling LED lights and El wire to add some glow. My Husband and another Captain Nemo both evoked Steampunk style with their electric charged fashion accessories. Formal wear was paired with clever, deceptively simple sea creatures like this sparkly anglerfish.

The historic India House was the perfect venue for the theme. Ancient maps and iconic ship models decorated the interiors. Harps and opera singers provided romantic cruising music on the second floor while the third floor hosted scantily clad burlesque dancers, sword swallowers, and mermaids. (These can be found on msfabulousnyc Instagram stories)

This is the same sexy crowd that made the Venetian Valentine Masquerade Ball such a treat to attend. I love that all of the guests know to bring creativity and elegance to their attire.

I love that this type of themed event attracts guests of all demographics. I saw guests of all ages, shapes, identities and cultures having a swimming time. Everyone feels included, united by their love of dress-up. A lavish soiree like this allows all of us to escape the ugliness of the real world. It's a small reminder that yes, creative nightlife still does exist in New York City.

Who would you be in the undersea world? Captain? Pirate? Fish or Mermaid at the Neptune Ball? Dances of Vice will host their next event in June. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

NYBFW: Adam Zohar Bridal Spring 2019

bridal ballgown
While Royal weddings are on many peoples minds this season, Adam Zohar understands that not every bride is striving to be the perfect princess. Not every bride wants the palace-styled catering hall or the perfect coiffure. Some brides have piercings and tattoos. Some don't want the perfectly symmetrical traditional gown. That's who Adam Zohar appealed to for his 2019 collection.

Gowns were sexy, with some silhouettes fashioned after old-school undergarments or billowing loose ballgowns. Embroidery and applique embellishments were deliberately asymmetrical across the body or only on one side. Some models were nose rings, showing even the rebel girl could opt to be a pretty bride on her terms.

The inclusive attitude continued through to the show venue. Zohar chose the gritty warehouse ambiance of the aptly named Industria studios. The raw space was one that felt open to any possibility without any pretension, in contrast to the palace vibe many other designers opt for. During the show, the designer kept the big garage doors open to the street so anyone could walk in and enjoy the show as well. Again, a stark contrast to the tightly edited (and enforced) guest list of most fashion shows.

The Adam Zohar 2019 bridal collection was immensely detailed and beautiful. However, even though they were elaborate works of art, I felt like the bride wearing could run on the beach or roll in the grass and he wouldn't be offended. For the pretty and punk girl.
all photos by Mariana Leung

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

NYBFW: Theia Bridal Spring 2019

Who hasn't dreamt of being a Princess Bride? The Theia Bridal Spring 2019 collection at NY Bridal Fashion Week was a celebration of European queens and princesses, iconic and modern. By modern, this means brides of all shapes, lifestyles and sizes, who were represented on his runway.

Each gown had different cuts, style lines to create dramatic silhouettes that flattered different areas of the wearer. Elegant embroidery was designed to also accentuate the curves of the body. There was a regal sophistication to every look from this collection that hinted at princesses of history (as each gown was named after) but with a thoroughly contemporary execution.

Designer Don O'Neill has always been thoughtful in designing gowns for real women. From creating his signature laser-cut fabric paillettes for comfort to his little tricks of draping to give extra ease in areas where the wearer might feel self-conscious to the ever-important "bra-friendly" styling that customers want. His record with celebrities as diverse as Gabourey Sidibe to Carrie Underwood has demonstrated his skill in making everyone look beautiful.

I sighed when I saw the jeweled tiaras. Who wants a veil when you have a princess crown? While I don't have any photos of the flowers, Fleur de Pascal's creations belonged in palace.

For anyone who can't wait for the Royal Wedding this May, they got their fill from this gorgeous show!
Photos courtesy of Theia.

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