I’m not sure I get exactly what this show is all about, but I do know I want to go. The idea of paper clothes and faeries and cupcakes is about all the lure I need. But if you need more, here are the details accompanying the invitation:
“Come out to frolic at Papertopias Frisky Faeries Fashion show! This is a life-sized paper doll fashion show exploding with glamor, treachery and sass. The show explores voyeuristic glimpses of a changing identity, with each paper outfit taking its inspiration from a beloved children’s book character.
There will be music performed by DJ T3db0t, devilish sweet treats … mayhem, trickery, life size paper doll fashions, original paper doll art work, and a fabulous dance party after.”
Papertopias was created by Ruth Irving, an artist who creates custom doll sets from her Brooklyn studio. Irving trained in architecture at University of Florida, and has honed her studies to stretch the boundaries of the paper dolls we’re all familiar with by melding history, glamor and the fantasy of future fashions.
Papertopias debuted its life-size paper fashions in a show last month at Urban Alchemist, a design collective on 5th Street in Brooklyn.
The second performance this Friday, March 18, starts at 8pm at Brooklyn Collective. Even if you don’t get the paper doll thing, it’s a great excuse to check out local art, jewelry and other quirky stuff on show and on sale at the collective.
Brooklyn Collective is at 212 Columbia Street, between Union + Sackett Streets. Phone 718.596.6231.
Straight from the runways to the stores, it’s all about stripes for Spring 2011. To be sure, stripes are never out of style – think Coco Chanel in a classic French-sailor striped tee or “la marinière,” Audrey Hepburn or even James Dean, proving even pretty, bad boys can rock horizontal stripes.
You cannot step into high street retailers Forever 21, H&M, Zara or even Old Navy right now without stripes jumping out at you. These pics (above) show just a smidge of what’s on offer at Forever 21 in New York’s Union Square. There’s traditional blue and white, nautical red, white and blue and even knotted nautical-style rope belts and a quirky Popeye t-shirt to accent the theme.
It seems every place is screaming Hello Sailor for Spring.
My thanks to fellow writer Kate Godin for pointing out this incredibly divine example of Australian fashion. It channels the inner ballerina in all of us methinks, and redeems the nation after the travesty of a “national costume” that the Aussie Miss Universe contender plans to wear in Las Vegas next month.
This puff of gorgeousness is a design by Aurelio Costarella, modeled during a StyleAid Perth 2010 event in Perth, Western Australia. Aurelio Costarella launched his ready-to-wear and couture brands in 2000 in far-flung Perth and has gone on to dress celebs and socialites from Rihanna and Sharon Stone to Leelee Sobieski and Dita Von Teese, as well as grace Fashion Week runways locally and abroad.
Thank you to Aurelio Costarella and this beautiful dress for restoring my faith in fashion down under and bolstering hope that the dreaded high-heeled Ugg boot won’t stray from the pageant catwalk and onto Main Street.
I have these vague imaginings that I will someday invent something and make millions; something simple and practical that people will question how they ever lived without – like that piece of plastic that joins together bra straps to create a crossback and prevent ugly straps peeking out from singlets and sundresses.
I am stunned though at the craze for rubber band shapes. I saw them one day in a local toy store, and by the end of the next day I spied at least three of my children’s friends wearing them. By the weekend, my kids had a couple packs each of these fun money-wasters, and were begging for more.
In case you haven’t seen them, they are colored silicon rubber bands in the shapes of anything from fruit, to baseball players, zoo or wild animals, fairies, princesses, dinosaurs, sea creatures or rock band equipment. Some are multicolored; some have scents; and some are glow-in-the dark. They sell anywhere between $2.50 and about $4.50 for a pack of 12 of varying shapes and sophistication.
Beyond the visual appeal of the shapes, it seems kids love that they can wear them as bracelets or apparently as hair bands, though I think they would rip out hair in the process. When you remove the bands, they return to their original shape and are pretty sturdy, though not indestructible: as my 7-year-old found out, they can break with too much stretching. From a marketing perspective, it’s genius. They are for boys and girls, they can be traded just like Pokemon cards or baseball cards (remember them!), and they appeal to all ages, from five years old to college students and beyond.
I am guilty of grabbing packs of them to send to Australia to my young cousins; and picking some up for my own children, who have already begun trading shapes among themselves, and probably with their friends. My daughter wears them up her arm to school, but my son says his teachers have outlawed them in class, lest the already rampant toy-trading ring grows.
I’m not against the bands per se. They are kind of cool and certainly harmless, unless your vacuum chokes on a stray silicon strand caught in a rug as mine did. I just wish I had thought of it first, because somewhere out there is somebody making my millions.
Oh, if you feel the need to pad said creators’ coffers, and there is a bunch of brands out there from zanybandz to Silly Bandz to just straight-up shaped rubber bands, you can buy the bands in my Brooklyn neighborhood at Pizzazzz Toyz at 281 Court Street and across the street at Classic Impressions gift and card store, and of course online at Amazon.com or even Office Depot, which I see is selling bags of 20 for just over $3, which works out to a decent deal. But I’m pretty sure any toy store worth its salt is doing a blazing trade in rubber bands right now.
Who knew that one pair of shoes could evoke so many memories and begin so many conversations. That pair of shoes being my Kork-Ease Bette sandals in “luggage” with a suede-covered wedge heel. They are not especially fancy or expensive, but I love them all the same and have worn them on and off for the past two summers.
This week I got to thinking what it is that makes a piece of clothing iconic and whether perhaps the classic Kork-Ease wedge meets the criteria? I must have met and chatted the past few days with at least a dozen people, mostly strangers – between Brooklyn and Manhattan, in stores, on the street and on the subway – about these very shoes.
This is generally how it plays out: firstly someone will point and comment to their friend or they’ll just come out and say “I love your shoes”; and then the stories begin. These wedge-heeled walks down memory lane have taken a bunch of my new acquaintances back to sixth grade or so when women recalled either wearing the exact pair of shoes, or begging their mothers for them.
One woman I chatted with on the R train revealed that she wore them somewhere around 1975; adding proudly that they were the first shoes she bought when she “left the projects”. Two older women on the F train and en route to the airport after a girls’ vacation in the Big Apple, said they’d considered buying my shoes during their stay but worried that the 4 1/4-inch heels and potholed sidewalks might land someone in hospital.
Kork-Ease, the company that started business in Brooklyn in 1953 as a “comfort” shoe brand, burst into the fashion scene as a must-have in the 70s. Outlandish fashion designer Betsy Johnson reportedly owned at least 10 pairs; entertainer and actress Bette Midler wore them; and to be sure, any hipster shy of 30 owned at least one pair. As the Kork-Ease Facebook page states, it was the shoe that stood in line at Studio 54.
Well, Kork-Ease is back making its famed wedges as well as an ever-growing range of comfortable sandals and shoes. They’re a little more pricey than in the 70s when they retailed between $25 and $40 but still much cheaper than designer rivals. The Bette heels that garnered so much attention were about $149 online, and pretty much all the big online shoe stores from Zappos and Shoebuy, to Online Shoes and Amazon offer at least some of the styles.
Surely if a pair of shoes can unite strangers, evoke fun memories of one’s youth, and still be current and stylish today, they deserve icon status?
You know that feeling when you walk into a room and someone gives your outfit the once over; there are women skilled at casting an eye from head to toe in a nanosecond without so much as tilting their head. I have a relative with that skill. It’s irksome.
Well, you can get that very same feeling in stores all over the city, as I did this week when I set out to sell some long neglected pieces of clothing. For anyone not familiar with the concept, there are stores staffed with skinny, twenty-something hipsters that will pick over your gently-worn clothes, trawling for current styles or hot labels.
For what they deign to keep, the seller gets a percentage of the price tag they will resell it at, or can take a bigger percentage in credit to spend in the store. For instance, Beacon’s Closet, with locations in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Park Slope, will pay exactly 35% cash, or 55% store credit, of the price tag that they in turn put on your clothes and accessories. Unlike a consignment shop, where you have to wait for your items to be sold, stores like Beacon’s give you cash or a credit voucher on the spot. It’s a great way, albeit potentially demoralizing, to get something back for clothes that you don’t wear anymore, but are that little bit too good for the donation bin.
Beacon’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange are the two where I have tried my luck in the past. And that’s where I traipsed this week, bulging bag in hand. Like many things in fashion, it’s a lottery. I’ve sold armloads of H&M and Forever 21 tees and tunics, while Dolce & Gabbana dresses and even up-and-coming Asian designers were rejected at the same time. It’s a crap shoot to predict what they are looking for on any given day.
So I hit Buffalo Exchange in the East Village first. They were pretty full-up, the girl said, but after some back and forth they decided on a Clu jersey and cotton bubble dress, which I had actually bought a couple of seasons earlier at rival store. The staff at Buffalo Exchange are friendly and pleasant. Even when the girl rips through your fashion history in seconds, she does so nicely.
Which takes me to my next stop, Beacon’s Closet on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. I have a love-hate relationship with this place. As annoyed as I am most times I sell things there, I keep going back. I feel like I almost have their formula down; there is certain “look” in everything they accept and then resell, and it’s generally not a look I dabble in. This particular day I did well though, selling a Tim O’Connor halter neck top with ruffles down the front, a very 80s black Betsey Johnson tiered skirt, a sequined skirt I bought a decade ago and never wore and a nude leather pencil skirt by the Australian brand David Lawrence. Curiously, both stores rejected a Paul and Joe silk slip dress. That one’s too good for the scrap heap and came home with me.
So, was it worth the schlepping a bag on the subway and enduring the judgments of girls barely beyond their teens? Sure. And what’s more, I didn’t feel bad acquiring a couple of new things with the earnings. A blue and white striped knit blazer-style cardigan from A.Cheng in Park Slope and the Kenneth Jay Lane diamante embellished leather cuff from Outnet, which I have had my eye on for ages.
Outnet, by the way, is offering free shipping though May 19 to everyone who signed up for their $1 sale, as a way of apologizing for the craziness of the online birthday fiasco.
Now, my drawers are tidy. I have a couple of new pieces and my wallet is a little better padded. Not bad for a week’s work.
Ok, so you missed out a designer bargain at Outnet’s 1st birthday sale, which incidentally sold out in a matter of minutes, and you’re bummed that Japanese department store Takashimaya is closing its flagship Fifth Avenue store – all is not lost. For fashion and Japanese style combined, one of my favorite shops Callalilai on Atlantic Ave. is hosting a shopping party this Saturday to celebrate the arrival of the spring women’s collection from its Japanese brand Aoyama Itchome.
Besides loads of gorgeous, printed tunics and dresses there will be a tasting of French aperitif Lillet, as well as a DIY jewelry making crash course with designers from Haknik and Liria Shop. DJ Tabu will provide some rhythmic beats to shop to.
The Aoyama Itchome line is designed by Japan native Hogo Natsuwa, who lives in Paris. The cross-cultural influence gives the clothes a great esthetic, more sophisticated than boho but still floaty and artistic.
Callalilai is asking that people RSVP by today at firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ve pledged a 15% discount off your entire purchase during event too, so what’s not to like.
The shopping party will be held Saturday, April 17, from 2pm to 6pm. Callalilai Atlantic is at 296 Atlantic Avenue @ Smith Street, 718.875.1790.
Who knew a new pair of jeans could prompt so many questions. At 40-plus, I’ve been sliding into skinny jeans day-in, day-out for at least the past four years. But today I put on a pair of boyfriend jeans, the baggy, just rolled out of bed slouchy denim look of the moment. What are these jeans? Turn around. How did you choose your size? What are you meant to wear with them? The questions came thick and fast from skinny and boot-cut wearing mamas in my midst.
I believe it was Katie Holmes who rejuvenated the “boyfriend” label after she was spotted running around New York way back in 2008 in oversized, scruffy jeans that may well have been borrowed from husband Tom Cruise. All the usual celebs from Jennifer Aniston to Lindsay Lohan have been seen wearing them since, and with spring lines hitting the stores, so-called boyfriend jeans look to have nudged skinny jeans to the side, at least temporarily. I dismissed the new trend a few months back when I tried the Gap version. I looked about four-foot-nothing, with tree stumps for legs. They were the most unflattering jeans I had worn in ages. But some of the more recent version are cut slimmer and definitely work better, even for the height challenged. And never mind the look for now; it’s all about the comfort. A day in my newest jeans was something of a denim renaissance. After the shackles of skinny jeans, at last I could move freely; my ankles weren’t in a vice, there were no seam imprints running down my calves, and the proportion works really well with skinny tees and long, boyish cardigans.
Right now I’m coveting a pair of Current Elliott cropped boyfriend jeans but balk at paying $200 plus for daily denim. Instead, I went for Zara’s $59 version in a worn blue wash. Urban Outfitters has some too around $58, and also offers a slim boyfriend cut, which is basically less baggy but still straight from hip to ankle. It’s been awhile since I was anywhere near a boyfriend’s jeans but I guess they must always have jeans with holes, or at least fraying, because that’s the most typical finish I’ve seen so far. As for how to wear them; there are a couple of things to remember; firstly, they must be turned up at the cuff to convey the look and avoid just looking shapeless. And secondly, with all that androgyny below the waist, something fitted and feminine works best on top. With shoes, anything goes. I like a heel with the cropped jeans, and for the ankle-grazing cuts, something girly like a ballet flat, beachcomber-esque like Keds, or even ankle-high boots work.
Far be it from me to dismiss skinny jeans altogether; there is a place for them, tucked into boots, under a swingy jacket or with tunics and sneakers. Leggings, too, fall into the skinny class. But I realized I may have gone too far into the skinny thing when my four year old daughter proclaimed that she will only ever wear skinnies. “I don’t like jeans that open at the bottom, like daddy’s,” she announced while dressing for school one morning. She hasn’t voiced and opinion on the new boyfriend jeans yet.