Friday, May 28, 2010

Madewell online shop FINALLY launches

Finally, after months of being teased by in-store displays and newsletters that a Madewell e-commerce site was going to open up, it has finally happened! Last Friday there was a splash page, Monday the page was animated, and when I checked this morning, that puppy was up and running!

Though nothing compares to an in-store experience (particularly sales racks), at least now I can plot out the damage I'll be doing to my wallet. The rest of my summer will be spent in front of my screen, drooling over what I'll be buying, what's new to stores, and how I can one day gloriously work there. Beach tan? No. Computer screen tan? Yes, please.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tush Mag does superheroes

Fashion editorials offer a canvas for designers, photographers, and art directors to get together and dream big, coming up with imagery that can be whimsical, dramatic, and tell a story. Some teams go for it, while others take the safe route. "Summer on the beach"? Lame. "Superheroes"? Tush Magazine, you've piqued my interest.

Tush Magazine's latest issue (20) reinterprets famous superheroes (most of them female, hurrah!), dedicating full shots and graphic portraits to each character. Most images are monotone, like Poison Ivy and Witchblade above, while Mystique lends the spreads a punch of that electric blue. The stylist made good use of hard metals as well as exaggerated shapes and silhouettes, giving character to these...ahem...characters. It's also interesting to note what the stylists do aside from slapping a dress on someone—in this case, Witchblade's hair looks sculpted (and probably feels like it with all the gunk they must've loaded it with), and Poison Ivy's face is being devoured by tendrils. And I must say, the stereotypically apathetic/pissed-off model look works well for the various characters' back stories.

Check out even more of your favorite characters on Tush Magazine's site:
See images from the editorial
See the video

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bust's Spring Fling Craftacular 2010

Sunday's Spring Fling Craftacular caught me almost completely by surprise, but I was able to assemble the troops and scope it out. This year's Craftacular at the Warsaw in Brooklyn featured 50+ vendors packed in a few neat rows while DJs kept music pumping in the background. Though the equation was right, I felt like there were some flaws in the execution.

Jewelery tables are always popular, but I noticed that many jewelers were selling rather uninspired work: there were lower-quality, prefabbed, dime-a-dozen charms everywhere. Few jewelers did much of their own casting, a lot of the craftsmanship felt "meh, I guess," and several people relied more on selling vintage odds and ends instead of re-imagining those pieces into something interesting.

I also think it was tough for other vendors to get any attention, like screenprinters and plushie-makers; you can justify shelling out money for something you'll use every day (like jewelry) instead of something that's not as utilitarian (like a plushie). And there were so few of these vendors that there was little variety for people to chew on.

Booths of note, however, included KG+ AB (unglazed white porcelain figurines and plates, including one with a unicorn silhouette from the famous Unicorn Tapestries), Lillian Crowe (hand-cast rib cages and other creepy/beautiful jewelry), Raw Toast (prints and posters that made me smile), and SML Bags (nice clutches and bags, including the one pictured here that I bought).

Another complaint was the lack of space: kudos to keeping the event relatively small, but there were so many people in and out of there that it was hard to walk around or even get a good look at the merch on tables. The whole thing felt like I was fighting to put in my order at the deli.

Overall I wasn't impressed, though I did walk away with a nice bag and some stud earrings. My heart lies with The Market on Mulberry, as it's got a great variety of vendors, your fav vendors will pull rotations, there's never a huge crowd, and the artisans' work feels a little more purposeful. I guess we'll have to wait and see how Bust's Holiday Craftacular plays out this coming winter.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Swooning Over: Covered Wedges

My relationship with wedges has been difficult: so many pairs were calling out to me with their vintage/retro styling, though their usual cork or rope-covered heels usually come off as cheap to me. I've recently discovered, however, a new segment of wedges—covered:
I mean, HOW FREAKING CUTE? They're like undercover heels, giving you height and length, sans the fear of toppling over due to a skinny heel. In my quest for covered wedges, the designer Jeffrey Campbell kept coming up (images 1 and 3), and he really knows how to make shoes that are fun statement pieces.

At first I thought all shoes in the "covered wedge" category just looked like clunkers, but I've come to learn that they must be carefully styled. I find dresses/skirts, tights, and skinny jeans go really well with this type of shoe, as it becomes extra important to balance the top and the bottom (leg and shoe, in this case); anything looser and you look like you're wearing a surgical boot. The shoes in images 2 and 3 are perfect for summer, and #3 in particular gives you height while deceptively looking like a regular sandal.

More and more of these wedges have been cropping up, so keep an eye out for the pair that you'll take home with you.

1. Mary Rocks, Jeffrey Campbell 2. Canvas Striped, Mini for Many 3. Molly, 80%20 4. Rosegold Suede Heel, UO 5. Hillaery, Aldo

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Site to Follow: 100 Layer Cake

Quite a few friends have been getting married lately, and in attempting to nosily influence their themes and color palettes, I've become pretty well acquainted with wedding blogs. One thing I've noticed is that many wedding blogs have KILLER color/inspiration boards—collages of related images that capture a bunch of related, pleasing-to-the-eye color combinations.

One of these is 100 Layer Cake's blog, and buried in their "Inspiration Binder" category are some gorgeous color boards, offering unexpected palettes and fanciful swatch names. Even the boards themselves are beautiful, using elegant photography, a wide variety of visual references, and a clean, simple layout. (Click on any of the boards to go to its page on 100 Layer Cake.)

If you need a color palette for your next project, 100 Layer Cake's blog had better be one of the first places you go to look for one.

See the "Inspiration Binder" section here.
Get to the blog's main page here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rocking what nature gave us

Laura Lombardi Jewelry is organic. Not like baby-lettuce-from-a-farmer's-market organic. More like, patterns-found-in-nature-with-slight-irregularities-and-they're-so-damn-pretty-I-want-to-wear-them-around-my-neck organic (my favorite kind).

The jeweler starts with vintage metals, chains, crystals, and findings. Then, she turns those metals into geometric, symmetrical shapes (like triangles pictured above, or hexagons, or spheres), and roughs them up a little. Gold will be in the shape of crystals just found in a cave somewhere, and the stone in stacked earrings look like they've just been chipped off the side of a mountain. Sometimes she'll pick things straight out of nature, like the feather necklace in image 3. Her crystals (image 1) will have beautiful irregularities, and she'll use stones in the same way. Each little detail turns what starts off as a simple or everyday shape into something interesting and noteworthy. And there's not a dud in the collection—I can picture myself wearing every piece (maybe that should be more dangerous than exciting?)

Check out more of Laura Lombardi's pieces in her etsy shop, or view the full collection on her website.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Swooning Over: Splatters

For one of those "trends" that always seems to be around, splatters have been hitting pretty hard lately. The key, however, is to wear them well. Cue helpful image:

Survey these examples and you'll see that splatters are versatile because they look like patterns without the rigid regularity of a plaid or a houndstooth. They feel a little more accidental, and can lend a piece insta-movement.

One way to maximize the effect is by focusing on a main focal point. In the Omaha drip dress by Full Circle (#1) for example, the action is concentrated up by the neck and then tapers; it's well-thought out, and much easier on the eye than a lot of paint everywhere. The Grace Heels by Olsen Haus (#2) are also measured in their splatters, but use a silver metallic (which adds a nice pop and contrast to the 1940s pink). If you do want an allover splatter, a great way to go is with a smaller allover print, like the adorable Eve clutch by Lauren Merkin (#6) that looks like a Monet from faraway.

Moral of the story: smaller splatters work well for visual interest, while bigger ones should be used in moderation. Use this lesson wisely.

1. Omaha drip dress, Full Circle 2. Grace Heels in pink, Olsen Haus 3. Splatter Vase, Urban Outfitters 4. Billy Lo-rise skinny jean, Delia*s 5. Splatter bangle, Forever 21 6. Eve splatter print clutch, Lauren Merkin

Friday, May 07, 2010

Kina Fernandez puts color to work

Though I love this city, people shy away from wearing non-black colors as though it were dangerous to their health. So thank God for Kina Fernandez's S/S '10 collection reminding us that color does exist and hot damn, can it work hard:

This collection is a symphony of color, with fantastic stripes in oranges and warm yellows, a fantastic electric blue, and some very grown-up floral patterns. You'll also find super feminine details like ruffles, well-placed pleating, and lady-like silhouettes. Each piece jubilantly exclaims that Spring is here, and why aren't you outside right now soaking up the sun? That orange dress in particular makes me want to walk through a field of wildflowers like I'm in a Sophia Coppola film.

Read more and see the full collection via High Snobette.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Blossoms in the bedroom

While this may be a legitimate installation by Keophila, it makes me want to McGuyver one for my own bedroom. See more images from this project here.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Affordable Art Fair lands tomorrow

I like things on my walls, but I've outgrown the adolescent need to put a blown up image of Orlando Bloom's face on the wall next to my bed (ok, maybe I still did that into college), or drape a hideous tapestry on my wall for "color". The Affordable Art Fair, however, is just what a twenty-somethings adult girl is asking for.

Thursday, May 6 through Sunday, May 9 the Affordable Art Fair will display work from 70 galleries and artists available at a wide range of price points. The site claims you can get something for as little as $100, which sounds like a steal for original work (and is also classier than an overly reproduced glossy print from a generic poster website).

The only downside is that you have to pay to get in ($20 for general admission, $15 for students), so it may be for people determined to bring something home.

What: Affordable Art Fair
When: Thurs., May 6 through Sun., May 9
Hours: Thurs. 12pm-6pm & 6pm-9pm; Fri. through Sat. 12pm-8pm; Sun. 12pm-5pm
Where: 7 West 34th St, near 5th Ave
More info: on Facebook and their website

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Leopard print and donuts

I want the faux-fur jacket, the pink hair, the mess of rings on all her fingers, AND those 2 sprinkle donuts.

Found via Teenage Fashion Addict.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Must see video: Up There

A dying art, painting large-scale ads on the side of buildings takes a huge amount of skill, foresight, and passion. The following documentary, "Up There", shines a spotlight on these artisans, showing their professional highs and lows in a beautiful, touching way. Do yourself a favor and watch this video all the way through (12:46 min total, but you'll feel like a better person for having watched it):

Wasn't that amazing? And on so many levels??

Each character is endearing, and I want to sit with each of them on a rooftop (hands wrapped around a hot cup of coffee) and ask more questions. It's clear they take huge pride in what they do, and who blames them after seeing the skill it takes to paint giant scenes on the side of whole buildings? It makes me glad to live in NYC, one of the few cities still employing such craftsmen.

The film is impeccably shot, too, with great pacing and a soundtrack that adds (but does not distract). "Up There" was conceived by the advertising agency Mother, one of the few companies that sets out to make meaningful work, not just another buck. It was produced by Mekanism, and directed/edited by Malcolm Murray, and presented by Stella Artois.

And the "surprise twist" at the end? It's an ad, but you’re not hit over the head with a sell (at least not until you see the final product of these men’s work). I mean, mega points to Stella Artois for facilitating this, as the documentary says "we take pride in our craft" without some stupid mascot screaming those words at you.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and don't be afraid to give it a second or third viewing :)
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