Saturday, September 18, 2010

Recapping Fashion's Night Out 2010


Me and my new friend Jon in matching stripes—very Parisian, no?
I had been awaiting Fashion’s Night Out since its inaugural debut last year. The mastermind behind the global event was none other than Anna Wintour, who had the genius idea to create a night to boost morale in hard economic times for shoppers, designers, and retailers alike. As mentioned in my last post, I had created a list of FNO events I wished to visit, but as expected, the amount of crowds weren’t as permitting as I would have liked. I spent most of my time at one of my favorite hangouts, the Ace Hotel which was holding a designer Parisian Flea Market in association with one of my favorite boutiques, Opening Ceremony; the perfect store to be attached to their lobby. Circling around room were employees dressed like French mimes selling berets, so obviously I took the opportunity to make friends with them. Coincidentally, my new friend Jon has an elephant tattoo which is perfect because as I’ve said before, elephant motifs are my good luck charm.

The usual Hogwarts-style décor of the hotel lobby was cleared out for the night, replaced by Parisian Flea Market-inspired rows of booths manned by the Mulleavy sisters, Alexander Wang, and the Band of Outsiders crew. If I were to ignore the crazy crowds then yes, for a moment, it did feel like Paris at dusk.  The Alexander Wang booth was beautiful; Chinese caricatures, paper laterns and umbrellas, dragons, and the color red covered every inch.  If you paid $1, you were entered in a raffle to win a backpack from his F/W 10 collection. In addition, keeping with the Chinese New Years theme, for every ticket bought, as consolation you were given a pineapple bun, which was surprisingly addictive.
At each booth designers created signature items exclusively for Fashion’s Night Out. At the Rodarte booth, the theme was 80’s prom. Racks full of hand-picked vintage (by the Mulleavy sisters themselves) elegant pastel tulles, satins, and velvets, juxtaposed against soft and supple cardigans. Along the table were the Mulleavy sisters’ favorite 80’s and their Rodarte Prom t-shirts selling for $120; a little too pricey, yet chic nonetheless. A little more within my range, for $5 I purchased a lovely lavender corsage and in return got to take a “Prom Polaroid” with my friends.

At Band of Outsiders there was a food frenzy. For every shirt purchased, you got a delicious and free Momofuku cookie. I’m obsessed with Momofuku Milk Bar desserts, this was extremely tempting…!

Jean Paul Gaultier was a little lackluster: various striped shirts in different colors lined the table. The only items of excitement there were the Laduree candles being sold. I love me some Laduree; it’s everything I love about Paris: aromatic, beautiful, and flavorful. Other booths included Keds, Agnes B. (which, by the way, was selling atypical takes on classic Parisian stripes), Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, and more.  

My favorite booth however, was the Colette Paris for Opening Ceremony. I purchased a script-written "Voila!" T-shirt but it was a toss up between that and the Sil vous plait shirt. In addition, they had ombre eco-friendly tote bags, embellished with different pins that were both French and Fashion’s Night Out themed. This is where I spotted Bee Shaffer! Other celebrities that ventured to the Ace that night included my beloved Chloe Sevigny, Brad Goreski (from the Rachel Zoe Project), Kanye West, Pamela Love, Solange Knowles, Mr. Newton, Spike Jonze, various models like Lily Donaldson, and many more.

SAS loafers, Opening Ceremony blue velvet skirt, thrift-store found striped top and wicker purse, vintage Buddha necklace, Jennifer George earrings 

Don’t be deceived because outside of the venue was zoo, too. Trucks that lined the streets included the artisanal Van Leeuwen ice cream and the Breslin restaurant to-go truck. But my favorite was one that didn’t actually sell food. The Colette truck, parked right in front of the line wrapping around the hotel, was filled with goodies like Derek Blasberg’s book, Sassy and a compilation of the Cobrasnake’s favorite Selby photographs, which was then signed by both Todd Selby and the Cobrasnake. Other things in this magnificent polka-dot truck included Colette and The Selby postcards, Opening Ceremony “Voila!” lighters, and various pins, candles, thermoses, t-shirts and CDs.
 What would be a Parisian Flea Market without my jean jacket adorned with a Paris Je T'aime pin?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hester Street Fair

What with the start of school, Fashion’s Night Out, and keeping up with all of Fashion Week’s happenings, I had forgotten to post this. In search of savoring the last of summer’s rays I headed to The Hester Street Fair on Labor Day. Though small space is allotted for the market, there is an abundance of great stands to stop by and see. When first entering through the market's iron gateway, to the left was QP & Monty, or what one might call flea market heaven. I sifted through their bowls full of random knickknacks and key chains that would make a nice addition to a charm necklace. Other things of interest sold at their stand included vintage sunglasses, old fabrics, a typewriter, and some decorative plates.
I was extremely hungry so I opted for a chicken empanada and cucumber limeade, while my parents purchased from Luke's Lobster Shack some of the freshest lobster and shrimp rolls  I’ve ever had (better than any I’ve ever had in Maine).
A nearby vendor to Luke’s was a man selling beautiful vintage Danish jewelry that he had found and collected over the years. While Extinct Optics, sold, well just that—unique vintage frames. Unfortunately, he sold no cat-eye sunglasses continuing my hunt for a decent pair.
The real stars of the Hester Street Fair were those who sold dessert. Between my parents and me, we had 4 desserts in total and loved every bite of it. Our first indulgence was at LA NEWYORKINA, where we got the Elote or corn flavored Popsicle, with actual chunks of corn inside. I was a little skeptical at first as to how the pop might taste, but it turned out to be seriously delish; the corn was sweet with a touch of savory and added a bit of crunch. Other flavors of that day included Cantaloupe, Orange-Peach, Chili-Mango, Spiced Tomato, Hibiscus, and Coconut.
Our second dessert stop was at the Melt Bakery stand, where they put an artisanal spin on the typical ice cream sandwich. It was so hard to choose which flavor to get because they all sounded equally delectable. This is probably why my family felt the need to buy two: the peach ice cream and brown butter bourbon shortbread cookie sandwich along with the salted caramel ice cream and brownie sandwich. They were absolutely worth every calorie; usually in an ice cream sandwich either the cookie is too bland or too sugary but in Melt's, both elements succeeded.
Just as we were about to leave the market, we spotted Guerrilla Ice Cream and what with flavors like Lemon Poppy Seed, we knew it was a must-try. The last time I had olive oil ice cream was during a trip to Woodstock, and I thought it was honestly incredible. After sampling Guerrilla’s own take on the flavor, I really wanted their honey, olive oil, and lemon peel combo, but was out voted. We ended up getting Chai Masala with sliced almonds and candied fennel seeds. It was delicious, but still not the same as olive oil ice cream—I’ll have to go back and try theirs next time.
vintage Southwestern print dress, wicker picnic purse, thirft purchase black belt, red sandals via Payless
I was super full from all of the treats purchased, so we decided to walk for awhile towards home. If you’re curious, the dress and wicker picnic basket-style purse I’m wearing were purchased on my recent vacation to Maine at a local thrift store for $4 each! Maine thrift stores have unexpected treasures for reasonable prices (everything I bought was under 10 dollars); if you can’t tell the dress is Southwestern-themed, printed with little cactuses, bulls, and sombreros.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Fashion’s Night Out is hitting New York City this year on September 10th (6 DAYS AWAY!). With almost a thousand retailers in association with the event started by Anna Wintour, I’m doubtful that I’ll even get to participate in all of the places on my strategic “hit list.” For last year’s festivities, I immediately crossed off any major department store from my list for fear of claustrophobia and waiting on long lines. I hit Greenwich Village’s Bleecker Street for a photo-op at the Marc Jacobs store, met Amy Astley at the Teen Vogue block party, Intermix for some beauty gifts, met The Sartorialist at Ralph Lauren, and of course stopped at Magnolia’s Bakery for their limited Fashion’s Night Out cupcake. Basically it was a great night...

 This year is a whole other story. I hope you find my 15 picks of help; they’re not the necessarily the events with the most celebrity coverage, but where I think time will be spent best.

1. Balenciaga: Dance to the sounds of the new album “The Ghost Who Walks,” sung by Redhead Model/singer Karen Elson. 542 West 22nd Street

2. Opening Ceremony: In keeping with Opening Ceremony’s French theme for the coming months, OC is holding a Parisian flea market in the Ace Hotel manned by designers like Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, and Joseph Altuzarra. Afterwards enjoy the iconic and delicious Ladurée macarons for dessert. 20 West 29th Street

3. Helmut Lang: outdoor dance party, D.J.-ed by It Girls Harley Viera-Newton and Cassie Coane. 819 Washington Street

4. Piperlime:  Piperlime, the website that lends itself to the accessories wall on Project Runway is opening their first pop-up store in SoHo. From a chance to shop and get styling advice with Rachel Zoe to taking pictures with the cast of Project Runway, it’s sure to be in Ms. Zoe’s words, a “clusterfuck.” 93 Mercer Street New York, NY 10012

5. Partners and Spade: A very unusual yet ingenious spin to FNO is a “fashion outsiders” party held by Vena Cava's Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock. Buy unique pieces designed by a police officer, a toddler, an Oklahoma farmer, plus some prisoners—all people who have no relation to the fashion industry. 40 Great Jones Street

6. Chanel: play Karl Lagerfeld and customize a pair of the iconic Chanel ballet flats and receive complimentary manicures in Les Khakis de Chanel, Chanel’s newest addition to their ever-popular nail polish line, created exclusively for FNO. 139 Spring Street

7. Lord & Taylor: A la the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” wander around the department store and find street truck favorites including Cupcake Stop, Street Sweets, Treats Truck, and Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. A dessert scavenger hunt? I’m in. 424 5th Avenue

8. JCrew: Sip on refreshments while mingling with J.Crew’s Design Team to celebrate the new 2010 Fall Collection. And, with a purchase of $150 or more expect an FNO-inspired gift in return. 99 Prince Street

9. Phillip Lim + Rag & Bone: A designer block party chalk full of live performances by My Gold Mask, burgers from BLT Go and artisanal Van Leeuwen ice cream. Shop alongside the designers and pick up stylish looks for fall! 115 Mercer Street

10. Madewell: Alexa Chung’s debut of her collection in association with Madewell will debut during Fashion’s Night Out. 486 Broadway

11. OAK NYC: Party at OAK’s FNO mall while making charm necklaces at the Surface 2 Air kiosk, shredding t-shirts with LNA, and taking advantage of OAK's fashion photo booth. 28 Bond St.

12. What Goes Around Comes Around: Jewelry designer, Pamela Love and Thread Social are hosting a party. See the debut and shop the latest vintage collections for the store. 351 West Broadway

13. Banana Republic: Only at the Banana Republic in Rockefeller Center will you get to meet the New Yorker’s covers editor Françoise Mouly and Banana Republic creative director Simon Kneen while enjoying d’oeuvres all night long. Rockefeller Center New York, NY 10111

14. Ralph Lauren: Hang with Vogue's Andre Leon Talley while listening the sounds of stylish singer, Janelle Monae. 379 West Broadway

15. French Sole: giveaways, music, and shopping in the mini Upper East Side boutique. 976 Lexington Avenue
Where will you be on Fashion's Night Out?
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