Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What do we really think about Vajazzling?

Obviously Jennifer Love Hewitt is on Vajazzles' payroll. She won't shut up about the "special sparkles" that are causing a great beauty debate.

For those of you who are blissfully unaware, Vajazzling is the art of "bedazzling your lady parts with crystals." You can order do-it-yourself kits or head to your nearest salon for that extra something special.

Aside from the potential friction and occasional crystal mishap, the real question remains... what do we honestly think about this? And when I say "we," I'm clearly referring to me and the rest of the world...

Do countries on the cusp of democratic freedom look at us and say, you go girl, whatever makes you happy? Or do they simply think, what a bunch of losers? I realize they probably have more pressing matters on their mind than the vajazzle, but it makes an interesting conundrum. In times of recession do we look for more sparkle? Do we need a little something extra to bolster our self esteem?

"I saw it on Craigslist yesterday!" interjected one excited writer. After an incredulous stare on my part, she then went on to explain that, what she saw, was actually an ad for Vajazzling artists. So perhaps the question should be, is the vajazzle adding to our economic growth? Will the children of our future be able to head to vajazzle school on a scholarship? Only time will tell...

In the meantime, you can contemplate world peace, you can debate social reform but tell us what you really think about the Vajazzle.

For the man's perspective, check out this great piece at http://www.spaweekblog.com/tag/a-mans-perspective-on-vajazzling

Note: The above left picture is of a "Bedazzler," that's not what they do to your private parts.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wool and the Gang: Taking knitting to the extreme

Okay, so I've been searching for a hobby of late. I'm not very good at relaxing, as you may already know, and although one designer's suggestion of taking up dressage appealed for a Milli-second (knowing how fashionable the equestrian look is right now), the proximatety of horses and the potential to break my neck flying off one was enough to keep searching. Thankfully, one, Casey Gillespie, insisted I teach her the ins and outs of knitting, rekindling my love of all things knittable. I am yet to master anything truly grandma worthy but thankfully, it's become rather chic to dabble.

Now when it comes to the art of knitting, there's no doubt our Martha (Stewart) reigns supreme in anything as potentially crafty as this previously frowned upon spectator sport (you watch as an old lady in a chair knits something you hope won't find it's way into your Christmas stocking). Embellished cardigans in pale pink, booties in royal blue, beanies that sag in all the wrong places... this was the knitting we knew and did not love.

And then something happened, knitting got fashion savvy. I can't pin point the exact moment in time, but one day it was fashionable to knit, all of a sudden, people who didn't smell of moth balls were picking up needles; patterns were becoming Vogue-worthy and the knit became hip.

Even Martha swapped from dated doilies to cool additions for the style-savvy home. The only problem was — although flicking through the pages of Living is a hobby within itself — attempting anything Martha's knitted was tantamount to craft suicide (unless your Joseph Ungoco, who was born with the knitting gene).

This is where Wool and the Gang come in. Established in October 2007, Wool and the Gang make knitting not only fashionable but accessible. Created by Swiss born Lisa Sabrier and New Zealander, Carolyn Main, these two fashion savvy, knit-a-holics teamed up to bring the fashion knit to the masses with beginner to advanced patterns, free knitting patterns and tutorial videos as well as seasonal looks guaranteed to have you knitting your own wardrobe day in and day out.

With modern patterns, delectable wool from Peru and knitting kits guaranteed to take the guess work out of getting started, these two women, are destined for world knitting domination.

Best of all, if you still don't think knitting is your thing, you can buy the final product already knitted and ready to wear.

Heidi W. Durrow: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

This week I had the chance to chat with author Heidi W. Durrow, thanks to www.WriteNowToday.com.

What inspired you to write The Girl Who Fell From the Sky?
I was inspired to write the book after reading a newspaper story about a family that died in a tragic accident, but the young girl survived. I was haunted by the fact that this little girl still had a future—but what would her survival look like? I wanted to give her a voice. I wanted to write a story that gave her a chance to identify with something other than that terrible tragedy.

What can readers expect from this novel?
I think they can expect to be drawn into a story about a young person who is struggling to define herself beyond the labels that she’s been assigned. It’s very much a coming-of-age story. But it’s also a bit of a love story and a mystery. It’s a mystery because you think you know exactly how the accident happens at the beginning of the book, but it becomes much more complicated. And it’s a love story—well, really an odd love story—because it’s not focused on two characters falling in love, but I hope that you as the reader fall in love with my protagonist, Rachel—that you become her cheerleaders and a kind of support system that she doesn’t have on the page.

How long did the process take you from draft to sale?
Forever. I started the book in 1997 and first struggled to write it, struggled through dozens and dozens of rejections. And struggled to revise and refine it—I finally hit on gold when I submitted to the Bellwether Prize for Fiction and Barbara Kingsolver chose the manuscript as the winner. She is my hero!

What do you do to keep writing when motivation wanes?
I make a plan! I give myself deadlines from Poets & Writers magazine, and I send out my work MORE. It’s strange to say but the more rejections I got, I also knew that I had to be closer to an acceptance.

This is your debut novel, how did you feel the first time you saw your book on shelves?
I was ecstatic. I saw it for the first time at the Los Angeles airport and I just went over the moon. I asked the bookstore manager if I could sign the copies—and they agreed. And then I managed to attract a little crowd—the strangers in the bookstores started congratulating me. I realized I was making a scene and finally ducked out. I sure hope one of those folks bought the book!

Have you been surprised by the accolades?
I have. I tried to write the very best book I could, but it’s really gratifying to hear that others have connected with it, and get it, and love the characters as much as I do.

What is your advice to budding authors?
I would say that the most important thing is to not share your work too early. I know it sounds weird to say, but the hardest part about writing is writing. What I mean is that the blank page is scary and if you’re getting criticism about your work too early then you won’t go back to the blank page. You may not feel confident enough or motivated enough to continue. Write and write more. And don’t stop when you get a no or a rejection. Try to figure out whether the no or rejection has information you can use to make your work better.

So what's next for Heidi W. Durrow the author?
In all honesty, there’s been some clamoring for a sequel. It’s not something I really considered when I was writing –really, at least, not until I heard from so many readers that they would like a sequel. So that’s a possibility. I would love to spend more time with some of the characters, in particular Brick. But meanwhile, I’ve been at work on a historical novel set in the late 1800s in Paris and London. The main characters are a mulatto strongwoman, a hairy Laotian girl, and Edgar Degas!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Francky L'Official

This week I had the pleasure of having my locks chopped by the fabulous Francky L'Official (yes, way overdue I hear you say!). He graciously squeezed me in hours before unveiling the new salon on Madison Avenue — a block away from the previous Francky L'Official location. For those who are yearning for a good hair cut you must try the fabulous Parisian, Frankie L'Official, you won't be disappointed.


Opening June 2010
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen & Anna Mouglalis
Directed by: Jan Kounen

Paris 1913.

At the Theatre Des Champs-Elysées, Igor Stravinsky premieres his "The Rite Of Spring."
Coco Chanel attends the premiere and is mesmerized…But the revolutionary work is too modern, too radical: the enraged audience boos and jeers. A near riot ensues. Stravinsky is inconsolable.

Seven years later, now rich, respected and successful, Coco Chanel meets Stravinsky again - a penniless refugee living in exile in Paris after the Russian Revolution. The attraction between them is immediate and electric. Coco offers Stravinsky the use of her villa in Garches so that he will be able to work, and he moves in straight away, with his children and consumptive wife. And so a passionate, intense love affair between two creative giants begins...

The production of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky had the support of Karl Lagerfeld and CHANEL who have generously made available their archives and collections. CHANEL lent several original garments and accessories to be worn by Mademoiselle Anna Mouglalis in the role of Mademoiselle Chanel, and Karl Lagerfeld specially created a ‘timeless’ suit and an embroidered evening dress for the scene recreating the legendary and scandalous 1913 performance of The Rite Of Spring. In order to recreate the world of Coco Chanel as faithfully as possible, CHANEL also granted the film makers full access to its archives and to Coco Chanel’s celebrated apartment at 31, rue Cambon, Paris.

Being obsessed with all things "Coco," I headed to a screening of Coco & Igor this afternoon. It was as dark in places as the composition on which the storyline hinges. Beautifully shot and portrayed — by Mads Mikkelsen (soon to be seen in “Clash of the Titans”) & Anna Mouglalis — it shows a somewhat hardened Chanel picking up where the movie, Coco Before Chanel (starring Audrey Tautou) left off.

Gone is the ambitious, doe-eyed "Coco." Instead we see a grieving, fiercely independent pioneer determined to carve her place in history. Having read the book, I found it a little hard to be objective. The end is somewhat cliched, but if you love fashion, Coco & Igor is worth a see.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

High tech hoodie

This week — among meeting with the fabulous Judith Jamison and André Leon Talley — I stumbled across a conversation-worthy item that is guaranteed to make you wanna work out. It looks like a hoodie but it's so much more...

The HoodieBuddieTM integrates HB3 TechnologyTM to bring your clothing up to date with your lifestyle. The plastic tips of the drawstring have been replaced by earphones. In the pocket, an MP3 dock.

The only thing you'll regret about these, is the fact that this technology is not in every jacket you own.

Montblanc honors Judith Jamison

Having kick-ball-changed my way through life, it's with great admiration that I sat down with Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Judith Jamison in lieu of her latest accolade — Honoree of the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.

Jamison joins a long list of celebrated patrons who have been honoured for their contribution "to encourage cultural life to flourish." Established in 1992, the Montblanc De La Culture Arts Patronage Program awards one person from various countries including China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, U.S.A., Spain, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom. It's a great program that celebrates the Art's unsung heroes. And despite the long of accolades already garnered throughout her illustrious career, Jamison is only too proud to accept this award on behalf of all of her Ailey family.

2010 marks Jamison's 20th anniversary as Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, an amazing achievement in a creatively cut throat world. Her dedication, creative commitment and no-nonsense approach to dance as a form of art, education and life is in keeping with the Ailey spirit, a man who was determined to make dance accessible ("not easy," points out Jamison) to everyone; who sought to teach, inspire and educate across racial, geographic and socio-economic confines.

"You should feel changed from seeing an Alvin Ailey production," says Jamison, ever the Matriarch of dance. "Even those who don't know about the world of dance — ice hockey players, footballers — are moved when they see an Ailey performance. It's an intimate experience created to move, to inspire, to change..."

Her constant commitment to commissioning new works, to maintaining a "past, present, future" approach has helped make Alvin Ailey remain one of the most formidable contemporary dance companies in the world. As you walk into the purpose built, entirely company owned structure — the largest dance space in New York — the next generation of dancers pirouette their way to greatness.

"Dancers are fearless and courageous," says Jamison. "They are survivors who constantly strive for excellence. No where else in the world can you be more giving, more loving, more vulnerable than you can on stage."

At 67, Jamison shows no sign of slowing down. "We have people in the company who are eighteen dancing next to a forty year old. Dance is ageless." And indeed, thanks to those like Jamison, destined to live on in all its fabulous forms.

André Leon Talley at Yale

I must admit I had a bit of a Legally Blonde moment inches away from the Law Department at Yale yesterday. In the course of my life, it's not somewhere I expected to be anytime soon.

The sun was out, the Yale sweatshirts were in abundance as I headed to the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library to hear all things "Talley" for Polish Fashion mag, Viva Moda. An enthusiastic crowd of budding fashionistas quickly filled the state-of-the-art building, designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft.

"My life aim is to be one of Anna Wintour's gays," was possibly my favorite snippet overheard from the front rows.

"Don't annoy him, talk to his people," was another piece of advice dished out for those wanting a pre-talk photo.

As the crowd descended into silent awe with the approach of Vogue's larger than life, Editor-at-Large, the curator's quest for an indepth talk on the socio-economic ramifications on his life, was soon over ridden by Talley's no-nonsense approach. Thank goodness!

An inspiring talk on life, fashion, the quest for inspiration and respecting one's roots, made the 4 hour round trip well-worth it. For those in Poland, watch out for the feature to come. For those in Manhattan, get to Yale one time in your life, it's totally worth the trip!

Rene Lopez at Nublu this weekend

If you're looking for something extra special to do this weekend in lovely (occasionally sunny) New York, make sure you check out Rene Lopez at Nublu, this Saturday, March 27th.

With the release of his new album, People Are Just People (May 4th, Liberation Label) it's sure to be a killer show — as he does what he does best.

I recently interviewed him for Zink Magazine (May issue) so keep an eye out for all things Lopez. Until then, get out and about in this great city and support one of New York's finest. www.ReneLopez.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stalking made easy

So... someone on GoodReads.com is reading my book. Sort of freaked out that I know that, and what page she's up too (she posted it, I wasn't peeking).

Sometimes technology gives me the heebie jeebies, then again I did ask for a sign...

Then again, I now have to worry if a total stranger thinks I'm an idiot (if you've read the book then you'll understand). hahahaha!

Writing was so much more fun when we were anonymous.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ModaLisboa 2011: Ana Salazar

Ana Salazar, known as the Matriarch of Portuguese fashion, closed Day Two of ModaLisboa's Check Point. Baroque inspired, with a rock'n'roll edge, her "Depurar o Excesso" collection showcased a variety of textured fabrics in a gothic inspired color palette. Religious prints coupled with printed velvet shouted "Salazar style" while other pieces remained more contemporary, ready-to-wear.

Utilizing black, old gold, earth, forest green, purple, bloody red and white, hemlines were short, fabrics textured to create a chunky, punk silouette.

Perhaps the most intriguing, jewelry by Valentim Quaresma, which really made the collection come to life. Brass Baroque crosses adorned the cheeks of passing models, necklaces with a myriad of textures and details hung seductively over the front and back of svelte figures. One particular show stopper included a necklace including an oversized British Coat of Arms, hanging from the back, highlighting the cut of dress as well as the theme of the collection, a great fit for both designer and jeweler.

For more photos head to UnitedEditorsatLarge.Blogspot.com

Photos: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

Sunday, March 14, 2010

ModaLisboa 2011: Salsa

Portugal's Denim dominator, Salsa, showed for the first time at ModaLisboa's Check Point. Their Fall Winter 2010/2011 collection producing edgy, denim wear reminiscent of some of the world's most well-loved kings of casual.

Multi-colored denim dresses were interesting additions to the women's wear with samplings from several of their much-loved lines from Premium Denim to more street-inspired offerings. Men's wear in cropped puffer jackets of midnight blue with an abundance of metal detail are sure to fly off the rack.

The line Urban Emotion was launched among the company's many offerings, inspired by the tales of Oliver Twist. Ochre, black, khaki and peacock blue emanated an orphan-esque style that the cool-kids-club love to flaunt.

A family-owned company, established in 1994, Salsa continues to expand at a rapid rate. From Spain to Asia it won't be long until they have you moving. Most recently, Salsa has become a best seller in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

For more photos head to UnitedEditorsatLarge.Blogspot.com

ModaLisboa 2011: Filipe Faisca

Entitled "Nanban," Filipe Faisca's 2011 Winter Collection was among the best of ModaLisboa's Check Point. Flowing silhouettes under the guise of "Female vs. Male; Urban vs. Rural" sashayed down the catwalk - china crepe, muslin and silk velvet creating feminine looks in bold winter-warming colors.

A striking silhouette got the collection off to a bang with, what seemed like fluorescent leggings making a showstopping appearance. Upon closer inspection these leggings where in fact, boot covering, all-in-one, light grey fabric tights created to reflect the light. Not for the faint hearted these are a definite must for the disco diva in us all.

Throughout the collection, multi-layered fabrics added interest to simple cuts with solid colors conversely highlighting intricate designs. Faisca played with stripes on figure hugging forms that tapered to curves (no androgyny here!).

For the confident women, Faisca managed to create wearable power wear for the chic, modern fashionista.

Photos: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

For more photos head to UnitedEditorsatLarge.Blogspot

ModaLisboa 2011: Vitor

Held in Portugal's Museum of Fashion & Design (MuDE), Vitor showed without a doubt, that he is the rising star of ModaLisboa. His collection last season saw him quickly become the media darling with an audience keen to see if he could live up to his reputation as "the next big thing." Thankfully he did and in my opinion, surpassed it.

Deconstructed knits for both men and women, were created to be worn — shown to be innovative. Each piece was distinctly "Vitor" in a well edited show of unique winter wear.

The unassuming Brazilian born designer is definitely one to watch with an evolution each season that will see him continue to climb the fashion ladder.

Photos: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

ModaLisbao 2011: Miguel Vieira

If you picked up a copy of Zink recently (February 2010) you will already be familiar with Portuguese designer Miguel Vieira. A consumate professional, his collections for both men and women have been a staple here at ModaLisboa. Recently he added furniture design to his enormous catalogue of stylish offerings from bags and shoes, to men's and women's ready-to-wear. Always with a distinctive flair for tailoring and intricate detail, this season was no different.

Creating a distinctive Jackie O flavor, women hit the catwalk in stylish classics, guaranteed to be wardrobe staples. An edge of the modern woman mixed with classic chic produced a cohesive collection that was both commercially viable and creatively intriguing. Ever evolving as a designer, the color palette remained within the classic theme, using black, midnight blue and white. Brocades, muslins, organza, pure wool and cashmere made for some elaborate silouettes - some form fitting others volumous, inspired by Couture.

Each selection of women's wear was closely followed by daper gents in tailored, structured pieces, the Portuguese wonder of masculine chic pervading. Oversized bags and classic shoes accompanied each look, one of the many multi-functional elements of Vieira's designs. As he moves into furniture design, one can only imagine what next season will bring.

Photos: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

For more photos head to UnitedEditorsatLarge.Blogspot.com

ModaLisboa 2011: Katty Xiomara

By far, one of my favorite Portuguese designers, Katty Xiomara's 2011 Winter Collection was a little disappointing. Perhaps it had more to do with the number of pieces shown rather than the creations themselves however, the styles did not seem to evolve in an engaging manner in regards to form, concept or silouette. Saying that, this particularly runway observation, does not detract from the commercial appeal of this collection which remains a highly-wearable, fun, flirty offering that would compliment any figure.

The theme was "To think, to imagine, to day dream, to construct," this was undertaken in a myriad of simplistic style dresses with embellishments that included oversized shoulder lines, ruffled detailing and various neckwear. The lengths remained uniformly mid-thigh, an occasional pair of shorts thrown into the mix. The color palette included celestial blue and grays with highlights of mauve, yellow and toasted almond tones. More definitive styling and a good edit would have helped this collection really sing.

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

For more photos head to UnitedEditorsatLarge.blogspot.com

Friday, March 12, 2010

ModaLisboa 2011: Luis Buchinho

Celebrating his twentieth anniversary, seats at Luis Buchinho's Winter collection filled up fast. The first show for Day II at ModaLisboa's Checkpoint, the show took a commemorative tone as Buchinho showcased his signature style simultaneously launching his mini collection "Louis Buchinho Special Edition" - a selection of core exclusive pieces and re-edition of classics - as well as a new line of accessories featuring shoes, purses, belts and bracelets.

Billowing silouettes cut to flatter appeared in dark chocolate, olive green, petroleum, lead and black. Leather and wool were showcased among delicate lace and muslin with latex, to provide a contrasting yet decidedly feminine outlook. Overall, it was a well constructed collection worthy of a true fashion veteran.

For more photos head to UnitedEditorsatLarge.blogspot.com

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa

ModaLisboa 2011: Alves Goncalves

A sophisticated selection of women's wear, Alves Goncalves' Winter 2011 collection rounded off day one of ModaLisboa's Checkpoint. To the soundtrack of Young American, models sporting '60s bobs, sauntered down the catwalk.

Textured fabrics with swirling felts, the silouettes were feminine and flattering. Utilizing an earthy color palette at times, classic black others, there was plenty to adore.

From metalic to see-through fabrics with swirling felt detail, Alves Goncalves lived up to their reputation as a fine manipulators of fabric and design.

For more photos head to UnitedEditorsatLarge.blogspot

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ModaLisboa 2011: Ricardo Preto

Ricardo Preto opened to an upbeat disco soundtrack, the perfect accompaniment to his "Galaxian Souk Bazar" collection. With the aim of creating a "decided, fearless and strong feminine figure," Preto utilized sparkling fabrics in silver and gold with burnt orange, green and red overtones.

Ornate accessories in the form of bejewled sunglasses and height-enhancing feathers topped off a decidely chic, souk style. Creating flowing garments from a myriad of fabrics, jersey to silk marroquin, cashmere to fur, the collection traversed a varitey of styles not always in line with the overall asethetic. A collection that would have done well with a comprehensive edit, it showed moments of delight in a creatively styled show.

For more images head to UnitedEditorsatLarge.blogspot

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa

ModaLisboa 2011: Alexandra Moura

Neutrals were the name of the game as opener Alexandra Moura kicked off Moda Lisboa's Checkpoint, WINTER 2011. One of the country´s up-and-coming designers, Moura sent out a cohesive collection of see-through fabrics and loose fitting winter favorites for both men and women. However, it was perhaps the accessories that garnered the most attention with gold-capped gumboots and to-die-for wedges, oversized leather bags with intricate details and various clutches guaranteed to keep any fashionista happy.

Figure-hugging jumpsuits hit the catwalk first, soon to be followed by loose fitting dresses playing with the concept of multi-textured, fabric layering. High finish cotton, jersey and wool made an appearance alongside cotton/elastin with a resin finish. Opaque at times with feminine silouettes, it was an easy-to-wear women's wear collection. Conservative knee length skirts with contrasting color, underlayed with ruffled petticoats where a highlight.

Leapord fur trim made a recurring appearance as the show continued, culminating in some less-than-memorable slip dresses. Menswear made a fleeting showing, rolled neck sweaters in complimentary color schemes, various black jackets, featuring interesting cuts and zipper features with accessories rounding out Moura's offerings.

Recently selected as one of the most talented future designers for Taschen´s Fashion Now series, it was a great way to start Checkpoint 2011.

For more photos check out UnitedEditorsatLarge.blogspot

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa