Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shala Monroque au naturel

Shala Monroque has made a very swift entrance onto the NYC party and fashion scene at large. Significant other to art gallery owner Larry Gagosian, Shala is an artistic force in her own right. She has been covered by fashion media since the fantastic September fete at her home to celebrate Pop Magazine as well as a slew of other major events. Check out Who What Wear Daily's recent coverage (photo below).  I also just started reading Shala's blog; I need to spend more time with it but what I like about it so far is that there is a point-of-view that is not obvious...intriguing.



Friday, November 20, 2009

Round 'em up - the best vintage shops online

I'm going to try and make a links section devoted to all the very best vintage ecommerce sites out there. Until then, I'm pulling my faves here.  I love keeping track of what's new from mainstream and upcoming designers but there's so much to get lost in with vintage goods (if you've ever seen me in Molly Spaulding's Narnia, on the LES you'd understand!).  Current styles are informed by what has come to pass.  It's as simple as that. Things that were "in" in times past always re-surface over time.  Even if you're an in-season shopper, I think you should always round out your closet with some vintage pieces.  Here's are highlights of my favorite online vintage sites:

Source: Brookandlyn

1. Brookandlyn
A wonderful presentation of fine vintage or "pre-loved" goods by stylist Mimi Jung. She's got a great eye for the old that will make sense with the now (I adore just about every piece in her jewelry section; not to mention the super reasonable prices). She's got a mix of Prada, Mara Hoffman, Alexander Wang, and Anna Sui. Mimi also has a blog that showcases how she puts the pieces together; if you want some styling advice, you can reach Mimi directly. I check it out every other day because you just don't ever know what is going to pop up.

Mimi Jung, Owner Brookandlyn

If you're here in NYC, you are probably very familiar with the incredible collection of high-end consignment shops that are scattered up and down the island.  Some of my favorites like INA in Nolita do a pretty fantastic job of bringing some of the best brands in apparel, shoes and accessories to you at the right price.  Nancy Chuang and her business partner have taken this model online to make it accessible to anyone with a mouse. They created their own standalone site (not as a store on eBay) with a full ecommerce engine and customer service to boot.  I am a serious fan of the site and sincerely appreciate the time that they have taken to create a look-and-feel that resembles a full-prince online retailer. Every item is shot on a mannequin with a full product description and additional photos for better detail. Size charts, share feature and full descriptive text round out the usability. CovetShop is at the Bowery Bazaar this weekend as a pop-up so if you're in downtown NYC check it out at Bowery between 3rd and 4th Streets. Right now, the site has some amazing deals on bags, including the Balenciaga multi-pocket tote for $795 or if you want something smaller from this coveted brand, they've got the gorgeous Cherche Midi clutch for $550.

3. RelicNY
Janel Molten is responsible for this online gem. The choices are pretty impeccable. Just take a look at this vintage ostrich fur cape from Saks for $595! 

 Source: RelicNY
Each item is photographed on a live model accompanied by full description. A unique product feature is the "Stylist" tab that includes remarks from Janel about how to wear the piece and what to pair it with. Molten is not shy to mix brands - you'll find Akris, Alice McCall, Proenza Schouler, Prada, Nanette Lepore, Christian Lacroix all in her "New Finds".

Another gem in the online vintage space. The design of the site by Lauren Lail is so clever with each product photo superimposed on one of the old fashion index cards that you used to memorize your 7th grade vocabulary cards with. Nostalgia invoked. The online store is nicely classified so you can find all the truly designer vintage stuff like a Bottega Veneta petite bag for $405 or a chic beaded belt by Dior for $175 in one section versus the other vintage stuff categorized into dresses, separates, bags, and accessories. A lovely experience and I will be back for more. Lail's Charleston charm shines!

Those in Brooklyn have the eye for style, no doubt --- this Greenpoint boutique has gone online to showcase all of the one-of-a-kid jewelry, apparel, accessory, and home pieces. How wonderful is this octagon purse (sold out already!)?!?  From rhinestone necklaces to fur collars to slouchy bags, I feel transported to a time past.

Name well-chosen. When you're on this site, you feel like you've stepped into an archive building and are looking through boxes of old goodies. Another well-designed site that makes you feel like you're cruising a high-end full priced ecommerce experience.

Other vintage sites you must visit:
9. Marion Mercer (Haute couture at your fingertips)
10. Dulcinee (I miss you on Stanton St.!)
11. Decades Vintage (Rhinestone necklaces are all amazing)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Lifts Off

There are tons and tons of fashion sites out now that try to be the one-stop shop for news, products, editorial, social media/community, and on and on.  For me the jury is still out on sites like Stylecaster but I do respect what they're trying to do (in some cases, I just feel like they're trying to do too much).  FashionAir is the newest entrant; owned by 19 Entertainment of American Idol fame and managed by Simon Fuller and Sojin Lee, who previously worked at Net-a-Porter.  You can certainly see the Net-a-Porter aesthetic on FashionAir: content skews heavily towards video, the hourglass substituted by a trio sketch of fashionable ladies, and the move towards a merge of editorial with commerce.

 Sojin Lee, Co-Founder

My favorite feature of the site is their "7 Days of Chic" where they feature the 7 outfits of a fashionable lady.  Two of my favorite videos are from two designers: Saloni Lodha and Mira Mikati.  Saloni hails from India and is a design upstart whose market is primarily in the UK. I met her at her trunk show in NYC during this past fashion week and she is indeed quite chic, graceful, and stylish.

Saloni Lodha

Mira leaves me speechless. I love her urban feminine look. Very French and super laid back. Not to mention her Lebanese/French accent! Check out Mira's 7 outfits.

Mira Mikati

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Crocheted sophistication with Arielle de Pinto

I'm absolutely in love with Arielle de Pinto's jewelry. Each piece is made by hand; a mix of sterling silver and vermeil metal. The Canadian jeweler experiments with oxidation techniques to create different tones. I love every single piece and actually purchased one piece recently. There's something fiercely irreverent about her designs --- so feminine yet raw yet masculine and strong. I never knew I could describe jewelry like this before. The best place to shop for her pieces is at Lambs Ear Shoes. You won't find another place that has as many pieces. Assembly New York, a boutique on the lower east side in Manhattan also has a few pieces.

Source: photos from Arielle de Pinto

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Daily deals from Groupon

Check out Groupon which is kind of like Daily Candy's "Deal of the Week" but better. Groupon gives you a daily deal across major cities in the U.S. You can lock in on the discounted price for restaurants, spas, tickets, etc. if enough people buy into it. A clever business decision because it forces people to spread the word about the service. Today's deal in New York: $40 for 2-week access to the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers. Don't worry if there are not enough people signed up yet for an offer in order to lock in the discounted price: you can enter your credit card information so that when the threshold is reached, you automatically are in queue to get it. Who can turn down a good deal? Andrew Mason, the company's CEO, was recently featured in Crains 40 under 40 in Chicago.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009


It reminded me of Wes Anderson's early films with his U of T roomate Owen Wilson, but Bottlenotes is quite different from Bottleshock but a good name all the same...there are a lot of wine sites out there but Bottlenotes seems well-organized with a good UI and actually some interesting information. Started by a Stanford MBA, the site is at once an informational database, social media platform/community for wine lovers, and an events website. The founders call it "Daily Candy meets US Weekly". There's even a profile from Ms. Goop herself, Gwyneth Paltrow. Here's her Q&A:

Q1: Where did you grow up?
A1: I was born in Los Angeles, California.
Q2: What was the first time you remember drinking wine?
A2: My father was a big wine collector and a wine lover. I remember having tiny sips of his red wine when I was little. I loved it even then. The romance of it all. Watching him decant, analyze the cork, the pleasure he derived from the whole thing.
Q3: Where do you drink wine mostly?
A3: In my garden in London on a summers eve and out on Long Island during Thanksgiving weekend.
Q4: What are your favorite types of wine? Varietals? Regions?
A4: My absolute favorite wines are Chateaux Figeac and Ausone. I also love California Pinot Noirs. And St. Emilions, of course
Q5: What are your favorite kinds of food?
A5: Rustic Italian food. Japanese.
Q6: What are your favorite restaurants?
A6: Mozza and the old katsu ya in LA. Babbo, Pearl Oyster Bar, Elios in NYC. Locanda Locatelli, The River Cafe, Chez Bruce and Chisou in London.
Q7: What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
A7: I like my home made duck ragu on fresh pasta with a lovely Burgundy
Q8: Do you cook? If so, what kind of food and for whom?
A8: I cook very frequently. I cook lots of fish, veggies and pasta. I cook for myself, I cook for friends. I absolutely love to cook.
Q9: If you were stranded on a desert island, what one type of food/wine would choose to have?
A9: Are we being practical here? I could live off of fresh coconuts, I drink coconut water everyday. I love the idea of the fresh fish out of the sea, and foraging for food. I would need to grow a little herb garden, though. I would need seeds and some manni Olive oil from Tuscany and a very cold Sancerre to go with the oysters I would learn to dive for.


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