Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm sure by now all the fashion police and style doctors have jawed on about who was wearing what at the Oscars and why they wearing this with that and didn't it look, "Great, silly, stupid, fab, fantastic, funky, frightening..." The Oscars are the Super Bowl of fashion and I love critiquing the star's outfits, doesn't everyone? For the past, well lets just say a lot of, years I've been a professional stylist and I think I've earned the right and have the expertise to announce the winning look. It goes to Natalie Portman. I think the picture says it all.

The Oscars did get me thinking about a time in my life when I was semi by-coastal, styling shoots in LA and NYC. While in LA, I stayed with my Hollywood Hills girlfriend, Brigitte. Giving you her address alone implies how stylish she is, but more than that, she's a true and generous friend. I stayed with her plenty those years and we have shared memories of living the dream.

Brigitte and I occasionally found ourselves at Musso and Franks's, a hollywood icon located just down the street from the Oscar venue. While I can't speak for the food, sipping a martini at this bar conjures up the notion of cocktail-ing with the glam-set of old-style Hollywood. Its stars, authors, and artist lined up at the bar right next to you. Sharing some time with your best friend over a fancy drink makes the place even better.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Travel and Styling Gear: In Search Of A Stylish Backpack

For styling or for travel it's always great to have both hands free and the weight of your gear evenly distributed on your back. That's why trekkers, travelers, stylists, students and pretty much everyone, loves a good backpack. But a stylish one is hard to find. I ran across Stella McCartney's collection for LeSportsac and I like the backpacks and carry-on bags especially. With names like, City and Convertible Rucksack in colors like, Bark, Moss, Night and Stone, these bags will mix well with almost anything you're wearing and their gold details lend panache to what otherwise might be ordinary. I like the Canteen Bag too–a cute block shaped bag with great dimension, but we were talking backpacks.

Psst: I saw these bags on GiltGroup a designer sale site just the other day...
And they seem to be on sale at LeSportsac's site too.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fun In The Orchard

Yesterday we found ourselves on Orchard Street, NYC. The street has changed immensely since I bought my first interview suit there in 1983. Then it was mostly a jewish neighborhood lined with good quality sensible clothing shops. Now it's the new Nolita. If you're a New Yorker, you'll remember that Nolita was the new Soho. Anyway, the six of us, my girlfriend and I with four kids between us, two nine year old boys on skateboards and tweener girls glued at the hips, went to the Tenement Museum.

The kids grumbled a lot about the destination–too much like a school field trip, but once our tour got started they were totally engaged. The museum, simply put, is a tenement apartment building, but it's changed little since the 1860's when it was built. We learned that four families lived in identical apartments on each floor of this five story building sharing four outhouses and one water pump out back. The intricate scroll work and moldings in the building were unexpected, but the dark, musty quality of the spaces was what you might imagine. We heard a recording of a woman who lived there during the Depression. Our tour-guide told us a dickensian story about one family living there during the 1870's. A fascinating account of the time and all documented.

I've got to go back to the area sans kids to explore more fully, but we did manage to pop into one store worth a look-see, a haberdashery called Freemans Sporting Club. There is a classic barber shop in the back of the store right out of the movie, The Sting. Suits are made to measure using vintage fabrics, the workmanship, impeccable.
The Blue Moon Hotel at 100 Orchard looks interesting and has reasonable rates. Imagine staying there, strolling to the corner cafe for a latte and chocolate croissant, visiting the Tenement Museum, popping into any one of the hip looking stores and galleries neighboring to the museum, and then rounding out the day with dim sum in Chinatown. Without the hotel stay, that's just about what we did. A great day in the Orchard.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Aloha, Hawaiian Shirts

I recently read a great article in the WSJ about Hawaiian shirt designer, Alfred Shaheen. Stephen Miller paid homage to this designer in the obit he wrote touting Shaheen as the original Hawaiian style guru.
I learned a few interesting things about Aloha Shirts, otherwise known as Hawaiian Shirts, and this great American designer. For one thing, Shaheen's shirt business grew to be the third-largest industry in Hawaii, trailing sugar and pineapples. Made of rayon (all the best ones are), Shaheen hired island and Japanese textile designers who drew inspiration from their island habitats, to design the shirts–who doesn't love a Hawaiian pattern?

It's February and 40 degrees in New York. The idea of putting on a Shaheen Hawaiian dress and parking it under a tiki hut on the Big Island makes me pine for an island get away–destination of choice, and my honeymoon spot, Kona Village Resort.

If you do decide to "Go Hawaiian" choose the real deal. At this point an Alfred Shaheen shirt would be a collectors item and probably worth the pocket gouge. Tommy Bahama does nice work, but the shirts slant toward "casual Friday" and I prefer "surfer cool."