Sunday, April 24, 2011
Look Us Up - We're in the Book
On Thursday, April 14th, we seriously overdrew our account at the Bank of Fabulousness! (Jean says: I've personally exceeded my quota of style sightings for the next six months!) One of our favorite style blogs published its first book -- the eponymously titled "StyleLikeU" -- and invited us to the book launch party hosted by none other than Vanity Fair Magazine. The book launch and website relaunch celebration was held at The House of Bumble, a chic hair salon, in the heart of the tres chic Meatpacking District. As if that weren't wonderful enough, bloggers turned authors Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum were sweet enough to select the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas for inclusion in their tome, published by powerHouse Books. Because the book features the creme de la creme of SLU's blog, we were truly honored. Needless to say, all of the guests who appear in the book rose to the occasion and dressed to kill. (See below kiddies, Auntie Jean isn't exaggerating.) While Valerie chose to riff on the milk maid theme (by way of Issey Miyake!), I went hard-core Goth, complete with black coq feather hat and platform boots.
Here' a cover shot of the 222-page book, chock full of photographs of individuals and montages of accessories (shoes, bracelets, rings, baubles, necklaces, etc.). A shot of my hands with my black bakelite rings and red bracelets graces the upper left section of page 99.
We're positively thrilled that our photographs appear on page 205. The quote ("There isn't a VOICE for women of a certain age in fashion. We are not invisible and we are not dead and we're still consumers") comes right from our SLU video and really sums up our point of view.
Here we are celebrating with our hosts. Elisa Goodkind appears dead center in the middle with Ramona Canino on the far left and Lily Mandelbaum on the far right. Did I mention that the bubbly was flowing all evening, that the appetizers were divine, and that they were topped off at the end of the evening by tiny (warm) greeen tea jelly donuts? Divine. Might I take this occasion to note a recent shift in Valerie's style of dress, away from colors to graphic black and white? Perhaps my influence is beginning to seep over into her subconscious? Stay tuned, and you be the judge... Valerie says: I scoff at this. Can you hear me scoffing? Here: Scoff, scoff. Anyone would think Jean invented black the ways she carries on. Scoff, scoff, scoff.
The Dutch burghers were wearing it hundreds of years before Jean was a so much as a glimmer in her father's eye, and the Beatles wore it before Jean had bought her first black ANYthing (I'm guessing).
You don't hear any of them saying that Jean got the idea to wear black from them, do you? The problem is that a LOT of my polychrome clothes no longer fit me ('specially around the waist), and searching for replacements is a task, not a joy. When I was a size 8, I could sometimes wear a 6, or go one size up to a 10. Now that I'm a 12, the world thinks I shouldn't be wearing color at all, and doesn't make much of it in my size. And as for going one size up to a 14 - all you 14s out there: how often do you find anything you like in your size and preferred color? Not to mention that here in New York, it's easier to find black clothing than it is to find a good cup of coffee. (That coffee chain you're going to counter with does NOT make good coffee. Sorry.)
AND, continues Valerie, in high dudgeon, only a few hours before we wrote this blog entry, I told Jean I had found a vintage blue Norma Kamali dress IN MY SIZE (OMG!), and her eyes got as big as saucers when I told her about the one I'd found a year ago at a local thrift shop and had to let go because it was a size small. (Jean can wear a small. SIGH.) Shall I keep my eyes out for you if another one pops up, I asked, surprised that she would want something blue. And Jean said I should. So I ask you. Not quite sure what I ask you, but you can fill it in for yourself.
Valerie says: this lady was the 'bouncer' at the velvet cord when I arrived, and escorted me and an elevator full of others up to the party. Not too many people could have worn what I called her 'naked dress'. Jean says: Her illusion top was just that. Strategically places swirls of lace fabric covered (just barely) her magnificent decolletage. The dress was a show-stopper. (Click on photos to enlarge.) She looked fab coming AND going. More about her kohl-eyed companion later.
Because we were in the belly of the beast, so to speak, I guess it shouldn't have surprised me that several guests took advantage of the fact that the party was in a gorgeously appointed salon. This woman seized the moment and had her hair cut. The House of Bumble staff were extremely attractive and, from what we saw, equally talented. (Valerie says: it was the oddest thing to see. All of us swanning about, music thumping, and these few people doing about their business as if the party weren't happening. Sort of like two movie sets colliding.)
The gentleman on the right reminded both of us of Billy Idol, although he probably wasn't born yet when "White Wedding" hit the charts. But the hair, the jacket, the oversize sunglasses, the attitude. It was like we were transported back to the '80s.
Valerie says: Jean's camera is on the fritz, so I was left to do all the photographing myself. On a night when Jean takes 100 photos, I'll take maybe 20, so on this evening I photographed not just my favorites, but tried to imagine the people Jean would want to photograph. Periodically she would grab me and hiss in my ear "you have to get that one with the great shoes", or somesuch, and generally I was able to respond that I already had. In this particular crowd, we weren't likely to run into anyone camera-shy, thank goodness, so I was able to unburden myself of my usual hesitancy, and just snap away. Oh, and I say Jean hissed because it was so loud in there I probably wouldn't have heard her otherwise. Who invented the equation VERY LOUD MUSIC = fun? Isn't that an old theory which has since been disproved? Like the one about the earth being flat?
In her modeling heyday, Jenny Shimizu rocked the fashion scene with her exotic looks and aggressive style. She was one of the first models to sport prominent tattoos on the runway. Her androgynous look is quite striking. (Valerie says: there should be a book on models who give up the business, what their thoughts are on leaving the limelight, and what they're doing now.) The dancing redhead behind her is the fabulous Ilona -- she of the 2-inch long red lashes who often appears in Advanced Style.
When I cast my non-animated version of Jessica Rabbit, I want Domonique to play Jessica. She is gorgeous, voluptuous and amazingly sweet. And talented -- she designed and created her entire outfit, including the impossibly sexy transparent red fish-tailed vamp dress, hat and purse. I look like a shrimp on the side of a cocktail glass and she's the spicy horseradish and catsup sauce!
Our friend Tziporah Salamon appears in the book and appeared at the party, escorted by her friend David. As always, she dressed to the nines and did not disappoint.
Imagine my surprise to run into our friend Brandon -- and discover that he was wearing the exact same tiger-printed pleated Issey Miyake pants that I'd just scored at the last sample sale. (I said that silent prayer of thanks to Mary Magdalen, the unofficial patron saint of fashion, that I had chosen NOT to wear my pair that evening!)
Shuva was one of my favorite characters of the evening. He's a punk musician who eschews all corporate trappings such as business cards and email and chooses to combine his wild mohawk with dreadlocks and black-rimmed eyes with Ninja-style pants and shoes. He was a terrific sport and indulged our comments and banter with enormous good humor. Here he is with Julius, wearing the spiked jacket.
Here's a close-up of Shuva's cloven Ninja shoes. If they had been my size, I'd have created a diversion and ripped them right off his feet.
Ilona and her dance partner again. Jean says: Earlier in the evening, when I was walking to the party, I ran into Ari Seth Cohen and Lina who had just accompanied Ilona to an event at DeBeers (yes, THAT DeBeers). Patrick Orcutt from SLU showed up at the same time and he and I volunteered to escort Ilona the rest of the way to the party. She is a tiny bundle of energy. At 91, she puts the rest of us to shame. As you can see from the photo, she was thoroughly enjoying the DJ's selections.
Here are Ilona and Zelda Kaplan. Zelda designs much of her own clothing, which she has made from fabrics she buys on trips to Africa. If Zelda isn't yet a nonagenarian, she's within touching distance of it, and, like Ilona, sets a heck of a standard for the rest of us to live up to. Raise your hand if you saw Zelda on David Letterman several years ago, where she was interviewed just for being who she is.
We spotted Karen Ko and her spiked ankle cuffs and just HAD to photograph them.
Beatrix Ost made the most glamourous entrance wearing the most wonderful jacket, colorful long draped skirt and topped it all of with a gorgeous turban. (She had generously agreed to appear on the gala committee's invitation to Stephen Petronio Company's recent New York City premier of Underland at the Joyce Theater.) She's one of my favorite style icons, so the opportunity to hang out with her was tremendous fun. Valerie nods: her colors and style look like they're right out of Gustav Klimt! She has a wonderful ethereal look about her. Beatrix also recently published a memoir, entitled My Father's House: A Childhood in Wartime Bavaria.
On the left is Malcolm Harris, who appeared with us in Time Out New York's spread on trendy New Yorkers.
Designer Jeffrey B. Williams wowed the crowd with his floor length fur-collared caftan. It is always so much fun to run into Jeffrey because he always has all the best scoops and dish. Nobody does drama like Jeffrey!
Valerie says: I fell in love with this woman's plastic (vinyl?) dress. So much so that I tried multiple times to photograph it, from different angles. TOUGH dress to wear, but she carries it off beautifully.
We loved how understated these two were, while still looking great. LOTS of people wore lots of glitz, but these guys were wonderful just being themselves.
Valerie says: We THINK this is Fay Leshner, who graces the cover of the book. Great dress, and great make up. Check out the shoes that go with the dress. Not only are they fab, they seem to have two different heels - clear and opaque. That's not just the light, is it???
At one point, there were three women in turbans mixing it up on the dance floor. With my poor little digital camera, it was impossible to photograph them all facing me at the same time, but as Jean and I are both turban fans, it was great to see three women doing free advertising for millinery. This was one of the three women.
Valerie says: I was tickled to see this woman in a long Norma Kamali jacket. The print is a westernized version of the mud cloth indigenous to Mali, called bogolanfini. In the same material I have the Norma version of a shalwar kameez - the long tunic and pants often seen in Pakistan. This design dates back to somewhere around 1990, or earlier.
Valerie says: here's the smoking room, on the sidewalk. Jean says: The icing on the cake was the goodie bag! We all got our own copies of the book, along with generously sized bottles of Bumble and bumble products. Heavenly! When we were leaving the party, we ran into this stylish lineup outside. They were probably all heading to the after-party. (Valerie says: we didn't go - we have to get our beauty sleep.)
When we finally trundled off to the subway to wend our way home, several of the other riders asked if we'd been out to an event. (What gave it away??) Then they whipped out their iPhones and asked if they could take pictures of us. We've learned now to say yes, if they'll return the favor a take a picture of us with our camera (seen here). That way we don't each have to take a shot of the other. We had a blast.
When we got off the train, there were two buskers playing wonderful music on their guitars. It sounded like mandolin music - gentle, sweet, tender, romantic - and so delicately played. Lovely way to end an evening.
And so to bed...
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Valerie is wearing: splint, bustier by H&M, metal and polyester shibori scarf by Junichi Arai, skirt by Issey Miyake, high heeled sneakers by Chinese Laundry.
Jean is wearing: vintage coq feather hat; Kyodan jacket; Lili wide-legged linen pants tied at the ankles; Lux de Ville handbag with "diamond" watch from Canal Street attached to the strap; self-customized Dansko clogs; vintage Revue frames; brass bird and black coral earrings by Kirsten Hawthorne; vintage bakelite rings.