You can't begin to imagine - actually, probably you CAN - how delighted we were to be invited by StyleLikeU's Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum to be two of their five muses to participate in the opening night of Gudrun Sjoden's new eponymous shop Gudrun on Greene Street in Soho. All we had to do was to put together an outfit from among Gudrun's seemingly limitless mix-and-match separates, add our own accessories, and wear them to the opening party. Gudrun is a longtime champion of color, pattern, shape, comfort and sustainability. One look at her online catalogue and we jumped at the opportunity. Above are the pieces we put together. (Click on the StyleLikeU (SLU) link above to see more party pictures, and to find out more about StyleLikeU. To find out more about what we're wearing, read on.)
The Dumpling Diva, Marja Samsom, paid us a visit to check out the store and watch us strut our stuff. It was all very informal - no cat walk, no front row seats -- just threading our way through the crowds, and showing how good Gudrun's designs look, even if you're not six feet tall and size 2.
Jean's selections were black and white -- no surprises there! She's wearing Gudrun's "Ziki" black and white polka dot modal/spandex tunic that retails for $120. She paired the tunic with Gudrun's Eco-cotton pants ("Comfortable solid-color pants made of organic cotton jersey. Wide waistband and delightful balloon-shaped legs."). Jean's own accessories: Jeffrey Campbell black and white striped platform boots, Ignatius fleece hat, black and white striped American Apparel turtle neck, black and white vintage bakelite and plastic bracelets and rings and a black cross-body bag from a street vendor.
Valerie chose Gudrun's "Sus & Dus" cotton/rayon dress with four black and white panels (front and back) in assorted patterns, cap sleeves in another pattern, buttons that open all the way down the front for greater versatility, a strip of red cotton peeking out behind the buttons for contrast, and two deep side pockets ($120); and paired that with "Svirr" single-pattern cotton/rayon draw string pants with two more deep side pockets ($80). That was topped off with a tomato red cotton Gudrun scarf worn as a turban. Gudrun's pieces were matched with a pair of beaded squid earrings by Olya Mytsko on Etsy, vintage red elastic Issey Miyake belt, transparent black tee shirt by H&M, black and white shoes by Flat Apartment, black and white felt bracelet by Katinytis on Etsy and a red felt bracelet by Brooklyn's O-Matic.
We were told to have fun mixing and matching, and we did!
Jean caught up with Elisa for a moment during the beginning of the festivities.
Lily also stopped for a snapshot, modeling a striped tunic by Gudrun.
We ran into Shainna Tucker, whom we first met at the Independent Fashion Bloggers' conference in 2011. Shainna, who's also wearing Gudrun designs, assisted with the PR for the opening. Way to go, Shainna!
The two piece band entertained the crowd all evening, playing bluegrass, blues and vintage jazz ditties like "I Wanna Be Loved by You". They were imported for the party because they had been such a success at the opening of Gudrun's London store.
Here are two of our fellow SLU "muses", Trae Harris (left) and Lizzy Seguine (right). Although we'd viewed each other's videos and slide shows on StyeLikeU, we'd never actually met until Wednesday, when we all got to try on clothes to select the outfits we'd wear to the opening.
You've seen our gorgeous friend Chloe Pang before. In the throng of people, we saw her hat waft by before we saw her. She's working on a line of surrealist hats, which we can't wait to see.
Here is the eponymous Gudrun Sjoden, proprietress of the establishment and our hostess extraordinaire, with Jean.
Gudrun's shop and style go back the 1970s when she had a branch in San Francisco, which later closed.
The newly opened New York branch is now the flagship US store. Gudrun has boundless energy. The Helsinki branch opened in January, and another shop will be opening in Cologne, Germany, at the end of this month. We're delighted to say that Gudrun is past 70, and sets a wonderful example for us all.
We admired Merle's glasses and necklace, and her look in general. Merle works for the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign. Her necklace is Vietnamese.
When we came in before the event to choose our outfits, Gudrun and one of her assistants were still putting hand painted designs on the walls, such as the ones you see at the cashier's desk.
Barbara and her wonderfully mustachioed friend fit right in with the eclectic crowd. Turns out they both work for Envy Model Management. (What a telling name!)
Pam Miller is great. Her business card says "pageantry and parties". Doesn't that beat "event planning"?
Gudrun (check out her fabulous green glasses) poses with designer Jeffrey Williams (recognize him from Project Runway? He won!) and Jackie, his friend and videographer.
Our friends, designer Tim John and artist Kirsten Hawthorne, stopped by to join in the celebration.
These two ladies are adorable! The very young little lady on the right's business card reads "Barby Beauvais Fashion Consultant/Wardrobe Stylist" on the front and quotes from Diana Vreeland ("You gotta have style. It helps you get up in the morning. It's a way of life.") on the back.
And speaking of adorable, check out the teeny weeny multicolored sparkling cupcakes! Morgan Larsson's Boulevard Bistro (290 Lenox Ave, NY, NY 212-678-6200) catered the event. Hors d'oeuvres included delicious tidbits like salmon on toast, cheese puffs and quiche. In addition to the cupcakes below, a darker chocolate version with chocolate chips and mint frosting were delightful. Likewise, the tiny round chocolate caramel truffles with a hard shell dusted with cocoa powder and filled with creamy caramel were OMG sinful.
We met Chester at the party. His sweet personality, wicked sense of humor and killer style are a triple threat.
Monica is an absolute sweetheart. She is so nice and was so amazingly helpful when we were trying on our outfits last Wednesday, trying to decide what to wear. Her positive reinforcement was much appreciated. She is also wearing an outfit from the store.
Norwegians Ulla and Eric Dahl recently relocated from Dubai to New York. Ulla is wearing the blue and white version of Jean's tunic, paired with a red print cotton vest. Although it was only her fourth day on the job, she was remarkably poised and relaxed -- more so than we'd ever be under the same circumstances.
This dapper gent ignored the New York winter weather (oh, the weather outside was frightful) and really dressed for the occasion. We especially loved his tie and pocket square.
For some time, the party was wall-to-wall people. How we all swanned about without spilling our champagne or our "Green Pirates" (fresh juice blend of spinach, celery, lemon, apple and ginger) or our "Heart Beets" (fresh juice blend of beets, parsley, orange, kale and ginger, both supplied by Green Pirate Juice) is amazing. We mention the big squeeze because it was impossible to part the sea of people to get a better shot of these two ladies.
We luuuuvvvvved this lady with her attitude, her multicolored Mohawk, and her yellow boots. You can see some of the store's floor paintings at her feet.
And we luuuuuvvvvvved this woman's long mane!
This is another one of those throng-of-humanity pictures. Would have loved to get you a better view of this woman's partially shaven head, as well as a better view of her stark black and white look, but there was no room to back up and compose a shot!
Lyfe Silva was stunning!
On the left is a young designer with a look very much his own. Don't forget to look at his imposing silver rings. Next to him is another of Gudrun's models. The shoes and leggings are also by Gudrun. Between their heads you can see black and gray polka dot towels. Valerie couldn't leave without taking home a bath towel and hand towel. She'd been looking for something besides Standard White and Outrageously Expensive for a very long time. Eureka!
Our pal Helen Uffner and her friend Michael Ingbar also came to the party. Loved her hat (which she proudly told us was a thrift shop find from Comme des Garcons - oh, envy, envy! It is not only the name of a model management agency!) and her necklace (a belt, beautifully re-purposed).
We got to talk with Jonathan, an actor, and Yanyi, who works at Assouline, the fabulous publishing house. Really hard to take the best possible picture of them because of the mad crush right around then.
This chic couple caught our eye, and were so accommodating when we asked for a photo.
Perhaps it was the bubbly, but we cannot for the life of us remember the name of this gorgeous fashion designer. (Or maybe it's just that we are OLD.) Not only was she gorgeous, she had legs that went on forever and ostrich shorts and the most fabulous YSL shoes. (Is her name Mallory? If anyone can enlighten us, please do.)
This adorable young woman, who was with the tall, dark designer, stopped to have a chat with Jean.
Only Patrick Orcutt could "work" one of Gudrun's shirts and look this good. His look reminded us of Jean Paul Gaultier's 1980's sailor look.
Just before heading out into the evening, this glamorous lady stopped for a photo.
It was so much fun to see Shelly Bromfield at the party. Jean and Shelly share a very strong Stephen Petronio connection going back several years.
Jeffrey and Jackie did a short video with each of us. Here, Jeffrey and Valerie ham it up for the camera. While the video was rolling, Jeffrey asked Valerie where she would like to travel next, and what she'd wear there. Ever at the leading edge of fashion, Valerie replied that she wanted to go to Burma. (Or Myanmar depending on your politics, and possibly depending on your age.) What would Jeffrey design for a woman on her way to Burma? Something exotic, please!
They looked so comfy on the couch that Barbara, Alex and Jean couldn't resist joining them!
One of Gudrun's Helsinki staffers got to come to New York City to help get the new store up and running. Hey, maybe we can go to Cologne and help on opening night there???
This stylish trio really seemed to be enjoying themselves so much, we accused them of "exceeding their fun quota" for the evening, which got a big laugh all around.
Just before time to go, Jean caught Valerie hamming it up again on the couch, with her soon-to-be newly purchased polka dot towels at her side.
Jean took a page out of Valerie's book about 2 and 1/2 hours into the party and "took a load off!"
Just before making our own exit, we took a parting shot of the StyleLikeU contingent and friends: Lily, Patrick, Mona and one of their pals.
Ta-ta until next time, kiddies!