Sunday, September 11, 2011

Double Whammy: Fashion's Night Out and the Independent Fashion Bloggers' Conference

On September 8th, for our annual Fashion's Night Out, we decided to stay downtown and chose to wear the vintage coolie hats which we'd featured in a recent DIY posting about lacquering them bright red with Krylon spray paint. By sheer coincidence, we both ended up wearing black and white. Valerie accessorized her dress with a matching red rubber funnel on a red paper cord. The weather was wonderfully cooperative -- no rain and relatively low humidity. We started the evening at 7:30 PM in Soho. Unlike last year, we made only very loose plans. We figured the chances of actually getting into any of the very high profile events was pretty slim (unless we stood on line for hours), so we let ourselves be dashed around like Flotsam and Jetsam.

First Stop: Issey Miyake's Pleats Please: Jean says: I made the mistake of walking west from the subway along Spring Street and ran into huge crowds, complete with metal police barricades preventing everyone (including me and about 8,000 other people) from crossing the street. The celebrity arrival generating all the buzz and craziness? Pauly D from MTV's Jersey Shore! We both loved this red and black zig-zag origami vest/dress worn by one of the employees.

After a glass of champagne, we got down to business, picking out which item(s) we'd buy if we won the lottery. Jean selected these fabulous black crinkly pleated wide-legged pants. (Quel suprise!)

Valerie picked this great dress with the wonderfully graphic snake-like "S" designs.

Next Stop: Realm, a store carrying lots of Parisian fashion. The clientele is very Euro and very well dressed. One of the staff certainly had the figure to wear this slim strapless beaded number.

We were thrilled to run into PR maven Mandy Erickson (left) from Showroom Seven. Mandy had done such an extraordinary job planning Stephen Petronio Dance Company's Spring 2011 gala.

How could we possibly resist this gentleman sporting two of our favorite looks -- a turban and thick, round black glasses?

These two chic ladies dressed in white and black were shopping and enjoying the scene. We both loved the metal handbag that the blonde was carrying.

Here's a closeup of the bag. Isn't this Beatles' metal purse the most amusing accessory you've seen in a long time?

Next stop: Nicole Miller, which always has a fabulous DJ, and is packed to the rafters with a very young, urban, hip crowd. When we arrived, the DJ was playing a lot of Motown, so Valerie and this wonderfully tall and slim lady with the most gorgeous hair started "swinging and swaying with records playing, and dancin' in the streets".

Our next stop was Isabel Marant which featured Swedish DJ Ian Svensonius, gorgeous AND delectable French chocolate morsels by Richart, and a stunning champagne cocktail of pureed fresh strawberries, mint and basil. The combination was positively divine, and as cocktail and chocolate hunters, we are not easily impressed. We wanted to kidnap Benjamin Auzimour, the Richart representative, and force him to make cinnamon- and coffee-infused dark chocolate for us for the rest of his life.

These two dandies were taking in the scene and surveying the crowd.

Valerie persuaded this woman to show the back of her gorgeous dress.

Nick and Reinaldo stopped for a chat and a photo op.

The next point in our itinerary was IF, which was filled with the most diverse, fashion forward crowd of our evening, with lots of young Japanese designers, models and bloggers. By this time, we had long since given up our plan to find one fabulous thing to adore at each shop. Not only were our matching red hats causing too much of a stir, we were finding too many fabulous people to admire and photograph. Case in point, model/blogger Wataru, in picture-perfect raiment, who had his camera at the ready to record and blog about the evening's events. He was a Comme des Garcons fan. We were enamored of his shoes -- and his glasses -- which purposely had no lenses! Check out Wataru's blog, An Unknown Quantity. He explained that his nickname "Bob" came from the fact that he used to have a hairdo just like Jean's.

Here's a closeup of the amazing shoes.

Jean met Sato-san, a kindred spirit, who works at Y-3.

Since Valerie lived for 10 years in Japan, she speaks fluent Japanese, which never fails to surprise and delight people like Yoichi and Atsuki. Don't you just love Yoichi's black with white polka dot socks?

This gent's outfit was a refreshing counterpoint to the whole Asian black minimalist aesthetic. There are VERY few men who could carry it off so effortlessly well.

How sweet and demure is this young woman's look, despite (or because of) the blue hair, black leather bra and red leather motorcycle jacket? They made such a cute couple.

The DJ was drop-dead gorgeous. We loved her long black armlets.

A truly backless look. Alexander McQueen did pants like these some seasons back (his famous "Bumsters"). We loved him, but we women of a certain age may have to draw the line here. So to speak.

These two guys had the best footwear. Jean says: I confessed to Cy (left) that if he were found mugged and shoeless in an alley, I did it! I loved the net gladiator sandals.

On our way downtown, while walking west on Grand Street, we spotted this impossibly cool pink be-turbaned woman. We called out "Nancy Cunard", remembering the famous Man Ray photograph of Nancy in a million bracelets, and the woman called back to us "I LOVE her!"

Our last stop of the evening was Issey Miyake in Tribeca. They were closing, but Zari, the wonderful men's wear buyer, recognized us and kindly waved us in. We loved the origami outfits these two staff members were wearing -- both coming and going. Because they were getting ready to close, we just popped in to say hi and take a quick peek. Needless to say, the black wide-legged bellows-pleated pants cropped at the ankle immediately caught Jean's eye, so she practically had to be pried loose and dragged from the premises.

This life-size black and white cow sculpture stands in front of the restaurant across the street. After four hours of frivolity, we were ready to head home, but not before taking one last photo to commemorate another fun evening.

Independent Fashion Bloggers Conference

On September 7th, we attended our first Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) conference at Milk Studios in the Meat Packing District. IFB, which has been in existence since 2007, is a collective mentorship network comprised of more than 15,000 fashion bloggers. While we were easily the oldest people in the room, we weren't intimidated, It was a very welcoming and diverse crowd of fashion and beauty bloggers. While there were a few male bloggers in attendance, there were huge numbers of Asian and black and culturally diverse women of all shapes and sizes in the audience and as panel members. Some of the bloggers cross over between beauty and fashion; some are specifically devoted to one or the other. The beauty bloggers focus on hair, skin and nail care and products. The fashion bloggers focus on runway shows, designers and their own fashion eccentricities (like us!). There is a whole genre of bloggers devoted to DIY (Do It Yourself) projects and postings.

When we entered the huge auditorium, with a stage and seats in the front and exhibits and sponsor products in the back, we were immediately taken with the very lifelike giant Target fashion blogger, celebrating Target's recent collaboration with Missoni. For the first half of the day, the puppet figure, clad in oversize Missoni dress and leggings, blinked her eyes, turned and nodded her head knowingly, as if in response to what panelists were saying, and typed out messages on her smart phone. Her hair moved naturally when she turned her head. She was seated on the floor, next to her oversized Target/Missoni bag. It was eerily fun to watch. Although the puppet masters were highly visible, you almost didn't notice them after a while. (They were dressed in black, like Japanese puppet masters, except for the very white shoes.)

Leandra Medine, who writes the wildly popular blog The Man Repeller, is one of our all-time favorites. We ran into her outside of Milk Studios during one of the breaks. Leandra was a member of the first panel of the day called Bloggers Tool Kit, devoted to providing guidance on promotion through social media and which metrics work best for bloggers. She speaks as well as she writes and provided down-to-earth advice. Her brand is so recognizable, it was cited in an afternoon panel by none other than Ari Goldberg of StyleCaster Media Group. Famous as Lebron James' agent, Ari gave rapid fire, no-nonsene advice with a dead-pan delivery that was hilarious. "...and use Spell Check, for the love of god" was one of our favorites.

This is Ryo Miyamoto, who does a street style blog, and has an amazing eye for individuality and detail. We ran into Ryo again at IF in SOHO during Fashion's Night Out the next evening.

Jasmin Rodriguez of Vintage Vandalizm commanded attention in her body conscious (that's "body con" in fashion blogger-speak) dress, heels, hat and tiny fur shrug. We wanna know -- how did she sit all day in that outfit and still look so unruffled?

When blogs collide!Our friend Ari Seth Cohen is the creator of Advanced Style, a blog devoted to "capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set", which often features us (and on Saturday, was devoted to our YouTube hat videos, which were then picked up by The Stylist - as well as a number of other blogs!). Ari was a guest panelist along with some other heavy hitters in the blogosphere on the Evolution of Fashion Media.

Shainna Tucker, who writes a blog called A Thick Girl’s Closet, was one of the tallest and most confident women we met that day.

Fajr Muhammad (in yellow), who writes Stylish Thought, also looked fab. We saw she put us on her blog. Thanks, Fajr! Happy to return the compliment!

These are just some of the stylish conference attendees.

We met these two very chic young women just before the 3:30 PM panel took the stage. Christian Remrod, founder of Fashion Networks International, who was in that panel, is visible in the background.

We ran into Mr. Mickey of Paper Magazine at the event. Mickey Boardman's "Ask Mr. Mickey" has acquired a cult following. He was his usual ebullient self. Mickey is so natural on stage -- a very relaxed and engaging public speaker. He was one of the participants in Ari Seth Cohen's panel, along with Mary HK Choi of MTV Style, Ann Colville Somma of HolierthanNow, Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily, Joyce Change of People Style Watch, and Christian Remrod of Fashion Networks.

Here you can see some of our fellow bloggers getting styled as they listen to the panel. How many people can do THAT while attending a conference?

Joe Zee, Creative Director of Elle magazine and star of Sundance Channel’s All on the Line, was our keynote speaker.

There were cool freebies (like hair styling and manicures) throughout the day for anyone who wanted them. (Jean says: I confess! I found Magnum's free ice cream bars to be scrumptious.) We also received fun gift bags with lots of little goodies and giveaways. (Valerie says: Water Bobbles - water bottles with filters built into the caps, to filter the water as you drink it - were my fave. Great interesting shape, with richly colored caps.

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  1. hey ladies it was great to meet you both. you both are just fabulous. thank you for the compliment!

    definite follower!


  2. Great matching hat ladies.
    Let me know about tomorrow night.


  3. Hello! I just wanted to mention that the woman in the pink turban and bracelets is none other than "Lady Fag" She is a local (New York) celebrity and can often be found on the Garbage Dress blog!

  4. I was really sad this year that I couldnt make it to NY for fashion week (the IFB conference seemed to have been such a success!). Also note that I am a huge fan of you ladies- made style!

  5. It was so nice to meet you two at the IFB Conference, I hope we stay in contact! Definitely following your super cool blog.


  6. amazing stylish people, wow <3

  7. Lovely post! All of these people have got exquisite styles and a fabulous fashion sense.

    Check out my blog! And maybe follow?

    xx/Emi Coco