i am a fashion designer. gee
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are you a fonts enthusiast? a typophile?
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find the beauty on your daily walk! take time to notice the details of your landscape.
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there is nothing like seeing a great handbag in action.
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plastics are our future. how can you resist plastic? it is so shiny and pleasing. I have a penchant for plastics.
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chronicling my quest for the one true
Greek Cup
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have you ever noticed the similarity between nyc fire call boxes and benevolent Kannon, goddess of mercy?
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every design, fashion and art magazine I read lately features some important directional artist making big contributions to their genre. and where do they live? brooklyn!
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who says there are no more 'new ideas' in art and design? the newness is in the juxtaposition.
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this is how I really get things done. with my little green co-worker/task-master.
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my clothing & accessories design
east-meets-west minimalism

my site

the look
dressy utilitarian

my concept
useful, economical, modular pieces that can be mix-matched in numerous ways (because why can't fashion be useful and lasting? I think it can!) So I say Maximize your Minimalism!

Satin Karate Belt featured in Dec 06 Real Simple

Voted Best Designer 2006 Style Bakery
'On the Rise'

Daily Buss Feature

Luckymag.com Feature

in the blog press
midtown lunch
the girl who ate everything
queens eats
(into) the fray
funky finds
style document
gowanus lounge
far too cute
ethereal bliss
couture in the city
independent luxe
decor 8
funky finds
urban socialite
lady licorice
high fashion girl

more press...

furniture (especially chairs from the 50s and 60s), uniforms, repeating patterns, menswear, Oscar Niemeyer, traditional Japanese architecture, the Rimpa School and Ogata Korin's 8-Point Bridge, Matisse, bromeliads, succulents and other waxy flora

particular loves
bamboo, coral, moss, woodgrain, silhouettes & other cut-outs, plastic, low-resolution images, the photo copier, off-registration prints, Max Ernst's Lunar Asparagus, NYC fire call boxes that look like Kannon, Fauvist color sense, the Noguchi Museum, pretty much all of Abstract Expressionism

magazines of current interest
Domino, Elle Decor (British), ARTnews, Art in America, Wallpaper

favorite heel style
the wedge, but a sleek modern interpretation

second favorite
the stiletto

current shoe obsession
alas, the sneaker. (because I live in nyc and walk a ton!) but not too sneakery of a sneaker. more of a sneaker disguised as a shoe, like a mary jane style or a high-tech looking black one with a metallic accent. how about Royal Elastics? I must go try some on. I really like the non-sneakeryness of their styles.





two boots

I could not look away from the matching couple with their matching skinny jeans and their matching boots, seating across from me on the R train. Hers, tucked (r). His, untucked (l).

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healthy recipes

Now there is no excuse for me not to cook healthy delicious varied recipes all week. Not that I wanted an excuse. I wanted new ideas. Desperately. Epicurious to the rescue, as usual. I clicked on Healthy, Vegetarian and found more than 99 pages of ideas. I am going to make a tofu & roasted vegetable Napoleon this evening with sides of roasted garlic fingerling potatoes and a mesclun salad with chickpeas and grape tomatoes dressed in Dijon vinaigrette.

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stretch rattan

I found the perfect belt. A rattan stretch belt in black, at H&M. Approximately $13. Approximately 2" wide. They also have it in white. I toyed with the idea of getting both. Good for pants that stretch out after two wears. Good for wearing over a long shirt, if you want to go that route. Good for a lot of outfits. Stretch rattan! How clever.

"Don't worry, be shoppy" seems to be my motto lately.




the wide tooth comb is a useful tool

I have a permanent locker at the Y now. It is actually a wire basket with a lock, and it only costs $5 per month. I thought that saving my shoulder was worth the money. But as a result, I have to maintain a double supply of products for home and locker. It's actually not that bad. I use them up half as quickly, so it all evens out. When I found this Wide Tooth Comb today at Sephora for $4, I bought two. Even when you factor in these additional product costs, the monthly locker is still worth saving my shoulder.

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accessorize your fridge

After clicking through a series of colorful images on Hostess with the Mostess, I found this set of Mosaic Storage Containers by French Bull. Having just cleaned my fridge to the point of sparkling spaciousness last week (I keep opening the door to admire my handiwork), I think these containers would be a nice addition. Is it uncool to talk about melamine on Earth Day? Look at it this way: they would certainly cut down on plastic wrap consumption...

Drat. Out of stock. Oh well, I can wait. Or I could get the polka-dotted set. And the serving spoons. And the matching plates. French Bull always creates a snowball effect of desire in me.

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fresh hair

Sake Hair Cream by Fresh, $24

Browsing at Fresh yesterday on Broadway & 18th and smelling all the pleasing smells like Sugar Lychee and Sugar Lemon (I like top notes), I found something that I might want to purchase. The Sake Hair Cream. Good for curly hair (and straight too) said the sales person. And so I got a sample to try. This morning, I am most pleased with the results. A fresh smell, smooth curls, not sticky, not too heavy. Pretty perfect. At $24, a reasonably priced investment for the summer.

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les macarons

These macarons are too mouth-watering for words.

People go crazy for French macarons, the kind that are made with almond paste, sugar and egg whites (pictured above), and not to be confused with coconut macaroons which are another pastry entirely. I first visited (yes only visited) the French variety of macaron at Fauchon three years ago. I saw a piece on Fauchon's New York store on Martha, but when I got there, I could not go through with purchasing for some reason. I think I had pastry sticker shock.

I finally tried a French macaron at Payard (a great place to do it) this past January. The macarons were indescribably light, crispy, chewy and delicate. I had to grip them lightly or they would crumble. They are mysterious and delicious. They are $1.75 per piece in store, and they are totally worth it. Last week, at my local Greenpoint bakery, Cafe Riviera, I noticed they sell the French style macarons. I brought home four for my husband and me to sample. They were delicious. Mocha flavored. And the four only cost $2.80 ($13 a pound, or approximately 70 cents per piece). I still can't believe the price. There are so many hidden gems in Greenpoint. Now I want a macaron.

Once at 442 Park Ave, now closed.
Their products are available
at select Food Emporiums

Payard Patisserie
1032 Lexington Ave (73rd & 74th)
Upper East Side

Riviera Cafe
830 Manhattan Ave
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

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tarako tarako tappuri tarako

I could watch this all day, even though it is 4 minutes long and rather repetitive. I love the syncopation. The minor key. I want to learn this song and do it at Karaoke. It could become my signature song. Think of the possibilities. Tarako tarako tappuri tarako...

Here is a Website that relates to the product: Kewpie Tarako Pasta Sauce. No it is not 'tomato sauce' for your spaghetti. It is cod roe. (tarako=cod roe. I confirmed it this morning with my Japanese friend at the Y.) I would gather that tarako is shaped like their hats. Or is it shaped like the bottle? Or both?

Here is the Kewpie Website. Hmm.

Here is a better Website for the product line.

Here is a tarako-specific site. Amusing.

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hostess with the mostess

Need a daily dose of cheerful color to help you get in the mood for Spring? Have you checked out the Hostess with the Mostess yet? I can't get over how gorgeous and colorful her blog is each and every day. A feast for the eyes.

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espadrilles again

Last October, I lost these shoes on the subway platform or at an ATM.* Crushing. But yesterday, I spotted them again in navy at Fabco. I knew Fabco wouldn't let me down. I am going to make a new denim skirt to wear with them. I think they will go nicely with brown pants too.

*I was wearing my sneakers and brought them with me to change into. I didn't lose them while I was walking in them, just to clarify.




hussein chalayan and puma make a deal

Puma's current "Retrieve-Retain-Revive" window

Now that Hussein Chalayan has become Puma's new creative director, as announced in WWD on February 29, it will be curious to see how the brand and stores evolve. Chalayan, avant garde fashion designer known for pushing the envelope (and also known for the envelope jacket Bjork wore (Post, 1995)), will design "all product categories -- footwear, apparel and accessories -- for Puma's Sport Fashion and lifestyle categories ... to be sold in select Puma stores, key concept stores, and shop-in-shops worldwide."

I paid a visit to the Puma store in Union Square, and had some fun speculating about what fixtures would be retained and what would be revived.

Retain: These display shelves, although a little bland, are similar in shape to the microchip elements on this dress from Chalayan's Spring 2007 Collection. The shelves just hang there doing nothing, however, unlike the dress, which morphs into different shapes ever so slowly.

Revive: In addition to the morphing, which is a really nice effect, we would like to see the shelves shoot lasers, like these dresses appear to. (The secret is Swarovski technology!)

Retain: Micro-stadium seating in the back of the store. The chalkboard wall is not really high-tech enough for Chalayan's tastes though.

Revive: Convert the space into a stadium-seat skirt like the one pictured here, and have models paint over the chalkboard in a performance piece that would ultimately be converted into a video loop and projected on the wall as a hologram.

Retain: The register area is all wrong, no matter how you slice it.

Revive: Change the imposing and uninviting corrugated steel to a material that is translucent and light-emitting, like the dress shown here from Chalayan's Spring 2007 Collection. Get rid of the boxiness, and opt for more inspiring organic forms, like circles. This dress could be used as the model for the new register area. Wouldn't you rather ring up your purchases in this environment?

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j.crew 's new accessories focus

Something new is afoot at J.Crew. Perhaps it is the jewel-encrusted $295 shoes. Or the jewel-encrusted $495 jewels. Visitors to the J.Crew Website in March noticed a strong focus on accessories, with plenty of colorful clickables. "Covet & Collect" was the message to go along with the new checkerboard index page pictured above, steering shoppers to the company's "New Shoes & Accessories Collection" with expanded offerings in shoes, bags, belts, costume jewelry, and latest category, fine jewelry. The new product offerings were launched in concert with J.Crew's first printed catalogue devoted entirely to accessories.

You might not expect to see a 10K gold boule ring with pearl for $495, or a 27" strand of pearls for $200 on jcrew.com. And the price points may give you pause. But according to a WWD interview with J.Crew creative director, Jenna Lyons Mazeau, J.Crew has experienced "no resistance to its prices." In fact, the success of their costume jewelry business "encouraged the company to launch fine jewelry." As of this posting, the $495 ring was already sold out.

J.Crew will open its first Collection store at 1035 Madison Avenue in June, where the fine jewelry collection will have its first in-store feature.

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wonderbloc does wonders

Wonderbloc, your online personal tour guide to boutique shopping in New York City, is getting a lot of well-deserved buzz of late. Brainchild of investment banker and shopping enthusiast, Scott Lee, Wonderbloc is an attractive, easy-to-navigate Website that showcases 16 neighborhoods and 325 stores. Shoppers can use the site for free to study the many boutiques, survey the neighborhoods, and plan their shopping sprees. Boutiques benefit from the "strength in numbers" concept of Web marketing: an online community equals more links in, more original page views, and more potential conversions. There are also opportunities for boutiques to collaborate on neighborhood trunk shows and fashion shows to drive customers to their actual stores.

According to WWD, Lee recently added an e-commerce option for boutiques, which will bring in some revenue for the site. The rest of Wonderbloc's list of shared-resource services are amazingly free. There is an editorial section that highlights boutiques, products and "Fashionistas" analyzing "native looks" by brand, as well as individual customizable store listings that include three photos and a link to their site. So far, about 90 stores have claimed their listings. Lee also offers customer relations management and e-mail marketing services. He certainly is doing wonders for the small business community.

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shopping on franklin: jan & aya

Within the last two years, Franklin Street has supported the openings of three designer-driven boutiques (Dalaga, Alter, Hayden-Harnett), a bookstore (Word), a record store (Permanent Records), a furniture store (Claank), a Dominican-French restaurant (Casa Mon Amour), a cafe (Brooklyn Label), a wine store (to come), and most recently on March 15, a gallery-like boutique with a minimalist aesthetic called Jan & Aya.

Excited to examine the merchandise in person, I took the grand tour from owners, Carolyn and Kai. Jan & Aya, named for the couple's two children, features handmade objects that are well-crafted and beautifully designed. Categories include home (poufs, candles and soaps, pottery, glassware, art), child (shoes, clothing, toys), self (jewelry, tees, shoes), and come Sunday, cakes. Organic cakes from artisanal baker Sarah Magid will be available by the slice or by the cake every weekend. In the summer, customers will be able to enjoy a slice of cake on the back patio with some lemonade. That sounds great.

When asked why the couple chose Franklin Street for their first retail venture, Carolyn replied eloquently, "This is the street that is having a kind of Renaissance as far as community-based businesses. It speaks to the artist's community of Greenpoint."

Jan & Aya
99 Franklin Street
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Store hours:
Thursday-Friday 1-7pm
Saturday noon-7pm
Sunday noon-5pm

Are there plans for more shoes? According to Carolyn, there will be clogs for adults,
hand-painted clogs for kids, and come summer, flip flops of the Brazilian variety.

Set of 6 nesting bowls, $180.
Tea towels, right, by Skinny LaMinx.

The peaceful mood at Jan & Aya: fresh flowers and blossoming branches
mixed among
the minimalist displays, exposed brick, white floors, vaulted ceilings,
and a sheer curtain that hints at a backyard patio space, to come.

Children's moccasins, $34; Owl, $38, both by Zid Zid

Poufs by Zid Zid, $80-$260.

Art pins by Ashley G., $3.
Carolyn found this artist on Etsy.

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what will inhabit 153 franklin street?

White tin ceilings, 40s lighting fixtures, exposed brick, and a chalkboard accent wall can only mean one thing. A new cafe is opening at 153 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. And from the looks of things, the place will be opening in a month's time. I imagine the proprietor's name is Heather and her place will be called "Heatherette" and she will feature "cupcakes with a twist."

But why leave it to conjecture. I returned the next day and spoke with a gentleman who lives at 153. He let me know that my fantasy bakery will be a wine store. Oh.

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murakami at the brooklyn museum

Brooklyn Museum logo by Murakami

The much-anticipated Takashi Murakami exhibition opens today at the Brooklyn Museum! By now, you probably know all about the controversial museum store featuring Murakami's designs for Louis Vuitton. Yes, well...

If you feel game to brave the crowds this afternoon, you might want to check out the Target First Saturday free tie-in event beginning at 5pm.

April 5 - July 13, 2008
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY
click here for directions

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devorah sperber's mirror universe

I felt so at home, like I was in my studio or at my trim store on 39th when I happened upon "Mirror Universe," a solo show by Devorah Sperber at Caren Golden Fine Art. Sperber's materials, which include spools of thread, pipe cleaners, beads, fishing line and ball chain, speak to me, shall we say.

It would not be fair to only talk about Sperber's work on a surface level, however; as the true visual treats are the compelling optical illusions created. The works are based on images from "the 1967 episode of Star Trek called Mirror, Mirror in which a transporter mishap swaps the crew of the Enterprise with evil counterparts, trapping them in a 'savage parallel universe.'" As such, the works are not meant to be viewed directly, but through convex mirrors. I thought of the Arnolfini Wedding Portrait (1434) by Jan van Eyck, which similarly employs optical devices. Just as in Sperber's TNG Bridge, pictured above, so much more information is revealed by van Eyck about the event in convex mirror in the background. What you will see of Devorah Sperber's work will wow you. Don't miss this exhibition.

You may also want to visit Sperber's three site-specific thread spool pieces that relate to the history of Penn Station in the lobby of One Penn Plaza (34th St btwn 7th & 8th). On display through the summer of 2010.

Devorah Sperber
"Mirror Universe"
through April 26, 2008
Caren Golden Fine Art
539 W 23rd Street (10th & 11th Aves)
New York, NY



in hot pursuit of a handbag, #10

I could not resist pursuing this bag yesterday. It combines the two trends I recently highlighted: slouchy hobo meets stud-accented segments.

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shopping trip: the gucci flagship

The 5th Avenue display window of the new Gucci flagship,
with "resurrected Gucci crest" front and center. The crest is a
recurring visual symbol throughout the store.

The women's collection on the third floor looks spacious in this photo,
but the dark carpet and the low ceilings make the space feel ponderous.
I just did not get that "exhilarated" shopping feeling.

The fixture choices -- gold racks, black and white striped walls -- are not
exactly a neutral backdrop for the clothes. What if a collection was composed
of cool tones and silvers?

The men's shoe collection on the second floor with the city as a backdrop.

Can you believe that Daniel Saynt of Fashion Indie apparently complained his way into the Gucci party at the UN? If I had only known that were an option... According to WWD, when Saynt "complained on his blog, to broad pickup around the Web, that actual New York-based bloggers had been shafted," he received an invite to the lavish party and attended a bloggers-only tour of the store hosted by chief executive Mark Lee. I decided to take a trip to the new Gucci flagship today, uninvited. Here are my observations, unsolicited.

After viewing the new store, I would like to say this: bring back the sleek, sexy, clean lines of Tom Ford's Gucci. The new flagship, which occupies the south-west corner of Trump Tower on 5th Avenue and 56th Street, employs design details that are reminiscent of the Miami in the 70s, and are rather, well, garish. I can't help but feel that the aesthetic of the Trump brand seeped through the walls and into the store; but I think the preponderance of gold is just a coincidence.

Three elements repeat throughout the store: gold, lucite, and high-shine dark wood. Gold and lucite tubing accent the back stairways. There are free-standing gold display cases accented with high-shine dark wood, the same dark wood that lines the inner walls. The ceilings seem to press downward. There are only three floors of retail space. (I expected five. That seems to be the minimum number of floors for flagships these days.) Access to the fine jewelry store through an elevator on the 3rd floor is convoluted. The only time I got a feeling of excitement about the Gucci brand was is in the shoe departments, which are bright with views of the street.

At a time when luxury retail design favors a blend of technology and innovative materials, high-shine white, glowing light boxes, flat panel screens, and etched glass glowing partitions, the dark Gucci flagship feels of the past. As I recall my experience of the store, it becomes more and more like a labyrinthine cave. For me, the store did not convey that feeling of optimism or excitement or exhilaration. I had no shopping high.

The back stairs: dark grey marble treads, alternating gold and lucite
vertical tubing give a glimpse into the selling space. The stairs at
were much more exciting.

Mannequin (no comment) and a closeup of the ubiquitous tubing.

The handbag collection display on the first floor is too dark.
The flat panel screen doesn't even add any light.

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comme des garcons goes mass market

Thanks to my friend Megan, who love-love-loves masstige* and has been know to wait in long lines to grab up key pieces-for-less by her favorite designers, I just found out this juicy tidbit: avant garde Japanese designer, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons will be the next designer to collaborate with H&M. According to an article in The Daily Telegraph, the collaborative line"will be launched at the opening of the chain’s second Tokyo store at the beginning of November, followed by other major flagship stores, including London, a few days later."** Now that is a daring aesthetic to take mass market.

*Marketing term defined as prestige for the masses. See Wikipedia for more.
**Upon reading the news, Megan had this to say, "WOW. I am soooo waiting in line come November (depending on the collection, but she's so cool)."

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in hot pursuit of a handbag, #9

I saw this beautiful studded bag and ran to get right behind her
on the moving sidewalk at Court Square.

The moving sidewalk. You would think it would be easier to get a clear picture.
But I had to keep jockeying to maintain my position. You know how it is.

I'm not normally a fan of studs, but I thought this was done so well.
I love the seams and segments. A very eye-catching detail.
The quality of the leather and the workmanship sold me.

As you may concur, fashion has been foaming at the mouth since the turn of this century, showing every style, color and hemline, all in the same season. The explanation for this collective embrace of every trend always goes something like this, "Women aren't slaves to trends anymore. They are individuals and follow their own sense of style." Yeah sure.

The result is that pretty much every style is "in" all the time. Animal prints are always in (although they should be out), color is in, neutrals are in, structured clutch bags are in, soft and slouchy bags with less surface adornment are in, but so are bags with hardware and structure. Yes, all kinds of hardware, and especially studs, are definitely still in. So why not embrace it all I guess. If the bag fits, wear it.

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jan & aya shopping trip: eager to share

[an invitation for you; click to enlarge]

I am eager to share with you my photos and thoughts from my recent shopping trip to Jan & Aya. I also got a chance to interview owners, Carolyn and Kai, who have big plans for the store, and the back patio, to come. (You know how I love patios.) But I can't just yet.

The article is all done, but I submitted it to another magazine and I am waiting to hear back. In the interest of not scooping myself, I bring you the above invitation for Jan & Aya's Sweet Sundays. The next event is April 6.

Many thanks to Heather at Skinny laMinx for the referral yesterday! Heather designs these tea towels, which are available at the store. I wish I could show your readers my article. Stay tuned for more news and developments.

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