Listening: live Interpol and Calla, which is an awesomely epic and expansive combination
Watching: whatever crap tv is playing in a hotel room
Reading: whatever crap newspaper is lying around in the car
Wearing: whatever crap is clean and fairly unwrinkled
Wanting: something that isn't crap
Listening: Misha, Teardrop Sweetheart; Nirvana's cover of "Heartbreaker" by Led Zeppelin; High Places Friday night at The Smell; Rolling Stones, Some Girls; ZZ Top, "Cheap Sunglasses"; The Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
Watching: This Is England (yay!!!); Interview (boo!!!)
Reading: Harry Potter and only Harry Potter (actually now I'm done, and there might be something of a hole in my heart)
Wearing: my new shirred & slightly hippie-ish dress with the pretty ribbon straps that tie at the shoulders
Wanting: a free afternoon to drink soy iced lattes at Abbot's Habit in Venice and read my new issues of Vogue, Nylon, and Esquire cover-to-cover
Listening: All I listen to is ABBA.
Watching: The Simpsons Movie in an air-conditioned theater on a deathly hot afternoon with my boyfriend, drinking a giant $6 fountain Diet Coke; Petra Nemcova's model parade on TLC
Reading: Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park: really sweet; a nice, light post-Harry Potter escape
Wearing: American Apparel halter leotard in kelly green; cheapie thrifted sundresses; penny loafers
Wanting: APC silkscreened sweatshirt and olive oil (!!!); the perfect leather bomber jacket; a pedicure
I'm so giddy and gleeful about the just-announced lineup for this year's Fuck Yeah Fest, which is always one of the funnest things to happen in the summertime. At last year's I got my head blown off by Erase Errata and had such a good time over at the margarita machine that I had to leave for a little while to go eat tacos. Anyway, this year's big exciting thing takes place August 25 and 26 at The Echo, Echoplex, and The Rec Center - here's some of our favorite bands playing:
And about a jillion more - check out the full lineup and get ticket info here.
I keep watching the trailer for Darjeeling Limited (the new Wes Anderson movie, co-written by Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman, out this September) and waiting for my excitement to transcend the "Yay, a new Wes Anderson movie!" phase and arrive at something like "Yay, a new movie I might actually want to see even if it weren't directed by Wes Anderson!" but it's just not happening. But maybe I'll dig the movie anyway. As I am a pretty much a total cliche, I generally always love Wes Anderson's movies (although there's none that I've ever enjoyed upon first viewing, for some reason). And this one's got three of those classic Wes Anderson's ingredients, now equally endearing and annoying in their consistency: highly emotive songs by The Kinks (the trailer uses "This Time Tomorrow" & "Strangers," both of which can be downloaded at The Playlist); smartly dressed boys that we sort of wish we could pretend not to be intrigued by, but there you go; and a whole lot of precious dialogue spoken by precious people at precious moments. At first I'm kind of like, "C'mon dudes, knock if off already!" but then I start to feel really fond of Jason Schwartzman in that fantastic yellow robe and crazy mustache.
The Marvelettes, originators of the pop music phenomenon I like to call the Scrappy Girl Jam, are far and away my favorite early-'60s girl group. See, the other big Motown girl groups (Martha Reeves, Supremes, etc) are girl groups only in name-- they're not really girls so much as sexy, serious adult women (ew! gross!). But The Marvelettes are total kids; their hits (though jams of course) always have a "we're half-assing it", devil-may-care, laissez-faire semblance about them; like they don't really care either way if they are in a famous band or not, like singing songs is just another way to kill time between jump rope rhymes and shoplifting candy and sneaking contraband cigarettes while cutting class and all that other good stuff. 1965's I'll Keep Holding On is my favorite song by them, click to download. This track is a real single's single: slamming from start to finish, completely danceable, owning this 45 is probably the only reason why I've managed to garner any real esteem as a DJ.
I'll Keep Holding On was renamed I'll Keep On Holding On (for convenience's sake?) by English mod group The Action when they covered it in '66. The Action, signed to EMI by Beatles' producer George Martin in the mid-sixties, are the band that coulda woulda shoulda been the Small Faces (yet no single of theirs even charted;the world is a horrible place). Blue-eyed soul has never sounded so sweet as when it is sung by Action frontman Reg(gie) King. Here is their version of the Marvelettes' track; I personally couldn't choose one over the other, they both achieve and communicate such different things.
Sadly, the story of The Action is a Sad Tragedy. Their shoulda-been-a masterpiece, 1967's melancholic, contemplative Rolled Gold (seriously, just impulse-buy this album right now) is the Lost Classic of all Lost Classics. Inexplicably, this record was shelved and scrapped by EMI, apparently for not being psych-y enough, and went unheard until the demos were re-released on CD in 2002. Yes, it's true, this album is not psychedelic in the least, but whatever, psych totally sucks compared to Rolled Gold (this means a lot, you know, coming from me). This album is way too cerebral and subtle to require the fanciful crutch of psychedelia in any way: it is concerned with real, heavy-hearted emotion, not stupid faux-LSD musings, it is the only rock music I've ever heard that manages to truly connote real compassion (except for the obvious Beatles cuts, Julia, Strawberry Fields, etc). Every song on this album is brilliant and beautiful; one of those rare "all killer, no filler" records.
Because I want you to buy the album off Amazon.com this exact second, I will only tease you with two mp3s: first, the heartbreaking Come Around, one of the moodiest and most effective Track 1s in the history of the long-playing record. And second, here is Brain, commonly acknowledged as the standout, but it doesn't even matter, because they're all standouts. I adamantly recommend listening to this album on headphones while thinking about all the saddest things that have ever happened to you. Reggie King understands. But hey, don't cry too hard.
A recent Stereogum Band to Watch, Misha formed when its two members - John Chao and model Ashley Yao, who grew up together in Taiwan - randomly ran into each other in New York after being out of touch for 15 years. Given the crushing charm of both the band's backstory and its newly released debut record Teardrop Sweetheart, we shouldn't have been very surprised to find that Ash and John make for the world's most adorable interview subjects.
Still, the cuteness overload sort of konked us over the head and now we're dreaming of becoming best friends with the couple at some point so we can wear Stella McCartney cashmere jumpers together and go visit fascist facialists and not make out to Rush.
In the meantime, we're playing Misha's songs A LOT, especially the loungy one that somehow slyly references both "Baby Got Back" and "The Girl From Ipanema" (it's called "Anaconda," and it's currently battling Harry Potter for control of my brain - which is a miraculous feat indeed). Go download their lovely "Summersend" over at Pitchfork and prepare to spend the next few minutes wistfully going "awww..." over and over again.
How did Misha come together? Misha came about because I [John] was working in California while Ash was in New York, and I was sending her music almost daily as little toys or presents. And then she started getting into the spirit and giving ideas and edits and so forth, so by the end of the summer we had a lot of songs, including the Tomlab single, "In A Hundred Years."
Who are your favorite bands? Ash says she has fewer long-term favorites, since she doesn't do as much music, but she loves Duran Duran and David Bowie. For me, I have a few musicians or bands that I love that I've listened to over and over again: Joe Henry, Jeff Buckley, and Crowded House are very close to me, and then Astor Piazzolla, Joseph Spence, Arto Lindsay, Los Lobos, Jayhawks, Burt Bacharach, lots of old Chinese and Bollywood music, of course The Beatles and Pink Floyd, Bill Frisell, Nortec Collective, Ron Sexsmith, almost anything else by Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake, lots of stuff by Jon Brion, and Dwight Yoakam and Wallace Roney and Artur Rubinstein! He's awesome.
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today. The Velvet Underground and Nico for Ash. For John, Louis Armstrong's Greatest Hits.
What have you been listening to lately? Fugiya and Miyagi, PB&J, Junior Boys, and Hot Chip for Ash. For John, Richard Thompson, Bert Jansch, The Beatles' Love and Bob Dylan.
Who's your number-one all-time music crush? Technically, our answer is each other. But if you asked Ash, really she'd say The Strokes. I think when I was younger, I had a crush on Sam Phillips and the lead singer of Shivaree and Wong Faye. Ash also wants to know if Johnny Depp counts as a band. Even if not, Johnny Depp.
Favorite makeout music? Al Green! Sad to say, but it's true. He's the bizzomb. Also, Brenda Holloway, and anything by Burt Bacharach. And Nusrat. It used to be Radiohead, when we was angsty. But never, never ever was it Rush. Ever. That never happened.
What do you like to wear onstage? This is hard, as we've never toured together. But...if imaginary, it would have to be dresses: Ash likes Vanessa Bruno, Stella McCartney, and our friend Thomas Chen's label Yitan for Ash. (Tommy's an up-and-coming designer who went to Parsons with Ash's sister Annie.) I'm going to go with a t-shirt that's not too tight or too loose, and corduroy pants. This makes me sound like I'm a beardo disco lovah, but really, I like cords. They'z comfee.
Name one clothing/beauty item you always take on tour with you. Caudalie grape water, according to Ash: It's a facial spray she likes a lot. (According to me, one could easily mistaken it for fabric freshener if one were in a rush and one's jacket smelled "iffy" due to the hot New York summer.) And a Stella McCartney cashmere jumper for the clothing item. My beauty item is a toothbrush, AND toothpaste - this is definitely one of those "don't take one without the other." This goes for shoes and socks as well. (Trust me on that last one.)
Tell us a beauty secret. Ash says drink lots of water, and go see a good facialist once a month. Ash goes to a facialist in the city. (I almost typed fascist. This is probably subliminal.)
Who are your style idols? For Ash, Kate Moss, because she can put anything together and look good. Plus she's versatile - she can look grungy or sophisticated. Career-wise, she's been very successful, which is admirable, even if she's not the greatest role model, no pun intended. And Ethel Park, Ash's friend who's an assistant fashion editor at Vogue - Ethel has the best accessories and combinations. She always has the "it" pieces from all the shows. Ash is very jealous.
Any favorite fashion designers/labels? Yitan again. Thakoon. Marc Jacobs. Nicolas Ghesquiere. Demeulemeester. Phillip Lim.
What are your favorite places to clothes-shop in your city? Aside from Barneys and Barneys Co-op if Ash had the money, it would have to be Beacon's Closet in Brooklyn, and Opening Ceremony in Nolita. And Century 21, which has good cheap stuff.
Any advice for girls/boys out there looking to start a band? Um, it's so hard to give advice when we're just figuring it out! Definitely make music you want to listen to, not just what's cool right now. And don't do the easy thing too much, because if it sounds too easy to you, it probably will sound too easy to someone else. Have fun making music - and don't think everything else sucks. Definitely trust your instincts: If something sounds a little off, or doesn't feel good, change it! It's okay if it screws things up, because taking a chance is always better. And sometimes, watch TV or do something else while you're making music, it will make getting past writer's block a lot easier.
Listening: Gram Parsons, G.P./Grievous Angel (good for late night driving); Calla, Scavengers (sexy and swampy, also good for late-night driving); Alina, Arvo Part (do not drive late at night to this unless gorgeous, intense sacred minimalism is your thing, musically speaking; you might just hypnotize yourself into a tree)
Watching: Children of Men; Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner; NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell (a rock documentary premiering on VH1 in August; facile but fun); Zoolander (I think this is seriously the best late-night, stumble-in-from-a-night-of-partying movie ever)
Reading: Sarah Kane: Complete Plays; The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim (underscores the importance of narrative and fairy tales in how we make sense of ourselves and of the world); The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I read it in its entirety on the night it came out and kind of exploded)
Wearing: A feather headband, just like Liz. And the Kate Moss for Topshop grey silk chiffon floral dress that my beau gave me. (But not at the same time, though.)
Wanting: Air conditioning
Listening: Neil Young, Live Rust; Black Crowes, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion; America, "Ventura Highway" (totally kills me); Lavender Diamond at The Echo this past Wednesday night
Watching: I only watch Veronica Mars now. Oh, and the Chris Rock-directed video for "Hump De Bump" by Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is the most fun ever.
Reading: my own profile of Organic designer John Patrick in the new issue of Plenty, and hardly anything else (deadlines galore!). But then after today all I'll ever do is read Harry Potter every second of every hour.
Wearing: mostly just cutoffs and t-shirts, plus my beautiful new pheasant-feather headband (in teal)
Wanting: Logan Echolls
Listening: Battles, EP C; Little Wings, Wonderue; Dungen, Ta Det Lugnt
Watching: Marion Cotillard's amazing performance in La Vie En Rose
Reading: RE-reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami
Wearing: vintage floral cotton tops, olive-colored interlock pencil skirt from American Apparel, granny SAS shoes found on eBay
Wanting: the perfect pair of flat-soled, round-toed vintage wingtip shoes (alas, they're damned hard to find in a women's size 8)
Listening: Nothing particularly new or exciting, so here are some mp3s of perennial Laura-faves (click to download): The Beach Boys- Little Bird (drummer Dennis Wilson's strangely gorgeous first attempt at pop songwriting); Christie Laume- Rouge Rouge (a Busby Berkeley-esque stunner from this little-known Ye-Ye bird); Keith West- The Kid Was A Killer (sexy, lazy, literary-cool; 1968 single from the ex-Tomorrow frontman)
Watching: Georgy Girl (Georgy Girl herself is rather irritating, but the movie's totally worth it for London imagery from '66 & the near-stupefying hotness of Alan Bates); The Elephant Man (do I have anything new to say about The Elephant Man? I really don't think so. You know: it's sad); multiple viewings of this sick ad for the Pontiac GTO Judge convertible starring Paul Revere & the Raiders
Reading: Spent the week scrambling to finish Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude to coincide perfectly with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I almost just typed Harry Potter and the Fortress of the Solitude, hardy har har). Lethem's a brilliant writer; I love how he manages to make textbook-weird writing totally readable and engaging.
Wearing: It's been cold and rainy in Montreal this week, which means I've busted out the ol' Cheap Mondays (say what you will; no jeans have ever fit me better); Gin & Tonic from the Demeter Fragrance Library; a ragged old flea-marketed red faux-Gucci tunic
Wanting: My upcoming trip to London and Liverpool to be here NOW; every season of every TV series ever released on DVD meticulously organized in a library in my apartment; a job
Repetto lace-ups were reportedly the shoe of choice for Serge Gainsbourg.
He preferred the Jazz style in white, but I love these black patent ones, available at La Garconne. Perfect for either sharply tailored suits or any old minidress and bare legs.
Also read this great article on flats and Paris HERE.
(Inspired by this week's Snapshot!)
Last winter my friend Alita took me to Anthropologie and I very nearly spent a fortune on a feather headband. Now last year's general headband craze barely registered in my interests, but something about the colors of pheasant feathers really sets off dark, wildly frizzy hair in a way that is so becoming. I was also inspired because they were an easy way to make me look a bit more like the iconic Isabella Blow (R.I.P.).
Luckily, Alita had the sense to pull me back from the impulse of blowing money I didn't have by informing me that feather headbands would be quite easy and inexpensive to make. We went down to the garment district in Manhattan and picked up some Aleene's Tacky Glue as well as some plain cloth-covered headbands sold in bulk at the wholesale retailers near Herald Square. Then we visited several millinery supply stores and found pheasant feathers- the kind we liked were sold on pads, from which we carefully pulled off individual pieces. You can also find feather pads on eBay. I won't tell you how cheaply I finally got my fix for, but check this:
If you're still too lazy to do it yourself, you can support my ever-resourceful friend Alita by purchasing her beautiful feather headbands at her Etsy shop, Charm School.
I first discovered Starlight Mints about a year ago via Fluxblog - that magical place where about 3 out of 5 obsessable music things are discovered these days - in a post that said something about the band out-Bowie-ing Bowie himself. That feels sorta blasphemous to us (being creatures of undying David Bowie worship at all), but we can't deny that the Norman, Oklahoma-based foursome's latest record Drowatown is crammed with lots of smart, bubblegum-sticky pop and grandiose orchestral arrangements that come off so dreamy (instead of clunky/pretentious, as could easily happen in the hands of a way less fun band - go download "Inside of Me" as proof of their pure catchiness).
Starlight Mints may also have a Bowie-esque predilection for things of a slightly foppish nature, as drummer Andy Nunez (sharp-dressed dude on the far left there) has tipped us off to his Brigitte Bardot crush and affection for French pop. He also introduced us to the concept of making out to the 2001 score, which I think might've just broken my mind (but in a good way).
What was your first experience in making music? A tennis racket/pots-and-pan band in my parents' garage.
Who are your favorite bands? Too many to name them all...We love the 60s, The Kinks to French pop (Serge Gainsbourg, etc.); the no-wave movement of the late 70s (Gang of Four, etc.); and a lot of the so-called alternative new-wave bands of the 80s (The Cure, Talk Talk, etc.).
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today. Wings at the Speed of Sound was on my parents' turntable a lot. I still love that record!
What have you been listening to lately? Enon, Juana Molina, Spoon, LCD Soundsystem, to name a few.
Who's your number-one all-time music crush? a young Brigitte Bardot
Favorite makeout music? 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack (Strauss)
What do you like to wear onstage? Anything with a really high soft thread count that doesn't advertise something.
Name one beauty product you always take on tour with you. We are fans of all Aveda products.
What's the craziest show you've ever played? One time we ended a tour in Portland, Oregon, and had to get to CMJ in NYC in two days. We showed up just in time to play...it was surreal to say the least.
Tell us a beauty secret. Sleep till you can't sleep anymore.
Who are your style idols? Devo had some of the all-time greatest stage style.
Any favorite fashion designers/labels? Camper shoes and Modern Amusement are some of our faves.
What are your favorite places to clothes-shop in your city? Gypsy Shoes, but we buy most of our clothes when we're traveling.
Any advice for girls/boys looking to start a band? Do it because you love it, because it can be hard to make a career out of it!
What are the biggest inspirations for your music? After a while it becomes hard to know what inspires us. Most of all we love the idea of making money doing something we would do for free.
(Starlight Mints photo by Christian Pitt)
I first got hooked on CUT + PASTE a few summers ago, when I stumbled upon and snatched up my now-beloved Roxy Marj polka-dotted bag with the shiny-pink dove applique. Ever since then, the online consignment shop has been my favorite spot for discovering new and exciting D.I.Y./handmade goods. (One of my most intensely coveted finds in recent months: Those gorgeous Krystal Sullivan feather earrings we featured a while back.) Newly relocated to Istanbul, CUT + PASTE founder Jenny Kwok clues us in on how she goes about curating the shop, plus shares her love for Hitchcock ladies and Clash City Rockers.
Tell us all about how you started CUT + PASTE. I started CUT+PASTE in the summer of 2002. I do web design and was freelancing at the time. I had a much more open schedule so it also allowed me to sew and do crafts. I was eBaying some of my stuff at the time, but was looking for a more appropriate place to sell my things...so I put two and two together and built my own website!
What was your original vision for CUT + PASTE? My original intention for CUT+PASTE was to sell my own things and have the site be more a representation of my personal work. After realizing there was no outlet for handmade stuff on the web (though I was meeting a lot of crafty people online), I decided to offer consignment. Word spread like wildfire and I went from getting just a few applications a week to getting close to 10 a day from people interested in selling on the site.
How do you decide what to sell? I usually look for things that are handmade, interesting, unique, and clever, and I consider their "sellability" (is the price right? Materials? Craftsmanship?). And I try to pick things that are seasonal and that you wouldn't be able to find elsewhere online.
Who are your favorite fashion designers? Roxy Marj, Marni, Talla, Eley Kishimoto
Who are your style idols? Zooey Deschanel, Frecklewonder, Milla Jovovich, Kate Moss, the leading ladies of Hitchcock films. I'm mostly a jeans and t-shirt kind a gal, but I do like to dress up every now and then. I like things that are comfortable and vintage patterns and cuts.
What's your favorite clothing item lately? Lately it's been so hot here I've got to wear something easy...I've been wearing a lot of vintage day dresses and strappy sandals.
Who are your favorite bands? I don't have favorites and I listen to all sorts of stuff, so I'll just list what I have been recently listening to: The Clash, Desmond Dekker, Notwist, John Lennon.
What do you like to listen to while primping? Something peppy and fast cuz I'm usually runny late.
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today. Top Gun soundtrack
Favorite makeout music? Hmmm...maybe some Rod Stewart.
Who's your number-one all-time music crush? Paul Simonon
What are some of your favorite clothing shops (around town or in the whole wide world)? Mars (Berkeley); Built by Wendy (NY); Minnie Wilde (SF); thriftstores (Fresno, my hometown); flea markets (everywhere); Sodafine (NY); Beklina, Le Train Bleu (online); Bis, Avante-East Vintage, Grand Bazaar, Topshop (Istanbul)
What's the most rewarding aspect of running CUT + PASTE? Meeting so many great amazing and nice people.
First Place: Lanvin
I've never even seen one wedding dress that I like before, let alone four that I love.
Second Place: Chloe
Paulo Andersson is really, really good. This little collection embodies everything about everything I want to wear. These garments are offbeat without being straight-up wack, girlish but still cerebral, totally wearable but not even close to boring. The scribbly dress at right is my particular fave.
Third Place (tie): Prada
After blowing everyone's mind with the extreme ugliness of Prada Fall 2008, Miuccia has redeemed herself with this soft-spoken stunner of a collection. I love the bobby-soxer silhouette, the heavy, textured florals, and the jammer chic vibe of the center look.
Third Place (tie): Stella McCartney
God Stella McCartney, why do you have to be SO CHILL? Oh right, because you were raised in the English countryside by Paul & Linda. That'll do it. Anyway, the little number at left looks like the most comfortable dress in the world, but it's still totally fly. You could just throw it on with wet hair, walk out the door, and look like a million bucks. The dress at right makes me want to be forty years old and a famous author; I'd wear this to the launch party of my seventh novel or whatever.
(from left) pink bridesmaid-y confection plus corsage by Doo.Ri; Balenciaga boots; chill daywear from Thakoon
Every month, half out of curiosity, half out of boredom, I read "Nostalgia", the column in US Vogue wherein some author or ex-model or makeup artist (completely obscure to the masses; practically legendary within the confines of the inclusive world of American Vogue) reflects upon one particular photograph from the Vogue archives that changed their life-- or at least their perception of personal style. Of course, reading this installment always forces me to think about what particular image I would choose; which sole photograph from ten long years of devoted Vogue readership could most adequately define the moment in my life when high fashion ceased to be a forbidden landscape, one which would laugh in my face if it knew I cared, when I really began to relate to what these images meant, when I finally felt included in this elite domain.
Undoubtedly I would choose something from the pivotal summer of 2000, when the fat September issue hit newsstands and seemed more like a Bible or Beatles album than a glossy periodical advertising overpriced luxuries that I really should have resisted. Oh, that summer! When Marc Jacobs winter coats were woolly and Hitchcockian; when Stella McCartney trousers were adorned with silkscreened horse heads, three or four years before the youth of Williamsburg were fully emboldened by the gesture; when the Prada fox-fur collar seemed absolutely beyond It. But still, which? It seems almost rude to include one of these momentous images without including all of them. My main concern with the idea of choosing one photograph is that it necessitates that all context be discarded. What I mean is, how would I have known to love a Marc Jacobs coat as much as I did if I hadn't've had a garish Fendi fur to weigh it against? Would I have so responded to Stella's horse pants if I hadn't seen the same heavyweight satin trousers produced time and time again by Gucci and Versace and whoever, only sans equine embellishments?
What I'm getting at is: sometimes one image can't say it all (actually, reconsidering it, if I did have to submit to Nostalgia, I'd probably pick this one picture of Grace Coddington prodding at a young Prince Charles before a photo shoot; utterly irrelevant, but at least it stands on its own). But, sometimes one image can, and the photograph above of ABBA's Agnetha Faltskog certainly backs me up here. As far as I'm concerned, Agnetha in this photograph looks cooler than anyone else has ever looked, ever (take that, Keith Richards!). The corduroy cap, the denim coveralls (onesie? playsuit? jumper? I never know), the carelessly knotted leopard-print scarf, incandescent bleached hair, feet pigeon-toed in painfully late-seventies suede boots. Gorgeous! Usually when I'm forced to think about my personal icons of female beauty, I err more towards the gamine or the English Rose (ie. Jane Asher). But maybe Agnetha's forthright sexiness in this image is so attractive to me because, being something of a scrappy gamine myself, it is so entirely unattainable. I will never be a knockout blonde bombshell, but she is, and she did it good, better, best (take that, Brigitte Bardot!).
But what is doubly striking about this photograph is the look of sheer despondence on her otherwise flawless doll's face: not shown is the backhand side of Greatest Hits' gatefold, Annifrid and Bjorn locked in the epitome of a lover's embrace. I don't know much about ABBA gossip, but I'm assuming this photograph was taken after her breakup with Benny Andersson (who seems significantly less torn up about it, casually leafing through a newspaper to her right). I love the juxtaposition of her obvious melancholia with the fluffy hollowness of ABBA's pop oeuvre; I love that, even while posing for a publicity shot, Agnetha was incapable of disgusing her unmitigated misery. If it weren't for her face, this photo would be as throwaway as any other press shot of the band, who I barely even care about normally; instead, it is weighty and rife with implication. It stands alone because it doesn't require additional materials in order to be contextualized: all circumstance is clarified within itself.
A bunch of eco designers we love so much (Undesigned by Carol Young, Stewart + Brown, Anna Cohen, Habitude) are part of the big crazy summer sale happening right now through July 31 at Greenloop. Get 20 to 60 percent off a slew of eco-friendly fashion and beauty stuff, with a percentage of your purchase going toward environmental initiatives. Some things we want:
Edun's Vines tee (was $55, now $38):
Del Forte organic cotton Dahlia jeans (were $190, now $114)
Anna Cohen Summer Soy Dress (was $281, now $155)
Passenger Pigeon Norah reversible wrap dress (was $146, now $102)
Kim White reversible vintage Gold Velvet handbag (was $175, now $140):
Anyone with even a passing interest in rock music is undoubtedly familiar with the glittering 1970s spectacle that is the Electric Light Orchestra. I don't think I've ever thumbed through a dollar record bin without coming across at least one worse-for-the-wear copy of El Dorado (no link necessary). I think it was either Paul McCartney or my boyfriend who once noted that if the Beatles hadn't broken up, they probably would've turned into ELO Part II.
This statement is easyish for me to digest because of the eternal flame I will always hold for ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, a bona fide auteur of brilliantly (or obnoxiously, depending on your P.O.V) catchy pop music. However, as much as Turn to Stone and Mr. Blue Sky may rule, they don't even come close to hitting the max levels of infectiousness that Lynne conjured up with his late-sixties pre-prog baroque-psych group, The Idle Race.
The Idle Race are the most overlooked and neglected band of the nineteen-sixties. Over time, they have faded into near-complete obscurity but for the inclusion of a couple singles on the Nuggets II compilation (and their ELO connection, of course). In fact, I would venture to guess that I may very well be the biggest Idle Race fan alive today. Which is why I consider it my responsibility to use my blogosphere hook-up as a chance to spread the gospel of these disregarded geniuses (seriously: if I had my way, they would totally swoop in and steal the Who's third-place spot in the Holy Trinity of Sixties British Pop Bands).
The band's first single, Here We Go Round The Lemon Tree (click to download), is one of my favorite songs EVER. Penned by the incomparable Roy Wood (with whom Lynne later collaborated on the first ELO record) and first performed by his band The Move, this is one of those rare cases where the cover version wholly surpasses the original. Lemon Tree is a sugary, juicy summertime anthem: it is music like this that reminds one of precisely why the format of three-minute pop song is so timeless and treasured.
Knocking Nails Into My House (again, click to download) is a weird chompy stomper from early '68, the B-side to the equally contagious Imposters of Life's Magazine (one of their two contributions to Nuggets). This is perhaps the only song in pop music history that deals with the subject matter of having one's house unexpectedly destroyed by a gang of thuggish repo men.
Hurry Up John (click it!!!) is the final track on the band's self-titled second (and last) album. This record is epic, symphonic and lush; its highest moments worthy of the Fab Four themselves (Their first full-length, The Birthday Party, is equally impressive: a concept album about, yes, you guessed it: birthdays. If that's not a rad out-there concept, I don't know what is). This sparkling, hallucinatory soundscape is like lysergic acid diethylamide with zero comedown. Dig it!
Listening: Neil Young, After the Gold Rush (proving that nearly all of nogoodforme.com is fixated on Neil in some way or another); Interpol, Our Love to Admire (love it); some randomly downloaded Miami freestyle I unearthed on my hard drive (so '80s, so good)
Watching: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (highly enjoyable, got to see it in IMAX!); Lost Highway (weird, even for Lynch); Music is the Weapon (a Fela Kuti documentary); Nobody Knows (devastating, tragic, based on a true story); all the doc footage I shot of a super-cool music project recording this weekend
Reading: the new Elle with SJP on the cover; West With the Night by Beryl Markham (one of my recent fashion inspirations)
Wearing: A super-pretty plum silk chiffon Donna Karan camisole and way old Earl Jeans, sandals; olive green sort of army pants during shoots
Wanting: The new Harry Potter book now (I'm dying!)
Listening: Speck Mountain, "Girl Out West" (via Fluxblog); Van Halen, Van Halen (especially "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," of which I can't get enough); Nirvana, Incesticide; Shelley Short, Captain Wild Horse (Rides the Heart of Tomorrow)
Watching: Rescue Dawn (love, love, nothing but love); Happy Endings (bleh); first season of "The State" on iTunes (yay!!); Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; more and more "Veronica Mars"
Reading: re-reading Bastard Out Of Carolina by Dorothy Allison; the Shia LaBeouf profile in Vanity Fair; the new Elle (SJP on the cover)
Wearing: my new Neil Young shirt with the Zuma cover art, all the time. Also: silk flowy pink/grey/tungsten-paneled knee-length skirt from H & M with black American Apparel camisole and black ballet flats.
Wanting: I'd been planning to type "a red iPod," but then the other night I got a little sloshed on farmers market beer and went out and bought one. So now I want a pair of adidas adizero XT running shoes to replace my tired old Asics. And a haircut.
Listening: Sloan, Twice Removed (a high school classic); Dora Hall's rendition of Five O'Clock World (totally beats the Vogues' original); Harpers Bizarre
Watching: Magical Mystery Tour (obvs); Fast Times at Ridgemont High (also obvs); new Harry Potter in mere hours! (again, obvs)
Reading: E.L Konigsburg's Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth (absorbing, bewitching, adorable without being overly precious); Paul Auster's Oracle Night (disappointing, boringly written, unintentionally sexist)
Wearing: nothing super-exciting: a myriad of t-shirts and polos thieved from my boyfriend; this and these and also these
Wanting: this chair from the Apple boutique (thanks Adam); the Internet in my apartment; a Zuma t-shirt
Hello, we are nogoodforme and we love Neil Young:
Not withstanding the fact that she is one of my best friends of all time, the incomparable Laura Garland is also an immensely talented artist, illustrator, designer-- let's just say jack of all trades for convenience's sake.
Laura has recently set up an online shop at Etsy, which can be found right here. Currently up for sale are her whimsical charm pendants (a veritable steal at $15), one of which you are free to ogle at left.
In coming days, silkscreened tote bags, back patches, t-shirts and prints will be available for purchase as well. Each handcrafted bauble comes free with a unique silkscreened card, and, as if that isn't enough, Laura is more than willing to do special orders: to quote the artist herself, "if you don't have an image but an idea, like a hamster sitting down to breakfast, just holler. We will get it all under control!"
Seems like a sweet deal to me- but then again, I get all these rad trinkets for free, being a VIP and all. However, not everyone gets to be so lucky as I am, so get yr pocketbooks out and start shopping!
I don't even want to try and guess how many times I've watched The Beatles Anthology since it originally aired in nightly installments on ABC when I was ten years old. I can fondly remember sitting on the staircase of my parents' house when I was supposed to be sleeping, revelling in the gentle lull of George Harrison's Liverpudlian accent, wistfully longing for a bedtime better-suited to my Beatles-related needs. Actually, I ever-craftily feigned illness and insomnia as an excuse to stay up and watch for longer. I would not be surprised to find out that I've watched the Anthology upwards of a hundred times.
Then there's A Hard Day's Night: the best Beatles movie to play for friends who don't really care about the Beatles, the film of theirs that holds up best outside the landscape of the Beatles. Incisive, caustic, and charming, teeming with the classically goonish Lennon comic rhetoric, I'd venture to guess that I've seen it probably around fifty times. Yes: fifty times. And as for Help? It's a little trite, of course, but totally worth it for the parade of unsurpassable Technicolor images it imparts upon the desperate fan: the dazed, sleepy-eyed mid-period Beatles scampering around, clumsy on skis, beguiling on bicycles. The great tragedy of the 21st century is how Help remains unavailable on DVD; after waiting six-plus years for its inevitable release, I recently gave up and eBay-ed a VHS copy in order to scratch my long-standing itch. As such, I'd guess I've seen Help a comparatively scanty ten to fifteen times. But don't fret: now that I finally own it, I'm planning on making up for lost time, and stat.
Which leads me to what I actually want to talk about (all apologies, nothing makes me digress like The Beatles): the Fab Four's final foray into the cinescape of their day (excepting Yellow Submarine, which had nearly zero Beatles involvement--it's not even their real voices!--and therefore doesn't count): Magical Mystery Tour. Shockingly enough, I've seen Magical Mystery Tour only twice, and one of those two times was last night. Considered by the most erudite of Beatles scholars to be the one wayward weak point in an otherwise flawless ten-year run (okay, well, there's also the disaster that is Rocky Raccoon, but whatever, they can't all be winners), Magical Mystery Tour is primarily a Paul McCartney vanity project. The film is bogged down by endless footage of Paul being Paul, and dazzingly so: five straight minutes of Paul exuding charisma at the peak of his hotness in the foothills of the French countryside, soundtracked by the sonic reverie of The Fool on the Hill; Paul excelling at the Vaudevillian choreography accompanying Your Mother Should Know; Paul play-acting at impish cuteness whilst wearing a wizard costume. The movie's attempts at plot and narrative are boring, impossible to follow, self-indulgent and generally unfunny. This being said, I've always been of the belief that Magical Mystery Tour is only relevant when functioning within the same context as other cinematic icons of psychspolitation, like the Monkees' staggeringly-trivial-but-aesthetically-pleasing-nonetheless Head (which is probably an MMT rip-off, come to think of it) or Wild in the Streets, aptly described by the Internet Movie Database as an "unintentionally funny and moronic social satire" (the soundtrack, however, rules: the premise of the movie is that Max Frost, a turned-on 22-yearr-old rock star, becomes President of the United States, relegating the over-thirty crowd to Dystopian "retirement homes" and forcing them to take LSD. His fake band, Max Frost and the Troopers, have a couple of bona fide hits under their belt: Nary a DJ night has passed where I haven't been compelled to play their swelling Fourteen or Fight).
Last night, however, I happened to perceive Magical Mystery Tour in something of a new light. Yes, of course it is still undeniably weak (though the ever-cocksure McCartney insists in Anthology footage that it was a significant inspiriation to Spielberg et al; actually a work of genius if you squint your eyes and cock your head a little to the right), but there are moments of brilliance within it. I mean, come on, it's the Beatles! The first scene that really thrilled me takes place on the (Magical Mystery) tour bus: John Lennon and George Harrison sit together; a young girl (Little Nicola, maybe four or five) sits upon John's lap, and he regales her with kooky, screwy wisecracks and by lampooning with a red balloon. This particular scene immaculately demonstrates Lennon's usually-obscured softer, more tender side: while perhaps my obsessive hero-worship of John Lennon is a little, er, ridiculous and overblown (among other things), this unprecedented glimpse into his fatherly benevolence nearly brought a tear to my eye. Sadly, this scene is nowhere to be found within the expansive archives of Youtube.
However, the second scene that effectively blew my mind is in fact available for all to see. This clip, a proto-music video of George Harrison performing his heavy-lidded, melancholic Blue Jay Way, embodies the very crux of my aesthetic sensibilities: Very Hot Boy with Very Good Bone Structure; lush, phantasmagorical, in-your-face psychedelic renderings; great representations of the daffy, characteristically-George personal style I mused about a few weeks ago; and a hearty dose of good-old "The Beatles being scrappy and clowning around boyishly". The sheer beauty of this clip transcends the otherwise middling bulk of Magical Mystery Tour, and, in my opinion, justifies its very existence. When the BBC initially aired MMT on Boxing Day of 1967 to rather harsh reviews, one particularly snotty newsman declared that the movie "shattered the myth of the Beatles' genius forever". But for me, the inclusion of this clip serves as a reminder that amidst the undeniable mediocrity of the film, the Beatles' relentless creativity and perspicacity were merely dormant: only sleeping if you will.
New Yorkers looking to get a jump on the Libertine for Target collection, here's a hint: it's out on the floor right now at the Bronx Target on 225th Street. The racks are full, there are loads of sizes and plenty of customers looking with interest at the cute whale-printed skirts and screenprinted t-shirts. And while I'd dismissed this as kind of juvenile (and there are definitely a lot of candy punk-prep adorable pieces if that's your thing), there are some nice, sophisticated, even luxurious pieces. The black crepe dress with cream crocheted collar border is well-cut and the material much better than the $39.99 price tag, and the creme silk bolero with black edging is also well-done. Of course, the t-shirts are fun (especially the creme t-shirt with the tree), but a nice surprise were some of the accessories. Those looking for a quirky overnight bag could pick up the blue whale-print duffle, and there are three highly collectable scarves available: a royal blue with colorful border and a Libertine script written all over it, a solid grey with a pink border and a Libertine logo in the corner, and a black and creme one with printed birds, skulls, small Libertine script and other motifs dotted all over it. (It's pictured below.) Anyway, check it out and enjoy...
Two things we love above all else: pretty trinkets adorned with birds, and pretty trinkets adorned with the faces of our most crushed-upon style idols. With Cajsita Design, the new-ish jewelry line from 27-year-old Cajsa Westerman, we get both and it's oh so happy-making. Reaching out across the seas from her native Sweden, Cajsa shares the story behind the "sprawly style" that infuses her fantastically kitschy/minimalistic collection.
Tell us all about how you started Cajsita Design. It was around two years ago when I began making my own jewelry: I was in the middle of my political science studies at university and needed a creative outlet. When I was younger I had always jumped from one creative thing to another, and even wanted to design clothes, but then I safed out when it was time to apply for university. Jewelry design turned out to fit my impatient nature very well, as I can see the results fast and working with the tiny details is kind of soothing. Just a little more than a year ago I felt confident enough to actually start selling my things. My then-boyfriend, who had been selling his art before, was probably the one who pushed me the most to attend craft fairs and go to shops and sell; he made me feel my creations were special enough. From the start I've gotten very positive response, which boosted my ego - so now I'm unstoppable!
What was your original vision for Cajsita? In the beginning I didn't have a vision per se, I just wanted some new cool jewelry that I couldn't find in the stores. Something different that stood out and was both sophisticated and fun! And when I discovered shrinky dinks, hama mini beads and all the gorgeous vintage brass charms out there, I kind of found my thing, even though it's still a very sprawly style.
What are the greatest inspirations for your work? It's difficult to pick out just a few things; many times it simply feels like an idea enters my brain and I have no idea where it came from. But probably it came from some of the following: 20s to 50s fashion (the best decades!), Japanese streetstyle (I flip through Fruits a lot), politics in general (e.g., I wanted diamond jewelry that looked really fake after I studied the diamond industry), toy stores (love to make something beautiful out of simple and even childish materials), nature, movies, art history, and stylish people in general. I am ALWAYS on the lookout for new materials and unexpected symbols!
Who are some of your favorite fashion and/or jewelry designers? A mix of minimalism and girly sums it up pretty well: I adore Vivienne Westwood, Commes des Garcons and Marc Jacobs, as well as Swedish designers Lovisa Burfitt and Helena Horstedt. When it comes to jewelry, Subversive Jewelry is my mostest favorite, and designers with unique visions like Grainne Morton, Melanie Bilenker, and Margaux Lange inspire me too.
Who are your style idols? The ones featured on my style icon necklaces! Generally, it's quite an eclectic mix, as in my designs: I like Dita von Teese's old-style glamour A LOT, Bjork and Chloe Sevigny because they are quite fearless in their choices (Bjork in terms of shape and colors, and Chloe by being ten steps ahead at all times). And Kirsten Dunst! She is the epitome of thriftstore chic, always very cool. People who bend the rules and come up with new ways to wear things is always refreshing. There are a lot of people whose style I like, but would never be able to wear myself, you have to find your own combo that makes you feel the most glamorous. Of men, I think Rufus Wainwright is very elegant and dandy-like with a touch of a craziness.
What's your favorite clothing item (or outfit) lately? It's hard to dress well in the summer, but Minimarket's knotted tee has saved many of even the hottest days lately; it's the most comfy cool thing.
What are some of your favorite clothing shops (around your town or in the whole wide world)? Here in Sweden, it's definitely Tjallamalla in Stockholm and Malmo: They have a great mix of both bigger Scandinavian brands and indie designers. Other than that, I mostly go to thriftstores - usually it's better quality than the chains and I don't support their inevitable sweatshops.
Who are your favorite bands/musicians? Antony & the Johnsons, Bjork, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright and Morrissey.
Who's your number-one all-time music crush? Morrissey!
What do you listen to while you're working on your jewelry? I like to listen to Bjork a lot, and other electronic music you can dance to - it keeps my energy up and once in a while I jump around in my apartment to keep my body from getting to stiff being bent over the work space so much.
Any advice for girls/boys out there dreaming of launching their own label? It feels like I am still learning so much myself. But if you're really passionate about something: Just do it! You can start out small after you feel safe in your field, maybe register on Etsy and participate in local craft fairs - when you get feedback on your things, it will be a good guide where to take your designs next. I have also learned a lot of things as a member of various craft communities, uneducated as I am in the creative field, haha!
What's your favorite thing about running Cajsita? That I get to do what I love the most! The feeling of joy when I come up with a great new design, getting to meet my customers, and best of all: seeing people wear my designs!
Sometimes when I'm supposed to be doing productive stuff like making money or dealing with the zillion or so promo CDs currently building a scary fortress betwixt me and the rest of my apartment, I end up fawning over chunky-heeled jade maryjanes and organic cotton veggie-dyed indigo jeans and other precious things featured in Sodafine's online shop. The impeccably tasted curator of said shop is Erin Weckerle, who's especially fond of handmade, vintage, and eco-friendly goods and has run her Williamsburg boutique (one of the top five reasons why I'd very much like to develop an invisible aircraft that provides hyperspeed-fast travel from L.A. to New York) solo for a little over two years now. She's also the reason why I'm currently in the midst of a weird Linda Ronstadt obsession, which you'll find out more about below - along with Erin's picks for her favorite indie designers, Brooklyn boutiques, and New Zealand pop bands.
Tell us all about how you started Sodafine. I started Sodafine back in Philadelphia with a couple of my friends from art school in late 2002. We were in the backroom of this great shop, Vagabond. It was kind of a spontaneous thing: I was selling my handknits at Vagabond, and one day, when I stopped in to see how they were doing, the owners asked if I would be interested in doing something with the backspace. I was working at a record store, and as a tourguide at an abandoned prison, and dj-ing around town at the time, so it seemed like a good opportunity to try out being my own boss without much risk or financial investment. Once I realized that this was something I really liked doing, and could do well, Sodafine moved to Brooklyn in 2004 to have our own storefront.
What was your original vision for the store? How do you go about deciding what to sell? Sodafine started out selling mostly vintage clothing with bits and pieces of handmade items made by myself and my then-partners, and it grew from there. We started selling more of our friends' work, and word-of-mouth brought more and more indie designers. I choose items and designers that have a quirky take on fashion, but also pay attention to details and craftsmanship. I'm not that interested in specific trends or designer names. I carry quite a bit of lines that utilize eco-fabrics, and to me, that's an extension of caring about craftmanship: being concerned about how clothing is made, and by whom, and how everything we do is a part of the big picture.
Who are some of your favorite fashion designers? Feral Childe, Bahar Shahpar, Camilla Norrback, Myth & Ritual, and for the big names I usually like James Coviello, Anna Sui, Chloe, Tsumori Chisato. Zandra Rhodes and Biba are my old-school favorites.
Who are your style idols? Maybe some mix of Jennifer Herrema, Anna Karina, Goldie Hawn in Shampoo, Eva Hesse, Stone Poneys-era Linda Ronstadt, Miranda July.
Whose closet would you most like to raid? Show Pony owner Kime Buzzelli's. You know she must have the most killer vintage dresses in there!
Who are your favorite bands/musicians? I love New Zealand pop! Like The Cannanes, Tall Dwarfs, The Clean, The Verlaines, Alastair, Galbraith. But I have a pretty expansive music appetite. Lately on heavy rotation: Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Howling Hex, White Magic, Harry Nilsson, His Name Is Alive, Las Malas Amistades, Dog Faced Hermans, New Sound of Numbers, The Long Blondes
What music do you like to listen to when primping? Roxy Music
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today. Pink Floyd The Wall. "Another Brick in the Wall" was my first favorite song - my dad used to listen the The Wall (on eight track!) continuously.
What music do you like to play in the shop? It's a random shuffle all day - I like to keep it pretty upbeat and I try not to play too much crazy-noisy/borderline offensive stuff. Sometimes I have to run up to the stereo when the iPod lands on Throbbing Gristle or something like that!
What are some of your favorite clothing shops (around town or in the whole wide world)? In Brooklyn: Mandate of Heaven has some amazing handmade party dresses, In God We Trust has a very clear vision of their aesthetic, and Dear Fieldbinder has a magical (and dangerous) way with making you feel like dropping $300 or $400 is a perfectly natural thing to do. When I go back to Philly (my boyfriend still lives there), I always stop in at Vagabond. I love browsing CUT + PASTE, Le Train Bleu, Creatures of Comfort, and Seaplane online.
What's your favorite clothing item lately? My Chie Mihara Namis [left]. I wear them almost every day.
Any advice for girls/boys out there dreaming of opening their own shop? You don't need a ton of money to start, but you're going to have to work hard! Be realistic about your goals and start at a level that you can handle and slowly build from that as you learn more and refine your vision. There are tons of forums and blogs for people starting their own businesses, read them! Or pick up some small business guides from your local bookstore.
What's your favorite thing about running Sodafine? Definitely the relationships I've developed with designers I carry, and with other shop owners in my neighborhood and beyond. They keep me inspired and we support each other, and that's an amazing thing!
The road to rock 'n roll perfidy has to begin somewhere, and for me, it began in 1981 when I was a six-year old watching "The Muppet Show." I was insanely devoted to the show (as well as "Three's Company" and "Solid Gold," which kind of explains a lot about me.) But there's no episode I remember as well as the one where Blondie showed up to party with Kermit and company. She sang "Call Me" and "One Way or Another" and I just loved it so much, from her pink eyeshadow to her orange jumpsuit to helping the Frog Scouts get their punk merit badges. I kind of went nuts and began a campaign of intimidation and terror (okay: tantrums and whining) till my parents got me a record of Parallel Lines from some neighbor's garage sale. (I promptly smashed it with my bike by accident about two weeks later.) I'm sure some rock music historian will peg this as an example of the decline of punk, but whatever: everyone should get their punk merit badges, you know? The world would be a better place. Blondie got slagged for incorporating disco and rap into the lilly-white environs of punk music, so I'm sure a "real" punk would have been appalled to see a former CBGBs queen on a mainstream kids' show. But if you think about it: what's more punk than out-of-control six-year olds? Anyway, here's the goodness:
Girl Talk makes me equally and giddily nostalgic for my middle-school days of taping Bell Biv Devoe off the Top 40 station and my early high-school days of taping Nirvana off the local college station. Which is maybe why I've been playing his third record Night Ripper at least thrice weekly ever since first hearing it last winter: Those hundreds of samples of everything from Positive K and Paula Abdul to Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth - plus the classic rock, the hip-hop, the M.I.A. and the X-Ray Spex - feel like someone's unburied every mixtape I ever made/received, tossed them all in a blender, and somehow ended up with the best party album you've ever heard. (And if you've yet to experience Night Ripper for yourself, get thee to Illegal Art and download the two available mp3s ahora.)
Having just quit his dayjob in biomedical engineering last month, Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis, a 25-year-old Pittsburghian) had some free time to inform us of his undying Kid 'n Play love, the essentialness of basketball shorts to tour wardrobe, and his going-out plans for last Saturday night.
What was your first experience in making music? I played saxophone in 3rd grade. I don't know how I got involved with that particular instrument, but unfortunately, I never really learned how to rock out with it.
Who are your favorite bands? I guess my all-time favorites would have to Nirvana, Dr. Dre, Hall & Oates, and Merzbow.
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today. The House Party 2 soundtrack
Do you remember the first time you heard Nirvana? I heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on MTV News, and with the excitement over that song, I could sense that something amazing was happening. It was just like, "Wow, those guys don't even seem like they care!" I think many people my age were hit with the same exact idea simultaneously: "I can do that." The music seemed so weird to me.
Favorite Nirvana song? "Drain You."
When you were a kid, how did you go about discovering new music? I attended Lollapalooza '95 the summer before 8th grade. At that show, I met a Pittsburgh promoter by the name of Manny Theiner. He was handing out pamphlets about local music. Through that pamphlet, I discovered college radio. I started obsessively listening to Carnegie Mellon's and Pitt's stations. Along with that, I started attending shows and reading zines. The Internet was also started to boom around that period, so that helped out a bit.
What have you been listening to lately? Smashmouth, Justice, UGK, Genesis, Midnite Snake, Wiz Khalifa
Favorite makeout music? Air, Moon Safari; T-Pain; Soul for Real
Who's your number-one all-time music crush? L7 [below], the whole band
What do you like to wear onstage? This year, I've been doing a 3-piece suit at festivals and some potentially disposable athletic gear for normal shows.
Name one clothing item you always take on tour with you. Basketball shorts - for sleeping, swimming, performing, and hooping
What's the craziest show you've ever played? In 2004, I played in Nagasaki, Japan, at a rented-out karaoke room with some wild punk bands. There were about 40 people there crammed in the room, everyone was in their socks, and people were jumping all over the furniture.
We hear that you used to have a synchronized dance squad for your live shows. What was that like? Yeah, we had between 5 and 10 members, depending on the show. I never officially got rid of them, it just kind of faded out. When the audiences started dancing and partying more at my shows, there was less of a need to entertain. Anyway, it seems like an official dance squad would just hold back the party. People like to jump on stage. I like it to be as unorganized as possible.
You've described Girl Talk as "party-oriented music." What are the main ingredients for an insane party? Sweat, nudity, law-breaking, strobe lights, keg stands, loud music, dancing, friends, lovers, booze, talking, yelling, fireworks, pools, bathrooms with working locks, no books.
What's next for Girl Talk? I'm going over my friend Richard's house in about 30 minutes. We'll probably drink some IC Lights and then go to a psychedelic rock concert.
"Rollerderby Queen" was pretty much erased from my memory until late last week, when a dear friend informed me that's he's gearing up to referee for his local rollerderby team. And then I went and YouTubed the video, and it's mostly kind of bad. (Starts off really kick-ass, but then why all the slo-mo skating? LAME.) Nevertheless, the song still makes me go "YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH!" over and over (in my head at least, or maybe sometimes to my cat) like it did when a boy put it on a mixtape for me my freshman year of college.
Released in '95, "Rollerderby Queen" was so much more immediately appealing to me than Bikini Kill, whom I discovered via the very same mixtape. I knew I was supposed to want to bow down to Kathleen Hanna, but I had way more fun with the Red Aunts and L7 and Babes in Toyland and other similarly tuff, occasionally ridiculous bands when it came to that mid-90s genre of "girls with snarly guitars who scream a lot." (It's dumb to throw them all in the same category, I know, but my memories of those bands are so inextricably tangled up, probably because I first heard of them all while reading Sassy.) I also wholly appreciated that the Aunts were really into the punk-name thing, each taking on several noms-de-punk throughout the band's lifespan ("Sapphire" and "Taffy Davis" for lead vocalist/guitarist Kerry Davis; "Angel" and "Louise Lee Outlaw" for guitarist Terri Wahl; "E.Z. Wider" and "Connie Champagne" and "Debbi Dip" for bassist Debi Martini; and "Ishino Destroyer" and "Cougar" for drummer Lesley Noelle). I can't really think of any bands that make use of punk names today, except for The Donnas, who win none of my love. (And I just realized that I pretty much bash The Donnas every chance I get, but I can't help it: I think they're so boring and annoying.)
Anyway, watch the video, at least for the first 15 killer seconds. It might make you dream of t-shirts and pleated miniskirts, and high ponytails and red-red lipstick. Which is a hot dream indeed.
I'm pretty sick of Converse All-Stars, and even my beloved Vans are beginning to bore me somewhat. I sure as hell can't afford Stella McCartney's raffia platform sandals, and I've never been much of a Keds fan. So what's a fashion-forward vegan to do? As I write this, I'm ashamedly sporting leather Campers flats (though they were a hand-me-down, which helps to alleviate some of the guilt). But alas. My next move is to support the heck out of Keep Company-- God bless 'em for manufacturing sneaks (as well as t-shirts, sweatshirts, and accessories) that are cruelty-free, socially responsible and mighty fly if I do say so myself.
Check out the goods:
(from top): the Guerra in ice blue and maroon; the Nuss in red w/ white corduroy; the Juniper in green and purple African print; the Tobin in purple w/ violet stripes
I have to admit that I was a bit bummed to hear that Jane is folding. Even though the magazine at times annoyed me to no end, there's no other mainstream women's magazine that really espouses a remotely close-to-left-field perspective -- and I did like that they were started to poach some of Lula's creative talent in their fashion editorials. Now what's going to be my guilty pleasure reading when I'm traveling and grabbing bad candy and magazines at airports?
Well, if there's going to be a Beastie Boys revival, I might as well spearhead it.
In celebration of the Great Beastie Boys Revival of Summer '07, please allow me to regale you all with this killer-ly adorable clip of Ad-Rock and co. performing at, um, their high school (?) circa 1983.
Listening: Linval Thompson, Ride on Dreadlocks; The Nation of Ulysses, Plays Pretty for Baby; Duran Duran, Rio (John Taylor, I still love you)
Watching: Season three of Sex and the City; East of Eden; Under the Sand (one of my favorite movies ever because Charlotte Rampling is a goddess and Francois Ozon is a genius); La Jetee/Sans Soleil Criterion Collection DVD (Chris Marker is one of my heroes)
Reading: Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield; The New Yorker; and the music issue of Nylon, which inexplicably only just arrived in my mailbox this week
Wearing: A Marc by Marc Jacobs babydoll dress, which I can't decide to get rid of or keep
Wanting: Plane tickets to various points of the globe
Listening: Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed; Jane's Addiction, the Classic Girl EP; The Klaxons, "Golden Skans"; The Dandy Warhols, "We Used to be Friends" (aka the "Veronica Mars" theme); St. Vincent; so much Neil Young
Watching: Broken English (it's wonderful, please see it); "Veronica Mars", Season One; the Criterion Collection of Dazed & Confused (extras galore - the making-of and auditions are way fun)
Reading: the little accompanying book for the Dazed & Confused DVDs, especially the Chuck Klosterman essay; rereading Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion
Wearing: My heat-wave work uniform = tank top + knickers (yay for freelancing!). So lately I'm rotating between the red, white, and blue (yay for holiday spirit!) boybeaters I bought at the American Apparel outlet last week and whatever pants (in the British sense) go with. My favorite tank right now, though, is the Susan Cianciolo one I bought on Sunday: It's baby-pink and graffitied with a handscrawled annoucement for her show at Ooga Booga last April, and I love it.
Wanting: a neverending supply of organic nectarines, watermelon juice, and coconut sorbet (with fresh blueberries on top). And a house on the beach in Malibu.
Listening: Marnie Stern, In Advance of the Broken Arm (awe-inspiring!); Sam Prekop, Who's Your New Professor; The Black Keys, Chulahoma; Belle and Sebastian, Push Barman to Open Old Wounds
Watching: The Closer, Veronika Voss, reruns of Project Runway
Reading: The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
Wearing: cutoffs and Vans slip-ons
Wanting: a handmade guitar, a Voigtlander Bessa R2 rangefinder camera, Emma Pink Tess sandals in grey, a Shake Shack burger always
Listening: The Beastie Boys, Paul's Boutique (I think enough time has passed since the Boys' heyday for an emphatic resurgence in interest to take place- I mean come on, this album is GENIUS!); ABBA (why is there no HTML code to make a backwards "B"?); Early-seventies Brit balladeer Clifford T. Ward
Watching: Almost every night at 10 PM, my boyfriend and I somehow end up tuning in to Prank Patrol, a children's television program wherein various Canadian adolescents take revenge upon their friends and family by performing elaborate, outlandish pranks. The host, Andre Simoneau, is a rather charismatic McCartney-esque Quebecois lad.
Reading: Just started Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem for the second time. It's very male, but I'm liking it (nevertheless).
Wearing: J Brand skinny jeans cut off into shorts; summer dresses; ugly t-shirts
Wanting: Assorted treats from Creatures of Comfort: particularly Keerstrin Wintrup's braided high-waisted denim shorts and Carson Potter's Bam Blam dress; Clarks Originals' Desert Patch and/or Trek Ribbon boots
This is the most charming band I've seen and heard in quite some time! Barcelona's Evripidis and His Tragedies conjures the Brill Building sound, with bits of Gershsin and Porter. Their album Ya a La Venta is only available through a Spanish label, Touch Me Records, but we're hoping for an American release or New York show sometime soon...
Many women venturing into the balmiest of seasons have in different ways waxed poetic about what might be the consummate summer dress. Well we've found a candidate, the elusive piece of clothing that seems to simplify one's life and have seemingly transformative powers. Many are simple brilliance, but rare is the one that is pure magic. Imagine it dressed up with classic skimmers or dressed down with either those canvas flats that all the kids (young and old) are sporting nowadays.
This gem is by NYC-based label, Flowers Of Romance, one to definitely keep an eye on as the warmth of summer gives way to the cool autumn air. If you can't afford this version, we recommend you keep an eye out at the vintage stores- this charming silhouette was popular in the seventies.
This past week, my father and I took a whirlwind tour of the Eastern Seabord, traveling from Toronto to New York City to Montreal over the course of three long and arduous days. Kind of sadly, this journey acted as my official farewell to NYC, but we parted ways on good terms, with a t-shirt binge-buying sesh at Uniqlo, several raspberry tollbooth cookies from Lifethyme Natural Market, and the expected deluge of madcap misadventures that New York City tends to ignite in my madcap-enough-already life. That being said, I have now moved to Montreal officially, and have spent the majority of my very-recent past decorating a new studio apartment. Now that it's all said and done, I think it looks pretty hot. Allow me to impart some of my droves of interior design wisdom upon y'all.
Lesson One: How to Decorate Your Walls Cool-ly
(clockwise): Detail shot of Kelley Walker poster in my gold-painted nook (the gold paint barely photographed); Crapola on my yellow wall, Pt. I; John and George appreciation-fest on my bedroom wall (not shown: RFK Jr. pin-up); Crapola on my yellow wall, Pt. II
Lesson Two: Whimsical Decorative Touches Go a Long Way
clockwise: All that remains of my New York life is this Empire State Building lamp, purchased for $10 at Indigo Books (located next to the window; if you squint, it looks like you're really there!); nerdy little figurines left over from early childhood; gorgeous calendar found on sale at Nota Bene, embellished with the pom-poms that fell off my Laurentian Chief winter boots last January; my beloved Fuckscrap
Lesson Three: Be Self-Indulgent
This wall displays an ongoing project I am working on called The Aging Process. It is a pretty easy project. All I have to do is take daily photobooths and watch how long it takes before I can visibly see myself age. In the upper lefthand corner of this image you will find a pin-up of a hot boy.
Lesson Four: Be Smart About Storage
left: I impulse-bought this hangy orange thing at a little shop here in Mtl, and find that it's a really handy tool for storing accessories, which are always awkward to deal with organizationally. Note the John Lennon sunglasses and their overwhelming visual impact; right: This musty-dusty old trunk was a mere $30 at a junk shop, and I'm using it to store all my clothes that I never wear, since I don't really care if they end up smelling like rotted-out wood. I'm sure it will end up doing double-time as a coffee table as well.
Lesson Five: Display Your Cool Shit for all the World to See
I bought a giant wall unit from Ikea. I am not exactly sure of its Swedish product name, but I must say I highly recommend it. Not only does it fit every single thing you own pretty much, in my studio apartment it also functions as a divider between the bedroom and living areas. I have been going organizing-crazy this round of moving. In the upper righthand image, you can see every notebook I've had since 1998 organized chronologically. And see those red and yellow binders in the lower righthand image? Everything I've ever written on looseleaf (also chronological). IMPRESSED???
Lesson Six: How to Make your Bathroom Tasteful & Elegant
Affixing an image of Her Majesty above your toilet makes a really strong statement (although I don't know what about).
Musical mayhem will be mine this weekend, when Japanese noise band the Boredoms perform "77 DRUM" live this weekend in DUMBO. It's exactly as it sounds: 77 drummers will be playing with the band in Brooklyn Bridge Park. God only knows what will transpire but it promises to be thunderous and completely batshit-crazy in the best way possible.
Where: Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park section of Brooklyn Bridge Park
When: Saturday, July 7, 2007 (7/7/07, get it?)
Doors open at 3:00 p.m.
Performance at 5:00 p.m.
Just to get you stoked, the Boredoms live at All Tomorrow's Parties in 2006:
I almost don't want to tell anyone else in the world about tomorrow night's screening of Fast Times at Ridgemont High at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, since I'm sure the line's already going to be so insanely long that I should probably just go there and start waiting now. But I'm trying to be a nicer person in general, so here we are. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Amy Heckerling/Cameron Crowe's teen-movie masterpiece, Cinespia is hosting a cemetery screening that kicks off at 9 p.m. (but gates are at 7:30). And below you'll find a YouTube clip of one of my favorite scenes, in which Damone attempts to seduce a cardboard cut-out of Debbie Harry. It's especially dear to my heart because, umm, my first kiss happened about an hour after the guy played me "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin - ack!
Anyway, even though Damone ultimately makes me skeeve, I tend to appreciate his style more than almost anyone else in the movie (and if memory serves, there was a little charticle in Spin five or so years ago about how to tell the difference between Damone and a member of The Strokes - hahaha). If only he weren't such a dirtbag, I might let him take me out for linguini with white clam sauce and a Coke with no ice.
THE LOOK: At one point in time, even just a few months ago, I would've been all about going as one of those girls who looks just like Pat Benatar. But now, like Laura, I'm more into the Jeff Spicoli aesthetic (although I don't think I'll ever able to deal with Hawaiian shirts).
THE MUST-HAVE: Vans Classic Slip-On in Checkerboards (my preferred color scheme: Fig/Lotus)
The Go-Gos "Speeding"
Tom Petty "American Girl"
Oingo Boingo "Goodbye, Goodbye"
Billy Squier "Fast Times (The Best Years Of Our Lives)"
Stevie Nicks "Sleeping Angel"
The Cars "Moving In Stereo"
The Go-Gos "We Got The Beat"
Jackson Browne "Somebody's Baby"
Led Zeppelin "Kashmir"
The Ravyns "Raised on the Radio"
Lucky ducks in Portland get to go see painter Kime Buzzelli's latest exhibition at Motel gallery starting today. And even luckier ducks in L.A. get to go visit Kime's beautiful boutique Show Pony any time they please. Our favorite little pink paradise in Echo Park, Show Pony is like a gem-encrusted treasure trove of so many dreamy vintage and D.I.Y. creations, plus Kime's own one-of-a-kind, handcrafted fashions that have shrouded the likes of Maggie Gyllenhaal and those Jane's Addiction boys. Here, the artist/proprietress/designer herself tells us of her lifelong George Harrison crush, her most adored celebrity customer (hint: we like her too), and all the magic things that go on inside that "crafty gypsy den."
Tell us about how you started Show Pony. I was working on making things at home and really wanted a space to make messes outside of my kitchen. I originally wanted the space to be for work, but some stylist friends thought it should be open for rentals. It ended up becoming a sort of installation art/one-of-a-kind clothing space where people had shows - sort of a co-op. When it came time to name it, my pals and I brainstormed. They said, "Well, what do you plan on selling?" and I replied that I hoped we would sell things that are frivolous and unnecessary - like a corsage, or a giant show pony feather headdress. Things that trick out a dull wardrobe, or tell a story. The store was put together with the help of all of my good pals, who helped hammer and build up the loft and decorate. We wanted to create a craft treehouse of sorts.
What was your original vision for the store? I loved the idea behind the 60s shop Paraphernalia: that clothes were displayed as if art pieces (resembling more an art gallery then a shop), that it was promoting some type of lifestyle. I also loved the shop in the movie I Love You Alice B. Toklas, where it was sort of a hippie/gypsy hangout. While shopping, they're playing records and the lighting is dim and magic cookies are available. Originally I wanted it to be a sort of cozy and organic. I bought these gigantic red lacquered display wardrobes that seemed almost flapper-like. I suppose if we had more space and money, I would have liked the loft to resemble a real treehouse with a giant swing at the bottom. A crafty gypsy den.
Who are some of your favorite fashion designers? Zandra Rhodes, Kasik Wong, BIBA, Ossie Clark, Bill Gibb, Tsumori Chisato, Vivienne Westwood, Grey Ant
Who are your style idols? The girls in the movie Daisies, The Cockettes, Penelope Tree, Annie Hall, The Marchesa Louisa Cassetti, Stevie Nicks, The Warriors, Auntie Mame, artist Niki de St. Phalle
Who's your dream customer? And who's been your most exciting customer so far? I would most love to have Zandra Rhodes pop in or maybe Christopher Walken - ha ha. The most exciting customer of all time: Miranda July is always a fun shopper.
Whose closet would you most like to raid? Shiva Rose, or Karen Elson
What's your favorite clothing item lately? My Grey Ant voile Persian kitty-cat print off-the-shoulder dress.
Who are your favorite bands/musicians? Karen Dalton, White Magic, Blank Blue, Kate Bush, The Zombies, The Beatles, Electrelane, Cat Power, Ike and Tina Turner
What music do you like to listen to when primping? Serge Gainsbourg, or soundtracks to movies that I wish I was in
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today. The Beatles' White Album, and a whole lotta Blondie
Favorite makeout music? Heart, "Crazy on You" (ha ha). Or maybe, for the romance, Jefferson Airplane's slow jams.
What music do you like to play in the shop? Girly stuff - like CocoRosie, CAT POWER, Joanna Newsom. Stuff from the Valley Girl soundtrack, Echo and the Bunnymen, Ike & Tina, The Zombies, Electrelane.
Who's your number-one all-time music crush? George Harrison, who was my mother's crush as well. I also had a girl crush on Bat for Lashes' music.
What are some of your favorite clothing shops (around town or in the whole wide world)? I like Madley in Venice, Screaming Mimis in NYC, Some Odd Rubies and Scout in L.A. I like the new shop on Glendale called Lake. In Tokyo I love EVERYthing...especially all the shops in the Laforet Mall. WOW.
Any advice for girls/boys out there dreaming of opening their own shop? Well, opening it is the easy part. You have to really love it unconditionally (like a kid that no one else wants to babysit). There are good times and bad times. If it's a labor of love, it will flourish. It will work if you're selling merch that you believe in, and love. You have to learn new ways to change it up: Fashion can often be fickle and the routine gets monotonous like all other jobs. If I had a dollar for all of the "Gone Fishing" signs posted on the Show Pony door these past seven years, I'd be rich!
What's your favorite thing about running Show Pony? I like the constant networking that happens daily between designers and people and watching people have successful art shows. And seeing the kids who start out making clothes get better and better and gain momentum, and then move on to bigger shops like Barneys.
Kime's Motel exhibition "Initials in Apples and Other Futile Spells" (whose title "refers to superstitions and magical spells, like carving initials of the one you love in an apple to divine true romance") runs July 5-18.
We'd be totally remiss if we didn't mention that Beth Ditto, the amazing lead singer of the Gossip, is in talks with British retailer New Look to design her own range. Blessed with a fantastic voice and major stage presence, Ditto made waves earlier this year by refusing to perform at an instore gig at Topshop because they don't make clothes for plus-sized women - so we're pretty sure her designs for New Look will be curvy-friendly. Most of all, we're just excited to be able to post the "Jealous Girls" video here:
So I'm sure there must be loads of people writing and blogging about the 60th anniversary Dior couture show, and about how all the dresses were inspired by artists, and how there were real supermodels walking the runway, and, did you hear, Kate Moss pulled out at the last minute? and blah blah blah. Yeah, the dresses were pretty astonishing, but I was more interested in seeing what the celeb-packed audience were wearing. My personal favorites:
The incomparable Carine Roitfeld, legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. I would like to be her when I grow up, thank you very much.
Sofia Coppola, both a fixation for me and Liz, wearing a dress from Dior's cruise line. (She's with her baby daddy, Thomas Mars of the pop band Phoenix. Is it just me, or does he always look slightly uncomfortable and bored at these fashion events?)
And Dita Von Teese, looking ever-immaculate and old-school glamorous in lilac. Marilyn who? (Am I the only one icked out by Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachel Wood? And how she's kind of starting to dress like Dita these days?)
And just for good measure, here's Kate Hudson in canary yellow. Don't ask me what's going on with that look on her face, but the dress is kind of groovy.
Way back before you could buy glitter gel at Claire's, like '94 or something, I went through a phase of layering Crayola Glitter Glue over my blue eye shadow. Kind of gross, but actually really effective. Now I'm probably too "mature" for both the Claire's stuff and any art supplies stolen/borrowed from my little sister's craft box, but I still fancy shimmery things like Shiseido Silky Eye Shadow, Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil, and sometimes Maybelline Expert Wear Eye Shadow (preferred shade: Antique Jade).
My two new favorite sparkly products, perfect for Fourth of July: FACE atelier's Gold Rush eye shadow line and Rimmel Underground's Light Beam After Dark Lip Gloss. The eye shadows come in six golden shades, each with a slightly metallic glimmer that Pierre La Roche could've used to apply that freaky astral sphere to Ziggy Stardust's forehead back in the day (see left). I'm most into the Bullion shadow, which has a bit of a Creamsicle-dreamy tint to it. (And at first the color name made me think of chicken stock, but then I heard George Clooney in Three Kings barking, "No, not the little cubes you put in hot water to make soup!" and it all came together.)
Equally glammy is the Rimmel gloss in Strobe Light, which is all silvery-shiny and bubblegum-flavored. The coolest part: Push down the little button on top of the cap, and you've switched on a tiny-yet-powerful LED light at the cap's base - all the better for peeking into the little mini mirror attached to the gloss' vial. Genius! And I'm especially psyched to try it out whilst dodging randomly tossed fireworks at Echo Park Lake's annually terrifying D.I.Y. pyrotechnic spectacular tomorrow night.
(Cute nogoodforme.com side note: I still have a few sparklers left from the box that our Kat sent me a very long time ago, during holidaytime of either 2000 or 2001. I might light one up and spell out my name tomorrow night, 'cause capital cursive 'L's are the loveliest letters in all the land.)
We've already told you how much we adore SWANclothing's line of one-of-a-kind, thrifted/vintage-fabric frocks and totes and tees. Now, designer Tara Bethune-Leamen speaks for herself about "haute craft bling," greening your wardrobe, and her newfound bunny fixation. After you've learned of the special space that Yoko Ono and Flavor Flav share in Tara's heart, get yourself to her summer sale and score 30 percent off all of her irresistibly pretty sundresses.
Tell us all about how you started your label. I used to be a model when I was a teenager and then got into video/film work, behind the camera. I really burnt out on it and came back to fashion - I needed to work with my hands and explore beauty again. So first I did some neon images on t-shirts, really aggressive imagery: piles of diamond rings, the Concorde blowing up, razor blades, rainbows and unmentionable stuff. They weren't very easy to wear.
Since [learning the business of selling vintage online] SWANclothing has changed. I started making totes and sundresses from vintage and thrifted fabrics. It's all handmade by me, sold in my Etsy SWANclothing store and in the SWAN Boutique on my blog. The SWAN style got gentler and super-feminine, but there is always something unusual about each item. I play with scale with the totes or add little details on the dresses that mass-produced items won't give you, like extra-long shoulder straps on the sundresses. Little indulgent luxuries. But the totes still have names like Big Bruiser and Louche, which retain a bit of the aggressiveness and decadence of the original t-shirts.
Basically it's me working from home, taking it day by day, exploring what I love and figuring out how to make it work. I'm moving towards incorporating handprinting on t-shirts and totes, and selling in boutiques again.
What was your original vision for SWANclothing? SWAN transforms with me. I have a lot of styles that I like and rotate and combine in my personal wardrobe: 60s/70s/80s/90s vintage, avant garde, preppy, craft/handmade, haute couture, mall princess, hip-hop, nerdy, rock, androgynous, feminine and on and on. So I'll let SWAN meander through them as I feel like it.
I do limit myself to what I can make within the values of the company: a high level of quality with as much sustainable and environmental consideration as possible. I want to prove that you can dress beautifully without wrecking the planet or your credit rating. As in, own less but own sustainable, high-quality and timeless items.
When I say "timeless," I don't mean "timeless elegance" - that is not my thing. I mean items that combine types of classic styles - like classic conservative and classic hip-hop, for example. Making them somewhat unplaceable and contradictory in their style references. Like, my summer 2007 dresses are a very classic and simple sundress style, but I played with the scale of the florals, making them bolder and modern. And I always imagine them on a girl covered in tattoos. I love that, pretty things on tattooed girls. For the fall 2007 items, I want to bring back some bling, some pop and more animal imagery to the line (bunnies!!!). I am thinking in terms of "haute craft bling."
Who are some of your favorite fashion designers? Marc Jacobs, Heatherete, LaCoste, Alexander McQueen, Willi Smith...those would be some of "the big names," but there are so many independent designers and "makers" or "crafters" doing beautiful unique things these days. I would say if you haven't checked out Etsy you should, or any of the numerous craft fairs this summer, or boutiques that focus on these handmade items.
Who are your style idols? For a while now I've been a fan of Susie Bubble of Style Bubble - her daily fashion serendipity makes me happy. And a whole bunch of girls and boys in the wardrobe_remix group on Flickr: real people being themselves, wearing whatever makes them happy. And I just saw an old film by Godard called Weekend that is amazing for 60s fashion: a lot of conservative pieces, then clashing and vibrant mod pieces. I have so many individual style idols that the list just gets weird - from Catherine Deneuve to Patti Smith to Yoko Ono to Flavor Flav.
Whose closet would you most like to raid? Mmm...Right now, some preppy kid from the 80s who loved bright, almost acid colours. And anyone with a selection of fitted vintage trench coats. I think I have a trenchcoat fetish. Oh, and Carine Roitfeld, the editor of French Vogue. That woman just wins, hands-down.
What's your favorite outfit lately? I have an acid-wash denim circle skirt with huge pockets and a very tight, high, scalloped waist. I wear it with a double-wrapped, super-skinny tan belt; a tucked-in, clingy, slouchy white t; some yellow flats; and big gold hoop heart-shaped earrings. And I wear my hair kind of dainty and tight, like in a tucked-in French braid. It's overall pretty elegant. The skirt is unreal.
Who are your favorite bands? That's another eclectic list. Here are some: Justice, Au Revoir Simone, Junior Boys, A.R.E. Weapons, Gogol Bordello, CocoRosie, Dandiwind, Les Sparkling Bubbles, Goldfrapp, Meatloaf, Uffie, Klaus Nomi, Architecture in Helsinki, Laurie Anderson, Captain Beefheart, Feist, Rammstein, AC/DC, Dolly Parton, Led Zeppelin, Marlene Dietrich, Crystal Castles, The Teenagers, CircleSquare, Peaches.
What music do you like to listen to when primping? Any of the above, excluding dreamy stuff.
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today. Queen, The Game. The track would be "Another One Bites the Dust."
Favorite makeout music? Right now I like "Office Boy" by Architecture in Helsinki. It just sounds happy and saucy.
Who's your number-one all-time music crush? Well, at the moment it's Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello. And Uffie is very cute. I'm not so good with all-time favourites.
What are some of your favorite clothing shops (around your town or in the whole wide world)? Thrift stores & markets anywhere in the world - I can vouch for Tokyo, Paris, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Barcelona. And vintage on eBay. And I like basics from American Apparel and APC. But I rarely buy new things.
Any advice for girls/boys out there dreaming of launching their own label? It's just a lot of work, focus, and involvement. Like, really pay attention to what people are saying back to you when you put it out there. Interact. The Internet is so incredible to reach likeminded people. You don't have to "sell"; you just need to find your people.
I'm really still finding my way. My company is very small and growing and I'm working on the answers.
What's your favorite thing about running SWANclothing? I am still shocked that I get to do what I want. It's a deeply pleasant surprise. And I get to make myself awesome totes.
What are your biggest inspirations? Serendipity. Chancing upon great fabric to work with through thrifting. That's where my new bunny phase started. And endless imagery from everywhere - I collect images and always have. I pour over magazines, the Internet, Flickr, the library, movies. I just consume imagery. And I love "now," where we are in our culture and how it's reflecting in pop culture. Just the blender of it all, how fast the ideas are moving and feeding off each other. And how it doesn't make any sense anymore. That's an interesting freedom.
Listening: Leonard Cohen, New Skin for the Old Ceremony; the Birthday Party, Prayers on Fire; Josef K, Entomology; Turzi, "Acid Taste" (you need only say "psych band" and I'll pretty much buy a ticket for the ride; get the mp3 here if you want Silver Apples-y, Kraftwerk-y goodness)
Watching: Manufactured Landscapes; trying to figure out if I like the new Interpol video
Reading: Lydia Davis, Varieties of Disturbance; The New Yorker; The Economist, this month's British Vogue
Wearing: Tan H&M vest, wide brown belt, long Rick Owens skirt
Wanting: Air-conditioning, popsicles, swimming pools, oceans
Listening: Nick Lowe, "So It Goes"; Ataxia II; Auf Der Maur; "Rag and Bone"by The White Stripes, over and over and over (actually, the entire new White Stripes record - it gets better every time you listen)
Watching: "Undeclared"; the video for "Sharpshooter" by the Mary Timony Band; Stella shorts on CollegeHumor
Reading: the new Vogue and sadly that's about it for right now. (Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines! And I also went to a spa in San Luis Obispo this week.)
Wearing: sorta-flamenco-y red dress that's almost exactly this, but with beaded straps; exciting red heels (for a birthday dinner tonight)
Wanting: a new car CD player to replace the one someone jacked in spring '05 (it's finally starting to get to me), plus passes to the L.A. Film Fest so I can see Julie Delpy's 2 Days in Paris
Watching: I really hope to see Ratatouille with my parents & boyfriend this weekend- isn't that adorable? (I'm only half-kidding)
Reading: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon- it's very readable, but Chabon has this weird habit of repeating the same two-dollar words at 20-page intervals throughout the text (is it a literary device? Or does he just really like the word acrid?)
Wearing: A maybe vintage gold mesh tank top emblazoned with an oversized marijuana leaf; Japan Airlines flight bag (this isn't it, but kind of); a new blue babydoll dress from Zara that I was "forced" to buy last Wednesday when a bird unexpectedly defecated on me
Wanting: What I want more than anything is for Stella McCartney & PETA's Virtual Anti-Fur Protest to not only be in Second Life but also to be in Real Life (namely my real life), so that I can live on an English Countryside-inspired island where I spend my spare time hanging out in Stella McCartney and PETA Information Treehouses whilst eating Linda McCartney mini veggie burgers. Paradise much?
Oh, and pretty much all of the Erin Fetherston for Target gear that Kat posted about earlier, namely the heart bag and frothy purple tiered Sweet Sixteen cake of a dress
Hey, it's like a mini nogoodforme.com film festival here: