You may recognize this photograph as the cover of Diana Ross' self-titled 1970 solo album. Unfortunately, the largest image of said record cover available on Google's famed image search is approximately the size of my pinky fingernail and therefore unsuitable for blogging purposes. But perhaps this is all for the best, since the picture I was able to get my grubby (from chimney-sweeping, I'll have you know) little hands on exhibits the young Ross' flawless take on orphan chic in full medium-sized glory. I dwell on the self-made concept of orphan chic a lot, not for any real reason except that I think Industrial Revolution-era orphans (also newsies) did it better than anyone else ever did. Until Diana Ross came along, that is. I aspire to one day look as orphantastic as Diana does in this particular photograph. Sadly, however, such grandiose heights of orphan chic were never reached by Diana Ross again. Even the back cover of this same album has Diana looking like her regular old self, all glamourpussed out in glittery gold eveningwear. In the lexicon of many a US tabloid, all I can really say about this tragedy is, WHAT WAS SHE THINKING???
Something exciting about today is that, at any given you point, you can go out (or stay in!) and get the supertight new record Weirdo Rippers by No Age. It came out Tuesday and it's awesomely ear-shredding but still as bouncy and melodic as your most loved Ramones song (plus there's lots of pretty guitar, too). My favorite track is probs "Semi-Sorted," which takes a long time to build but then explodes into something thrashy and heart-slugging that's so perfect for running up hills (all Kate Bush-stylez - except not really). Anyway, you can download a few tracks here and then score the whole damn record at Amazon or iTunes.
You can also grab yourself a No Age bandana - now available in many vibrant colors - by PayPal-ing the band $7. I recently replaced my tired old navy-and-white bandana with a far hotter hot-pink-and-gold one, which No Age's guitarist Randy Randall says was inspired by the cover art for The Greatest by Cat Power. I like to wear mine all boring/girly (folded repeatedly till it's about 2 inches wide, then wrapped around my head and tied at the back) but there are so many more exciting ways to do it. To demonstrate for us, Randy acted as our model in a super-exclusive No Age/nogoodforme.com fashion show extravaganza gala adventure thing deal. Photos are by Alisa Lipsitt, Randy's partner in Stacks and Layers (a boutique production company - check out their stuff on YouTube).
So yeah, here we go:
1. This is how to wear your No Age bandana when you're going to dress up as Bruce Springsteen in 1984 - and then maybe feel slightly regretful about it.
2. This is how to wear your No Age bandana when you're going to dress up as that guy from Bruce Springsteen's band who wore his bandana around his forehead. You know, the guy that eventually ended up playing Silvio Dante on The Sopranos .
(It's Little Steven/Steven Van Zandt. I actually knew that the whole time.)
3. This is how to wear your No Age bandana when you're going out to rob a bank in the Old West.
P.S. Don't forget your gun!
4. I actually don't have anything clever to say about this one; I'm just crazy about Randy's t-shirt and thought that this shot showed it off really nicely.
5. Lastly, this is how to wear your No Age bandana if you are actually in No Age. It totally works here, but when we're out on the town and we see boys who are not in No Age and they're wearing neckerchiefs, we kind of break out in hives a little. Maybe the only excuse would be if you're a Boy Scout or a Cub Scout. Otherwise, no dice. Sorry.
We did end up finally catching Beach House at Mercury Lounge last Saturday! The show was hot, crowded, and oversold, but that surely did not detract from the aural beauty of the evening. They played a good amount of new material, as well as favorites like "Tokyo Witch" and "Master of None." I was lucky enough to bring along photographer Martha Burzynski to take some striking photographs for nogoodforme.com. Enjoy the ones below, and peep the full set over at Martha's Flickr for full evidence of how lovely singer Victoria Legrand is. (Guitarist Alex Scally is lovely as well, but he played pretty much in the dark, head looking down at his guitar most of the time.)
My first taste of Subversive Jewelry came midway through my sophomore year at Parsons School of Design, when my best schoolfriend Cyd Mullen suddenly started showing up for Departmental Seminar 3 wearing oversized necklaces adorned with plastic horses, vintage keys, Mickey Mouse charms, and the like. When bombarded with compliments and exclamations about said baubles, the always cool Ms. Mullen would simply shrug it off and say she started working for an old friend from Pittsburgh, the jewelry designer Justin Giunta. Fast forward two years, and suddenly Subversive has been nominated for a CFDA Award while Amber Valletta (and a monkey) is busy rocking the line in a photoshoot for American Vogue. I was only the tiniest bit envious.
Subversive's latest creations are as delicious, whimsical and, um, subversive as ever, though significantly more subdued, refined and elegant (fittingly, they have recently launched a Bridal Collection: the very thought of it makes me want to get married STAT). That's called progress, my friends, and I for one am certainly digging the additional dose of chic. But enough from me: please allow Subversive founder/designer Justin and his assistant/production manager Cyd to speak on their own behalfs. Merci buckets!
Tell us all about how you guys got started with Subversive.
Justin: I got started by making a charm bracelet filled with gun charms for my friend's birthday! Everyone wanted one, so I made a 12-piece collection around ironically arranging charms into narratives.
Cyd: Justin started Subversive in 2003. I got wrapped up in things with my Pittsburgh connection. Justin claims Pittsburgh is the center of the universe; I just lucked out with him as my high school chemistry tutor.
What do you guys listen to when you're working on your designs?
Justin: Everything from Steely Dan to Art Brut.
Cyd: EVERYTHING! Seriously, we listen to music all day and have totally played out our entire iTunes library. I can't listen to Steely Dan again. Recently, I've been listening to Nic Harcourt on KCRW.com. He has a great show called Morning Becomes Eclectic.
What are your biggest inspirations?
Justin: The Entirety of Art History!
Cyd: Justin continues to inspire me everyday. He is a very talented artist. Make sure to checkout his paintings at www.justingiunta.com.
What's your favorite thing about being in control of your own designs, rather than designing for someone else?
Justin: I always defined being an artist by being able to sustain a livelihood from the things I make with my hands. Creating each piece of jewelry is
both engaging and rewarding for me, every time.
Cyd: Wearing it!
Any advice for girls/boys out there dreaming of launching their own label?
Justin: Starting something new seems increasingly daunting these days, but you have to be determined and sincere in your pursuit: if you put the emphasis on making your product great, and are confident in sharing your creative viewpoint, the rest will follow suit.
Who are your favorite designers?
Justin: Viktor & Rolf, Martin Margiela, Alexander Mcqueen.
Cyd: I recently saw Patti Smith play, and she looked good decked out in Ann Demeulemeester. But for me, I've been saving my pennies for Chloe's Doc-inspired platforms.
Define your aesthetic sensibilities in three words.
Justin: AFRICAN PIRATE CHIC
Who are your style idols?
Justin: Andre 3000.
Whose closet would you most like to raid?
Justin: I am happy in my own closet!
Cyd: Laura Faulds' (Editor's note: I am Laura Faulds, and seriously, it's not that great)
What's your favorite clothing item lately?
Justin: Shoes. I have never been into shoes, until recently.
Cyd: I've been wearing my black Marni platforms every day. I really am a sucker for platforms. But really, I can't wait for winter so I can wear my gold Missy Elliot-style puffy jacket that I bought secondhand in Pittsburgh for $11 (Editor's note: I know this coat well, and it is pretty fabulous).
What are some of your favorite clothing shops (around your town or in the whole wide world)?
Justin: I shop all over the place, I love B.Blessing in the LES, the environment lends to the lifestyle for sale.
Who are your favorite bands?
Justin: No comment.
Cyd: The Sultans of Ping.
What music do you like to listen to when primping?
Justin: I let the iTunes DJ work it out; it always gives me something to gear me into the evening.
Cyd: Recently I've been listening to Edith Piaf. I don't know any French, so I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do before our upcoming Paris trip.
Name one record/song you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today.
Justin: Green Earrings by Steely Dan and Art Garfunkel's Breakaway album.
Cyd:The Smiths. I'm sorry, but my parents played 'em all the time.
Favorite makeout music?
Who's your number-one all-time music crush?
Justin: Fiona Apple- I would love to give her something to sing about!
Name one clothing/beauty/jewelry item you could not live without.
Justin: A belt!
Cyd: Subversive Jewelry's gold laser-cut headband!
And with that, below are a couple more Subversive baubles for y'all to drool over. Gorgeous!
God, I do my best not to be interested, to be full of jaded, proper, politically astute integrity and skeptical, sober critical thought -- and yet I'm still excited to see what everyone's favorite scandalous person, Kate Moss, is up to for fall, fashion-speaking. I thought we'd be Mossed out by now, but this Grazia article promises that the fall Kate Moss for Topshop collection is more trend-driven and confident. Does it really matter? People will still go nuts because I just looked at that crepe dress and felt that "I want that right now" instinct light up on the radar. Oh, Kate, what's in your water? Now if you could get Philip Green to look into those exploitative labor charges, pronto, because I know you probably have the power to save the world if you really wanted to. If you could do it before September 5th, when the fall collection is set to launch, that'd be even better.
Listening: Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga; live Blonde Redhead; Thin Lizzy; the Brown Bunny soundtrack, which is way more awesome than the film
Watching: It's Buffy vs. Scully vs. Carrie Bradshaw in my world right now
Reading: This article about the suicides of artists Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake in New York; pretty much every single English language fashion magazine's September issue
Wearing: An army-green babydoll hoodie coat from Old Navy; Uniqlo skinny jeans tucked into glen plaid rain boots when it's gloriously cold and rainy; now that it seems to be warm and sunny again, I'm at a loss because conceptually I've already shifted into fall
Wanting: More hours in the day; for the Pinkberry to open up across the street; a real burrito, not this bullshit excuse for Mexican food that exists in New York; an apartment in Greenpoint
Listening: No Age and The Mae Shi Thursday night at the Troubadour; more Patti Smith, especially Radio Ethiopia; Lloyd Price, "Stagger Lee"; Rilo Kiley, Under the Blacklight; The Chemical Brothers, Dig Your Own Hole; Muse, "Time is Running Out" (this is used really well on an episode of Entourage - I can't remember what happens, but it's the closing scene and they're all in an elevator and shit is way intense); Judas Priest, "You Got Anothing Thing Comin'"
Watching: Superbad and 2 Days in Paris (probably the two funniest and most endearing movies I've seen this year - Michael Cera and Julie Delpy are now my favorite people in the whole wide world)
Reading: re-reading this 1996 Thurston Moore interview with Patti Smith (TM: "The only other time I saw you was in Bleecker Bob's in the '70s. You walked in eating pizza and wearing aviator glasses and Bleecker Bob showed you an Ian Dury picture sleeve and you said, 'I don't listen to music by people I don't wanna fuck.'" PS: "Ha, ha, ha, yeah that was me."); Laura C. Martin, Tea; that wacko Vanity Fair piece about "the boys who love the girls who love the spotlight"; bits and pieces of the 18 zillion copies of Fashion Rocks that've landed in my mailbox this month
Wearing: sundresses and tshirts and cutoffs, still. I'm boring; it's so hot out.
Wanting: a pair of pink-and-chocolate checkered Vans to wear at Fuck Yeah Fest this weekend
Listening: The Rolling Stones, Between the Buttons (especially Cool, Calm and Collected)
Watching: Factory Girl (horrendous & embarrassing; I feel like this movie was made by my friends and I in high school); The Great Muppet Caper; The Fox and the Hound; If...; Big Brother 8
Reading: Still The Master and Margarita (which is gorgeous! Man is the devil ever sly); Sienna Miller Vogue
Wearing: This navy blue little boys hoody that one of my co-workers gave me: it has a cartoon dinosaur's head peeking out from one side of the kangaroo pocket, and a tail coming out from the other!
Wanting: A toaster oven; to make significant headway in my battle against Diet Coke (I'm trying to cut back on aspartame); New York City!
This is hands-down, bar-none, my Favorite Album Cover Of All Time. It simultaneously manages to be aesthetically beautiful, graphically flawless, genuinely radical, and charmingly tongue-in-cheek.
Along with the Boggs' Forts, Beach House's record was kind of like my go-to music for this summer. Wake up in the morning, listen to Beach House. Having one of those weirdly grey, chilly global-weirdness days that spotted the months occasionally this summer, listen to Beach House. Flying above the clouds on an airplane during one of the many trips taken this summer, listen to Beach House. Something about the gorgeous gauziness and sheer loveliness of the sound wraps itself around you like a cashmere blanket; they're kind of perfect songs to nestle within. I kept missing the band live despite the many opportunities this summer, but luckily I get my last chance this season, what with Beach House playing tonight at Union Hall in Brooklyn and tomorrow at Mercury Lounge in Manhattan.
I definitely approve.
Because I love you so, I bring you a lovely little video from Swedish band Little Dragon. What is in the water in Sweden, I ask you: Little Dragon make lovely, elegant dance-based music, but not like cheesy bad club music -- like many things Swedish, there is an intellectual detachment to their sound that no way detracts from its impact. It's leavened by singer Yukimi Nagano's husky and soulful vocals -- she clearly must have listened to a lot of Nina Simone for inspiration at one point because her voice gets that sly, sexy little growl to it sometimes. Anyway, the video is directed by Johannes Nyholm, who also did "Heartbeats" by the Knife. Man, I have to get to Sweden...
(And here is "Heartbeats," because come on! It's wobbly, identically-dressed skateboarders!)
The news has scarcely been out on Loeffler Randall's collection for Target, and now the first sneak peek pictures have already leaked to the blogosphere! These come via Racked, who got them from Market Girl. (Oh, what a hall of mirrors we weave!) While these are not professional snaps, I'm still psyched about these: it looks like Loeffler Randall's sense of graceful proportion and attention to detail are still intact, even at a much lower price-point. Excitement! Now, to wait at least five months...
For some reason it took me a while to trust Jenny Lewis. The first time I paid close attention to her was the night I fell asleep on the couch and half-woke up a little bit later to find Rilo Kiley playing "Portion for Foxes" on Jimmy Kimmel or something. It was like, "Who's this redheaded ex-child-actor in the adorable babydoll dress, singing some really catchy song that makes me feel simultaneously ecstatic and terrible about liking the person I like?" She kind of unnerved me. But last year her solo record came out and I fell in love, then went back and realized Rilo Kiley are nothing to be wary of.
Nay, we should wholly embrace Rilo Kiley, if for no other reason than the fact that they're a fairly durable indie-rock band who just made a gorgeous record that sounds nothing like indie-rock. It sounds like really good radio, like spinning the dial and finding a really good disco song on one station, a really good country song on the next, then late-80s new-wave-rip off lite rock, then blue-eyed soul, then some hand-clappy perfectly Beatles-esque pop (though not exactly in that order). Jenny even kinda raps on "Dejalo" (sample rhyme: "My mama is an atheist/If I stay out late, she don't get pissed"), and it actually maybe works.
So now I guess I totally trust Jenny Lewis, at least enough to take my little sister to see the band on her 16-year-birthday next month. Plus, she's such a babe, and I'm still dreaming of that dress she wore on the cover of Rabbit Fur Coat. Is it not to die for?
Liz and I both noticed that we had a goodly amount of hits yesterday from searches for Irina Lazareanu, the model/muse du jour. She's got a record coming out soon, but we were still puzzled with the flurry of interest -- till we realized that she may have been arrested along with on/off/maybe-on-again (ex-)boyfriend Pete Doherty a few days ago. This begs a few questions:
1. What is going on with this Kate Moss/Pete Doherty/Irina Lazareanu triangle?
2. How does Pete Doherty continually elude jail?
3. And just "wtf" in general on the whole thing.
At any rate, it all points out the fact that we don't have nearly enough pictures of Ms. Lazareanu in this blog. We're not usually model-y people here, but she's just too cool-looking for us to be haters. So here is my favorite picture of her:
Gleaned via the ever-awesome Racked: fantastico-fabulous shoe and accessories designer Loeffler Randall to design a shoe line for Target in early 2008! While these "mass with class" collabos are coming on so fast-and-furious that we barely bat an eye these days, this one really sets the radar tingling because of how much we always seem to covet from Loeffler Randall's main collection. I really hope they just unabashedly rip themselves off and do a boot like these Sylvie ones from Shopbop:
Now all I need to make me completely fashion-apoplectic is to hear that Bing Bang will be doing a Target collection. Anyone from Target out there listening? Come on, really make my heart race!
The first images from Roberto Cavalli for H&M have leaked (via Cafe)! While it's hard to really glean a sense of the entire collection from these, the strongest impression I get is that the fashionable gents out there might be pleasantly surprised by this collection because the suits look kind of nice. Enjoy!
Today in the New York Times there's a story about how Todd Haynes's next movie I'm Not There - the one where Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, and a few other folks all play Bob Dylan at various moments throughout his life - is set to play in only four theaters across the country when it's released this November. Lucky for me one of those theaters is in L.A., 'cause I feel like I've been waiting a thousand years for I'm Not There to come out (and I can't remember whether or not I liked Todd Haynes's last movie, Far From Heaven, but Velvet Goldmine is probably the only movie in my life to obsess me more than Star Wars did when I was five - I used to watch it every single day for several months when it was first released on VHS).
So, yeah, there's this clip of I'm Not There up on YouTube, and it's got Cate Blanchett playing Dylan, plus David Cross as Allen Ginsberg (whoa). It's awkward and great and now I'm really not sure I can wait till November. And below that, just for kicks, my favorite scene from Don't Look Back.
Sometimes the vagaries of global fashion conglomeration elude me. Why is it that Isabel Marant can do her usual ineffably chic thing for La Redoute in France, and not quite yet for the one for the U.S.? As modeled by the impeccably pedigreed Lou Doillon, what woman anywhere wouldn't want a perfectly draped dress or charmingly awkward wool coat for fall?
A little while back in the city of San Francisco I found a $4 used copy of Teeth by Hugh Gallagher at some bookstore on Valencia and bought it because (a) I'd read nice things about Hugh Gallagher in Sassy, like, 15 years ago; and (b) Hugh Gallagher is the boy responsible for what I'd consider one of the most outstanding pieces of journalism Rolling Stone has ever published. It was this fun/terrifying first-person story in which the author locked himself in a hotel room and did nothing but watch MTV for an entire week, and I remembered it so fondly that I ended up scoring a copy of that issue (published on April 29, 1993; Eric Clapton on the cover) on eBay the day I got back from SF. Written diary-style, the article's as great as I remember and full of moments both beautiful (Hugh talking about riding around D.C. on the back of his big brother's motorcycle while listening to the Chili Peppers' "Breaking the Girl") and gross (Hugh vomiting up his coffee during an episode of Headbangers Ball).
Anyway, the whole reason I'm bringing it up now is there's this entry on the second day of his experiment (3:32 p.m. on December 30, 1992, just two days after my 15th birthday) in which he writes: "Something about the Black Crowes' anti-heroin song makes me want to try heroin." And then about an hour later, there's a much more lengthy rant about Madonna's video for "Deeper and Deeper" (excerpt: "My God, the woman is completely insane. She's a national security threat - you can see it in her eyes, howling orbs of vacant, heavy rotation. One of these days she's going to whip out a Cobray submachine gun and mow down a roomful of fashion freaks at a Jean-Paul Gaultier runway show"). What he doesn't mention is that both the Black Crowes video ("Sometimes Salvation") and "Deeper and Deeper" star a girl named Sofia Coppola, who would've been about 21 years of age back then. Those weren't her only video appearances; she was also in the one for "Mildred Pierce" by Sonic Youth, which probably came out in 1990, and then, in 1997 or so, the one for "Elektrobank" by The Chemical Brothers (directed by the ex, Spike Jonze).
The point it's taken me a thousand years to get to is that: It's kind of mondo bizarro that Sofia Coppola used to be in music videos, and those videos actually got played on MTV. And while I do recognize that maybe she works much better behind the camera, I do miss that moment in time when she turned up not just in videos but in fashion spreads and on her own short-lived TV show, largely just because her dad made lots of big, big movies. It's that whole famous-for-being-famous thing, but wouldn't it be nice if there were more such ladies out there today who leaned more toward dilettante than celubante? I think so.
Anyway, here's a little trip through Sofia's brief but bright career as a video actress. I can't decide which one is my favorite.
1. Sonic Youth, "Mildred Pierce"
Okay, this one probably never got played on MTV, except maybe during "120 Minutes," but it might even be too weird for that. It's Sofia as Joan Crawford, by far the most animated we've ever seen her. (In fact, I watched this about five times before realizing that was her - it's so surreal to see her making so many different facial expressions. I thought she just had the one, that endearing little almost-sneer.) The air-surfing by the Hollywood sign is lots of dorky fun and makes me wish Sonic Youth's L.A. phase had lasted a little longer. However: Thurston, please put your shirt back on!
2. Black Crowes, "Sometimes Salvation"
This makes me feel sad for my highly impressionable 14-year-old self, already subjected to so much heroin-chic imagery (Kurt, those Calvin Klein ads, etc.). But I do love Sofia's coat. Chris Robinson's too.
3. Madonna, "Deeper and Deeper"
Oh, this one's the most fun (though I don't get the whole "Sprockets" thing going on). Yes to the crimped hair; no to that foofy thing around Madonna's neck (Hugh Gallagher calls it "a Muppet frock"; Hugh Grant (in About a Boy) would call it "some kind of yeti costume"). The banana thing is cute but that long-haired boy in his skivvies: not so much. Sofia looks lovely and Debi Mazar = hot hot hot. The video makes me miss her despite the fact that I see her all the time on Entourage.
4. The Chemical Brothers, "Elektrobank"
Sofia as gymnast, and she's very good at the awkward-teenager thing. It really slugs my heart when she hurts her knee. And the scrunchie is just perfection.
Listening: Depeche Mode, Violator and Black Celebration and Some Great Reward (nuts, I know); Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy; an old Fire Engines tape that I unearthed in a box cleaning out my room; Calla, "Bronson (Gang War Version)"; Angels of Light, We Are Him (such a brilliant set of songs written and performed by Michael Gira, who fronted the scary-awesome Swans - the only band my dad ever asked me to turn off on the stereo)
Watching: Dans Paris (because Romain Duris is my movie-star boyfriend; this movie's kind of a fantastic tribute to the French New Wave, and fashion-wise Joana Preiss wears some killer Balenciaga in it)
Reading: Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie
Wearing: American Apparel things because they're comfortable and I need to run around a lot today: a brown dress worn as a skirt, and a grey t-shirt. Why do I feel so wrong when I wear American Apparel? And why do I keep doing it?
Wanting: An ice cream cone and a nap
Listening: Neil Young, "Helpless"; Patti Smith, Wave and Easter and Horses and Peace and Noise and Gung Ho; Rilo Kiley, "Give a Little Love" (via Fluxblog); Devendra Banhart, Cripple Crow
Watching: things people watch early in the morning and late at night in hotel rooms, like Paula's Home Cooking and Spaceballs and John From Cincinnati (R.I.P., I guess)
Reading: Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison (bought used for $7 at the Boulder Bookstore)
Wearing: this seafoam-green C & C California tank top bought secondhand at Gotta Have It in Venice, usually layered over my black American Apparel camisole and worn with cutoffs and my black suede mid-calf slouchy fringy boots and teal pheasant-feather handband and angel-wings charm necklace
Wanting: more of the Snickers pancakes (Ghiradelli chocolate chip pancakes with milk chocolate glaze and bourbon caramel glaze, plus roasted peanuts on top) that I ate last Sunday at Snooze in Denver
Listening: Sandie Shaw's cover of Sympathy for the Devil, which was included on the CD that came free with an issue of MOJO I bought to read on the plane from London to Toronto. It's beyond; great frenetic drumming. And the whole concept behind the song becomes infinitely cooler with the female vocal.
Watching: Okay, Hairspray ruled. I saw in the same Liverpool cinema where A Hard Day's Night premiered, and was unashamedly swept away by the spectacle of it all. Zac Efron rules!
Reading: Julian Barnes' Arthur & George is exquisite and comes highly, highly recommended. Painfully British; the perfect London read. Also, Alex James' long-awaited (well, by me at least) autobiography, Bit of a Blur: super-fun, & the perfect amount of gossipy. Just started in on Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, which explains the whole Sympathy for the Devil thing
Wearing: Heaps and heaps of Topshop!!!: Kate Moss skinny jeans; frilly green tunic; double-strap maryjanes (in black patent leather); high-waisted wide-legs. And that's only the tip of the iceberg.
Wanting: Chill out time in Montreal! Vacations really take a lot out of you.
It's tragically rare that we find someone to fill the aching void left by the breakup of our beloved Belly some ten years ago. But Shelley Short's sweet voice bears such an uncanny similarity to Tanya Donelly's, and the music's so dreamy and luminous like the spookiest songs on Star and King and all those bootlegs I've amassed over the years. Much of Shelley's Captain Wild Horse (Rides The Heart Of Tomorrow) has more of a folky/country feel, though, thanks in part to the lovely strings and ukulele and piano all throughout (check out three of the songs for yourself, here). So while it makes sense that the Chicago-to-L.A. transplant is crazy for Jimmie Rodgers and Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams, we were a little more surprised - in that delighted kind of way - to discover that Shelley's earliest musical influences were The Muppets and Dr. Demento. Before interviewing Shelley, I hadn't heard Barnes & Barnes' "Fish Heads" in a very long time, but now I've just bought it on iTunes and I'm playing it over and over and reminiscing about dancing around my dad's livingroom in 1983, and all of life is just so weird and fun.
What was your first experience in making music? It was singing along to The Muppet Show record and Dr. Demento records over and over again with my brother up in my bedroom. There was a record player at the foot of my bed and we would learn all the words to the songs, like Kermit the Frog singing "Lydia the Encyclopedia" and that Dr. Demento song called "Fish Heads." There was always music around while I was growing up. My parents and older brother were always listening to all kind of music and we had all kinds of instruments around, like a piano and a trombone, a bass and drums.
Who are your all-time favorite bands/musicians? Ron Davies, Ween, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Dylan, Melanie, Joanna Newsom, Joni Mitchell, Lester Young, Joseph Spence, Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, George Bresson, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Alexis Gideon, Cyndi Lauper, Jay-Z...Man, that's all I can think of right now!
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today. Cyndi Lauper, She's So Unusual.
How did you go about discovering new music when you were younger? All I had to do was hang around or ask my family…They were always discovering new things but also had a really big record collection of all kinds of music. I got into Ween and Nirvana in high school, and at the same time I was listening to Jimmie Rodgers records over and over again for hours. There seemed to be a song that existed for every mood I was ever in at the time. And sometimes all I had to do was ask.
Where do you find inspiration for your music? I try to find it everywhere, or anywhere. When I'm working with kids, they inspire me a lot.
What are your favorite books and movies? Call It Sleep by Henry Roth and Ask The Dust by John Fante are books I've read recently that stick out. I was reading a lot of John Fante before I moved to L.A., to prepare for it. Muriel's Wedding is a great movie and I recently watched Happiness of the Katakuris, which is a really crazy-wonderful film.
Who are your style idols? Eleanor Roosevelt
Name one clothing/beauty item you always take on tour with you. Toothbrush and shoes
What's the craziest/weirdest/most memorable show you've ever played? I remember playing a show in Caspar, California, at a beautiful place called the Caspar Inn, right on the shore. It was a nice place to stay because you get your own room with a window overlooking the ocean. It was such a nice little spot to stop and play! I also had a great time opening up for M. Ward in Milwaukee at the Pabst Theatre - it was a few weeks before I moved to L.A. from Chicago, and a van full of my friends came out for the show and we all had so much fun, plus the Pabst Theatre was such a beautiful place to play.
If you could choose any locale in the universe to play a show, where would it be? Dublin, Ireland. Everything is such a special kind of green there.
There's always so much we love to anticipate about fall: wearing coats and boots, cooler temperatures, that general feeling of purposefulness and endeavor that you get about new projects and fresh, clean notebooks just waiting to be filled with all sorts of ideas and goodness. And there's also the "serious" movies that come out, not to mention loads of records and art exhibitions and bands touring that you just have to catch because you know that in some way, it will change your life. Usually, of course, this doesn't happen, because movies are boring or records are disappointments or people just suck. But life-changing revelation generally happens more often for me in the case of the genius that is PJ Harvey, so this fall I am so looking forward to her new record, titled White Chalk and out on September 24th.
We've loved Harvey going on years now: I can remember driving out on I-90 as a thunderstorm rolled in, listening to the opening chords of her first record, Dry, and feeling like my own private world had come into view for the very first time. And I still have a tape that Liz sent me ages ago of a live Boston show that still manages to startle and wow me like never before. White Chalk is full of ghostly piano melodies and a surprising fragility to those more accustomed to Harvey's guitar and vocal theatrics. It's a succinct and haunted 30-odd minutes of music, with songs exploring mortality, time and, you know, the agonies of love.
Harvey's visual transformations don't get as much ink, but she's just as much of an experimentalist with her image as someone like Madonna or even Cindy Sherman. From her days as a post-punk riff on the riot grrrl for Dry to the fearsome diva of To Bring You My Love to the art-damaged ingenue of Is This Desire?, we've always been interested in her "look." For White Chalk, it appears she's going for a sort of Victorian thing; the recent cover art looks straight out of a Whistler painting:
But in a weird way it's not so different from her take on useless feminine accoutrement that was at the heart of her 1992 video for "Dress," which is still ever-awesome, fifteen years on, and somehow seminal in my psyche for my continual conflicted pleasure in and detachment from overtly feminine fashion:
I never get sick of stringing together glowing words about the illustrious Alberta Poon: Here and here and here, and one time in Venus, I've swooned about the formidable cuteness of Alberta's Frozen Peas Accessories line and/or the hot synthy snarl of her Portland-based post-punk band Wet Confetti. So, now, we're going to let you read all about the bassist/designer/generally crushable polymath in her own words. Then you should go listen to a bunch of Wet Confetti songs on their MySpace. And then you should buy yourself an Ornery Owl Necklace (below, right) or a Dino Love Wallet (further below, left) or some other cuddly treat from Frozen Peas. But whatever you do, don't try to start your own band and/or accessories label until after you've passed the bar or finished up medical school - them's the rules according to Alberta.
Tell us all about how you started Frozen Peas Accessories. Frozen Peas started back in 2004 when I decided I could be making stuff as good as the stuff I was selling at this boutique I was working at. We had a lot of local designers consigning at the boutique and some of it was awesome and some of it was crap. I thought, "What the hell, whatever I attempt to make will at least be better than the crap here." But it ended up even better than I could have imagined!
What was your original vision for Frozen Peas? I imagined it very colorful, fun, nature/animal-oriented, and that's what it is exactly. I hoped that teenagers to 50-year-olds, women and men would enjoy it - and they do!
What do you listen to when you're working on your designs? What I'm into changes from week to week. Right now I’ve been listening to Ellen Alien, The Thermals, Joanna Newsom, Kickball, Neil Young, The Cure, etc.
What are your biggest inspirations? Obviously animals. I am an animal freak. I'm always watching the Discovery Channel and pointing out cute dogs to my boyfriend (which, by the way, is all dogs).
What's your favorite thing about running Frozen Peas? When I get a random email from someone on the other side of the world telling me how much they love my designs. And the fact that I work for myself is priceless!
Any advice for girls/boys out there dreaming of launching their own label? Just go for it! You don't have much to lose, do you? Unless you're in law school or something and drop out.
Who are your favorite designers? Studio Acorn, Genevieve Dillinger, Hazel Cox, Kate & Holly from Seaplane, Small Things, No Star Clothing, Monsieur T.
Who are your style idols? Kate Moss, Karen O, Kirsten Dunst, Sienna Miller
Whose closet would you most like to raid? Kate Moss
What's your favorite clothing item lately? Shorts. It's hot out, man.
What are some of your favorite clothing shops (around your town or in the whole wide world)? Seaplane, Magpie, Blue, Mini Mini Market.
Who are your favorite bands? Kickball, The Thermals, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, The Cure, Blonde Redhead, Television.
What music do you like to listen to when primping? Live with Regis and Kelly. I know it's not music.
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today. Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
Favorite makeout music? Uhhh gross!
Who's your number-one all-time music crush? Robert Smith
What was your first experience in making music? In high school I started to learn how to play bass. It was weird 'cause I thought I was too old to just start learning how to play music. But I was instantly hooked and it changed my life forever.
What do you like to wear onstage? I like wearing really short skirts or dresses, then some baggy-ass shirt or something to go with it. I usually wear sneakers so I don't eat it on stage.
Name one clothing/beauty/jewelry item you always take on tour with you. I always bring a necklace I made on tour. I get asked about Frozen Peas so much that it's good to have some representation. Vans shoes are awesome on tour cause you can just slip them on or off so easily, which is nice when you're in a van for eight hours at a time.
What's the craziest show you've ever played? We've had a few really really crazy shows. All of them were house of loft-space shows. They all consisted of kids going absolutely nuts, alcohol, floors almost collapsing, furniture collapsing, and blood.
Any advice for girls/boys out their looking to start a band? Just go for it. Unless you're in like medical school or something.
Last Wednesday night around dusk I was walking down the street in beautiful Colorado, and I saw a sign that read "Patti Smith and Her Band, August 8 at Boulder Theater." And then I realized that August 8 was that very day, and that Boulder Theater was just around the corner. So after coughing up the 30 bucks and convincing the dude at the door that my I.D. was indeed not a fake, I stealthily snaked my way through the crowd and slid into the little nook between the far right corner of the stage and the big wall o' speakers. And the band came on right away, and it was my sixth time seeing Patti Smith ever but the first time in about five years, and I was such a silly giddy jumpy mess.
Apart from the covers of "Gimme Shelter" and "White Rabbit" and Neil Young's "Helpless," the fucking awesome renditions of "Redondo Beach" and "Gloria" and "We Three" and "Dancing Barefoot," and all the weirdo stage banter about Twin Peaks and long-lost children's books and televised talent shows from the 50s, my favorite part was when Patti told a story about buying a pair of jeans (or, uh, "dungarees") for $11 that afternoon at a truck stop. She was wearing the jeans onstage, along with cowboy boots, her trademark black blazer, and a white t-shirt Sharpie-graffitied with a peace sign and the word 'LOVE.' (She was also wearing a homemade peace-sign wristband, which I noticed when she came over and sat on the stage right in front of me and held hands with the five-year-old boy standing to my left - a real heart-clutcher of a moment if ever I've witnessed one.)
So, yeah, here's some more blurry pictures of Patti Smith and her $11 truck-stop jeans. I hope that if you've never seen Patti Smith live, then you will someday, even if you think you don't care about her much: It's terribly unlikely that any other rock star in the world might ever make you feel so excited about being a living breathing human.
(Please note the presence of the wonderful Lenny Kaye in half of these photos. Another one of my favorite moments from last Wednesday was when Lenny got on the mike and sang "Pushin' Too Hard" by The Seeds, and in the middle of the song Patti danced up to him and did all these funny poses, like blowing on her nails and looking so bored - oh my god! And during "Dancing Barefoot" he caught me gazing at him so doe-eyed and adoringly, and he broke into a charmingly amused grin and then my face turned something redder than the reddest fire engines and/or candy apples.)
Chan Marshall: such a fashionista. Not only is she in with Chanel, she's modelling for one of our favorite designers, Vanessa Bruno, in her catalog for fall. Shot by Mark Borthwick, who we've shown previous love for, the images are like outtakes from the photographs of our second-favorite Cat Power record, You Are Free. (The first would be the fragile, ghostly Moon Pix.)
I'm simultaneously intrigued and repulsed by the Gwyneth Paltrow cover and editorial in the September issue of W. The editorial is like a weird mashup of Steven Klein's photographic brilliance with a weird Gwyneth-as-Stepford-Wife-meets-blowup-doll character, only the dolly's a little broken, as witnessed by the cane and crutches. (Granted, I think Gwynnie recently had knee surgery, so I like how they just rolled with it.) What with the mouse ears and beige lipstick, I feel like I've stumbled upon a strange David Lynch interpretation of a Harmony Korine screenplay, and it certainly gives the "lady-lady" clothes throughout a directional gloss.
Have you checked out the capsule collection that famed couturier Christian Lacroix is doing for La Redoute? There's a fanciful take on the trench and a romantic silk taffeta dress among the offerings, but nothing truly strikes me, although I might put the dress on "online sales stalk" alert for the holidays. And at prices like $299, it's a fair bit pricier than usual for La Redoute, even for their previous designer collaborations...
Listening: Hank Williams on WKCR; a random dub mix; Bat for Lashes, Fur and Gold
Watching: My Neighbor Totoro
Reading: catching up on all the issues of The New Yorker that have been piling up since I was on vacation
Wearing: whatever's clean; still haven't done laundry!
Wanting: to go back on vacation, and for this heat to just be done with already
Listening: Devendra Banhart, "Seahorse" (via Sixeyes); Neil Young, "Sedan Delivery" (the Live Rust version) and "L.A." (thanks, Tim!); Ol Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers; The Pretenders, "My City Was Gone"; John Lennon, "Watching the Wheels"; George Harrison, "When We Was Fab"; RTX, Western Xterminator
Watching: The Girl Can't Help It
Reading: re-reading Weetzie Bat and Witch Baby (and ultimately all of the books in Francesca Lia Block's "Dangerous Angels" series, in celebration of my four-year anniversary of living in L.A.)
Wearing: my beautiful new black jersey Bizz Princess dress with the bat-winged short sleeves and gold floral stitching at the empire waist, bought at Principessa in Venice last Saturday
Wanting: for my vacation in Colorado to never end!
I've been on vacation for the past two weeks, and that includes a vacation from fashion. Nothing like being "on the road" smack-dab in the middle of a super-hot summer to make clothes the last thing on your mind. (My biggest concern? Trying to figure out how to wear the littlest without being obscene.) I've got nothing to report in terms of style from my time riding on buses, zooming on planes, crashing on couches and swanning around in fancy hotel rooms, except that I think "International Hipster" has been codified into a set of standards and practices applicable to any First World geographical region -- and that I've perfected my only bona-fide superpower, the ability to pack clothes for any trip in 15 minutes, often into one teeny bag. (Okay, 25 minutes for longer trips, and the bag's a little bigger.)
Yes, it's true: whether it's a weekend away or a month-long sojourn to Southeast Asia, I can pack for the trip in a very short period of time, a skill highly useful especially when your trip is organized by a pack of crazy people too hungover to tell you when things are coming, going or just plain stuck. (Don't ask.) There are plenty of people who can tell you how to pack stuff with the utmost efficiency and fewest wrinkles possible, but the biggest challenge in the packing process is often conceptual: it's not how you pack, but what you pack. Knowing exactly what to bring on your trip helps to avoid the cardinal sin of overpacking, which is wasteful, inconvenient and will make you hate yourself when you are lugging your bag up ten flights of stairs when the elevator has broken in your hotel. Here are the strategies I've come up with that help me curate the smallest bag as quickly as possible.
1. Immediately consider any occasions on your trip. "Occasion" being loosely defined, of course, whether it's a wedding or other ceremony-type deal, or an evening when you know someone you fancy is going to be in the vicinity and you need to look especially fetching. Set aside the entire ensemble, from underwear to shoes and accessories.
2. First things first: choose your knickers. One pair for each day of your trip, preferably cute and non-ratty. I often include a silk pair or two because they are hand-washable and dry quickly. (Nothing makes you go ewww like a pair of damp knickers.) Maybe an extra pair or two if you're the Girl Scout type and like to be prepared. In terms of other lingerie items, the same rule applies, but I feel you can get away with less, not more.
3. What's the theme of your trip? Don't laugh at this Oprah-ishness of this question, but taking a moment to consider what you're doing in the middle of hectic travel prep can help make decisions at a time when just one more choice will push you over the edge. If the trip is about proprietary family occasions, then you know not to pack your "DO ME DAILY CHRISTOPHER BAILEY" t-shirt -- unless the subtheme of your trip is "causing a ruckus," of course. On the other hand, if the theme is rock 'n roll decadence, then obviously those PVC leggings from American Apparel are coming along. If you're balancing a few different things, I've found a few keywords very helpful: separates, mix-and-match and irony.
4. How much? I admit that I have a literal formula that I follow in my head when it comes to what items to pack, excluding occasion clothes: I take the amount of days I'll be gone, figure out the longest interval of days until I'll be able to do laundry on the trip, halve that number, and lo and behold, that is the amount of tops and bottoms that I pack. (Example, a 14-day trip, 10 days till I have access to laundry, divide 10 by 2 to get five, therefore packing five tops and five bottoms.) If the minimalism of the number freaks you out, just take the number of days and halve it to get the number of tops and bottoms each to bring. (Yes, you can round up.) And remember, if you truly feel deprived, you can always go shopping. (I know some of you out there like to do that, right?)
5. Color-coordination is so 70s, yet so helpful. Obviously the above formula is all about minimalism and making the most of your finely honed ability to "mix it up," as they say in fashion mag parlance. Obviously if your aesthetic is clash-tastic, then you can throw in anything from your wonderfully eccentric wardrobe and make sartorial magic happen. But picking a color palette helps in making your little capsule wardrobe go a long way. The key is to make sure most of the tops go with most of the bottoms. (Refer to any of those "7 Day a Week" magazine features if you need inspiration.) This is of course assuming that you want a mixed up capsule wardrobe, of course...you can easily pack all dresses, which I've done before, and is tremendously fun.
5. Shoes. I've always found shoes to be hardest to deal with in terms of packing because they're bulky, sometimes heavy, and don't collapse into manageable little squares of fabric. If you're really about packing lightly, all you need are a pair of good walking day shoes, a pair of dressier shoes, and perhaps another pair thrown in to stave off fashion restlessness. (On this last two-week trip, I got away with a pair of ballet flats, a pair of sandals and a pair of wedges and it worked out great.) And your grotty pair of running shoes, if you like to workout during your travels. I often wear the bulkiest pair of shoes to the airport to save on space. (Although now that we all have to take off our shoes at the security checkpoint, I once regretted wearing a pair of lace-up Frye boots.)
6. Odds and ends. The little bits and bobs are where a lot of your style will come through, and are often so personal that it's hard to advise. I personally always have a large scarf, which does double and sometimes triple duty as a coverup and a top. I'm not a huge jewelry person, but one or two pieces are always nice to have. I often bring one city bag on the plane with me that goes with everything, and a smaller bag for carrying essentials or for evening. And don't forget toiletries and sleepwear.
7. Lastly, Space Bags are your friends. My friend Cathy turned me onto these, and seriously, these things are genius. And there's something really gratifying about squeezing the air out of the bag. They really do reduce the amount of room your clothes take up in your bag, which leaves more room for things like books and magazines. (Travel entertainment: sadly, something I have not mastered in my quest to become the perfectly Zen traveller, as I still like to carry a veritable portable library around with me despite everything.)
(Just for your amusement, this 1950s chick shows you how it's done.)
Maybe you've already seen this, but just in case: Last week Fashionista.com scanned and posted the entire November 1992 issue of Sassy. It's got Mayim Bialik on the cover, a voters' guide to the presidential election, a tour diary from the B-52s, Luscious Jackson as the Cute Band Alert, reviews of Automatic for the People and that Mary's Danish record with the only Mary's Danish song most people have ever heard...So probably this means I'll have to stop working for the day right now and go read the whole thing cover-to-cover - which is highly irresponsible but so very right. (And I used to have practically every Sassy from summer 1990 on, but then my mom threw them all out while cleaning the basement. Luckily, Miss Teri of Crossed Fingers & Headphones was wonderful enough to send me the one with Juliana Hatfield on the cover a while back, and now I've got Kim Gordon's recipe for Culver City Tuna Tacos.)
Interviewing the ladies of 31 Corn Lane is like crashing a sleepover, only without the fear of having your bra wind up in the freezer if you fall asleep first. Creators of super-cheery, grade-school-reminiscent, seagull-adorned accessories and totes, the sisters Sperber (Teeter and twins Heather and Amy) gab away about everything from Lee Radziwill and the Bay City Rollers to the joys of "dressing like a Pink Lady from Grease kicking it in Phys Ed class" and ratting your hair like Amy Winehouse. Make sure to cue up the Annie soundtrack before reading on.
Tell us all about how you started 31 Corn Lane. It was 1998 and all three sisters were living in the West Village of New York City. We had an amazing life: went to tons of rock shows, hosted themed house parties, orchestrated slumber jams with our girlpals and just the made the most ridiculously ah-mazing memories. Only one downer: the whole gang was crunched into 500 square feet - space was soooooo tight! We had heard chit-chat about an artist subsidized housing community called the Westbeth located a few blocks away. The premise of it was to help struggling artists make their way through the expensive twists and turns of city life. Needless to say, we became determined to apply and, fortunately for us, there are very few things that can stand in our way when we set our sights on something. No matter that we weren't artists and we weren't struggling, we were going to find out way into affordable housing if it was the last thing we did!
So one night we pow-wowed in our (little little) living room, brainstorming as to exactly what our "art" could be. One of us, can't remember who, suggested tote bags, because at the time, not too many girls were sporting extra-cute rock-and-roll-specific ones.
So we purchased supplies, hand-sewed and screenprinted them right there in the micro-apartment. The first line was a bubblegum-pink tote with an extra-tuff cherry-red skull-n-crossbones centered on the front. We included a batch of them with our application and then had a sizable amount left. We gifted some to our sassiest girlpals and then ended up getting an offer to sell the rest at the coolest punk rock record store in our li'l Jersey hometown. We set them up for sale and they moved out of there faster than the fastest hotcakes!
This ended up giving us all a collective epiphany. "Holy Cow," we thought. "This is the best feeling ever! People like our wares! If we make more, cool girls will actually buy them!" Soooooo, we kept making them, improving them with each new season and never ever looked back. Our best sisterly idea to date!
Turns out we've never got into the community because we didn't fit the income bracket, but the best reward we got out of trying is the most important part of present life - owning our own company.
What was your original vision for 31 Corn Lane? Our vision, first and foremost, was to have every single item we designed and produced somehow tie back to our family, our childhood memories, or something we loved. To date, we've never strayed from that intention, which is awesome on a myriad of levels. We've come to find that shoppers really enjoy the personalized identity that 31 Corn Lane presents. (Sidenote: Our company name is the childhood address of where we grew up! Mom and Pops still live there, swear!) They like to know that there is history and meaning behind what they're purchasing. Best part is, we know this for defs, because they've repeatedly told us so!
As a result of this feedback, we've remained ultra-mega-committed to always keeping it personalized, no matter how much larger we grow. We never want to lose that sense of personality, that special touch.
In terms of what our original (and present) vision for 31CL was/is, we always dreamed of having a storefront with totes and accessories and couches and good tunes up front, and a design studio in the back where our gaggle of small dogs could hang and snooze and snuggle, much like Built by Wendy's flagship store - a warm and creative environment that we can report to everyday and meet new sassy new people like ourselves. For now, howevs, we hold down full-time jobs, and work on 31CL from home in our spare time.
We will get there sooner rather than later, it's a promise!
Who are some of your favorite designers?
Sis Teeter: Luella Bartley, Built By Wendy, Marc Jacobs, Snack Mountain and Judy Rosen (not just cause of her awesome spazz-tastic wares, but also because she's loud as the dickens and is a taxidermist on the side. Punk!).
Sis Aim: Ditto, Teet named to best ones. I also love Lady Luck Rules OK from England, and I also love Biba and her vision for a unique shopping experience.
Sis Heath: I love Topshop, Oak, and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Oh wait! Do mind-blowing key vintage pieces on eBay count?
Who are your style idols?
Sis Teeter: Jackie O., Karen O, and Wendy O. Williams - the Magical Oh-Oh Trio. (Sidenote: Not to neglect Sister Heather, but she doesn't have an O in her name.)
Sis Aim: I kind of love the girl who works at the local liquor store. She rocks these looks like it's nobody business. God bless creative dressers.
Sis Heath: I love little Edie Beale from Grey Gardens, the documentary film made in the mid 70s about Jackie O's crazy hideaway cousins. I also live for any girl with a well-pulled together, messy spectacular look.
Whose closet would you most like to raid?
Sis Teeter: Oh dude, Sister Heather's, no contest! I have the easiest access to it, can swiftly steal stuff when she's not looking, and only have to deal with Mom when I get caught, which is always. It's a ginormous walk-in teeming over with Marc Jacobs, high-end Japanese streetwear, and classy-lady-style thrift items, like an indie-rock/Williamsburg hipster version of JLo or Mariah Carey's closet. I would take it one step further than just raiding it; I would like to live in there, nestled snugly between the neatly labeled (Whattup, Brother P-Touch!) "Leisure Wear" and "Summer Looks" baskets.
Sis Aim: I would love to go back to the 70s Granny-takes-a-trip-to-the-dress-shop days to see what key items they kept in the stock room.
Sis Heath: Lee Radziwill, the younger sister of Jackie O., would be one for sure. I suspect Elton John has a pretty amazing closet, too. I would also love a few hours in my grandmother's (her name is Grace Ribustelli and she was a total vision) closet from when she was a young women. I have recently been through her older sister's closet and its absolutely beautiful – style of dress from the 1920s was such an aesthetically perfect affair.
What's your favorite clothing item (or outfit) lately?
Sis Teeter: My thrift ninja best friend just bought this mind-blowing sweater. I'd say it's a late 60s number, puke brown, made by "Janice, Junior Styles for Her" that looks like a gingerbread house and has an attached scarf, excessive pockets, micro pom-pom buttons and lettuce edging. This look, combined with my skinny denims and ridiculously oversized sunglasses, has been my style uniform for almost three weeks straight. I don't know how to tell you this, but I'm kind of a dirtbag.
Sis Aim: I have this red short gym suit from the 50s. It has bloomers built into the legs. When not dressing like a Pink Lady from Grease kicking it in Phys Ed class, I look like a 70s sitcom mom - complete with high-waisted denims and poo-poo-brown clogs.
Sis Heath: I'm going thought this phase right now where I always want to dress like I'm going to a sailing club or a lawn party, but enjoy putting a twist on the look by throwing on a scarf from India. You know, sort of like preppy meets 1960s London, High Street.
Who are your favorite bands?
Sis Teeter: Oh snap, I love, like, 50 scrillion different bands in life but for the sake of conveying the most unabashed super stoke out for this particular answer, I will only focus on one. I am unhealthily obsessed with a band from Austin, TX, called Okkervil River. They are the best music-makers of right now with maybe the worstest name ever, which is way rad, because as a territorial listener of tunery, it helps keep them relatively small because most indie elitists think they're a bluegrass group. I describe them as "Goth Americana," only because they are stylistically similar to, like, Wilco, yet with the saddest, darkest lyrics and most ridiculously beautiful, poppy melodies. I listened to their last album Black Sheep Boy maybe 90 bazillion times, thinking I could never love anything more, that is, until I got my greasy little hands on a contraband advance of their newest effort, The Stage Names - which I am on my record-setting way to gratuitously overplaying. Will Sheff, lead singer and lyricist, is a brilliant brilliant boy who I would very much to build a life with.
Sis Aim: Teeter, don't kill me, but I watch Fuse all day. I love all the baby emo bands on the forefront right now, i.e., Paramore, My Chemical Romance, and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Man, the list goes on. (Sidenote from Sis Teeter: I am so going to kill you. How embarrassing!)
Sis Heath: I love NPR and listen to it exclusively while driving my adult contemporary station wagon. I especially love Ira Glass from This American Life. In addition, I often listen to the Stayin' Alive soundtrack. (Sidenote from Sis Teeter: Heath, Ira Glass totes isn't a band or musician, yr kind of tarted, but we love you!)
What do you listen to when primping?
Sis Teeter: This is e-z. A Swedish pop band called I'm from Barcelona, 'cause they might be the most adorable thing since that child actor with the 5-inch thick coke bottle glasses in Jerry Maguire. I'm from Barcelona had me at hello.
Also, yeah, it's embarrassing and might make me sound totes self-obsessed, but I'm not gonna lie here, I mean really, we're all friends. I listen to my own band LadybiRdS' new record (It's called Regional Community Theater) a lot a lot cause it's not out yet and I can't believe I had anything to do with making it exist. It's electro-tastic cheezepop, which I've found makes an excellent soundtrack for hair-crimping and the application of sparkle eyeshadow.
Sis Aim: Amy Winehouse is awesome. I have started to ratt my hair kind of like hers.
Sis Heath: Wait, do you mean like, primping to actually leave the house? Truth be told, at present, I not involved with the outside world. I am sure this will change once Rob and Big goes into reruns - however, until then there will be no primping for me. Wait! Does brushing my teeth before my work day, while my yappy little chihuahua incessantly barks count?
Name one record you loved when you were a little kid that you still listen to today.
Sis Teeter: That Bay City Rollers record with the song "Give A Little Love" on it, the one that features them all on the cover, in their layered hair and tartan bell-bottomed, overalled finest. We had a special choreographed dance routine that we would perform while it played on vinyl in the living room, with Mom and Dad as our (captive) repeat pattern audience, natch.
And! And! And! The Annie soundtrack - 100 years later and I still sing it on the daily. No lie.
Sis Aim: Oh god Teeter, I love the Annie soundtrack too. I also love the Grease soundtrack and the Flashdance theme song. I still break into tears and dance when I hear "What a Feeling."
Sis Heath: Hands down, Annie soundtrack. "Dumb dog, why are you following me? / I ain't got a crumb, dog/ How about letting me be?" Sonic perfection!
Favorite makeout music?
Sis Teeter: I'm moderately bananas, so most dudes never wanna make out with me. And the ones that do are usually supes-gross or dirty or tarted and don't intentionally read, except for magazines and the internets. So I can't accurately answer this question, although I do remember once making out to Lenny Kravitz, when I was like 14. Ewh, gross.
Sis Aim: That would be the Dashboard Confessional's "Screaming Infidelities." Come on, Teet, don't make fun of me.
Sis Heather: While my boyfriend really likes Prince (and can sing high and tight just like the him), we always seem to end up making out to New Order or the soundtrack to Stayin' Alive. You should totally give it a listen. I mean really, there's nothing like kissing to the track "Satan's Alley."
Who's your number-one all-time music crush?
Sis Teeter: Probably Daryl Palumbo from Glassjaw and Head Automatica. He broke my heart into a million aching pieces and made me totally next-level batshit insane, but I can't imagine ever loving anyone more than him.
(Sidenote: The sisters will be soooo mad at that ever-so-unhealthy answer, but whatevs.com!)
Sis Aim: TEETER FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET OVER IT!!! In other news, we all know I crushed out on Travis Morrison, the lead singer of The Dismemberment Plan.
Sis Heath: Garrett Klahn from Texas Is The Reason. Babe alert.
What are some of your favorite clothing shops (around your town or in the whole wide world)?
Sis Teeter: The Projectionist in Boise, Idaho - it's so amazingly craft-tacular that it's also completely overwhelming. We don't sell 31CL in there, even though we've tried valiantly, cause they're, like, over budget or cooler than us or something. Dang, cuts like a knife!
Sis Aim: 31CL is carried in some of the best stores in the world. One of many that I am a huge fan of is Minnie Wilde in San Francisco. They make the coolest clothes for our bags to hang with! And then there's the Mini Mini Market here in Brooklyn; they're our total local fave.
Sis Heath: Geez, that's so tuff, because right now with my severe mood swings and this nasty parasite I picked up on my latest work trip to India, I can't even think about shopping unless the store has a really clean and comfy ladies room!
What do you listen to when you're working on your designs? I know for a fact that Aim and I have rocked to HelloGoodbye and Kelly Clarkson while working. As previously mentioned, she plays the Fuse network 24/7 as well, so the overall design soundtrack ranges from sweeping Top 40 hometown Texas grrrl jams to painful half-a-million dollar, wall-of-noise, 20th wave mainstreamo tantrum rock videos.
Any advice for girls/boys out there dreaming of launching their own label? For sure! Start small and always be accessible to yr audience, answer their e-mails, sell at craft fairs and meet them. Focus squarely on improving yr product with every new design, hook up yr coolest friends with gear so they can cruise town and spread the word by looking good.
Most importantly, don't be afraid or talk yourself out of starting because you think you can't afford it - we started 31 Corn Lane with only $300 dollars per sister! And it's grown exponentially every year.
Always remember this, "If you make it, someone will buy it." It sounds overzealous, but it's so so so true. A unique, quality product will always be able to find a core audience. People love shopping it up!
What's your favorite thing about running 31 Corn Lane?
Three of the best things so far, check it:
1. Going back to our NJ alma mater, Shrewsbury Boro School, to talk to the small fries at Career Day about starting yr own business. They were so amped.
2. Opening an issue of Budget Living, one of our stylistically favorite print mags, and seeing a multi-page feature about the open-air markets in London, England. On the front page of the story was this photo of a cluster of ADORABLE girls. We noticed right away that one of the girls just happens to be rocking our bag, the "Classy Lady" design from a few years back. Our bag! In London! HOLY COW! From the small streets of suburban New Jersey into the hands of fashiony fantastic UK cuties.
Bestest. Feeling. Ever.
3. Lastly but not leastly, being on the subway platform, or on an airplane or bus - and seeing the cutest girl in the whole darn crowd rocking one of our bags. Going up to them and saying "hi" and telling them that yr part of the company that made their tote - and hearing about how much they love it, and then leaving the scene usually having made a new friend. As Dad Sperber has repeatedly said "Girls, always make yr circle bigger!"
What are your biggest inspirations? Job one is honoring our amazing family legacy and the people we love and letting the world know how super psyched we are to be Sperbers! In this lifetime we all got super lucky.