Friday, November 12, 2010

Even Grinches Like to Trim the Christmas Tree

I'll be the first to cry in outrage at the inhumanity of playing Christmas carols in stores before Halloween has come and gone.
But I defy you to find a more joyful and whimsical ushering in of the holiday season than this stop-motion short film, starring tree ornaments from Anthropologie:

Anthropologie – Trim Video

If dancing mini-mittens don't make you melt, nothing will.
To the next six weeks of insanity!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Modern Princess

Ricks Owens simultaneously imbues his woman with aloof regality and down-and-dirty edge.
How does he do it?
I'm sure I could dissect the reasons of how, technically, he achieves this...but why spoil the magic?
It's the kind of woman that I, in my best mind's eye vision of myself, imagine I could be.

(All images from

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quote du Jour

"A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman,
but a beautiful woman with a brain is an absolutely lethal combination."

-Prabal Gurung

Monday, September 27, 2010

That Girl.

I am frequently attracted to a sparkling bracelet, brave new nail color, exciting hemline, and resplendent tresses.
In New York everyone lives out loud, and the opportunities abound to encounter exceptional sartorial choices.

But amidst this jungle of beautiful animals, sometimes you pass someone and feel the presence of a person fully imbued with that certain je ne sais quoi.
They are more than the sum of their parts.
I call these people--for they are almost always females who catch my attention--"That Girl."
(Note: "That Girl" is not to be confused with an "It Girl." They are almost always polar opposites in their approach.)

Here are a few recent photos taken by The Sartorialist and Tommy Ton of Those Girls traipsing around--showcasing their nonpareil charm--in my own city:

With all the people I see lingering around certain sections of New York just hoping for The Sartorialist or Garance Dore to spot them and shoot them (and honestly, it's so formulaic that Refinery29 created a guide for achieving just that: HERE), it's lovely to see exceptional people simply living their lives...and, by chance, once in awhile a camera fleetingly captures the beauty of their existence.

"When a girl feels that she's perfectly groomed and dressed she can forget that part of her.
That's charm.
The more parts of yourself you can afford to forget, the more charm you have."
(F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" via Women's Wardrobe)

To the effortless charm of That Girl,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Great Ideas in Cloth and Writing

I love everything about the opening and closing paragraphs of Tim Blanks' review for of the S/S 11 Jil Sander show:

"The way Raf Simons tells it, he was sitting around with his team discussing the new minimalism and that got him thinking about its inverse, maximalism, which led him instantly to haute couture. That presented an implicit challenge to the very essence of the Jil Sander woman, and it must have excited Simons, because it inspired a standout collection that looked to have revived his commitment to the label. For a designer who is as mesmerized by line and proportion as he is, there can ultimately be no more seductive métier than couture—but where traditional couturiers have been paying lip service to the modernizing possibilities of the T-shirt-and-ball-gown combo for a dog's age, he made it a walking, talking proposition with his opening passage of major skirts and minor tops...

If the show had a hell-bent-for-leather verve about it, Simons really had no choice. There is no way you could make this kind of statement in a half-hearted way. But among the grand gestures, the collection could be broken down into a slew of want-ables: the parkas, for one thing; the stripes; all the tailoring. Still, in an ideal world, it would be those huge, glorious skirts that would be sweeping all before them down your local high street."

(All images from

There are so many things I've loved on the S/S 10 runways so far, but time's always the thing. Somehow I couldn't resist posting this review.
To Maximalism,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Food for (My) Thought

After recently proclaiming to friends, family and, more importantly, to MYSELF, that I would no longer entertain thoughts of working in the fashion industry, New York Fashion Week has arrived and revved me up to go running to shows, reading runway reviews and analyzing collection photos, and reading show recaps on Twitter and various blogs. Fast forward to tonight. This scene unfolds in the living room of yours truly:

Bunny: "Hey, Christine?"

Me: "Yes, Steven?"

Bunny: "Why don't you just do something in fashion. You spend all your time looking at sites about shoes and clothes. It's what you love. Just do something in that field. Right? Just do something in fashion, for God's sake. I mean, you REALLY love it, and spend alllllll your time with it. If you spent all your time looking at sites about art, then I'd say you should go into art, but you don't."

Me (a little dumbfounded): "Uhh...."

Bunny: "I'm just trying to help. But I mean...REALLY. It's totally true, though."


Friday, September 10, 2010

Democracy in Fashion--Fashion's Night Out: The Show

I think it's fair to say that fashion has never been more democratic than it is at this moment.

Much of that equalizing can and should be attributed to an unusual suspect: Anna Wintour.
Defamed as "Nuclear Wintour," this woman is blessed with incredible foresight and an imaginative vision for what New York's fashion industry should be, and what it must be to guarantee its survival, especially in a post-9/11 world.
If you need proof, skip "The September Issue," a great film that unfortunately perpetuates the legend of her enigmatic and aloof qualities, for another great documentary, "Seamless," that may well confirm for you--as it did for me--that Anna is the best woman to be calling the major shots in fashion.
(And did I ever tell you that she frequents my neighborhood Starbucks? She gets her coffee BY herself and FOR herself. Stars! Just like us...)

The success last year of her brain child, the inaugural Fashion's Night Out, paved the way for the event I attended this past Tuesday:
The Fashion's Night Out: The Show.

I snagged two tickets and MVG and I headed to Lincoln Center (Bryant Park tents no more!) for the christening of S/S 2011 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

The fountain in the center of Lincoln Center's plaza was the perfect set piece.

The show, which seated nearly 2,000 guests (making it the largest runway show in NYC history), was comprised of 171 looks from the Autumn/Winter 2010 collections, divided into categories (e.g. Jazz Age). Each look was assembled using pieces from various designers, as well as some high-low mixing, like the Monique Lhullier skirt with Payless shoes ensemble modeled by Gisele.

As one of my favorite models, Jacquelyn Jablonski, demonstrates (in Versus) above, red is BIG for Autumn 2010, and fittingly I wore my red Miu Mius to the show:

CBS filmed and fed a livecast of the show to their website (an edited version will broadcast on CBS proper next Tuesday, September 14th). MVG and I were fortuitously seated in a camera-heavy section of the plaza. Here are some snippets from the broadcast in which you can spot us (thanks to my red shoes!):

I admit that I have some minor complaints about the show, but none of them really matter.
Yes, it was overwhelming to see 171 looks in 20 minutes, and to see 171 models simultaneously rather than staggered.
But you know what?
It was unbelievable to be sharing in this extraordinary moment with Anna Wintour, the world's top models (Gisele, Naomi Campbell, Karolina Kurkova, Chanel Iman, Coco Rocha, Karlie Kloss, etc.), the glitterati (surprise musical guest Pharrell, Roger Federer, Michael Kors, Harvey Weinstein the cast of Gossip Girl, New York socialites, etc.).

An event that was created to benefit a single industry in a single city has spread to several continents and hundreds of cities in a year's time.
From top designers and editors to kids like me and MVG, everyone's welcomed to have a good time.

Vive the democracy!
And vive Anna!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Celebrating 3 Years: Murf and the Bunny

(From our first year together, under the Brooklyn Bridge.)

Today is my third anniversary with The Bunny.
And you know what I love best about it?
That it feels like any other day.
It's not summoning any major reflection.
It's not forcing make-or-break-decisions.
It's just another day of having Bunny be that special guy in my life, and feeling perfectly at ease and so content with it.
This is the kind of love I never expected I would want or need.
When you're younger, it's fun to have complicated relationships, full of drama and the eventual kiss-and-make-up.
But as I've grown older, I crave a relationship that is my happy constant in life, even when jobs and friends and finances and the weather make things bumpy.

Recently at a dinner, someone put me on the spot to defend my beliefs on a number of issues. Bunny was there to add occasional vocal input, but provided emotional support throughout.
He let me fight my own fight, and didn't feel the typical misogynistic urge to rescue me.
And it's BECAUSE of that characteristic that he was still my knight in shining armor.
He is someone who respects my opinions, even when they differ from his, and who respects, nay DEMANDS, my intelligence.

A man like this is such a gift.
I'm endlessly grateful for it.
1,095 days and counting....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wireless Network Name WIN

Here's a little surprise I discovered one day....

Nothing like a little snark to make your day worthwhile.
Happy Weekend.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Four Eyes Forever

After hearing what you had to say, and polling my friends via Facebook and email, I finally ordered my Warby Parker specs!

In the end I settled on the Zagg.
What do you think?!
They're sturdy but light, and exactly what I wanted.

Warby Parker deserves big props for their excellent customer service.
The online purchasing process was seamless, and I ordered the glasses on Thursday, July 8 and they arrived on Wednesday, July 14.
I've been wearing them ever since I received them...with no signs of taking them off anytime soon.
(That's QUITE the turnaround for someone whose former relationship with glasses was nothing short of hostile.)

Highly recommended. I'm already trying to select my next pair...
P.S. Thanks to everyone who weighed in on the poll!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Swan Song: Retirement of Ballerina Darci Kistler

Last Sunday I attended a historic event: the retirement of New York City Ballet principal dancer Darci Kistler.

Darci was the last in a long string of larger-than-life ballerinas who were hand-picked and trained by the equally larger-than-life George Balanchine.
With the exception of an ankle injury that sidelined her in the '80s, Darci has enjoyed a remarkable 30 year performance career as a dancer at City Ballet, and remains its fastest rising star (from Apprentice to Principal in just 2 years).

This poster of Darci adorned my dorm room walls throughout college:

She's posing as Odette, the lead character from "Swan Lake," atop the surface of The Pond at Central Park, with The Plaza visible in the background. This image, with its illusory magic, always defined for me the best of everything about City Ballet. I cannot imagine a recent City Ballet principal better suited to pose for this iconic photo, and I will treasure it always as a perfect tribute to the city and the art that I love so dearly.

I have been looking forward to her farewell performance for months, but I confess that Darci has never been one of my favorite performers, though I have always respected her deeply.
I frequently find myself longing for glory days which predate my lifetime, and my sense has always been that Darci was great long before I ever got to see her dance (in fact, before I was even born), and that she may have done well to retire several years ago.

Though I don't always agree with his assessments, statements made in NYTimes dance critic Alastair Macaulay's review of Darci's final performance seem to corroborate my personal feelings on her career:
"The film 'George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker,"' in which she appeared as the Sugar Plum Fairy, suggests that her glory lasted until at least 1993. But my memory is that by 1992, her dancing had become scaled down, polite and musically safe. Since then her career has been a long, slow fade... After Sunday’s performance I had coffee with a balletgoer who had become a devotee of New York City Ballet in 1996. I was hoping that he would tell me how the later Kistler had meant to him something of what Fonteyn once meant to me. But in all those years, Ms. Kistler’s dancing had never been one of his reasons to follow the company. Her pale autumn has lasted far longer than her bright spring and summer combined, and I cannot see that since 1992 she has been a good role model for the young."

He acknowledges, generously, her undeniable loveliness:
"Her long, tapering limbs; remarkable breadth of shoulder; loveliness of facial features (and in particular her lips, whose beautiful outline registered in the theater with great distinction); the beautiful pliancy of her feet,"
and noted how, during her farewell performance,
"the light still falls beautifully on the planes of her face."
And yet, the time has come for her to bid us adieu.

Many balletomanes have maintained that as long as Darci dances, Balanchine lives.
I used to think that was true; after all, there is nothing like a direct link to the origin of genius to legitimize the continuation of a tradition.
And yet, as I watched Darci dance on Sunday, I found myself longing for other dancers to join her on stage...Tess Reichlen, Maria Kowroski, Sara Mearns.
And I realized that the tradition will continue, perhaps stronger, after Darci.
Macaulay came to the same conclusion, ending his review by stating:
"With the retirement of this last Balanchine ballerina, we have all moved one generation on in history."

I'll leave you with some photos I took during the farewell:

Final performance bow after Swan Lake, Act IV:

Accepting her first flower, from conductor Clotilde Otranto:

A final cast bow:

A bear hug and flowers from former principal dancer Albert Evans, who retired one week prior:

Getting a lift from past and present male Principal dancers, with other Principals surrounding her on stage:

Baby bouquets from baby ballerinas of the School of American Ballet (where Darci has long been a teacher):

Darci is the youngest child with four older brothers.
Three of them, along with her mother, came on stage and lifted her up, in one of the most fun and touching moments of the evening:

Hugging daughter Talicia:

Showered with falling glitter:

It really was quite a sight to behold:

The sunlight begins to set on Lincoln Center after the farewell ends:

Hoping the best will always be yet to come,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Food For Thought: Life Advice

As I get older, I find myself lamenting the lessons that weren't taught to me earlier in life.
I'm astonished at the things we're told again and again, such as "High School is the best years of your life."
Honestly, if that's true you should give up at age 18--either you've plateaued as the Prom Queen, or you want to slit your wrists because puberty is painful.

Here are two things I've learned that AREN'T taught but should be:
1) College is a tabula rasa, but not in the way you'd expect.
It's merely a new situation in which you must prove yourself to an entirely new set of people who could care less about your former high school life. Getting into the college of your dreams isn't a guaranteed golden ticket to the life of your dreams. There are no promises once you graduate, even if you have a degree from a prestigious alma mater.
When you embark on your career, you have to start all over again.
You will have to work hard for EVERY success you want until you die.


2) You will always be you.
Even if you get a high-powered job, even if you marry Prince Charming, even if you can shop endlessly and vacation in the most beautiful places in the world...if you are a boring person, you will ALWAYS be a boring person. If you are mean, you will always be mean.
If you pity yourself, YOU WILL PITY YOURSELF REGARDLESS of your external environment (even if it's Madison Avenue or Paris or St. Tropez).
To quote one of my favorite books, Middlesex, "There was nowhere to go that wouldn't be me."
Hopefully you'll be a cool, interesting and generous person, no matter where you are in life.

In the vein of supporting legitimate advice over fluffy adages and throw-pillow embroidery maxims, I wanted to pass along an amazing list I recently discovered (via my friend AW). Check it out, and, if anything appeals to you, take the lessons to heart:

"20 Things I Wish I'd Known at 20"

by Mighty Girl

Nothing but love,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

SPECtacular Warby Parker

A few weeks ago my eyes were acting up and I was relegated to wearing my glasses for several days.
I *HATE* my glasses.
The last time I wore them for an extended period of time was also involuntary:
During the writing of my senior thesis.
I repeat, I *HATE* my glasses.
Needless to say, there are numerous bad associations with my specs.

However, since my prescription has changed (it's IMPROVED, if you can believe it) since my college days, I need a new pair; digging them out of the archives whenever I have an ocular emergency simply won't suffice anymore.

While in theory few things are more dashing than Prada or Chanel, I know that glasses sold under those names are licensed, and have no more to do with the couture design ateliers than the cheapy glasses on the back shelves.
So I searched for inexpensive yet fashionable alternatives.
Et voila: Warby Parker.

Warby Parker is the brainchild of 4 Wharton grads.
Since the company is exclusively e-commerce, they cut out the costs of a brick & mortar joint.
No middle man. Just them and the customer.
Thus, every chic pair is an unbelievable $95.
You heard me.
Better still?
Like TOMS shoes, for every pair of Warby Parkers you buy, the company donates a pair of glasses to someone in need.
(The Bunny says this is a marketing gimmick. But 1) I appreciate persuasive marketing, and 2) if I have to spend money I might as well be socially conscious while doing it, non?)

The really fun part about purchasing from the site is the interactive website, which allows you to upload photos of yourself and virtually "try-on" the glasses.
I've narrowed my options down to three pairs, having virtually tried them on 3 different photos of myself: left angle, right angle, and hair pulled back:

The Elbridge

The Japhy
(More height in the lens.)

The Zagg
(Frame is more square and bigger all-around. A nod to hipster nerd specs.)

Cast your vote in the comments and help me decide which ones to order!
My four-eyes only have eyes for Y-O-U, Readers.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Trip to Rabbit Island

Last weekend the Bunny and I made plans to visit the Central Park Zoo and then sample BBQ vendors from all over the country at the annual Big Apple Barbecue.
Unfortunately, to the former, the annual Puerto Rican Day parade seized Fifth Avenue (making access to the zoo virtually impossible), and, to the latter, the weather was rainy and not ideal for waiting in line...even for delicious, delicious pulled pork.

Being the ever resourceful New Yorker that he is, Bunny suggested on a whim that we travel to the New York Aquarium at Coney Island!

For only $2.25 in Metrocard fare and a pleasant 45 minute subway ride through Brooklyn, we were transported to a different world.
Different, that is, except for the streets bearing the same names:

(In Manhattan I live off of "Bowery")
and...well, another Puerto Rican Day celebration:

Nevertheless, it was clear that we weren't in Manhattan anymore.

I always feel exhilarated by colorful boardwalks and the architecture of amusement parks:

As I said, it was raining. We brought our umbrella but other visitors made do with items at hand: a pizza box (at left) and a towel (at right):

We wandered in the drizzle down the long boardwalk to the Aquarium:

(I AM the Pout-Pout Fish!)

Swimming in the same tank as these gentle turtles?
This guy:

Those teeth and crazy eyes don't put any stereotypes to rest...

These swirling iridescent fish created a visual worthy of a Little Mermaid "Part of Your World"/"Kiss The Girl" montage:


I learned something amazing about seahorses:
They hook their tails to plants and to one another to gain leverage in order to search for food. In this instance, two seahorses (one, at left, almost entirely camouflaged with the sand) wrapped their tails to create enough weight to sink to the bottom of the tank and poke around.

Dwarf Caiman! (So still, we were initially concerned that he might be dead):


Honestly, who doesn't love starfish?

I spotted a baby starfish in the anemone tank:

Once we satisfied our thirst for marine education, I forced Bunny into the requisite visit to the Gift Shop, and made him model the fine merchandise:

(Sadly my powers of persuasion were null when it came to purchasing the shark backpack and gator visor.)

Perhaps the best discovery of the day was this kosher vending machine in the cafeteria:

Open "24/6." Bahahahahahaha. GENIUS!

After leaving the Aquarium we returned to Luna Park (where the rides are) and I challenged The Bunny to a rousing game of Whack-A-Mole.

First to 150 points wins!

Sadly, my score is the one at right.
Nevertheless, The Bunny selected for his prize a pink gorilla and GAVE IT TO ME!
My hero!

My Dutch friend, KS, recently taught me how to say "Bunny" in Dutch: Konijn.
It turns out that Coney Island got its name from the old Dutch Conyne Eylandt (modern Konijnen Island) : "Rabbit Island"!
So apropos for me and my Bunny.

If you find yourself in the area with nothing to do, today (June 19th) is Coney Island's annual Mermaid Parade, complete with costumes (and a lot of drag)! Should be fun.