July 3, 2010

Summer in The City

Ooooh it's been so long since I've posted. Life has become much more hectic, and time all the more precious.

But I did have a chance to escape for a couple of days last month to my all-time favorite intra-country destination: New York City. I'll never tire of being in the midst of such a densely populated and vibrant city.

I didn't take very many pictures. But on a day that took me both up to Barneys in the UWS and down to Opening Ceremony in Soho, I did take the time to take a couple of shots of two beverages that I hold near and dear to my heart.

It's silly really, and it's not like freshly squeezed citrus drinks are a precious and scarce commodity. But the memories they embody -- of the loved ones I was with, what I was up to before sitting down and taking a sip -- from each time I've purchased them in the past, are priceless to me, and I'll never forget them.

Truthfully, this was the first time I took a seat in this Dean & Deluca at the Borders in the Time Warner center. But I can't imagine there ever being a time when I didn't stop into a Dean & Deluca in the city to purchase one of their house brand juices. Sometimes it was to augment my breakfast from Bagel Bob's on University (that D&D has closed! SAD!)...other times, I just felt like people watching out the windows overlooking Rockefellar Center. And still, other times, it just felt right to take breather while in the midst of Soho...

I'll forever be in love with McNally Jackson...it's just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the busy stretch of Broadway in Soho...although it itself is busy and sees lots of foot traffic, it still feels tucked away to me...the perfect urban oasis to sit and rest a tired pair of legs that have browsed too many stores (and sometimes, beaten a credit card to death). The cafe/seating area has changed in decor since the last time I strayed inside...but the ambience and mood are just how I left it.

p.s. pretty man in the white tee (and he had on white skinnies too!) -- will you go out w/ me?

May 23, 2010

J. Crew June 2010 Catalog: RJ Goes to Guatemala

Hooray for another monthly installment of the J. Crew catalog -- picked up my copy at the Mall of America yesterday -- where actual male models are used. Or to be more exact, just one male model: RJ! He covers the whole men's section this coming month while traipsing through some Mayan ruins and appropriately styled in muted military-esque tones. I just love the slightly over-exposed quality of these shots...the bright lights lend a softness and haze to these pictures...summer is here.

May 15, 2010

Chanel Cruise 2011

:: image from fashionologie by way of Flashbang (tFS) ::

:: images from Chanel by way of Flashbang ::

:: image from vogue.com.au by way of Flashbang ::

May 12, 2010

J. Crew Hand Painted Stanton Short

Last weekend, my sister came home with a purchase I had called in to J. Crew's Liquor Store in Tribeca. The following post is my happy story/ending regarding a pair of shorts I saw months ago (backstory: HERE).

I really owe a big thanks to Shawn and Lindsay over at J. Crew. Shortly after my last posting on these shorts, Shawn wrote me with the good news that the shorts I was looking for weren't just one-off's for their spring presentation and that they would in fact be available for purchase at both the Liquor Store and at 484 in Soho at the beginning of this month. I can't express enough my appreciation for this tip-off from Shawn...previously, I had been told by other individuals that (1.) there was no further information regarding these shorts, or (2.) the shorts would not be sold to the general public (which, honestly, seems odd, given the current outcome, but I'm not going to pull at that thread). Over the ensuing weeks, we kept in contact. Lindsay from their PR office was kind enough to notify me the day after the shorts had been shipped to both locations, allowing me to call ahead and set aside a pair for myself. And, Eddie, if you ever read this posting, I just wanted to thank you as well for helping me out over the phone when I called.

The same day I heard from Lindsay, a newsblip on Racked NY regarding these shorts went up with the following lines:
TRIBECA AND SOHO—Breaking news from the J.CrewWire: "30 minutes ago 20 pair of limited edition hand-painted shorts were delivered to the J.Crew Liquor Store in Tribeca and the J.Crew Men's Shop in Soho. The shorts were hand-painted by a member of the J.Crew men's design team in our New York office—no two pair are alike." They retail for $148, but you can find similar styles online or in stores for $75.
GQ and The Fashionisto also gave mention to these shorts with similar news. I had no clue that the shorts were created in such a limited run! 20 pairs in total...wow.

But even if 200 had been made, I'd still be as happy as I am now that I have my own pair to wear this season.

With cut-off frayed cuffs galore, the no-two-are-alike quality of these shorts comes across really well in person -- the variable textures, brushstrokes, splattering, and colors -- white, blue, green, yellow, red -- are quite random like a Pollock...

...and another thing I didn't realize until I received my pair is that the back of the shorts also get an ample dose of paint. And obviously I'm sure this wasn't necessarily intended, but for some reason, I really like that my back button is "affected" as well...

Just by reading the comments off of the GQ blog, it seems most readers find the shorts a bit far-fetched given the DIY-able quality they embody. But honestly -- and this might be a stretch, but I find it relevant -- how many of you dudes out there are going to do actual housepainting in a pair shorts that are cut/fit like these...using all the colors you can find on these... So to me, the excuse of "I have a pair of these lying around that I made myself and cost next to nothing," doesn't necessarily jive with me. Secondly, I don't sit in front of a canvas creating art all day long, so once again, that excuse is out for me as well. And thirdly, perhaps I'm getting too theoretical here, but to me, there's an unmistakable deliberate intention behind these shorts to play up current trends in a manner that's befitting for the J. Crew look as well as the J. Crew customer who (like me) has no qualms saying, "I bought these as is, and no, I'm not embarrassed about it...you realize paint-splattering is in, right?"

Thanks again, to all of you at J. Crew for your assistance. Now...onto that Saint James/Mister Freedom top I want, and mostly everything I wanted on my J. Crew Spring 2010 checklist will be complete...except for those unevenly blocked-sun-faded shorts I also saw on the spring presentation...but I won't give anybody anymore grief over how to land those...

May 8, 2010

Daniel Liu for Vogue Nippon June 2010

Pool Party, Vogue Nippon June 2010
photography: Francois Nars
styling: Patti Wilson
makeup: Lena Koro

Mr. Liu -- in just a tee and speedos -- shows up opposite Tao Okamoto -- and for once, she doesn't sport a pixie cut, YES! -- in these shots for Vogue Nippon's June 2010 beauty section. Daniel's actual face only shows in two of the photos...but the full spread can be seen on tFS courtesy of MAGstyle and Flashbang.

April 24, 2010

Think Mutual Bank Man

Vogue Hommes Japan Back Issues

This post goes out to Fabulous Florida Mommy (FFM) (who runs this marvelous blog) as she deserves full credit for helping me go about obtaining issues of Vogue Hommes Japan. After posting about the publication's then-upcoming fourth issue back in March, FFM kindly directed me (thank you!) toward the OPR website, which sells the biannual subscription for about $20/issue.

At the time, not only was I interested in obtaining the soon-to-be-released issue, but I was also intent on tracking down the magazine's previous three issues. Unfortunately, OPR didn't have any available to sell to me. But the fact that FFM had found me an online business that sold this specific magazine gave me hope that there'd be others offering what I was looking for.

Enter Magazine Cafe, a Manhattan magazine store that also has an online website for people like me...who live in the boonies...and find the foreign magazine selection at B&N quite upsetting and dismal. Although their asking price for an issue was slightly higher ($25/issue), a nice employee/owner(?) named Bhanu was able to sell me the first three issues. Not only was he great with answering emails, but when my actual order arrived, I found that somebody over there had taken the time to wrap the magazines and then place them in a sturdy box to ship. Now that's service! I've never been a fan of subscribing to US magazines for the very reason that they always come in a flimsy plastic wrap (if that sometimes!) and often times, there's holes and rips and creases in the magazines themselves on arrival. Call me OCD, but I prefer the luxury of going to a magazine stand in person and picking out that copy that sits in the way back that nobody's touched yet.

Anyway, so I have the first three issues of Vogue Hommes Japan, and I'm so thoroughly pleased with the content...I only wish I knew how to read Japanese! As a source of visual distraction, however, VHJ delivers. The editorial layouts are some of the most creative and stimulating I've seen in a men's fashion magazine, and the quality of the magazine in general rivals that of better women's Conde Nast foreign publications. The focus is definitely on progressive trends and the models who pull them off, which is very refreshing to see, given US options for men's reading have all this extra crap -- meant to reassure the average American dude it's okay to read a magazine with fashion features I'm convinced -- that just bogs everything down...full length articles not even related to menswear in addition to cooking recipes, lifestyle musings, sports...please, not for me...

I've yet to obtain the Spring 2010 VHJ issue that sparked my interest in this magazine and subsequently started me on this mini-adventure. FFM, my initial plan was to use OPR and save a couple bucks...but it looks like it's sold out already! So, it looks like I'll be going through Magazine Cafe again at least for the fourth issue...and before September rolls around, I definitely plan on getting a one-year subscription ;) Thanks again for your help, FFM!

The Fruits of My Labors

Spring is definitely in full swing here in Minnesota...too bad it'll only last for all of two weeks before the mosquitos arrive and the humidity sets in...actually, I don't mind the humidity. But on the upside, my crack at trying to boast a green thumb worked! Above are a set of tulips on their way into full bloom at my parent's place.

I sunk these bulbs into the ground last October on a whim...the bulbs themselves were cheap at Hy-Vee -- $3 for a box -- so I figured, why not...

I couldn't be happier with the results. I'm excited about the really dark purple ones (there's one in the above background)...too bad they're just not black altogether...if anybody comes across the existence of actual black tulips, let me know!

April 22, 2010

J. Crew May 2010 Catalog

THE MODELS ARE BACK for next month! After a two month hiatus where the men's sections of J. Crew's catalogs featured unfamiliar (albeit, often times still good looking) faces of the masses, I find it nice that the company has once again decided to advertise via the age-old tried and true method of dressing up individuals who are unbelievably gifted in terms of looks.

For example, the above page features classic mainstay RJ Rogenski on the left. As for the man on the right, can somebody either confirm this, or shoot me down completely, but is that Nathan Bogle? As in the Nathan Bogle formerly of Rag & Bone? And previously connected to Natalie Portman back in '07? He's been in so many issues of the J. Crew catalog at this point, and I've always secretly wondered all this time...

Final thought...any chance the men's spreads could get a bit more editorial flavor worked into them to match the women's pages? I absolutely love the creativity that goes into selling the women's merchandise...and I realize that whimsy doesn't necessarily appeal to the common man...but imagine if it did!

April 18, 2010

Marc by Marc Jacobs Black Multi Brushed Back Speckled Denim Half Kilt

Woe is me. How did I miss this one? Granted, it's my fault for not having perused images of the collection when they first went up online. Btw, does anybody out there besides me feel like the theme behind this MbMJ Resort 09 Mens collection was more cohesive and intact than normal? I'm really loving it -- the somber cool tones with splashes of fluorescence here and there, the leggings/long johns... But there's nothing quite as disheartening as discovering an item for the first time...except you found it on the sale page of Barneys, and it's already sold out :(

I want this kilt. Okay, so perhaps it's because I secretly want to look like Marc Jacobs himself and still need to play catchup to his kilt-wearing phase...but seriously, men don't have very many options when it comes to "skirt-ed" wear these days...and this piece would have been an awesome option.

Crossing my fingers that I can find it elsewhere online (a cursory look yielded zilch)...or perhaps GILT at a later date? Guys...some help here??

April 15, 2010

The J. Crew Vintage Splattered Sweatshirt, Part 2

I received the most wonderful package in the mail yesterday. And I wasn't sure if it was even going to come in the first place, so the surprise was most welcome. I've been coveting this piece since I first laid eyes on it at the beginning of the new year (backstory: HERE). Upon spotting this sweatshirt online at J. Crew, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical if I actually wanted it given the online rendition seemed a bit pared down with less details than the featured sample at the spring preview (backstory: HERE).

However, I figured I'd ultimately decide for myself and check out the piece in person given there was no indication that it was a catalog/jcrew.com only item. Unfortunately, when I went scouting around for it last week, I learned that most likely none of the Minnesota stores received the product! And by that time, the size I wanted had been sold out online for ages. But a very nice saleslady at the Rosedale Mall location not only called around the area stores for me, but also had me fill out a form to search for the piece nation-wide. What's the service called? I believe I read on JCA that it's called "We Will Find It." Shipping was free, and the lady even let me use my student status for a discount to sweeten the deal. Per her instructions, she noted that the search would be done, if nothing came up, then I'd get a phone call in a couple of days.

A couple of days passed, nobody called. I became hopeful.

So it appears the Natick Mall out near Boston had what I was looking for.

Upon opening the package, I can't say this enough (in fact, I've been blabbing about it to anybody who'll listen), but I was VERY very impressed with what I received. There's paint, there's bleach, there's holes and frayed edges, and there ARE actually elbow patches! -- one on each elbow done up in different proportions and shades. In total, the one I received seemed more detail-oriented than the one used for the online pictures. It's sold out online now, and that makes me even more satisfied to have secured one for myself (in the nick of time too! it made its way onto the spring sale page -- with only XL's left -- for the better part of a day before disappearing into oblivion...but I don't think searches are done on sale items, so, WHEW!)

I can't wait to wear this piece out this season on cooler days and casual nights.

Truly a novelty item.

April 4, 2010

Daniel Liu for J. Crew Fall Winter 2010 Presentation

Check out what Flashbang from tFS found from Habitually Chic! I think it's cool Mr. Liu has become a J. Crew regular.

March 21, 2010

Daniel Liu for GQ Taiwan March 2010

Mad Man, GQ Taiwan March 2010
photography: Chiun-Kai Shih
styling: Bernando Siaotong
source: Ford, by way of AMB and Flashbang (tFS)

UPDATE 05.06.2010 >> A few more images were added to tFS archives about a little less than a month ago...and I just got around to updating my own "blog archives" here...these come off of newmadison.fr via Flashbang...

March 15, 2010

Mad Men X Barbie

The J. Crew Vintage Splattered Sweatshirt

I've been waiting for this sweatshirt to surface since January! It's finally for sale online.

A couple initial thoughts based on what I can see from the images:

1. The processed and painted touches are nice, but they don't seem as texturized or crustified as the original, which Matthew Goode wears in the January edition of GQ.

2. Missing elbow patches! This isn't necessarily a dealbreaker for me, but if workwear is the theme, elbow patches are certainly a nice and relevant touch...wouldn't you say? Below, the first image comes from the company's spring preview. The second image is a closeup of the actual selling piece.

I really want to like this piece...so I refuse to pass final judgement at this time. There's no mention that it's "catalog/jcrew.com only"...yet...so I'm hoping I can check out the piece in person at one of the area stores. That'll be my mission this week.

March 12, 2010

Liberty of London for Target Bedding Launches Early in MN

While browsing the aisles at my Roseville T1 Target last night, I was surprised to find a shelf of the Liberty of London bedding already put out onto the floor (official release isn't until this coming Sunday). Per Racked NY, this was one of the first major movers at the New York pop-up shop, which closed early due to overwhelming response (the shop was supposed to stay open until tomorrow!). I wonder how long it will last here. I love the prints, but the bedding isn't for me...sorry, just a bit too femmy even for my tastes...

A quick scan of the rest of the store didn't yield any other products from this collection. And a call this morning to the Nicollet location (next door to corporate HQs, and often the place to find early releases of their designer collabs) confirmed they won't be puting out stuff until Sunday. Sad. Still waiting for my shirts, ties, and boxers I guess...

Lady Gaga and Beyoncé in Telephone

With much anticipation and baited breath have I been waiting for the release of this music video. The song itself is so hot, and now I can conclude that the video only adds to that factor.

The following, a list of my favorite aspects and moments of the music video:

1. Commenting on hermaphroditic rumors.

Prison Guard #1: I told you she didn't have a dick.
Prison Guard #2: Too bad.

This while Gaga, pantyless and in fishnets, climbs her jailbars and flashes the viewer her (blurred) crotch. What a way to keep the speculation going!

2. Smokin' hot eyewear.

Literally. I wonder how many takes and how many cigarettes went into this sequence. And the smoke couldn't have been fun to tolerate, dontcha think?

3. The fat black woman sighs upon taking a glance at Gaga on the recess grounds. Her sound and expression. Hillarious.

4. Diet Coke cans for curlers.

Alexander McQueen used pop cans in his FW 2009 show. In a way, I saw this shot above and thought, how befitting in light of everything. Of course, I'm sure the intent was more white trash (more on that below!) than high taste, but to me, the sentiment is there.

5. The "OK" sign.

6. Product placement.

As Lady Gaga is the creative director for Polaroid, how appropriate she'd be flashing pictures with an old-school camera and film.

7. Beyoncé.

OMG Beyoncé deserves a category of her own. I remember reading how Lady Gaga made it clear how she didn't want to bring her Gaga persona into Beyoncé's Videophone video, she wanted to do it up "Gee-yoncé" style. Well, it's like the reverse has happened here, and this time, Beyoncé has been done up so befittingly in the Gaga aesthetic. There's that bee-eyed headdress she dons initially. I LOVE how she gets to don the same flip-shades from Gaga's Paparazzi video. And I especially love how she freaks out at the phone and throws it on the floor in one of the sequences.

8. Americana white trash.

I love how the Gaga creative team has placed a very hot and attractive spin on trailer park living. The diner sequences are such a visually fantastic production. It's rotten, it's rocker, and it shows that consistency and the right sense of styling is all you need to work a look. Star-spangled banners mixed in with studded biker leather, midriffs, greasy looking eye makeup, and the denim. OH the denim. Distressed, shredded and gaping to the point that one could really turn heads, I really wish I could walk around with any pair like the ones on these dancers...especially the pair on Mr. Center-Stage Dude. The long tassel-y shoulder embellishments on his coat are pretty eccentric (but appropriate) too. LOVE it.

9. Jai Rodriguez.

Ooh-la-la! Yum. 'Nuff said.
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