January 30, 2010

Missing Tattoos and Other Musings, J.Crew Edition

Last night, I made the decision to brave the elements and venture out to J. Crew to check out the new spring merchandise in person.

:: image via googlemaps, obviously not indicative of the current climate ::

J. Crew on Grand Ave. (St. Paul) isn't usually my first choice when it comes to shopping a comprehensive (or as comprehensive as J. Crew will allow in Minnesota) men's collection. I'll usually refer to the Mall of America or Southdale for the widest selection of current pieces alongside a well-stocked sale section. But Grand Avenue is cute because it's a freestanding store that blends in quite well within this small but "high-end" shopping district -- there's a Pottery Barn nearby, Aveda hair salon, Restoration Hardware, a yoga studio, a few coffee shops and nice sit-down restaurants, there used to be Smith & Hawken too before that company went under (and I learned, now fully absorbed by Target, heh)...ok, you get the picture. So perhaps I was more in the mood to be in the midst of a certain type of shopping experience as opposed to actually do some serious shopping.

Needless to say, the men's section was poorly stocked, pretty empty -- it was beyond obvious that with multiple tables featuring the men's catalog spread across the front edge, this was one store still waiting from some type of post-holiday thaw pick-me-up. I walked out with just a copy of the current catalog in my hand. Which is just as well. More than half of my appreciation for J. Crew stems from the editing and styling they channel through their catalog and also from the casting of their models...oh, hey there Liu Wen! I see you've replaced Du Juan these days as the token Asian J. Crew honey...you must've really impressed them with your previous stint over at Madewell...I love the fact they put frames on you...

:: source for this and all other remaining images ::

Lo and behold, this morning, I received one of their routine (seriously, you'll know doomsday is approaching if you haven't heard from their listserv in more than a couple days) emails, this time, advertising one of their newest additions, the Jaspé Tee. I'm usually game on clicking as long as there isn't that white lie splashed across the headline advertising "FREE SHIPPING"...I've made my heart quicken one too many times thinking yes, the days of rampant any-total-is-game codes have returned...but I've wisened up now and will be nobody's fool no longer...no sir-ee...

I felt the Jaspé jersey material last night (it was in long-sleeve form at the store)...it actually feels quite nice and substantial... But what really caught my attention this morning, was that this beautiful model's body artwork had gone rogue!

:: inkless, email version of image ::

I remember paging through the catalog last night and admiring the fact that his tattoos were intact and untouched by photoshop...I remember thinking the tats gave the man a much more worldly dimension and added complexity...that perhaps beneath that clean cut charmingly mainstream (and safe) exterior was a guy who wasn't afraid to shop at OAK on the weekends while wearing his Complex Geometries shrouded tees and Corpus drop-crotches, perhaps with The XX on his playlist and some smudged eyeliner from a previous night of crazy...not that anybody would notice, because he'd have a pair of Alexander Wang's new shades on...preferably the cat-eyed pointed ones. A dandy with a not so straightforward stride.

:: "ink"-tact, as it appears in the catalog ::

This is the dichotomy I strive to achieve in life. Apparently it's one J. Crew would rather leave out when it comes to certain modes of advertising.

Black Book "EAT ME" Tee

As much as I'd like to proclaim absolute self-prowess when it comes to sourcing new up and coming labels, I definitely rely on the hype-machines that currently exist in our world to keep me informed. Case in point: had it not been for H&M's wide reaching visibility, I'd have never picked up on this interesting and growing brand, Black Book.
Earlier this month, I used the H&M link to his website to find he has garnered enough success to warrant sourcing in China for his latest batch of shirts. Prompted by the site's announcement of free global shipping, I just had to get his "EAT ME" tee. The colors of the tattoo-work on the male model are so vibrant, and the girl's caption-explained gesture definitely is an attention-getter. Does anybody know where the original image for this tee came from? Is the tattoo art part of the original image? Who are the models? I really want to say one of the Rayder sisters, and as for the guy...Garrett Neff? But I'm totally taking a stab in the dark here...and I'd willingly take full blame for false advertising...guys, some help here?

The Black Book business seems to still very much be a personal designer-run show, as a couple email exchanges revealed André himself as the voice of customer service when I asked to confirm my shipping address. A very courteous and motivated individual I must say. The shirt itself is much cuter in person, the colors more vibrant than in the website images, and the transfer itself feels thick and durable. I can't wait to wear it out.

And it's always fun to receive packages from a faraway land...Sweden's prepaid postage stamp is quite a cute little design.

** On another side-note, the Black Book pages on H&M are now gone as "Phase 1" of the collaboration -- picture submissions -- has now concluded. There was a tee-shirt on there similar to the "Memories" renditions on the Black Book site. But instead of Julia Stegner and man, it was of two guys...where can I find that one?!! Anybody know which shirt I'm talking about? Anybody know?

January 27, 2010

Marc by Marc Jacobs Lake Blue Multi Argyle Sweater

Way back in the fall, when I first received the Barneys Co-op Fall Winter 2009 mailer, I instantly fell in love with this argyle cardigan from Marc by Marc Jacobs, modeled by the handsome-and hot-but-in-a-slightly-strange-and-badass-way Tyler Riggs.

Once a believer that one can never have too much argyle, I now feel that argyle has become so mainstream that even straight guys think they're fashionistas each time they don their "smart" looking sweaters...gifted to them by their wannabe style-maven midwestern girlfriends...who think they're SO clever shopping for their man at Banana Republic. And I could go on and on... Needless to say, one needs to maintain a degree of selectivity these days when shopping argyle, after all, you wouldn't want to be mistaken for something or someone else, would you? I definitely identified with the characteristic "MbMJ-spin" on this piece...ho-hum conventional turns into quirky.
Alas, the mailer was released before Barneys' placed the cardigan for sale online, and so despite making the best mental note possible to follow up with a return visit to barneys.com, life got busy, I strayed from my priorities, and I forgot about it...

...UNTIL I noticed the piece was online, MARKED DOWN, earlier this month...but in only an XL left! DAMN! How did I let myself completely miss this?! It's no secret Barneys has had inventory issues, and so unlike previous years when I've held out hope that perhaps a returned piece might get restocked online, I was pretty convinced that once the XL sold (and it did), this item's tenure at Barneys was DUNZO.

Lo and behold, essentially resigned to giving up the good fight, I stumbled upon this piece while paging through a UK-based website unfamiliar to me at the time: www.my-wardrobe.com. And there, in the 75% off section, was my sweater, IN MY SIZE, just taunting me to drop it in my shopping cart. HAPPY ENDING!

I don't even know what wayward surfing expedition led me to this site. But I'm quite pleased that fate has led me to this conclusion. About My-Wardrobe, the site has a well-curated selection of pieces from an excellent roster of labels -- McQ, APC, Opening Ceremony, Burberry (unfortunately, but understandably, only Brit and London it appears), and of course, Marc by Marc Jacobs. The cardigan I bought is no longer available, but there's quite a few other great pieces in the sale section still from a variety of labels. Customer service is quite pleasant, given I was a first time shopper, they got in touch with me to confirm my shipping address. I must admit, they're not well-structured for international e-commerce (yet, hopefully), as shipping was kind of a bitch and there was only one option for US orders, but I'm really not complaining, I've got my cardigan :) And in a very expedient time-frame too.

I cannot wait to pair this piece with a pair of chunky black plastic frames, perhaps a simple white v-neck tee underneath...black jeans...biker boots...

All in all, mine is a tale of silly obsession and skewed priorites in life, wouldn't you say? But I love it all.

XOXO, Gossip Girl.

SNSD Loves the Iowa Hawkeyes in Oh!

SO...if I were to ever admit to a having a secret vice, it would definitely be my constant intrigue with the Korean girl group SNSD, aka, Girls' Generation. Who's already seen their most recent music video for their song, Oh!, just released yesterday?

The football/cheerleader/danceline theme definitely shows how American trends leave no stone uncovered. But what's even funnier, the girls are tossing around a helmet that belongs to the Iowa Hawkeyes! So are the male hotties, whose -- unfortunately -- own helmets are never off during the whole of the video. AAaaawwww. Of all the fifty states, these girls halfway across the world (read: their costume designer) picks the one smack dab in the middle of the Heartland to source for props. How touching. Score one for the midwest...whoooo. I mean, WHOOOO! Just kidding. But seriously, aren't university insignias usually required to be licensed out for use by the general public? Is the University of Iowa receiving a fat royalty check in the mail in return for the use of its bird?

In general, the video is pretty fab. As with previous vids, the girls aren't necessarily trend-makers, but the themes are pretty on-trend...if on-trend is defined to be what one might currently find at Forever 21. Over the knee boots...not quite thigh-high, but essentially the Asian girl's equivalent in most cases...high-waisted shorts...chunky statement rings that take pride in NOT coming across as expensive...PLAID...of course of course, nothing earth-shattering, but well accepted in land of the juniors section by now.

But you know what makes the video? THE HAIR. The fabulous big-hair extensions, in all the artificial shades Asian girls love, curled, teased, frizzed, vamped, and vavoomed to such extremes in order to further drive home the point that nobody's natural hair is good enough. NOBODY'S.

What I find THE most titillating, however, is the cliffhanger at the end of the video, where we get a glimpse of the girls done up BADASS. Like...dirty, filthy, sexy, rotten. I do hope a video of them dressed like this actually does come to fruition eventually. TABs (trendy Asian bitches) in black. There's nothing more pleasing to the eye. Now I want to hang out with THOSE SNSDs.

...if only that was actually the bird Yuri's giving...if only...

January 17, 2010

Burberry Prorsum Mens AW 2010

This morning, I had the luxury of waking up and looking forward to the Burberry Prorsum Mens AW 2010 show streamed live from Milan. What a pleasure to watch. I can only imagine how much more enjoyable a Burberry show might be in person, I wonder if I'll ever have the means to attend one in the far off future. Here's to hoping. Regardless, even with my online view, this show has me excited for winterwear (or should I say the continuation thereof as I'm currently in the midst of a routine freeze-out here in Minnesota). The themes I took from the show included the following: plush, aviator, sheerling, and exaggerated collars. Love it, love it, love it.

I'm absolutely in love with the last look to close out the show. The shade of blue-grey on this piece is absolutely beautiful, and the arm-strap-embellishments very sharp looking indeed. I'm very curious what the material of this coat is comprised of. Any guesses?

January 6, 2010

Emma Watson and Alex Watson for Burberry Spring/Summer 2010

Just caught the latest images for the Burberry -- Prorsum, London, and Brit -- 2010 campaigns. They all feature Emma Watson, looking as appropriate for the brand as ever, and a few of the images also showcase her brother, Alex Watson. He's just as pretty as his sister! Who can tell me more about him?

January 4, 2010

Chronicles of Never Body of Myths Coat

Was overjoyed to find this piece on Revolve Clothing in an S...marked down...with a promotion code to go along. I've been looking for a cardigan with some front drape.

While engaging in family holiday traditions, I came across this piece, but it was only available in an M or L. I was tempted to go with the M, but I ultimately decided to sleep on it...for a week...and when I came back, it was sold out! Waiting pays off, apparently. I thank whomever must have made a return, leading to the item's restockage.

Use the code: "tulip", to get an extra 15% off. There was a code lurking around for 30% off prior to the new year, but unfortunately, that one expired before this cardi went on. Would have been nice to gain an extra 30% off, but beggars can't be choosers, right?

January 2, 2010

A Single Man, Landmark Lagoon Cinema, Minneapolis

As predicted, my fears were premature and A Single Man finally made its way to a theater nearby. Earlier this week, I was so excited to learn it was playing at the Lagoon Cinema in Uptown.

Set in the '60s, this movie draws upon the classic aesthetics and style that era, which doesn't hurt, especially in our current Mad Men-enamoured times. The wardrobe, props, and setting all work seamlessly to give the storyline credibility and substance. It also doesn't hurt that the cast of this movie is comprised of very attractive individuals -- Colin Firth, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult, Jon Kortajarena (the face of the Tom Ford ads!), and Julianne Moore. Tom Ford's eponymous line is what dresses Colin Firth's character. And with such style and confidence! Perhaps a commentary can be made that the Tom Ford line transcends time. Perhaps I'm sounding cheesy. In short, this movie is such a work of beauty. Sad beauty. I highly recommend.

I'm not sure how much longer this film will be showing, so get thee to the Lagoon!

A few thoughts:

I must have those frames Colin Firth wears. Yes, yes, I realize there is no shortage of thick black frames on the market right now, but to find one that doesn't feel cheap takes some time (and money!). I'm wondering if the frames themselves are also an extension of the Tom Ford eyewear line -- they're missing the characteristic "T" on the sides, which makes me wonder. What I love about these ones is the fullness/roundness of the eyes -- sometimes that wayfarer look gets too narrow and cat-eyed, don't you think. I personally prefer a bit more "geek" than "cool cat"...

As for the incredibly good-looking Matthew Goode, he is definitely enjoying the spotlight right now. Anybody catch his editorial spread in the current issue of GQ?

I could stare into Nicholas Hoult's blue eyes forever. What's more, his sweater he dons for most of the movie is gorgeous -- mohair blend is my guess? The boatneck works so well, truth be told, I never considered it an option for men's sweaters.

After realizing the role of Carlos was played by Jon Kortajarena, I concluded I definitely prefer how he looks in the film, all James Dean-esque, as opposed to his Tom Ford ads. The ads are sexy and great, don't get me wrong, but there's something attractive about the less glossy, buffed, and polished look he's given in the movie.

I want this Mercedes someday! I definitely have a growing obsession with vintage Mercedes. But I'm no car aficionado, not in the least. That means I don't even know what model this one is. Anybody care to enlighten me?


My last thought has to do with the ending. Throughout the course of the movie, the audience learns Colin Firth has heart disease. Near the beginning of the movie, he's shown gripping his chest in an episode of angina, my guess is unstable angina give he's just walking within the confines of his one-level house. He grips with his right hand over his left chest. Pretty straightforward. Later on, Julianne Moore's character asks him about a incident that sounds more like a prolonged episode of Prinzmetal's angina, perhaps verging on an NSTEMI. Still, nothing surprising. However, did anybody notice that when he meets his demise at the end of the film with his fatal heart attack, it's his right upper extremity that is affected, and he's using his left hand over his right chest? I'm curious what other people's thoughts are on this. Maybe it's just a filming fluke that couldn't be rectified during post-production editing? Or does it symbolize something more?
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