Protect Ya Neck with Mur

As the wind blows in obvious signs of fall, I couldn’t help but think about the whirlwind of ready to wear I saw Fashion Week.  One of the highlights of Fashion Week for me this season was the unveiling of Mur’s Spring 2013 Runway Show. 

Mur is the latest creation from innovative, fashion forward designer Anastasia Fokina.  Fokina first burst onto the NYC fashion scene in 2009 as the creative force behind T-shirt brand American Apothecary.  Her skill to masterfully blend consciousness, art and style was immediately evident.  And with Mur, Fokina is taking the same originality into the world of accessories – creating iconography through handmade, avant-garde neck pieces.   Maximizing a customer’s ability to express their individuality through accessories, each scarf is an eclectic representation of a personal story.

Last Wednesday, fashion trendsetters flocked to Chelsea to view the capsule collection titled “Fuel”, held inside Chateau Cherbuliez, located at 47 West 20th Street.   And while tasting delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, guests were privileged to witness the future scarves – updated with a 21st century appeal and a true artisan’s flair.  Mur’s ultramodern designs were a perfect contrast to the sexy, lavish French décor of the venue creating a well-balanced event. Chateau Cherbuliez is an opulent indoor and outdoor French-inspired restaurant and wine bar located in the former parish section of the iconic Limelight Marketplace.   Opening in July, Chateau transports those who enter its doors into the lush splendor of Southern France and features one of the largest outdoor garden spaces in New York City.

I was extremely impressed with the capsule collection, and saw several pieces I would love to rock down the concrete runways of Manhattan.  I look forward to seeing more of Mur and the creations of Anastasia Fokina.

Photos courtesy of Franklyn R. Bonfante & Anastasia Fokina

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A Night Fit for the King

March in New York City is known for two things, gusty winds whipping around skyscrapers and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  But on the evening of March 12th, a zephyr blew the trendy and fashionable to Millesime, located on 92 Madison Avenue, for The Luxxx Ball presented by Legendary Damon, American Apothecary and Remy Martin.  Just in case you have not heard, The Luxxx Ball is Legendary Damon’s annual birthday celebration.  And for all you FAMERS in bed by the stroke of midnight, Legendary Damon is a stylist, a high priest in the religion of fashion and the king of NYC nightlife. 

Using the Studio 54 blueprint (a well mixed masala of average Joes with celebrities du jour) Damon has had the NYC party scene on lockdown for over a decade.  His parties are as renowned as his name and this year’s The Luxxx Ball can certainly be added to the pantheon of great events.  Wall to wall there were people trying to do their best to adhere to the invitation’s request “dress to impress the king.”  The VIP was spilling over when the nightlife czar made his grand entrance complete with Kente cloth, head wrapped rose bearers sashaying to the “King’s Motorcade” from Coming to America.  Legendary Damon glittered in royal blue and canary yellow and sported a blue crown.  And who entertained the King, the Queen Bee.  Lil Kim brought the crowd to a frenzy performing her greatest hits as well as a track off her new Black Friday mixtape.  Rapper Unique and Mic Murphy from The System also serenaded sultan of style.  After observing the events of this momentous evening, I have only one comment: It is good to be the king.

Photos:  Jason Rodriguez

American Apothecary’s New Prescription for Fall

During Fashion Week we get to see a designer’s concept for their collection come to fruition right before our eyes – a one night only performance that will never be replicated again.  This year American Apothecary merged the artistry of ballerinas and skate boarders for their Fall 2011 collection, and on Thursday the fashion rebels with a cause invited members of the press to a private preview in their Midtown galipot for a meet and greet with designer Anastasia Fokina.

There is always a welcoming, family atmosphere present when visiting American Apothecary’s showroom.  It is more like a cool clubhouse than a space that displays fashion.  While sipping on wine and eating an array of delectable cheeses and fruits, members of the press learned American Apothecary’s remedy for autumn is a palette of rich colors which includes, merlot, rust, Dijon, olive, royal blue and aqua.  Printed logo scarves and sweatshirts add depth to a line that takes a closer look at how fashion can suit style, consciousness and art to a T.

Photo and slideshow: F.A.M.E NYC Editor

Black Swans and Z-Boys: American Apothecary Fall 2011 Runway Show

 

Fashion Week is known for its grand events and on February 16 American Apothecary did not disappoint as they unveiled their Fall 2011 collection during their first runway show at Restaurant i.  The avant-garde fashion brand and A-List Entertainment put on one hell of an affair.  NYC’s fashionable stood in a line that wrapped around the corner, once inside the crowd vibed out to the DJ’s selections while sipping on cocktails and munching on hors d’ oeuvres. 

In the legendary Santa Monica neighborhood of Dogtown “the debris meets the sea,” but in the mind of lead designer Anastasia Fokina, “Sweet meets Street.”   Ballerinas in toe shoes and skateboard-carrying models strutted down the runway as guests clamored to see the latest creations of a true artisan that knows how to blend fashion and art and spares no detail.  Hats and shirts off to American Apothecary for once again pushing the boundaries of fashion!

Photos courtesy of American Apothecary.com

Hit Me with Your Best Shot

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then the right shot can create a media frenzy.  Calvin Klein proved this with provocative photos of Kate Moss, Brooke Shields and Scott King.  The photographers who shot those photos created magic and now American Apothecary has provided a group of shutterbugs the opportunity to capture lightning with their lens. 

On December 14, the avant-garde T-shirt brand held the first part of the American Apothecary Photographer Challenge.  Four photographers stepped up to the plate to showcase what they could do with a little bit of heroin and cocaine.  The photographers shot their muses in various locations inside and outside the Levi’s Photo Workspace, located on 18 Wooster Street.  PR Director John Thompson II stated he chose the location “because the artistic energy in the space was contagious, and inspiring.”  The photographers certainly seemed to be affected by the creative force flowing throughout this wonderful public space producing shot after shot of the T-shirt line.  The photographers also conducted a freestyle shoot to further showcase their originality and artistic vision.

The winner will be announced and displayed at American Apothecary’s “Got Snow?” charity event on December 22.  Their work will also appear on American Apothecary’s website and January 2011 newsletter.  F.A.M.E NYC wishes each paparazzo the best of luck.

Take a look at some behind-the-scenes photos shot by F.A.M.E NYC’s Editor

American Apothecary Adds a New Voice to Fashion

Heroin hot…cocaine cool…tapeworms titillating?   When ingested, absolutely not, but when worn as a funky fashion statement, the answer is most definitely!  Just ask the creative team of American Apothecary, they are pushing eco-friendly clothing in the hopes that we will all begin to “take a closer look.”

American Apothecary is the hottest new fashion label I have seen in a long time – true NYC originals.  The company consists of a line of T-shirts that brandish nifty recreations of ads for turn of the century remedies that are now illicit. Imagine using cigarettes for asthma, almost as asinine as giving a patient Demerol for a migraine.  American Apothecary creative team consists of Co-Presidents Jeremy Sziklay and Matthew Kronenberg, Head Designer Anastasia Fokina and PR Director John Thompson II.  As I shared a glass of wine with them at their showroom on West 36th Street, it became apparent that these fashion mavericks seem more like a family instead of a company, a sort of new millennium Yours, Mines and Ours.  Each of them chose a different path to arrive at this destination, so how did this cutting-edge T-shirt company come to be? 

Oddly enough the seed for American Apothecary was planted in college.  “I was a Psychology minor in college.  These products were being used in the early 1900s and late 1800s so through psychology [I] started learning about the first things prescribed to people in the United States.  So that idea kind of permeated in my mind,” Jeremy states.   After college Jeremy attended law school and began working in the D. A. prosecutor’s office, next door was the narcotics department.  Jeremy began to learn that the majority of cases involving drug addiction were coming from prescriptions drugs such as oxycontin and vicodin.  It was then that the connection was made.  “It’s amazing,” Jeremy remarks, “we’re peddling heroin, cocaine and chloroform a hundred years ago and now we’re peddling oxycontin, hydrocodone and ritalin.”    After leaving the District Attorney’s office, Jeremy decided to use the fashion industry as the vehicle to make a statement about the way business is done today while educating the consumer.  “So much of fashion is just superficial,” he adds, “I wanted to create fashion with a purpose, to create a conversation.” 

Jeremy enlisted the talents of Anastasia Fokina to bring his vision to life.  Anastasia has a background in the arts and has owned a gallery in Provincetown, MA.   She credits her artistic roots in assisting her with manufacturing the company’s innovative aesthetic.  “I think every designer should have some kind of arts education so they can know how to express ideas.  When designing you really have to listen to what people want, you have to fulfill someone’s vision with your capability.”

 

 

Matthew Kronenberg was in real estate development before becoming a part of this new enterprise.  Like most Americans, Matthew fell victim to The Great Recession and was laid off, but as the real estate door closed, a fashion window opened.  “I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing anyway.  About a month after I was laid off Jeremy came to me with this idea and I was like it sounds amazing.  I know and have met a lot of people who’ve had problems with prescription drugs and so it did hit home.  It hit home for me personally because I had a bunch of different surgeries from sports injuries and anytime I’ve been prescribed any kind of pain killer I didn’t take it, but being that I had these bottles with all these pills my friends were coming up to me asking if they could have them and I was like they were prescribed to me so chill out,” he explains, “and the idea in general was so amazing just because it was a great way to portray what we we’re trying to get across.”

John Thompson II was well on his way to building a stellar career in fashion PR before coming to American Apothecary.   “Initially I came in to assist with the PR department, “he says.  John was initially intrigued with the young creative fashion start-up, but, “What really sold me on the company was the box the shirts come in,” he continues, “if that creative energy was placed into a box, what else could be accomplished.   And since then my hunch has paid off, everything you see [Anastasia] creates.  Being in the fashion industry I have seen a lot, and a lot what she creates I have never seen before.” 

 

Yes, a T-shirt featuring a bottle of heroin or cocaine tooth drops is very provocative, shocking even, but their eye-catching designs are one of the reasons  American Apothecary is a label to watch.   The other is the quality and details that goes into their product. After all, fashion is about the clothes.  American Apothecary uses 100% pima cotton.  The box the shirts are packaged in is a witty piece of art constructed from recycled paper; one could definitely find a use for it after taking it home.  The shirts are soft and well-made; the European cut is form-fitting and accentuates the frame.    The lesson behind the T-shirts is probably the most stimulating aspect of this new fashion line – inspiring Americans to educate themselves and become more cognizant about the products they consume.  Best of all, 10% of their profits are given to drug outreach programs; hence, they put their money where their mouths are.

What we wear is a visual testament of our individuality, mood and beliefs.  One look at a person when they enter a room can sometimes tell more about them than any words that fly from their lips. American Apothecary is perfect for the male/female consumer that craves quality clothing and loves to make a bold declaration.  This year, stuff your fashion addict’s stocking with opium (T-shirt that is); I’m positive they will make it a staple in their wardrobe.  Coming soon from American Apothecary…heroin on a chain, so stay tuned FAMERs.

To learn more about American Apothecary, visit www.a-apothecary.com/.

“External resource for help with Vicodin addiction: http://www.michaelshouse.com/vicodin-addiction/5-symptoms/

Photos courtesy of John Thompson II

F.A.M.E NYC Model Profile

Christian Brown

During Fashion Week I get the opportunity to meet and converse with myriad people, but this September was the first time I talked with a human mannequin.  American Apothecary’s Fashion Week event at Hells Kitchen, located on 9th Street, boasted trendy, fashion forward t-shirts, a signature drink and models draped in their gear; Mr. Brown was one of them.  Even with a plethora of NYC’s fashionable chatting, drinking and moving about, Chris Brown’s earnest face and virile physique were noticeably obvious. 

Chris is a native of Washington Heights where his future was constantly prophesied, “Since I can remember people have always approached me and assumed I was a model or that I should model,” he says.  While working on the film Just Wright, Chris’ dreams and future finally collided.  He made friends with Mehcad Brooks, one of the stars of the movie, who persuaded him to take acting/modeling seriously.  “A person of his status telling me [I had potential] gave me the push I needed to go all out and chase my dreams,” he says.   Chris also credits PR maven John Thompson II with showing him the ins and outs of the modeling industry as well as connecting him with good photographers.

This past summer Chris signed with Silver Models and has worked with Poetik Design- by Nicklaus Jones, N8KD- Desi Adorn, WashHouse Jeans- by Danny “Moya” Reyes and Combat Pro uniforms for Nike.  He described booking his first job as “getting the monkey off my back.”  “In this business there is a lot of rejection,” he adds, “but from that point on I knew I would book other jobs and it solidified me as a working model.”  As Chris is aware of the rejection that comes with the business, he is also cognizant of the challenges people of color face in the fashion industry.   Although names and faces like Iman, Tyson Beckford, Naomi and Tyra have become legends, the road they paved is still an uphill one and the industry is slow to welcome change.  “Ethnic models in this industry are often immediately labeled and put into the urban category and that limits prospective work,” Chris says.   “Those who do break out of “label” are often recycled. You will see the same models and actors in campaigns, television shows and movies.”

Although this fact may stop some, Chris’ determination is as solid as his chiseled arms.  He refuses to let the self-doubt or negative responses derail him from his goals of modeling and acting.  Chris uses a quote by William Shakespeare that personifies his will to succeed, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt.” 

Tell me your favorite memory from high  school.                                                 

My favorite memory from high school is winning the NYC and State Catholic High School championship. My Rice High School brothers/teammates and I had a blast that season. We ran through the Catholic High School league finishing 28-1, finishing number one in the tri-state and number three in the nation.

Describe the perfect first date.                                                                                                                             

The perfect first date would have to be a candle lit dinner outside at night, eating amazing food sipping on wine and having deep conversation.

Boxers, Briefs, Boxer/Briefs or Commando?                                                                                             

Boxer/Briefs

Describe your grooming techniques.

Clean cut, neat and fashion forward

Favorite Drink  

Chardonnay                                                                                                                                      

Favorite Designer                                                                                                                                    

Ralph Lauren/ Sean John

Sex on the first date or not                                                                                                                                    

All depends on the vibe. If two grown people hit it off at the right place/right time and most importantly it feels right- why not?

The one item that has to go into your luggage                                                                                                              

Cologne

Paris, Milan or Tokyo?                                                                                     

All three, I love to travel

Give us a model secret                                                                                                                                                

If I tell you, then it wouldn’t be a secret

Photos/Slideshow:  Desi Adorn, Arturo Lorde, Oleg Lugovskoy, Luis Morillo, Joanna Pena, Max the Photographer, Candita Robinson, Jason Rodriguez    

To see more of Christian Brown, visit, www.whoischristianbrown.com.