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A Siriano State of Mind

Rarely has there been an individual that has broken out of the world of reality television quite like Christian Siriano.  Perhaps it is because he is uber talented and at the tender age of 25 has the potential to be fashion icon.  Oprah Winfrey has stated that Christian’s designs are, “works of art.”  And mentor Tim Gun has said that he is “the next great American fashion designer.”  Although Christian did not begin his foray into the world of fashion in New York City, his career has certainly flourished here.  Manhattan is undoubtedly one the Meccas for fashion and dozens of designers and models migrate to New York City to begin turning their dreams of stardom into reality.  Like the song says, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. 

Before Project Runway, Christian made wedding gowns for private clients and briefly interned for Marc Jacobs.  After joining the cast of the fourth season of Bravo’s hit series Project Runway, Christian won over the viewers with his edgy coif, use of the term “fierce” and his fresh, unique design aesthetic.   Along with winning fan favorite, he also won over judges Michael Kors, Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia taking home the $100,000 cash prize, a fashion spread in Elle magazine and a 2008 Saturn Astra.  Following his Project Runway win, Christian debuted his line at Bryant Park and has since been a staple and favorite at New York Fashion Week.  With another Fashion Week in the books, spring 2012 found Christian showing palazzo pants, belted long skirts and striped t-shirts along with elaborate gowns with touches that can be considered classic Siriano.  “It was inspired by a few different things,” he says when asked about the inspiration behind his 2012 collection.  “When I was originally thinking about spring, I really wanted this girl to be kind of cool, lighthearted; I really wanted her to be kind of fresh.  And in researching this, I was looking for anything that was kind of interesting to me.  And I was actually watching this film called ‘Summertime’ with Katherine Hepburn and it’s a beautiful film.  And this one scene where she is in this coral wrap dress and it’s really vibrant and her hair is kind of tousled up and the essence of her in that moment was really beautiful.  And I think that was the whole jumping off point for the story.”  Christian also states that he viewed pictures of sea creatures such as barnacles and sea urchin, and from those pictures he derived inspiration for the color and textures of the collection.

Like most designers that create a fashion empire, Siriano has expanded his talents to include ventures off the runway.  In 2008, he designed a 15 piece collection for Puma as well as virtual prom wear for Gaia Online’s virtual prom.  In December 2008, he signed a deal to design a line of low-cost shoes and handbags for Payless Shoesource which became available in Payless stores in fall 2009.  In 2011, Siriano’s Payless line was expanded. “I’ve been working with them for over three years and it’s been such a great long term collaboration,” he says.  “Some of my fans are quite young and there’s not that many sixteen to twenty-five year-old-girls that can spend over one hundred dollars on a pair of shoes.”  In February 2011, Siriano launched a limited collection for Spiegel catalog, named Christian Siriano for Spiegel.   Siriano was the first designer chosen for the catalog’s designer collaborations line, Signature Styles. 

Designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger are all American fashion immortals that started their lines in New York City that have since become billion dollar enterprises. It is still unclear if Christian Siriano will fulfill Tim Gun’s prophecy and ascend to Pantheon of American fashion royalty.  In 2010, he was named one of Crain’s Top 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40, which reported that the designer’s line has brought in over $1.2 million in revenue, so it appears the young prodigy is well on his way.  Another aspect that remains clear is the inspiration he draws from New York City.  “I love when I go to an event and you know people, but you don’t know who everybody is and everyone is such a mix.  There is some girl in vintage and there is some girl that is super glamorous. You get such a range in New York City.  It is so eclectic.  You always see something different and special.”     

Photos courtesy of Slate PR and Imaxtree

Slideshow photos:  Imaxtree

The Memory of Fashion

The pair of jeans I wore when I went roller skating and met the worst mistake of my life…the black suit that I have worn to every funeral since I was 25…the denim jumper I wore when I got my ears pierced at the age of 12…the navy blue straight leg silk pants with embroidered baby’s breath flowers I wore on my first overnight date with the man that taught me what true love really meant… all articles of clothing cloaked in memories.  It is true that women cling to the clothing they wore as events fill the chapters in the books of our lives, after all what’s a story without the accessories that give it vivid detail.  This notion is brilliantly and hilariously explored in the off-Broadway production of Love, Loss and What I Wore playing at The Westside Theatre.

 

Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron

Based on the best-selling book by Ilene Beckerman (and adapted for the stage by Nora and Delia Ephron) Love, Loss and What I Wore is a collection of stories performed by an all-star rotating cast that has included Rhea Perlman, Rosie O’Donnell, Rita Wilson and Tracee Ellis Ross.  Each cast performs in four week intervals.  The March cast stars Didi Conn, Fran Drescher, Jayne Houdyshell, Carol Kane and Natasha Lyonne. The play starts and ends with Gingy’s Story with other narratives woven in between.  The cast, dressed in black, sit and deliver the monologues. The set is a tapestry of dresses changing in color. 

March Cast

The play covers the full gamut of emotions from a fashionable perspective.  At times I was bursting with laughter and at others I found myself fending off the lump forming in my throat.  It even covers topics like the frenzy women experience when trying on outfits in the dressing room, the obsession with being fat or thin, the hell women put their feet through for a pair of sexy stilettos, all topics that drive women schizophrenic.   Other stories are more personal like Boots, an anecdote about neglect, even fashion icon Madonna was paid homage.

Beautiful, touching and filled with humor Love, Loss and What I Wore intimately tell tales that any woman can relate to and provide a little insight into a woman’s mind for the men sitting in the audience.  In fact, my greatest confirmation that this play is a must see was provided by the man that accompanied me.  This is a man that I thought had the inside track on women, but to my surprise he left the theater enlightened.  Mental note, the plum dress and limited edition patchwork Timberlands I wore when I helped a man from Mars learn more about the planet Venus.  A new memory has been created.

Photos:  Carol Rosegg courtesy of O&M Co.

2010 Fall Collection George McCracken

New York City painter turned designer George McCracken showed 20 looks – tan, brown and gray blazers, a vibrant red sweater and tan, mushroom, and gray topcoats.  Models stood on wooden boxes rotating after five minutes. 

Photos courtesy D. Austin of G Studios NYC

The Fashion World Loses McQueen

 

The start of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week begins on a somber note.  This morning the fashion world awoke to the tragic news that future icon Alexander McQueen was found dead in his London home.  A statement released by his office stated: “On behalf of Lee McQueen’s family, Alexander McQueen today announces the tragic news that Lee McQueen, the founder and designer of the Alexander McQueen brand, has been found dead at his home.”

The company’s communications director, Samantha Garrett, discovered the body of the 40-year-old designer.  Scotland Yard was called to McQueen’s address at approximately 10:20 a.m. by an ambulance service after it had been reported that a man was found dead.  They said, “The death is being treated as non-suspicious.”

The sudden death of Alexander McQueen is sending shockwaves around the fashion world and Hollywood.  McQueen designs were a favorite among fashion trendsetters like Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Penelope Cruz.  He was also set to show McQ’s fall 2010 collection, McQueen’s contemporary label, at New York Fashion Week today, but it was cancelled.

British fashion designers have always been known for their risqué, daring, outrageous and sometimes bizarre take on fashion; McQueen was no exception.  Starting in London’s West End, he created his own label in 1992 where his clients included Prince Charles and Mikhail Gorbachev.  In 1996, he became head designer for the prestigious Givenchy design house.  In 2000, he re-launched his Alexander McQueen line after Gucci Group acquired 51% of the company in a partnership deal with McQueen, who remained the creative director.  McQueen had his own boutiques in New York, London, Los Angeles, Milan and Las Vegas.

McQueen built an empire with his bold fashion and irreverent British bloke behavior.  His antics and early designs earned him an early reputation of “L’Enfant terrible”, but it wasn’t long before his genius would overshadow his tomfoolery.  McQueen was one of the youngest designers to named “British Designer of the Year”, a title he won four times between 1996 and 2003. 

Alexander McQueen and his mother Joyce

It has been reported that McQueen’s death is an apparent suicide. He was scheduled to attend his mother’s funeral Thursday morning; she died on February 2.   The death of Alexander McQueen stings now, as the shock of his demise is still being absorbed.  The true effect of his death is still to come.  The company will rally, announce a new creative director and continue on his legacy, as Versace did after the horrific murder of Gianni Versace in 1997.  However, no one will be able to replace the talent that was Alexander McQueen.  We did not just lose a great designer; he was a visionary with a distinct voice.  Today we lost an artist.

Can A Sneakerhead Be A Fashionista?

To say that a fashionista follows fashion fervently would be an understatement; to inhale and exhale fashion is the purpose of any true fashionista.  Style is the code in which she lives by. She can be spotted in the hottest labels. Keeping abreast of the latest trends, colors and accessories are a necessity.   For a fashionista to sacrifice a meal or two to buy the new Dior bag is not a far stretch of the imagination.  After all, that is what a paycheck is for.  Combing department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, and designer flagship stores to acquire the garments that feed her obsession is merely a form of exercise.   Publications like W, InStlye and Vogue must be absorbed like holy texts.  Events like Fashion Week are like pilgrimages to Mecca.  Fashion isn’t just an industry, it is a religion and a fashionista is a willing apostle.

Generally, the term fashionista is associated with high fashion.  Labels such as Christian Loubatian, Yves Saint Laurent, Zac Posen, BCBG, Herve Leger, Rock & Republic, and Diane von Furstenberg are frequent visitors to a fashionista’s closet.   But can Puma, Nike, Adidas, and Supras sit in the same closet as Prada?  Can a sneakerhead be considered as a fashionista too?

Sneakerheads are generally addicts of a male persuasion, but there are female sneakerheads. A sneakerhead is a person who is obsessed with the quest of owning multiple pairs of footwear.  This passion does not only extend itself to fascination of collecting, but also extends to the religion of fashion.  Sneakerheads are zealots.  Like an archeologist searching the graves of ancient lands in search of priceless relics, the goal of a true sneakerhead is to collect as many rare, vintage and limited edition sneakers as possible.  Sneakerheads accept the charge of a lifetime journey that can be costly; however the ends definitely justify the means.

Just as a fashionista creates a look that encompasses the right outfit, accessories, make-up and shoes; sneakerheads do the same.  For a sneakerhead, the sneaker is the foundation of the outfit and maximizing the hotness of the sneaker with the proper garments is absolutely necessary.   Also a sneakerhead needs to own a pair of sneakers that fits every occasion.  A female sneakerhead must have a pair of sneakers to go with jeans, skirts, slacks, and even evening gowns.  Don’t scoff, Cybill Shepherd once wore hi-tops to the Emmys and D. Woods of Danity Kane has worn hi-tops on the red carpet as well.   So yes Virginia, a sneakerhead can also be considered a fashionista.

She has boxes of Dunks proudly stacked by boxes of Jimmy Choos.  She has an outfit and accessories to go with her custom pair of Pumas as well as having the perfect outfit for taking her new Michael Kors bag out to play.   She is an aficionado on Versace and an authority on kicks.  She is a sneakernista.

All American Creation

“Born in the USA,” would definitely be the phrase used to describe An American Art and Craft Collective, held at Grown and Sewn, located at 184 Duane Street in Tribeca.  Inside this store is a perfect weaving of art and fashion. 

Figures

Bruce Springsteen’s classic song brought attention to the disenfranchised in America in the 1980s – those dealing with the repercussions of the Vietnam War, joblessness and a struggling economy.  In the wake of the Great Recession, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and issues with our environment, there is no greater time to have a merged exhibition like An American Art and Craft Collective, especially since we are on the verge of a new decade.

Purvis Young

An American Art and Craft Collective brings together the works of urban visual griot Purvis Young and the Grown and Sewn collection. Grown and Sewn Dry Goods Collection is an innovative approach to casual fashion.  The collection’s signature product is the “Kax” and takes the best elements from the khaki and jean. 

The Kax is 100% cotton and is washed, baked and finished.  Every aspect of Grown and Sewn is American made down from the cotton used in the clothing to the rivets sewn on the Kaxs.  All the manufacturing of this product is made in the USA, with almost every region of the country contributing to bring Grown and Sewn to the masses.  This clothing line makes a powerful statement toward fixing what ails our society by offering a product that is environmentally friendly and provides jobs to Americans. 

Up in Arms against the System, c. 1987

The work of Purvis Young is provided by Skot Foreman Fine Art.  Purvis is a self-taught artist out of Overtown, Miami, Florida.  In his work he reuses squiggly lines and eyes to display the underbelly of American society, individuals caught in the system of poverty, incarceration and street life.  His pieces are full of rage, passion and reality that shine a spotlight on topics that most people would rather not focus on. 

Angel Baby Crib, c.1991

Purvis used the debris of Overtown, old cribs and pieces of wood, to create a body of work that tells a specific story, a somber story, that is nonetheless part of the American experience.  What is more disturbing to me is the thought that without artists like Purvis Young, this story would not be heard. 

Although I have viewed Purvis’ work before, seeing it in this setting was like witnessing it for the first time.  Purvis’s work is layered in such a way that upon each viewing a new facet is discovered.  The store’s décor also added a special element to his work.  There are huge bales of cotton cleverly placed through out the store; the tables are hand crafted with antique figurines and an old sewing table.  These raw components help to accentuate the coarse quality of Purvis’ work. 

Eyes, c. 1992

An American Art and Craft Collective will be on display until January 15, 2010 and is a marriage about what is best about American culture at a time when America needs it most.  After braving the blistering wind to get to Tribeca, I was electrified by what I saw and warmed with a renewed sense of hope.

Photos of Purvis Young’s artwork courtesy of Skot Forman Fine Art and Purvis Young.com

Welcome To F.A.M.E NYC

F.A.M.E NYCWelcome to F.A.M.E NYC!

F.A.M.E NYC is an acronym for fashion, arts, music and entertainment and centers on one of the Meccas for all these industries, New York City.

“I love New York” is not just a slogan for us at F.A.M.E NYC.  We comment on the New York City we are privileged to witness everyday, and all the elements that makes New York City one of the greatest cities on Earth.

This online publication  is dedicated to New York fashion, arts, music and entertainment and is for any lover of NYC.

Included in the fashion segments will be models, designers, retailers, etc. that have locations in NYC as well as Fashion Week.

Our arts segments will include NY based artists, galleries, performance artists as well as Broadway and off Broadway.

Our music and entertainment segments will also come from a New York state of mind with special dedication given to NYC nightlife and dining.

We hope you will all come on this journey with us as we share with you our version of F.A.M.E in NYC and those who are on a quest for it.  There are a million stories in Big Apple, these are ours.

Enjoy!