Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eyewear exhibit: Joseph Ungoco sees all

A long time ago, before Giuliani cleaned up New York City, my overprotective friends would advise me on how to “look like a New Yorker” – and not a mugging victim. One sage piece of advice that they gave me was to “walk with purpose.” Regardless of whether I was walking straight into a brick wall, I must always remember to stride confidently and purposefully.

Ten years later, I consider myself a “New Yorker” and nothing pleases me more than to stop dead in my tracks – exactly like the tourist I always feared I would appear to be – and admire what the city has to offer. On one recent afternoon, in Grand Central Station, arguably one of the busiest pedestrian venues in the city, I did just that. In Vanderbilt Hall, which to most people who use the station is just a blur on the way to the street and the never ending flood of humanity that is sidewalk traffic, I relished a few stolen moments away from being glued to my Blackberry.

What had caught my eye and captured my attention was a magnificent exhibit of eyewear. The Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Optical Goods Manufacturer’s Association had installed a brilliantly curated – by Alessandra Albarello - a selection of eyewear perfectly illustrating the title of the exhibit: “Eyewear from the Beginning to the Future: The History of Eyeglasses from the Invention in Italy to the Latest Trends.”

In just a few loops around the exhibit cases, I felt like I had taken a fantastic journey through the history of eyewear. The installation itself was designed by award-winning Italian Architect Giorgio Borruso and resembled the scaled down city models one might see in the Museum of New York.

Instead of building steel and glass cases to mimic our cities instantly recognizable skyline, Borruso created a design that acted “as a metaphor for the modern eyewear and the subways, roads, paths, and histories that fracture, connect and reveal the spaces we inhabit.” The overall effect was one of visiting a miniature village with the inhabitants being the chicest and most interesting examples of eyewear.

From the spectacles from the 18th century in horn, tortoise and precious metals to the finest examples of today’s designs in acetate and metallic alloys, the exhibit covered every important stage in the history of eyewear and while being respectful of the past, glorifies the present and the future.

Italy has played a major role in the development of eyewear and continues to be a driving force. By developing new technologies in manufacturing and introducing new and exciting materials, the Italian Optical Goods Manufacturer’s Association keeps Italy on the forefront of both design and manufacture and ensures an endless supply of high quality goods for an insatiable group of consumers. For more on the exhibit, see this AP-TV video.

There may not be many roses around for New Yorkers to “stop and smell,” but there are always interesting and educational experiences in which we can immerse ourselves, even if only for a few moments between Blackberry appointment reminders. The next time you find yourself rushing from place to place, “stop and see.” You never know what visual and interactive delights you will encounter.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Relastin Ultra Emollient

Youthful looks for those in the know

How often do you envisage the image of a woman tugging and stretching her skin, simulating the effects of a face lift? Whether it is or isn’t you fixating in front of the mirror, the truth of the matter is we’re all looking for the solution to the anti-aging equation। Fortunately, with recent breakthroughs in beauty, Botox and facelifts are no longer vital variables in the formula to a more vernal complexion.

Here to solve the problem is Relastin Ultra Emollient, a new multitasking product that promises to hydrate, smooth and firm the skin all while bringing back that youthful bounce. Using their signature Zinc Firming Complex, an ingredient designed to increase your skin’s elastin content, as well as Vitamin A, Vitamin C and cell penetrating Peptides, Ultra Emollient is clinically proven to reduce visible signs of aging. Dryness, sagging and wrinkles are reversed with the Relastin Ultra Emollient three part formula. This all-in-one cream works to increase the skins moisture, collagen production, and elastin revitalization, all to provide a solution to the epidermal aging equation.

NY Designer Profile: LORIS DIRAN

A designer’s creations should always tell a story, but it's not very often that you get to hear that story directly from the designer’s mouth. When assigned to meet an up-and-coming designer and write a profile on his work, I leaped at the opportunity to try on clothes that had not yet been walked down the runway and pick the designer’s brain to understand one’s creative process. The last thing I thought I would ever get out of an interview was a history lesson. Yet, while the clothes were fabulous and the creative process only further depicted the artistry, it was the education that was provided, not only about the designer, but about the city I so love, that made me realize that after 2 hours, I didn’t want to leave.

Loris Diran lives and works by a simple motto: “be true to yourself, and true to your line.” After immigrating to America in his early youth and growing up on the Upper West Side of New York City, Diran’s artistic experience came in many forms. Through his education at New York’s School of Performing Arts, combined with his work with Versace, Claude Montana and Chanel, as well as the development of his own label, Diran has come to understand and embrace a lifestyle of glamour and luxury that is subtle, yet just as rich as a gaudy diamond ring.

Diran truly designs for the people. One of the few designers to actually be in his showroom on the weekends, he actually listens to what a costumer has to say, and acknowledges and adapts to their needs. Diran is not only knowledgeable about the progress of design and style, he is also a wealth of information on the history of New York City, the building in which his boutique sits, and the neighborhood in which is business is continuing to grow.

Tucked away near the corner of 1st Street and Bowery, Loris Diran’s boutique tells his own unique story. Walking through the front door is like walking out of the city and right into the wood. The space, not only beautifully displays his garments, but also instantly brings you to a state of peaceful relaxation. “Shopping should be like aromatherapy,” says Diran. Indeed, in his boutique, it is. Finding inspiration in the natural elements, Diran has created a space where the clothes are at one with the environment that inspired them. The clothing racks are shaped like tree branches and the room is warmed by accents of deep wood, soft colors and beautiful natural accessories. Walking past rows of exquisitely tailored pieces – suits, cocktail dresses, dress shirts, slacks and cashmere galore – the buyer cannot help but touch, and once you do, you’re sold.

While I could write a whole other essay on my favorite Diran pieces, it's necessary to elaborate on two of what I would say are essentials. First is the cashmere suit jacket. This garment is so comfortable I want to go to work in it, go to drinks in it, and go to bed in it. While one might think cashmere would not provide the structure needed to command proper attention, or be appropriate for the office, Diran will show you otherwise. As he said to me, “I could create the suit for the every man, but I’m not Hugo Boss.”

The second garment, which is completely stunning on the body, is the corset dress. Like most of Diran’s garments, this dress seems as if it came from the ground to envelop the body, accentuating the best parts of a woman, and providing her security throughout the rest.

Ladies and gentleman, heed my advice – if you every pay Mr. Diran a visit, be careful what you try on, because you will be much more willing to put the clothes on than you will be to take them off. — SEAN KIELY

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fashion After Dark: New York Scene

Joseph Ungoco dishes the dirt on the latest fashion haunts

Some astrological signs tend toward certain career paths and industries. Just as you find a surplus of Scorpios working in the porn industry, you find a plethora of Pisces in creative fields — and fashion is no exception. Thus, each year in March after the European shows, fashion folk find themselves inundated with invitations to birthday celebrations. With all of us constantly going to the latest hot spots and locations — many not yet open to the public — how does one decide where to celebrate one’s birthday? This year, I decided to host a number of small events with close friends, rather than throw one large party and so I decided locations based on geography.

Since I live downtown, I started at home with a few fellow United Editors with tea and homemade chocolate cake. Thank you Martha Stewart for the great recipe in your April issue! I then proceeded to my overflow living room, the newly opened Andaz Wall Street Hotel. Bar Seven Five – like the street address, 75 Wall Street – is the perfect cozy gathering place for a small group of friends. The custom designed cocktail menu includes personal favorites of mine like the Manhattan which features homemade bitters – in case you were worried about the current worldwide shortage of Angostura Bitters – and is presented with a bit of theatricality. The flaming orange zest is the perfect spark to set off scintillating conversation! The décor here is cool and modern and the undulating white glass and travertine staircase will have you inventing reasons to exit and reenter the bar.

After a few rounds of cocktails, I went uptown to west Chelsea’s Gallery District to meet a few friends for dinner at Juliet Supper Club, Todd English’s latest restaurant. The semi-circular banquettes and round tables have the feeling of a Las Vegas lounge in the 1960s, but the color scheme and décor are purely today - if you live on the Mediterranean! The cuisine is light and perfect for late night suppers as most diners arrive after 10 pm, in the Continental fashion. As the night goes on, the fashionable folk pour in and lounge the night away!

If you’re wondering which birthday it was, I’ll leave you with the maxim that “there are only two ages that people in fashion will ‘admit to’: 29 and 41”. Decide for yourself which one best fits the evening’s itinerary!

Text: Joseph Ungoco

Thursday, March 25, 2010

LULU DENIM: Your fashion is served

By Tara McCauley

LuLu Denim, who first began offering their over-the-top shopping experiences in South Florida, will be among the 60 retailers taking up shop at New York’s new Limelight Marketplace in the Flatiron district.

The marketplace, set to open this month, will fill three floors of a historic 163 year-old venue and will feature elaborate facades and varied designs reminiscent of a European street scene.

LuLu Denim, named one of “America’s 50 Most Influential Men’s Stores” by Women’s Wear Daily, offers high-end apparel for men, women and children and treats the shopping experience like a dinner service.

Jeans from labels like Diesel and Rock & Republic are presented to shoppers by “servers” while they sip complimentary drinks. After the perfect pair has been found, shoppers can have their pick of the cream of the crop in fashion, whether it be Paul Smith, Jean Paul Gaultier, or Moschino. To finish off the new look, the LuLu Sneaker Bar’s sneaker “specialist” will serve up the likes of John Galliano and DSquared. Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ModaLisboa 2011: Salsa

Portugal's Denim dominator, Salsa, showed for the first time at ModaLisboa's Check Point. Their Fall Winter 2010/2011 collection producing edgy, denim wear reminiscent of some of the world's most well-loved kings of casual.

Multi-colored denim dresses were interesting additions to the women's wear with samplings from several of their much-loved lines from Premium Denim to more street-inspired offerings. Men's wear in cropped puffer jackets of midnight blue with an abundance of metal detail are sure to fly off the rack.

The line Urban Emotion was launched among the company's many offerings, inspired by the tales of Oliver Twist. Ochre, black, khaki and peacock blue emanated an orphan-esque style that the cool-kids-club love to flaunt.A family-owned company, established in 1994, Salsa continues to expand at a rapid rate.

From Spain to Asia it won't be long until they have you moving. Most recently, Salsa has become a best seller in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

ModaLisboa 2011: Miguel Vieira

If you picked up a copy of Zink recently (February 2010) you will already be familiar with Portuguese designer Miguel Vieira. A consummate professional, his collections for both men and women have been a staple here at ModaLisboa. Recently he added furniture design to his enormous catalogue of stylish offerings from bags and shoes, to men's and women's ready-to-wear. Always with a distinctive flair for tailoring and intricate detail, this season was no different.

Creating a distinctive Jackie O flavor, women hit the catwalk in stylish classics, guaranteed to be wardrobe staples. An edge of the modern woman mixed with classic chic produced a cohesive collection that was both commercially viable and creatively intriguing. Ever evolving as a designer, the color palette remained within the classic theme, using black, midnight blue and white. Brocades, muslins, organza, pure wool and cashmere made for some elaborate silhouettes - some form fitting others voluminous, inspired by Couture.

Each selection of women's wear was closely followed by dapper gents in tailored, structured pieces, the Portuguese wonder of masculine chic pervading. Over sized bags and classic shoes accompanied each look, one of the many multi-functional elements of Vieira's designs. As he moves into furniture design, one can only imagine what next season will bring.

Photos: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

Saturday, March 13, 2010

ModaLisboa 2011: Ana Salazar

Ana Salazar, known as the Matriarch of Portuguese fashion, closed Day Two of ModaLisboa's Check Point. Baroque inspired, with a rock'n'roll edge, her "Depurar o Excesso" collection showcased a variety of textured fabrics in a gothic inspired color palette. Religious prints coupled with printed velvet shouted "Salazar style" while other pieces remained more contemporary, ready-to-wear.

Utilizing black, old gold, earth, forest green, purple, bloody red and white, hemlines were short, fabrics textured to create a chunky, punk silouette.

Perhaps the most intriguing, jewelry by Valentim Quaresma, which really made the collection come to life. Brass Baroque crosses adorned the cheeks of passing models, necklaces with a myriad of textures and details hung seductively over the front and back of svelte figures. One particular show stopper included a necklace including an oversized British Coat of Arms, hanging from the back, highlighting the cut of dress as well as the theme of the collection, a great fit for both designer and jeweler.

Photos: Ruis Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

ModaLisboa 2011: Katty Xiomara

By far, one of my favorite Portuguese designers, Katty Xiomara's 2011 Winter Collection was a little disappointing. Perhaps it had more to do with the number of pieces shown rather than the creations themselves however, the styles did not seem to evolve in an engaging manner in regards to form, concept or silouette. Saying that, this particularly runway observation, does not detract from the commercial appeal of this collection which remains a highly-wearable, fun, flirty offering that would compliment any figure.

The theme was "To think, to imagine, to day dream, to construct," this was undertaken in a myriad of simplistic style dresses with embellishments that included oversized shoulder lines, ruffled detailing and various neckwear. The lengths remained uniformly mid-thigh, an occasional pair of shorts thrown into the mix. The color palette included celestial blue and grays with highlights of mauve, yellow and toasted almond tones. More definitive styling and a good edit would have helped this collection really sing.

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

ModaLisboa 2011:Luis Buchinho

Celebrating his twentieth anniversary, seats at Luis Buchinho's Winter collection filled up fast. The first show for Day II at ModaLisboa's Checkpoint, the show took a commemorative tone as Buchinho showcased his signature style simultaneously launching his mini collection "Louis Buchinho Special Edition" - a selection of core exclusive pieces and re-edition of classics - as well as a new line of accessories featuring shoes, purses, belts and bracelets.

Billowing silouettes cut to flatter appeared in dark chocolate, olive green, petroleum, lead and black. Leather and wool were showcased among delicate lace and muslin with latex, to provide a contrasting yet decidedly feminine outlook. Overall, it was a well constructed collection worthy of a true fashion veteran.

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa


Friday, March 12, 2010

ModaLisboa 2011: Alves Goncalves

A sophisticated selection of women's wear, Alves Goncalves' Winter 2011 collection rounded off day one of ModaLisboa's Checkpoint. To the soundtrack of Young American, models sporting '60s bobs, sauntered down the catwalk.

Textured fabrics with swirling felts, the silouettes were feminine and flattering. Utilizing an earthy color palette at times, classic black others, there was plenty to adore.From metalic to see-through fabrics with swirling felt detail, Alves Goncalves lived up to their reputation as a fine manipulators of fabric and design.

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

ModaLisboa 2011: Ricardo Preto

Ricardo Preto opened to an upbeat disco soundtrack, the perfect accompaniment to his "Galaxian Souk Bazar" collection. With the aim of creating a "decided, fearless and strong feminine figure," Preto utilized sparkling fabrics in silver and gold with burnt orange, green and red overtones.

Ornate accessories in the form of bejewled sunglasses and height-enhancing feathers topped off a decidely chic, souk style. Creating flowing garments from a myriad of fabrics, jersey to silk marroquin, cashmere to fur, the collection traversed a varitey of styles not always in line with the overall asethetic. A collection that would have done well with a comprehensive edit, it showed moments of delight in a creatively styled show.

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa
Text: Angela Gilltrap

ModaLisboa 2010: Alexandra Moura

Neutrals were the name of the game as opener Alexandra Moura kicked off Moda Lisboa's Checkpoint, WINTER 2011. One of the country´s up-and-coming designers, Moura sent out a cohesive collection of see-through fabrics and loose fitting winter favorites for both men and women. However, it was perhaps the accessories that garnered the most attention with gold-capped gumboots and to-die-for wedges, oversized leather bags with intricate details and various clutches guaranteed to keep any fashionista happy.

Figure-hugging jumpsuits hit the catwalk first, soon to be followed by loose fitting dresses playing with the concept of multi-textured, fabric layering. High finish cotton, jersey and wool made an appearance alongside cotton/elastin with a resin finish. Opaque at times with feminine silouettes, it was an easy-to-wear women's wear collection. Conservative knee length skirts with contrasting color, underlayed with ruffled petticoats where a highlight.

Leopard fur trim made a recurring appearance as the show continued, culminating in some less-than-memorable slip dresses. Menswear made a fleeting showing, rolled neck sweaters in complimentary color schemes, various black jackets, featuring interesting cuts and zipper features with accessories rounding out Moura's offerings.Recently selected as one of the most talented future designers for Taschen´s Fashion Now series, it was a great way to start Checkpoint 2011.

Photo credit: Rui Vasco/ModaLisboa

Text: Angela Gilltrap

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Welcome to United Editors-at-Large

Dear Readers,

As Editors-at-Large, we spend our days contributing to various media outlets worldwide. That said, sometimes we find a story that needs to be told, a designer that deserves to be featured, an exquisite piece that needs to be seen. Sometimes these fall between the cracks of the seemingly overlapping editorial calendars. So, we decided to create United-Editors-at-Large as our outlet for these stories — and breaking news —from the world of fashion.

From time to time, we will share pictures and short items that will give you a little insight into the daily life of an Editor-at-Large. We will also occasionally share editorial photo shoots that we have art directed, styled or produced that have been cut down or cut out altogether. We've all had pages or even entire stories killed and know how disappointing it can be to not have a home for these works. As Grace Coddington said in The September Issue, "You've got to have something to put your work in; otherwise, it's not valid." While we feel strongly that creative endeavors — like feelings — are inherently valid, we do think it a bit selfish to not "share" the fruits of our labors with others — to delight, to offend, to inspire...

If you're interested in writing for us or have story ideas to pitch, feel free to contact us. We're always looking for new talent and new ideas. We look forward to bringing you the best the fashion world has to offer.

Stay tuned!

Angela Gilltrap & Joseph Ungoco
United Editors-at-Large

Saturday, March 6, 2010

5 Minutes with Accessories Photographer...William Brinson

How did you get started in Fashion Accessories photography?
After coming to NY from Savannah College of Art and Design, I assisted a few great photographers that helped me find my way into the fashion world. With my obsessive attention to detail and a love of graphics, fashion accessories were a clear choice of subject for me. The art of arranging these objects and detailing their natural luxury is what I seek to achieve.

Models or a pair of shoes? Which is easier to shoot?
It really depends. There are just as many settings and situations that they can both be put in. I really don't want to limit myself or my clients about what it takes to have the perfect image.

Favorite clients?
My favorite client is Rocawear. This group of creative people really strive to go beyond, and our collaborations are always amazing.

What are the biggest obstacles in fashion accessory photography?
Fashion is always changing and you need to adapt. As a photographer, or creative person, you need to evolve with the trends, but also remain consistent in your style and vision. This is what sets you apart and keeps people coming back for more.

Trade Secrets?
Be polite and collaborate.

What's next for William Brinson?
I have a new brand identity rolling out soon, I have a new studio that opened, and I have a few personal projects starting up that will be out later this year.

NY FALL 2010: Michael Bastian

Michael Bastian: Still shining
By Benjamin Le Hay for RunwayResource.net

Michael Bastian epitomizes classic all-American chic. Handsome cashmere sweaters with bold preppy colors add a hint of the fashion forward aggression that is so often lacking in the wardrobes of stylish men, this side of the pond. Now with commendable creations for Gant also well under his control, Bastian has quickly turned into a deservedly respected fashion darling. Having pervious helmed the position of Men’s Fashion Director at Bergdorf Goodman his show was packed with traditional Beau Brummels and loyal supporters.

This season, Bastian and set designer Jason Courson constructed a dazzling back drop reminiscent of a New England boarding school. At the head of the runway was a shattered glass pane, with the remnants of broken glass strewn about the catwalk. Brawny (and gorgeous) models quickly traipsed the runway in splendid cashmere blazers, hunting jackets, plaid separates and Dr. Martin boots. Colors ranged from traditional reds, blacks, Pine green, olive and browns to pops of daringly confident pink and navy.

It’s always easy to relax with Bastian, since nearly every look works. It’s never safe, but traditional enough to always be successful. Instead, scholastic chicsters simply need to drool over which outfit fits their personality, body and skin tone.

A red plaid, quilted nylon hunting jacket set off the show, with positive responses, then eventually came a progressive, chopped-off and washed vintage kilt. A black waxed, leather motorcycle jacket adorned with fun zippers was a welcomed surprise and a cut-lined gray wool/cashmere blend tipped jacket also deserved praise. Other standouts such as a navy nylon and gray wool techno flannel racing parka, an olive Shetland wool herringbone tweed gun patch jacket in red, and a navy windowpane check wool/cashmere double breast jacket personified Bastian’s erudite, mountain-man sleekness. Towards the end there was a gun check vest in cream and a pink pin-wale corduroy dinner jacket both with shawl collars — and Chad White. No one left unsatisfied…