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We Interrupt Our Regular Programming…

24 Sep

…to introduce a whole new category:

Stuff This Black Girl Likes

So there’s that Stuff White People Like blog, and I think there might even be a Stuff Black People Like blog (which is kinda controversial, cause if I’m not mistaken, it’s not written by a black person (uh oh, the “R” concept). Anyway, I thought this new category would allow me to break my own rule about  “having a very specific vision for my blog” and thus throw up stuff like this…

shop alexander wang

The Aline T-Strap Sandal by Alexander Wang

So here’s the deal. I love fashion. I love the back story, I love how designers can be inspired by anything from NYC’s yellow cabs, to vintage photographs, to Japanese zen gardens. Most of all, I love shoes. They’re like the last frontier – if such a thing even exists in fashion – a place where there is no hiding a lack of originality. When I first saw these shoes in the AW trunkshow on Moda Operandi (quick on the heels of New York Fashion Week), I gushed, “Oh my God!” as if in pain. Part boot, part leg brace, part sandal, Alexander Wang has taken it to another level. I adore these shoes. I want to snuggle with them like I would a body pillow. My quest to find a sugar daddy so I can own a pair is now in full throttle. Gimme a minute, I’ll be back with a progress report on that.

Till then…

Like On,

-KH

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Plomo…Te Amo

30 Mar

My blogging dream has come true: Me. Shoes. Touching them. Taking their picture. And these were not just any shoes. Yesterday I got an invite to check out the Spaniexican line, Plomo Shoes, the merger of Spanish and Mexican BFF’s Keltse and Galia’s love of travel, rummaging around flea markets, and of course, shoes. The line is an exquisite marriage of supple leather, understated pastels and creative accessorizing, with a distinctly relaxed-weekend-by-the-Mediterranean feel to every pair. Though I can easily see them on a road trip through villages in the south of France, they would be just as at home on a bike ride through the LES or a stroll through the markets of Mexico City.

They held a warehouse sale to kick off the Spring 2012 collection, and amid all the neon out there (it’s a love/hate relationship), the pastels were a refreshing break. Seafoam, and pistachio, and passionfruit, it was like a gelato-filled European vacation for your feet.

Insider tidbit: modelling the green canvas Brunelas in the centre is co-designer Keltse

One of my faves, the black sheep leather wedge with the cut-out heel, the Chiara

And with all the talk about Spain and Mexico, you can relax, the collection is for sale just about everywhere —from international retailers in Switzerland and Japan, to a host of locations across the US  (NYC, California, Chicago, Texas), to online (one more reason to continue your daily visit to Shopbop and Revolve Clothing). And starting in April, you’ll be able to go straight to the online source, plomoshoes.com. Go ahead, exhale.

I caught jewelry designer Heidi Gardener leaving with a newly acquired pair of the coral suede Rania boots. Stay tuned for her SHTBC début!

And if the gorgeous shoes weren’t enough, Denton Events provided scrumptious snacks to fuel the shoe-shopping.

Gorgeous shoes, sweet and savory spreads on French bread, it was all I could do to tear myself away.

Here’s to you falling as hard for Plomo as I have.

Happy Shoe Shopping!

-KH

Long Live the (Mc)Queen

11 Feb

“Beauty can come from the strangest of places, even the most disgusting places.”— Alexander McQueen

It’s February 11th, the 2-year anniversary of the death of Alexander ‘Lee’ McQueen. I was fortunate enough to be in New York at the time of his Savage Beauty exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the above is the only remnant of the pictures I tried to sneak, and has been the background pic on my phone ever since). I’ve never had the fortune to see an Alexander McQueen show, but I can only imagine how marvelous and visceral it must be. McQueen has said that he didn’t care if people liked his work, he just wanted them to leave his shows feeling something. I couldn’t leave the Savage Beauty exhibit not feeling something. As someone also in the arts (the creative writing grad programme at Hunter College), I do understand something about the process of inspiration and the subsequent translation of that inspiration into creation. It is arguable that no one, in fashion at least, did it better than McQueen.

Like all artists, he started with the autobiographical, the place that birthed him (Scotland) — but not so singularly that he forgot the place that raised him (England) — and then branched out into timeless muses: nature, other art (namely Literature), the cultures of the world, particularly their national dress. Yet, McQueen dove to dark depths with each collection and story, making clothes that told macabre tales of opposites, light and dark, tyrant and subject, destruction and redemption, the marginalized and the mainstream. That dark romanticism permeated all of the work produced in his epic 19-year career, and the exhibit at the Met was a journey through a fiercely driven and constantly-constructing creative mind. McQueen was an unyielding promoter of freedom of expression, and throughout the whole exhibit, there seemed to be a consistently underlying theme of struggle against the confines of what fashion can be.

Accessories like armour and bondage, rigid corsets, horns protruding from jackets, and who could ever forget the incredible “armadillo boots”; it’s as if McQueen was equipping his designs with the weaponry to fight against any attack. It should come as no surprise that he was inspired by Darwin, and the final collection in the exhibit, pieces from Plato’s Atlantis (spring/summer 2010), drew directly from On the Origin of the Species. It reflected McQueen’s thoughts on nature’s devolution with the prospect of the melting ice caps. It was a reptilian cornucopia, with scales (and who else but McQueen could channel that into armadillo boots!), kaleidoscopic prints, metallic textures, all while remaining true to the romantic ideal of the Sublime. After all, when you get swept up in a rushing hundreds-of-feet-high wave of hypothermic ice-cap water, I have to imagine that a certain calm will come over you as you are crushed in a muted death. But hey, that’s just me.

By the time the exhibit closed on August 7th, it was the most visited in the Met’s history. I waited in line for 2 hours, and of course it hurt my heart to have to spend that much time listening to some jock-infested family from the Midwest, or somewhere, with two 20-something boys, the father and the mother, with the latter being the only one who wanted to see the exhibit, though she didn’t know why. Assuredly, the men were going on about the wait and the only thing the mother could say was, “Everyone says it’s something to see.” And worse, they were in front of me! But I guess, if some knuckleheads can see such beauty and imagination and leave with more inspiration and knowledge than they had before, then I can let that one slide.

I’ll leave you with a quote by McQueen: “I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.” I’m grateful he had that ability, as he gave the world a pure outpouring of all that he was, and it was truly beautiful.

To Beauty,

-KH

P.S. Check out a review of a Fall 2011 Alexander McQueen show from Paris Fashion Week that I did for Fashion Pulse Daily.

LES Cool

6 Dec

One of the things I love about New York is that you can snag a cool pic of someone just about anywhere. My friend, Sean John, of my fave Jamaican restaurant, Spur Tree Lounge, is the epitome of NYC cool, and somehow everyone just acquires that cool by proximity. His mom, Bridget Brown, Jamaica’s premier sandal designer, was just chillin on the sculpture bench outside the restaurant. I love the light, her laissez-faire attitude, and the fact that it doesn’t even seem like I’m there.

I Salute the Cool in All of You,

-KH

P.S. Yes, she’s wearing her own sandals.

In a New York Minute (which seems to be about a month or so)…

29 Nov

I feel like I’ve been up to a lot recently, so in the essence of time and inclusivity, I’m going to talk about a bunch of things at once (I promise there won’t be food in my mouth).

Patti Smith at Hunter College

For starters, I saw the legendary Patti Smith at my fabulous tertiary education institution, the one and only Hunter College. She read poetry, celebrated a 40-year stint performing with her companion guitarist, Lenny Kaye, put her daughter (accompanying on piano) on the spot, shared some experiences from 9/11, gave a political shout out to John Walker Lindh, gave everyone in the room 1° of separation from Bruce Springsteen, hocked a loogie on stage, and blanked on the lyrics to one of her biggest hits, all in the same night. It was, wait for it, legen-, wait some more, -dary. Patti also has a 9/11 art exhibit on display at Hunter College, until December 3. Run!

Patti Smith “9.11 Babelogue”
The Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery
Hunter College West Lobby
68th Street and Lex
Tuesday – Saturday, 1 – 6 pm
www.hunter.cuny.edu/art/galleries/current-and-upcoming-exhibitions
 

Shopping with Lois Samuels

I popped into BoConcept in SoHo the other day to support my favourite NYC-based Jamaican designer, Lois Samuels. The twelve of you reading this may remember I did an interview with her a while back…well, she is selling off those uniform basics samples like cigarettes in prison, and now she even has a home line

…and she brought some friends along for the ride. On hand were two standouts, Stella and Dot (top), courtesy of one of the jewelry line’s independent stylists, Lisa Tung, and Jane Wilson-Marquis, doing incredible couture bridal and evening wear.

Lois Samuels                             thevesselbylois.com
Lisa Tung, Stella and Dot      stelladot.com/sites/lisatung
Jane Wilson-Marquis Inc.     bridalgowns.net


Dinner at Koi

One of my good friends is second in command at Koi in the Bryant Park Hotel, and he feted me royally one night at the sushi bar. My only rule was no octopus (they have tentacles, man…TENTACLES!) and he served up tuna tartar, I think that may be a bit of pork belly in the Asian spoon, and shrimp in sesame rice cake, along with edamame and an eel roll. One word: sushiecstasy. It’s new. Look it up.

KOI New York
@ Bryant Park Hotel
40 West 40th Street
212.921.3330
koirestaurant.com/home_ny.html


Drinks at the Tippler

You want to know where Richard the Lionheart drinks when he’s in town? He goes to the Tippler. And that would be because he, like me, subscribes to Thrillist and hears about these awesome kinds of places as they open. Everything Thrillist said piqued my interest: dark and cavernous, incredible liquor melanges, a cheese plate that could launch a thousand ships, and weird vintage books for reading in all that dark and cavernous light. I had the Pearl Harbour Necklace – Finlandia vodka, house melon syrup, pineapple, and tapioca pearls. Any place that makes me feel like a naughty Barbara Bush is worth revisiting.

The Tippler
425 W 15th Street
New York, NY 10011
212.206.0000
thetippler.com
 
 

Lunch at Tarallucci e Vino

Ever since my friend Julie (who introduced me Spitzer’s and La Tartinerie) took me to Tarallucci e Vino on 18th St, and we had the chocolate something with the chocolate base and chocolate swirls and essence du chocolat on top, I’ve been a fan.  One of my absolute favourite things to do on a Sunday is to walk a gazillion blocks out of my way to sit with a book, nutella on brioche, and a pot of Earl Grey tea in the 1st ave bakery. One fine Sunday I had lunch. The salmon was like a Swedish wind rolling in off a fjord! The dish was bright, with acid and crunch, and the salmon was cooked to perfection. I’ve been watching a lot of Top Chef, just in case you can’t tell.

 
Tarallucci e Vino
163 1ST AVE
212.388.1190
info@taralluccievino.net

Fashion, Food, Freedom…whatever your passion…

Happy Following It!

-KH

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