Brooklyn Fashion Weekend might have been rough around the edges, but it provided valuable exposure to the designers, models, and other industry people who otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to show. New York fashion can be an ocean with a lot of big fish, but Brooklyn Fashion Weekend made it into a much more manageable pond. (more…)
When I met chandelier designer Michael McHale for coffee one early and cold morning at La Colombe in Soho, one of the first questions out of my mouth was “How did you meet Tom Colicchio?” Mr. Colicchio features prominently as an endorser of Michael McHale designs; and, as a huge Top Chef fan myself, I had to know what brought the two together. The story, I learned, started as a brief online correspondence with Mr. Colicchio’s wife’s sister, which turned into a successful friendship between two very creative individuals.
As Michael McHale sees it, every luxury brand has a story behind it. Customers aren’t just buying the product, they are buying the individual history. For Michael McHale Designs, the story, like the product, is one of transition and reinvention, as he calls it “The re-purposed lighting of a re-purposed lawyer.” (more…)
Our Brooklyn Bike Diary begins where Java Street meets the East River
There is nothing quite like seeing New York City by bike. While speeding cars, potholes, and texting pedestrians seem to provide an insurmountable obstacle to a two-wheel world, it remains one of the most exhilarating ways to explore the city. As David Byrne explains in his book Bicycle Diaries, ” This point of view [from a bike]- faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person- became my panoramic window on much of the world over the last thirty years- and it still is. It’s a big window and it looks out on a mainly urban landscape.” This is our interpretation of a Brooklyn Bike Diary.
In this photoshoot we sought to capture some of the joie de vivre of exploring Brooklyn by bike, with a touch of vintage nostalgia. We journey from the East River in Greenpoint, down Franklin Avenue, and south to Grand Army Plaza. While cycling might not be the most orthodox of transports, it is certainly the most stylish.
What’s more fun than vintage shopping? It’s like a modern day treasure hunt for that perfect, one-of-a-kind piece, that just calls out “buy me”. But of course, you need to know where to look. Lucky for you, we’ve done our legwork at Untapped Cities and compiled a list of what we consider to be the best vintage spots in the city.
And when I say vintage, I don’t mean thrift shopping. Thrift shopping implies old Ann Taylor Loft jackets found at the bottom of a bargain bin. Vintage implies both age and quality, I don’t consider anything made after 1985 to really be “vintage”, no matter how much people tell me that “the 90s are back!” I have, however, chosen to include several consignment and resale shops that do often carry vintage pieces.
So read, enjoy, and most importantly, shop!
Amarcord/252 Lafayette Street/ The Soho branch of this vintage fashion house focuses on European designers such as Missoni, YSL, Mugler (you know, all the good ones). With super helpful staff and a nice open layout, it’s easy to spend hours browsing in this downtown spot. (Women and Menswear)
Edith Machinist/104 Rivington Street/ Walk down a couple steps and find yourself in vintage shoe heaven. Shoes, boots, and bags cover nearly every surface with their perfectly worn leather. The focus is definitely on the accessories, but be sure to check out the clothes too, I’ve bought some great pieces here. (Womenswear)
Narnia Vintage/161 Rivington Street/ I always find something I love in this tiny store on Rivington. Their look tends toward the urban nomadic feel with lots of supple leathers, fringe, and chevron patterns. Featuring a killer mix of consignment and vintage pieces, it’s hard to leave this place empty handed. (Womenswear)
Ritual Vintage/ 377 Broome St/ If you’re looking for truly vintage pieces, from the 1910s-1940s, this is the place to come. Best of all, the pieces are all still wearable and in good condition. There’s also a selection of newer designer pieces, but the strength really lies in the older stuff. (Womenswear)
What goes Around Comes Around/ 351 West Broadway/ One of the pricier vintage stores you will find, but expect that extra cash to buy unforgettable pieces and excellent service. It’s like the buyers know how to buy the perfect example of every vintage piece- the perfect denim jacket, the perfect sweater, the perfect gauzy dress. Definitely ask the shopgirls about lower priced pieces, because they are still pretty awesome even if they don’t carry a designer tag. (Women and Menswear)
Amarcord/ 223 Bedford Avenue/ The Williamsburg branch of Amarcord is like the Soho store’s little sister; the clothes tend to be less mature, a little funkier, and definitely cheaper. (Women and Menswear)
Beacons Closet/88 N. 11th street/ If patience isn’t one of your virtues, don’t go here (To add fuel to the fire, whoever controls the music is obviously a sadist because they play the absolute worst bands I’ve ever heard). BUT if you can make it through that, this massive warehouse of used clothing is an absolute treasure trove of vintage and designer finds on the cheap. (Women and Menswear)
Beacon’s massive warehouse in Williamsburg/ Photo by Scott Irvine
Narnia Vintage/ 672 Driggs Ave/ This branch of the Manhattan vintage house rivals the original store in selection and quality, just be sure to be on the lookout for the shop, the sign is a little too subtle. (Womenswear)
Le Grand Strip/ 197 Grand Street/ What I truly appreciate about the owner’s taste is that she embraces all that is fun, feminine, and sexy. The clothes that she selects really work on a woman’s body, especially for those trying to impress a gentleman. (Womenswear)
10ft Single by Stella Dallas/285 N. 6th St./ This store is an excellent combination of thrift and vintage. The front end is devoted to clothes from the 1980s on, at prices that are every hipster’s dream. But be sure to wander into the back room that holds the real vintage pieces. The only bummer about this shop is the total lack of customer service. (Women and Menswear)
1 of a Find/ 633 Vanderbilt Avenue/ Whether it is 1940s Hawaiian shirts or 1930s art deco gowns this store has got what you are looking for. The best part is the excellently merchandized jewelry and accessories that will make you feel like you’re in a candy store. (Women and Menswear)
A fraction of 1 of a Find’s collection/ Photo by Donna Alberico for the NY Times
Odd Twin/ 164 5th Avenue/ My favorite thing about Odd Twin is the owner, Francesca’s, adorable little baby girl. But my second favorite thing is the excellent selection of clothing from the 1940s-1980s. This store focuses much more on periods than designers, which translates into high quality at reasonable prices. (Women and Menswear)
Eva Gentry Consignment/ 371 Atlantic Avenue/ This shop brags that it has designer and vintage consignment from Alaia to Zero Maria Cornejo. Best of all, this claim is true. Using a combination of consignment and hand-me downs from its sister store, the high end shop, Eva Gentry, this shop has a great selection of designer goods at a reasonable prices. (Womenswear)
Guvnor’s Vintage/178 Fifth Avenue/ Just half a block from Odd Twin is another Park Slope vintage stop. I recommend wandering into the back where the party dresses are, they tend to be higher quality than the more casual wear in front. (Women and Menswear)
Riding the subway is an experience of alternately judging people and ignoring them by playing phone games. Looking at Walker Evans’ subway portraits, not much has changed. It is somehow reassuring to know that even in the 1930s, New Yorkers were still annoyed by the general presence of pretty much everyone else. What is different, however, is the general proliferation of fur. And hats. Lots of hats.
After documenting depression-era rural America in the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Walker Evans turned his attention to city life and New York was the obvious choice. Over a period of three years, between 1938- 1941, Evans took photographs of fellow subway riders with a camera hidden in his coat. Despite the surreptitious hiding place, many of the subjects seem to stare directly into the lens as if they are totally aware that they are becoming subject matter (which says something about the intensity of a subway stare).
For a more refined interpretation of Walker Evans photographs, I turn to James Agee, who wrote the introduction to Evans’ book on the images, Many Are Called. He writes,
Those who use the New York subways are several millions…They are members of every race and nation of the earth. They are of all ages, of all temperaments, of all classes, of almost every imaginable occupation. Each is incorporate in such an intense and various concentration of human beings as the world has never known before. Each, also, is an individual existence, as matchless as a thumbprint or a snowflake. Each wears garments which of themselves are exquisitely subtle uniforms and badges of their being. Each carries in the postures of his body, in his hands, in his face, in the eyes, the signatures of a time and a place in the world upon a creature for whom the name immortal soul is one mild and vulgar metaphor.
I’ve seen many people on the subway to whom I might apply the term “vulgar metaphor”, and I laude Agee for finally giving me a vocabulary to do so. But like it or not, we somehow put up with each other- even if it is only in the name of going from Point A to Point B.
When producers decided to update the movie The Thomas Crowne Affair, the first change made was to move the action from Boston to New York, and to relocate the heist from a bank to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. While the city of Boston was simply background noise in the first film, suddenly New York was front and center, and the Museum itself was a third character. (Discerning readers will know it was actually filmed inside the New York Public Library and on a soundstage, with artists hired to make the set authentically “The Met”.)
The films, despite their differences, are both about surveillance- she watches him, he watches her watch him. Both films boil down to the same plot–Thomas Crowne, a wealthy business man, pulls off a stunning robbery out of boredom. A beautiful insurance investigator begins to build a case against him, following him, photographing him–yet all the while falling in love with him.
Of course the original film had one thing (or two things as the case may be) that the follow up didn’t have–Faye Dunnaway and Steve McQueen. His blue eyes and her upswept buns make for a chemistry that can never be replicated. Both of them are incredibly put together and stylish in that Mid-Century fashion that is incredibly sexy. So for this photoshoot, we decided to take the new with the old and borrow from the best of both worlds. We take Faye and leave Boston. We see her likeness through his eyes. Him watching her watching him.
And we take the Met, that mysterious place where different times and places come together under one monumental roof. The American Wing, Temple of Dundar, and Greek and Roman galleries provide a particularly dramatic background to the unfolding drama. But flirtation through surveillance is a dangerous game and you will just have to wait for the sequel to find out the ending.