Friday, December 30, 2011

The Leather Blazer

The leather blazer gets a bad rap. I've never really seen a leather blazer that is to my taste; often they're unflatteringly cut, poorly made, and just plain unimaginative. But my Hisham Oumlil blazer in the butteriest burgundy lambskin, cut sharp but still swingy, half-zipped and vaguely detailed like a perfecto, is an impeccable rendition of the infamous jacket.

Number Nine sunglasses, leather blazer c/o Oumlil, Brook & Lyn harness, DIY-overdyed Alexander Wang top, sifr band pants, Number Nine shoes

Brook & Lyn's silk rope and Brazilian agate harness is deceptively wearable. Not wearable for me are clothes in olive green and brown, the colors that my top and trousers originally came in. Both natural/synthetic blends, I dyed them in both Jacquard iDye and iDye poly, both in black, and they're now in my daily rotation.

ring of my own design, Cartier Chronoscaph 21 watch

photographs by Mikee Tuason

Monday, December 26, 2011

Scarlet Sneaks

Ever the dress-shoe-as-sneakers person, I thought I'd turn the tables this holiday season and wear something colorful, skater-esque, and decidedly casual on Christmas day. I dug up a pair of Vans Old Skools in bright red, from the old old days when I was still in college. It was inevitable---the LN-CC look book, Pelayo Diaz, and that dashing Japanese gentleman walking around the Lower East Side in head-to-toe boiled black wool Comme des Garçons and Batali-esque orange Chucks---capping off a quirky "fashion" outfit with casual, classic sneakers was something I had to try out myself.

Comme des Garçons jacket, Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garçons sequined batik and silk shirt, Uniqlo pants, red Vans Old Skool sneakers

I thought my new vintage lion-man head pin was very Philip Crangi.

my scarlet sneakers on Ivy's cow rug

photographs by Mikee Tuason

Monday, December 19, 2011

La Maison Kirzhner

Saturday evening was the annual holiday party at the home of my friends Ivy Kirzhner, shoe designer, photographer, and all-around creative soul, and her husband Alex, Grammy-nominated art director and superchef, whose skills as a hosting-with-the-most team I could only aspire to slowly learn. Soon, perhaps, and it'll be cemented on the day I could afford to build a dwelling place as beautiful and as indicative of my personal style as this is of theirs. Walking into their abode, decorated for the festivities in Ivy's splendid maximalism---tapestry, taxidermy, and pelt---was bit-by-bit creatively inspiring.

Their tree was decorated with bird wings,

and little storybook rabbits.

Ivy's Giambattista Valli patent leather slippers

and "Alexey Romanovich, Il Re della Cucina"

welcome you to the holidays at La Maison Kirzhner.

Here's what my eyes and lips feasted on:

a partitioned head, a colorful bird atop an old typewriter, bug specimens

a vintage Polaroid Land Camera

red velvet mini cupcakes

Turkish "cotton candy" and Turkish delight (note to self: layering bought desserts could be more interesting than serving them in sections on a platter)

Ivy's easy holiday cocktails: Prosecco with a splash of St-Germain, and the Orient Express: sweet tea, cranberry juice, and rose water

I wanted to be both dark and festive for the holidays, and perhaps a little bit naughty. I wore:

a Thom Browne for Black Fleece tuxedo jacket, a Uniqlo black oxford button-down, and a Brook & Lyn silk rope and Brazilian agate harness. (photo by Bob Shimosato)

a sparse but storied wrist party on Citizen Couture's Jason Jean: the most charming plastic bracelet inscribed with the words "What This Says Does Not Matter" from a gum ball machine at Art Basel, and a string bracelet he got conned into purchasing from a street-roamer in Milan

the Kirzhner's bundle of joy: a bunny named Bonkers

whose likeness you'll find punched into their party favors

In a city where event invites flood both your e-mail and Facebook inboxes, where time is of the essence, and orchestrating a thirty-minute coffee date feels like pulling teeth---sweet, intimate dinner parties where you can sit and converse and view your friends in sufficient light are such rare, rare gems. Ivy, Alex, and Bonkers, thanks for the wonderful evening, and to you, my dear readers, happy, happy holidaze.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Revisiting Boston

Back in Boston for three days, I thought I'd revisit old stomping grounds and old sartorial habits. When the temperature drops to the thirties, Fauxji Yamamoto is my go-to look. A long oversize black coat eliminates the need for long johns, cleanly cloaks away the awkwardness of carelessly piled-upon layers, and hides a multitude of dietary sins.

Illesteva sunglasses, oversized vintage Pierre Cardin coat, vintage turtle pin, Club Monaco cashmere sweater, Portolano leather gloves, Uniqlo pants, Dr. Martens pony hair oxfords

the coat, the turtle pin, and the leather gloves

Dr. Martens pony hair oxfords

Christmas tree at the Commons

Harvard Square

late afternoon tea at Upstairs on the Square

a nightcap of decaffeinated cappuccino, but wait--

a quick stop at Middlesex Lounge, the old stomping grounds

(the comfort of) driving around MIT

Koreana in Cambridge ranks among the top five of my favorite restaurants in the United States.

Koreana's seafood and scallion pancakes

prime rib galbi with a halo of little side dishes called banchan

and it is finished.

the walk to the Bolt Bus back to NYC

first three photographs by Mia

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tech Tux

I'm at my uncle's in Boston for a quick holiday---the one who lives at the Ritz, acts more like a Gen-Yer than a baby boomer, flies to China for medical missions, the one who happens to have a pair of unworn Prada shoes in my size to be freely given away to his most favorite of nephews.

Prada patent leather lace-ups

I was hesitant at first; where was I to wear a pair of rubber-soled, pointy-toed black-tie shoes? But there was something about everything being so not of-the-moment: the patent, the pointy toe, the Prada Linea Rossa stripe at the bottom that made it so refreshing. It's the pair of shoes I'd wear with a hyper-heat-generating tuxedo or a tux made out of Tyvek.

In the late 90s, these brand badges were my holy grail when the red Prada Sport stripes crept a good centimeter and a half up the back of the heel. As tiny dashes today, I could learn to live with them, and even love them.

with my overused and much-loved Prada saffiano and nylon travel bag

What are your new shoe acquisitions?

Afternoon at Atelier Oumlil

I paid a visit to Hisham Oumlil's studio last weekend and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Oumlil, who had started his line in the fall of 2006, had been relatively under the radar since, with the business being mostly made-to-measure. Notable among his private clientele is the legendary Andre Balasz, owner of the Standard Hotels. The designer had been doing ready-to-wear for a few seasons now, and though the clothes didn't exactly make love to me through the lookbook photos, seeing and feeling how well-made the pieces were and hearing Hisham's passionate and inventive thoughts on menswear made the brisk Saturday showroom visit all worthwhile.

the most glorious swingy Oumlil zip-up leather blazer in burgundy-prune: a shade of maroon with touches of brown and an ever so subtle hint of purple

A signature of Oumlil's is this hand-pleated silk blend fabric, here used as a highlighting touch on the back panel of a jacket.

Oumlil is especially fascinated with the shape of the back of a man's jacket, and curve by which his jackets hug the back is just exceptional.

He uses the same pleats on a pair of powder blue shorts, perfect with a white button-down, or a diaphanous white t-shirt, espadrilles by Hermés---on the Riviera (!), a fruity drink, and a new blue Rolex Submariner won just last night at the Monte Carlo.

The pleats lend a vaguely military vibe to a jacket in bluish gray wool.

cap-toes in denim and leather


Oumlil is very passionate about the work he does; he does all the sketches and is very heavily involved in pattern making and finishing. Here the designer explains the many layers of linen canvas that go inside a jacket, and how these can be lessened or added to according to the climate in the area where the client intends to wear the jacket.

doodles: ideas for collars, gloves, jackets, and even womenswear

Oumlil's official site

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tinsel and Tourneau

New Year's Eve dinner, two years ago, my sister decides to send sound waves crashing with my brain waves as she blows a horn in my ear. My brother, of course, has the quick wit to pull up his camera and take a snapshot of that moment at its peak. (Zara shirt, tailor-made suit, Husam El-Odeh pin)

Famed New York watch retail institution Tourneau invites you, my dear readers, to share a photo that captures your most festive holiday moment for a chance to win the Tourneau 40mm GMT Automatic watch.

Tourneau 40mm GMT Automatic: I don't own a lot of watches of the sporty vein, but this one calls to me the more I look at it---the silver dial, the 24-hour scale on the rim, the wide, digital-esque arabic numerals, all flanked by the black barenia calf strap---I see a quietly luxurious, smart-sporty watch that I need in my life. I've got a hunch that a smart move would be to start leafing through your old Facebook albums and upload your festive holiday moment now:

watch photograph courtesy of Tourneau

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