Thursday, July 29, 2010

New York through Japanese Eyes

Facial Index New York is a Japanese optical shop that produces very well-made, modern, quietly iconic eyewear. Don't get me wrong, I adore my iconic eyewear of the yesteryears, but after hopping around from one classic "iconic" brand to another (Ray-Bans, then Oakley Frogskins, then Persols, then Moscots), I need something to cleanse the palate. I chanced upon the cool, stone-clad Facial Index boutique in SoHo a few New York trips back and kept them top-of-mind for the time I'd be on the market for new spectacles. Now that I'm in the city and in need of a new pair of sunglasses to replace my over-worn and over-exposed Ray-Ban Wayfarers, I think I might just bite the bullet and purchase a pair of Facial Indices.

I've got my eyes set on this pair of milky green-gray frames, but don't know what tinted lenses to place on them. Any suggestions?

The claim on their website that their eyewear "provokes thought and progressively changes the wearer's outlook, which evolves into a fashion icon" might be a slightly funny tall order, but all I can vouch for is that they make glasses of exceptional quality.

the workroom at Kaneko Optical, Facial Index's parent company in Japan (photo from Kaneko Optical)

A couple more options:

They might have had their moment in the early 2000s, but I am seriously considering gradient lenses.

This black+crystal pair looks really sharp, but might look best with clear lenses.

A few more nights of pondering and I might just be seeing New York through my new Japanese second eyes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

(Capsule) Part II: Drapery, Diaphany, and more

So there isn't such a word as "diaphany" but please afford me the poetic license, "diaphanousness" is not a word graceful enough to describe the beauties that caught my eye and (at least temporarily) steered my aesthetic towards the soft and the sheer and the flowy head-on.

NYC-based Rochambeau takes the concept of of drapery to another level with interesting shapes and unusual fabrics.

Who would have thought an odd-fitting jacket in peach, of all colors, could look this interesting?

The same jacket in black. I believe that one could never have too many black "easy" jackets.

gold threads accentuate this jacket with an attached scarf

orange layered t-shirt in recycled mesh

(close-up) All these sumptuous hues might convert me back into a color-wearer!

slouchy shorts in gold lame

Blogosphere sensation Stolen Girlfriends Club offers pieces that would appeal to both the surf/skate/rock crowd (pardon me for lumping you guys up all together, but you know what I mean) and the experimental, Fashion set.

short-sleeved shirts with sheer organza sleeves and shoulder panels in black

and in white

slouchy double-shorts

unisex jewelry

And lastly, Assembly New York, my newest favoritest shop in New York City, showed quite a formidable new collection. My favorite would have to be their take on the classic trench coat, done in two layers of shirting fabric, with a softer, more drapey cut and minimal detailing.

The designer himself, Greg Armas, was kind enough to model the Assembly New York trench for us.

One of the magical things about living in New York would have to be the access you get to sample sales and the treasures you unearth in these fleeting events. I got my fill of my obsession du jour Assembly at the very recent Assembly New York sample sale. Among the loot are an extremely photogenic salt-and-pepper tweed jacket, and the long black cashmere coat I will be living in this fall/early winter. Photos to come!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dandy Does (Capsule)

I spent this morning at (Capsule), a fashion trade show that showcases high-end contemporary brands, up-and-coming indie designers, and premium street wear labels. It's for buyers (people with boutiques or those who work for bigger retailers like Barney's etc. looking for pretty things to fill their stores with), the press, and myself, the lone, slightly lost blogger who had failed to bring his stack of business cards, hastily scribbling his Yahoo! e-mail address each time he was asked for contact information. It was a delightful experience nonetheless, shedding light on labels I had previously not known of, deepening my relationship with current loves, and causing me to reconsider brands that I had already marked with a big X when going through the list of over 150 and making a game plan for this morning's exploration. I intend to go more in-depth on those designers I've fallen head over heels with in future posts, but here's an amuse bouche of pieces that had caught my eye at the trade show today.

Henrik Vibskov laptop bags, which I would carry as portfolios:

one covered in wooden beads

and another made out of raggedy quilts.

Rainbow Ikat-print shorts from Japanese-designed but US-based Monitaly

outlined clear-framed sunglasses by Phosphorescence

and a couple of their collaboration lines:
with Erin Wasson and Opening Ceremony, respectively

the most handsome colorful suede belt bags (yes, fanny packs!) by Master-piece of Japan

and a backpack in a folksy-knit trompe l'oeil print, also by Master-piece

a map-print shirt by Highland with pajama detailing

a showstopper: Duckie Brown for Florsheim brogues in metallic orange

ridged suede Duckie Brown x Florsheim cap-toed shoes - I like how the ridged suede is reminiscent of lightweight corduroy.

buck shoes in sherbet hues

More to come in the following posts, folks! What have been your favorites so far?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Talented Turk

Between attempting to scrub clean my filthy sublet apartment, then finding someone to professionally clean the space, to finishing it off myself with a vat and a half of deodorizers and disinfectants, my move to New York has put me on such a fashion lag that it is only today that I had been able to view and fully appreciate the wonder that is Umit Benan's Spring 2011 collection.

a snapshot of Umit Benan's Spring 2011 presentation in Milan

With this collection, the designer seeks to delve into the question "What is a man?" by experimenting with loose silhouettes all inspired by Turkish clothing. While the looks are markedly stylish, Benan says that if a man wandered into a Turkish village in these clothes, he wouldn't stand out. The result is something modern, yet clearly Eastern-inspired, and surprisingly flattering on not the most perfect of body types. My top picks:

I can definitely see this slouchy shawl/cowl lapel jacket being a wardrobe favorite of mine. I love how relaxed the lapel is in contrast with the rest of the finely-tailored jacket.

The three-piece drop-crotch navy suit, worn separately, or all together for full effect.

I'm quite impressed with his choice of model and am amused at how a man with both a gut and an unmistakable masculine presence that pierces through the computer screen can look good in droopy, dandy clothes. A couple more photos from the Milanese presentation, an affair that appears to have been as relaxed as the clothing being showcased:

note the kaftans and shawls and how they work seamlessly with the newsboy caps

the designer Umit Benan (in navy), with his models

photos via Dazed Digital

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Perfect Pleated Pants

I have been working with my tailor in developing the perfect pair of pleated pants and I am proud to say that after going back and forth and trying and failing, we’ve collaborated on a really good product. So many things can go wrong with a pair of pleated pants; don’t get me started with the horrors available in the market today. The ones that go up too high make you look like a septuagenarian, the ones are too loose on the hips/buttocks make you look like an infant in diapers, and the ones made of too heavy a fabric make you look, well, too heavy. I opted for a light, yet structured fine wool in black, had two sharp pleats placed on each leg, had it done mid-rise and relatively slim throughout, tapering smoothly down to a slightly cropped hem.

Barba shirt, Hermes belt, watch from the MoMa store in Tokyo, turquoise ring from Manila, tailor-made pleated pants, vintage shoes

close-up of my tailor’s razor-sharp pleating

On a side note, I have been over-wearing this printed jersey polo from Filipino designer Vittorio Barba for the last few weeks. It’s breezy and comfortable, yet looks polished with the button-down collar, and I like how the drape of the jersey contrasts with the structured trousers. Designers, please make more loose jersey polos.

For something so basic as a pair of pleated pants, it’s almost ridiculous how much attention to detail is required to make it right. It must be a menswear thing, eh? Props and cheers and kudos to my tailor for putting up with me.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I wish for lizard

I'm blogging about this in the sincerest hopes that the stars align in my favor and this beauty below lands on my wrist, eventually.

Hermes Kelly Dog cuff in ombre lizard and gold hardware

From past experience, when I do blog about something I really really want, it usually comes to me, albeit two years late. The Hermes Kelly Dog bracelet is the ubiquitous Collier de Chien's quieter cousin, and in the gray ombre lizard + gold hardware, it's neutral yet it exudes a lot of character.

I walked out of Hermes, mesmerized by the ringlets on the skin.

Photos above taken with an iPhone camera and livened up with a bit of iPhoto. Not bad eh?

In need of a jewelry gift idea? Check out the diamond necklaces here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Style and the Man

In the art of dressing up, just like in any other art, it is essential to have a grasp of the classics before one can venture into more kooky, individualistic style. An art student has to master the masters: their techniques, their thought processes, the rules they went by, before he can become his own man by building upon these techniques, or by simply breaking the rules altogether. Alan Flusser's "Style and the Man", now re-packaged and updated, is a compendium on matters of sartorialism that speaks to the everyman in a dignified, gentlemanly manner.

the new "Style and the Man" by Alan Flusser

It educates the reader on proportion, something that not too many have a keen sense of:

"Shoulders cut too narrow make the head appear larger than it is." An example of breaking the rules and moving forward: wear a jacket with shoulders too narrow to adopt fashion's recent fondness for a slightly smaller-bodied, bigger-headed juvenile silhouette.

and on shape:

"Straight point collars offset facial rotundity."

What I found most useful were the pointers on signs of quality in a garment:

for example, a horizontal buttonhole on the sleeve placket, or matching patterns on the yoke and sleeve of an expensive dress shirt.

Monday, July 5, 2010

gilded gold stars

Nothing complements a shirt pin-dotted with tiny star shapes better than a bib of shiny gold stars.

secondhand necklace, H&M shirt, J. Crew belt, Zara pleated pants, H&M shoes

These gold-embroidered velvet slippers have been my go-to shoes for quite a while now. I need more of them in my life.

Yesterday was my first 4th of July in the US. On a nice summer evening, rooftops with a view can make any brewed beverage or grilled food item taste ten times better. Stars and stripes! Happy America Day!

fireworks on the Hudson River

And another star stamp on my giddy kindergarten-boy hand, a feature on the website of ASOS, one of the biggest British online retailers:

Clicking on "Shop The Look" takes you to pages and pages of ASOS items chosen inspired by my look, which, in my opinion, was just as fascinating as being part of the feature. ASOS now ships to the US for a flat rate of $6 for standard shipping an $14 for express. I know I just recently took advantage of that; talk about buying from your own "Shop The Look" section!

Many, many thanks to ASOS and Steve for making me a part of this.

photos via Tony Shi and ASOS

Friday, July 2, 2010

screaming softness

I know I have a taste for the dressed-up and exuberant, but reality is, I don't roam fashion-indifferent Boston everyday in full fashion week regalia. Most days, I like to wear quality basics: spare, look-at-the-person instead of look-at-the-outfit clothes that are comfortable, but classy. The only thing screaming in my getup would be the incredible softness of the fabrics I'm wearing. (And maybe the forty carats of plastic on my pointer finger!) I was pleased to find three additions to my daily rotations in the mail, and was very impressed that they were from the Gap!

gray double-layered sleeveless t-shirt, blue "best crewneck", and burnout deep v-neck t in cast iron, all from the Gap

The two grays are made out of the au courant supersoft sheer jersey, quite reminiscent of the T by Alexander Wang line. The detailing is quite interesting, too. I'm very fond of the curved hems and the contrast white stitching. The Gap, really! Who would have thought?

close-up of the sheer burnout t

All these and more available at

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