Friday, August 27, 2010

Craving for Crangi

I have known about Philip Crangi the jewelry designer for quite some time now, but it was only recently that I had been introduced to his diffusion line Giles and Brother, which he designs with his brother Giles Crangi. My friend Lauren was wearing what seemed like a stylized version of a Margiela nail bracelet (the skinny railroad spike cuff in brass) and I just had to learn more about where it was from.

The designer Philip Crangi: quite a stylish man himself! (photo by Tommy Ton)

The line is inspired by everything from classic estate jewelry to the textiles of Africa and beyond. Using mostly brass and sterling silver, Giles and Philip create jewelry pieces that are slightly Margielic (with their "repurposing" of railroad spikes, safety pins, and nuts and bolts as jewelry), but evoke that handsome, rustic Americana that is all their own.

Giles and Brother nut and bolt cuff in brass

In an interview, designer Philip Crangi remarks, "Jewelry can function on all these different levels... Often it functions as a talisman, a memento, an heirloom." The repurposing of common items is very much up my alley; and the rough, gritty charm would serve as the perfect souvenir of the few months I spent living on the Lower East Side.

In solid sterling silver and brass, the Pied-de-Biche (literally "doe's feet") cuff is a splurge, but is quite breathtaking.

Their free custom engraving might just be the thing to seal the deal for me, I'm very tempted to have my lesser-known but appropriately archaic-sounding first name etched on to the cuff I purchase.

With the etching in an almost crude, pastoral style, it isn't so much reminiscent of the flashy ID bracelets of the nineties as it would be evocative of inscriptions on the hardware on your favorite horse.

Iconic and simple (and the most handsomely priced!), the brass railroad cuff shown below might just be the one for me:

Right now I'm off to the shop to try on my picks. Until then!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paco in Paris

My relationship with color has been turbulent, to say the least. From having a self-imposed requirement in college not to step out of the house in an outfit consisting of less than three colors (neutrals not included!), I have been turned by noir-loving New York into a staunch patron of non-color; inky dark blue is already a stretch for me. Color and I are taking time off to reassess; lest we get a divorce due to irreconcilable differences.

But nothing causes me to rethink my renouncement of color like a good print. Enter Paco Park, a duo of Paris-based Filipino-Australian designers launching their capsule collection of a handful of unisex jackets produced in limited run. Prints are great; running into two other guys on the street in the same tribal-print Zara shirt, not so great.

my favorite jacket of the collection, in green and cream, which I have been embracing more and more in lieu of the staple white

Paco Park's Marianne and Carmela Diaz eschewed a lookbook in favor of a charming little Tumblr site filled with photos they took of lads and lasses around Paris wearing their clothes.

See more of their lo-fi lovely photographs on Paco Park.

Paco Park is available at Losing Today (14 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, France).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The New Creepers ++

Not exactly new but new to me, these creepers are runway samples from Number (N)ine's 2003 collection, which prove surprisingly relevant today. Takahiro Miyashita took the punk rock staple, molded it into a timeless silhouette, and impeccably executed it in beige suede and dark gray leather trim.

Number (N)ine monk-strap creepers in beige suede

The details are both rock-and-roll and luxe:

the iconic weaving on the vamp done quite sharply

brogue-esque perforation around the footbed

Going along the same lines of Hot-Topic-haute, here is a piece of jewelry that has remained glued on to my wrist for the past 72 hours now:

Number (N)ine "thorns" bracelet in oxidized 925 silver

The box says the patterns etched on the bangle are thorns, but to me they are reminiscent of the scars you would typically see on Frankenstein's face, making them all the more charming.

I adore its simplicity. After a few months' flirtation with rings the size of my hand and other vulgar accessories, it feels refreshing to be wearing such a simple, quality piece. Oftentimes, it's the most subtly clever pieces of jewelry that serve you the longest.

It's a shame I never really got into Miyashita's work for Number (N)ine until the label went defunct. Watching the video of his last collection (Fall 2009-2010) inspired by the idea of trashing a hotel room, I couldn't help but feel a mild sense of longing.

Number (N)ine FW09 Paris
Uploaded by Helsinkini. - Independent web videos.

Thank heavens I have these souvenirs I could stare at and wear to mitigate the pain.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Late-summer Jacket

Summer is coming to an end, albeit hesitantly, and it is becoming increasingly tolerable to wear more than one layer out on the streets. Having moved from a tropical island to a temperate country with a rainbow of climates, I have learned that for these in-between seasons, I must find in-between solutions that keep me comfortable and dressed appropriately for the weather. Nothing serves that function as well as my purchase for the season: this Assembly New York double-collar washed linen jacket with extendable knit cuffs:

crumpled daisies, double-collars, and a heart on my lapel

I love the organic shape created by the washed linen, and the seemingly buttonless look created with the use of fabric-covered snap buttons. For nippier summer nights, the knit cuffs are super-long and serve very well to cover my hands very sensitive to changes in temperature.

Assembly New York jacket, Old Hollywood heart pin, Junya Watanabe x Comme des Garcons shirt, Paul Smith belt, tailor-made pleated pants, vintage shoes

Texture play. Semi-stiff crumpled cotton shirt, miniature studs on thick leather, washed linen, and knit.

Photos today courtesy of my office buddy Lisa Mettier, who, by the power of her native American talismans, magically grew a full mane of curly black hair in just one week:

Native American blanket from a flea market in Manhattan, Ann Demeulemeester purse (worn as necklace), Cheap Monday shirt, vintage leather shorts, boots from IF New York, limited edition Kostume bag

Lisa is one of the brilliant minds behind Kostume: a fashion show in Zurich, Switzerland, created in an effort to discover new talent from all over the world. Send over your contact details and lookbooks to if you wish to participate in this project. The third Kostume is in November, watch out for it!

Details. Her DIY knotted bracelet that I need on my wrist, and the furniture-like support frames that hold up the wooden heels on the boots.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

DIY: The Matchbox Car Bracelet (That Transforms into a Necklace!)

I was once again bitten by the DIY bug a few weekends ago and decided to make a bracelet out of die-cast matchbox cars.

my loot from the toy store I had not visited in years

I wish I could claim full ownership of the idea, but it belongs to this one lovely lady shot by Dam Style, which is, coincidentally, owned by the authors of that Fashion Blog book. Hers was colorful; I, on the other hand, decided to infuse my love for non-color into this piece:

One white car in a sea of black: When I was growing up, my father had a fondness for white automobiles. While all the neighbors went through their lipstick red car and nasty golden-beige car phases, we were always the family with the white car. Now, living in downtown New York where guys's wrists are commonly decked in leather jewelry and vintage Casio timepieces, I'm the guy with the toy cars strung around his wrist.

Here's how I made it:

Using a pair of pliers, I forcibly pried the wheels and axles off the cars to get them ready to be strung together.

I then threaded them with clear elastic beading cord (available at any crafts/jewelry supplies store), knotted the ends together, and brushed the knots with clear nail polish to seal them.

And here it is worn, the lone white car becoming the focal jewel of the piece.

It is quite a beauty, but I'll be honest and say that this bracelet is not the most wearable of DIY pieces, the heavy metal combined with the embossed plastic bottoms making for quite an uncomfortable wearing experience.

What it is, however, is easy to put together and dismantle, so, for dinner that night, I elected to break the cord and string three of the cars through black cotton rope and turn it into a necklace:

The combination of coloring-book elephants and toy cars made for an outfit that reeked of a longing for boyhood.

DIY matchbox necklace, Paul Smith shirt, Topman belt, Cheap Monday jeans, vintage lace-ups

I always say the best pieces of jewelry are made out of common household items. Those you can break apart and put back together, even better!

EDIT: The original idea for the matchbox car comes from Alter Ego by Erika Walton. Check out their site and their Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Manhattan Miscellany

A salad of snapshots of my summer in the city of New York so far:

the East Village approaching sunset

noisy signs in suprisingly large Chinatown

savory cumin lamb and hand-pulled noodles in soup from Xi'an Famous Foods

chairs stacked, waiting for SoHo Park to open

veggie burger and fries at SoHo Park

my NY summer wardrobe favorites: vintage silk t-shirt and DIY barb-wire necklace made out of trimmings from M&J

for an unexpected shock of red and a precious reminder of the nineties: the indestructible Casio G-Shock

Lisa Mettier sports the most adorable Lauren Ezersky-eque gray streak.

Photograph taken by me, proudly. (Details here.) The truck with the tube was a totally intentional contrapuntal touch.

I love that though her style isn't typically menswear-inspired, fellows can be inspired by certain elements in her outfit.

It's all in the details: a gold binder clip attached to a bag strap (note to self: find one, use as fastener for those drapey cardigans and buttonless jackets), cardigan with cut-out armpits by Vivienne Westwood.

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