Tuesday, February 25, 2020

My Stay on the Lower East Side

During my last trip to NYC (see my NYFW post here), I decided to switch up my normal routine. Typically, when I come to the city, I either stay near the shows in Soho, or just crash at a friend's on the Upper West Side. This time around, I found myself on the Lower East Side. I called The Ludlow Hotel home for the four nights, and it was cool change of pace. This neighborhood feels like such a melting pot- gritty narrow streets, mixed with upscale boutiques and restaurants. Previously, the only time I had come to this area was for late nights out with college friends, or when I would walk the Brooklyn Bridge. But staying in this area, definitely changed my point of view- in certain ways it reminded me so much of Silver Lake in Los Angeles. 
First off, if you have the opportunity- stay at the Ludlow. It was such a sweet escape whenever my friend Steph and I needed a break. The bathrooms are unreal- gold hardware, black and white subway tile, and a bright round bulbs around the mirror. I loved the dark wood details, and the views of Brooklyn. They also brought up clothing racks for me and my travel mate Steph to use, so we were able to unpack and not worry about ironing our garments. We ate the breakfast at their restaurant Dirty French, or popped over to Ludlow Coffee Supply for a quick caffeine fix. The commuting to the west side was not challenging at all, and the train uptown was so convenient. I look forward to more stays at the Ludlow
Quick list of eats and drinks and shopping (because I always get asked about food)
-Bar Primi. Old school with a trendy flair. Red leather booths, and plenty of people watching. Order the meatballs. 
-The Flower Shop. 70's inspired basement bar. I've been a few times for a cocktail with friends. 
-Pianos. Hipster bar for a more rowdy time. Everyone loves the frozen margaritas. 
-Ray's. Cool dive bar vibe. You might spot a celebrity here, but also is so laid back. Grab a beer and catch up with friends under a disco ball. 
Ramen Ishida- (Recommendation from Steph) Order at the counter, this is a classic ramen spot to warm up. Hopefully there isn't a line when you come. I ordered the classic Shio with chicken and edamame. 
Uncle Boons- This restaurant isn't exactly in the LES, but its close enough to walk to. Experimental Thai food, with the coolest interiors. Large plates you share with the table. 
Mother's Ruin- Where to catch up with friends over a beer. It's again not exactly on the Lower East Side, but close enough. Order the wings, and waffle fries! 
Assembly- The coolest boutique, with a mix of vintage and designer pieces. You will want to buy everything you see when you walk in, so beware.
Frankie Shop- Cool girl store of the moment. Mix of designers and their own label. Think minimalist style with majorly cool silhouettes and shapes. Their pieces are worth the investment, and hoping to add to my own closet this year.
Nikki Chasin- NYC based label that features playful textiles, and easy ready wear. I love the colorful palette, and feminine feel of the store. Always leave feeling inspired. 
I had the privilege of teaming up with luxury retailer Farfetch during my time at NYFW. I loaned a few pieces that made for the perfect rainy day look. This Rejina Pyo two tone trench was a chic layering piece on a day spent walking in the rain. I felt so put together with a cinched waist silhouette. This Ganni patent leather dress, I had been eye-ing for a months. I wanted to reference that stereotypical preppy Upper east side, with a bit of twist. Lastly, I loaned the dreamiest Chloé bag, which very much mirrored the rust colored brick buildings of the neighborhood. 
Since I am so familiar to NYC, it was refreshing to step out in a neighborhood that I didn't know much about. I always wonder where I would live in the city, and the LES might be my new favorite part of Manhattan to stay in. Next trip, I am hoping to get more quality time in Brooklyn. The last three trips I haven't even made it over there yet. 

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Monday, February 17, 2020

NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 Recap: Shows, Looks, Inspiration.

Once again this February, I (over) packed my suitcases and traveled to the east coast for NYFW. I don't know how many times I can say this, but it still feels like a 'pinch me moment'. Attending shows, loaning pieces from my dream designers, witnessing fashion artistry up close- it all doesn't feel real. Last season, I discussed and shared tips on going to fashion week as a micro-influencer (read here). This season, I am focusing more on the details that inspired me. From my looks, to shows, to street style. I also promise more, New York stories are coming soon to the blog. Finally will be working on my city guide this year, stay tuned. 
OUTFITS.
It's February in New York City. It's going to be cold. Last year it snowed two inches on my last day in the city, so I was preparing myself for the worst. We lucked out though, and the coldest nights were in the 20's. It's always a challenge negotiating staying warm, while feeling confident. This season, I tried my best to style my looks ahead of time. I had images, and textures and silhouettes, I really wanted to capture. Here are three of my favorites:

70's Rock Glam. So much of my styling inspiration comes from music. I've been listening to so much Rolling Stones, and Elton John and Electric Light Orchestra. I stumbled upon these striped Acne Studios pants, and felt like they embodied that swagger and attitude the music gave me. My Yuul Yie boots added the right dose of drama. I loved that this was a rock n' roll inspired look without having to be so dark. I wanted to avoid black as much as possible this fashion week. 

Flower Child. Yes, I would describe my style as 'vintage inspired' but I love blurring the lines between eras to find my own point of view. This look was a little 60's hippie meets 20's flapper girl. This Zimmerman dress was love at first sight. I wanted one look that was a bit more whimsical and flirty. Of course, the shoe I lived in during the week was my Musier Paris boots. They are already sold out, and I plan to get them resoled forever. This might of been my favorite look of fashion week, it felt the most me. 

Green Sheen: At the start of the my NYFW outfit planning, I knew I wanted a shiny green coat. I saw one on The Frankie Shop, but couldn't justify the purchase since I live in sunny LA. I was on the hunt and found a more affordable version on Topshop (And it looks HIGH quality in real life. I was so pleasantly surprised.) I love a statement coat during fashion week, because it can be the wow moment, while the rest of the look can stay classic. My favorite style version: Leather pants, chunky sweater, and lacquered boot.
DESIGNER MOMENTS. 
I have become a loyal follower of a few designers over the last few seasons. It feels special to not only support a designer one season, but to continue to see their collections evolve yet remain consistent season after season. Here are just a few of my takeaways-  

Neutral with a twist: Bevza will always be one of my top shows of the season. There is such a wearability to every look that comes down the runway. Through fabrics, and mixture of silhouettes, the garments capture a sense of ease yet womanly power unlike other designers. It's straightforward minimalism is not dull. Rather it emphasizes the female lens of its creations. The aesthetic embodies what women want their sex appeal to be. Silky barely there dresses. Structured sculptural outwear. Creamy hues with an electric pop of color. Bevza has staying power. I plan to invest in pieces from this collection this year. 

Back to School: Sandy Liang always pays homage to her roots. This season, her show took place at her own public high school in Battery Park. A string quartet added a youthful romance, as the models walked down the main stairway of the front lobby. I unfortunately (hello still micro influencer) didn't have a seat for this show, so I only captured video Even behind heads of people, I still was deeply moved by this show. The makeup was bright and fresh. Playful pinks, buttery leathers, wearable separates. I saw myself in this collection, and that's what makes Sandy Liang so special. You always feel included in her designs, and celebrated for your own spark of uniqueness. 

French Countryside Meets Haute Couture: There is so much anticipation going up the elevator to Chanel's official offices.  I always appreciate a presentation- it allows the time to truly take in a garment, and notice the technical intricacies that bring the piece together. Witnessing the artistry behind Chanel's Spring 2020 Couture collection left me stunned.Virginie Viard, gave us a glimpse into the childhood of Gabrielle 'Coco', pulling inspiration from the gardens and architecture of the French countryside convent of Aubazine. Stitching of the garments mirrored cobblestone floors, or shapes of stain glass windows. There was a charm behind the peter pan collars, sequin pastels, floppy ankle socks and crisp white linens. The finale bridal moment was so romantic yet understated- the perfect look for a civil ceremony look.

Red Moment: I had a new experience this season, by going backstage with Essie to see how the hair and makeup looks came together for the Brock Collection show. The hectic energy of backstage felt very much like my days in the theatre. I felt at home, with the rush of seeing all of the moving parts come together. Brock Collection, was a reminder that a red lip can be utilized in a non-conventional way. The final look on the runway included a thinly woven veil over each model's face. Through the fabric, the lips in a certain way grounded the look, and drew the viewer in. The lips very much contrasted the garments of the collection, which gave an exciting dichotomy between the hard and soft. 

Make a Statement: During my time in NYC, I make a point to visit PR teams that I typically don't get to see since. I stopped by the Haus Agency to see some coveted designers up close. Some to keep an eye out this year: Nicole Saldana for mega impact everyday boots. IMAGO-A for a rainbow collection of playful bags. The key lime colored shoulder bag is on my wish list. Copehenhagen designer HOSBJERG  giving me all the inspiration for my upcoming travels. I walked away with the cutest suit short set that is GREEN gingham. Lastly, greek designer Stefania Vaidani, is my designer to watch for LA girls. Wearable, playful pieces, that fit the endless summer attitude of the west coast. 
I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of my time at NYFW. I will be publishing a few more articles about my experience in the city. I learned so much this season, and walked away with a purposeful focus on my own work. I would love to dive deeper into fashion writing next season, and connect with designers that I am beginning to build relationships with. It is hard work, and this process comes with a lot of prep you don't see. Also I am grateful I got to travel with my dear friend Stephanie (@shhtephs). I tend to be a wildly independent person, but it is so much more fun getting to feel inspired with someone by my side. Thank you for following along, and I cannot wait until September.

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Love Notes to Los Angeles.

I tend to romanticize my life. Time often, feels so fleeting, and I don't want to miss the beauty of it all. Noticing the insignificant, in some ways, creates an overwhelming significance in the future.  When it comes to Los Angeles, I very much do the same. This city is home, and nothing makes me happier. I find people are quick to notice the flaws. The hours sitting in traffic. Superficial chatter at coffee shops. Shallow appearances. The smog. We all know the stereotypically list of complaints. (But I also believe, people romanticize their need to complain.) I have become curious as to why this city becomes so divisive. There is a stark divide, you either love it or hate. And yes, I may be biased, since I was raised in California, but there is no place like Los Angeles in the world. And that magic comes from finding the beauty even in the brutal. 
I will be the first to admit, Los Angeles, is not a city for the weak. It forces you to become unwavering- You need to know, who you, what you want, and how you're going to get there. If not?The endless days of permanent sunshine allows time to simply slip away. So even in the postcard picture perfect surroundings, I believe its a city that demands you to stay present. And if you don't, ride the wave to where ever that takes you. Which isn't necessarily a failure, nothing is good or bad here. 
I see small details now, whether walking in my neighborhood, or driving in my car. The warm heat, slows me down, opens me up. My eyes find beauty in the way the palms create shadows on a building, or the vibrant colors of a lemon tree. Somedays, on a quite weekend afternoon, I will drive my car up into the Silver Lake hills. Turning off Sunset, getting lost on the tiny winding streets. Camera in tow, music playing through the in windows. An effortless embodiment of freedom. There's often a misconception that one escapes out west. It's made to believe that it is easier to live on the Pacific coast. But that feels off to me- Los Angeles is a city for the people who don't want a life let off the hook. Thy want it all, feel the heart ache, and the wild joy, and experience every nuance and color with no judgement. There are combating contradictions with this city. One day you can be sunshine soaked, and hopelessly alive. Another brutally rejected and tossed away. But in the maddening experience of it all, that is where the heart of this places lies. The truth of Los Angeles:  its to ability to exist with both pain and freedom. 
Finders Keepers Sweater, Charles and Keith Boots, Zara Skirt, Le Specs Sunglasses, Vintage Prada purse via The Real Real. 
Photos by Miré Yang  


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