Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

Ariana Rebello is fashion journalist based in New York City. As a first-generation American of Indian descent, she has been motivated to encourage South Asian representation in fashion. She currently produces her own fashion talk show, I Don’t Have Style Either, on NY2C, a video guide on what’s new and exciting in NYC. Originally from Northern Virginia, Ariana studied music business at Hofstra University with a concentration in PR and accelerated law.

Ariana was kind enough to fill us in on her journey with a Q&A.

What attracted you to fashion journalism? 

My interest for journalism started because my dad was a journalist in DC. Aside from that, I would watch shows like Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, and the Drew Barrymore show and be completely mesmerized with the hosts’ charming personality and the deep, and moving conversations they could bring out of their guests. Because of this, I started my own women’s talk show at my college radio station. This show focused specifically on talking about trailblazing women in entertainment and their stories of success. I was connected to NY2C through that show and decided to change paths into fashion. Fashion was an outlet for me to be creative in a way that I loved. 

I have enjoyed watching I Don’t Have Style Either. Would you please tell us the premise behind the series? 

I Don’t Have Style Either is a show about using fashion and style to personalize yourself and creating an open space for difficult dialogues in the fashion industry. We usually shoot a sit down interview with our guest and then ask the guest to show us the method behind their skills. If it’s a model, we are learning to pose for pictures. If it’s a stylist, we are learning how colors and certain patterns work for different people.

What do you look for in a potential interviewee? 

I always look for someone I personally admire. I am lucky to say that every one of my guests are people that I consider friends and role models of mine. In the future I will be looking for guests with unconventional origin stories and guests that teach the viewers a skill they can use forever. 

A lack of diversity in fashion has always been an issue, but do you think we’ve made any progress in recent years? What changes would you like to see? 

I do believe the fashion industry has changed for the better in the last decade, however, there is always more that can be done. Designers such as Claudia Li and Collina Strada have started that conversation through using models of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds to showcase their collections.

When you’re not working and want some fashion fun, what’s your go-to fashion media platform? 

I am a tiktok girl until I die. I have so many favorite tiktok creators that influenced me to not only work in fashion journalism, but also to move to the city three years ago. I would say some that inspired me are Davis Burleson, Kit Price, Lacey Tanner and, Arabella Bartelloni. 

How would you describe your personal style? 

My personal style changes all of the time! I love goth and emo influences from the early 2000’s and I had to force myself not to get a bunch of tattoos and paint my room black. But I also love the classic styles of Jackie Kennedy and Grace of Monaco. And on a Saturday night I just want to wear a super business pantsuit with a sheet mesh top underneath

A role model of mine told me that you don’t need to pick a niche for personal style, you can wear whatever you want and make your own “core style.” Ariana Core is large t shirts, boy shorts and blazers with high heel boots and ribbons in your hair. 

Do you have a favorite South Asian designer?  Do you see cultural references in their designs? 

I have too many to count. My dream is to one day work with Prabal Gurung. But this year I loved seeing Rahul Mishra’s spring couture collection. He has made it a point to employ over a thousand artisans from Indian craft communities. His collection was based off of the Ghandian philosophies such as cultural sustainability. I can’t wait to see more South Asian designers during the second season of South Asian New York Fashion Week.

What’s up for you style-wise this summer? 

Though the summer is a time to relax, there is a lot to do.  I have been in Europe all spring and I have adored it, but there is nothing better than NYC in the summer. This summer will be the time for one piece swimsuits, new balances in the office, and vests of every color, texture and size.

I’m with you on vests! I think they have been an underappreciated accessory, but to add color, interest, and sometimes a little needed warmth in air-conditioning, vests are an excellent choice for summer.

Thank you, Ariana! Enjoy your summer style and I look forward to seeing you on I Don’t Have Style Either.

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Cześć! That means “Hey” (as in Hi or Hello) in Polish. I just learned that from Kasia Maslowski, founder of Kasia Lip Balms.

Kasia Maslowski.

Kasia and I met at Second Fridays Art Walk in Norman, OK where she was a vendor selling her line of lip balms. I have a thing for lipsticks and lip balms; Kasia’s fun and colorful display caught my eye so I headed over. Kasia is friendly and outgoing, so we easily chatted about her product and bonded over the curse of cold sores.

Originally from Austin, Texas Kasia now lives in Tulsa, OK (a fabulous Art Deco city, BTW) where she works full time as a process engineer for Kimberly-Clark. She launched her business in 2019, but she says she started taking it more seriously in 2022.

What inspired you to start making lip balm? 

I was working for Johnson and Johnson back in 2015 and met two powerhouse women engineers who had previously worked at Neutrogena (owned by Johnson and Johnson) in LA. I thought to myself, what a DREAM it would be to work as a CHEMICAL ENGINEER in skincare! I quickly inquired about them finding me a job with Neutrogena but though they tried, there was something like a “hiring freeze” happening at the time and they couldn’t get me in. Still intrigued by the idea, however, I thought to myself, how am I going to get this same kind of Research and Development experience? I’ll start a skincare line myself! And thus Kasia Lip Balms was born a few years later.

I appreciate that your ingredients are vegan and all natural. How did you choose what to use? 

I like to use products from other small businesses so I’ve tried to stick with ingredients that may be a little more expensive but that provide extra quality to my products.

I also really like your fun packaging – where did you get the inspiration for the graphics? 

I find a lot of inspiration from Trader Joe’s and LaCroix sparking water. These brands are not afraid to just go there and express some serious color pop. The color pop I infuse in my packaging is also a full expression of my personality! 

Let’s talk cold sores, because they are a reality for some of us. You use the amino acid Lysine in some of your lip balms. Is Lysine the primary ingredient in those balms? Please tell us how you came upon Lysine as an answer to battling cold sores. 

Yes, so as an engineer (and an entrepreneur), you want to solve a problem with your business. Getting cold sores had always been a part of my life and always made me feel a little self-conscious. The main product I used was Abreva which was quite expensive, didn’t smell great, and honestly didn’t always work. So my mission for busting into the skincare industry was to come up with an all natural alternative to Abreva that made people feel confident and something that looked FUN! 

What do you like the most about your business? 

I love people and face to face sales. It gives me the chance to connect with others and share my story.

What do you want customers to know about Kasia Lip Balms? 

Most skincare brands you see on the market have a French or Spanish translation or affiliation. Mine has a Polish twist, as a tribute to my family and my ancestors who motivate me always to persevere.

I love a good twist and a sense of originality. That’s what makes you stand out! Thank you, Kasia for chatting with ODFL.

Kasia Lip Balms come in several fruit flavors and are made with coconut oil, Shea nut oil and beeswax, which comes from cruelty-free beehives in Austin.

  • Orange, Peaches ‘n Cream, Coconut, and Rich Coconut have SPF
  • Watermelon and Citrus Twist are ultra moisturizing
  • Cherry and Blueberry have Lysine for cold sores. 

I purchased a trio pack – Watermelon, Citrus, and Cherry. I’ve used the Citrus several times a day since. It’s smooth and glossy and it gives a tingle of mint on my lips. I like to swipe it on as a base and then add a touch of lipstick for color. The citrus scent is light and the yellow tube is just plain fun! Hey, Leo Di Caprio knows what I’m sayin’. While in Tulsa filming Killers of the Flower Moon he popped into a local shop and picked up a tube of Kasia Lip Balm. Smart guy!

The whole line of Kasia Lip Balms is available online.

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I’m a big fan of fashion memoirs because each individual’s story provides a different and unique take on fashion and style. So, I’ve been looking forward to reading stylist Patricia Field’s memoir (written with Rebecca Paley), Pat in the City: My Life of Fashion, Style and Breaking All the Rules (Dey Street Books).

Pat in the City does not disappoint. Field is known for styling the fashions on hit TV shows Sex and The City and Emily in Paris, among others, and creating iconic looks such as the tutu-as-skirt.

Born and raised in New York, Field, now 81, is of Greek decent. She was the eldest daughter of immigrant parents who ran their own dry cleaning business. A rebel from the start, Field created her own style early in life, combining her mother’s preferred Pringle cashmere sweaters with a Burberry (popped collar) trench coat and boots. “My style, inside and out, was not girly girl but cool and fierce,” she explains. This was the beginning of her penchant for mixing contrasting looks, something that later would set her apart in the world of costuming.

In eleven chapters Pat in the City takes the reader through Field’s childhood (surrounded by her three unmarried aunts) to her first retail shops where in the 70s and 80s she created a haven for club kids and drag queens. Each of her first commercial costuming successes – Sex in the City, The Devil Wears Prada, and Emily in Paris – get their own chapters filled with behind-the-scene tidbits. For example – early on in costume discussions, Sarah Jessica Parker, who played Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City, declared that she would not wear hose, no matter the season or the weather. Field explains that historically for women hose were essential. Even as late at 1998 when SATC premiered, women, in the workforce especially, were expected to cover their legs. SJP saying no hose, was remarkable. (Later Meryl Streep, who played Amanda Priestly in The Devil wears Prada went the opposite direction announcing that bare legs were not for her and she would be wearing hose.)

I learned a lot about Field that surprised me. I didn’t know that she was nominated for an Oscar for her costuming work on The Devil Wears Prada and that she designed a line for Payless Shoes. I didn’t know that she has closed all her retail stores and now runs her own fashion gallery called ARTFashion in Manhattan.

Another pleasant surprise is the book itself, which is quite stylish and heavy with more than 250 coated pages. There are many colorful illustrations, photos, and photo collages. The images of Field, her family, and other people in her life help complete the story for the reader, plus they’re just fun to look at.

I really enjoyed Pat in the City and I recommend it, particularly to fans of her work, but also for anyone who is interested in costuming, fashion, and style.

(Thank you Dey Street Books for providing a review copy to ODFL.)

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Patricia Field. NYC Fashion Week 2019. Photo: Tina Paul.

I’m disappointed with the trend of sweatpants and sneakers. I mean, come on! I feel it’s not that interesting. Now everyone’s walking around looking like that. It shows no sense of originality. Yes, it’s comfortable. I like sweatpants when I’m in my apartment. But I wouldn’t go out in Paris in a pair of sweatpants. And that happened to me in Paris! When I first went there to do “Emily,” I sent (creator) Darren Star, “I’m in here in Paris. I’m going to check out the French chic.” I do my little routine, go outside. They’re all in sneakers, jeans and sweatpants! I’m like, This is depressing. I want the French chic, damn it!

Patricia Field – American costume designer/stylist.

How sad is that? Paris, historically the city of elegant style, is now awash in sweats and jeans.

This quote is from Pat in the City: My Life of Fashion, Style, and Breaking All the Rules (Dey Street Books).

Check back tomorrow for my review of this fascinating fashion memoir.

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A collection of Tail of the Yak boxes. In Tibetan culture the tail of a yak is a symbol of good luck.

Tail of the Yak on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley has announced that they will close in June. After 51 years I guess it’s time – nothing lasts forever, but still, it’s sad.

Tail of the Yak is a small gift store offering items like embroidered ribbon, paper lanterns, handmade fruit-shaped paper surprise balls, linens, glassware, candles, cards, journals, and other delightful things. Much of the merchandise is imported from around the world including Mexico, Ukraine, India, and Japan. One of the biggest draws to the shop is a large glass display case of antique jewelry – Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco. Rings, earrings, beads, and brooches galore!

Co-owners Alice Erb and Lauren McIntosh have curated the shop to reflect their unique aesthetic, which has become well known and much admired. Cross their threshold into a charming world where the wood floor creaks with every step, signs are printed in calligraphy by hand, and cooing doves greet you from their grand antique birdcage.

The first antique ring I bought for myself at Tail of the Yak. Turquoise and coral in 14k gold.

My mother introduced me to The Yak, as it is affectionately known, when I was still in high school. Later when I was working at the nearby shop, Primavera, I used to pop into The Yak and peruse the antique jewelry, none of which I could afford at the time. But there was one turquoise and coral ring that I fell in love with and so I put it on layaway, feeling guilty as I was supposed to be saving up for a move out of state. I made that move just fine minus a couple hundred dollars, and I still have the ring!

The Yak reminds me of my mother because we often went there together. For many years it was a destination on either my birthday or hers. Lunch and then The Yak where we looked at the jewelry, picked up beeswax candles and other small treats. When I visit there now by myself, I sense her presence next to me.

There are fewer and fewer stores like The Yak. The modern world is edging out such places of magic and charm. What will be left? Amazon. Walmart. Target. Corporate big box stores with no soul. So it’s important to support the shops that are still here – Lacis, Stone Mountain and Daughter for fabric and notions, Bills Trading Post for Native American jewelry, Elmwood Stationers, are a few I can think of in the East Bay.

The Yak is still here too, until the end of June.

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Karl Lagerfeld and his creations for Chanel. Photo: Getty images.

Speaking of her good friend Karl Lagerfeld’s fashions Anna Wintour says:

… uniform, a kind of armor and a way of holding certain moods and memories close. His fashion does for me what fashion should. It makes me feel more confident in being myself.

Anna Wintour – British born editor-in-chief of American Vogue.

This quote is from the New York Times article Anna and Karl, a Love Story in Clothes by Vanessa Friedman, April 27, 2023.

Tonight, May 1st, is the fashion event of the year – The Met Gala, where over 400 invited guests will gather at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and strut their couture fashions up the red carpet. In control of the gala since 1995 is Anna Wintour, who chooses the theme, the food, the décor, and most importantly who gets invited. (Project Runway’s Tim Gunn has been banned for insulting Anna and the entire Kardashian clan wasn’t invited this year perhaps because of sister Kim’s controversial dress stunt in 2022.)

A fundraiser for the Costume Institute housed at the museum, tickets cost $35,000 each and tables start at $300,000, but don’t think that that kind of cash says you can invite who you want to your table. Ah, no! Anna decides who dines with whom.

The Costume Institute fundraiser dates back to 1948 when fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert organized a midnight supper, which soon became the party of the year but strictly for socialites. When in 1973 former fashion editor Diana Vreeland took over, the event began to expand. But it’s really Anna who has created the celebrity circus that it is today; and with the circus come the big bucks. Last year’s gala raised over 17 million dollars.

Each gala theme reflects the current fashion exhibition. This year’s theme is a tribute to late German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019) and the exhibition, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty runs from May 5 – July 16, 2023.

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This is a photo of a card handcrafted by a group of women artisans in the mountains of El Salvador. These women gather, dry, and preserve natural flowers that they use for these one-of-a-kind cards.

If it’s spring it’s time for pretty sunhats. If it’s Easter (and it is this Sunday) it’s time for Easter bonnets. The bigger the better!

For those who celebrate – Happy Easter!

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Dressing is not important, but it is one of the little signs of respect.

Bernard-Henri Levy – French writer, philosopher, filmmaker.

This quote if from an article about Levy in the New York Times, February 28, 2023.

Levy is known for wearing bespoke suits with a white unbuttoned dress shirt to war zones in Ukraine, where he has been filming his documentary Slava Ukraini. This quote is his response to the question – why do you wear suits to a war zone?

Indeed, dressing well is a sign of respect for one another.

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Elizabeth Wilson, born in 1936, was among the first to cross fashion with feminism with academics. A former professor at London’s College of Fashion and the author of non-fiction books and a detective series, Wilson has now written a memoir in which she shares her early life and her path from activist to fashion academic.

In Unfolding the Past published by Bloomsbury Press, Wilson digs into her childhood and early adulthood in post WWII London where she and her mother settled while her father worked as an administrator in Sierra Leone. She describes her family as being in “reduced circumstances” living not in Kensington as her mother wished, but instead a mile or so to the east on the end of a “shabby street” in a 4-story house owned by her grandparents. Her mother’s disappointment in life colored Wilson’s childhood and perhaps set her up to be a somewhat rebellious young adult.

She opens the second chapter with – “Every Thursday, a Harrods van drew up outside our front door and the driver, uniformed in green, delivered a cardboard box tied round with pink tape. It contained the weekly volume from Harrods’ lending library, chosen by my mother after she had read the book reviews in the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times. Usually it was a novel, but books on history, popular psychiatry, and the Cold War turned up from time to time. The delivery to our terraced house was out of place in the marginal social world of my childhood. At the lower end of the street, tall stuccoed mansions had fallen into decay …”

Wilson gives this kind of detail throughout the book offering vivid descriptions of her family, friends, herself and her wardrobe, as well as of a bleak, but fascinating London just after the war and into the 1960s. I would say this isn’t a straight forward memoir, but more of a wondering through Wilson’s thoughts and opinions. With references to other academics, popular culture, literature, art, and music we get an abstract picture of her life. From child to young adult, communist and feminist, throughout it all clothing, she says, was her “prop” offering some “self-confidence.”

Unfolding the Past is an unusual thought-provoking read that one could go back to again and again and learn something new.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Press for a review copy of this book.

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Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

Costume designer Ruth E. Carter took home the 2023 Oscar for Best Costume Design for her work on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Carter is the first African American to win two Oscars, her first in 2018 for Black Panther.

The array of costumes in this film is amazing. Not to mention the detail. (Click here to see a short video on the costumes.)

Congratulations to Ms. Carter!!

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