A Day at the Beach

Two of the best and most highly praised and talked about lines seem, to me, so perfectly matched to one another and fitting for a swanky, boho beach soirée. I’ve chosen a few key jewelry pieces by Bay Area designers to go with these looks. Like check out these out-in-nature appropriate, “weirdly beautiful” earrings. They’d be great with any of these looks and I’d kind of wear them with everything really. Beetles are awesome.

Mermaiden Creations green beetles earrings in resin

So people (and by “people” I mean fashion bloggers) are losing their shit over Miu Miu’s Spring line.

Those are birds in flight on top and prancing cats below, at Miu Miu Spring 2010.

The prints in this collection are just insanely amazing.

The gorgeous Lara Stone in cheeky Miu Miu

On a clean and complimentary color palette of black, navy, baby blue, and pale pink–with punches of lipstick red–Miuccia Prada has placed repeating prints of cats, dogs, birds, hippie-esque daisies, and reclining nudes.

Sequin and mesh detailing at Miu Miu Spring 2010

After the sleek and slim pantsuits, Prada’s put dresses and tops of “nude” mesh overlain with gorgeous sequin detailing. For many of these, those great prints are used on the arms, giving the whole look an odd but alluring and backwards feel. “Backwards” because normally we’re fine baring arms but like to keep our torsos covered, and here you see the opposite: arms are covered and prim and the length of the body will be sheerly- and sequin- covered.

Tina Tarnoff Louis XVI Chair Brooch

Some of the looks in this collection can come off overly odd, but I would recommend looking through the detail shots where the from-afar-awkwardness can be seen for all its quirky but perfectly executed WOW.

A closer look at those I-want prints at Miu Miu, Spring 2010

I’m not even sure who these clothes are for or where I would wear them, but the innocence punched through with nudge-nudge, wink-wink charm is ultimately alluring. I totally get why everyone’s falling over themselves to praise this collection.

Sweetness and spunk at Miu Miu, Spring 2010

And how cool would that Tina Tarnoff Louis XVI Chair Brooch look against any one of these looks?

China Beach with Seafoam, Heath Orchard photography

And for my little imaginary beach party, we’ve got Christopher Kane next. I’ve already thrown in one killer Kane mini in my Esme/Emily post, but how great are these grown-up ginghams for spring?

Beaded floral bust and leggy picnic skirt at Christopher Kane, Spring 2010

His side-slitting skirts are so yummy, and the cutout factor is high. I think I need to find a way to DIY this beckoning, burgeoning trend.

The perfect, sexy sweater and skirt at Christopher Kane

Kane is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite designers.

Ploust storm urchin ring in atomized metal-infused resin on acrylic band

He’s creative and seems to be pushing himself. His designs, in my humble opinion, are clever, quirkly, and yet totally wearable. Seriously, I’d take any one of these dresses and any one of his designs from previous (and even unseen future) lines. Remember this screaming chimpanzee dress? Everyone went wild over that one too.

Christopher Kane Spring 2010

I’ve been friends with the immensely talented Heath Orchard for years. He’s a great guy and a wonderful photographer. I mean, how gorgeous is that shot of China Beach? He specializes in portrait, wedding, and food photography but look out for future, fashion-focused collaborations between Heath and yours truly. Also, check out his blog for an image of the week.

Based in Oakland, Mermaiden Creations is the ecclectic, creative brainchild of a self-described ADD crafter. Her etsy shop is an eclectica of handmade unusual jewelry, bewitching hats and wickedly whimsical wonders. On top of featuring wildly different and wild creations, her prices are fantastically affordable. Those beetle earrings? They’re only $10! I know, crazy.

Tina Tarnoff is a San Francisco-based artist. Her jewelry is created using prints of her papercut images, which are set under a clear cabochon dome. They include necklaces, chokers and brooches in various styles. The jewelry comes beautifully packaged and makes the perfect present. That Louis XVI chair brooch is only $35. Most of her designs are similarly charming and reasonably priced.

Ploust creates alluring jewelry based of the sea. I absolutely love her sea urchin rings and necklaces. She also has an etsy shop where you can purchase her pieces. Cast directly from sea urchin shells collected from Pacific Ocean tide pools, this collection captures sensual nature as wearable art. All five of her hand-mixed colors try to capture the moods of the ocean and its beaches. The ring above, atomized metal-infused resin on an acrylic band, is $35.

Friends, readers, contrymen: Support local artists!

All fashion images taken from style.com.

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Spring 2010: Lava and Lightning

Frans Lanting, Lava river, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

“I Have Never Seen ‘Volcanoes'”
by Emily Dickinson

I have never seen “Volcanoes” —
But, when Travellers tell
How those old — phlegmatic mountains
Usually so still —

Bear within — appalling Ordnance,
Fire, and smoke, and gun,
Taking Villages for breakfast,
And appalling Men —

If the stillness is Volcanic
In the human face
When upon a pain Titanic
Features keep their place —

If at length the smouldering anguish
Will not overcome —
And the palpitating Vineyard
In the dust, be thrown?

If some loving Antiquary,
On Resumption Morn,
Will not cry with joy “Pompeii”!
To the Hills return!

Water and wine at Basso & Brooke, Spring 2010

Basso & Brooke: Okay, I’ll admit it: Technology can be pretty kick ass. Just look at the digital prints coming out right now (Mary Katrantzou, McQueen). Designers Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke were apparently inspired by the art of Jeff Koons. Now, because I worked for two years at the Academy of Art University I do actually know who Koons is, but I wasn’t an art history major and I never would have caught that reference if Style.com hadn’t told me that that’s what these clothes were referencing.

More trippy, molten majesty from Basso & Brooke, Spring 2010 RTW

Instead, because I am a girly geek from Berkeley, my first reaction to this collection was: “These are the clothes that Lisa Frank would design if she dropped acid in the Fortress of Solitude.”

Electric and ecclectic at Basso and Brooke, Spring 2010

In other words? Awesome. I love this collection.

A cut above the rest, Cushnie et Ochs, Spring 2010

Cushnie et Ochs: Though for me this is a somewhat hit or miss collection, out of all of the many, many, many shows with cutout clothes (Gucci, Louise Gray, Christopher Kane and Versus, Wayne, Threeasfour, etcetera etcetera etcetera), I am of the opinion that this was one of the best. The cutouts were interesting, innovative, and when the models weren’t half naked, the clothes were slyly sexy in what was taken away, in which swath of skin was revealed. I mean, how rad is this maxi?

A hit below the belt from Cushnie et Ochs

Mary Katrantzou: Okay, so it doesn’t quite match the fierceness of that very-first, perfume bottle-inspired collection (because that was a freakin revelation) but Katrantzou is one to watch and she’s helping to spearhead this digital print trend. Plus her name is really fun to say.

You can't help but be wooed by Mary Katrantzou.

These silk dresses are feminine, funky, and full of life. The trompe l’oeil patterns manage to suggest movement while also, to me, making it seem as if you’ve hit the pause button on the trippiest scifi/time travel caper ever.

Mary Katrantzou, Spring 2010 RTW

These are the clothes for that superior and super hot alien race we keep hoping will decide to vacation here and take us out to dinner. And, apparently, hopefully, bring us rad party dresses.

Red hot Mary: Katrantzou's saucy lava wonders for Spring 2010 kick ass.

I’ll bet their space ship has a full bar and the drinks are delicious.

U. S. Geological Survey photo by Jim Griggs.

For Emily – with Love and Squalor

As I’m sure you know, J.D. Salinger, that incomparable recluse, favored among many, America’s forever reluctant genius, died on January 27, 2010 at the age of 91. Enough already has been written, clearly, and I do not think that I could say what I would want to say, nor as well as he deserves, without time, to reflect and reread.

I will say this, however: After the immediate grief I felt upon hearing the news, I had a wave of extreme excitement, because I hoped/knew that we’d finally get more stories to read, and then I worried whether extreme excitement isn’t perhaps an inappropriate emotion in the wake of someone’s death.

Cover, 1960

But maybe that reaction is matched to the kind of writer he was and to the kind of stories he wrote: those of grief and meaningful losses, shot through with uncomfortable, anticipatory thrills.

One of my favorite Salinger stories has always been “For Esmé — with Love and Squalor” and Esmé always seemed like such a smart, free-thinking, free-wheeling, stand-up dame. The narrator calls her forehead “exquisite,” her eyes “blasé,” and her voice “the sweetest-sounding, the surest, and it automatically led the way.” He fancies her a “truth-lover” and “small-talk detester.”

"I thought Americans despised tea."

Anyone can tell the first time reading that she grew up to be Katherine Hepburn in every movie ever with Spencer Tracy; that woman with the witty, intelligent, intriguing things to say and the “enviable poise”; one of those mad femmes who wear their awkward or odd features, wet hair or quick-bit nails, as well as their well-tailored wardrobe. She is privileged but tragic, like the female Batman.

And anyway, she’s just one of my favorite literary heroines of all time, a definite contender guest for that hypothetical, ideal dinner party. You just know she’d bring a fabulous bottle.

"I'm going to sing jazz on the radio and make heaps of money. Then, when I'm thirty, I shall retire and live on a ranch in Ohio... Do you know Ohio?"

And only the day before that old man’s passing, my old friend Emily1 had left this message on Quick, said the bird’s facebook wall: “I love the unabashed love of sumptuous fur!”

So I was thinking about Emily and then I was thinking fondly of Esmé, and thinking then that maybe the two were similar in certain ways. They aren’t quite perfect matches but they’re both strong of mind and of will, and both say what they think to charming but slightly shocking effect.

"My first name is Esme. I don't think I shall tell you my full name, for the moment. I have a title and you may just be impressed by titles. Americans are, you know."

Emily is a talented writer and thanks to her I’ve got some good stories in my own arsenal. For example: When we were still in high school, Emily (and our friend Nadia) came along with my family and me to LA and Palm Springs for spring break. At an open mic at some coffee house dive in the desert, Emily sang the Cars’ “Just What I Needed,” told everyone there that she was the love child of Gene Simmons, and shot out her tongue like a banner to prove it.

That same trip, she charmed the big black bouncer at the Viper Room in LA, over 6 feet tall and 300 lbs. if he was an inch and an ounce, and swathed in head-to-toe purple. He ended up writing us a note2 to give to the bouncer at the Whiskey-a-go-go and bouncer #2 let us in to the sold-out show for free.

Another story is that in college I visited her parents’ home in Oxford, Miss and we snuck onto Faulker’s property, even though it was closed for renovations, and smoked cigarettes on his porch.3 I imagined that literary hero doing the same in the same spot and almost died.

"My mother was quite a passionate woman. She was an extrovert. Father was an introvert. They were quite well mated, though, in a superficial way. To be quite candid, Father really needed more of an intellectual companion than Mother was. He was an extremely gifted genius."

Anyway, this post is for Emily, and Esmé, and Salinger: It is Esme’s grown-up wardrobe. Full of fur and better than you. With love.4

"I'd be extremely flattered if you'd write a story exclusively for me sometime. I'm an avid reader. It doesn't have to be terribly prolific! Just so that it isn't childish and silly. I prefer stories about squalor."

Outfit #1: Betsey Johnson Dot Dot Dot drop earrings, $41 on zappos.com; PRADA lace dress, $1,590 on yoox.com; Atelier Mayer velvet and fur dusky blush coat, $735 on atelier-mayer.com; men’s 18kt gold watch at j2trading.com; tea cup, $18 on amazon.com; Arteriors Sherwood Brass Glass Accent Table, $440 at laylagrayce.com; Ambrose Tufted Leather Chair, $400 at homedecorators.com; Nicholas Kirkwood Rodarte corroded brass pumps, $1,880 on luisaviaroma.com; Lanvin large wood and pearl necklace, $1,415 on luisaviaroma.com; Burberry “Supernova” plaid belt, $260 on overstock.com.

Outfit #2: Birds of a Feather Clip, $35 on modcloth.com; Christopher Kane Midnight print tank dress, $265 on net-a-porter.com; Pantelleria snake earrings, $315 on mytheresa.com; Just Cavalli Amuletto Cornetto Nero Necklace, $260 on zappos.com; Burberry Tartan check cotton scarf, $350 on net-a-porter.com; Alice in Wonderland White Rabbit Pocket Watch, $27 at loveheartsandcrosses.co.uk; Missoni knit hat, $97 $59 on matchesfashion.com; Silver Dragon Pewter Goblet at tudorshoppe.com; Sondra Roberts satin flower clutch, $99 on sondraroberts.com; Alkemie + Owl Mask Cuff, $190 at econsciousmarket.com; Jeffrey Campbell combat boots, $185 on lorisshoes.com; Burberry Prorsum Fox fur jacket, $7,795 on brownsfashion.com.
Outfit #3: Coyote fur vest, $1,060 on mytheresa.com; Emporio Armani men’s watch, $295 on emporioarmani.com; Rhinestone & Lace Bib Necklace, $495 at saksfifthavenue.com; Firetrap tartan dress, $125 on oli.co.uk; Valentino lace heels,  $6,045 on colette.fr; Willow Spray Silk Flowers, $375 on insideavenue.com; Rebecca Minkoff ‘Nikki’ Handbag; Upholstered Dining Beaumont Parsons Chair, on homedecorators.com; moleskine sketch book.

Outfit #4: Bottega Veneta fur jacket, $5,760 $2,870 on matchesfashion.com; Marmèn spider pin, $340 on luisaviaroma.com; Avanessi One Love bracelet, $225 on shoprumor.com;  Roberto Cavalli printed silk-chiffon blouse, $1,095 on net-a-porter.com; ASOS two-tone metal boyfriend style watch, $31 at asos.com; hexagonal stone drop, narra wood earrings, $510 on lindestore.com; Steve Madden Tayla purple suede heels, $100 $80 at heels.com; Alexander McQueen spike ring, $180 on zappos.com; Curved Ori Skirt, $455 at lagarconne.com; Series 5 designer spiral notebooks, $8 at urbanoutfitters.com; Rocio shell and wood clutch, $780 at luisaviaroma.com.

Outfit #5: Love Is All You Need Interplanet Wings tank, $87 at maruione.jp; Opening Ceremony Faux Fur Coat, $755 at brownsfashion.com; daisy umbrella, $28 on amazon.com; Jeffrey Campbell All Stud Combat Boot in black, $275 on singer22.com; 1887 steel/ivory watch, $545 on coggles.com; Diane von Furstenberg “Paulita” ruffled mini skirt, $475 on net-a-porter.com; black tea cup from badgerandblade.com; Rainy day in Paris large tote bag, $30 at artistgifts.com.

1. Let me be clear that Emily is NOT old. She’s young. Like us. I’ve just known her a really long time.
2. The note read, simply, “Gino, Let my friends in. -Ed.” I think Emily still has the note. I have physical possession of the poem that was written for Emily, Nadia, and myself at the party we were invited to after the Gene Simmons Incident. True stories, all of these.
3. Sorry Mom.
4. “Are you at all acquainted with squalor?”