Friday, February 29, 2008

Kelly Smith

Not since turning the pages of my first Lula magazine, have I been in such a flurry of internal swooning. Kelly Smith's delicately gorgeous illustrations of model turned nymphs have received some press here in the states as well as her home country in Australia. I have noticed a new wave of fashion illustrations in a few magazines that have not been your average, but Smith's work seems to capture an aesthetic many girly girls are embracing and being inspired by right now.

The general echo of her work renders a sensuality, not even the original photograph it may have been inspired by could convey, as her pieces add another thoughtful dimension. Because of my discovery of Kelly Smith's illustrations, I can only thank her for making my sunny Friday afternoon, that much more prettier.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Ever wondered what it would sound like if you started a band when you were eight after having watched "Carrie"? Blackblack's not so serious demeanor illustrated through their pop/black metal/indie music comes across as pure joy in the light hours of a Sunday afternoon cup of tea. The Los Angeles band have a way with on stage costumes that give them that final touch of whip cream on your hot dog. Yes, we've all been exposed to unconventional artists, some tiresome and some downright incredible. But hold your horses there, as I'm not saying they are as sensational as border pushing artists such as Bjork, but dare I say, just as thought provoking.

With influences such as Dr Octagon, Neil Young and Mozart- you can't help but wonder what this creative trio is all about. Diva Dompe on bass and vocals, sister Lola Dompe on drums and Clark Sch├Ądelkopf on guitar- their blend is haunting, playful and purposeful. Check out Honey in Your Ears and The Energy Song- the anthem for all self- proclaimed artists in any genre.

If you're in L.A they are playing on this Wednesday the 27th at the Knitting Factory at 8pm.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Row and Jovovich and Hawk

In today's voyeuristic compulsion with celebrity and anything related, the average star can appear not so average in the many eyes of the easily influenced or eagerly persuaded youth. Where singer becomes actor, becomes designer, becomes restaurant owner- the boundaries of any potential star seem to be boundless. This is not to say, we are all robots as viewers or consumers, and take in anything presented to us, but quite the opposite. With so many online forums (now so readily available creating "internet stars" of it's own- but that's another story), as you read this article, your next door neighbor stealing your internet connection can be the most harshest critic. Anyone lucky enough to be shone the effervescent torch of celebritydome has the entire world as their panel of judges. We can say, make up, elaborate on any detail we wish to impose on these fortunate victims.

The optimistic side of this organized chaos is that it does bring up the most amazing entrepreneurs. My two most recent favorites are up and coming labels by actresses turned designers The Row by the infamous Olsen twins and Jovovich and Hawk by Milla Jovovich and Carmen Hawk. The Row was originally created by Ashley Olsen and then later her sister Mary Kate joined her in combining their talents on what is an exquisite collection of workable and current staples. Some may argue that this is not their first line as there have been many brands in Kmart/Target harboring the twins name. But the twins insist that those products ranging from DVDs, toys, clothes and furniture only had their licencing rights and not their creative input.

In an interesting contrast, Jovovich and Hawk, with Milla Jovovich being it's more famous counterpart, has a more detailed and heavily era influenced hand in their design. Both The Row and Jovovich and Hawk are confident appropriations of what can be classic and revolutionary at once, without losing feminine lines and wearable trends.

Fantastic artists in all the artistic industries are emerging with a new consciousness. It involves being aware of all the arts and although this is not a new thing- the cross breeding of trades and elements bleeding into one another, this new consciousness raises an even more heightened awareness of each other due to the lightning speed information one can receive in a Google click. The Row and Jovovich and Hawk are flickers of what seems like our introduction to a worldly inspired renaissance. You be the judge.

Check out The Row on the link below

Jovovich and Hawk are coming out with a diffusion line at Target! It's called Milla and available in stores in the U.S on the 2nd March.
Although, nothing seem to take my fancy- I say good on 'em for thinking of the average pocketed gal.

Here is their website with their beautiful Spring 2008 collection
Below are some of their Fall 2008 collection I liked, previewed during New York Fashion Week just recently.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Where in The World is Osama Bin Laden?

In the tradition of eye opening documentaries such as Bowling for Columbine, Sicko and the more provocative, Jesus Camp, Morgan Spurlock, who directed and hosted Super Size Me has come out with another what-the-hell-is- going-on-with-America doco called "Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden?". It is a much more light hearted documentary film then it's revealing predecessors. “The goal is to try to use humor and make light some really dense, heavy material,” Spurlock said.

The plot involves a newly father to be Spurlock, a New York City local, on a mission to find Bin Laden to help make the world a better place for his first born. With the use of humorous animation and "Mortal Kombat" type scenarios and the notorious faces of the Al-Qaida on baseball cards, the mission involves Spurlock traveling to Middle Eastern countries to try to find the most dangerous man in the world. He interviews regular people off the street, as well as academics and political theorists. The most intriguing parts that will offer the most insight for the masses, are the everyday people's opinions of the U.S and the Taliban. There are many moments that are set to crash any stereotypes people have of the Middle East and also confronting views on what is actually occurring on a day to day basis there. My personal favorite is when he visits a Saudi Arabian mall and you see a Gucci store crowded with women dressed in the traditional black head to toe covering, know as Abaya.

Just as Super Size Me used the polite tactic of presenting perspectives through a watch and observe fashion, Morgan Spurlock gets into where all the action is and follows some U.S soldiers into the treacherous Taliban ridden zones. As the documentary unfolds, we are presented with more and more reasons why this battle is so much more complicated then how the media presents it and more importantly, how the U.S government plays a part in the Middle East's burdening issues such as extreme poverty and the vicious cycle that leads to hatred for the U.S. as a country.

This is a definite must watch film for 2008 and don't forget to go into the movie with an open mind and heart. It previewed at the Sundance Film Fesival on 21st January 2008. You can watch it in the cinemas in the U.S from the 18th of April 2008 and in Australia from the 10th April 2008.

The Gingers

Having first formed their band in 2005 at the unjaded ages of seventeen, these three young Melbourne women Chelsea Wheatley, lead vocalist/bassist and keyboardist, Nellie Jackson, guitarist/vocalist, Etta Curry, drummer/vocalist and the recent boy addition Steve Lavery, guitarist/bassist get up to their fair share of shenanigans. Their response in an interview regarding a defamatory review on their live performance, on the Triple J website, was that Chelsea was once dating the reviewer and no longer was interested in him due to his "scary eyes". And come on ladies, we've all had unwanted attention from these types- whether it be scary eyes, scary breath and sometimes even scary outfits. After finding out her almost boyfriend was a Triple J reviewer, Chelsea of The Gingers silently hoped that he wouldn't be attending any of their gigs anytime soon. Unfortunately for the pop/punk/rock princesses (and now plus one prince), "Love You Long Time" the title of their EP was not to be the theme of the ex with the creepy stare.

Charming personalities that require no effort for one to imagine being best friends with, is not their only allure. Their punk/pop style music is catchy, familiar, yet refreshingly original. With tonnes of Australian press coverage mid 2006, The Gingers became hot property among the MySpace savvy. The last couple of years has seen an abundance of MySpace popularized musicians many of them even breaking into the mainstream such as Lily Allen. The Gingers were amongst the lucky, who have been signed to a label (Illicit Records). But to call these youngsters an overnight success would be not only be discrediting their hard work and thus joining the ranks of scary eyes types, but also ignoring their unpretentious energy that gives any potential fan a reason to start loving them.

Currently working on another EP and coming to the end of touring, their last shows are on next weekend in Melbourne at The Tote, 8pm Saturday 23rd Feb and the following week after that in Sydney at Spectrum, 8pm Thursday 28th Feb and in Sydney again at Ruby Rabbit, 8pm Friday 29th Feb. The Gingers are ones to watch and as Martin from the Simpsons says "Keep watching the skies".

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Alexander Wang

Hey, it's a man's world, but we still wanna look hot right? Alexander Wang is the designer based in New York who is now building a reputation on using mens cuts to add a sexy sharpness to the female form in an auspicious manner. His Fall 2008 collection during New York's Fashion week, won the critics over and why not with a darling mascot such as Erin Wasson (old school Maybeline girl), who apparently styled the show that pumped Guns and Roses as one of it's final songs.

I don't want to get carried away about how original the ensembles were, because originality wasn't what this was about. The array of baggy vs sleek, 90's grunge vs 80's chic and let's throw in some downtown New York for good measure, was arranged so effortlessly, that one can assume this is all original in an era where "it's been done" has never looked cooler. I loved the accessibility of the collection and it's poignant yet discreet undertones towards tough girl mesmerism. In the famous words of Carrie Bradshaw "Me likey".

Wang is the new kid on the block everyone wants to hang out with. Forget that he was once a Teen Vogue intern, because if those starlets constantly sashaying the streets for a Starbucks coffee bigger than the size of their heads, have anything to say about it- which let's face it- they most certainly do, Alexander Wang will be an ebay knockoff staple in no time. Let's just hope Erin convinces him to start a diffusion line so the plethora of NYC downtowners (not including all the models who live there- who will most likely receive the whole line or at the very least a bag as gratis) who would be wearing his threads the most, can at least afford some pieces as opposed to scoring a cheaper "inspired" version by Urban Outfitters. If I'm anything to go by my own track record- Urban Outfitters, here I come (again)!

Best friends with Ksubi. Erin Wasson with the designers, last year at the Australian Fashion Week.

Alexander Wang with Erin Wasson. Dang girl, why you gotta be so popular for?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mast Brothers Chocolate

Remember when some fancy pants foodie told you that if you buy real honest to goodness chocolate, you won't gorge yourself, but delicately eat a few pieces and be satisfied by it's fine ingredients? Your reaction, like mine would have been (should have been)- haha yeah right. If that bad baby tastes that good, it aint seeing the light of the next hour, let alone tomorrow.

Well I have discovered my fine chocolate holy grail. And no less but in the grungy, yet widely publicized and eternally hip Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY.

Let's talk about how god damn good this chocolate is. I just ate a piece then, well maybe three, and seriously- despite it being pure heaven- it was perfectly enough. The creamy, yet sexily unadulterated taste- lingers long enough for you to be content as an angelic baby fast asleep.

Upon my discovery of Mast Brothers charming little set up at the Artists and Fleas market in Williamsburg, I greedily nabbed one of the free samples displayed, not even giving a moment to read what it was I was stuffing down let alone, who made it. It made me stop in my tracks. I haven't tasted this much class since I was in Paris. I am immune to the guilt one has after a free sample sniper attack and always have the balls to say "hmm, nice." and move on without even considering forking over a cent, let alone a real compliment. Not only did I, a professional sample stealer, pause and reconsider previous tactics, but these precious squares of goodness had fans, albeit dorky, but a true fan. Fan quote "I love how they are wrapped in beautiful paper- it really shows the quality and care of the chocolate.." I can't recall his other rants as there were more and I was busy trying to decide what to buy, but the response to the gushing sweet lover from one of the Mast Bros "Oh, yes- and they are so fun to wrap too". Huh. Anyone who loves what they do deserves a stamp of approval in my book.

Do I sound like I'm being sarcastic? Well you're wrong. More reasons to love this chocolate include the fact they focus on South American fair trade and organic ingredients. The brothers family recipes use the finest cocoa beans and are hand made in Brooklyn. Finally, being socially conscious never tasted so delectable.

A reflection

The first fall of snow since early December arrived today. I dreamt that it would snow last night and I woke up to a city granting my wish. Anyone who has seen snow fall can tell you how ethereal the experience can be if you just take a moment to just cease what you're doing and breathe it in and loiter in the existence of it. Ok, it's bordering on being as cheesy as the detergent commercial you almost cried to or worse, the Spice girls making a comeback (like we needed them to begin with?) But New York City has seen me through many corny movie montage conjuring type moments where you see me walking my dog in Manhattan, laughing hysterically from a funny thing you don't see, getting a kiss on the subway from my husband and other chick flick worthy montage clips.

In the age of Myspace, Facebook and god forbid the daggy cousin- Friendster, we are given opportunities to broadcast to the world or at least anyone in this world you have ever known (including the person who thinks met you and you don't remember them- at all) an insight into the wonderful world of you. Depending how brave, happy with your life you are, if you have a life or you're too busy living your life- the profile can vary on the degrees of accuracy. It does seem as if these forums allow us to delve into the private moments of peoples lives and we are all just as washed out or over exposed as the latest starlet to go to rehab. In a judgmental world, it gives us one more avenue to concoct incorrect assumptions about people.

So no I didn't take a photo of it snowing like I did when I saw the first fall of the season. Yes, I was tempted to broadcast these photos that could have been, on my Facebook profile and don't forget- "update my status" to let my Aussie friends know - that yes it's snowing in New York and yes- I do live a cinematically inspired lifestyle. But, I really just wanted to keep this memory alive in my memory and in the sentimental stories I will impose on anyone who asks me what it's like to live in New York City. For a New York minute, there was something to be treasured about not giving away too much this time.

Like many of my authorial predecessors, New York has taken an active role in being the muse in my life. I like to romanticize that New York to me is like what Edie Sedgwick was to Andy Warhol. I am in utter infatuation with it right now! I cannot call it love as it has only been eight months- although for a relationship, that is a hearty serving of something called serious and long term.

There isn't enough blog space to truly depict how much of an impact this city has made to my personal human condition. I was anticipating being challenged, having artistically inspired moments and learning about myself. But I guess I'm surprised as to the extent at which it has occurred. I could go on and on how specific things have changed my thinking. But like a snowflake falling and melting directly in the palm of my hand, only I can witness the beauty of this moment.