Thursday, August 29, 2013

Behind the Scenes at the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target Photo Shoot

Soooooo.... picking up where we left off in our last post:  We were lucky enough to be among 20 "influential" New Yorkers tapped to participate in the New York segment of a six city cavalcade of local movers and shakers. All 120 of us participated in a fashion shoot in our respective cities which will culminate in an opening night New York Fashion Week event. Not only do we get to go to the party, but our images will also be part of a futuristic interactive installation. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Our sweet-tempered canine companions in the photo below were (from the left) Floyd, Bert, Roger and Sharpie. Like us, they didn't know exactly what they were supposed to do but they tried really hard to please!

We have updated this posting to include the names of 10 more of the participants.  Note to file: One of the hazards of pre-dawn photo shoots is that no one (except us, apparently) has business cards on their person! (Click on photos to ENLARGE and to activate slide show.)

Bright and early (6:20 am to be exact) on Tuesday morning, Lincoln Town Cars pulled up to our respective abodes to fetch us for hair and makeup before our fashion shoot for 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target. Jean's journey occurred without incident. Valerie, on the other hand, took a different kind of trip. More on that later.

First stop after check-in:  make-up of course.  Courtney Edet (left) and her colleagues made silk purses out of sows' ears. Jean was thrilled when they pronounced her as great "as is" because that meant she could spend more time at the catering tent, getting breakfast.

Christina Barberich from Refinery 29, one of the most influential New Yorkers we know, is also one of the most stylish. We loved the unique silver vintage necklace she wore to set off her red and white top and red bag, with Marnie shoes as the perfect finishing touch.

Gigi Guerra from Target made the scene.

Restaurateur Phil Wisner (right) is British, charming, debonaire and funny, not to mention an owner of The Fat Radish and Leadbelly in the East Village. The tall, dark and handsome Canadian on the left is unfortunately leaving the East Village to return to Toronto before the 9/5 party.

Piera Gelardi from Refinery 29, a fellow dog-walker in the shoot who matched her canine (black dachshund) to her wardrobe, stopped in to visit Valerie, sequestered in a trailer.  (More on that soon.)

Looking like a rowdy class photo from some uber-chic prep school out of Archie and Veronica comics, many of the players (minus Valerie) came together for a group photo. From the left: Eric Demby; handsome dude we didn't formally meet; Gigi Guerra from Target; Kris Chen; Piera Gelardi and Christine from Refinery 29; Miss Jean; another gorgeous woman to whom we weren't formally introduced; Dee & Ricky; Tennessee Thomas and Phil Wisner.

Eric Demby and Kris Chen hung out with Jean before the shoot. Eric is the founder of Brooklyn Flea & Smorgasburg, 2 of our favorite Brooklyn destinations. Kris, who works at XL Recordings, is the person who discovered Vampire Weekend. Here they are in their "Before" shot, in their civvies before the shoot. Note the Knicks hat in the lower right of the shot.  Kris is a big fan.

Kris and Eric's "After" shot, wearing the outfits they wore in the shoot.

Everybody knows the expression "Have a nice trip, see you next fall" - and what it really means. Valerie's trip started when she stepped off the curb in front of her house, landed on all fours, and - the ultimate humiliation - saw her hat fly off before her. Miraculously, her wrought iron polyester pants were undamaged, but the same could not be said for her hands (dirty with newly pressed creosote), one knee turned up bruised, and something was very, very wrong with her left ankle. Having seen hundreds of movies and tv shows dealing with this subject by now, Valerie (carrying three shopping bags full of goodies for any eventuality except this one) turned around, went back upstairs, and found the very same Ace bandage which only two weeks before had been wrapped around her right foot. She was just barely able to wrestle her boot off her already swelling foot, and wrapped the Ace bandage around what appeared by then to be a subcutaneous egg. Then she had to find new shoes, because the boots would not go back on. She wore one pair (Melissa gladiators, bless them), and selected two other pairs just in case. She descended to the street again, this time with four bags (including the extra shoes), got into the car, and whipped out her brand new cell phone, which she still barely knows how to use. Calling the folks in charge of the shoot, she said "Please have a bag of ice for me - I've twisted my ankle."

LOTS and LOTS of credit has to go to everyone on the set - EVERYone knew before she arrived that she would need extra attention, and EVERYone was very solicitous and amazingly helpful. She got a bag of ice right away, and a leatherette sofa in a trailer to lounge on, like the diva she hopes to become one day. Jean memorialized the scene here:

People came by periodically to ask if Valerie needed anything (she didn't), stopped to chat and lift her spirits, but readers, you can imagine how irritating it is, and how embarrassing to be the only one who sits in a trailer while activity is a-bustling outside. At one point, a photographer offered to bring Valerie the rest of her outfit, which was safely sequestered, and discovered he couldn't - he was not authorized. Tightly run ship! Very inspiring and comforting! Here's the view from Valerie's divan. The photographer assured Valerie that they would only be taking still photos, so she didn't have to worry about walking. This was also comforting. HA! Little did we know!

When the time came for Valerie to emerge from her cocoon, it turned out that walking was indeed involved. And there were dogs for us to walk! Valerie accidentally got the two that "pulled", and asked to trade with Jean for the two that didn't. Amazingly, as long as she walked slowly, everything looked normal.  Running the food truck is Eric Demby (of course!). The gent on the left of the food truck is one half of the Pace twins and two thirds of the band Blonde Redhead. His brother is obscured by the model in the Phillip Lim raincoat in the foreground.  Wish we could tell Simone Pace from his brother Amadeo. Besides being a drummer, Simone collects and restores vintage Italian motorcycles. Walking behind us are Phil Wisner, Christine Barberich and Kris Chen.

After several takes, the director must have been satisfied, because they rolled out the green scrim. Here's Jean in front of the scrim. That's the photographer/director, running in from the right, to set the scene, and his right hand man by Jean, taking care of business.

What viewers get to see in the end is so fun and glamourous. What goes on to make that happen can be so different.  We thought you'd like to see a behind-the-scenes scene. There's our right hand man again, holding Roger's and Floyd's leashes while he stands behind the scrim. We can't wait to see what that looks like when it's done.  And the dogs were champs all the way!

This model in Phillip Lim tuxedo resembled a young Alek Wek.

Here's one of the club-goers decked out in a flight suit for the occasion. (Love the shoes!) He's one-half of Dee & Ricky, designers and restauranteurs (with collabs with Marc Jacobs, Pony and Casio).

This club-goer rocked her vintage tee shirt from The Who's 1982 world tour. Jean actually saw them perform on that tour. Who is she? Caroline Ventura, founder of the jewelry line Brvtvs.

Of course, in 1982, our model wasn't even born! She was wearing some of her very tailored but delicate jewelry -- rings and necklaces. (No skulls.)

Here's the other Blonde Redhead brother who was sweet enough to pose for Jean.  (And check out that fabulous gray hair!)

Another of the impossibly gorgeous club-goers, Ericka Spring of the band Au Revoir Simone, which has an album coming out next month. Her friend Tennessee Thomas, in the black dress and over-the-knee black stockings, has similar long, blond locks and was one of the worker bees in our group.

Loved the vintage High Horses shirt worn by the skateboarder in our shoot, the other half of Dee & Ricky.  They gifted us with one of their newest products, jewelry made of Legos.  Our is a red heart pin that says "Love Me' in gold lettering on the center Lego brick.

Two of the gorgeous female club-goers stopped for a shot with Jean before they went off duty and she threw on her wardrobe for the shoot. On the left, Aya Kanai from Cosmopolitan magazine, and on the right Rajni Jacques from Did we mention that we were the oldest people there?

Crew members like this one were so darling it was difficult to tell them apart from the models. Loved her high tops with black hearts with eyes.  AND the graphic bracelets.   (We know who makes the sneaks, but we're not tellin'.)

Two of the club-goers bid each other adieu. On the left, Rajni Jacques, and on the right, nightlife photog Hanuk, flashing us the peace sign.  Rajni's black suede platform shoes had about an 8" heel.

This is a part of town we don't often get to see, so when the filming was over, Jean scampered and Valerie hobbled to take a few ambient pictures. This wall sculpture seems to say "park here at your own risk - doors will be confiscated, painted and hung patriotically so you can't complain about it".

This wonderful outdoor art must be about thirty feet long.

Jean took this shot of Valerie through the car window after she exited the limo.

And Valerie returned the favor. Although Jean got to go home and drop off her stuff and go to work, Valerie's exciting day was about to get even more so!

On the plus side, when Valerie got home, she realized all her bags had been personalized by the people in charge of the shoot. Again, very professional and reassuring. We had both prepared an extra outfit, as requested, just in case the first one didn't work out. (The first one did.) This bag had Valerie's second, which never even left the bag.

After dropping off all her things, Valerie got in yet another car and just about flew to her podiatrist. A visual examination revealed colorful bruising and all-over swelling; an x ray revealed a "chip". So Valerie, having only two weeks ago freed herself of a small unobtrusive soft black bootie on her right foot, has traded it in for a huge plastic moon bootie on her right foot, which is not to come off for a MONTH (or more). This thing has a rolling bottom, which gives Valerie a gait similar to Quasimodo's. Here it is, just after the doctor's assistant fitted it.

Bloody (so to speak) but unbowed, Valerie went to work the next day, and took this selfie to commemorate the event. All offers to model for the surgical device industry will be considered!

Stay tuned for the fashion week party next week!!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Right on Target: The Teaser! 3.1.Phillip Lim for Target

Have the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas finally gone to the dogs? (We knew you would say that when you saw the picture.) And in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge, no less?

No! (Not yet, anyway...)  Can't blab all the fabulous details tonight, but we WILL tell you tomorrow. Promise. So please check us out on Thursday night. Here's a hint what we were up to.

Need another hint? Okay, okay, check out this link from RACKED.

Or try this:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New York State of Mind

This little photo essay is a love letter to our city. In our daily travels we come across coded messages about the place we call home. We gather these up, and send them out to our readers when we hit critical mass. Here are some recent New York scenes we thought you'd enjoy.


Used to be, trucks were targets for graffiti artists, and were a sign of disorder in the city. This truck, like so many others we see these days, was spray painted to order. Every day, it is parked next to an outdoor fruit vendor. Too bad the door is open (it's a working truck, not a vanity truck), or you'd see the whole panorama of fabulous fruit with personality. If you look in the bottom left hand corner, you'll see it's the work of Michael Angelo!

This gent sells hot dogs from his truck, but look carefully: he's also making a political point...

The huuuuuuge checker cabs of our youth were great. One wonderful sofa-like seat in the back could fit three people, and two little jump seats folded out facing them to fit two more if necessary. (Families were bigger then - and so were cars!) We don't know where this newlywed couple found a checker cab, but it's their version of a Rolls Royce or a stretch limo. Certain clues seem to hint that they're part of the New York diplomatic corps, so perhaps it's their way of saying to those who couldn't make the wedding "can you guess which foreign country we got married in?"


Check out this wonderful flatiron (triangular-shaped) building. It almost certainly goes back to the 1880s, but the paint job brings it smack into the 21st century.

The asterisk is a very low profile punctuation mark, but Menscience celebrates it in their clever store sign.

THE FASHION SECTION (this is very short, but wait till the September issue)

This gent makes a political statement, shows great style, and fills a utilitarian need all in a single accessory.


You never know what you're going to find when you look down. We met a woman who found an envelope with $1200 in it. Not us!  We found this knife at our feet while traveling on the subway one day. Like good citizens, we picked it up (readers! always travel with a "just-in-case" plastic bag - you never know!) and tried to leave it with the subway token booth clerk when we arrived at our station in Brooklyn. She didn't want to know about it. We tried to give it to the police parked just outside the station. They didn't want to know about it either. They told us to trash it, so that's what we did.


This sign says it all!

This hilarious sign for Sacred Tattoo on a doorway on lower Broadway just north of Canal Street gets its point across thanks to another famous New Yorker.

In late July, we ran into this fashion shoot in progress in the East Village on Jean's block. How 'bout those thigh-high skin tight burgundy leather high heel boots? On that impossibly tall, thin, blond model.

Long before she styled Sex and the City, Patricia Field had a fabulous store in the West Village.  A few years ago she moved her shop to the Bowery and recently she moved to another space a few doors down.  This summer, she has a farmer's market, East Village-style, set up outside the shop on weekends. We both bought fabulous heirloom tomatoes and scrumptious corn on the cob.

Nothing says "farmer's market" quit like a platinum blond 'do, a rhinestone necklace and a crop top, right?  Not since Eva Gabor starred in Green Acres has the heartland seen such glamour!


Summer time and the livin' is easy.  Fish are jumping and the rodents have gone wild!  Jean frequently works late and when walking home on certain blocks, has to dodge little rats vying for right-of-way.  Since the row houses on East 2nd and East 3rd Streets between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery back up to the Marble Cemetery, a prime rodent hangout, she wasn't surprised when this graffiti appeared last year on one of the local stoops.  Others have since added their own tags.

As the weather got warmer this year, incidental confrontations increased in frequency.  Although Jean loves rats as much as the next person (actually, much more than the average New Yorker), having one run across the top of her shoe was a little too close for comfort.  Spotting this spray-painted wry commentary on the sidewalk shortly after - where rats actually do cross - was cause for a full belly laugh.

On the same block at the Bowery at the corner on the Bowery is this inflated rat, a frequent site at non-union worksites erected by union workers in protest. It sports pink eyes, ears and belly and actually appears quite cartoonish.  A stiff breeze makes its arms move.

The logo for Yellow Rat Bastard, a shop on Broadway in SoHo which has been in business for decades in several locations, features the lovely illustration of a white rat on a yellow background, like the one on the chest of this mouse named Gooch which stands guard in the doorway of said establishment.

And just in case you thought rats were being unfairly singled out, below pigeons and roaches also have their portraits drawn. We could have photo-shopped this picture to appear as if it were hung with a leveler, but it looks as though the artist hung it in a hurry (it's probably not strictly legal), and we wanted to give you a sense of that.

If you were a carpet store, wouldn't you put a family of toy bunnies in your window?

We had to stop these gents, Bert and Larry, who had proudly decorated themselves with dead poultry. We met them and their wives outside Lafayette's on a recent Sunday afternoon, exchanged pleasantries, and then exchanged cards. It wasn't till hours later, looking at Larry's card reading NEW YORK FRIARS CLUB that we realized the poor old chickens were fryers.


Faithful readers have already seen this picture we posted of a tree that was uprooted by Hurricane Sandy, and took with it the iron fence that it had grown into. You can see the caution tape strung up around the area. A few days later, the tree was sheared at about the six-foot point. Behind the tree stood Lutece, for many years rated the best restaurant in America, now long closed. But....

There's no knowing what the little tree's long term outlook is, particularly in New York City, but this photograph was taken about a week ago, and the tree is sprouting gloriously, even from the trunk. How's that for tough?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today's New York Times' Fall Fashion magazine means that summer is rapidly drawing to an end and New York Fashion Week is fast-approaching.  We've been busy but are about to get even busier and will have oodles of  hot news to share shortly, so stay tuned!