Woman We Love: Zarina Nares

You would be forgiven for thinking Zarina Nares was a contemporary of Nina Simone or Ella Fitzgerald. After all, the quality of her voice is of a different era — a gorgeous, throaty warble meant for listening to on a crackly vinyl or through the haze of a dark, smoky club. Nevermind the fact that she is only 21 years old. Songs to Sway To, the New York-born, Los Angeles-based musician’s new EP, is a timeless piece of work that at once haunts, rouses, and delights. The sometimes-model — who’s arresting gaze and pillowy lips have bewitched designers like Maria Stanley and Desiree Klein  — just wants to move you.

“I have just these very distinct memories of seeing someone perform or hearing someone, and going, ‘I want to do that,’ because it would just make me feel a certain way,” she says. “I want to do that to somebody else.” Meet Zarina.

WHAT WAS INSPIRING YOU WHEN WRITING SONGS TO SWAY TO? I guess they’re all sort of love-inspired, but I don’t think they talk directly about a specific romantic relationship, more just about different feelings in love and then different feelings that come with that. “Playboy”’s a bit cheeky, I think. It’s kind of about being a young girl in LA and dealing with older men who think it’s appropriate to treat you in a way that I don’t think is appropriate. And I usually, probably once a month, will write a song about that type of situation, because I feel like it’s something that comes with living in LA and being a young woman, which is unfortunate. And then the other songs are really just about being in love and the different ways that we feel that. You know, being in love is not necessarily always a happy feeling, but it isn’t necessarily being heartbreak either.

LOVE IS ONE OF THOSE EMOTIONS THAT NEVER SEEMS TO HAVE A STRAIGHT ANSWER. Right, yeah. And it seems like with every experience with love you still don’t understand it, you know? It’s in a way it just can’t really be learned or taught. I feel like every experience with love is like a new experience, no matter what relationship you’re in, whether it’s a friendship or with a family member. It’s just always weird and confusing. And so I think that’s why so many musicians write about that. They say ‘love-crazy’ or ‘love makes you crazy,’ but it’s true, it makes you do so many weird things and act in such weird ways and so I think just writing about that, especially as a young girl experiencing a lot of feeling for the first time, writing about that is just a way of making sense of all of that.

BLUES IS A GOOD GENRE FOR THAT, TOO. DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOMENT YOU FIRST REALLY RESONATED WITH IT? There was a clear moment in my life when my idea of music sort of shifted. I was a musical theatre kid. Like, super not cool. I thought I was put on this earth to play Sandy in Grease, was doing classical vocal training, and studying opera. And then in an English class, in sophomore year of high school, we were studying poetry and my teacher opened one of the lessons playing “You Don’t Know What Love Is” by Billie Holiday. And that was just a complete shift for me. I remember crying in class and it was the first time, I think, that I felt truly affected by a song. And that sort of opened up this whole new world of music and what music’s purpose is.

YOU’VE GOT SOME GREAT COVERS ON YOUR SOUNDCLOUD: “(SITTIN’ ON) THE DOCK OF THE BAY” BY OTIS REDDING, “YOU KEEP ME HANGIN’ ON,” BY THE SUPREMES. WHAT IS IT ABOUT SOULFUL MUSIC THAT YOU’RE DRAWN TO? I think what is so special about jazz and blues and soul is — it’s so hard to describe — but I genuinely feel something inside me light up. It’s just magical and it feels like there’s just this connection that I have with the music. I mean, I can dance to other stuff and enjoy listening to other music, but it’s just something about soulful music. It’s just so honest, it pushes every single button inside me. And I think also I’m a very sensitive person. I feel a lot and I react very strongly to things that happen to me in my life, just in general, so I think that’s just the type of music that comes naturally with that, in a way. I just remember there’s been so many points in my life where I have just these very distinct memories of seeing someone perform or hearing someone, and going, ‘I want to do that,’ because it would just make me feel a certain way. It was powerful. And I would be like, ‘I want to do that to somebody else.’ I just think that’s the music that feels natural to me and I could eventually make someone else look at me and go, ‘Wow, I want to be able to do that.’

YOU POSTED A BEAUTIFUL PHOTO ON INSTAGRAM ON FATHER’S DAY OF YOUR DAD [JAMES NARES] BUSKING IN CENTRAL PARK IN THE ‘70S. WITH HIM BEING AN ARTIST AND A MUSICIAN, DID HE PLAY A BIG ROLE IN ENCOURAGING YOU CREATIVELY? Yes. Without a doubt. Both my parents, really, but my dad was constantly encouraging myself and my sister to be expressing ourselves, and creating things, and doing things that made us happy. He’s an extremely supportive person. He moved to New York City when he was just under 20, I think, in the ‘70s, from England, and just started painting and working on his artwork. And so I think he’s just very understanding of that feeling and that necessity for me, because that’s what I did — I moved to Los Angeles when I was 17 to pursue music and so, in a way, I feel like I’m following in his footsteps.

YOUR MOM DID BEAUTY CREATIVE DIRECTION FOR BRANDS LIKE CHANEL, TOO. WERE YOU CONSTANTLY SURROUNDED BY MUSIC, ART AND FASHION GROWING UP? Yeah. I had a very unusual upbringing. It feels completely normal to me, but yeah, you know, I grew up in New York City, which already is kind of an interesting place to grow up for that reason. There’s just so much going on, all the time. We grew up living with my mom in Tribeca, my dad lived in Chelsea, but he would come over every night for dinner. Tons and tons of fashion photography books lining all the walls. Just anyone you could possible think of, my mother has their book. And then magazines everywhere. At one point, I think we had every Vogue from 1990 to 2010, or something. Vogue, and W and Harper’s Bazaar, and Interview — just tons of magazines everywhere. And then my dad, always coming around and taking us to his studio, and we would go to gallery openings on Thursday nights in Chelsea. I was saying to someone the other day, ‘I grew up running around gallery openings from the moment I could walk to, by the time I was 10, eating snacks after school in an advertising focus group about what the next Calvin Klein fragrance should be named.’ So it was just a lot of creativity around me at all times. And, truthfully, it just seemed normal. But now, I consider myself very lucky and really grateful to have been given the life that I’ve been given.

HOW DO YOU THINK THAT ENVIRONMENT SHAPED YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS STYLE? I think growing up with a mother who works in fashion, we were always pretty up to date on what was cool or trendy and what not. But, I think also my parents are both just, like, effortlessly cool-looking people. And while they’re stylish in their own ways, they’re very much individuals, and I think that’s really what’s shaped my style. I wear what makes me feel good and my mom would always say, ‘If you feel good in your outfit, you’ll have a great day.’ She loves to wear Chanel. She’d always be in her Chanel mini-dresses and I think I have that in my mind, always. And I find that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started dressing more and more like my mother. My mother walks into a room and generally stands out. In New York, where everyone wears black, my mom would always be in a hot pink mini-dress or something. And gold jewelry.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Well, a friend said this once to me and I like it: a modern-day Edie Sedgwick, maybe? I like something that I can wear during the day and then go to a party as well and it still kind of works. But, yeah, I guess fun and colorful. Mismatchy. Lots of prints and patterns.

DO YOU THINK WORKING IN BOTH FASHION AND MUSIC WILL LEND A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE TO EACH OTHER? I think that the two worlds are very different, but I think they both help one another. A lot of people will ask if music has helped build confidence for modeling, which I think is so funny, because I’m like, ‘no, it’s the complete opposite.’ Modeling has completely built confidence in music, because modeling is like playing house for a living. It’s just getting to play pretend, which is so fun — you get to dress up and be a new person each job, depending on that magazine or whichever clothing company. And music is really just the complete opposite. It’s everything stripped away and it’s just myself not getting to pretend to be anybody else. I think both things are slowly helping me build more confidence in myself, which is good, and I think as one thing helping the other — I hope that modeling helps music more. My goal, really, is to one day just get to be a musician. Modeling is very fun, but music is really just what I know in my heart I’m meant to do.

FINALLY, WHAT’S BEST SONG TO SWAY TO AND THE PERFECT OUTFIT TO SWAY IN? [giggles] It would have to be “You and Me” by Penny & the Quarters. And perfect outfit to sway in… Gosh. I would say a mini red dress. Nothing body con, ever, if you’re planning on swaying. I mean, no body con in general.

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By Yasmine Shemesh.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Beyond The Canvas: Two Multimedia Artists To Watch

With so much talent out there, it is truly exciting when you discover an artist whose work makes your jaw drop and your mind race. Well, that was our exact reaction when we came across the two artists featured below: Katie Bell and Andrea Bergart. With each a distinct aesthetic of their own, these artists are creating captivating art that goes way beyond your typical understanding of art. Their manipulation of everyday materials and objects is straight up beautiful. One of these talented women can takes garbage scraps and turns them into a 9 ft tall sculptural painting and the other transforms working cement trucks into moving public murals. So, without further ado, let your artist crushes begin.

KATIE BELL

Photo by Levi Mandel

The moment we caught sight of Katie Bell’s large-scale paintings we couldn’t look away. Her art goes above and beyond, outwards and upwards, literally. Katie creates her pieces with found materials that she herself went digging for. From ceiling tiles to hot tub fragments, she turns so-called garbage into unreal art. Her color composition, structural thought and innate attention to placement detail will blow your mind. Not to mention, this bad-ass woman can haul bounds of material and somehow get them all on a wall.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. My name is Katie Bell and I am originally from Rockford, Illinois. I have been living and working in Brooklyn, NY for the past six years. I make large sculptural paintings out of found material.

HAS ART BEEN A PART OF YOUR LIFE SINCE YOU WERE LITTLE? I have a twin brother who is also an artist, and I think growing up we fostered that creative interest in each other.  We were always making drawings, games, costumes, piñatas, plays, forts, obstacle courses, etc.  We were collaborators on all kinds of things and our parents were always encouraging us to make things. I began making paintings in college and started making still-lives to paint from.  The still-lives eventually grew larger and larger and turned into the work I am making now. I have always come to art from an interest in painting.

ALL YOUR SCULPTURAL PAINTINGS ARE MADE FROM FOUND MATERIALS. WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS OF SOURCING LIKE? I am constantly looking for materials and try to find one thing everyday to bring back to the studio. I am mostly finding things on the street, in dumpsters, and at construction sites. My studio acts as a catch-all for all my finds. Things will be rolling around the studio a while before I figure out what to do with them.

HAS YOUR HUNT FOR MATERIAL BECOME EASIER AS YOU’VE GROWN AS AN ARTIST? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE / GO-TO SOURCE? The hunt is different every time, but it is always a very physical task. As my work has grown I have gotten more specific, so I am looking for particular things now. My favorite part of gathering materials is the looking. I have so many places that I go to regularly to find materials, but one of the best spots is Bartos Pools and Spas. I have made friends with the owner and she saves old hot tubs for me to cut apart.

WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU’VE EVER FOUND? THE BEST THING? Weirdest: A three-foot tall rawhide bone. Best: A faux blue geode bookend.

Top image: ‘Backsplash’, cork, foam, drywall, laminate, wood, plexiglass, rocks, plastic, Kleenex box, rubber, springs, steel, and hot tub fragments, 144 x 276 x 108, 2016 Photo cred: Zack Balber with Ginger Photography Inc.

Middle image: ‘Broadcast’, acrylic, wood, ceiling tiles, foam, drywall, plexiglass, nails, laminate, rocks, and plastic on wall, 264 x 156 x 22, 2016. Photo cred: Zack Balber with Ginger Photography Inc.

Bottom image: Breakout’, acrylic, wood, laminate, foam, ceiling tiles, rope, drywall, marble, and nails on wall, 144 x 108 x 108, 2016

Visit katiebellstudio.com for more and follow @katies_bell

ANDREA BERGART

Photo by Maddy Talias

Our love for Andrea Bergart’s work may be new but it’s already very serious. It was just the beginning of May when we started seeing these seriously cool basketball handbags all over our Instagram feed and on all our favorite online magazines. If you didn’t already guess, Andrea is the one behind these bags. We then discovered this was in fact her first design project and that she is also an incredible artist with a long list of talents.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston and the woods of Maine, I live in Ridgewood, Queens and I am an artist.

YOU DO A LOT OF LARGE-SCALE PUBLIC MURALS. HOW DID YOU GET INTO THAT AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT PRESENTING YOUR ART THIS WAY? I have a steady studio practice but occasionally my work will take me to the streets where I can make something extra large. My last series of public works involved painting murals on working cement truck barrels. This idea came to me after spending a year living in West Africa where people paint on everything- signs, walls, houses and buses.  Painting on cement trucks seemed like an exciting extension of this way of thinking about images in public spaces. I love how the cement trucks travel throughout NYC and reach so many different audiences. It’s cool that they are also delivering cement and going into construction sites. I like mixing high and low- fine art and working trucks. I also enjoy seeing the paint decay and get grimey – art dealing with the daily grind.

YOU RECENTLY LAUNCHED A LINE OF BASKETBALL HANDBAGS. HOW DID IT FEEL TO STEP ASIDE FROM PAINTING AND INTO DESIGN? I’m into hybrids right now- things with multiple functions- sort of like the cement truck with art on it. Designing an object that has a function is a lot different than making art. You can be very creative but you are always considering the practicality of the design. It’s fun to play with people’s expectations of objects and form.

SO, WE’VE HEARD YOU’RE KIND OF AMAZING AT PLAYING THE GAME. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM YOU’RE A PART OF?  Ha! I’m okay. : ) Downtown girls basketball is conceived by artist Aria McManus. Aria has created and attracted such a cool community. Sure we ball but we also talk about what’s going on in our lives, go to each other’s art openings, collaborate, and bring and reflect positive vibes.

HAS THIS TEAM BECOME A CREATIVE HUB FOR YOUR LADIES? We meet up once a week and having that consistent hang out schedule makes the team an important part of my life.  The routine helps it feel like a family. I think we have a sense of loyalty to each other and that helps me be bolder in my life than I would otherwise be.

Images from top left to bottom right: ‘Trident’, dye and wax on silk mounted on paper, 108″ x 56″; ‘Cheetos’, cement truck mural; Basketball Purse (Skills) Photo Cred: Maddy Talias; Basketball Purse (OG) Photo Cred: Maddy Talias; ‘Swamp Sunset’, acrylic on canvas, 72″ x 60″;  Embossed leather strap detail Photo Cred: Maddy Talias.

Visit andreabergart.com for more and follow @andreabergart.

In Conversation With Designer Suzanne Rae

Brooklyn-based designer Suzanne Rae Pelaez’s pieces are full of delicate dualities. These aren’t loud contrasts or showy displays of diverse influence; they’re quiet but knowing quirks in fabric, silhouette, and historical reference that unfold the longer one’s eyes scan a piece.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the designer herself is similarly nonlinear in both the designing of her collections and her path to fashion-as-profession. Pelaez delivers an idiosyncratic biography, with stints in ballet and economics preceding an education at Parsons and the debut of her collection in 2010. New York City’s Maryam Nassir Zadeh and Portland’s Stand Up Comedy were some of Pelaez’s earliest stockists — not bad boutiques to have on your side — a list that’s rapidly grown longer since the label’s launch of footwear. We spoke with Pelaez about how she went from promising child ballerina to in-demand designer, the commodification of feminism, and how shoes have changed her business.

Shop Suzanne Rae >

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IN RESEARCHING YOUR BACKGROUND AND YOUR PROCESS I FOUND SO MANY AVENUES THAT I WANTED TO START THIS CONVERSATION FROM. LET’S JUST START FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE BRAND, WHICH IS ACTUALLY KIND OF A SECOND LIFE FOR YOU, BECAUSE YOUR FIRST LOVE WAS AS A BALLET DANCER, YES? Well, sort of. I mean, it was my first passion, my first love. My parents are professionals, and the life of a ballet dancer wasn’t exactly supported, if you will. I wanted to be homeschooled so that I could dance professionally in high school — it’s like gymnastics, there’s a peak, and I didn’t want to miss that.

I didn’t want to go to college, but my parents really wanted me to have a proper education. So I never really pursued [ballet] professionally, although I studied very seriously for a very long time. I did my undergrad at Bryn Mawr, and I continued to dance to a little bit; I was a dance minor.

WHAT WAS YOUR MAJOR? My major was actually economics, with dance and art history minors.

OH, WOW. HOW DID YOU WIND UP BEING INTERESTED IN… Designing?

NO, ECONOMICS! Oh, economics. Yeah, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. In retrospect, I would have loved to just have been an art history major, but also, when I went to college, didn’t know that that was a thing. I didn’t have that kind of upbringing. [With my parents] it was like, “Oh, you could be a doctor or a lawyer.” Those were like the two things.

Suzanne_Rae_chloe_photo_06-pngWHERE DID YOU GROW UP? I grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia. My parents collect art, but it was never encouraged. They put me in ballet when I was younger for my posture, so I would be “poised as a young girl” growing up, and it just so happened that I fell in love with it, and had a natural ability that was able to be nurtured.

SO: THE BRAND. IT’S BEEN AROUND FOR SIX YEARS NOW, YEAR? Our first collection was spring 2011.

YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY SO CLOSE TO IT, IT PROBABLY IS HARD TO FEEL IT, BUT IT SEEMS TO ME – ON THE OUTSIDE – THAT THE BRAND HAS REALLY HIT ITS STRIDE. I’M SEEING YOUR NAME EVERYWHERE. Oh, really? [Laughs]

YEAH! DO YOU FEEL, RIGHT NOW, THAT PEOPLE ARE KIND OF CLICKING WITH THE BRAND, OR THAT YOU’RE KIND OF CLICKING WITH THE CONSUMER? Yes, it does. A little bit. But as you said, I am so close to it that it’s hard to tell.

THE ONE METRIC THAT WE HAVE IN THIS SCENARIO WOULD BE AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF STORES CARRYING IT, OR THE SIZE OF THEIR ORDERS. IS THAT THE REALITY? You know, it’s hard to say. We’ve had certain stockists that picked us up way back when. Stand Up Comedy and Maryam Nassir [Zadeh] were two of our first stores, and we still sell to them.

When I started designing, I didn’t really understand sales, or market, or any of the business side. Even though I had studied economics, my economics was more third-world development and international trade theory. It wasn’t at all finance, or entrepreneurship, or business, or anything like that.

We launched shoes not so long ago, we’ve just shown our second collection of shoes. I feel like that’s helped put us on the map of other people.

THAT’S REALLY INTERESTING. KIND OF LIKE A GATEWAY, AN ENTRANCE TO THE BRAND, AND THEN PEOPLE GET TO KNOW THE OTHER CATEGORIES? Yeah, you know, it’s funny. When we started the shoes, we met a lot of other stores that I had no idea even knew who we were. I send a MailChimp out to make appointments for market, and I never know who’s actually going to make an appointment or not. When some of these stores came, they were like, “Oh, we’ve been such fans of your line. It’s just relatively expensive.” If you’re going to spend, like, $700 on a piece of clothing and people aren’t really that familiar with the name, that’s a big risk for a store.

I feel like with the shoes — I feel like shoes are so popular right now.

THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE MOST “FASHION GIRL” THING IN THE WORLD, BUT IT DOES, RIGHT NOW, THAT SHOES ARE HAVING A MOMENT. They are! And we don’t really do PR, but since we launched the shoes, WWD, and W Magazine — who I’ve never had a relationship with — and Vogue [have covered the brand]. I feel like we’re constantly sending samples out, I can’t even keep up with it, it’s so insane. I really think that this recent growth spurt is because of the shoes.

 

Five Ways to the Perfect Fall Outfit

Forget checking the weather forecast or measuring out the amount of steps you’ll likely take during the day to decide between flats or heels. In the spirit of making getting dressed less complicated this fall, we’ve decoded five ways to the perfect outfit – with a little help from our friends at Local Creative in New York.

1. DOUBLE UP ON RIBBED KNITS Matched sets aren’t only an easy template for getting dressed, they also happen to be one of our favourite trends this year. So pick a texture, we’re big fans of a ribbed knit, and double down.

2. LAYER IN A TURTLENECK Pretty much as ubiquitous, and essential, as a jumpsuit by now, the turtleneck can single-handedly transform an outfit for fall. Layer underneath a button up, a jumpsuit, overalls, a dress, a sweater, a jacket.. we could go on all day.

3. TOP WITH SHEARLING Just like that faux fur pillow on your couch starts to feel a little wrong, and sweaty, in the dead heat of summer, soft textures have a way of representing the cold. Shearling is our favourite way of signifying fall in one fell swoop of an OOTD.

4. ADD A STATEMENT BOOT First of all, wearing white after Labor Day is the best. Second of all, boots are a no-brainer closet go-to in the world of fall fashion. So make sure yours stand out.

5. WEAR SOCKS Not only to they warm your toes, they warm our sartorial hearts. So let them peek out the top of your ankle boot, oxford loafer or mule. Socks are an accessory, not just a present from your grandmother.

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Milena Silvano shawl coat; Giu Giu Nonna turtleneck; Giu Giu Nonna skirt; Grey City Sadie Bootie, Faris Linelashes earrings; Rachel Comey socks (similar here). 

All photos by Local Creative

 

New York’s Anna Gray Shares Her Vintage Shopping Tips

When it comes to vintage shopping, we trust everything Anna Gray has to say. As a writer and model living in New York City, she knows the ins and outs of shopping for vintage on a budget. Anna moved to New York when she was 18 and has since filled her plate with anything she could get her hands on. From studying literature to working four jobs at once, she was a quick study of the city’s hustle. With her “say yes to everything” motto (including hand-me-downs) and family influence (the eccentric closet of her grandmother and her mom’s love of vintage), there’s always a ton of inspiration to find in Anna’s unique approach to style.

Lucky for us (and you, naturally) we caught up with her to chat about personal style and get an honest play by play of shopping vintage. Just three of her tips and we promise you’ll be ready to thrift!

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WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER A LOVE FOR VINTAGE? Being a small kid/late bloomer, hand-me-downs have always had a majority stake in my wardrobe. My mom loves vintage and my Grandma’s closet is INSANE (neon orange paisley jumpsuits, costume jewelry, leopard print everything, etc.) so I was always dipping into their reserves. It makes me very sad that their feet are smaller than mine.

WHY DO YOU SHOP VINTAGE? I like recycling old clothes and wearing things no one else is wearing!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST VINTAGE SCORE TO DATE? Oh wow so many things. Men’s red suede cropped bell bottoms, a gigantic black velvet Norma Kamali turtleneck, my black sueded and fox fur winter coat…

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW TO VINTAGE SHOPPING? Know your size! Seriously, measure your entire body and commit the inches (or centimetres) to memory. This goes for shoes too. Vintage shoes run smaller than contemporary sizes. And be mindful of fabrics – it should look and feel nice.

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TOP 3 TIPS FOR FINDING THAT PERFECT VINTAGE PIECE:

  1. I try not to buy any synthetic materials. I touch everything looking for silk, cotton, wool blends, cashmere and the like because they feel nice on the skin and are usually better quality.
  2. Try it on!
  3. It’s taken me years to actually practice this but I try to have an idea of what I want before I start browsing. Can be as vague as “pants” or as specific as “metallic gogo boot” but it helps narrow the playing field. Vintage shopping is pretty exhausting (in a good way).

WHO DO YOU LOOK AT FOR INSPIRATION WHEN SHOPPING FOR VINTAGE? I like to wear ’60s and ’70s silhouettes – mod dresses, flared jeans. I love looks from the ’50s but feel a little matronly when I actually find similarly evocative pieces. We all have the same cool-girl heroes: Jane Birkin, Jackie Kennedy, Bianca Jagger, Francoise Hardy…. I buy whatever makes me feel like a babe.

WHERE DO YOU SHOP VINTAGE? The only “vintage” store I frequent in NYC is Salvation Army (a treasure trove) and maybe some little hole-in-the-walls. I love finding good vintage stores in other cities. I just polled all of my Canadian friends for their favorite Toronto spots and that is where I found previously mentioned Norma Kamali velvet turtleneck!

Check out Anna’s picks from our Vintage Pop-Up before they get away:

Upstate New York with Gamma Folk designer Lily Piyathaisere

Sometimes, you just need a change of scenery. That’s exactly what happened for Lily Piyathaisere, designer of the handmade statement jewelry line Gamma Folk, who traded the concrete jungle for fresh air and trees when she packed up her life in Brooklyn and moved to upstate New York. We caught up with Lily and asked her to show us around her new hometown, as well as provide some inside scoop on where to go and what to do on a weekend trip upstate.

A day at Manhattan Beach with Clyde founder Dani Griffiths

These are the final days of the summer. Hard to believe, but it’s true. And in New York, that means it’s hot, it’s sweaty, and the AC just ain’t cutting it anymore. Dani Griffiths, the founder of rad accessories brand Clyde, knows the secret to staying cool in the city — her amazing line of NY-made hats keep faces shaded from the sun and makes anyone who wears them look good while beating the burn (double win). For Dani, a breezy escape to the beach is a must to get the most of out the dog days. Here, she tells us all of the sweet and sandy details about her end-of-summer affair with Manhattan Beach.

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Meet the Designer: Sarah Choi of RHOI

You know that feeling when you discover something that fills a void in your life that you never knew you had? That’s how we felt when we found RHOI. The unstructured ease and standout silhouettes of their comfy yet luxe women’s wear line is already making waves with just three seasons under their belts. Designers, and Calvin Klein alums, Sarah Choi and Douglas Reker founded RHOI together (it’s a combo of their last names) with the idea of creating a versatile line that’s bold and beautiful, but free of clutter and excess. It’s an aesthetic honed in the ’90s CK heyday and one that seriously resonates with our lives today. We caught up with one half of the dynamic duo to get the inside scoop on this label on the rise.

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HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE RHOI WOMAN? We think she lives by a less is more sentiment, someone who is not going to let her clothes get in the way of her life. A woman who understands that being at ease and comfortable, understated and elusive, can be just as glamorous and powerful as throwing on sky-high heels and a red lip. She’s looking to build a timeless wardrobe with pieces that are as versatile as she is.

Greg Armas of Assembly on style, slow fashion and bicoastal retail

“I started finding that a lot of interesting academic psychic, explorer, and adventurous avatar-type of individuals seem to disappear,” Greg Armas says, describing his Spring/Summer 2016 ready-to-wear collection for Assembly. “The classic examples were Amelia Earhart and Maria Orsic.” We think both of those women would certainly approve of Assembly’s striking, utilitarian pieces. Brave of heart, mixed with a little intrigue, is a fitting mood for Greg, the founder and designer of Assembly. He was first a galleryist in Los Angeles before starting his first foray into retail, Scout, on Third Street in LA back in 2003. He made the move east to open Assembly New York in 2008, launched their namesake label in 2012, and this year, embraced the bicoastal lifestyle with a second location, Assembly Los Angeles.

This month we’re excited to be the exclusive retailer of three pieces from the SS16 collection. So we caught up with Greg to find out more about his approach to retail, his own personal style and the best place to get tacos in LA.

Shop Assembly >

ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF A RETAIL SPACE AND GALLERY SIMILAR FOR YOU AND YOUR APPROACH? We’ve always run the shops as galleries and built our relationships with clients and designers as such. This can be challenging, considering retail’s breakneck pace, so at times we opt for more of a slow fashion mindset.

Meet the Designer: Wray Serna

Known for her eclectic prints and beautifully constructed, easy to wear pieces, Wray Serna has Brooklyn to thank for her creative inspiration. The designer lives there with her painter husband and the creative duo dream up the whimsical prints and patterns for each collection of her eponymous line, brought to life with vivid fabrics. Never forsaking comfort for style, it’s easy to throw on something from Wray and run out the door, looking put together without any effort at all.  Having only just launched her label during Spring/Summer 2015, Wray quickly garnered a fan-base and accolades from the likes of Vogue. It’s easy to see why. Wray’s comfy, quirky-cool classics are the kind of wardrobe staples that you will want to wear over and over. We know we do. We sat down with the talented designer to chat about inspiration, her design process and her love affair with travel and art.

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