Friday, September 23, 2016

Vintage Yohji

Yohji1 Yohji6 Yohji3 Yohji2 Yohji4 Yohji5 On Day 4 of NYFW I went 90's inspired with a silk slip dress, oversized asymmetrical blazer and dark lipstick. I absolutely love this look - it makes me feel like Winona Ryder in her heyday - its edgy vibe went perfectly with the shows we'd be attending later in the day.

When it comes to NYFW I think there is a lot of pressure to go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe. Everyone is bringing out their best pieces - it bags, statement shoes and rare finds - and dress to impress is a given. Unfortunately this can be very unkind to your wallet, so I wanted to break down today's look to show you how you can stay on trend with items already in your wardrobe.

Everything I'm wearing in today's OOTD is something I already owned well before our trip to New York.  I picked up this silk slip dress in the clearance section at Macy's over 10 years ago when I was on a strict budget and needed a dress for a wedding. I think it cost me $40.  Fashion is cyclical and lucky for me, slip dresses are back in full force.

Below I've linked some of my favorite slip dresses out right now.  Each one is less than $100.
Slip dresses are super versatile - they look great with t-shirts, sweaters or just as a stand-alone piece - but I love to pair them with blazers to really pay homage to their edgy, 90's vibe. The key to wearing a blazer with a slip dress is that is must be oversized. (The one exception being a cropped leather jacket.) You want the proportions to match, but the textures to be in opposition.  If the dress is silk, choose a wool blazer.  Going for the crushed velvet look?  Pair it with viscose.  My vintage Yohji Yamamoto jacket is asymmetrical just like the dress.  It's lightweight fabric plays off the heavy silk and the strong shoulders add some heft to an otherwise feminine silhouette.
Finally, let's talk shoes. Lace-up, wrap and anything with buckles or ties is huge right now. Whether it's a pair of flats, boots or high heeled sandals, the added feature adds beautiful complexity to an otherwise simple ensemble.  My Nick Murphy wrapped sandals were purchased on a trip to Hong Kong 10 years ago!
Wearing Vintage Yohji Yamamoto blazer // Silk slip dress (old) // 
Pianegonda rings // Nick Murphy wrap sandals

Thursday, September 22, 2016

New York Fashion Week SS17 Recap Part IV

With designer Angelys Balek whose collection I adored!

Today is the first day we’re allowed to sleep in, but not by much. I savor my coffee – it’s putting me right again after last night – while getting ready for Timo Weiland.

Timo is a contemporary line that creates classic American pieces with a modern twist. Think preppy, but with an edge. If the name isn’t ringing a bell, chances are you’ve seen Timo Weiland pieces and not even known it. They did a big collaboration with Banana Republic last season, and during a week filled with ornate hand-sewn garments and highly conceptual pieces, they are one of the most accessible lines to show during NYFW.

Their presentation opens with a musical tribute to 9/11. Being in New York on September 11th is something I will always take very seriously. The way the city comes together to remember those who lost their lives, the bonds you witness between the FDNY, and the small touches people do to pay their respect evokes a deep reverence.

Timo is showing at Samsung 837, an interactive space that is super cool, but not really conducive for a fashion show. Our first glimpse of the garments is at an angled aerial view: the collection is 90’s inspired, featuring animal prints in moody colors, mixed media jackets and spaghetti strap maxi dresses. Upon closer look, I take in the details: scalloped edging on skirts and dresses and tiny ruffles on cropped bell pants.
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I love this suede jacket with patent leather pockets!

After Timo I was invited to Bumble & Bumble for a consultation and cut with one of their stylists. I arrive at their uptown salon – a beautifully decorated space with modern furnishings and a spa – and wait in the library for my stylist, Lan. We discuss options and she recommends keeping my length as is, but slant cutting the ends to give my hair more movement. The end result is beautiful, works so much better with the way I like to style it in loose waves, and I leave the salon on cloud nine from such a wonderful experience.

Check out my before and after shots!

Our next show was a presentation for designer Angelys Balek at the High Line hotel. I’m obsessed with this venue (we attended Mara Hoffman here last season) and as soon as we walked in, I was obsessed with the collection too. Inspired by the sunsets in Phuket, Thailand, the designer featured watercolor prints, supple textures, embroidery and fluid silhouettes. I loved her blend of silk and linen pieces – the slip dress, wrap top and high waist slit pants evoked a chic easiness that I want to be wearing come spring. Her mix of ruffled accents with flowing silk is everything I want in a wardrobe – volume and texture done right. And don't even get me started on the shoes. The whimsical pleats and ruffles in vivid colors made me swoon!
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Here’s a video of the S/S17 collection

We head back to Soho for Berenik, a Swiss label that is known for their free flowing silhouettes and androgynous aesthetic. I take a quick peek backstage with my stylist friend Megan and already have my eye on some pleated silk pants and an oversized paneled blazer. Once the show starts, designer Veronika Brusa doesn’t disappoint. From crisp jumpsuits to silk trapeze dresses, the entire collection is light and airy with accents of dusty rose – it’s a perfect embodiment of the cloud and floral prints seen on the garments and at the base of the runway. For the finale, the models lay down, layering themselves together in what I gather is a nod to the designer's inspiration of ‘conceptual dreamstate’.
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Knowing we’ll never make it back to Chelsea for our 7pm runway show, we opt to stay for the after party and catch up with our New York friends. I buy a grey jacket from Berenik’s current collection and by 9:30pm we head out to indulge in some ramen, sticky buns and Sapporo at Ippudo. Berenik3
Wearing the vintage blazer Megan helped me pick out and recreating our signature Berenik pose

Stay tuned for my OOTD photos from NYFW Day 4 on the blog tomorrow!

Monday, September 19, 2016

New York Fashion Week SS17 Recap Part III

Lenny Niemeyer bathing suit // Re/Done Levis (more affordable version here) // Peter Pilotto for Target sunglasses (similar here) // Valentino heels on sale! // Pianegonda rings // YSL bag

Saturday was another early wake-up call as we headed downtown to Clarkson Square for the Dan Liu show at 10am. The designer exclusively featured dresses in a wide range of prints and colors. While I always appreciate the amount of dedication and hard work that goes into a collection, I couldn’t see a cohesive vision and the clothing just wasn’t for me. It was, however, an excellent opportunity to connect with fellow bloggers that I follow on social media, some of which I met for the first time in person.

Coffee is in order so we head back to our hotel to grab some Bibble & Sip and shoot OOTD photos. The heat index is at a record high, so I opted for… a bathing suit. I received several comments on this “top” when I first featured it on my Instagram, but it is, in fact, a bathing suit! In this heat, trust me when I say I would have worn only the bathing suit – Leandra Medine style – had it been socially acceptable. I paired it with Re/Done Levi’s, statement shoes and sunnies, and a classic handbag.
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Now is a great time to acknowledge the hard work of my husband, who takes all of the photos for In Spades. Not only is he the consummate professional, lending his keen eye to each shoot, but we often work in extreme conditions – in this case the heat – where he’s carrying heavy camera equipment or trying to wedge his way onto a massive riser full of photographers. I am forever grateful for his support, creativity and kind spirit. I could not run this blog without him and there is no one else I’d rather take this journey with.

Our next show isn’t until 6pm; marking the largest break we will have for the entirety of NYFW. We take advantage of the time by hightailing it to Soho for one of our New York traditions – a meal a Prince Street pizza. This place is straight up old school New York – owned by an Italian family that covers the walls with photos of celebrities that have eaten there; you order at the counter (better speak up) and eat standing up in their 250 square foot space.

Bellies full, we walk three doors down to my mecca, Ina. A treasure trove of luxury fashion (remember my floor length leather Celine coat?) I dive in and come this close to purchasing a Wes Gordon duster. What do you think – should I have gotten it?

We’re back at Milk Studios for simultaneous presentations from Andrea Jiapei Li and Maison the Faux.
AndreaJiapeiLi2 Andrea showed geometric separates in a neutral color palette accented by hues of electric blue, coral and orange. Standouts were her her triangle handbags, cocoon jackets and voluminous tops. The clothing was eye catching and felt light for spring, which was mirrored perfectly in the game of balloon volleyball the models played during the presentation.
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Maison the Faux is “a creative studio posing as a grand couture fashion house.” Highly conceptual and theatrical, this line strives to take a humorous yet affectionate look at fashion. I likened it to Lady Gaga’s work with Nicola Formichetti on her Haus of Gaga pieces. Not particularly meant for production or self-wear, they skew towards think pieces and performance art. I appreciated the clever take on the “faux” Caution Tape wrapped around the models shoes and accessories.
We grab takeout from our other Italian go-to, Rana NYC, and eat squid ink linguini and arugula flatbread on the floor of our hotel room.

Not ready to call it a night, we walk to the nearest place with live music, a dueling piano/cover band hybrid bar. Within an hour it’s packed to the gills. We are totally blown away by the talent on stage – each musician rotated to every instrument, whether it was piano, drums, guitar, saxophone or lead vocals and had the stage presence of a Broadway veteran. We sing along like fools when they play our requested song – Livin’ on a Prayer – and witness the true embodiment of New York. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

OOTD image links below!

Friday, September 16, 2016

New York Fashion Week S/S17 Recap Part II


7:00am is quite the rude awakening. I manage to rouse myself out of bed and stumble to our go-to coffee shop Bibble & Sip. We have a big day ahead of us – five shows – so I need all the help I can get.

We arrive backstage at Club Monaco courtesy of Bumble & Bumble. The team is set up in a ballroom at the Grand Hyatt and it’s the most zen backstage environment I’ve ever experienced – spacious and relaxed. B&B’s Director of PR walks me through the vision for today – loose waves that have been lived in and evoke a sense of ease. Later in the week I’ll be meeting with B&B for my own hair consultation, so I take note of the cool girl ease.
ClubMonacoBackstage1 Before and After shots of hair by Bumble & Bumble

I love being in the company of the models (yes, I’m staring) and seriously want to steal this model’s jacket (she later makes NY Magazine's Best Dressed list).
Club Monaco makes their first ever appearance at New York Fashion Week! Descending the platforms at Grand Central Terminal, male and female models showcase a see-now, buy-now collection. This concept has caused quite a stir in the fashion industry (read Cathy Horyn’s fantastic article here) as it’s de rigueur to present a collection for the upcoming season (i.e. 6 months away). Rather than spring/summer attire, we are treated to bell sleeved sweaters, metallic pleated maxi skirts and voluminous wool outerwear that can be purchased immediately.
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I'm definitely getting the bell sleeved sweater and those amazing Mary Jane's!

After wrapping our show coverage we head across the street to take some OOTD photos. I’m wearing an insane ruffled top and white pants that quickly becomes my favorite outfit of all time.
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Perplexed by how we’re going to make it to all of our evening shows on time, we map it out. It doesn’t look good.
We arrive at Milk Studios for Chromat and I’m swarmed by street style photographers (I credit my ruffled top).

The show, entitled Hyperwave, opens with an interpretive dance performance by Mela Murder. Chromat is a very innovative brand known for their structural pieces. For S/S17 they showed swimwear and athleticwear in bold oranges, reds and blues. Many of their pieces were created by use of a 3D printer and their ultimate goal is to create accessible well-made fashion for all body sizes and types. In a week filled with mostly sample sizes, I am high fiving the design team for bringing high-level fashion to all.
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Knowing we’ll never make it downtown in time, we opt to skip our 7pm and head uptown for Tadashi Shoji.

Tadashi’s show opens with an illustrated film depicting Noah’s Ark. Inspired by all forms of life and the vision of rebirth, he opens with a soft palette of delicate lace and transitions to animal prints in bold hues.

Tadashi is a master of feminine elegance. You will never see androgynous designs or geometric silhouettes from him – his clothes sashay and float. Movement is a key design component at the house of Shoji and S/S17 was no exception.

Tadashi takes his final bow in pink pants – a trademark move he replicates every season (his F/W16 pants were electric pink!).
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It’s pouring rain and we still have to catch a cab downtown for Demoo Parkchoonmoo. My heart is racing because I know the chances of making it are slim. Sure enough, we arrive at the final venue after the doors have already closed. This time my puppy dog eyes are lost on Security, but by the grace of a very persistent showgoer, we are let inside.

Parkchoonmoo is one of my perennial favorites so I’m extactic. Inspired by “airiness” the designer shows gauze bonded coats, long silk dresses and short jackets in her signature monochromatic color palette. An influence of applied art inspires patchwork denim, something I have never seen from the designer in the 5 seasons I’ve been attending her shows.

We weren't able to capture any photos, but here is a video of the final walk at Demoo Parkchoonmoo.

After such a long day, we head home with tired feet and happy hearts.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New York Fashion Week S/S17 Recap Part I

Exactly one week ago my NYFW adventure began. Spring/Summer 17 marked our fifth season covering the inspiring, chaotic and creative adventure I like to call, “my drug”.

Below is a play-by-play of what I actually do during my time in New York. If you enjoy this format, let me know in the comments below!

Our flight leaves at the crack of dawn so I don’t wear any makeup and my hair resembles Edward Scissorhands’. I happen to be sitting behind a lead stylist from Nordstrom who I overhear talking about the shows she’ll be attending (hint, they are huge). We exchange cards and she graciously compliments me on my outfit even though I look like death warmed up.

Due to some bad weather our flight has to be rerouted, adding 1.5 extra hours of flying time. We have a show immediately after landing, so my internal panic begins to set in.

Our flight finally lands and the airline manages not to lose my luggage like last season. Score!

We check into our hotel and I have just enough time to spend 2 minutes on my makeup, throw my hair in a ponytail and reach for the shoes sitting at the top of my luggage (thankfully they are heels). No time to change clothes.

We arrive at Pier 59 for the Fashion Palette Australian Ready-to-Wear lineup and the show has already started. I give security puppy dog eyes and they unlock the doors to let us in.

Here's a video of our frenzied trip to the venue!


Six Aussie designers present their collections in succession. My favorite is Cristahlea who showed ladylike dresses in crushed velvet and florals, accented with ruffles and crystal adornments. I liken the collection to Ulla Johnson’s femininity (with a more fitted silhouette) and Valentino’s eye for embellished detail.

Once all six designers have presented, it becomes abundantly clear the level of talent coming out of Australia is fierce and the rise of these young labels is eminent. Expect to see brand trajectories on the level of fellow countrymen and women Ellery and Dion Lee. You heard it here first!
Babies and bunnies on the runway at Milanja.  Look out for yellow as an emerging color for spring!

After the show I’m flying high on fashion adrenaline and desperately need an outlet. What better way to expel my energy than with a little shopping?

I’ve long been a fan of indie line The Arrivals and they are hosting an open house at their NYC headquarters. We hightail it to Union Square and I’m treated to a private appointment featuring their new lineup. After much deliberation, I choose a leather jacket for me and a down bomber for my husband. Just call me Cher Horowitz.

The ladies on The Arrivals team are amazing (they have a giant T-Rex hanging above their desks, which is proof of their amazingness alone) and recommend Coffee Shop Bar for us to grab some food and a drink.

The ability to stop for a meal during fashion week is few and far between, so we each finish our dinner (avocado toast and seafood capellini) in about 3 minutes flat. My cold glass of rose is the perfect end to a frenetic day. We laugh at the fact that every year we seem to cut things to the very last minute and reflect on the full day we have on Friday, starting with a backstage look at Club Monaco.

Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

City Sippin'

RM1 RM4 RM3 RM6 RM2 RM5 Last weekend I was in Chicago to visit my sister. I've been to the city many times but am always so impressed by it's architecture, fashion and food scene so I was excited to stop into RM Champagne for a drink. I'm actually not a fan of champagne but was delighted to find a jalapeno infused concoction with a chili rim, perfect for an about-to-storm evening.

The atmosphere was prefect for a chill evening before we stuffed our faces with Italian food. I loved the outdoor area with exposed brick, twinkly lights and blue & white tile. My casual look of leather, denim and sneakers fit in perfectly with the after work crowd. I wear a variation of this look a lot because it truly goes with any occasion and is so comfortable. I've linked some options for my go-to tank top, sneakers and leather below.

Photos by John Khuu

Maje leather jacket (old, similar here and here) // Vintage Levi's shorts // Everlane tank //