Saturday Trend

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. YOU STUD

Conjure summer style and the pictures in your head are invariably the same: Frothy, airy, breezy on the one hand, short, sexy, punchy on the other. There’s not a lot of room in the summer wardrobe for tough-girl chic, functional and urbane fashion with a touch of baditude. Last summer, girls in New York walked around town in slouchy boots, barely conceding the look to July’s weeklong, 100 degree heat wave; behind that look, I suspect, was the urge to toughen up last summer’s gossamer shifts. We’ve got more shifts in store this coming heat wave season, as well as a summer due, as the last ones have, to break all kinds of temperature records. Boots are out. Instead, look to smart designers like Tiffany Tuttle to fill the void: The Chaconne sandal in her LD Tuttle line beats the heat with some punkish panache, courtesy of the black studs poking out of the leather. If flip-flops bleat, these sandals snarl. Midnight-blue pedicure optional.

Friday Playlist

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. THIS BITES

I like naps. Over the past few years, I’ve developed my own little napping ritual, which involves catching up on the first ten or so minutes of my favorite NPR podcasts before I doze off, and then waking up to the familiar closing credits of shows such as Studio 360 and This American Life. A few months ago, I fell asleep to Fresh Air – Terri Gross’s soft, dulcet voice makes for a particularly good send-off to sleep – and woke up again a little later with the audio still going and my head spinning. Was that Alex Kapranos, the singer from Franz Ferdinand, on Fresh Air talking about food? Or was I dreaming? This had to be some kind of weird alternastate – rock dudes do not, as a general matter, go on NPR to regale high-minded interlocutors with tales of the road, and they certainly don’t go foodie. Tour dining is Taco Bell and backstage riders of vodka and Cheetos, yes?. But, no: I was definitely awake, and Alex Kapranos was definitely on Fresh Air, talking to Terri Gross about his punk-pop palate, promoting his book on that subject, Sound Bites. It was weird.

Thursday Fashion

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. SWIMWARES

Bathing suit season invites so many fitting room anxieties, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact, amid the skimpy butts and sagging tops, that bathing suits are clothes, too. They ought not be exempt from fashion, but as a general matter, they are. The only designers to think outside the box, swimwear-wise, are usually Brazilians like Rosa Cha, whose cut-out maillots and barely-there bikinis could strike fear in the heart of even the buffest, Bundchen-esque glamazon.

How to: Make a Dress Without Using a Pattern

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The next time you find yourself with nothing to wear, and perhaps, a few extra hours in the morning, try making this!

Wednesday Beauty

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. FREEDOM

I give up. When I was a kid, the healthiest thing I could do was a spend a day in the sunshine. I’d be sacked out waching cartoons on a Saturday morning, or playing paper dolls some afternoon with a friend, and all of a sudden my mom would burst in, and deliver the edict: “Go outside.” Then, somewhere along the line, sunshine became an axis of evil and Mom starting packing gallons of SPF 60 sunscreen into my trunk every summer when I went to camp. More recently, the harmful effects of sunlight have been deemed so nasty, doctors and SPF retailers warn us that it’s not enough to bathe in sunscreen before a day at the beach – we’d better work sun guard into our everyday routine. The daily walk from my apartment to the subway station three blocks away, under cloudy skies, apparently cumulates frightening ultra-violet damage. I was a lifeguard. In Florida. I’m totally screwed.

Tuesday Icon

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. LOTTE BERK

Damn you, Lotte Berk. Damn you, I’m thinking.

I can’t remember the name of this instructor, so I’m going straight to the source with my curses in Lotte Berk class tonight. We’re catbacked over the barre, crushing a gym ball between our thighs as we squeeze and lower and lift through the last of a thousand tiptoe plies. And three, and four, and five and… Damn you. Damn you.

SUMMER’S EDGE

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This time last year, I was packing my bags. I’d received a grant, a month of free food and lodging upstate and permission to do nothing but go for long walks and write, my two favorite occupations. I sublet my place, bought a new pair of sneakers, and took off for the country. It rained all month, basically, and so I didn’t do as much walking as I’d planned; neither did I write as much as I hoped, though I wrote quite a bit. But it was nice to get out of town for a while, and into some relative seclusion; my sojourn upstate punctuated what I already sensed as a time of transition for me. I was leaving behind my life of fashion, and magazines articles, and concerts, and gossip, and retreating into my art. When I returned to the City, I shot my first film. I’m only finishing it, now.

Saturday Trend

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This week BurdaStyle gets Stockholm syndrome. CLOG POST

Hippie chic is roaring back into style this summer. Forget the bag lady boho of Rachel Zoe starlets and the Olsen Twins, however. The new thing is to steal tricks from the flower children: Maxi dresses, moccasins, wide-leg denim, and that Swedish staple, the clog. The best pair you can by is from Sven, and the good news is that this is one footwear trend your feet will thank you for. Sven clogs are the Volvo of shoes – solid, functional, comfy. The bad news is that Sven clogs are the Volvo of shoes – solid, functional, comfy. It takes some doing to make them modern. The trick is irreverence. Summer of love literalism will make you look like your in costume, anyway, so keep the peasant dresses and batik-print wraparound skirts in the closet. Pair your clogs instead with urbane streetwear, the skinniest jeans you’ve got and a neon top, a slinky draped dress or baggy mannish suit. Get a pair of Sven’s high-heeled clogs, and you can even vamp a skintight pencil skirt or make a new proportion for your mod mini shifts; over-the-knee socks add a Harujiku girl twist. Clogs may be the Volvo of shoes, but they can take the curves, too.

Friday Playlist

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This week BurdaStyle gets Stockholm syndrome. A BAND APART

My obsession with Sweden began with The Knife. Somehow, I managed to miss last year’s hype about the Stockholm band’s third album, Silent Shout, the first Knife release to make it Stateside and king of many critics’ year-end lists. But the hype unearthed The Knife’s earlier records, the eponymous debut and sophomore effort Deep Cuts, and from the moment I heard the latter’s opening track, “Heartbeats,” I was hooked. Deep Cuts is a uniquely odd album: Techno-pop propulsive and sexy invites you in, and then the record progressively deforms, creeping you out with surreal applications of vocal effects and steel drum. I would say that I’d never heard an album so simultaneously poptastic and alienating, except that I have – The Sugarcubes’ Life’s Too Good. The two albums don’t sound alike, but like The Sugarcubes’ debut, Deep Cuts establishes something entirely new in sound, and it doesn’t wear out; the record is one of those rare ones that reveals something new every time you press play. It’s taken nearly 20 years, but Scandinavia has finally managed to cough up Bjork’s true heirs, The Knife’s Dreijer siblings, and whatever small hesitation I might have had about making so large a claim was entirely laid to rest when I finally came around to Silent Shout.

Thursday Fashion

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This week BurdaStyle gets Stockholm syndrome. GEAR DU NORD

H&M may be the 800 lb, gorilla of Swedish fashion, conquering the world with its aim high-sell low retail strategy, and coercing the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Madonna into producing sell-out collections for the store. Everyone knows that story. But if you really want to take the pulse of style in Sweden, you’ve got to start with the jeans.

Wednesday Beauty

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This week BurdaStyle gets Stockholm syndrome. NORTHERN LIGHTS

“Scandinavian” and “blond” are nearly inseparable ideas in the pop culture. I’ve met swarthy Swedes, and unprepossessing Stockholm exiles with mops of unruly brown hair, but think Sweden and still I conjure a mental nation of flaxen-haired, alabaster-skinned, enviably cheekboned natives, all of them ruddy with good health after a day on the slopes, all of them preparing to retire to the sauna and then onto the lodge for a smorgasbord meal. It’s all very Swedish bikini team and fun-loving stewardess, if you know what I mean, and I can’t help envying my imagined Swedes, even if I know the picture in my head is mostly pap culled from beer commercials. Such are the rewards of growing up American.

Tuesday Icon

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This week BurdaStyle gets Stockholm syndrome. KONICHIWA, ROBYN

Sweden has long been a major exporter of music. Until recently, however, it would be fair to say that most of the music Sweden exported wasn’t very, well, very good. Glossy and catchy, sure, but the specialty of the Swedish music houses was a peculiarly empty kind of pop, made by artists that have mostly been forgotten: Roxette, Ace of Base, Robyn. Remember Robyn? She had that R&B-lite hit back in ’97, “Show Me Love?” Show me love, show me life; baby show me what it’s all about… Ring any bells? The chorus was sticky as hell at the time but once it came unstuck, the song was gone. And so was Robyn.

Tuesday Icon

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This week BurdaStyle gets Stockholm syndrome. KONICHIWA, ROBYN

Sweden has long been a major exporter of music. Until recently, however, it would be fair to say that most of the music Sweden exported wasn’t very, well, very good. Glossy and catchy, sure, but the specialty of the Swedish music houses was a peculiarly empty kind of pop, made by artists that have mostly been forgotten: Roxette, Ace of Base, Robyn. Remember Robyn? She had that R&B-lite hit back in ’97, “Show Me Love?” Show me love, show me life; baby show me what it’s all about… Ring any bells? The chorus was sticky as hell at the time but once it came unstuck, the song was gone. And so was Robyn.

POSTCARD FROM SWEDEN

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POSTCARD FROM SWEDEN

There’s a new bar opening in my neighborhood. Normally, I wouldn’t consider this news. I live on New York City’s Lower East Side, which is tantamount to saying that I live in a theme park for drinking. On my block alone, there’s a wine bar, a speakeasy, and a dubious lounge with red leather banquettes. Just across the avenue, there’s the old standby, a seedy dive no one ever really wants to go to, but where everyone always winds up. Go east, and it’s a sea of hookah bars. The hookah bars are a fairly recent development, but they don’t worry me. This new bar is different. The dudes from Fall Out Boy own it.

Saturday Trend

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This week BurdaStyle goes to the dark side. CHAIN OF GHOULS

A diamond is forever, but jewelry designers seem to have another kind of eternity on their minds these days: Eternal rest. Skulls made a style comeback a few years ago now, and at this point the motif is so mainstreamed it’s lost all sting. Then there were the dagger pendants, still a favorite in certain circles, mean little stilettos of metal meant, I think, to give wearers a campy sense of gangland danger. The campiness exists, too, in jewelry such as Alex + Chloe’s plastic “dead Chanel” necklaces, which sees the infamous double-C logo stabbed through its heart or shot to pieces, in either case spurting blood. It’s a good joke, but it’s not really morbid. More elegant, and more tenderly dark, is Alex + Chloe’s antler pendant, especially poignant in its oxidized silver incarnation. The designers are one of a few working a taxidermy theme these days, alongside, for example, Thorn, which makes an oxidized mouse skull pendant and a ring cast out of tooth, and goldsmith Gerard Tully, whose miniature buzzard and bunny heads have a disturbingly lifelike quality. None of these pieces seem inspired by irony, and they don’t wear “cute,” at least not yet. Maybe it’s just one of those things in the water, a result of Lower East Side and Brooklyn designers all having brunch at the same couple spots where antelope heads are mounted on the wall. But you can’t look at Alex + Chloe’s antlers, for example, and not see the lovely, accidental geometry of nature, or consider, at least fleetingly, all living nature’s inevitable decay. Many times I’ve seen a trend and thought it passing; rare is the trend that makes think: This too shall pass.

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