Friday Playlist

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This week, BurdaStyle gets literate. PLAYLIST THEN WE CAME TO THE END

I make it a rule not to read “it” books. You know the kind of books I mean: The Corrections, Everything is Illuminated, that Marisha Pessl book, “Calamity Physics” or whatever. I’m not saying these books are bad. I’m not saying they’re good. I’m saying I haven’t read them. And yet: Due to the inundation of book reviews, author interviews and gossipy items about new townhouses and film options, and also due to the everywhere, empty, cocktail party jowling about these novels, I could probably give you a pretty accurate plot synopsis of each of them. If absolutely necessary, I could it while drunk, as part of some pretentiously malfeasant cop’s roadside sobriety test. “Walk the line,” I imagine him saying, “and tell me what happens in Ecuador.” “In Indecision?” I reply, slurring a little on the double “in.” “Of course in Indecision!” he answers, giving me a tap with his nightstick. Then he twirls his mustache.

Thursday Fashion

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This week, BurdaStyle gets literate. FASHION DESIGNER: BON&GING

“Intellectual fashion” used to strike me as an oxymoron. Fashion was something for girls who spent an hour feathering their bangs in the morning. Intellect was possessed by women who had better things to do with their time. I’ve been reeducated, of course: Elsa Schiaparelli was as Dada as Breton and Man Ray; Geoffrey Beene was a mathematician, playing elegant games with the geometry of cut. More recently, designers

Wednesday Beauty

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This week, BurdaStyle gets literate. BEAUTY ME & THE BEAN

About a month ago, well into the winter blahs, my best friend convinced me that what I really needed to do to shake up my hermit routine was, no, not a vacation, no, not a winning lottery stub, and no, not a haircut, which is what I’d been promoting as my ticket to happiness. What I needed was a detox. She’d do it with me! It’d be great! Like rehab, only different! The detox concept was reasonable, in theory: We’d melt away the winter weight and sweep out the mental cobwebs, all in one ten-day fell swoop. And so, dutifully, I followed her to the organic store and stocked up on lemons, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. We were planning to fast. Or, OK, she was planning to fast, and I was testing the waters of the idea of fasting, a concept that did not, frankly, hold much appeal. I invest a lot of psychological significance in my ability to eat a chocolate chip cookie when I feel like eating one; I often wonder how people with gluten allergies navigate a world without baked goods.

Tuesday Icon

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This week, BurdaStyle gets literate. ICON DOROTHY PARKER

There are scenes, and then there are scenes. What CBGBs was to punk rock, the Algonquin Round Table symbolizes to modern American journalism. Night after night, The New Yorker’s original leading lights gathered there, trading boozy bon mots and poison barbs across the table as they plotted the agenda for urbane conversation in the Prohibition era. There’s not a writer I know who hasn’t at some point wished to have been alive to make that party. Dorothy Parker was the sharpest wit of the bunch, an acidic advance of the Carrie Bradshaw type, perpetually single, perpetually out, perpetually enmeshed in dubious affairs and perpetually turned-out in Poiret-age get-ups that look oh-so of-the-moment right now.

LIT GIRL

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LIT GIRL

Growing up in Florida, there were only two things to do when it rained all weekend: Read a book, or go the mall with Ashley. The mall usually involved Kim and Carrie, too, and then some lounging over smoothies at the food court, and inevitably, the whole point of the mall, a visit to Contempo. Contempo was the place you’d go for, say, a pair of lace-trimmed denim shorty-shorts, and the matching vest, or for a floral baby doll made from fabric slick as an oil spill. I was not a Contempo girl. My tastes in high school were cautious and tomboyish; very Gap, in other words. But Ashley and Carrie and Kim lived for Contempo, and so off we’d go, me idling by the racks as my three live-fast friends plunged into the dressing rooms. I think my antipathy towards H&M was seeded in those rainy Contempo days: Here we go again, cheap, on-fad, disposable. Anyway. As noted, the other option was reading, and reading back then felt something like the opposite of Contempo. I’d curl up with whatever book had struck my fancy that day, and spend the afternoon in moody seduction, the seduction of the reader by the read. There was nothing trendy about it. It was pure.

Saturday Trend

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This week, BurdaStyle takes on life, love and mankind. TREND SHOE FLY

One of the hardest things to accept about climate change is that your consumer choices matter. It’s not hard to accept this in theory, but in practice, when you’re ready for a new pair of jeans, say, it can seem like a terrible hardship to just say no. I mention jeans because denim is incredibly destructive to the environment: The way cotton is raised, bad; the dyeing process, bad; the fact that people wash their jeans a lot; bad. There are better jeans you can buy, but you aren’t necessarily going to get the exact cut you were coveting, and manufacturers are still working out the kinks of wash and wear on the truly sustainable pairs. The denim thing haunts me, but what I ran across last month was the need for new sneakers. Nothing too high-tech, just a walking around pair, and believe me – if denim’s bad, trainers are worse. Then, while I was in L.A., I stumbled across the French brand Veja: I took note of the shoes because I liked the look of them, sleek skimmers and high-tops, but I bought them because it was the right thing to do. Working exclusively with small producers in Brazil, Veja uses only organic cotton and natural rubber for the shoes, and employs fair trade principles for their manufacture. Slam dunk.

Friday Playlist

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This week, BurdaStyle takes on life, love and mankind. PLAYLIST THIS AMERICAN LIFE

I have never met Ira Glass, but I feel like I know him. For years now, I’ve listened to his show on NPR, This American Life, and re-listened to favorites online, and caught up on the shows I’ve missed, and after all this time, I’ve come to feel like we’ve got something special, me and Ira. Radio, as he himself has said, is an intimate medium: It’s like that person in the broadcast booth, he’s talking just to you, you alone. But it’s more than that. Ira knows me. He can anticipate the writers I like, the kinds of stories I’m eager to hear, and the thoughts and doubts I’m going to have about them. When he does an interview, and he laughs, I’m laughing too; Ira is also the master of the pregnant pause, and many times, in those heartbeats of silence on the air, I’ve caught myself holding my own breath along with him. It’s gotten to the point where I can no longer tell whether my tastes are my own, my reactions my own, my point of view my own, or if they’ve all been subsumed into Ira’s.

Thursday Fashion

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This week, BurdaStyle takes on life, love and mankind. FASHION GET UR ECO ON

Once upon a time, looking like an environmentalist pretty much meant looking like a patchouli-smelling hippie. Not so anymore. The ideals of the environmental community have changed, and though you can still find a few hardcore, hemp-raising, off-the-grid types who preach a back-to-nature gospel, much of the focus now is on integrating sustainable goods and practices into everyday modern life. Hence: biodegradable dish soap that smells like lavender and lemongrass, botanical nail polish, and organic wine, to be drunk in recycled-glass goblets. The lifestyle focus extends to fashion. A new generation of designers is emerging, and they are committed to making eco-conscious dressing the ne plus ultra of cool. As Barneys Fashion Director Julie Gilhart told WWD, announcing the department store’s new Barneys Green initiative: “This isn’t a trend. A trend is something that dies. This is a movement.”

Wednesday Beauty

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This week, BurdaStyle takes on life, love and mankind. BEAUTY KISS ME, KISS ME, KISS ME

A long time ago now, a fellow writer friend and I came up with a no-fail pitch: A story about “the break-up kit,” the autopilot stuff all women do after a bad split. The first editor that bit said she wanted to know more, and asked us to do some preliminary research. We called a bunch of our friends, not exactly a random sample, but even so we realized right away that our story had a major problem. We’d theorized that there are a few universal break-up rituals, and as it turned out, there aren’t. Some women rent sad movies and eat ice cream out of the pint. Some women join a kickboxing class. Some women color their hair, others go on safari, yet others try to get laid as soon as possible. One woman said she burned all her sheets and bought new ones, which I thought that was worth a feature all by itself. The only thing we heard again and again was: Lipstick.

Tuesday Icon

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This week, BurdaStyle takes on life, love and mankind. ICON STELLA MCCARTNEY

A guy I knew in London used to be in this not-so- great band with his old flatmate from art school. Said flatmate at some point dated a cute but grungy girl from the fashion department, Stella, who described herself as “from up north” and who tooled around the city in the world’s crappiest hatchback. After seeing the flatmate for a few months, Stella invites him to her parents’ place for the weekend. They ride out to the country, and arrive at a much larger house than the flatmate had expected. The parents are out on the grounds when they get there, so Stella and the flatmate perch themselves in a den of some kind, and wait. There are photos on the wall. Photos of Paul and Linda McCartney.

MAN & LIFE

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MAN & LIFE

Boy. Boy, boy, boy. I guess it’s true, what they say about spring, all that stuff about life renewing itself as the season turns over. I woke up a week ago to discover a pigeon nesting on the ledge outside my bathroom; when I opened the window to let in the fine, warm morning, she flew away, revealing two speckled eggs. She’s back now. Normally, I hate pigeons, and normally, when nature sneaks up on me in New York, I call the exterminator. I have a particular phobia about mice. But here I am, two or three times a day, peering at my pigeon sideways through the windowpane so she doesn’t catch my shadow and fly off. I don’t want to scare her. I feel like we’re in on this springtime together, both of us guarding something precious and potential, she her eggs and me my boy.

Saturday Trend

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This week, BurdaStyle goes L.A. native. TREND WAISTED

Kiss my ass, I thought when I saw the high-waisted jeans at Chloe a couple years ago. Like most women, I’d built a fine collection of denim around the idea that a dark, slouchy, skinny pair that rides the hips was about as sexy as jeans could get. Screw you, Phoebe Philo, my mind played on, half apologizing to the departing Chloe genius as my train of thought kept running. It’ll never happen.

Friday Playlist

This week, BurdaStyle goes L.A. native. PLAYLIST DIDION

I had a hard time with L.A. at first. At first, it was a blur of cars and parties and beaches; I was on vacation and the city made no firm impression. The second time I was supposed to visit, I didn’t go: My flight was due to leave on September 16, 2001, and though the planes were in the air again by then, I was haunted not only by thoughts of flying, of airports, of unbroken blue sky, but also by the fear that New York might not be there for me when I returned. I postponed the trip eight months, and there again, the beaches, the cars, the parties in houses with large windows facing out on barbeque backyards. I had come from a city fraught with disaster, and Los Angeles struck me like a theme park ride, everyone laughing, laughing, laughing as the world spun out of control.

Thursday Fashion

This week, BurdaStyle goes L.A. native. FASHION LEFT COASTING

Let’s get something straight: Los Angeles is not a fashion capital. A style capital, perhaps. A capital of the garment trade, yes, inasmuch as a good deal of buying, selling and producing goes on there. Increasingly, a shopping capital, boasting not only stalwarts such as Fred Segal and the paparazzi-plagued Kitson, but also a growing number of trendsetting stores like Klasse LA, Scout, Creatures of Comfort, and as of next month, the West Coast outpost of New York cool kid boutique Opening Ceremony. But a fashion capital is something different, a city whose runways set the pace not for the locals but for the world. L.A. remains mired in provincialism, hosting only a very few designers able to conceive a world where people wear things other than jeans, bikinis, spangled tee-shirts, flip-flops and red carpet gowns.

Wednesday Beauty

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This week, BurdaStyle goes L.A. native. BEAUTY BROW BEATEN

This is a big season for the eyebrow.

Scratch that, I’m starting over. Sometimes writing about beauty really makes me feel like an idiot. A big season for the eyebrow? Seriously?

Anyway. A few years ago I was a full-time beauty idiot, and in the course of sort of, well, luxuriating professionally,

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