All Decked Out For Sunday’s Xtravaganza Ball

It is time to get serious as FATHER JOSE XTRAVAGANZA & THE ICONIC HOUSE OF XTRAVAGANZA celebrate their 30th anniversary with the XTRAVAGANZA “WRATH OF THE GODS & GODDESSES” BALL. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you have two choices: 1) go on with your mundane, unenlightened life and leave this post immediately, or 2) clear your calendar, dress up, and prepare to witness. This monumental event will be at XL NIGHTCLUB, 512 WEST 42ND STREET, this SUNDAY, JULY 22ND 2012. DOORS OPEN AT 8PM and the BALL BEGINS AT 11PM. There are ADVANCE TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT http://www.showclix.com/event/XBALL for $20, or at the door for $30. 

I can’t spend this morning explaining to you what Ball Culture is, but you can go on line and learn about a universe that has its beginnings over a century ago. The modern "Houses" often named after fashion icons became popularized by the movie Paris is Burning, a Jennie Livingston documentary which featured legends such as Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, Anji Xtravaganza, and Willi Ninja. Madonna woke up the planet with the video "Vogue," featuring Jose and Luis Xtravaganza of the “House of Extravaganza.” I can go on and on but it’s best you come and see the real, the wonderful, the exciting, the style, the drama that this Ball will bring. An Xtravaganza Ball doesn’t happen all too often and I advise in the strongest possible way that you attend this event.

I have been asked by Grandfather Hector Xtravaganza and Father Jose Xtravaganza to be a judge at the Ball. For me, this is one of the greatest honors of my life. I am gushing. What to wear? I judged a ‘Ganza Ball once before and wore head-to-toe Yves Saint Laurent. This year I wanted to go the bespoke clothing route that all the bon vivants around town are embracing. My dear friend Caitlin Kinirons contacted me randomly about SEW Bespoke Clothing, 229A Mott Street, and we were off to the tailors.

From their release:
"SEW opened November of 2007, a boutique for high-end custom-made menswear in the Nolita neighborhood. A unique line of bespoke jackets, funky blazers, dress shirts, ties and pocket squares, SEW brings the distinctive look of Downtown New York City infused with Old World custom tailoring" to lower Manhattan. All meticulously hand sewn by local artisans in NYC, reflective of where our customers are going and where we see men’s fashion evolving to."

Omg,OMG,OMG! They have nice clothes. I became best friends immediately with SEW founder and designer Scott Evan Wasserberger (SEW). We talked of gin and beer and clubs and folks of lore while he and Caitlin made me look like a gentleman. Scott is a third generation tailor. Him and his family know how to dress people for success, and he decked me out. I’m not going to tell you what I’m wearing; I’ll let you see the ensemble Monday when I put up pictures from the Ball. SEW has these unreal fabrics from such companies as Loro Piana and Dormeuil and says boldly, "If you can dream it, SEW can make it.” Everything is made in NYC and, come Sunday, I am going to flaunt it. 

From The Sex Scene To The Twist Ending: ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2’ Is Epic

Here are some things you need to know about Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2.

1.     There’s a sex scene that makes you feel like you took E and a hit of a bong, drank a milkshake, and are discovering human touch for the first time in your life. This song plays the entire time.

2.     Every part involving Bella & Edward’s child Renesmee Cullen melts your heart into a tiny puddle of butter and love.

3.     Out-of-place clothing choices:

– In one scene, Robert Pattinson wears a hoodie that looks like he just cleaned out his garage.

– In one of the last scenes, Kristen Stewart wears a dowdy striped shirt with her hair messily up as if she just mopped up Renesmee’s spilled apple juice.

4.     In the opening scene, this song plays, restoring your faith in the magic of life, synth, and light reggae beats.

5.     There’s a twist ending that will blow your mind and it’s too epic to talk about.

I hope you’re ready…

Monkey Business: Bonobos Expands to Personal Guide Shopping

Bonobos, the popular online men’s shop, are much softer and more luxurious than the ones I order from my old catalog. Yep, I’m a mail-order shopper, which puts me one posture point above the Snuggie purchaser on the evolutionary ape-to-flaneur chart. Nothing terrifies me more than a store clerk asking if I need help. Which is why the opening of the brick and mortar shop in Flatiron is such a mystery to me. And, similarly, why has Piperlime, the online bastion from Gap Co., gone and built a walk-in catalog? It seems to merge all the comfort and ease of leisurely browsing online with everything that’s not that.

The Guide Shops, as they’re called, aren’t exactly retail stores. They require an appointment (you can make one online), and instead of browsing alone, a Bonobos guide spends forty-five minutes helping you try on pants and jackets. Please, you may think,I can try on pants myself. No, you can’t! For example, I’ve been under the impression for the past five years that I wore a 32 by 34 trouser. Nuh-uh. Lauren, my guide, fixed that shit right up. With an eyeball, she diagnosed my waist as a 31. I tried on a 32 out of stubbornness—sure enough, there was an inch between my thumb and the button! Now I’m rocking a 31, and I feel brand new.

As for the jacket, I’ve been a 40 L since my 18th birthday (first suit). Not true! Lauren handed me a 38, and it was like leaving the Republican Party for the Party Party. Also, I’m not a Republican. Next cool thing: they give you beer. Even if your appointment’s at 11am. And there’s just something awesome about having a card in your wallet for the professional pants-fitter. Especially when the only other card in your wallet is for the dermatologist (mole checks, naw mean?). The point is, I went into the Guide Shop experience terrified of being assessed by a stranger, and by the end, I was ready to open a tab. Lauren told me that some customers just text her personal phone asking her to send them trousers, which works. You can also hire the guides to come to your home or office and throw a Pants Party, which is like a Tupperware party but with colorful chinos. “We were just at Facebook this week,” Gina, the PR rep, told me. Presumably helping them change out of pajamas.

Their clothes do indeed have some crucial details. The waist is curved, “which gets rid of that khaki diaper butt.” The shirts are cut to eliminate “billowing muffin top.” And you can get a lot of the clothes in a slim version if you’re on the ectomorphic side. But the main draw is the cool pocket lining, which comes in prints like houndstooth and paisley, so when you walk around, the design peeks out your back pockets. What does your back pocket print say about you? If you’re sharp, it should say “a professional helped me pick these out.”

United Colors of Knitted Sex Positions Comes to Soho

As it turns out, a lot can happen in three weeks: a vacant garage in Soho can be turned into a pop-up store, a bunch of colorful, wind-defying knitted clothes can be thrown into the space, and several life-size, knitted sculptures of couples in Kama Sutra positions can be hung from the ceiling and ogled at. And so begins the story of the latest United Colors of Benetton pop-up shop.

Celebrating “The Art of Knit” (and many other things), United Colors of Benetton’s new concept store is a bit of a wonderland; one walk through, and you feel like you swallowed a ball of rainbow yarn and then methodically spit it out onto the four surrounding walls. But it’s all in good fun – lots of fun, actually – since the clothing store is unlike any other clothing store you’ve walked into, probably.

Most notably because knitted sculptures of couples in sex positions hang from the ceiling. Yes, I said it before, but I’ll say it again. We’re talking life-size statues, which is kind of ironic because those couples certainly don’t need clothes (and such beautiful wool clothes at that) when they’re in those positions, but that’s not the point.

Other unique nuances include the assorted “home goods” on the walls – knitted mirrors, hammers, skateboards, cacti, and flags – that will be auctioned in December, when the pop-up leaves this fair land with the new year. All of the home goods were made by just 12 students from FABRICA, a venerable art and design school in Italy, and all of them were created in just the past three weeks. Talented folk.

And if you’re too busy staring at the sculptures and trying on knitted socks and shawls to remember the time, the pop-up has a handy-dandy multimedia clock to remind you, with each digit on its own screen, photographed, and made of yarn. Yes, there is a theme here.

And who would have thought, you know? That a shop filled with knitted sweaters, sex positions, and cacti could literally just pop-up next to a BP gas station. Soho, these days. Thank heavens. 

United Colors of Benetton Pop-Up

Hamptons Opening: Everything But Water

No, it’s not an ominous headline for the latest threat of drought. Rather, prodigious providers of chic swimwear and accessories Everything But Water have finally made a home in the chicest beach town of all, joining the summer celeb-chasing parade that is East Hampton.

And aesthetically, they’ve gone charmingly local, with design elements including reclaimed boardwalk wood and sand-colored flax linen curtains adoring the cabana-style fitting rooms. Labels abound, from Marc by Marc Jacobs to Nanette Lepore to Betsey Johnson to Trina Turk to the retailer’s own eye-poppingly colorful new label EBW Pareos. Splish splash!

New York Opening: Dior Homme

With devoted Dior gents sartorially stranded by the ongoing renovation of the Madison Avenue flagship, this stopgap Soho store comes with a certain exigency. Located in a rather epic, neoclassical-looking building on Greene Street, Dior Homme stocks the full Dior arsenal, from accessories to fragrance to footwear to ready-to-wear.

Unsurprisingly for the neighborhood, interiors feature skylights, soaring ceilings, and exposed brick. The space’s art – a neon text piece by Scottish situationist artist Robert Montgomery – cleverly contrasts the offerings of this luxury brand. 

Industry Insiders: UNTUCKit’s Founder Chris Riccobono

“The best ideas are ones that solve problems for yourself,” says Chris Riccobono. And with the creation of his shirt company UNTUCKit, he did exactly that. After years of being fed up with wearing button-down shirts that were too long or too tight (thus, necessitating tucking) Riccobono launched UNTUCKit, a collection of men’s shirts that look good untucked and fit a variety of men’s body types –  the first of its kind.

Since its debut, such celebrities as Channing Tatum and Matt Damon have been seen wearing the shirts, and the fan base just keeps expanding, from men in their twenties to sixties – to women. “I receive orders from women who thank us for solving this problem for their husbands and boyfriends.”

Despite the increasing demands and the challenging economy, Riccobono maintains a relaxed managing style – “the opposite of corporate America – and is grateful for his family’s positivity amid the risks of owning a company. “There are many sleepless nights. If you fail, you essentially need to start over from scratch. There will be a lot more failures than successes, but you only need one to make it.”

Hamptons Preview: C. Wonder

With barely a snowflake having touched down in the New York Metro area all winter, suddenly the Hamptons season is upon us. And these days even the Jitney crowd craves style at an attainable price. And so J. Christopher Burch’s C. Wonder will be–literally–popping up along Southampton’s Main Street just in time for the sound of popping beach umbrellas.

A sensation when it debuted in Soho this past October, C. Wonder’s new Hamptons summer pop-up shop will cater to more breezy concerns, with fanciful gifts, brightly-hued fashions and flip flops, roller skates, and picnic baskets–along with specialized monogramming and engraving services to make your friends jealous. The brand’s whimsical, wildly colorful aesthetic inclinations (interiors are done up with animal motifs and nautical-themed window displays) are bested only by its friendly price points–the average product costs only about $40. A corresponding pop-up will also open in Nantucket. Opens Memorial Day. 

Celebrate NYC: Mia Fonssagrives Solow’s New York-Inspired Design Collection Opens March 28th

Sure, summer in the city might be so good it warrants a song (and a whole lot of tourists), but true New Yorkers know the city is in its prime during the spring; happy hours move outside, picnics replace nights in on Netflix, and the underground subways don’t yet feel like a urine-saturated, scalding underworld.

So when the city is at its best, why not celebrate it! On March 28th, artist and designer Mia Fonssagrives Solow launches her New York-inspired collection at The Museum of the City of New York. A testament to the beauty, brilliance, and eccentricity of NYC, the collection showcases a sundry array of home goods, fashion pieces, and jewelry. Trace the skyline and towering skyscrapers gleaming in the scarves, vases, and cuff links; follow the city’s grid fashioned on a fashionable dress. When you’re done, try to piece together NYC with a wooden puzzle.
 
Gleaming with the skyline, crystalline city lights, and even its signature sports colors, Fonssagrives honors the city and the people who have helped shape it. In a way, its almost like celebrating yourself – so, why not?
 
Mia Fonssagrives Dress