BlackBook Fêtes the New Print Issue at Gansevoort Park Avenue

Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

Last night, we took over the Penthouse of Gansevoort Park Avenue to celebrate the return of BlackBook Magazine. Partnering with Cole Haan for the relaunch party, the night started off with cocktails courtesy of Veev Spirits (Brazilian Mules and Gimlets), Qui Tequila (the world’s first platinum extra Añejo Tequila), and Moët Hennessy Wines like Terrazas Torrontes and Newton Claret. Once the imbibing began, our guests were treated to an exclusive screening of filmmaker James Marshall’s “The American Dream Project”: an investigative docu-series presented by Cole Haan. The luxurious yet intimate space was abuzz as the night went on, with guests including BlackBook founder Evanly Schindler, Executive Editors Aaron Hicklin and Jacob Brown, Fashion Director Anne Christensen, and Publisher Hunter Hill and friends of the magazine including James Marshall, Elettra Wiedemann, Isabella Rossellini, Andy Cohen, Sally Singer, Natalia Kills, Nigel Barker. Everyone turned out to toast to the new issue and helped kick off BlackBook’s exciting future.

Get a closer look at BlackBook’s relaunch party below.

 

BLACKBOOK + COLE HAAN & The American Dream Project
Andy Cohen and Hunter Hill Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

 

BLACKBOOK + COLE HAAN & The American Dream ProjectEvanly Schindler Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

 

 

BLACKBOOK + COLE HAAN & The American Dream Project Anne Christensen and China Machavo Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

 

BLACKBOOK + COLE HAAN & The American Dream Project Jon Bond and Kidsmosphere Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

 

BLACKBOOK + COLE HAAN & The American Dream Project
Photo: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com

Is the American Dream Dead or Alive?

James Marshall photographed by Jaesung Lee for BlackBook Magazine

If you listened strictly to the news pouring out of televisions and newspapers across the country, you’d think America was in the pits. Political tensions run high, incomes are low, and that’s to say nothing of the inequalities rampant in minority communities. It’s bad news all around. James Marshall, whose other projects include West Village restaurant Whitehall, wanted to know if the bad news rang true: Was the American dream dead? Marshall called up Cole Haan and recruited friend and photographer Todd Williams to accompany him on a monthlong motorcycle ride to visit eight American towns and cities and staying along the way with people met entirely through social media. The resulting series, The American Dream Project, shows a more hopeful, persevering side of the United States not often seen in the news. Marshall, by the way, learned to ride a motorcycle only three weeks before embarking on his journey. 

What gave you the idea for The American Dream Project?

I had one too many of those days spent barraged by bad news in the media. This is such a great country. I’m from Windsor, about 25 miles west of London, but moved here seven years ago. I thought, No, I’m not going to just listen to this. Let’s find out if this news is true. Is the American dream dead? That seed grew into The American Dream Project.

What were your views of America before you moved here, what did the American dream mean to you then?

Actually, when I came to New York with a little bit of cash, I was so convinced I would be robbed that I split my money–it wasn’t so much, a few hundred dollars–into socks and distributed it around my apartment. I was living in the West Village. I just had an address and a key, and I moved here with that worry. JaesungLee_JamesMarshall_ColeHaan_BB
James Marshall photographed by Jaesung Lee for BlackBook Magazine

I’m surprised you had those worries about moving to a safe neighborhood like the West Village.

But within a few months you realize it’s the safest city in the world. You realize that Americans like people who work hard; they want you to succeed. And if you work hard, you can go somewhere, you can be successful.

Were you ever afraid this project wasn’t going to happen?

This was the biggest project I’ve done so far. I didn’t fully understand how expensive it was to pull a crew together and go across the country for a month. I approached Cole Haan because their philosophy and mine were almost identical. Like me, they believe that substance and quality mean something in today’s world. Cole Haan is also an iconic American brand, founded by immigrants just like me. This project would not have happened without them.

In filming The American Dream Project you met your hosts through social media.

I wanted this to be as genuine as possible. I wanted to meet real people, and the best way to do that was via social media. We sent out blasts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, hashtagging like crazy in the hope that people would reach out.

Were you surprised at how warm and inviting these total strangers were to the request of hospitality for two guys on motorcycles riding across America?

I was blown away. Complete strangers invited Todd and I into their homes, and in some cases, they put up the entire crew.

We’re all human; we want to connect. Yet it’s always a surprise when you connect with people outside of your normal day to day.

The media fills your mind with whatever they are putting out. We are bombarded with sensational or salacious news that doesn’t really feed us anything positive. If you’re not careful about what to listen to, we do tend to, or I tend to, think we are very different. But actually, we’re not. Most people want the same things: security, safety, validation, and to dream. My experience was that we really do have much more in common than we are told we have. It is kind of liberating. ColeHaan_JamesMarshall_JaesungLee_BlackBook_3
James Marshall photographed by Jaesung Lee for BlackBook Magazine

Was allowing social media and chance to dictate your project a different kind of creative process than what you are used to?

I’m used to having an idea and being able to direct something well produced. Here, I didn’t know what the end was going to be. It was refreshing because it was, “Who am I going to meet today?” It was very exciting and nerve-racking because this thing could have been a bust. It could have been one sad story after another.

How do you view creativity?

The new creativity is freedom–people are making movies on iPhones. Social media allows you to collaborate globally. You could have musicians in one country provide music for a Web series that is being made in another country. Everyone can be a creative talent. That could be good and bad because there is a lot of content out there. We need a creative revolution, which we’re in the midst of. With so many online outlets and cameras on every phone, people can make what they want, when they want, and get it out there.

How has this new wave of creativity altered the American dream?

The new wave of creativity has actually enabled people to dream and be inspired by other people’s work because they can see it within minutes of being made. It’s doesn’t have to be an executive in Hollywood but a kid in bumblefuck nowhere making things happen. There are no walls anymore; the walls have come down. 

Did your idea of the American dream change throughout filming?

It definitely evolved as I went along. But I think before I left, I had a view of the American dream that I think most people have, which is this postwar idea of a big house, white picket fence, 2.4 kids, and a dog. That is a prescribed American dream that is put in the minds of many of us, and that’s gone. But what I’ve seen replace that is staggering because it’s evolved into something better. Rather than people aiming for a preprescribed dream, it’s become an individual pursuit. People have now taken up the mantle to think of their own dream. Now the American dream is absolutely individual to each person, which I think is great. For people to be enabled to really dream is exciting. Discover more about the series here.

This story appears in the spring 2015 issue of BlackBook Magazine on stands now.

Made for Play, Cole Haan Introduces ZeroGrand for the Gals

In a testament to the general populations growing adulation for athleticwear and its sporty offspring, Cole Haan’s ZeroGrand is now available for the ladies. The shoe — a hybrid oxford with sneaker-like soles — first debuted for men in last year, and we’ve been patiently awaiting the arrival of this fairer version since.

What’s a commuter shoe, anyway? With this, consider the need for a second walk-to-work pair banished.

The shoe, in multiple colorways and styles, is available now at Cole Haan stores and online.

Cole Haan’s Lightest and Most Flexible Shoe EVER

Oh hi, these are cool. We’ve been all-in over the athletic-wear-as-appropriate-day-wear thing in the BlackBook office — we are enthusiasts — and every now and again with that comes a craving to step it up a notch. Well, from the mouths of babes, right…

Cole Haan’s new ZeroGrand is a super light brogue with an athletic soul sole, and it’s out now. Get ’em here.

 

 

Kick & Play: Dissecting The Wingtip Shoe

Last month, we shared a casual-looking wingtip that was good for that weekend-casual look. This week, we’re going to talk wingtips – but from the dapper, cleaned-up perspective. From the color to the laces, we’re diving into all the pieces of the classiest and most versatile shoe.

Wingtips originally come from the brogue shoe, a style originating from Scotland and Ireland. First used as an outdoors or country-walking shoe, it was not considered to be appropriate for social or formal occasions. Now? It’s perfect.

THE KICKS:

gravitypope: Brown

The art and aesthetic of a brown wingtip is remarkable. It’s the most interchangeable shoe when it comes to work and play. You can throw it on jeans – whether they’re rolled up or not – with socks or without socks. And when you throw it on a suit of nearly any color, it’s game over. My favorite look right now: on a blue suit or tapered jeans.

It’s probably also the easiest color to find, so you can get a good-looking pair at almost any budget.

Available nearly everywhere, but try gravitypope for $175.

Cole Haan: Grey

Cole Haan wingtips

Grey leather might be one of the hardest colors to find when it comes to a well-constructed shoe or boot. If you ever spot somebody with a pair of grey leather wingtips, trust that he or she paid a pretty penny. A more common style, but still a great look, is grey suede.

But the look and feel of a leather grey wingtip is quite stunning. That said, they aren’t a shoe that you can wear with everything. With a pair of dark jeans or pants, this pair gives a standout look. But do be careful: scuff marks don’t look as attractive on grey.

Available at Cole Haan, $248.

Wingtip Colors   

shoe colors

Feeling bold? Many footwear companies are now releasing wingtips in bright colors. From blue shades to bright yellows, there are a lot of ways to personify your outfit by sporting an unusual color. In particular, Cole Haan is a brand that definitely wins this battle, but if there’s a color you desire, it’s out there. Just keep digging.

Laces

shoe laces

Another way to make your shoe your own is to get creative with laces. Just because you have a brown or black shoe doesn’t mean your laces have to be the same. Add a little flare, and change the lace color to something completely contrasting in nature.

Laces available at your local Nordstrom or Forgetful Gentleman, $19.99-$40.00.

THE PLAY:

One Girl Cookies, New York, NY
Meet Juliette. She’ll be your best friend. Why? Because she’s a hazelnut cookie. Two hazelnut cookies, actually, with chocolate cinnamon ganache stuffed between them. One Girl Cookies is a very warm, friendly bakery in Brooklyn’s DUMBO and Cobblle Hill, where every cookie is named after ‘one girl.’ From creative ingredients in their cookies to their fun spikey buttercream on cupcakes, this is a must-visit for sweets-lovers.

Millions of Milkshakes, Los Angeles, CA
So Millions of Milkshakes has become one big party that celebrities regularly show up to. But still, they always make it about their shakes, not the crowd. This is one place in LA that really gives you the power to put whatever the hell you want in your milkshake. From the candy to fruit to nuts to powders to fudge, you select a ton of ingredients, pick an ice cream, and watch them blend. Or just go with a celeb’s favorite. Some drinks are simple (Kim Kardashian Shake: strawberries and bananas topped with whip) while some are absolutely insane (The Jabbawockeez Jabba Zabba Wokstar Shake: Nutella, cookie dough,  nuts, brownies, mixed berries, Ferrero rocher, bananas, Reese’s peanut butter cups, swirl ice cream, whipped cream, and gummy bears).  The name isn’t a joke. You can make or drink whatever your heart desires.

Sauce, San Francisco, CA
Sauce is a restaurant with a tagline: Drink. Eat. What should you eat? The dessert sampler. Why? Because it comes with all three magical creations. Cookie dough bonbons with vanilla ice cream. Fresh cinnamon sugar doughnuts with vanilla bourbon sauce. Strawberry sponge cake with Frangelico peanut butter and vanilla ice cream. This late-night café in San Francisco is just what your Friday nights need.

Walk fresh. Eat right. Be well.

AS

Contact the author of this post at aamir17@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Kick and Play: Shoes. Party. Go.

Lately, I’ve heard many people talk about the struggle to find the perfect boot – the pair that you can throw on with anything and trust it to look and feel good. Sometimes one pair of boots only works with jeans and not your work pants, and vice versa. Meet the pairs that change all that.

THE KICKS:

Wodehouse Chukka by Timberland (to the left)

A brand known for work shoes and a plain look, Timberland introduced the Wodehouse collection a few years ago, and now it lives in its own realm of personal style and function. You get that same lifetime comfort with these Timbs, but look so damn good doing it.

Wodehouse’s super-comfy Chukka boots are a slightly pointed pair with wax-coated laces. They’re built as a mid-top so you can tuck your jeans in for a refined look, or let them hang for that brilliantly messy feel. Blazer, t-shirt, oxford – who cares. They all work.

Available in both black and brown, no pair is the same, since the shoes are hand-finished, full-grain leather with a worn-in aesthetic. That being said, the more you wear them, the better they’ll look. And most importantly, it’ll be your own unique fit. Nobody else’s. Available for $295 at Nordstrom.

Not loud enough? Let’s get wild.

LunarGrand Chukkah by Cole Haan

LunarGrand Chukkah by Cole Haan

For those who want something a little brighter, Cole Haan has taken their partnership with Nike to a new level by recently borrowing their Lunarlon sole technology and beautifully blending it with their very own chukka boot.

Dressed in a soft black suede with a volt (neon yellow) sole, this shoe is definitely a stunner. It’s a pair that you can wear for hours on hours and not have sore feet. With the LunarGrand, you get a great mix of casual aesthetic with traditional feel.

Also available in camel/red, grey/pink and woodbury/orange. Works great on jeans, but get bold with dark chinos. Available for $228, everywhere and here.

THE PLAY:

Smitten Ice Cream, San Francisco, CA

Hey, ice cream is good. But when you taste it at its freshest point, it just might be the best thing ever. No better way to say it, Smitten prides themselves on re-imagining the ice cream experience. Each order is made fresh, and is created from absolutely raw, organic ingredients and liquid nitrogren. Yes, liquid nitrogren. Why? Because it makes the smoothest, freshest ice cream you will have ever had, literally.

Gjelina, Los Angeles, CA 

A staple in the Venice community, the creative fusion-Mediterranean restaurant is perfect for the foodie. Seasonal menus, beautiful people, and all types of energy are here. Hey, it’s LA, right? Atypical from the typical Los Angeles characteristic, the menu is meant for sharing, so the more you order, the better you eat. Known for eclectic array of pizzas, but so good for their grilled goods like corn, shisito peppers, and carrots, Gjelina gives you great food, the LA culture and, likely, a good story. Rock your boots to brunch or dinner, just don’t ask for substitutions.

Momofuku Milk Bar and Bakery, New York, NY

Let’s call 2013 the year of the cookie. And ice cream. And pie. Is that too much? Momofuku is that creative baker-friend you always wanted. Remember sipping on that bowl of cereal milk after you finished your Cheerios? That’s the milk Momofuku uses to create their fantastic soft serve. If ice cream is too cold, try their famous Compost cookie, made of chocolate, butterscotch chips, oats, graham crackers, coffee, and potato chips. It’s one hell of a cookie. And then…the ultimate dessert – the crack pie, full of butter, cream, brown sugar, more sugar, and corn flavoring to give your palette a hit of salty and sweet. As Momofuku pastry chef Christina Tosi is known for saying, it tastes better “with your favorite someone.”

Walk fresh. Eat right. Be well. 

BlackBook Tracks #12: Acts To See at Fashion’s Night Out NYC

It’s Fashion’s Night Out, which for some people, might be the best day of the year (just call it Treat Yo Self 2012). Special deals, limited edition gear, and complimentary drinks and snacks abound. If you’re in NYC, here are some options for music to see around town.

Theophilus London – “Last Name London”

Check out the ever-stylish rapper/Cole Haan collaborator at the Gramercy Park Hotel.

 

Azealia Banks – “1991”

If you weren’t lucky enough to catch her at Spin’s Fashion Week party last night, Yung Rapunxel will be appearing at the MAC store in Soho, presumably to support their new lipstick collaboration.

 

Icona Pop – “Sun Goes Down”

Rising Swedish duo Icona Pop will be bringing their non-stop energy to no less than four appearances tonight. They’ll be DJing at Helmut Lang in Soho, AllSaints in the Meatpacking District, and Mister H at the Mondrian Soho, as well as fitting in a live performance for Urban Outfitters.

 

Poolside – “Only Everything”

Dreams take flight in the new video for Poolside’s single “Only Everything,” their latest slice of chilled-out disco. Catch up on BlackBook’s Q&A with the LA-based duo and check them out tonight at 8 at Moods of Norway in Soho.

 

St. Vincent – “Champagne Year”

Sweet-voiced songwriter St. Vincent always has great style, so it’s no surprise that Rag & Bone are bringing her to their party. Here’s her song “Champagne Year” for a champagne night.

 

Frankie Rose – “Know Me”

The veteran member of Vivian Girls/Dum Dum Girls will take her darker solo project to Theory in the Meatpacking District.

 

Chairlift – “I Belong In Your Arms” (Japanese Version)

Synth-pop darlings Chairlift will be performing at Prada’s party in Soho. This is also sure to be a popular one.

 

Haim – “Forever”

LA rockers Haim have been working their way up for years, and they’re now undeniably buzzworthy. They’ll be playing at Topshop tonight.

 

Wild Belle – “Keep You”

Sibling duo Wild Belle will be bringing their dark pop sound to Mulberry in Soho. If you don’t get to see them tonight, you can always try to see their session at Le Baron next week.

 

POP ETC – “Live It Up”

The reinvented Morning Benders will be lending their weirdo R&B vibes to Morgane Le Fay’s event in Soho.

Cute & Comfortable

We love our Manolos, Choos, and Louboutins, but we need to give our feet a break once in a while. George Malkemus of Manolo Blahnik said it best, “People don’t walk in these shoes. They sit at bar stools and attract crowds.” With all the walking we do here in NYC, it’s essential to carry a pair of flats in your bag. Though sometimes I’m carrying a small clutch and that isn’t an option. By Friday my feet have had enough. If you need to walk more than 20 feet from the bar stool to the bathroom, it’s wise to wear some different shoes. You’ll be glad to hear, there’s no need to sacrifice style for comfort. Here are some options that are both comfortable AND cute. Shh, no one has to know!

Above: Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan “Air Swan” Oxford, $228.

Cole Haan Stephanie Air Pumps (with Nike air comfort technology), $298.

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Perlina Luxury Comfort Boots, $98.

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Naturalizer Bohemia Pumps, $79.

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Cole Haan Presents Angel Taylor

Things heated up musically on Friday night as singer/songwriter Angel Taylor bared her sole — err, soul — for an intimate half-hour acoustic set at the Cole Haan store in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.

The 21-year-old native of California performed songs from her debut release Love Travels in addition to covering a song by labelmate Adele. Taylor’s ethereal vocals and rogue way she takes control of the microphone rivals that of more seasoned performers twice her age, setting her up for some may-jah future success. The only problem I found was staying focused on Angel and not the multitude of shoes ogling me from behind her. My sights shifted simultaneously between Taylor and the most darling pair of slingbacks.