BlackBook Backstage: Beauty Tips For NYFW Looks

Richard Chai Love
Inspiration: “Lightness”

Makeup: Using a MAC Cosmetics liner (in Dirty Blonde), James Kaliardos created a ’60s-inspired “floating contour” that outlined slightly above the lash line. The rest of the face was paled out and kept nude with MAC’s lip conditioner and lip concealer (in Dim).

Hair: Kevin Ryan of Aveda parted the hair in two sharp angles and sleeked it back into a low ponytail. To achieve this shiny, “sporty” look, he used gel and finished with plant-derived hair oil.

Nails: For a subtle shimmer effect, Julep’s lead nail stylist Jane Park used a liquid gold polish with a matte top coat (in Sienna). 


Creatures of the Wind – Shane Gabier and Chris Peter
Inspiration: “1960s culture”

Makeup: Nars’ Global Director of Artistry James Boehmer combined a velvet matte lip pencil (in Damned) and lipstick (in Fire Down Below) for the cranberry eye shadow effect, then lined the lower lashes with a silver shadow (in Factory Girl) and thick silver liner (from the Andy Warhol collection).

Hair: Odile Gilbert of Kérastase Paris used an origami-inspired folding technique to keep the models’ sleek, straight hair short. Stylists then completed the look with 60s-inspired hairnets.

Nails: Essie’s lead nail tech Ana-Maria kept things simple with two coats of a solid rose beige polish (in Topless and Barefoot).


Honor – Giovanna Randall
Inspiration: “Anatomy”

Makeup: For a natural look, Romy Soleimani, with Stila for, hydrated using Erno Laszlo’s Light Controlling Lotion, followed by Stila’s Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer. She then mixed a white eye shadow (in Opal) with Erno Laszlo’s Luminous Eye Complex, curled the lashes, and added the Glamoureyes mascara. A touch of lip gloss (in Banana), custom blush, and shimmer powder (in Kitten) finished the look.

Hair: Using Bumble and Bumble’s Thickening Hairspray and Surf Spray to set a base, James Pecis styled two French braids tightly against the head (representing “muscles and filaments”), which he gathered and wrapped naturally at the nape of the neck. Rhinestone pins were then tucked into the back of the braid.

Nails: “The makeup was natural with some highlighting, but we didn’t want shimmer on the nail,” said Deborah Lippmann, who useda white-on-white combination (two coats of Amazing Grace and one coat of Like A Virgin), topped by a new polish (launching in the spring) that has the same high-shine effect as a gel manicure.  


Collages by Maggie Duffy/Images courtesy of and

NYFW S/S 14: Jason Wu After-Party

Neon lights and graffiti-clad walls led the way down the Dream Downtown’s loading dock and into late-night hotspot Electric Room, where the man of the hour—Jason Wu—was inside celebrating his spring/summer 2014 collection on Friday night.

Champagne flowed (to the last drop) as editors, models and the like rubbed elbows inside the packed, electro-thumping lounge; Union Jack leather sofas, antique mirrors and gothic chandeliers filled the small, low-lit space. By midnight, Wu could be found in the VIP nook, a tiny corner behind the DJ booth, chatting away with actress Kerry Washington, a longtime supporter of the fashion designer. Among those who turned up to the after-party were Mad Men’s Jessica Paré and tennis pro Maria Sharapova, both of whom attended his show earlier in the day (front row faces included Alicia Keys and The Newsroom’s Emily Mortimer).
It’s been a busy year for 30-year-old Jason Wu, who shows no plans of slowing down. As noted in Suzy Menkes’ New York Times profile, the Taiwanese-Canadian designer was recently made creative director of Hugo Boss women’s wear and continues to expand his own brand with an upcoming collaboration with Lancôme. “…I don’t feel like it’s work,” Wu told the Times. “I’m a professional. It’s what I do.”
Main image via BFA

Let AXE Take You to Space

Axe is taking you to space. Yeah, that’s right—space. The men’s grooming brand made the grand announcement with a little help from their spokesperson, legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin (I mean, hello second person to have ever walked on the moon), on Wednesday evening inside New York’s Hayden Planetarium to showcase their new line of products, Apollo.

“Now you can become part of this privileged group and experience everything I have,” said Aldrin, alluding to his own mission about 40 years ago, in a promo video that kicked off a night full of surprises, including an appearance by Mr. Aldrin himself and a flawless performance by man of the moment Kendrick Lamar (!!).

So, here’s the breakdown: It’s an international contest with 22 winners. To enter, you’ll need to complete an “astronaut profile” explaining why you should win, and based on popular votes, about 100 of you will be taken to space camp in Orlando, Florida for training. AXE and The Space Expedition Corporation will then choose the 21 winners. No, that wasn’t a typo – there will be 22 of you in total, but one lucky winner will be chosen in a special sweepstakes from Jan 5 to Feb 3 (open to U.S. residents only). Enter now, or click here for more information.

BlackBook’s List Of The Best And Brightest Stars Of 2013

The New Regime 2013

Whether in front of the camera, or up to the mic, or behind the bar, the stars collected in our sixth annual declaration of the best brightest talents in film, music, television, art, and nightlife are all ready for their close-ups. Pay attention to these faces, because you’ll be seeing them often.

The New International: ALICIA VIKANDER

In the recent adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Sweden-born Alicia Vikander plays Kitty, the virtuous, if naïve, counterpart to the immoral titular character played by Keira Knightley. Kitty is one of the few characters in the film to break out of the claustrophobic stage setting employed by director Joe Wright that ensnares the other Russian aristocrats. Not that being on stage has ever daunted the 24-year-old. “My mother’s an actress, and when we didn’t have a babysitter, I would come with her to the theater,” she explains. Already an award-winning actor in her home country, Vikander became an international star after appearing in the Danish film A Royal Affair earlier this year, playing the adulterous Queen of Denmark, Caroline Matilda. Although Anna Karenina was her first English-language film, she’s eager to continue to work on international projects. To that end, she shot alongside Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore this past summer. “It’s a very big adventure film,” she says of the project, helmed by Russian director Sergei Bodrov. And although Vikander is returning home to Sweden, she hopes to make her way back to the States soon. “The industry is so small in Scandinavia,” she explains. But for Vikander it’s not the size of the industry that counts. “I just want to continue to work with people—actors and directors—I admire.” —Tyler Coates

Photo Alisa Connan
Styling Angie Smith
Makeup Emma White Turle @ Red Represents
Hair Alex Price @ Frank Agency

The New

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been a hair’s breadth from becoming a household name for longer than seems justifiable. He starred in two Fox series that didn’t catch—as a 400-year-old homicide detective in New Amsterdam, which had an eight-episode run, and as the lead in the cult favorite sci-fi pilot, Virtuality, which was co-written by Ronald Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights)—but with his front-and-center role as the incestuous, gold-plated Jaime Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones, he’s finally beginning to take his rightful place in the spotlight. In the fantastic 2011 Norwegian film Headhunters, he played a revenge-seeking CEO who put his nemesis through a world of shit, literally. (Mark Wahlberg is planning a stateside remake of the film, and Nikolaj jokes about how busy the actor/producer is, saying, “He does catering on Game of Thrones.”) When asked about his lead role opposite Jessica Chastain in the upcoming Guillermo del Toro-produced supernatural thriller Mama, he instantly sings the first line of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “I can’t watch movies like that,” he says. “They freak me out.” In an appealing confession for someone so tall (6’ 2”) and square-jawed, he says, “The idea of ghosts scares the shit out of me,” adding that he even had trouble watching the rough cut of the film. “I had to turn the sound off.” In 2013 he’ll appear alongside Tom Cruise and Olga Kurylenko as a battle-hardened weapons expert in the big-budget sci-fi epic, Oblivion, and opposite Juliette Binoche in A Thousand Times Goodnight. When prodded for hints about season three of Game of Thrones, which premieres in March, he’s appropriately tight-lipped. He also admits to not reading the books until after he gets the scripts. “I don’t want to get attached to anything too specific with the character because they make changes for the show,” he says. “I don’t want to start questioning their decisions. After all, they got us this far.” —Adam Brent Houghtaling

Photo Aaron Richter
Styling Christopher Campbell
Grooming Tayler Treadwell
Location Acme Studios, Brooklyn

The New Sound of Young America: HAIM

“We grew up on TLC, Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, Backstreet Boys, and ’N Sync,” says guitarist and vocalist Danielle Haim of the ’90s R&B influence in the sister act’s sound. “We still listen to Top 40 radio most of the time, but through our parents we listened to classic rock and Motown and funk.” All those sounds blend together in the celebratory pop of HAIM. Danielle, 22, has the highest profile in the band, having toured with Julian Casablancas and Jenny Lewis, but along with multi-instrumentalist Alana, 20, and bassist Este, 24, the trio—who recently added drummer Dash Hutton to the band—have years of live experience after playing in family band Rockenhaim with their parents when they were young; “Alana was four,” says Danielle. “We always thought we would end up working together on something more serious. We just didn’t know how to get there.” They went the great-artists-steal route while learning the songwriting process, taking their favorite songs and refashioning them as their own. They soon began playing live and building a loyal following in their native Los Angeles. But recording proved to be a difficult process. “Every year we would go into the studio and try to make a record and it always sounded… not good,” says Danielle, but each instance was an education. After “fucking around on three songs for six months” the Forever EP finally appeared this past February, and their fortunes have sharply improved ever since. They recently signed to Columbia Records and are now under a little more pressure to turn out a full-length album, which Danielle vaguely suggests they’ll be ready to release in the early half of 2013. —ABH

Photo Dan Monick
Styling Christopher Campbell
Makeup Sandra Ganzer @ Jed Root
Hair Candice Birns for using Orbie Haircare
Location Siren Studios, Los Angeles

The New Hollywood Believer: NATE PARKER

“I think I’m an activist before I’m an artist,” says actor Nate Parker, whose favorite roles exhibit a strong social perspective. “I love the arts, but I think a platform is no good if you can’t use it to better your fellow man.” With electrifying supporting roles in Spike Lee’s coming-of-age drama Red Hook Summer and Nicholas Jarecki’s Wall Street thriller Arbitrage, the 33-year-old Virginia native claims he tries to make it “extremely difficult not to cast” him. But Parker didn’t always have Hollywood ambitions. Having received a degree in computer science from the University of Oklahoma, it was only after accompanying a friend to an audition in Dallas that he was inspired to begin acting. At the audition, Parker was approached by a manager who asked him to read a monologue and, after watching him perform, insisted that he move out to Los Angeles immediately to pursue an acting career. “I try to live my life completely without fear,” says Parker who, without hesitation, uprooted his life—moving to Los Angeles within four days. As a “firm believer in process,” before auditioning for his longtime hero, Denzel Washington, Parker wrote a 100-page biography of the character he was in contention for after hearing a tip about the elder statesman’s own methods. He impressed the Oscar-winning actor/director, landing a role in his film, The Great Debaters. “These journeys we go on as actors, in many ways, are a call to tap into our own experiences,” says Parker. And perhaps it’s his competitive background as an athlete, or the fact that he left home at the age of fourteen and endured the life experiences of someone much his senior, but Parker’s work ethic and confidence are unquestionably setting him ahead of the young Hollywood pack. —Hillary Weston

Photo Dan Monick
Styling Natalie Toren
Grooming Kristen Shaw @ Jed Root

The New Thespian: LILY RABE

“I’ve always wanted to perform,” says Lily Rabe, channeling the plucky sensibility of her childhood self. “I remember going by the Broadway Dance Center and seeing the dancers in the window. The teacher said I was too young to train there—I was still wearing diapers. My mother told me that within two weeks I had potty-trained myself and was like, ‘Alright, let’s go!’” While adamant against acting as a young girl, she came around to the craft in high school. It’s no surprise given her fortitude—and her pedigree (her parents are playwright David Rabe and the late actor Jill Clayburgh)—that she’s become a respected performer by the age of 30. “I was so determined to do it differently from my parents,” she explains. “I wanted to forge my own path.” After attending Northwestern University, Rabe returned to her native New York and landed a role in a Broadway revival of Steel Magnolias in 2004. Highly praised performances followed, most notably as Portia in The Merchant of Venice opposite Al Pacino’s Shylock, for which she earned a Tony nomination. After two more starring turns on stage, Rabe headed to L.A. to play poltergeist Nora Montgomery on American Horror Story. She returns to the psychosexual drama for its second season—American Horror Story: Asylum—as Sister Mary Eunice, and this time around goes head-to-head against recent Emmy winner Jessica Lange. “It’s the best kind of challenge, and I’m having an incredible time,” she gushes, while keeping mum about this season’s shocks and terrors. Both American Horror Story and her starring role in The First, an upcoming biopic about silent film legend Mary Pickford, will keep her on the west coast for a few more months, but she’s already planning a trip back east. “I’ll return to New York soon,” she says. “I get itchy when I’m not doing a play.” —TC

Photo Emilie Elizabeth
Styling Marissa Joye Peden
Makeup Joanna Schlip @ Cloutier Remix
Hair Danny Rishoff @ Tracey Mattingly
Photo Assistant Adrian Espinosa
Location The Jesus Wall, Los Angeles

The New Short Seller: JIM GAVIN

“All the stories in the collection were rejected everywhere until I sent one to The New Yorker, unsolicited, and they took it,” says author Jim Gavin of the pieces that make up his first short story collection, Middle Men, which is being published this coming February by Simon & Schuster. From his home in Culver City, Gavin writes about a side of Los Angeles that is often overlooked in favor of the city’s more glamorous reputation. His stories are sun-bleached and overflowing with bloviating salesmen and well-meaning people with dried-up checking accounts. “They’re all stories I wanted to tell for a long time, I just didn’t know how,” he says. “They’re very autobiographical.” The titular two-part story, “Middle Men,” comes straight from his own experience as a plumbing supplies salesman. “That’s what people want to read about,” he quips, “industrial plumbing in southern California.” “I think writing fiction in Los Angeles is fun,” he says. “There’s a healthy remove from the New York literary world and there’s a great fiction scene flourishing here in the shadows of Hollywood.” For a time, he worked on the sports desk at The Orange County Register—“It gave me a thick skin, but it burnt me out. I lived like a vampire.”—and recently finished an MFA at Boston University, but he credits a handful of adult education classes at UCLA as being a turning point in his life. “That’s when I started to get serious [about the work],” he says. Following the sale of the collection, he’s moved on to his first novel, which has also been sold to Simon & Schuster—but don’t expect to see it any time soon. “It’s a fun, grueling, terrible process,” he says. “I have no idea what I’m doing, but I can sort of see the horizon.” —ABH

Photo Emilie Elizabeth

The New Double Threat: SAINT LOU LOU

“We’re floating.” These are the first words Miranda Kilby (the brunette one) says after we establish a trans-oceanic connection with her and her sister, Elektra. And the twins, both 21, should be floating. The universal adoration the duo has received for their first single, “Maybe You,” is nothing less than amazing; the song is a hypnotic re-imagining of ABBA’s melancholy side as run through a chillwave filter (listen at They certainly didn’t expect it to spread like wildfire over the internet as it has (it’s since been released as a single via Kitsuné Records). “It was crazy. It was a rough demo that took off and then got mastered and became the single,” says Miranda. “Overnight it became this big thing.” Born in Australia, but raised primarily in Sweden with holiday jaunts back down under, the girls grew up in a musical environment, but were initially more interested in becoming academics. “I think Saint Lou Lou chose us,” says Elektra. “Time chose us. It does feel like destiny.” They’re still getting to know themselves as songwriters while they carefully gather material for more singles and, eventually, an album. When asked about what they’re working on for the future, they say people will be surprised. “Some of the songs are more up- tempo,” Miranda says. Elektra quickly leaps in to add, “When we say up-tempo, it’s still down-tempo.” As the interview wraps, Miranda asks, “So are you going to use the crazy twins angle? The sultry twins angle?” A question she quickly follows with the sweetest of threats: “I don’t like that. If you do, we’ll come and knock on your door one day. You can be sure.”—ABH

Photo Alisa Connan
Styling Angie Smith
Makeup Emma White Turle @ Red Represents
Hair Alex Price @ Frank Agency
Photo Assistant Jack Lawson
Stylist’s Assistant Danielle Whiteman

The New Innovator: CHADWICK BELL

“I was a little awkward. I’d paint all the time, all night even, then go to school the next day with the paintings,” says 30-year-old womenswear designer Chadwick Bell of his teenage years in Southern California. Bell was drawn to art at a young age, but ultimately gravitated toward fashion, getting his start in retail at Dolce & Gabbana while studying design and media arts at UCLA. After graduation, he and Vanessa Webster, a childhood friend-turned-business partner, set their sights on the Big Apple. “I was visiting Vanessa while she interned in New York during our sophomore year of college, and it sort of sealed the deal that this is where we needed to be,” he says. “New York just felt right,” he adds. “I’m just a little too high strung for California.” Bell found his first muse in Webster, who in turn likes to say that she discovered his talent. “There’s a mutual push between us,” says the designer. “Nobody can get me to do things the way she does.” Chadwick Bell—the brand—made its debut at New York Fashion Week in fall 2008. The collection stemmed from one of his many fantasies about “the Chadwick Bell woman,” someone who is always “worldly, modern, chic.” That season he found inspiration from a 1940s Robert Capa photo of American socialite Slim Keith holding a shotgun while bird hunting with Ernest Hemingway. For spring 2013, Bell places his muse in the American Southwest (“New Mexico, to be exact”), envisioning her on a “personal crusade for clarity.” While focusing on minimalism, illusion, and austerity, the collection, entitled “Nirvana,” features clean lines and a neutral color palette with splashes of green and yellow. And then it’s on to next season’s designs. “All we can do is recreate and reinvent,” he says. “I plan to be doing this forever.” —Ryma Chikhoune

Photo Alexander Wagner
Photo Assistant Ken Morton


Zal Batmanglij’s hauntingly seductive first feature, Sound of My Voice, opened this past year to critical praise, establishing him as one of the most innovative voices in a new wave of American independent cinema. “I’m excited to make movies that feel real even in the most fantastical situations,” says the 31-year-old director. After studying anthropology at Georgetown University, Batmanglij attended AFI’s graduate school for directing—and what better course of inquiry for a filmmaker whose debut walked the line between in-depth ethnographic study and psychological thriller? Sound of My Voice, co-written with the film’s star Brit Marling, tells the story of a couple who infiltrates a cult in order to expose its leader who claims to have time-traveled from the future. “A story is a disguise that allows you to bypass people’s defenses and enter the innermost chambers of their hearts,” Batmanglij says. Following their success with Sound of My Voice, Batmanglij and Marling collaborated again for his upcoming directorial feature, The East, a drama about a young woman who goes undercover to join an anarchist collective—starring Marling, Ellen Page, and Alexander Skarsgård. “So much of what Brit and I have to do as writers is to go live,” says Batmanglij, who actually stayed in an anarchist collective with Marling prior to making the film— understanding the importance of “living something authentic” in order to come back and tell an original story. Inspired by directors from Krzysztof Kieslowski to Alan J. Pakula, it’s evident that Batmanglij has a zeal for creating stories that stem from the anxieties of the modern age as shown through a lens that exposes the mysticism lurking just beneath the surface. “I feel tremendously lucky to be a filmmaker in this decade,” reveals Batmanglij, “but it’s also daunting because nobody knows what the fuck is going on. We live in a strange, strange time.” —HW

Photo Dan Monick
Styling Natalie Toren
Grooming Kristen Shaw @ Jed Root

The New Multi-Talent: DOMHNALL GLEESON

“I hate having my picture taken,” says actor Domhnall (pronounced “tonal”) Gleeson during our photo shoot. It’s a surprising confession considering the infectious energy he brings to the set as he poses and pratfalls for the camera. One of a family of acting Gleesons—he’s the son of character actor Brendan Gleeson, and his brother, Brian Gleeson, is also an actor—Domhnall seems to have his fingers in every aspect of the business. His resume is already flush with choice roles in films like the final two Harry Potter installments (as the scarred, elder Weasley, Bill), 2010’s Never Let Me Go and True Grit, and the recent adaptation of Anna Karenina, but that’s just the beginning. He earned a Tony nomination in 2006 for his part in the Broadway play The Lieutenant of Inishmore, co-wrote and starred in sketches for the six-part Irish comedy show, Your Bad Self, and wrote and directed two short films—2009’s What Will Survive of Us, which he refers to as “the anal sex one,” and Noreen, which stars his father and brother as incompetent police officers. Writing, acting, directing—is there anything the 29-year-old Dubliner can’t do? “I haven’t done any interpretative dance yet,” he says with a long sigh. But he has gotten a haircut. When asked about what happened to his trademark long ginger locks, he laughs and says, “Really…I’d done as much with my hair as I possibly could.” Coming up, he’ll play the romantic lead opposite Rachel McAdams in About Time, and he’s learning to play guitar for the rock comedy Frank, for which he’ll go head-to-head with Michael Fassbender. And it turns out he’s camera-shy when filming as well, admitting that being in front of the camera is nerve- wracking. “What’s so terrifying—and exciting—is that it remains forever.” —ABH

Photo Aaron Richter
Styling Christopher Campbell
Grooming Tayler Treadwell
Location Acme Studios, Brooklyn

The New King of Cocktails: JOAQUIN SIMÓ

“I love this window,” Joaquín Simó says, gesturing to a large half-moon aperture facing a soggy Avenue B in New York’s East Village. After five-and-a-half years making cocktails in the inky shadows of venerated spirits den Death & Co., and earning the title of America’s Best Bartender at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail industry gathering, the academic-turned- bartender is seated comfortably in his recently-opened bar, Pouring Ribbons. “The devil is in the details,” he says, referring not only to novel cocktail ingredients like his house-made corn milk, but also to remembering customers’ names and their favorite drinks. Simó, a Cuban-Ecuadorian-American, learned hospitality from a priest at his first job, making coffee in a Miami church office. He picked up the art of bartending—shooting the shit, cutting people off—from a couple of Irish guys in Boston. And he perfected the trade of making cocktails— balancing ingredients, the art of the elegant pour— with guidance from modern legends like Phil Ward and Brian Miller (both formerly of Death & Co. and now at Mayahuel and Lani Kai, respectively). Now Simó makes a Southside that would put the 21 Club to shame and blasphemously stirs up a killer Negroni without a drop of Campari (he prefers Luxardo Bitters). On any given night Pouring Ribbons is busy with a mixture of recognizable barkeeps, chefs, and cocktail aficionados. It’s a bar owner’s dream. “I knew New York was going to make or break me. It is the best city in the country to be completely anonymous, or the city where you can find the biggest, brightest stage.” —Leslie Pariseau

Photo Eric Medsker
Photo Assistant Anthony Tafuro
Location Pouring Ribbons, NYC

The New Pride of Manchester: JOSEPHINE

“When I was a kid I used to listen to a lot of indie rock,” says 29-year-old singer-songwriter Josephine Oniyama. “A lot of Oasis and Nirvana, and my mom used to play a lot of highlife music like Fela Kuti and King Sunny Adé. And as I’ve gone along I’ve begun to enjoy the American Songbook and American folk like Woody Guthrie and Odessa.” Her addictive debut album, Portrait, is reflective of the many influences that informed it. She also feels a deep connection to her home city of Manchester, which has produced some of the greatest U.K. bands including The Smiths, The Stone Roses, and the aforementioned Oasis. “I’ve always felt connected to the history here,” she says. Portrait was written and recorded over a long length of time, and the album’s final material was finished a full 18 months before it finally saw release in October. In terms of songwriting, she says, “I’m a years kind of person,” explaining that the germ of a song—a riff, a verse, a chorus—can sit for 12 months or more before it takes another step forward. “When it comes to finishing songs off, I’m terrible,” she says. “It’s a great help to have people like my producer to help carry it along.” She co-wrote three tracks on Portrait with British singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt—including the sweeping album opener, “We Were Trespassers,” and the fragile finale, “House of Mirrors.” Now with a bona fide critical success to her name, she’s been hitting the road with The Noisettes and Rodrigo y Gabriella, and in the new year you’ll find her playing a string of U.K. dates with Paloma Faith. —ABH

Photo Alisa Connan
Styling Angie Smith
Makeup Emma White Turle @ Red Represents
Hair Alex Price @ Frank Agency
Photo Assistant Jack Lawson
Stylist’s Assistant Danielle Whiteman

The New Prince of California Cuisine: ARI TAYMOR

Alma is the most exciting restaurant in Los Angeles right now and it sits in the most unlikely of locations: next to Las Palmas, a hostess club on South Broadway in Downtown, and across the street from the United Artists Theatre, a long-empty movie palace. The restaurant opened in June, and Ari Taymor, its 26-year-old chef, is already one of the most intriguing culinary names in the country. His cooking is a compelling version of California cuisine that balances reverence for farmer’s market produce with the avant-garde aesthetic and complex textures of Nordic culinary heavyweight René Redzepi, chef at Copenhagen’s lauded Noma. In Taymor you can chalk up another motivating victory for Alice Water’s inspirational Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse. It was a meal at the influential locavore restaurant nearly six years ago that led him to pick up a chef ’s knife. He sharpened his skills at Bar Tartine and Flour + Water in San Francisco, but when it came to stepping out on his own, he headed for Los Angeles. “I wanted to seclude myself from the influence of the Bay Area,” he says. “It’s too hard to shut yourself out from it and develop your own style.” He needn’t worry. His style is already distinct, but Alma is very much a work in progress. The kitchen may make squid-ink ice cream—a black orb of which sat on top a dish of dry-aged steak tartare—with a $4,000 Pacojet, but diners still sit in the faux snakeskin booths selected by the previous tenants. The contrast between exacting food and disheveled surroundings is charming, but Taymor can’t wait to make changes. “Having lights that don’t look like they came from a brothel in Katmandu, and not having a countertop made of Formica, those things are important to me, but not more important than being able to cook and plate food.” —Willy Blackmoore

Photo Emilie Elizabeth
Photo Assistant Adrian Espinosa

The New Solo Show: DIGITS

“I just can’t stop releasing music,” says Alt Altman, the 27-year-old, Berlin-based, Toronto-bred mastermind behind moody synth-pop act Digits. There’s ample evidence to back up that statement. In 2012 alone he released the Death and Desire mixtape, the seven-song album Where Do You Belong, a serialized story album called City of the Dead, and his next EP, Only Affection, is already complete and ready to be released early in the new year. He started Digits, which grew out of his old band Europe In Colour, in 2009 with the release of his first album, Hold It Close, and the new project quickly became his focus. When asked about how it felt when The Guardian compared his mixtape Death and Desire to Human League’s unimpeachable synth-pop classic Dare earlier this year, he still sounds shocked and excited: “It was the craziest experience,” he says. “My jaw was on the floor and I even thought, ‘This is a bit much.’ Everything really took off after that… more press, more shows, everything’s been different.” When quizzed about the R&B influence that runs through much of his recent music, it becomes clear that Altman is approaching the genre sideways. While his contemporaries like the xx, How to Dress Well, and Nite Jewel pull from ’70s classics and ’90s Top 40, Altman’s soul influence comes from hip-hop and house music. “Frankie Knuckles’ work with Jamie Principle has always been a touchstone for me,” he says, “and I’m also a huge Prince fan.” Live, Digits is truly a solo show. “I’ve never played a Digits show with anyone else on the stage,” Altman says, “My drums are generated by a laptop, but I play two synthesizers live and also use a looping pedal for various synth lines and backing vocals.” It’s important to him that his fans see more than a guy standing at a computer. “I’ve been to a lot of electronic shows where it felt like nothing was happening live. So I prefer to make my shows as live an experience as possible.” — ABH

Photo Norman Wong

The New Soft-Rock Renegades: DIANA

When speaking with Joseph Shabason (saxophone and synths) and Kieran Adams (drums, samples, and synths), founders and songwriters for Toronto-based four-piece Diana, words like “substance” and “texture” tend to crop up a lot. “Joseph and I met at jazz school, which is also where we met [bassist and guitarist] Paul [Mathews],” says Adams, “but by the time we graduated, neither of us was enamored with the idea of a career as a jazz musician. At some point Joseph got a keyboard and a Pro Tools setup and we started writing pop songs, but I don’t think we figured out how to really do it until we started writing for [our first] album.” Their music is soft, fuzzy, and smart, and much of their inspiration comes from ’80s touchstones like Talk Talk’s The Colour of Spring, Tears for Fears’ Songs From the Big Chair, Roxy Music’s Avalon, and Bryan Ferry’s Boys and Girls. “I think music from that era has a combination of intelligence and pop sensibility,” says Adams, “and there’s a progressiveness in the sonic aesthetic of those albums. It’s all well played and carefully delivered.” When singer and guitarist Carmen Elle came into the process, the Diana sound gelled instantly. “I think I saw her perform when she was 16 and I was 23,” laughs Adams, “and we knew she was a perfect fit for the material we were writing.” Shaboson adds, “We would give a picture of what we wanted for a song and she would run with it. The recording of the vocals was actually hilariously quick.” Listeners can find some of the band’s work on their Soundcloud page, Forest Family Records has released their first 12-inch single, “Born Again,” and they expect their full-length to see the light of day this spring. They’re also planning a big tour in the new year that will take them through the U.S. and parts of Canada. —ABH

Photo Vanessa Heins

The New Lord of Light: DEV HARLAN

“No matter what the medium, good design is timeless, and if something has good design qualities, it will hold up outside the medium,” says Dev Harlan, a New York-based light artist whose work is a coolly modern juxtaposition of video mapping and sculpture—the projections throwing patterns of ephemeral color and light over his fractal, pyramid-based objects. “I consider video projection mapping a medium in the same category as sculpting, painting, or drawing. It’s an expressive medium, but not the be-all end-all of the work.” Harlan was homeschooled, so it’s no surprise that he became a self-taught artist. He worked in commercial design for five years, but his interest began to drift as he became more involved in experimental films and paper-craft models, all of which led to his unique work blending sculpture and light. Though he primarily works with video mapping technology, he’s also worked with L.E.D. lighting and says, “I consider myself an artist who works with light rather than an artist who works with video.” Harlan’s goal is to get as close as possible to the experience that his sculptures are glowing and says, “The projectors are a necessary evil.” He’s done commissioned work for fashion label Y-3 (at 2012’s New York Fashion Week) and the launch event for Target’s Jason Wu fall 2012 line, but it was a video of his 2011 work “Parmenides I”—a room-sized fractal orb awash in video mapping projections—that has increased his exposure more than anything else. Concerning the future, Harlan says, “It’s totally intuitive. I’m not entirely sure myself.” —ABH

Photo Alexander Wagner
Photo Assistant Ken Morton

The New Wild Card: SCOOT MCNAIRY

To call Scoot McNairy an overnight success would be selling the multifaceted actor short. For the past decade, the 32-year-old Texas native has been steadily building momentum—working everywhere from independent film, to the stage, to behind the camera, producing such features as the award-winning In Search of a Midnight Kiss (in which he also starred). But lately, McNairy has been busy working with some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed directors and garnering attention from critics and audiences alike. With roles in Ben Affleck’s political thriller, Argo, and Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly, McNairy holds his own in two of the year’s most lauded films, showing off his well-honed acting chops and ability to disappear into his characters. “It’s hard to tackle two roles at once,” admits McNairy. “I invest so much in the character. I consume myself 100 percent in their daily thoughts.” After moving to Los Angeles from Austin, Texas, to become a cinematographer, McNairy began taking acting classes for fun. He admits he was never particular about which aspect of the film world he wanted to be in. “I just knew that I wanted to work on movies,” he says. McNairy will continue his streak of challenging films with Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave and Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land, both of which are slated to open in the new year. “It’s been a great experience working with these directors; the creativity that they allow you to bring as an individual is something I wasn’t expecting,” says McNairy, who not only plans to continue taking on interesting roles, but looks to pursue directional ambitions of his own in the future. —HW

Photo Dan Monick
Styling Christopher Campbell

Makeup Sandra Ganzer @ Jed Root
Hair Candice Birns for using Orbie Haircare
Location Siren Studios, Los Angeles

Get Out Your Wallet: The Alexander Wang Sample Sale Starts Today

Cue the frenzy—the Alexander Wang sample sale is still on despite that bitch Sandy. There’s really nothing quite like a Wang sample sale to get you back into the norm of things. So here’s what you need to know:

Ready-to-wear from Spring and Resort 2012, as well as Spring, Pre-Fall, and Fall 2011 collections will be up to 70 percent off, with bags and shoes for up to 65 percent off, and pieces from T by Alexander Wang for up to 60 percent off. 

When: November 6 (today!) through 8, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; November 9, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; November 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: 131 Greene Street (between W. Houston and Prince St.)
Spring (6), Houston (B, D, F, M), Prince (N, R)

All credit cards accepted. 

Reece Hudson and W Hotels Celebrates Premiere of ‘All In’

“I feel relaxed,” said New York-based accessories designer Reece Solomon last night at the private dinner and screening of “All In,” a short film showcasing the Reece Hudson Spring 2013 collection. “I’m just excited for everyone to see it.” It was an intimate night inside the W New York – Union Square, where the film was shot. Solomon, clad in a vintage velvet dress, and the film’s director, Jenna Elizabeth, wearing a stunning Alexander Wang number, chatted among friends.

Guests included designer Charlotte Ronson, “Man Repeller” Leandra Medine, and Sophomore’s Chrissie Miller, who provided the playlist for the night. “I’m a fan,” said Miller. “They gave me one of the Bowery [bags]. I’m obsessed…they said, ‘we don’t have a DJ,’ and I was like, ‘give me another bag, and I’ll make you a mix…’”

The film, soundtracked by Glass Candy’s “Digital Versicolor” and shot in a ballroom of the hotel, revolves around a game of strip poker. On the screen, you’ll find actors Brady Corbet, Rebecca Dayan, models Carola Remer, Codie Young, and Jamie Strachan—you’ll also spot thebags, the Bondage Miniaudière, the Rogue Clutch, and the Bowery Oversized Zip Top Clutch (available at Barneys in February).

The women, who have been friends for years, collaborated on a fashion film (featuring Chanel Iman) last season. “We instantly got along,” said Solomon. “One of Jenna’s and my bonding points is our love, or rather obsession, with dark, twisted subject matter, and how to portray it in a way that is never obscene or objectifying to women, but rather feels fresh and fun.”

Elizabeth feels the same. “A lot of our references stem from the same place, so it is easy to move forward with like-minded ideas,” she said.

So, what does the filmmaker want audiences to take from the short? “I want people to leave with a sense of crushing their memories of youth,” she said. “I think every once and awhile it is important to deconstruct one’s own sense of experimentation and impulses, for better or worse. That’s where you find the value of what you stand for. When you can ask yourself, ‘how did it end up this way, would I do it again, and at what costs?’ I think it is good to flirt with darkness—it can act as a good cleanse.”

Watch "All In" exclusively on BlackBook:

Michael Kors Honored For Philanthropic Efforts to God’s Love We Deliver

“I’m excited,” said Michael Kors Monday night at the 2012 Golden Heart Awards, where he was honored for his contributions to God’s Love We Deliver, a charity that prepares and delivers nutritious meals to people with severe illnesses. “Anything we can do to help is very gratifying.”

Among those who turned out in support of the designer, who announced a five-million-dollar contribution to the organization, were Anna Wintour, Gwyneth Paltrow, a host of models, and actress Bette Midler, who presented Kors with his Lifetime Achievement award.

“I’m here for the charity, and of course, for Michael,” said Midler, wearing all Michael Kors. “He’s adorable, divine.”

The sold-out event, held inside the Cunard Building, also honored writer Ryan Murphy for the Community Service award and Cinty Little for Outstanding Volunteerism.  “It’s just a great event,” said comedian Seth Meyers. “I’m just excited to be here, especially this far downtown—it’s a rarity for me…anytime you get this close to the Staten Island Ferry, you know…”

The night began with a cocktail hour, followed by dinner, an awards presentation and live auction for the 600 guests, who raised over $1.35 million.

A native to New York, Kors has been involved with God’s Love We Deliver, which began as an HIV/AIDS organization and now helps people with more than 200 individual diagnoses, for over 20 years. “It’s fun to see all the people who are big supporters of me and of God’s Love,” said Kors. “We want to have a good time and also just celebrate all the great work they do.”

Photo credit: Getty Images for Michael Kors

Camilla Skovgaard Premieres Short Film on the Eve of Fashion Week

“Some people underestimate fashion films,” Denmark-born and Dubai-based footwear designer Camilla Skovgaard said Wednesday night at the premiere of “Hotel Skovgaard, Room 77,” her first short film, directed by longtime friend Ali F. Mosafa and scored by Zebra Katz (who’s been attracting attention, following the Rick Owens show last season). “Film is becoming more and more relevant in the fashion industry.”

Skovgaard, known for her signature saw soles that have garnered quite a celebrity following since her debut in 2006, featured her newest collection in the three-minute-long film, as well as on display at the event inside the Bowery’s The Hole Gallery,

Statuesque in a tight-fitting black dress, her short blonde hair slicked back, the 39-year-old designer stood out amongst the crowd of press and friends, including Njena Reddd Foxxx (featured on Zebra Katz’s “Ima Read”), who would later perform an electrifying show that had everyone hypnotized, including Skovgaard herself, who stood dancing front and center throughout.

 “We wanted to show beauty in darkness,” said director Mosafa, when asked about the film. And that, they did.  Take a look:

Bands You Should See in New York This Month

Here are our recommendations for May shows with a few videos for your perusal. 

TIMBER TIMBRE (opening for Feist)
May 5

Radio City Music Hall ($40)
Show: 8:00 p.m.

Feist fans will have the chance to discover Timber Timbre at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday, when the Canadian blues-folk band (who recently supported The Meat Puppets) takes the stage opening for the fellow Arts & Crafts-signed-singer-songwriter. Timber Timbre, composed of Taylor Kirk, Mika Posen and Simon Trottier, have been on the road since the release of their fourth record, Creep On Creepin’ On, in April of last year. Their atmospheric sound is dark, haunting and worth a listen.


SPIRITUALIZED (with Nikki Lane)
May 7

Terminal 5 ($30 Advanced/$35 Day of Show)
Doors: 7:00 p.m./Show: 8:00 p.m.

The Englishmen are back on tour following the April release of their seventh studio album Sweet Heart Sweet Lights. “I always shy away from anything I write that sounds like a pop song […] This time I’m embracing songs like that and seeing what happens. I’m not fighting it any more,” Spiritualized mastermind Jason Pierce told NME during the making the new record. Critics have praised the results, calling it the band’s best work since 1997’s acclaimed Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. You be the judge.


TY SEGALL AND WHITE FENCE (with The Strange Boys, The Men)
May 16

Webster Hall ($15 ADV/$17 DOS)
Doors: 7:30 p.m./Show: 8:30 p.m.

Don’t miss your chance to catch garage and psych rockers Ty Segall and White Fence (Tim Presley) when the Californians present their Drag City collaboration Hair, a brilliant 60s lo-fi psychedelic revival record that’s begging to be heard live. The LP features Presley on lead guitar and bass, while Segall plays drums and rhythm guitar.


THE DIG (w Taurus)
May 20

Glasslands Gallery ($10 ADV/$12 DOS)
Show: 8:30 p.m.

Brooklyn’s The Dig have all the elements of a power-pop band; they’re four guys – David Baldwin, Emile Mosseri, Erick Eiser and Mark Demiglio – on guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. Their new record Midnight Flowers comes out May 29th, following their catchy debut LP Electric Toys, released in 2010. Give them a listen and check them out, so you can say you “saw them back when they played Glasslands.”


THAT DOG. (with Kurt Braunohler, Baron Vaughn)
May 25

Music Hall of Williamsburg ($20 ADV/$25 DOS)
Doors: 8:00 p.m./Show: 9:00 p.m.

The L.A.-based punk-infused power-pop band known as “That Dog.” (Anna Waronker, Rachel Haden, Petra Haden and Tony Maxwell), who formed in 1991, dispersed in 1997, only to reunite in 2011, are playing their first NYC shows in 15 years on May 24th and 25th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. As expected, their first show sold out, but wait – there are still tickets available for the second night.