Wish List: Oak NYC

Recognized for carrying edgy designers both new and known, Oak NYC is a mandatory stop for local style mavens and in-the-know out-of-towners. Last year Oak launched an in-house line, A.OK, offering the same unique luxe but with a lower price point (most items are under $100). Their e-boutique draws the same appeal, stocking coveted designs from the likes of Commes Des Garcons, Damir Doma, and Rad Hourani.

Clockwise from left: Super Black/Gold Lucia Sunglasses, $212; Graphic Image Grey Cayman Python iPad Case, $118; A.OK Acid White Leather Pocket Backpack, $288; Acne Fog Hybria Platform Wedge, $474.60; Skingraft Studded Knuckles, $125.

Top 3: Katie Kay of SKINGRAFT

LA-based design house SKINGRAFT reigned supreme during this past Los Angeles Fashion Week with their ready-to-wear spring 2010 collection. Inspired by Amelia Earhart and Joan of Arc, the line explored the sexiness of strength, commanding attention with skin-tight leathers and the designers Katie Kay and Jonny Cota’s signature craftsmanship. Although they’ve been around since 2005, SKINGRAFT’s success reached new heights with the support of well-known fans like Adam Lambert, Fergie, Kat Von D, and Margaret Cho wearing custom-made pieces in their performances and magazine features. And it’s no surprise that the current “biker chic” trend, a watered down version of what SKINGRAFT has been doing for years, has caused new hide-lovers to swarm to their downtown LA boutique and online store for their coveted leather jackets and harnesses.

Just like said spring 2010 muses, co-designer Katie Kay believes in the strength of truth, as revealed in her personal style. “My aesthetic is rooted in functionality; anything considered classic and powerful for women,” she says. “There’s a nod to androgyny, sustainability/reuse and how it all pertains to my life; I get out of bed everyday for bicycle-riding (the idea of taking one’s time and moving slowly is something I never do), music/sound and anything matte black. But above all that is instinct. Instinct is the key to real style — anything else feels forced and unnatural to me. I spent so many years on tour that practicality is always in the back of my mind.” Starting out as a tour manager for Amanda Palmer and The Dresden Dolls, as well as a performer for The Dresden Dolls and Panic! At the Disco, Katie lives the explorer’s life that SKINGRAFT is inspired by. In fact, she went off on her next journey shortly after this interview. “I’m just about to leave to finish up the work on SKINGRAFT Fall 2010. We produce the line in a tropical location, which makes flying around the world several times a year worth it. We’re also scheming about our upcoming diffusion line and finally being available in Japan and the possibility of opening more retail locations.”

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1. Opening Ceremony – Wedge Ankle Boot – “Finding the shoe that makes you tall (a must!), looks tough and sexy AND you can still jump fences in is rough. This one does it.”

2. Steam Trunk Mojo – Moto Riding Gloves – “I’m all about simple items that take an outfit to the next level — and I just feel cool wearing these.”

3. All Saints – Alpha Coat – “Really anything from All Saints does it for me – well-made and decently priced. I far prefer thrifting and creation to anything brand new, but I can’t resist the amazing washes and treatments here.”

[Photo of Katie Kay by Rony Alwin]