Karla Martinez is Bringing Mexico City to NYC

Longtime fashion editor Karla Martinez de Salas — who has held high-profile posts at W, T and Vogue — opens up about her career in magazines, her new life in Mexico City and how to look great on any budget. Karla-Martinez_June2015_1 Karla Martinez in her New York apartment wearing Joe Fresh – Silk Long Sleeve Dress

Karla Martinez de Salas has been one of the fashion world’s ultimate insiders for over a dozen years. The erstwhile editor has held positions at Elle, Vogue, The New York Times and W, giving her a ringside seat (front row, of course) to the global style scene. At W, Martinez held the high-profile post of Fashion Market and Accessories Director, overseeing many of the covet-worthy looks that ended up in the pages of the style bible.

She even penned her own monthly column, titled “Keeping Up With Karla” that documented her latest obsessions. Earlier this year, Martinez made a big life decision, moving to Mexico City with her husband, a banker who took a new job in the sprawling capital. While she left the glitz of the publishing world behind in New York, Martinez is still keeping her keen eye on the fashion scene.

She’s working as a personal stylist in Mexico City and continues to design and operate a luxe pajama-inspired label called Piamita out of New York, which is sold in stores like The Webster in Miami, Forty Five Ten in Dallas, Kirna Zabête in New York, Le Bon Marché in Paris and online at Shopbop.com. Martinez is a firm believer in mixing labels both aspirational and accessible (think Joe Fresh) to create the ideal everyday wardrobe.

She tells us about her life in magazines and how to develop a convincing sense of personal style.

Where did you grow up and how did you first get interested in fashion?

I grew up in El Paso, Texas. My parents are from a town in Central Mexico, and then they moved to the U.S. for my dad, who is a doctor. We lived for a time in Florida and Tennessee. When I was younger, my sister and I were the only Mexican girls in the entire school. Everyone else was blonde and blue-eyed. And then there was a Korean kid. But everyone was super nice and my mom gave Spanish classes. I studied marketing at the University of Arizona in Tucson—I thought I needed some sort of business major. I remember buying W—back when it was still in newspaper form—at an Albertsons supermarket, the only place that sold it. I was always fascinated with magazines.

Karla Martinez_June2015_3 Karla Martinez recently moved to Mexico City. Wearing Joe Fresh – Lace Tee and Distressed White Boyfriend Jean

You started in the industry with a series of internships before landing a magazine job. How did that all happen?

During college, I cold-called companies looking for summer internships in New York. One summer I worked at Aeffe [the Italian company that owns Alberta Ferretti and Moschino] and another at W, again after just calling them up. That’s why whenever someone emails me now for an internship or job, I always try to email back. Because someone actually picked up the phone for me back then. After graduating, I moved to Paris and got an internship at IMG Models and then Hearst Magazines. I took a crash course in French—I sat in a booth with headphones—just to learn how to answer the phone. Then I moved back to New York, and got jobs at Elle, Vogue and The New York Times, where Stefano Tonchi and Anne Christensen hired me to be the Market Director, which was awesome because I was an Associate at that time at Vogue. So they really took their chances with me. After five years at The Times, I went to Interview and worked under Fabien Baron and Karl Templer for almost a year. And then Stefano Tonchi got the editor-in-chief job at W and he brought me over.

How you approached your job at each of the different magazines you’ve been a part of?

At Vogue you learn how to please a lot of different people and move a lot of different parts and be very disciplined. At T, we did a lot of still-life sittings, which taught me about creating a beautiful picture. At Interview, I learned pairing the right stylist with the right photographer. And then at W, it was managing a department. And part of that was learning how to help your team reach its full potential.

How did you take what you learned on the job and apply it to your own style and everyday life?

Finding a great, inexpensive item is one of my favorite things. You don’t only have to go to expensive stores to look good. It’s all about the way you wear things and mix things. It’s most important to be comfortable. You can wear a skirt from Louis Vuitton and mix it in with a Joe Fresh T-shirt. It doesn’t matter if it’s super expensive or a very accessible price point, it has to be comfortable and flattering. There’s nothing worse than seeing a woman in an expensive dress with the most ridiculous heels and she can’t walk. If you don’t look comfortable, you can’t be stylish. I think the trick is to make things personal. It’s about the way you wear it. I love finding things at different stores and people being like, “Oh, what’s that?” You should wear the unexpected.

Karla Martinez_June2015_4 Karla Martinez in Washington Square Park, New York wearing Joe Fresh – Bleach Denim Shirt and Flare Jean

Tell us about Piamita. How did you start that and what’s the concept?

I launched Piamita in 2010 with my partner, Cecilia de Sola. It started as classic pajamas and loungewear and now we’ve expanded it a bit. We’re doing bathing suits and resortwear, with some staples in between. All of it is meant to fold up and pack easily. Our strong point is prints, which are fun and whimsical. It’s all a little bit refined, comfortable and playful!

In top photoKarla wears Silk Ruffle Blouse.

How to Throw the Perfect 4th of July Rooftop BBQ

Pursue your own ‘AMERICAN DREAM’ with a rooftop barbecue, a SVEDKA signature cocktail, and a party-ready playlist.

Fireworks, BBQs and booze…the 4th of July is almost here! Heat up the grill, light some citronella candles and get up on the rooftop for a prime view of the fireworks. Craft a batch of SVEDKA’s American Dream Punch (a distinctive mix of vodka, curaçao, blackberries and mint) to serve to rooftop attendees all night long. Add some festive flair to the affair with SVEDKA’s dazzling party edition bottle.

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AMERICAN DREAM PUNCH

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts SVEDKA Vodka
  • ½ part Orange Curaçao
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • dash of grenadine

Instructions:

Combine ingredients in a pitcher and top with ice. Garnish with blackberries and mint. Easy as American pie.

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If there’s a mixologist on the roof (and, if you’re in Brooklyn, there probably is) try your hand at the Suddenly Summer, a layered mix of watermelon schnapps, vodka and blue curaçao.

SUDDENLY SUMMER

Ingredients:

  • 1½ parts SVEDKA Vodka
  • 1 part watermelon schnapps
  • ½ part cranberry juice
  • ½ part fresh lemon juice
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • ¼ part Blue Curacao
  • Club soda

Instructions:

Build in a rocks glass. Add watermelon schnapps, and cranberry juice over ice, then carefully add lemon, simple syrup, and SVEDKA Vodka as to layer the white layer, then VERY carefully layer the blue curacao to create the color separation, and gently top with soda. Garnish with fresh watermelon pieces.

Kick back, relax, and wait for the fireworks to litter the sky.

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11 Fresh Resolutions for the New Year

Sponsored by Joe Fresh

No one takes resolutions seriously anymore. That’s a problem I hope to remedy by adding the words “I resolve” to the beginning of all my resolutions for 2015.

1. I resolve to listen to more music I used to like back in the day. Yup, I’m talking about Blink-182.

2. I resolve to drink my vegetables. Carrots in particular. If you drink enough carrot juice, you’ll never need another tan.

3. I resolve to constantly garden or finally watch the Constant Gardner. Either way, it’s a Ralph Fiennes idea.

4. I resolve to read everything Michael Cunningham has ever written. Not just his published work. I’m talking about tracking down his trapper keepers from junior high. I wish I were lying. His shit sounds better than most writers’ champagne.

5. I resolve to call my mother more if she promises to stop screaming, “You’re not listening to me!” whenever I must text or email someone while I’m on the phone with her.

6. I resolve to never again tell my boyfriend that he “can’t listen to certain music because it’s miserabalizing.”

7. I resolve to never text someone who is in the same room as me. It’s never a good idea.

8. I resolve to crack fewer screens. Window screens. Phone screens. Sun screens (see carrot juicesolution). All screens.

9. I resolve to heed the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius who counsels us to “find rest from vain fancies” by performing every act in life “as though it were our last” by taking every selfie as if it were my last.

10. I resolve to read more symbolist poetry.

11. I resolve to spend more time in my home state of Vermont, and to do more Vermonty things while I’m there, like snowshoeing, fishing, skiing, riding my horse, taking in big gulps of fresh mountain air, and wondering how “people live in big cities.”

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Felicity’s clothing by Joe Fresh.

Mike Reinhardt’s Fresh Start for the New Year

Photo: Mike Reinhardt photographed by Zac Sebastian

Sponsored by Joe Fresh

“2015 will be the year of doing more. I feel like I already do a lot but once I accomplish something, whether personal or work related, I’m ready to move on to the next bigger and better thing.

First and foremost, I’m very excited to be expanding and growing my main business, Locals Surf School. Locals had a great year teaching people how to surf in 2014 and we’d like to keep that momentum going by finding more ways for us to deliver awesome services and experiences to NYC and beyond. Myself and my business partner Mike Kololyan have a lot of cool things we’re working on for the coming year, of which I can mention a few: skate camps, guided surf travel, clothing lines, workshops, video parts and more! 2015 should be a lot of fun for us and we can’t wait to share the stoke with everyone as we help to grow the surf community within the area.

Personally, I’d like to do more traveling in 2015. I was fortunate enough to spend a good amount of time in some cool places this past year like Nicaragua, Bali, Lombok and a few others. This year, I plan on checking off a few more places from my bucket list and have made a resolution to only travel places where I can surf. Creatively, I hope to document quite a bit of these adventures so that I might be able to inspire some of my students to take their new love of surfing to the next level by traveling and exploring.”

To join the surf and skate community of Rockaway Beach, NYC and to be a part of the Locals Surf School adventures, follow the crew on Instagram (Mike Reinhardt, Michael Kololyan, and Locals Surf School,) and get yourself on a board!

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Mike’s clothing by Joe Fresh. Photos by Zac Sebastian.

Bibi Cornejo Borthwick’s Fresh Start for the New Year

“This outfit is somewhat of a staple for me, a me a silk shirt and a camisole. My neighborhood in Brooklyn is idyllic and really amazing for shooting in natural light,” Bibi says of her Joe Fresh look.

Sponsored by Joe Fresh

Bibi Cornejo Borthwick’s photography is intimate and revealing; there’s an allowance of imperfection, and a trust in the film – she doesn’t shoot digital — that speaks to her humanity. On the day we spent with Bibi, the photographer welcomed model Ajak Deng along with us, offering fresh coffee, and dancing with her dog, a French bulldog named Brooklyn, between shots.

Fashion and photography both run in Cornejo-Borthwick’s blood; she’s the daughter of Zero+Maria Cornejo’s namesake designer and photographer Mark Borthwick. Fashion and photography may make up her DNA, but with recent editorials for magazines like iD, Pop,and L’Officiel Hommes, and fashion clients like cool-chic accessory designer Karen Gallo, it’s clear Bibi has talent all on her own.

It’s her passion for Tu Sisi, an organization founded by Bibi to facilitate artistic expression and creative learning among children in Swaziland that truly lights the photographer from within. In the New Year, Bibi is making a few fresh starts.

“My resolution this year is to travel more. I want to do a road trip and make a few short films. I’m excited to go back to Africa and start the first projects for Tu Sisi,” Bibi tells us.

To learn more about Tu Sisi, click here. View Bibi’s photography here.

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“This sweater is the perfect black cashmere. Whenever I’m working from home, Brooklyn is always right there. One of my favorite things to do is archive all my old negatives.”

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“I recently got to shoot Ajak for an editorial. She was incredible, my idea of perfect beauty and really one of the most sincere and intelligent women I’ve met.”

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“When I’m shooting from home my puppy is always close. He loves being in the middle of everything! I loved this easy, laidback look from Joe Fresh, especially the t-shirt which I can pair with anything.”

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“This is just our spot — whenever I have time off, I love sitting on the stoop with a cup of coffee to people watch.”

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“I love this polka sit dress that I paired with a sweater, so it looks like a skirt — great for wearing an evening outfit earlier in the day!”

Bibi’s clothing by Joe Fresh. Photos by Vince Patti.