Editor’s note: When we heard Shinola was teaming up with The Greenwich Hotel to offer his and hers Bixby bicycles to guests, we couldn’t resist sending two about-town New Yorkers out to explore the neighborhood on bike. The Greenwich packed a picnic for Felicity and Mark, and the duo got down to business.
As we all begin to hyperventilate over the impending holiday gift-buying deadlines, so commences the holiday sales at major stores in the city. Barneys’ week-long Winter Sale starts today with items up to 40% off, and the men’s section is especially good. Unlike the chaos and frenzy that comes with Barneys’ Warehouse Sale, this one is entirely online and stress-free. Pick up some stocking-stuffers and feel good about the fact that you didn’t even have to leave your bedroom.
Clockwise from top left: D.L. & Co. Vena Amoris Candle, $75; Rag & Bone Mini Gladstone Bag, $199; Steven Alan Padded Peacoat, $259; Barneys New York Check Folding Umbrella, $119; Levi’s Vintage Clothing Sailor Tee, $79; CO-OP Barneys New York Plaid Tie, $29.
Thursday marks the start of yet another Steven Alan sample sale, one of the larger and more anticipated sales in the city. To add to the excitement, Refinery29 today launched Reserve, a shopping-crazed micro-site offering weekly exclusive deals, and Steven Alan is kicking off the party.
Until the offer runs out (quantities are limited to 200) or the sample sale ends (Sunday at 5pm), you can log-in to the site, spend $50, and get a $100 voucher for the sale. In addition, you’ll receive a discount card to be used at Steven Alan for deals throughout the rest of the year. One would hope it would grant you access to cut the line at the SA sale—last year it went down the block.
Downtown prepster mainstay Steven Alan is expanding its empire. In addition to the quintessential collared shirt and various other straightforward wardrobe staples, Steven Alan will soon be home to handbags. The retailer, which has outposts in NYC and California, is launching a capsule handbag collection come fall. The totes will be available in six different styles, all of which boast a distinctly equestrian vibe. “Classic shapes, such as hobos, satchels and shoulder bags, all feature bridled leather and brass hardware,” says Women’s Wear Daily.
The foray isn’t Alan’s first into bags. The designer teamed with Virgin America to create a limited edition bag for travel. Pitched as the perfect carry-on, the bag ($777) is currently stocked in limited supply at Alan’s stores on each coast. Alan’s women’s bags are to be priced substantially less; they’ll range from $398 to $565.
Steven Rojas is usually so put together, people assume he’s gay. He explained his appeal when he was named one of New York’s Mr. Rights “Some girls see guys dressed in Thom Browne or some sort of amazing suit, and they’re like, ‘Wow, what’s that dude’s deal? Is he gay?'” Often described as a ‘Man About Town,” Rojas balances the late nights of a full social calendar with a demanding career as a fashion director at Archetype Showroom, always appearing dapper, fresh and awake. Here is how he does it (it’s a surprisingly simple routine).
When you wake up in the morning after a long night out, what do you usually do to save face? I always have a nice shave to make me feel a lot better and put on a nice outfit! Do you get ready differently for a night out, versus a day of work? Day outfit would consist of a combination of blazers, ties, bow ties, khakis and a button down shirt. I just got the ACL x Steven Alan white button down and I love it. I have a sick obsession with white button down shirts and white sneakers. I also wear a lot of denim (obsessed with my Surface to Air jeans) with a new pair of Converse or penny loafers, V-neck sweaters (I love my Oak deep-V sweaters and my J. Crew cashmere blend sweaters). For night I usually pick a LnA V-neck T-shirt in white or black, with a leather jacket (in love with my Surface to Air x Kings of Leon jacket) and jeans with a skinny fit. My sneakers are usually Converse x Comme.
Skin-care essential: Soap and water. I should probably take better care of my skin … I’m a total guy with this and bed stuff.
Exercise routine: Does walking to and from my office every day count?
Anti-aging tip: NO SMOKING.
Must-have hair product: A tiny bit of Murrays! Biggest indulgence: Huh?
Hair Salon: Never been to one. I’ve cut my own hair since I was 16. Product line you’re obsessed with: I’m straight, so none.
Shower essentials: Water of course.
Your Scent: Burberry Brit. LOVE LOVE LOVE
Biggest Splurge: Myself.
Favorite breakfast spot: Balthazar — it’s right by my office and always a good scene. That and Yuca Bar on Avenue A. Great steak and eggs there.
2010 is apparently the year of the one-piece. According to Google’s retail blog, the bikini is on its way out — at least temporarily. “Search trends indicate that one piece swimsuits and tankinis will be a hit this year despite fashion show standouts including cutouts, plunging necklines & one shoulder designs in various bright colors and graphical prints,” says the blog. The trend would definitely fall in line with a move on numerous runways this past season toward more prim, even conservative looks. And one of the most talked-about new swimsuit lines to launch this past year — a collection called We Are Handsome — is all about the monokini.
True to its moniker, the collection is a collaboration between Oscar&Elvis Swimwear and People Like Us. Each suit boasts vintage prints of cowboys, a tiger mid-growl, or a purple, palm tree-studded LA skyline. They’re simple in cut, but the prints totally set this line apart. Also worth checking out if you’re in the market for a one-piece: Lover, an uber-feminine brand from Australia stocked at Steven Alan among other stores. Insight, likewise Aussie-based, is sold at Urban Outfitters. The latter is the handiwork of Natalie Wood, a Sydney indie fashion icon thanks to her line Something Else (and the now-defunct Sample).
Steven Alan is on a mission. The designer made a name for himself outfitting New York’s downtown set in his namesake wears; he has since expanded nationwide as well as internationally through the likes of a recent collaboration with Uniqlo. And now Alan is teaming up with none other than Richard Branson. “Steven Alan is currently Down Under, working on a project with V Australia — Richard Branson’s new airline,” says Valet. “Alan’s traveling around the country getting the full treatment and gathering inspiration for his idea of the perfect travel bag, which will sell at his NYC and LA stores.” In the meantime, Alan’s project will be taking on an interactive bend; specifically prospective shoppers can offer feedback on Alan’s choice of materials, shape, etc.
Back in the states, Band of Outsiders’ Scott Sternberg just debuted a new collection exclusive to Barneys New York (it’s currently stocked at six of the store’s locations). Titled “No Bunk! No Junk!,” Sternberg’s collection is meant to “tap into Barney’s heritage,” which melds both a classic sense of Wall Street power dressing as well as a more pared down version of European chic. The collection includes solely black and white pieces and centers around basics. Think staples that aren’t too sleek: “a basic black suit in not-so-basic corduroy; a leather jacket that doesn’t take itself too seriously; and a plaid shirt that’s just … a really great-fitting plaid shirt,” says GQ. Altogether, it’s a collection Sternberg sums up as ” very American — with the proportions that make fat guys hate me.”
Tom Ford’s directorial debut, A Single Man, may have just premiered at the Venice Film Festival (where its lead, Colin Firth scored the Volpi Cup award for his performance). But back stateside, quite a few designers showing Spring 2010 collections at New York Fashion Week have been bitten by the film bug. Shipley & Halmos and Tim Hamilton showcased film-centric presentations that forewent a catwalk and models this past weekend. Steven Alan presented an original film, directed by Adam Levite, last night in the Yard at the Soho Grand Hotel in place of a traditional runway show. And, as I mentioned Monday, Gareth Pugh debuted a four-part filmic installation in Milk Studios over the weekend in anticipation of his Paris runway show.
And, yesterday, 8 flights up from the garage that housed Pugh’s films, Alice Temperley brought her own version of sartorial cinema to NYC. The latter included literal mannequins outfitted in SS10 Temperley London looks lined up beside a carnival circa the 20s-themed short film. Shortly before the presentation, Temperley mused on the show’s concept via email. “We wanted to challenge the conventional way of presenting a collection in the attempt to come up with something completely innovative and before unseen. We also wanted to make the collection accessible to a wider audience on a global scale and take into consideration those who are unable to travel due to restricted travel budgets. The new Format is also sensitive to the ever increasing environmental issues surrounding the seasonal traveling.”
When you walk into Confederacy — a Los Angeles boutique owned by Ilaria Urbinati, Danny Masterson, and Aly Mawji — you instantly feel inspired. Whether it’s the quality selection of designer clothing, accessories, and beauty products, the rotating display of artwork and photography, or lively in-store events, the space hosts an endless amount of creativity. The charming Ilaria, a celebrity stylist and former buyer for LA boutiques Satine and Milk, fills me in on her style influences and why every visit to Confederacy is truly a unique experience.
What’s the story behind the boutique’s name? It’s named after one of our favorite books, A Confederacy of Dunces, which comes from the Jonathan Swift quote: “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” This is one of the truest things anyone’s ever said, ha ha. The word also means “an alliance,” which seemed fitting for Danny Masterson and I.
Why did you select Los Feliz as the location for your store, rather than the prime shopping rows on West 3rd Street, La Brea Avenue, or Robertson Boulevard? It was Danny’s idea. I had done Satine and Milk on West 3rd Street when there were hardly any stores. I have a definite aversion to saturated shopping areas; I think it’s important to fill a void. Danny really pushed Los Feliz/Silverlake, or “East Hollywood” as we keep trying to coin it, but it never catches on, ha ha! He pushed for that block we’re on specifically. I’m not even sure why, but I went with it — and it was the best thing we could’ve ever done.
All my customers from my aunt’s old store on Sunset Plaza who used to live around there have all moved to this area and now shop at Confederacy. And the locals have been so excited and grateful, I think they’re just stoked they don’t have to make the trek out to West Hollywood and Beverly Hills to do a little shopping.
What makes Confederacy a destination stop for both men and women? For one thing, we really have a little bit of everything. We try and provide the full experience, especially for the Westsiders so they can come and make an afternoon of it. You don’t want to drive in LA traffic for 45 minutes just to go to some rinky-dink hole-in-the-wall. We have the best of the current men’s designers (Ervell, Hamilton, Bastian, Geller, APC) and women’s designers (Alexander Wang, Boy by Band of Outsiders, Proenza, Lim, Vena Cava, PHI, Etro, and cool hard-to-find foreign lines like Future Classics and Devastee). We have art, books, and amazing accessories.
I do think the art is a big draw. First we had Julian Schnabel etchings, which really got the local art aficionados wetting their pants. Currently we have photographer Eric Ray Davidson: “The New York Times Fashion Week Photo Diary.” I can’t think of any body of work more befitting; the whole point is to meld art and fashion and commerce. And these photos really capture both the beauty and the sheer absurdity of the fashion industry, which we fully embrace at Confederacy. Eva Mendes hosted the opening of the show, and it was a great party. You might as well throw some good people, music, and cocktails in for good measure, right?
Cheers to that. What do you look for in a line that motivates you to carry it? Honestly, I just look for that I’m-jumping-up-and-down-and-I-have-to-have-it enthusiasm. If I’m not at least slightly hyperventilating or it’s not taking me back to some other time or place, forget it. What’s the point? There’s too much good stuff out there. Also from a commerce perspective, it’s one thing to ask people to like something, and a whole other thing to ask them to love it enough to spend their hard-earned money to own it — especially in this economy. The answer for us is not to go cheaper but to go with better quality, consistency, and just in general that dying-over-it-ness.
What are some of your favorite standout pieces currently in stock? I love, love, love the Proenza full bandage skirt in neon peach & white stripe that I wore to our GQ /Bastian Event this month. Everyone called the next day wanting it, which I fully take as a compliment, ha ha. I think Diego Dolcini is making the best heels out there — they could be the next Louboutin. The Rag & Bone yellow leather motorcycle jacket and their floral leggings, I would live in. Geller’s think soft linen-ish stripe button-ups should be owned by every Summer-seeking man. Gant is particularly great for this economy as it’s so cheap and so great — very 50s Outsiders. All the Rag & Bone men’s clothing is pretty bad-ass. And both the Opening Ceremony and APC oxfords are the most coveted men’s shoes in the store. I especially love the Opening Ceremony two-tone beige & yellow ones. And I’m especially proud of my collaboration with Rebecca Minkoff on her women’s apparel for Fall. WWD said it was as “if Bob Dylan & June Carter had a love child.”
I love the art and photography displayed throughout the store, as well as the brick walls and wooden telephone booth dressing rooms. What’s your design and layout inspired by? The decor was done by the amazing Ben Shulman of Shulman & Co. Our whole inspiration was based around a mix between Depression-era, Norman Rockwell-style Americana, and early Woody Allen New York. We wanted the phone booth dressing rooms because how annoying is it to have to get redressed to come out of the room and ask for a size? Our customers can just pick up the phone and it directs them to one of the staff. Mostly little kids use it though, and our staff answers “Disneyland?” It’s so cute.
What does the music playlist sound like during a visit to Confederacy? A mix by DJ Momjeans, a.k.a. Danny Masterson, perhaps? It ranges between DJ Momjeans (especially for our events), old blues from Fats Waller, Bessie Smith, etc., and lots of Dylan, Joe Jackson, Guthrie, and The Carter Fam. We’re definitely not blasting house music.
Who is your ultimate style muse? I have a lot; I’m definitely easily inspired. Hedi Slimane for sure, and early Winona Ryder/Tim Burton-era films. The 90s have always been big for me, whether it’s the film Clueless or Alicia Silverstone/Liv Tyler Aerosmith videos. Babe Paley, my grandmother (it’s definitely her fault we’re all in fashion in my family), and my mother’s old 70s looks — a good mix between tomboy and aristocratic. It’s quite a jumble. And I would say 70s-era Jane Fonda has always been a big one for me.
Where are some of your favorite places to shop in LA and elsewhere? Definitely The Way We Wore for high-end vintage and special occasions. Squaresville for thrifting. Nuyorica in Rome. The Cross in London. Steven Alan in Tribeca. Edith Machinist and Some Odd Rubies in the Lower East Side — half my wardrobe is from there, and the other half is from Confederacy, duh.
What can we expect next from Confederacy? We are going to be opening a café very soon! It’ll be amazing, with coffee from Brooklyn’s Gimme! Coffee and locally homemade pastries. Our outdoor courtyard will be for tables. It will be heaven. It looks like a shrunken version of the wedding scene in The Godfather out there — or at least I like to pretend it does.
Photos: Eric Ray Davidson