W2W2: What to Wear to Santos’ Party House, as Victim of Circumstance Girl

The Spot: Santos’ Party House (Chinatown) – Big, sweaty, hot bi-level boite with sick sound and killer acts for dancing downtown darlings.

Patron Saint of Style: The Victim of Circumstance girl, the most amazing imaginary girl I’ve ever met, thought up by the creative mavericks behind the Victim of Circumstance line, a division of the contemporary knitwear company Qi Cashmere. Their VOC girl is a made-for-press-releases dream girl, a fake muse who happens to be a freelance fashion photographer living in SoHo and partying at Santo’s, mainly because her hip-hop idol Q Tip from A Tribe Called Quest DJs there (she takes him with a side of Zeppelin and Hendrix). She is also a regular voyeur at The Spotted Pig, Botanica (where she trades stories with Sandy the bartender), the Anchor, and Sweet and Vicious.

Ambiance: Did we mention big and sweaty? Also a loose door good enough for downtown cream like Terry Richardson, Chloë Sevigny, Gavin Brown, and our imaginary VOC girl.

The Look: For Miss VOC, worldly, eclectic and ultra-mixed is her MO. The girl shops at Oak and Opening Ceremony, and she mixes her hip-hop/classic rock look with vintage from Tokio7 and LaGarconne. Light dresses with heavy studded boots, black and white geometric sweater dresses that call to mind Twiggy or Bridgette Bardot, or a unique fringe skirt she wears with a vintage tee tucked in, are perfect for the downtown-meets-musictown Santos’ advocate. A mix of textures and patterns appeals to this everywhere girl, the carefree way she throws on a printed one shoulder dress with heavy leather straps is the epitome of Miss VOC. Artsy details like a Rodarte notebook are important, but her camera is her best accessory.

W2W2: What to Wear to Santos' Party House

Get the Santos’ Party House Look: Clockwise from left: ● Shoes: Alexander Wang (available at Opening Ceremony) – $760 ● Shoes: Velvet Angels (available at Oak) – $358 ● Looks: Victim of Circumstance (available in Spring 2010) ● Notebook: Rodarte, Opening Ceremony – $18

Moises de la Renta: Fashion Scion Gone Solo

Moises de la Renta could very well be a reality television icon by now. With Fashion God Oscar de la Renta as his father and a velvet rope lifestyle, he certainly fits the I-wish-I-was-him credentials. But Moises opted for a real (and respected) career in design/photography. And if his recently launched, painfully hip website for his bad ass womenswear fashion line MDLR is any indication, his career choice was wise. We met up to chit-chat for what I thought was drinks at the Thompson Hotel, but to my surprise, I was greeted by the man about town in a room full of models getting ready for their close-ups in an MDLR photo shoot featured on Whatswear.com. It was all lights, cameras, and action, mixed with plenty of cigarettes, blaring background noise of the sub-par performances of MJ’s classics from the previously aired BET Awards, sexy leather biker jackets complete with gilded MDLR zippers — and, in true rock star form, an Iggy Pop vs. David Bowie debate.

Let’s cut right to the chase. Why should people care about MDLR? I want to bring something a little different to the table. My aspiration is to show people almost a beautiful and glorious gloom — that it’s OK to be melancholy. I want to speak for the lady in the corner of the club, you know what I mean? She’s just chilling, doing her thing.

I’m going to need you to specify on the type of club girl though — not a Marquee girl, I hope. You’ve ever been to the Roxy in 1985? That type of girl.

What inspired you to start the line? The situation here is that, you know, it’s about having fun … creating. That’s all it is for me. What got me into this was really advertising, looking at old Jil Sander ads and stuff, and just looking through the magazines — that’s kind of what got me into photography. Inadvertently what made me get into fashion was that it was a way I could do photography. But it’s cool for me … it’s just a way I can create a world.

The newly launched MDLR website has a music section. What does music have to do with your collection? Music is definitely my inspiration — rock ‘n’ roll. The reason I came here to New York was listening to all that old time jazz — Iggy Pop and Patti Smith and all of that. It was good stuff when I thought that was how New York was gonna be … and it’s not. It’s a bunch of posers.

So is that why you chose DJ/model/musician/all things It-Girl Lissy Trullie to model for your look book? You know, Lissy Trullie to me — especially with her album, Self-Taught Learner, check that out, that’s good stuff. It’s exactly that — self-taught learner. That’s our generation. It’s just about doing your thing, going out there, not being scared, bringing something to the table. And just being you. That’s it, man.

MDLR captures the vibe from the youth of old downtown New York. Is New York an inspiration for you? New York is a young city. It’s always about the youth. This is where it all began. This is the city of liberation and freedom — creative freedom. I want to represent the independent woman — she’s cool, she’s chilling, doing her own thing, having a good time. She may go out on her own. She doesn’t need her girlfriends, she doesn’t need her guy to pay for the bill. She’s just an independent, modern woman just doing her thing.

But more geared to the pretty faces rocking vintage concert tees in the smokey basement of Lit than Sex and the City, right? Rock ‘n’ roll is a big part of my life. I just woke up and listening to Green Day’s Dookie, just a side note … But anyhow, it’s definitely for the girl who likes to have fun, for the girl who feels like a rock star even though she may not be. My clothes are just about having fun and being comfortable with oneself.

Speaking of a pre-Giuliani New York, what do you miss about it? New York used to be about coming together. It didn’t matter about how much money you had. I think there’s a little more of a commercialism. Obviously we do live in a time that is somewhat dictated by money, but at the end of the day, I think on the flip side of the recession is that it brought people together — it brought creative people together, and a lot more people are willing to collaborate. It’s more about just creating good things, man. It’s not really about the commercial appeal of making money, because there’s not really any money out there. So people just wanna have fun and have a good time, so I think that’s great.

So where do you party nowadays? I miss Beatrice … we want it to come back, but I don’t think it will. Jane’s cool … I’ve been hanging out a lot there. Chloe’s alright. Avenue is a cool little bar.

I’ve seen you prep it up and get all vintage rock star. How would you describe your personal style? Lots of black and jeans. I don’t know … comfortable American I suppose. I just like to be comfortable, so for me that means a nice pair of 511 skinny worn-in black jeans — it doesn’t really depend on my mood. Most of the time I’m wearing the same thing. I have five black jeans and who knows how many black tees.

Where do you shop? I like vintage stores. I like Tokio7, Barneys. I like What Goes Around Comes Around. And I like Jeffrey’s.

What Goes Around Comes Around and Jeffrey’s? That’s like saying you like Jessica Simpson and the Rolling Stones (which is totes cool in my book, by the way). (Laughing) No, Jeffrey’s is where I get my candles and all that Diptyque shit. Not clothing, but sometimes shoes.

Describe your perfect date. A bottle of red, St. Marks, some sushi. Maybe a film at the Angelika.

Favorite restaurant? Westville’s pretty cool. But I like to go to Cipriani’s. (laughing) Just joking. But I do like Da Silvano. I love it there … actually, I like Bar Pitti better — it’s lighter.

I’ve seen the Polaroids scattered all over your studio, and I know you enjoy shooting your interesting friends. What inspires your photography? Life and death. My favorite photographers are Annie Leibovitz, Bill Brandt and Irving Penn.

MDLR is a far cry from your father’s sophisticated feminine gowns. What does it take to be considered a rebel? I don’t really consider myself to be a rebel. But Stephen Hawking’s a rebel. Anyone who’s willing to challenge the current state of being is a rebel to me … anyone who stands up for change, stands up for others, for what’s right is a rebel.

So you’re a rebel in the making. Is there a fine line between making bold choices and trying too hard (a.k.a. a poser)? I hope one day I can change certain things about the fashion industry and maybe be a rebel myself. I don’t know, I just try and do my thing … that’s all. And hopefully, by staying true to myself, some changes will be made. And yes, there is always a fine line. If something’s not you, don’t rock it because the clothes pick the person, ya dig? So if you’re rocking an outfit that you don’t feel, you’re probably trying too hard and should throw on some jeans and a button down. Less is more anyway — simple is chic.

It’s your Fashion Week show. What music will you be playing, and who do you want front row center? I’d like Iggy Pop to be playing. They’re both great but Bowie bit a lot from Iggy when he first came to America and was trying to be all “raw” and “rock ‘n’ roll.” Iggy Pop is fucking raw power man, and Zombie Birdhouse is one of the best and most underrated albums ever, but so was Bowie’s Low. But Iggy still tops it in my book. It’d be cool and kind of a diss to be playing Iggy but have Bowie in the front row.

Harlem Globetrotter: The Cardigans’ Nina Persson on Her Favorite NYC Spots

As the ethereal vocalist for the Cardigans, Nina Persson made a generation swoon. Now the lovely Swede calls Harlem, New York, her adopted home, following her marriage to American composer Nathan Larson (once of Shudder to Think). Nina and Nathan are also wed creatively, as singer and co-producer of A Camp; their new record, Colonia, is an enthralling amalgam of wistful, dreamy and gorgeously plaintive pop with lyrics that float between the stingingly sardonic (“Let’s raise our glasses to murderous asses”) and the heartbreakingly world-weary (“It’s not easy to be human anymore”). Here, Persson gives BlackBook a tour of her favorite hotspots and hardware stores.

Mobay Uptown There are lots of Jamaican-inspired places in this area, but this is the classiest and the most welcoming. This Swedish girl loves their jerk chicken!

Vercesi Hardware I love hardware stores! Especially ones like this, with screws and bolts floor-to-ceiling, and knowledgeable staff who have worked here forever and are here to help, no matter how weird the request.

Obscura Antiques & Oddities This is a small antique/curiosity shop in the East Village that I found while passing by. They’ve got old stuffed and mounted animals, feathers from closed-down hatmakers and old medicine bottles. It’s cozy, intimate and inspiring.

Demolition Depot A treasure chest with four floors full of salvaged stuff like fireplace mantels, wrought-iron gates, soap dishes, bathtubs and windows. It’s not cheap, but if you need a half-ton copper door from a turn-of-the-century bank, this is your place.

Tokio7 I mostly come here to sell, not to buy. It’s a consignment shop that’s great for dealing with shopper’s guilt. Lately, they have been turning me down — I guess I’ve run out of designer stuff to load off on them. It’s a great place to come if you absolutely need Chanel, but want to pay Daffy’s prices.

Decibel I’ve been coming to Decibel a lot. For a while, it was standard to go there before Black & White on Sunday nights. It’s in a basement, so look carefully for the stairs leading down to it. I love how it’s unusually dark and sexy. People have scribbled on the walls over the years (I think I have, too). In addition to the great sake, they also serve a very tasty lychee fruit on ice.

Supper Supper has become our unofficial headquarters, even though we live far away from it. We like to have long dinners with the neighborhood, and pretend that we’re family.
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