Top 3: Erin Wasson

There’s not much Erin Wasson hasn’t done. She’s styled two seasons for designer and friend Alexander Wang, launched her own jewelry line, called LowLuv, and designed collections for RVCA. Oh, and she’s a supermodel with renowned personal style, which looks like the visual equivalent of what a fusion of psychedelic, folk, and tribal beats must sound like. “Music is one of my greatest inspirations,” says Wasson. I love afro-funk and old school soul. I love this ’70s psychedelic band from Nigeria called BLO. I also like some good old country, like Candi Staton and Wanda Jackson. My music taste is all over the place – just like my style!”

While building her brand, Wasson found the time to make trips down the runway at Paris Fashion Week to honor a few notable designers. “You do the ones you love, that inspire you,” she explains. “Hermes was Jean Paul Gaultier’s last season so it was a bit of a beautiful farewell. And Chanel, well, is there ever a reason not to spend time with Karl Lagerfeld? Being in his presence makes you a more enlightened person.” Not that the girl needs any more creative juice. Whether it’s returning to her Venice Beach home with a fully-functional treehouse and skate ramp (“I go to Los Angeles to escape the New York chaos – it’s like a yin and yang for me), or returning to her Texas roots in Austin (“That city is full of music and magic”), Wasson is and always will be a free bird. So what project might she be taking under her wing next? “Maybe housewares,” she hints. “There’s an interior designer inside me dying to get out!”

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1. Vanessa BrunoFall/Winter 2010 – Shearling Jacket – “I love the color and that it’s a modern version of a ranch-style jacket.”

2. Free PeopleSnakeskin Cowboy Boots – “These are the perfect vintage cowboy boots!”

3. Roberto CavalliFall/Winter 2010 – Complete Collection – “I love the Renaissance vibe and the throwback to the good old days.”

Photo of Erin Wasson by Hanneli Mustaparta

Top 3: Leyendecker

Taking an innovative approach to designing timeless garments, Jessica Moss and Lisa Guajardo are redefining fashion as a wearable art form. “One of the things that draws us to fashion is the functional aspect of it all. We make things that are worn, not hung on a wall. The trick is making it artistic and interesting at the same time,” says Guajardo. “It’s not sitting in someone’s home; its out in the world for everyone to see,” adds Moss. “So as an art form, fashion is exciting in a way that most art isn’t. The day-to-day exposure is just insane.” Besides artistic edge, what makes the duo’s L.A.-based line, Leyendecker, so appealing is its attainability. With a reasonable price point and an ample list of retailers, the designers make it easy to score a piece from their collection.

Leyendecker formed in 2005 when Moss and Guajardo became neighbors, bonding over their common love for long-haired Chihuahuas. “Our dogs would have play dates,” says Guajardo. “We were each designing our own lines at the time and always talked about doing something together.” One night they officially agreed to start their line—and a star was born. Since its inception, Leyendecker has been focused on breathing new life into familiar silhouettes. From a silk a-line skirt bound together by thin straps at cutout sides, to a sheer wool-gauze tank with a splash of tribal print, each piece has a stand-out feature while remaining minimalist enough to layer and carry through each season. “We try to get juxtaposing aesthetics to coexist harmoniously in the same garment. In a way, our clothes are never only one thing—they have dimension,” explains Moss. “Every season it’s something new. We get obsessed with certain details and try to explore that detail to its limit,” notes Guajardo. The detail they’re obsessing over for Spring 2011? Romance. We’re already swooning.

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1. LeyendeckerFelted Wool Poncho – “It’s the best on a cold winter’s day when you don’t want to get out of bed. It’s like wearing a really chic blanket! We love to wear it belted too.”

2. Found My AnimalAdjustable Rope Leash – “We love how Old World and archaic this leash is; the brass hardware just makes it so industrial. Also, 25% of proceeds go toward the Louis Animal Foundation and all the leashes are stamped with the number of animals they’ve found homes for.”

3. Dr. Martens for Opening CeremonyLily Velcro Sandal – “The unexpected combination of clog heel and strappy printed pony hair makes for a great transitional shoe.”

Top 3: Mickey Schiff of White Arrows

LA-based White Arrows are a lo-fi electronic band with a sound fit for a psychedelic dream sequence. And while their goal is to take you to another place sonically, they want you to see it, too. “Visual aesthetic is of great importance to us,” says Mickey Schiff, the singer, songwriter, keyboardist, and guitarist for the band. “When we jam, it’s a coming together of not just the audio senses, but also the visual. Our band mate Jesse Nikette invented a device called the Spangler, which triggers customized visuals that are controlled by him live. He’s the Lite-Arrow in White Arrows.” Mickey’s brother, Henry, and half-brother J.P. Caballero, along Damon Kellard, Steven Vernet, and Rob Banks, make up the band, and together they’re not only making good music, but also getting love from the fashion set for their offbeat personal style—especially Mickey’s.

“No one can hate on the tropical vibe,” Mickey explains of his Grandpa-isn’t-the-only-one-who-can-rock-Tommy-Bahama approach to fashion. “The more I began to wear tropical and patterned shirts, the more I felt it represented me. I’m not sure if I projected a state of mind on the shirts, or if the shirts projected an island attitude onto me.” Just like his music, Mickey has an uncontrived look—a result of his time spent on both coasts living (born in LA) and studying (graduated from NYU). “NYC has an ability to be so shocking that nothing shocks you anymore, which is great for being uninhibited in how you live,” he explains. “LA is more conscious of the way you present yourself. I just believe that whatever you decide to wear, you should feel comfortable in it.” I think he might be onto something. Hawaiian Shirt Fridays, anyone?

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1. Reyn SpoonerTropical Shirt – “I have multiple shirts at this point. I bought some at flea markets, some at vintage stores, and some found me. It’s hard to be upset when you’re wearing something so lighthearted. Therapy or Tropical Crunk? You decide.”

2. SperryTop-Sider Boat Shoe – “They’re the easiest shoes to put on. Classic style and waterproof.”

3. Spirit ConnectionBandana Pocket Square – “I love everything from the southwest, and it’s functional. Bruce Springsteen carried a red one in his back pocket, too. It just makes sense.”

For more on White Arrows, visit their MySpace page or catch their live show at Spaceland every Monday in August.

Top 3: Rochelle Goldberg

Much like her jewelry, Rochelle Goldberg is an old soul with a fresh perspective. “My methodology is very straightforward. I spend a lot of time looking at things I find to be interesting or curious, whether its ancient jewelry, plant textures, nanoscopic images of bacteria, or photos of exploding nebulas taken from the Hubble Space Station,” she explains of her design process. “I’m into all of it. I let it sink in and then just flow out when I make the initial carvings of the pieces in wax.” While not all of us find bacteria equally inspiring, Goldberg has managed to translate her unusual awareness into an on-the-rise jewelry line, Ralph and Duchess. Named after her childhood bunnies and based in the designer’s professional sculpting background and love of history, the line features unique, hand-crafted pieces destined to be heirlooms. Three collections exist so far—Ralphie, The Duchess, and Bark—and each one features those standout pieces you relentlessly search for over hours of flea market digging.

Ralph and Duchess started two years ago as a side project while Goldberg was studying sculpture at the New York Studio School. “I try to maintain a clear distinction between making jewelry and my studio practice. They each serve a very different function and stem from diverging impulses,” says the designer. “That being said, my recent tendency towards playing with the volume and scale of jewelry has really loosened things up and I’m sure my studio activity has enabled this. My interest has turned Etruscan circa 500 BC, so the shapes will be very different while the texture will follow the previous vein.” A distinct eye armed with a classic skill, this young designer is only getting started. “Now that school’s out I have more time and energy to pour into my collections,” explains Goldberg. “I’m always open to helping hands, so when the budget is there I would love to get a team going.” Something tells me this budding one-woman show will need a team very, very soon.

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1.Confetti SystemCrystal Pinata – “I love it because it’s fashion treated as objects that are both interactive and a good time.”

2.Mark FastCropped Ballet Style Top – “I’m always cutting up old panty hose to wear as tops. It’d be great to have a sturdier version that I could hold on to for a while.”

3. Serge LutensFleur D’Oranger Eau de Parfum – “I’m addicted to the smell; it reminds me of summertime spent running around in fields.”

Photo of Rochelle by Rory Gunderson

Top 3: Gabriella Marina Gonzalez

“When my first boyfriend and I split in my early teens, my father, instead of giving me a typical cheer-up chat, said to me, ‘Well Gabriella, what did you expect? You’re difficult and extremely outspoken,'” explains Gabriella Marina Gonzalez. “I’ve always had a strong point-of-view about the things I hold true to and can only see it getting more intense as I get older.” With 2010 collections titled “Clothing for the Emotionally Dispossessed” (Spring/Summer) and “Victorian Sci-Fi Surgery” (Fall/Winter), there’s no question the London-based designer’s P.O.V. is purely her own. Just 24-years-old, her indisputable talent supersedes any doubts about her credibility. “I’ve been designing and sewing since I was very young, about 11. It was primitive, but a start nonetheless,” she says. “As much as I tried to express myself creatively in other fields, I always came back to design and body expression. It’s like a gun: the bullet will explode and land in many places but it still came from the same barrel.”

Comparing her vocation to a weapon suits Gonzalez well, given her interest in hard-to-swallow details. Take her FW10 handmade accessories collection, which has the fashion world abuzz thanks to a pair of mega platforms you practically need a helmet to ride. “The shoes are an entity of their own. It’s scary; they design themselves and then refuse to stop manifesting in my thought process until they materialize into something tangible. They’re interpreted by the viewer in ways beyond my control.” The collection also includes cyber fetish gear, like cut-out harnesses, arm and kneepads, and wraparound earrings that those with fear of snags dare not wear. “Maybe it’s indulgent, but I use designing as a way to release all my energy so as not to inflict it upon my loved ones. I have to channel my efforts creatively so I don’t fall into a destructive way of living—but that in itself can be beautiful also.” Through her craft, G.M.G. has found pleasure in pain. Call us masochists, but we want more.

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1. Dominic JonesGold Claw Knuckleduster – “Modern day decadence. I like the juxtaposition of nitty-gritty meets upper crust. Dominic Jones is the creative zeitgeist of our time, as far as I’m concerned.”

2. Dr. MartensMonkey Boot – “Very ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ by Ian Dury and The Blockheads. These suit me.”

3. Malcolm McLarenFans – “This album was introduced to me by a family friend when I was 15. She’s a crazy alcoholic lesbian who likes to play dangerous liaisons with people and well, it was scary and she stuck with me. Watch the Madame Butterfly video.”

Top 3: Hanneli Mustaparta

Last year we crowned Hanneli as The New Sartorialist. Quite the lofty title but we knew it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world started to take note, including Vogue, who featured Ms. Mustaparta in their March issue, joining fashion photoblogger darlings Todd Selby, Garance Dore, and Tommy Ton. Although she only started her blog a year ago, her work behind the camera has quickly established the model-turned-photographer as not only a pretty face, but a pretty notable talent as well. “Having modeled has definitely given me an insight to photography–not the technical part, as when I was working I couldn’t really spend time asking photographers all the questions I had, but more on the relation and communication with the object and the way I use my eye,” says Hanneli. “What appeals to me about photography is that I can form something from my own point of view, versus modeling where you are in a setting to help others form their idea. It was amazing to be a part of, but it’s also lot of fun taking the opposite role.”

Hanneli’s insane schedule includes splitting her time between New York and her native Norway—where she’s also an MTV VJ—snapping photos for high-fashion mags, and being invited to shoot and attend the entirety of fashion month each season. Reminiscing on this past NYFW, the photographer notes Miu Miu (“It was unexpected with the bellbottom pants and the thick but sweet fabrics”), Rodarte (“It was beautiful. I loved the knits, veils, and the fluorescent shoes”) and Celine (“So sleek and elegant) as some of her favorite shows. When asked of her upcoming plans, Hanneli mentioned that she’d really like to share, but it’s all a secret for now. My guess is a designer collaboration.

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1. Delfina DelettrezSilver Hand Ring – “It has such a different feel to it and brings a little joy when you look down.”

2. AcneAdonis Leather Jacket with Suede Sleeves – “The mix of beige suede with white leather is amazing, and the design and fit is really good.”

3. Jean-Pierre BraganzaBifrons Shorts – “They’re high-waisted and slightly high cut over the thighs, which is really hot. I haven’t decided on the black or the neon pink yet.”

Self-portrait by Hanneli Mustaparta

Top 3: Chrissie Miller of Sophomore

There’s something game-changing about Chrissie Miller’s Sophomore line that has boutiques around the world buzzing with interest. Not your everyday basics line, each collection holds true to the “timeless simplicity of downtown New York” (well-put by the brand website), but also incorporates contemporary fabrics, fits, and silhouettes. What was once a simple a t-shirt line revered by NYC cool kids, Sophomore has expanded into a full-on collection of leggings, jackets, dresses, and outerwear, with the help of Proenza Schoulder designer Madeline von Froomer. And while the designs are growing up a bit, one thing that hasn’t been sacrificed is comfort. “I love to be comfortable—who doesn’t? Which is why Sophomore is what I like to call ‘fancy basics.’ You can get dressed up without feeling uncomfortable,” says Chrissie.

Maintaining that easy, breezy lifestyle vibe of the brand, Sophomore’s lookbooks shot by acclaimed photographer Cass Bird are just as talked about as the clothing itself. “We come up with some of the craziest ideas! Cass will call me and be so excited about something and vice versa. I just love working with her—she is magical,” notes Chrissie. “Anyone who has met her knows that just being around her makes you smile. The ideas for each lookbook usually have a lot to do with the mood of the clothes, so we pick the location and cast based on that.” Earlier this year, the longtime friends and collaborators went viral by creating a Sophomore spring/summer 2010 lookbook short film (a must-see), followed by a premiere party at The Box. Up next for the Sophomore takeover: a collaboration with Urban Outfitters.

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1. Madison HardingCanvas Espadrille Heels – “Why doesn’t every girl own these for spring?! I just think they are genius, because I love espadrilles but am not a fan of the wedge. I love all three colors!”

2. SophomoreButton Pullover – “Ok, so I made this…but it’s amazing and I can’t imagine summer without it! It’s the perfect beach pullover.”

3. Bona DragLighter Necklace – “So I just saw The Runaways movie and I kept noticing the lighter necklaces on the girls. I had been looking for them for a while after seeing the movie Foxes, but never had any luck! Sure enough, here they are on Bona Drag! Sick!!!”

Top 3: Pamela Love

Pamela Love’s brilliantly bold jewelry has revolutionized the way we accessorize. Replacing dainty pendants with crow skulls, stylists often reach for the jewelry designer’s pieces to offset the femininity of their client’s look. But as eagle claw cuffs are quite the contrast to your run-of-the-mill stacked bangles, what inspires Pamela to design on the wild side? “My last two collections were inspired greatly by two road trips I took — one to Arizona and Mexico and the second one through New Mexico. I was heavily influenced by the imagery, as well as the Native American and Mexican cultures and rituals,” she says. “I am also inspired greatly by jewelry from Nigeria.” Given her selection of travel muses, there’s no doubt that much of Pamela’s work pays homage to the tradition of indigenous animal jewelry, invoking power and energy into its wearers.

In addition to cultural influence, Love — who also comes from a stylist and musician background — is driven to create art that represents her plethora of interests. “Music, travel, art, film, religion, magic, science, nature … I am inspired by so much that it’s hard to really pinpoint one thing,” says Pamela. Not only celebrating beautiful beasts, Pamela’s unisex collections also salute tribal artifacts such as arrowheads, feathers, crosses, and daggers. Revealing that she’s already working on her next collection, we’ll sit back and watch Pamela Love continue to design a brave new world for the fashion industry.

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1. Lindsey ThornburgHarding Sunset Cloak – “This cloak is warm, beautiful, comfortable, and has huge pockets. I wear it all the time.”

2. Bliss LauTrivium Bracelet – “It’s really tough and delicate at the same time — a nice contrast to my own jewelry.”

3. BessStudded Silk Kimono – “I love this because you can throw it on top of anything and look awesome. Plus, I’m a sucker for studs. I’m waiting for them to get the velvet ones in stock again. I’m dying for a second Bess kimono!”

Top 3: Rad Hourani

The scene at Milk Studios before the Rad Hourani Fall/Winter 2010 show during NYFW was chaotic: unyielding staff verifying listed names, insistent standing room hopefuls lingering at check-in, and revered guests dashing through the studio doors, followed by the flashing lights of equally-respected style photogs. But as I took my seat for the show, the mood quickly shifted from blinding noise to colorless subtlety—much like the young designer’s latest collection. From the dimly-lit runway, to the moody models with slicked-back hair, the entire production was Rad’s signature minimalist aesthetic. Each look carried its own weight, eliminating the need for color by illuminating the power of proportion. “It is a synchronic and chromatically distilled collection of polymorph unisex silhouettes. It’s very important for me to have no reference from the past or from a subculture or a vintage feeling in my collection—I’m from everywhere and nowhere,” explains Rad. “I design from a virgin point of view, trying to elude classical ready-to-wear rules that made us believe that women and men deserve different approaches. My pieces are timeless and are freed from any gender differentiations.”

Rad Hourani has been a cult favorite of the influential style crowd since the launch of his label three years ago. His ability to consistently produce progressive collections while maintaining his focus on androgynous-based garments with a strict color scheme can only be accomplished by an individual unfazed by the industry’s traditional practices. “I never went to a school after high school. My influences are the gathering of my own personal experiences and observations along the years—not something somebody told me to do or think,” says Rad. “I think it’s important to do your own thing without being influenced by anyone or anything. Of course everything has been done before, but I design what I feel like wearing.” As Rad continues to march to his own beat, we’ll be sure to follow. With roots also in styling and film directing, the designer shares his Top 3 fashion and technology picks below.

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1. AppleMacBook Pro with Built-in 7-Hour Battery – “I can work my entire flight between Paris and New York on one charge.”

2. Rad by Rad HouraniUnisex Black Jersey Top/Dress with Black Elastic Suspenders – “This is my everyday top. I can’t wear any other top—I live in it.”

3. FlipMinoHD 120-Min Camcorder – “I can record all the moments happening around me.”