Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No Place Like Home

     So we're back home, on the "Ice Coast." I have to say, that trip to Vail was one of the most fun vacations I've had in a long time. Everyone was in high spirits and having a good time. Good food, thanks to the wonderful Richard Brown, good snow (including my first ever powder day!), excellent guides (Kevin Shelton, Jeff Mathes, Dave Wilson, Dan Adams) and more family than you can shake a stick at, although I don't know why you would want to. Having so many people around is somewhat foreign to me, being that I grew up in a small nuclear family. But even though this vacation was crazy at times, I actually kind of miss everybody.

     The Marrow kids are some of the most remarkable people I've ever met. It's evident right away that they are well-educated - using latin root words to circumvent the rules of Taboo.....it's just not fair. But more than that, they are bright, sharp, quick-witted, and just plain smart. They are all so different, which in a family of 6 strong personalities is a feat unto itself. I've had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with Rebecca - she is unfailingly enthusiastic and gregarious, as well as determined and strong-willed (a necessity when you have 4 little brothers). She has said that she wants to be in the CIA, and Josh and I have a running joke that upon hire she would call everyone she's ever met to say, "Oh my god, guess what.....I just got these nuclear launch codes...." But who knows, maybe she has us all fooled.
     I am really grateful that this trip gave me a chance to get to know the boys better. I never knew how loving 3 teenage siblings could be! Of course there's plenty of teasing, tackling, and punching, but hardly in the same quantities as hugging and kissing. Honestly, Josh and I couldn't even begin to imagine having as many pet names for each other as these kids have.....I mean "snuggler's notch?" Really?(I know, I'm really embarrassing them, but it's part of the fun!) And, aside from typical sibling disputes, they all seem to respect each other's different interests and talents.
     Daniel is a skilled athlete and sharp humorist - he sees EVERYTHING and will not hesitate to tease you about ANYTHING. But what I appreciate most about him is that when he engages with you, you can be sure that he is listening, absorbing, and responding with true consideration.
     Benjamin is too intelligent for his own good.....that guy has more brain power than just about anyone I've ever come across. It's clear that he is always thinking, although it is less obvious what he's actually thinking about. He is definitely a bit of a mystery to me in that sense, but he is also very charming and sweet (a combination that is sure to drive the girls crazy, when he comes of mind to use it that way). Most of all, I love that he is constantly curious, interested and eager to learn.
    And Jonathan............well, he's probably having the most fun of anyone alive. Never have I met someone so un-self conscious! He is always laughing or smiling - he gets more pleasure out of an afternoon nap than most people get from a day on the beach. I am always joyful to be around him, because he emanates a feeling that whatever is happening is the best thing that has ever happened.

    So yeah, it was a great trip. And I had so much fun snowboarding, that I'm seriously considering trading in my cork wedge sandals for some double cork action in the superpipe.

That's not to say that snowsports ≠ style. Quite the contrary, actually.........

You can't really tell in this picture, but her lipstick matched her outfit perfectly.

I love the graphic jacket with neutral pants.....I think it helps that she has red hair and a cute dog.....

Jonathan showing me more of his slope style.
Me in my hot pink helmet!
What a great trip! I've no doubt that I'm going be be dreaming of rainbow rails tonight......

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Snow Surfing

     Josh and I are back in Vail, CO!
We arrived in Denver Sunday afternoon. We made a quick stop for Eggs Marcos (an amazing dish of eggs scrambled with bacon, cheddar cheese and cream cheese, with a fluffy biscuit and side of fruit - I've been craving this since we were in Boulder last year!) at the Walnut Cafe with Carol. Then up the mountain to meet up with Josh's father, his wife and 4 siblings, on the ski vacation they so generously invited us to join them on.
     So far, we've been having a GREAT time. Growing up with just 1 sister, I didn't realize how much I enjoy having a lot of family around. And 3 teenage boys, plus a female college freshman (arguably as much energy as the boys combined), plus big brother Josh - if that's not a lot of family, I'm not sure what is!
The Marrow Boys! Daniel, Benjamin, Josh, and Jonathan

     And I've got some more slope style for you......

I love the bright colors and mix of patterns these snowboarders put together.

This guy had the whole thing going on (I'm guessing he's 8 or 9..?) - striped jacket, bright pants, patterned scarf, even a cool backpack. He looks like he means business - Wish I could have seen him ride!

Jonathan showing me his "slope style."

More to come!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let's Talk Shop

    The month long, international style extravaganza know has Fashion Week is finally wrapping up....thank God! I love fashion, but by week 3, I'm hitting critical mass. There's just sooooooo much stuff out there - everyone and their dog thinks they're a designer (I'm looking at you, Kim Kardashian). I'm all for 'Fashion for the People!', but at a certain point, if you don't have anything interesting to say, you should just stop talking and leave it to the Pros.

 Ahhhhhhhhhh..........NOW we're talking!
     Riccardo Tisci turned out one of my favorite Givenchy collections to date for Fall 2010. Citing ski and surf culture as inspirations, Tisci injected the house's signature tailoring with sporty playfulness. The silhouettes were modern - sharply tailored trousers, cropped jackets, body hugging knits and thigh grazing hems. 

       Fair Isle sweaters cut to looks like scuba suits - What a great marriage of references. Now if you could actually get people to dress like this in Vail village.......it's like Ugg boot city over there.

     The clothing is inspired, without being too specific. You understand the surf reference in the knit bodysuit, but it's made accessible by its pairing with a beautifully cut pant. The suit and coat look in the second image appears to be cut from neoprene (what did I tell you!....see Dolce and Gabbana), and it's still a modern wearable suit. In the end, he makes great pieces that so many women can wear.

The zip-and-fold pant seems to be a trend this season, as you'll see later.

Sexy Lederhosen?

     Tisci also gives us some enviable, sexy eveningwear. It is modern, lush, and sensual and completely wearable (well, maybe not the lederhosen). I could see Zoe Saldana wearing either of those top 2 looks to a film premier or party, especially since she's such a Givenchy fan....

Zoe Saldana in Givenchy Couture (Spring 2010) at the Academy Awards

     Balenciaga has come to be acknowledged as one of the most boundary pushing, trend setting collections in designer fashion. Since Nicolas Ghesquiere took the helm in 1997, he has revived the storied brand, making it as relevant and influential as it was in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Known for his futuristic-looking styles, Ghesquiere re-invents the sculptural shapes found in Balenciaga's archives for the modern woman.

    Ghesquiere cited packing materials and 'domesticity' as points of inspiration for Fall 2010. Even though the silhouette is current and modern, I can certainly see a reference to 50s - 60s American suburban housewives in the cropped pants, jackets and knitwear. I wonder if he watches Mad Men...?

Note the fold-down waist, which also appeared at Givenchy.

     Padding, quilting, newspaper prints.....all recall packing materials. Ghesquiere has played with the idea of protection, shelter and armor in previous collections; cardboard and bubble wrap turn out to be elegant variations on this theme. Hm.....clothing as 'people packaging'......hmmmmmmm....

These last 2 dresses remind me of paper chains my sister and I would make from newspaper.

From afar, it could have been braided or macrame, but padded stars?!?!

     And of course, Ghesquiere displayed his amazing ability to imagine the most interesting textiles, many of which play into the packaging theme - laser cutting and repeating appliques remind me of elaborate packing shreds.....

Laser Cut Suede?

Quilting and applique too

Lace applique? 

Quilted embroidery
     Even the shoes were given the  'ready-to-ship' treatment, encased in molded plastic and wood chunks.

Shin guards! Cage toe! The Balenciaga woman is outfitted to take on the world!

     One of the things I love most about this collection is the way Nicolas Ghesquiere brought together all of his influences - his fingerprints are all over it. You've got the urban warrior concept present in rounded shoulder puff jackets and cage toe shoes. Classic Balenciaga tailoring is shown in cropped jackets and pants, referencing their 1950s origin. Color blocked prints and braided-looking textiles bring in a tribal vibe. And newspaper prints and sketch-y graphics add in a street style reference, as well as the 'shin guards' on some of the shoes, which remind me of the tongue of a high-top sneaker. Furthermore, Ghesquiere used a decidedly spring-y pastel color palate for this fall collection, something I haven't noticed from any other designer this season......I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing a lot more color in stores come August. 
     Altogether, this collection has beautiful tailoring for the working woman, concept and perspective to be appreciated by the artsy crowd, enough cool for the young and hip (granted they have sizeable trust funds), and presumably a Balenciaga label, which, if Ghesquiere keeps turning out stuff like this, is enough to satisfy the fashion crowd. 


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Movin' On Up

YSL Jumpsuit

     I know that it's pretty much old news to anyone in the fashion world, but I've recently been contemplating the upcoming uprooting of New York Fashion Week from it's original home at Bryant Park to Lincoln Center. I hear the move itself stemmed out of some political scuffle between the park association and the fashion mafia. However, I believe this move has a lot more to do with the state of fashion in NYC than it does the fact that fashion people can be difficult to get a long with. To understand what this move truly represents to the industry, one must understand the story up to this point.

The tents at Bryant Park
     For the large part of the 20th century, nearly all styles of clothing sold in America were based off of garments observed at Milan and Paris fashion weeks. The collections shown in Europe would dictate which silhouettes, fabrics and colors would be popular for the season. At that time, fashion shows were equivalent to trade shows, attended to by industry insiders and haute couture clientele - very little press.  
      In the 1970s, when American textile and clothing manufacturing was at its peak of production, a few manufactures began to support American designers and their own brand of fashion. The center for the garment industry in America consisted of the few blocks from 34th to 40th streets, between 9th and 6th avenues in New York City. Thus when a collective New York Fashion Week originated in 1993, it made perfect sense for it to be held at Bryant Park - It was an event for the industry, hosted by the industry, held in the neighborhood where the industry conducted all of its business.
     In the past decade, manufacturing in the garment district has declined at an alarming pace. Very few of the pieces shown during New York Fashion Week are even made in America, much less New York. Fashion Week itself is less and less an event from which buyers around the country and world stock their stores with orders of garments seen on the runway. Stores like Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman purchase nearly 80% of their stock for the upcoming season directly from designers before Fashion Week even begins. Reportedly, designer L'Wren Scott sells out her entire collection before her runway show. 
    Fashion Week has become more a place to see and be seen than to buy clothes. It's a press frenzy, with front rows stocked with the latest "It" girls and their tight t-shirt wearing boyfriends. Everyone's running around trying to be photographed by The Sartorialist, and it's not unheard of for a designer's after party to be better populated than his presentation.

    In this sense, it is quite fitting that New York Fashion Week move to Lincoln Center - a performing arts campus. Might as well just go ahead and admit that it's all spectacle and entertainment. That's not to say that there is no true artistry in the shows - Maybe being in the same space as the Metropolitan Opera will inspire designers toward more elegant and avant garde fashions (Spoiler Alert! I see lots of ballet-inspired collections for Spring 2011!). But this signifies a huge step away from the original design of Fashion Week - it's no longer a trade oriented event, but a publicity program. 
    I also find the move uptown interesting in another way. Suddenly Fashion Week is nestled in one of the most chic locales in Manhattan, making the event seem more exclusive than ever. In the past few years, young designers have chosen to show their collections at off-site locations, many of which are much further south. But they've chosen to move the tents north???? Furthermore, the New York fashion style has increasingly been described as young, cool, hip and specifically downtown. So why would the 'powers that be' choose to move Fashion Week to a location that speaks to more of a conservative society crowd? Maybe that is the new target audience. It's no secret that it's uptown ladies who account for the large majority of Bergdorf's sales. Maybe this move is designed in part to further  promote that salable uptown aesthetic.

The Lovely Lincoln Center

     It will be interesting to see what happens next season when New York Fashion Week moves to its new home. Frankly, I believe that this will spark a further disintegration of a nuclear New York fashion society. Over the past several years, more and more designers have chosen to show off-site, and I believe that at least some of the designers who remained loyal to Bryant Park will opt out of showing at Lincoln Center. Because the event venues will now be even more scattered press, editors, and buyers will have to zip around the city like crazy people, and will become more selective about which shows they choose to attend - making it harder for lesser know designers to have their work seen. 
     Now, I could be completely wrong about all of this. Maybe the move to Lincoln Center will prove to be a complete boon. But in a time when the NY fashion industry is splintered and vulnerable, this feels like the wrong play. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sugar Rush

     For Josh's birthday this past Saturday, he and I took on a huge task - we decided to prepare a dessert tasting, or eating rather,  for about 60 people. This idea actually originated as a proposed Valetine's Day party - all sweets for Valentine's Day! But being that Josh is such a chocolate fiend, and his birthday is shortly after the 14th, we decided to reappropriate the theme for a more appropriate event.

180 eggs, 3 gallons of cream, 14lbs of chocolate, 16lbs of butter, 8lbs of sugar and 6 cookbooks later:

See more pictures on DessertBuzz.

It was a pretty decadent party with a menu consisting of 26 different desserts:
-Chocolate Marquis
-Flourless Chocolate Cake (2)
-Pear Trifle (thanks to Ruthie for the recipe)
-Dulce de Leche Crepe Cake
-Caramel Tart
-Carrot Cake (an AMAZING recipe, courtesy of Josh's mom, Matti)
-Pear Cake (also Matti's recipe)
-Tart Tatin (2)
-2 Kinds of Chocolate Mousse
-Chocolate Chip Cookies
-Raspberry Tart
-Blackberry/Blueberry Tart
-Blueberry Lemon Tart
-Chocolate Ganache Tart
-4 Varieties of Chocolate Truffle
-Grapefruit Curd Tart
-Lemon Tart
-Chiffon Cake (Aaron's recipe!)
-Rice Pudding
-Chocolate Bread Pudding
-Homemade Creme Fraiche 
-Homemade Chantilly Cream

...................I think that's everything! The party was tons of fun - many friends, lots of Prosecco, a great DJ....in fact it was so much fun, I completely neglected to take pictures! If it hadn't have been for Niko, our friend who writes DessertBuzz, we wouldn't have any documentation of the final spread either.  I guess we'll just have to do it again.

And now,  super exclusive behind-the-scenes photos of the making of JOSH'S SUGAR COATED BIRTHDAY 2010!!!

Making the rice pudding

It's so pretty!

Special thanks to:

James and Caroline for letting us store all of our crap at your house!

Christopher and Carlos for helping make the table look like it came from Martha Stewart Living
Matti for your fabulous recipes (I still never got that damn glaze right, though)
Aaron for kick-saving the damn glaze, and basting the apples (that Tart Tatin was PERFECT)

Thanks to you all, I think Josh had a FABULOUS birthday!