Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Georgia On My Mind

What’s one of the best things about living in Manhattan? Leaving it.

Every now and then when my calendar allows it I like to pack up my Tumi, pop in an Airborne and jet set to destinations like Miami (Via Delta Song), the Hamptons (Via Hampton Jitney) or occasionally the South of France (Via the Travel channel).

This past weekend, my travels took me down south again, to Atlanta. (Ok, so it’s not Dubai but at least there’s no jet lag involved.)

Now for some Manhattanites, including myself, Atlanta has remained an unknown entity. Many of us have yet to explore this southern city beyond the airport… but there’s much more to this town than the Budweiser Brewery and Cinnabon in Concourse A.

Take the food. The Flying Biscuit Café is the epitome of southern home cookin’. Owned by early 90s sensation the Indigo Girls, the café offers a genius combination of health food and soul food (think whole wheat biscuits and organic grits) so hippie locals and Emory students can listen to Galileo while munching on fried green tomatoes (it’s actually not just a movie).

For dinner you must try the recently opened Table 1280 restaurant located in the piazza of the High Museum. This is not your average museum café. An homage to minimalist elegance, the contemporary design by Italian architect Renzo Piano exudes a digital zen with a rainbow light installation that glows above diners feasting on Chef Shaun Doty’s gourmet crabcakes and chickpea fries. Go for lunch and check out the upcoming Chuck Close exhibit.

If you must satisfy your passion for fashion? Go to the mall. No really. Thanks to upscale Phipps Plaza, I can call myself a mall rat. Granted I hail from the Garden State, but they don’t make malls like this one on Route 4. With boutiques like Theory, Intermix, Jeffrey (the original), Blue Genes, and Bob Ellis (think Manolos Mary Janes, Jimmy Choo slingbacks and Lanvin ballet slippers), who needs Bergdorf?

Final Word: Whether you’re in town for business, pleasure or just need a dose of southern hospitality, Atlanta will satisfy any urbanite’s cravings for good eats, good sees and good times.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Let's All Get High and Waisted

A few years ago my mother threatened to destroy my denim collection. At first, she wanted to give them away. Then, she wanted to throw them away. Eventually, she wanted to douse them in gasoline and dance around a denim barbeque right before my eyes.

Clearly, she was not pleased with my selections. She found my low-waisted choices both offensive and obscene. But, I didn’t care.

We all remember the ole’ low-waisted jeans. They sat just below our hip bone in the front, and just above the tip of our crevice in the back. The rise was far too short to hold a proper zipper, and they were always made of some terrible over-stretched fabric that resembled more of a gym pant than a jean. But, we loved it.

Ironically, that same season when denim hit its low point, Chloé released a collection of jeans and skirts with wide bottoms and high, 70’s-inspired waistlines. The silhouettes were both fashionable and flattering, but instead of taking a cue from Phoebe Philo, we chose to mimic Britney Spears.

Since, Phoebe has retired and Britney has fallen from grace, but thankfully, the waistlines on our jeans have consistently been on the rise. Each season they would creep up about a half an inch, and over time, wearing jeans no longer put us at risk of indecent exposure.

This season, for the first time, we’ve witnessed a true movement upward. The shapes are almost identical to the aforementioned Chloé designs, but the world is finally ready to wear them.

Grey Ant has created the best example of modern, high-waisted jeans. Their narrow waistlines surpass the belly-button and sit just below the rib cage. They are super slim fit through the lower torso and then widen in the leg. Think Parker Posey in Dazed and Confused, with slightly better style.

Final Word: High-waisted jeans will make you look so slim and sophisticated, even you’re mother will be proud.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My Friend James

I love Oprah. I love her show, I love her clothes, I love her unwavering integrity. So when Oprah takes time out of her busy schedule of making celebrities cry and giving shit away to publicly admonish the writer whose moving memoir brought her to tears, I tune in.

Yes I’m talking about the already talked about to death James Frey and his controversial book, “A Million Little Pieces” where he recounts his life in rehab as a crackhead, an alcoholic and a criminal. I shamefully admit, I did not even know of the book until I heard 2 girls discussing it in the locker room at my gym one January evening.

“Can you believe that?!” One girl asked.

“I know! And just imagine how Oprah feels! She’s probably so upset.” The other girl retorted.

My ears perked up. Oprah? Someone hurt Oprah? Not my girl! I had to find out what all the hype was about. And I did. Sure enough, thanks to Larry King Live, The Daily Show, CNN, Fox News, The Evening News, Oprah, Best Week Ever, The Soup and Barbara Walters, within a week the whole world knew James Frey and his little book.

In case you missed it, notorious website The Smoking Gun outed Frey as a frat-boy liar when they dug up some old police documents that proved Frey “wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details” of his book including his 87 day long prison stint. James lied. And not only that- he lied to Oprah.

So I read the book...Not only is it good, it’s great. The story is emotional and heart-breaking, the characters are real and sympathetic, the writing is addictive and so real that it sucks you in like you’re shitting blood, you’re getting a root canal without anesthetic, you’re broken, lost and searching for hope in a hopeless world. The specifics may not be true, but the story of humanity and loss of humanity remains real. What really bewilders me is not his embellishments (for without which, a good writer does not make) but the fact that people are so up in arms over this.

Since when does America care about the truth?! And why is it over how many crack pipes this guy smoked in Ohio and not whether a country really deserves to be declared an enemy of war? Where are our priorities people? I don’t care if this guy did his time in Rikers Island or Ridgemont High, he gave us a good story.

Final Word: Everyone is going to have their own opinion. Why Frey did not publish his book as a novel is beyond me or maybe it just further proves his point. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Besides the fact that he lost a contract with Doubleday, James Frey probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass what Oprah, Larry or the rest of the world thinks and frankly, neither do I.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bobbing for Boldness

I have never left a hair salon completely satisfied. It’s the same unfulfilled feeling I get when leaving the doctor’s office. Perhaps it’s because I expect these mere mortals to work miracles. Or perhaps it’s because the ones I have chosen just simply, are not that good.

Today I got a haircut at Salon V in the East Village. I booked the appointment after taking a recommendation from two very satisfied friends. The place was what you would expect from that part of town. It was small and intimate with exposed brick walls and heavily tattooed stylists. The girls were all very friendly and they immediately offered me a glass of wine, which I found particularly charming. My stylist, Carolina, was all about business. She refrained from making that pesky small-talk for which hairdressers are known, and that alone, put me at ease.

I told her I wanted to cut off a decent amount. My hair was just below my shoulder and I wanted it above my chin. “I’m thinking about a light bob with an angled bang,” I told her. “But honestly, I’m used to short hair so don’t be shy. You can really do whatever you want. Feel free to chop right into it.”

Now, I would think creative freedom is a hairstylist’s dream. But I say the same thing every time I get my hair cut and never has anyone been bold. Do they think I’m lying? Like one minute I’ll encourage creativity, and the next I'll burst into tears? I mean I’m not bi-polar, I just want a ballsy haircut.

Final Word: The search continues for my perfect stylist. Until then, I guess I’ll have to live with my boring bob.

Revenge of the Nerds

Nerds are so hot right now. From fashion to film, geeky guys are having the best week ever. Every decade or so nerds storm the nation with their goofy glasses, boring button-downs and strappy suspenders. And everybody loves it. First came Doogie Howser MD, then came Steve Urkel, so who is our loveable loser of the new millienium?

Take Steve Carrell of The Office and 40-Year Old Virgin fame. This guy could not be more nerdy. He may not wear plaid but he is the definition of uncool. He's so uncool, he's cool.

So is nerd the new black?

From Stephen Colbert overshadowing Jon Stewart as the hottest anchorman in town to Phillip Seymour-Hoffman being inundated with Oscar nods for his bookish portrayal of Truman Capote, it's no wonder why we're swooning for smarties.

Calculator couture has even popped up on runways in fashion capitals around the world. But before you pull out the pen protector, just take a look at my personal fave. Suspenders. They're so unexpected, they're chic! Miuccia Prada’s mini jumper is a sexy, modern version of these smarty pants while Thakoon’s pinafore dress offers a more feminine interpretation.

Final Word: How to avoid looking like you belong on the math team? Pair your suspenders with over-sized trousers or shorts (think voluminous, not lycra), round toe platforms and a simple white tank.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Playing Dress Up

New Designer Spotlight: DoucetteDuvall

I don’t know about you, but I love wearing dresses. Dresses—when worn well—are so liberating, so feminine, and so effortlessly chic. Now this may sound like post-post-feminist backlash, but wouldn’t the world seem like a prettier place if we all wore dresses all the time?

Whether you share this nostalgic notion, or you're simply in the market for a fun, flirty frock, DoucetteDuvall’s new line of vintage-inspired dresses and jackets beautifully blend old-school glamour with modern practicality.

“I hate fluff pieces,” says Stephanie Ann Doucette, one-half of the design team behind the line. “I’m not going to make a trench coat if you can’t wear it in the rain.”

In addition to their functional femininity, Doucette, and her partner Annebet Duvall, have romanticized the notion of getting dressed. “The day should take you wherever it may, without needing a wardrobe change,” says Doucette. “So the line is about transition pieces. These dresses will take you from day-to-night.”

When the small collection debuted last fall, the line suggested 1940’s Hollywood glamour. But this spring is about all the casual vibe of the 1970's. The early spring collection includes two styles of dresses. Both designs are reminiscent of sundresses our mothers donned in their youth, with high elastic waistlines and sweetly tied spaghetti straps.

Each style is available in two fabrics; one a boldly striped silk charmeuse, the other a paisley-polka-dotted silk-lined polyester. Later in the season, DoucetteDuvall will release long, casual dresses made of cotton and gauze, and possibly preview some of their fall trench coats.

The line will make its official debut in fall 2006. But while we’re being nostalgic, the New York-based design duo met as neighbors in Little Italy where they used to chat the night away on their fire escape. How undeniably charming, in an old-school sort of way.

Final Word: The dresses—sold exclusively at Intermix Fifth Avenue—arrive this weekend. Call 212.533.9720 to order your own little piece of the past.

It-Girl of the Week

In a world where Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie bobble their bobble heads about the pages of US Weekly and Page Six, we have come to believe that socialite = fame-hungry whore. Ever since the word "celebutante" was invented, young urban debs believe they have a right, nay the talent to be stars, and for what? Shoving their arms up a cow’s arse? Hardly a skill. They move to LA, hire stylist Rachel Zoe, purchase a Pomeranian pup and desert NYC to pursue some sort of excuse for a career.

Meanwhile back in Gotham city, the true pretty young things hold it down. And I don’t mean Brittainy Gastineau. Victoria Traina, daughter of steamy novelist Danielle Steele, happens to be the most intriguing east coast based it-girl of the moment (Since when does a trashy writer’s offspring equal socialite? Erroneous.) The muse of cult turned mainstream label Proenza Schouler, Victoria embodies what is fashionable and cool about our generation. She’s pretty (sans collagen), perpetually tan (Portofino not spray-on) and smart (well, smart-looking). Her eyes sparkle as to say, this whole socialite thing is a joke and you’re all fools to eat it up. Unlike her peers, Kimberly (Rod), Theodora (Keith) and Nicky (Kathy) who have drenched themselves in swag rags (one of which who tried to get a “discount” off an already discounted tee at Intermix during Fashion Week) and have become and pathetic cliche, Victoria has shied away from the limelight of Hollywood to pursue status in more fashionable Manhattan circles and actually has her own style. What does she do exactly when she’s not taking fabulous pictures and wearing designer duds? Do we care?

Final Word: PYTs around the world should take a cue from Ms. Traina. Stay away from reality shows, become BFF with a hot designer and never ever have a fashion don’t moment. So until Victoria signs to appear on E!’s “Steele’s Society Sirens,” she’s my pick for it-girl du jour.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Take Me Out

This afternoon I decided I wanted to write about SeamlessWeb. I wanted to tell everyone that it is one of the most comprehensive websites on the Internet. That it blows MenuPages out of the water. That ordering take-out in New York has never been easier. And that there are 43 restaurants in my neighborhood alone willing to deliver to me in less than 30 minutes and I don’t have to actually speak to a single one of them.

And then I thought about it a little more.

We’re coming off a long weekend. I mean, if you count Thursday there have been at least four perfect opportunities to go out, be social, get a drink. Yet the only thing I have to talk about is SeamlessWeb—a fucking online delivery service. And yes, Benny Burrito’s were amazing and Better Burger was exactly that, but honestly, when did I become the girl with nothing more on her agenda than prompt delivery and bad TV? God, I’m such a loser!

So this week, instead of watching “Mario, Full Boil” on The Food Network—unfortunately I’m not kidding—I am going to hit up Otto. I know he’s a fat bastard, but I can’t help it. I’m craving a cheese plate and a cute sommelier.

Final Word: I’ve got to get over the green tea and get back on that saddle before I start watching Grey’s Anatomy. Regularly. And did I mention? That Meredith is such a whore!

Kiss Me Guido

I had an identity crisis over the weekend. My boyfriend and I had plans to meet a friend at Spy bar. I had never heard of this place and probably for good reason. Not that I’m a snob when it comes to watering holes but there are 2 categories that I consider a good time– the ultra trendy club where the DJ is guaranteed to be good or the ultra dirty dive bar where the jukebox is guaranteed to play as much G & R as I like- and nothing in between. There is nothing worse than a place trying to be cool when it’s not.

Cue Spy bar. We arrive outside to find bouncers and a velvet rope. Great. Where are we again? Clearly not waiting on any line, I approach a 17 year old girl clutching a coffee cup (amateur) and clipboard.

“Hi,” I say authoritatively as to say, “Can you let us in already?”

“Can you get to the back of the line?” She asks me.

Are you kidding me? I don’t even want to be here! But I listen and shamefully tell her we’re on a list (who even has lists nowadays?!) and she let’s us in but not before we have to pay $3 for a mandatory coat check.

Inside it’s a circus. No one is over 20 years old and everyone is either Italian, Asian or wearing some form of pleather jacket. I make a trip to the ladies’ room where all 3 stalls are filled with girls throwing up. We’re leaving. My friend would understand.

I call my brother who tells me to meet him at Nest, the new hotspot du jour. Perfect. We cab it up to 27th street where we encounter another line, another list and another mandatory entrance fee ($15 = reduced). When we finally get upstairs, I feel like I’ve entered the auditorium of my high school. Familiar faces swarm the room of kids who I’ve grown up with but are years younger than me. I feel like I’m at a bad house party. We’re outta here.

On our way home, my boyfriend asks me, “Can you believe those bridge and tunnel crowds?”

Excuse me? I mean sure at Spy but at Nest? Those were my “friends”! Suddenly the kids that I barely knew by name were my brethren. I was their ambassador, their martyr. Bridge and tunnel? No way my friend. Because if they are, what does that make me? The slight question mark that lingered in my mind was quickly extinguished by devout denial as I erupted into the great debate. The poor guy didn't even have a chance.

His case – Bridge and tunnel is a literal meaning of those who cross a bridge or tunnel to enter Manhattan.

My case – Fuck you. I’m not bridge and tunnel. (Ok, I’m from New Jersey but Englewood is so not bridge and tunnel.)

In the end, we agreed to disagree but in retrospect (ie: without 2 bottles of wine in me), I am still a bit at a loss. Are we bridge and tunnel? Sure our wife beaters are C & C and our leather jackets are Prada, but are we simply a refined version of the GWB refugees? The thought is terrifying yet is also revealing that all things are relative. One man's Crobar is another man's Bungalow 8. Well, I guess it just depends on what side of the river you’re coming from.

Final Word: Each one of us may have a little bridge and tunnel, redneck, masshole, hick within us but least here we can roam free, call ourselves New Yorkers and deny, deny, deny.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Norma Kamali Outfits the Avenger in All of Us

So, the other day I had a missed call from my brother. Now, this is a seemingly normal incident for any other human being, but not so much for me. You see, my brother probably calls me, directly, less than six times a year. But don’t get the wrong idea, we’re all well and good and close and all, he’s just never been a man a many words. Especially not on the phone.

Just to give you a taste, our phone conversations over the course of the last year or so have gone a little something like this:

“I’m getting married.”

“I’m having a baby.”

“I’m looking to get wasted tonight.”

So when I realize he had called me, I figured it was one of three things; something good, something bad, or something pertaining to beer. But when I got him on the line I was delighted to discover he actually had an agenda.

“So, what are you doing March 4th and 5th?”

“I don’t know. Why?”

“Well, there’s this charity dodgeball tournament at our old high school and I really think we could kill it.”

Dodgeball? Dodgeball? Was he really fucking serious? Yes. He was. Utterly and completely. Apparently, he had assembled a solid team of retired high-school-sports-superstars like himself, and was ready to crush the competition. The only glitch was he needed two girls to play. That’s where little sis comes in. In addition, I was advised to bring a friend. “And make sure she’s athletic.”

As I’m sharing the complete ridiculousness of the situation with a friend from work, her face becomes illuminated. She wants in. And she’s serious. Turns out, hidden beneath her fashionable façade lives a retired All-County volleyball player. Not to mention, she has a brother is in the NFL so she’s got aggression in her genes. She’s perfect! A huge asset to our team.

The following day she and I attend an informational seminar on the new Norma Kamali for Everlast sportswear line. It’s a fabulous collection of fashion/function pieces made out of terrycloth and lycra. One glance at the lookbook and we turn to each other in unison, “dodgeball uniforms!” we whisper, as our eyes widen with disbelief, never imagining such perfection could literally land in our laps.

After much discussion, we narrow the choices to a one-piece number. Spandex booty-shorts attached to a blousy, ¾-sleeve, boatneck top. It’s #119. We pull the sales rep aside to inquire about special ordering some pieces for ourselves. She’s totally down. So how’s this for a visual? I have not been back to my high school in the nearly six years since I graduated and now I’m going to prance in in a one-piece Norma Kamali lyrca jumper, ready to draw blood at a charity dodgeball tournament? I can’t even. Too much…..

Final Word: We’re totally taking home a trophy. How could we miss? We have a squad of superstars ready to come out of retirement, Norma included.

America's Next Top Model

Every few years the fashion industry decides to trumpet one of its own models as a superhero of contemporary culture, hence the term, supermodel. From the Amazonian likes of Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell to the Brazilian beauty of Gisele Bundchen, these girls are the faces and bodies of each generation. They represent all that is right with society. Why bother looking at the damage bird flu has incurred when you can watch Heidi strut her stuff wearing much healthier looking wings? These girls are our only hope. And now the fashion gods have anointed the next savior…. Daria Werbowy?

The name doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue. The problem with Daria, as far as supermodels are concerned, is that she has no personality. Cindy is the American icon. Gisele is the Brazilian bombshell. Naomi is the bitch. But who is Daria? From Vogue to GQ, Daria has been hailed as epitome of glamour, fashion and sexiness. Sure she’s stunning, sure she can sell perfume but what happened to models with kick-ass personalities and less than riveting movie roles (Fair Game, Taxi anyone?) I don’t exactly see Daria starring in the new Vaughn/Wilson romantic comedy. But if Anna Wintour says it, so it shall be.

Daria’s look perfectly embodies what fashion is about right now- soft colors, sophisticated lines and a muted elegance. Perhaps she is an averse reaction to our current obsession with gross reality from the Kate Moss debaucle to Jessica Simpson’s sexcapades. Perhaps she is an indication of where our culture is headed. Namely, an anonymous, shy, private culture where crass extroverted behavior (read: Taradise) is scorned rather than championed. Could it be?

Final Word: We may never tire from the obscenity of reality tv and gossip rags but at least fashion has provided us with enough escapism to make the world beautiful again - and in that sense Daria is a superhero in every sense.

Flip flops in February

It's 58 degrees outside and it's February. I just saw someone in a t-shirt on my way to work. The Times style section just ran a feature on street style titled, "The Girls Walk By in Their Summer Clothes." They're not wearing their summer clothes because it's fashionable, but because it's fucking 60 degrees out in February!! This is not normal. Are we truly falling into the abyss of global warming? Have our fears of The Day After Tomorrow been realized in true form? (if so, where the hell is Jake cause if we're going down, he better be at my side). I don't know whether to rejoice at the fact that I can leave my scarf and gloves at home or break down into violent sobs at the fact that the end is near. Either way I'm secretly pleased that I can wear my new Sonia Rykiel trench out to dinner tonight.

Final Word: Yes we are going down in flames but at least we can look fabulous doing it, right?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'll take a Green Tea. Straight Up.

Ok. So I wouldn’t call myself a booze-hound or anything, but I am a gal that likes her drinks. A few glasses of wine at dinner, or on my nights in. Grey Goose rocks with three limes on nights out. And shots of Patron, straight up. That’s normal right? Well, at least I have good taste.

So anyway, last week was a bit out of control. Not so much with the drinking, but more with mass gluttonous consumption as a whole. In addition to doing a grande restaurant tour of New York—Tortilla Flats Monday, Bette Wednesday, Stanton Social Thursday, Yucabar Friday, and Morimoto’s Saturday—I was also out until five a.m. almost every night! It’s a little something we like to call non-tourist tourism, but that’s for another entry.

After I nearly collapsed on Sunday, I decided I should probably try to get my life together. So, the next day I did some laundry, went to Whole Foods, and downloaded several Buddhist lectures onto my iTunes. In addition, I promised myself I would not have a drink or ingest any other mood altering substances for at least a week.

Well, I gotta tell ya, I’m on day five and I feel great! (The shakes came and went on day three. No, I’m kidding). You don’t really realize how those “couple a drinks” during the week can really fuck you up. I mean look at me! I’m writing again! And this whole blog contribution just sorta came out of left field. I haven’t had this much clarity in years! (Well, maybe not years, but you catch my drift……….)

It’s kind of funny how long it has taken me to wrap my brain around the concept of week-END. Now, if I could just find myself a REAL job, I might almost be a human being.

Final Word: Everything is best in moderation. Nah, the jury is still out……..

Never Fly Coach

During an impromptu chick hang last night we stumbled upon the topic of V-Day gifts. “Is it bad that I want to return John's* Valentine’s Day gifts?” one of our friends asked.

“Well, what did he get you?”

“A scarf and a key chain from Coach. And they’re covered in C’s.”

“What the hell are you going to with a store credit from Coach? Buy more shit with C’s all over it? Tell him, ‘I want G’s, bitch!’”

Final Word: Save the C’s and spend the G’s.

*Name changed to save him from embarrassment. Because honestly, who the fuck shops at Coach?

Weekly Ritual

I lead a double life. I am a Candace Bushnell novel’s equivalent to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Every Monday, my Bose alarm rouses me to a fresh start (it’s not as inspiring as that Nike commercial where people run marathons at 5am, but it’ll do). I get up, go to work, order my egg whites from Medina (goat cheese omelet), skim the Style section at Page Six (toss “real” news), order my salad from Medina (Cobb), go to the Equinox on Broadway and hit the elliptical (30 minutes), contort into Laughing Lotus yogic poses worthy of Christy Turlington’s cover of TIME magazine (well almost) and am tucked in before midnight (Sleepytime tea and Melatonin, the combo does wonders). The perfect image of health and serenity, right? Skip to Saturday. Yes sir, bring on the American Spirits (I must go natural when my chain-smoking would make a Parisian cringe), bring on the booze (Grey Goose sodas only please), bring on the occasional pick me up (how else am I going to stay up til 4am?) and bring on the Cheetos at 5am (or whatever I can find at the corner deli)cause all that banquette booty-shakin can make a girl hungry! Working out? I’m lucky to leave my apartment let alone get to a gym. Waking up? Not before noon thank you. The paper? The Wall Street who? I wallow in ignorance and gluttony and I love every minute of it. Then come Monday, I’m back on my diet of downward dogs, detox drinks and the Daily Show to clear my organs and mind until another brutal bashing on Friday.

Final Word: Some would say I lead a balanced life- one good thing cancels one bad thing out, right? Others might say I’m insane. You decide.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Why the "city that never sleeps" may be putting us to bed.

It’s safe to say we have all grown a bit tired with New York nightlife. If I find myself one more time on the corner of 27th and 10th I may have to throw myself onto a moving taxi. Or at least, I would try. But they’re all at a stand-still.
First there was Bungalow. Then Marquee. Then Cain. But in the last year alone we’ve witnessed the birth of Home, Guesthouse, Bed and Stereo just to name a few. West Chelsea has turned into Mardi Gras—a drunken mess of tourists and wannabes.

Last week I found myself on the rare tour of the West Chelsea club circuit. I know, I know, but it was Fashion Week and some friends were in town and well, it just kinda happened. So when I got inside I desperately tried to search for something appealing. Familiar faces? No. Good DJ? Not really. Intimidatingly cool crowd? Absolutely not. So if all of New York’s “hottest” clubs completely fucking suck, what do people do for a good time in this town?

Now for me personally, I can have fun in a cardboard box. All I need is a stiff drink and a loaded iPod. But what about those people that need more direction? Who crave the scene? I mean honestly, where have all the club kids gone? And if you tell me fucking Encore, that’s it.

Though some will say, it’s Happy Valley. I happened to stumble in there last week for the after party of the Heatherette fashion show. Now, we’re all familiar with Richie Rich and his freakish little antics, but this crowd was a force to be reckoned with. I mean there were swings, and tutus and orange Mohawks. Not to mention, enough iridescent periwinkle eye shadow to paint the town purple. We did one lap and were out. “What the fuck was that all about?” we thought.

A week later I picked up the most recent issue of New York magazine only to find an album of images from that freakish night out. They were included in an article chronicling the return of Susanne Bartsch, the 55-year-old “underground iconoclast” whose 1980’s club promoting “cured New York of its post-disco hangover.” Like myself, she feels that “the state of nightlife today, it’s dismal! The clubs are soulless, dollar-driven. There is no energy.” So as a result, she has risen from her tomb of obscurity to host the Tuesday freak-fest at Happy Valley. But I honestly just didn’t get it.

So what does that make me? I am tragically cliché? Just bourgeois and bored? I hope not. Now, we may love our 80’s music, watch every John Hughes/Molly Ringwald marathon, and leggings have returned as this year’s True Religion jeans, but 80’s-style clubbing? Can our generation really hang? I mean, we were just wee little things back then. The raciest I got was mimicking the Thriller dance in front of the TV. Now I’m supposed to party like Susanne Bartsch? Or understand where she’s coming from with all this crazy masquerading? I don’t know about all of that.

The world has changed since then. We’ve had AIDS. We’ve had war. We’ve had hip-hop. And we’ve reacted to all of it. We’ve created a conformist society that we all—maybe reluctantly—are a part of. So does that make us boring? I guess. Or more maybe we’re just more realistic than we are voyeuristic. And personally, I think that’s a good thing. Now if I could just find myself I decent good time I’d be all set.

Final Word: Although truly decadent days may be behind us, that’s no reason to stop the party.

Love in the Big Apple

Last night was Valentine's Day and do I know one person who went out to or to be wined and dined? No. Why? Not because of a lack of involvement or dedication to match.com. But because New Yorkers are smarter than that. We go out the night before to skip the v-day groupie traffic in exchange for something actually intimate. We cook overpriced steaks from Whole Foods rather than ordering overpriced ones at Dylan Prime. We gather for cocktail parties where couples and singles mingle without the pressure of buying Perrier Jouet over "sparkling wine" that if you don't order will seal your fate as being "un-romantic". As my friend who hosted her own alter v-day gathering, put it wisely, "for those of you who luckily did not get sucked into that prix fix menu that every restaurant knows nobody enjoys but continues to do it anyway."

Does this mean we're less romantic? Heavens no! Au contraire, we're just more practical. Who wants to have a romantic dinner when everyone else around you is? It sounds like a scene from a bad Beauty and the Geek episode. So have your cheese and wine, but for god sake, don't do it on Valentine's Day.

Final Word: For those stragglers who have yet to book, here are my top choices:
1. Raoul's
2. Mas
3. 5 Ninth
4. Extra Virgin

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hello Moto

So my girlfriends and I trekked to Iron Chef Morimoto's new restaurant last Saturday night, yes during the blizzard. I was already plagued by a cold but you know how the saying goes, "Through rain, sleet and snow..." I'm a freaking US Postal worker when it comes to openings. Sans the polyester outfit of course. Yes even during the record-breaking blizzard of the millenium, we went out for stylish sushi. Turns out we weren't the only ones.

The restaurant was packed. I mean packed. Perhaps to celebrate the potential prolonging of global warming? Probably not. Intelligistas, fashionistas and culinaryistas (made that last one up) crowded the awe-inspiring space sipping lychee martinis and reciting lines form American Psycho (I swear, heard it with our own ears) completely oblivious to the raging tempest outside the oak walls. I even saw a girl with crutches. Crutches! For chrissake, stay home honey! You gotta love New York. Only here will people risk their neck to nibble on fashionable food, served with an attitude that would barely fill an Olsen twin. Thank god that wasn't the case.

The food was fresh, the portions were ample and the service was fast and friendly. Not counting the hour and a half we waited to get seated, I was impressed by how smooth everything went. Perhaps Morimoto works best under pressure, whether it be televised competition or natural disaster? Well considering the national and local crises of the past year (from earthquakes in Pakistan to the subway strike), here's hoping!

Final word: Go with a group. That way you can order everything on the menu. Overload on the appetizers since they're better than the sushi. Try the spicy king crab leg, the rock shrimp tempura (updated nobu version, iron chef style) and the calamari salad. And check out the bathroom.

Friday, February 10, 2006

What's black and white, striped and chic all over?

My favorite spring trend to hit the runway (and there have been many faves) is without a doubt stripes. No, not the kind you’ll find on Where’s Waldo, a TGIF waitress or a Candy Striper costume from Ricky’s. Although all are equally entertaining. I’m talking about the stripes that make a girl look effortlessly chic. Think Brigitte Bardot strolling in St. Tropez (Pre-Diddy and Paris of course)and
ingénue Jean Seaberg in French film “Breathless” circa 1960 (see above).

Stripes are so starkly simple, they're refreshing after an era of bohemian excess. I love them because they’re just so French – and who doesn’t want to look like an innocent gamine?

Final Word: To make them a bit more modern, pair your stripes with black opaque stockings and very of the moment platform patent heels à la Amanda Peet in “Igby Goes Down”. Crackhead eyeliner optional.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bette was Better than I thought...

Restaurant. 23rd street and 10th Avenue.

Why did I feel the need to go to Amy Sacco's restaurant Bette? For the hype? Probably. For the scene? Definitely. For the food? Um, spaghetti by Sacco? I don't think so.

Well I was pleasantly surprised. The mega-trendy eatery I was anticipating turned out to be a cozy, intimate living room-like space that felt welcoming and warm for a Wednesday night during Fashion Week. Minus the ultra-unfortunate celeb sighting of Anne Hathway in a floor length gown who was desperately trying to compensate for her non-existant Oscar nomination, the crowd was chill, fashionably intelligent-looking and (gasp!) actually having a good time. Our neighboring table just happened to be discussing their good friend Sienna’s new singledom. How chic. Nothing like eating truffled green beans while eavesdropping on the latest Brit gossip fodder.

Final word: Happy to say I went but wouldn't go as far to say I'd return.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

PR Woes

Opinion. Fashion PR. Note to anyone who wants to get involved in fashion PR. If you’re perky as all hell and are fashion obsessed then by all means – this job is for you. I thought I was both. Turns out, some things are better appreciated at a distance. Like a car wreck.

Here are a few of my peeves:

1. Those god damn smiley faces and exclamation points

-Without them, the PR industry would not exist. It’s like we’re all on crack/cocaine/speed (well, in some cases we are) and just need to get a hit of samples or credit info. Watch out, without them you’ll be considered, depressed, anti-social or worst of all uninterested. If I never have to write another “Thanks!! You’re the best!!! :)” it won’t be soon enough.

2. Events

OK, I get it. You're in PR, you have to show your face. But why?? It's not a secret, everybody hates going. We're all just secretly misreable to be in this industry so we sedate ourselves with Stepford Wives syndrome to mask the pain. Cue smiley face and exclamation points.

3. Sample pulls

Oh lord where do I begin. How many times do I have to politely ask to get samples back, via email, via phone, via I’m gonna have to come up to Conde Nast and pull the god damn sample back myself if you don’t get back to me sometime this millennium.

4. No love

Do I need to elaborate on how under-paid pr girls are? We put up with the most asanine shit from clients, get freebies we don't even want and sweet talk every body under the sun- I think we deserve a little compensation. Which brings me to my next point.

5. Kissing Ass

Oh this one never ends. Not for editors, not for the d-list celebrities, not for the boss. You wanna be in PR? Then pucker up my friend.

The list could go on but I have to go find a god damn shoe that Vogue has kept for over a month, that they have no record of or any intention of featuring. I love my job.

Fashion Week and Spinach Dip

Event. Fashion Week. Fall 2006 Fashion Week is upon us and the world as I know it has come to a screeching halt. Every restaurant is flooded with editors, buyers and international hangers-on (yes, groupies are global), models stampede the streets and Bryant Park is ground zero.

What makes the whole ordeal the most despicable is the outright rudeness and sense of entitlement circulating throughout the tents. Who do these people think they are? Be forewarned, fashionistas are not afraid of shoving, hissing degrading comments or blabbering on their cell phones during the most important moment of these poor (and I do mean poor) designers’ lives. I’ve only seen such a specific lack of decorum by industry insiders in movies like Ready to Wear and SNL skits, but to witness it firsthand was a different story. People still wear sunglasses indoors? Guess so. Yes, even post 911, post tsunami and post Katrina, the “greater than thou” sentiment is still very much alive in New York City– don’t you just love fashion week?

Thank god my final stop was the beloved Houston’s restaurant where I met my usual Tuesday date night crew for some grub and gossip. Here mink Prada coats and North Face fleeces mingle in perfect harmony. Yes at Houston’s, fries are fashionable, spinach dip is star worthy and ribs are de rigeur. Here you can come clad in sweats and still be served with a smile. Only thing- gentlemen, no hats. Come on, even Houstons’ must keep a little decorum.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Space Shoes

Chanel Spring 06 Sandals. Fashion. Leave it to Lagerfeld to keep us on our toes - literally. Mr. Lagerfeld’s latest creation for his spring/summer Chanel collection is footwear for the future. Skywalker meets punk rocker, these sandals (if you can call them that) look more at home on Mars than on Madison Avenue. But that’s why we love them. A complete break from Ms. Coco Chanel’s tradition of tweed suits, these lambskin leather flats exhibit Mr. Lagerfeld’s ingenious imagination and constant push for something new. They’re so freakishly different, that’s what draws us to them. And isn’t that what fashion is all about?

Final word: Though seemingly catwalk material, let’s hope these flats reach stores so that we can rock them with super short-shorts, a Babyshambles tee (or rock band du jour) and vest and step our way into the future. Beam us up Karl-y.