Sunday, July 25, 2010

Where the Fashion Things Are...

We’ve all been party or privy to it: the eye roll incited by designer children’s clothing past the dreamy baby shower stage. Kids grow out of things! They rip and roar around – little machines of accidental destruction! They touch anything white with tiny hands covered in chocolate ice cream! While the look of a frilly frock is endearing on a young one, in the current mode of “sensible” parenting a dichotomy exists between children and designer garb.

We believe that the way one dresses is a form of personal expression, and the same is true for kids. The curiosity of a little girl in the throes of a wardrobe crisis, or on the high of donning a new princess concoction is telling: the way they respond to colors and textures a sign of who they are. Some of our happiest recollections are of our own mother surprising us with something new and crisp from Laura Ashley, an excitement we maintain still. The mutual joy of the exchange of beautiful things is undeniable, so why not sprinkle a few lovely items into their wardrobes?

With this in mind the owner of début, a mother of two, was inspired to source the perfect offerings to incorporate into a children’s pop-up boutique, set to be a one stop stock-up for pre-fall treasures. From France we have custom mother-daughter handbag sets in glossy, hand-crafted scalloped patent leather (The French & English Confectioners)…from England we have the venerable Lucy Sykes collection of delicate separates…from New York via Brazil there is Melissa’s collection of non-toxic, sustainable plastic shoes for little girls in collaboration with Vivienne Westwood. Imagine cotton candy colors, hearts and bows. And since it's about fashion 24-7, Matooka Kids provides the whimsy with playful appliqués and details including star studded collar dresses, lace pocket tunics, heartshaped buttons, mini trench coats and lots of leopard. Kiki Catlett brings original prints to silk and cotton dresses.

It’s a celebration of youth and creativity. Designer, yes – joyful, more so.

Children's Pop Up at Debut - Kiddy-Up!

Lisa Weiss invites
you to cool down with your kids

Cones and coffee
from Van Leeuwen Artisan ice cream

Tuesday, July 27
4:00 - 7:00PM

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Pursued Nature to her Hiding Places

There is a time for each human when he or she will be struck by the full visual power of nature; from the beautiful yet torrential and forbidding waters of a deep ocean straight, to craggy centuries old land formations along the shores of Southern France. The latter is dappled with branches and trees in wild, restless formations… keepsakes from another lifetime, just as the sun-scorched rocks are.

There’s an innate force in the natural world, drawing us to what is dangerous – fire, unsafe ground and extreme temperatures – in pursuit of the raw and the real. It’s the rare artist who can coax these same elements into something more human and personal, but no less awe-inspiring.

Valerie MacCarthy of Paris is a jewelry designer – singer – songwriter, who has achieved this with her debut collection, titled “Ring of Fire”. The range has a smooth, hard-looking but weightless appeal, rendered in rich naturally finished wood evocative of 1970s sleek.

Liquidy silver drips mimicking the licks of a white-hot flame have been applied around perfectly circular rings, bangles and earrings. A superhero-worthy ring of silver and smoky quartz packs a glamorous punch. A nod to deco is apparent in the mix and balance of materials and juxtaposition of shapes, while simplicity – owing to the natural references at heart – is inherent. These are destined to become keepsakes indeed. 

Ring of Fire Smoky Quartz Ring - $525

Ring of Fire Large Wood Bangle - $865

*Opening photo courtesy of Valentine Merriman

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gone Fishing

We love when a collection of well-researched and innovative – yet of course deceptively simple – garments makes its way into Début. This is what business and commerce are all about: fuel for the creative boiler rooms driving the retail industry.

Los Angeles-born and raised Kevin Joo Hwang is but one of the hard-working talents coming out of Parsons (he participated in the recent designer showcase at Début in June). His collection shown comprehensively, resting on brushed steel fixtures looks real, and exudes a calm sophistication.

View his slouchy olive shorts layered over loose, knit leggings, or a buttery beige silk jacket with the relaxed, billowing nature of a Poiret gown, and it is apparent that Hwang has direction smacking of newness without overwrought or displaced characteristics. On the body, each piece takes on a new life – alternatively flirty and chic, or utterly relaxed. Jackets are hand-tucked, seamed and contoured with grosgrain applications or jet bead trim. Skirts and pants feature unique characteristics – ivory canvas belts or minimal applications of cargo-inspired pockets.

When asked about this collection, Hwang mentioned beginning with research of American utilitarian work wear, which evolved to an exploration of fishermen clothing – from a Western perspective and then South East Asia. He wanted to capture the genre’s modern ease balanced by function and elegance. Nor did he forget who his likely, city-dwelling customer is: a woman who wants the new, often the contemporary, without sacrificing originality and technique.