Friday, December 4, 2020

Warm lights.

1. The New Yorker Hotel sign and the Chrysler Building. 2. The New Yorker Hotel sign and the Empire State Building, photographed by Jay B. Wilson.

1. 2.

This is a cozy sight to me. For some reason, it reminds me of this time of year in particular, like heading out on a blustery December night for dinner reservations with some friends. The holidays and lots of lights: two things that make this city so viscerally memorable.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Red nails.


I'm on the prowl for just the right shade of red nail polish for my complexion. Unfortunately, it mostly ends up looking berry or fuchsia on me, which must have something to do with my undertones. Who knew a classic color could be so complicated? But I take comfort in the fact that I am not alone in my dogged pursuit.

N.B. So far, Chanel Pirate (year-round) and Essie Clambake (summertime) have met the required standard.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Black puffer jacket.

Amy Wesson, Isaac Mizrahi S/S 1997, photographed by Somsack Sikhounmuong.

This Is What New York Fashion Week Looked Like Before Influencers & Instagram:

“It was probably just around 1997 and I’d started as a design student at Parsons. Coming to New York from Toronto was like hitting the jackpot. My dorm roommate at the time took me to meet his friend Ellen, and when we went to her apartment, she had a photo of Kate Moss framed on her table. She told me she took the photo herself, and I was like, 'Wait, you can do that?' She told me, 'Yes, there are fashion shows that are happening up in Bryant Park soon, and you just have to go up there and hang out, see what’s happening.' This was back when New York Fashion Week started in October, it was the fourth leg of the shows after London, Milan, and Paris. So it was October, and I ran to Duane Reade to get a disposable camera, took the N train up to Bryant Park, and just waited outside of the tents.

It was really strange because there were no bloggers, there was no street style; this was So I found myself waiting at the exit of the tents with a bunch of industry photographers, and there weren’t even that many—I think I was maybe one of four people. I would hang out there if I didn’t sneak into the show or backstage, and I would just call the models by name and ask them for a photo. This was prior to the idea of a celebrity model, outside of the Supers; so I think they were probably a bit taken aback to hear me call them by name, but they would oblige most of the time, and if they weren’t in a rush, they would pose, and you’d say, 'Thank you,' and they’d be on their way.

I would definitely try to sneak into the shows when I could, and security then was pretty loose. The shows I always had on my list and the ones that I always tried to sneak into were Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs (who showed away from the tents), and Isaac Mizrahi. These were the must-stake-out shows. It was such an insider industry in the 1990s, so you would have to pull out WWD and find the calendar in there, and if I couldn’t, I would call the press offices of the brands and pretend to be someone’s assistant confirming the time, date, and place for a show. It was a different era then, and it was special, because if you really wanted to see what was going to happen in fashion in six months, you had to be at the shows, you’d have to try and find your own way in. Also, the only photos of models I’d ever seen were runway pictures, so snapping them candidly was a nice way to see models in their real clothes, their real uniforms. That stayed in my mind, and I think informed a lot of what I do now at Alex Mill and what I did when I was at J.Crew—the idea that looking great doesn’t have to equate to ultra-glamour and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

I’ve kept these photos in a shoebox in my closet for the last 20 years. I’d say I probably have around 100 of them and they’ve always helped inspire me as a designer. I can still remember the excitement of dropping the film off at the photo counter at Duane Reade and the excitement of picking up the photos. Sometimes a whole roll would be garbage because the models didn’t pose long enough or they’d be fuzzy, but sometimes you’d find these really special photos that you didn’t even know you took. I love having these memories because it was a time when the industry was solely made up of people who really, really loved fashion and who just wanted to see the clothes, who loved the models. Now, there are just so many people, and it’s hard to tell who is going to the show and for what reasons, which makes it a little less special to me. Now, I am usually 99 percent sure that almost everyone is dressing up to be photographed and that just gives a very different mood to the whole experience. In the ’90s it was pure, naive even."

- Somsack Sikhounmuong for Vogue, September 2019, via

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Rainy day in NYC.

St. Patrick's Cathedral. 5th Avenue, NYC.

Photo @mvb.

It's a rainy day today here in NYC, and inconvenience notwithstanding, it's the kind of weather that makes me sentimental about New York, especially around this time of the year when everything is gearing up for the holidays. It reminds me of running to catch a train, darting between the jungle of umbrellas of bewildered tourists, determined commuters, and other New Yorkers on a mission (is that a weird thing to feel nostalgic about?) or meeting up with friends between classes for a chai tea latte and a jumbo cookie at Starbucks... It's funny to think how rain can make NYC feel so cozy and familiar to me, kind of like a well-worn, comfy sweater.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Kate Moss for Zara Autumn/Winter 2003.

Kate Moss for Zara Autumn/Winter 2003/04. Photographed by Alfonso Ohnur, from Zara Archive Collection 1996/2012.

Zara is launching a re-edition of some pieces from past collections, and when I saw this campaign from Autumn 2003, I was hit with a bit of nostalgia. I was a junior in high school on the Upper East Side, and I remember seeing these ads around the city or in the window of the Zara flagship that was near my school. It was a time when I started to get more "with-it" in terms of my wardrobe (LoL), making my foray into an "edgier" way of dressing via Zara clothes and MAC makeup. It was an all-girls high school, so it was a supportive environment where mutual inspiration abounded.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

St. Paul, Albrecht Durer (1514)

St. Paul (First State), 1514, Albrecht Durer | Medium: engraving | Allegory of Vanity
St. Paul (First State), 1514, Albrecht Durer
Medium: engraving

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends... So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." -I Corinthians 13:4-8, 13

These very famous words on the attributes of true love which true Christians were and are to emulate, were written by St. Paul in his First Epistle to the church at Corinth.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Skull and Cross

Skull + Cross | Florence, Italy 2016 | Allegory of Vanity

"Cause of our joy, pray for us."

An unexpected structural detail worked into the facade of a very old building in a small private alley in Florence. The buildings around Florence (and even around Rome, for that matter) are full of these little embellishments that often seem to serve a dual purpose: veneration and aesthetic inspiration.