Thursday, October 22, 2009

NYC - Melting Pot of Street Fashion

New York, I love you – you will never bring me down. Out of all the cities we will visit in a lifetime, some stain the memory indelibly. New York is one of these cities. There is no other place that makes one feel as inspired or alive as the city that never sleeps. In a place where art is the essence of life, fashion is central to this art. From the designer stores and elegant cafes of the Upper West Side to the rambling markets, second hand book stores and vintage boutiques of the Lower East Side, there is something for everyone. If there is a line to be crossed in the stakes of fashion, the line has been well and truly crossed in a land where anything goes.

It is difficult to pinpoint the current trends as everyone looks unique and interprets style in their own way. New York is addictive and I would do anything to be able to bottle the style of the devastatingly cool people who walk the streets. Jumpsuits are worn with crafty accessories, fringed dresses are offset by the highest heels and men’s preppy shirts are worn with little else. The reason that you never see two people wearing the same thing is the fact that there are SO many places to shop. A great little discovery was “The market NYC” which is a young designers market brimming with creative talent that is yet to be discovered.

The back streets of the lower east side are full of stores that seem like you wouldn’t know they were there unless someone in the know showed you. The best thing to do is to simply let yourself get lost. A couple of gems are the “Pixie Markets” which sells designer wares at a discounted price and “Flying A” stocking vintage pieces alongside quirky American labels.

For such a huge city, you can feel as if you are part of a quaint village wandering around aimlessly happy. The people can seem nonchalant however when you have the pleasure of speaking with them, they are passionate and animated. On top of this, they are very well aware that they are lucky enough to live, in my opinion, in the coolest city in the world.

Keeping in Tune with the Trends

Rock concerts have long been a breeding ground for the newest looks to emerge. Whether it be 80’s throw back, preppy or hippie chic – concerts are the perfect opportunity for the darlings of fashion to try out their fashion forward looks. This can be seen from the moment I walk into the grungy run down interior of the Electric ballroom. Packed to the brim with people channeling every look of the season, the air is rife with anticipation for what’s to come. The link between fashion and music can’t be defined as the on trend crowd sway patiently through the support acts, waiting for Paulo Nutini to make his entrance.

When Nutini strolls onto stage and begins to sing in his raw, earthy voice, punctuated by his acoustic guitar, it is truly spellbinding. The crowd erupts in excitement throwing their wildly accessorized hands in the air. With the songs mostly fresh and new, the performance exudes vitality and energy on Nutini’s part which is quickly passed onto the audience.

Nutini and his band in graphic printed shirts and washed out 90’s denim are precisely on trend – I get the impression however that they couldn’t care less. This is until I remember that Nutini is the man who wrote a song about how great it feels to wear a new pair of shoes. It is then that I release he has the coolest look of all – the one that looks as if you haven’t tried even if you have spent hours looking just so.

While the audience stands transfixed through Nutini’s quieter and perfectly composed rockier ballads, I take a moment to people watch. There is a mish mash of on trend styles in the room. High waisted shorts worn with school girl cute socks and sky high heels. Fringed waistcoats worn over tiny corseted tops that hide a multitude of sins and playsuits in every length and colour. Outfits are completed with exuberantly colored scarves, trilby hats and retro shades.

Nutini commands your attention in the way in which he performs. He is completely relaxed on stage to the point where you almost feel as if he is performing just for himself. This too can be seen in someone who is completely at ease with their fashion choices. It’s about throwing together different eras, trends and influences to create something altogether unique.

Whether it be the young fan dancing in the crowd or the musician allowing them to do so, music and fashion creates a collaboration that allows us all to perform on our very own centre stage.

The Wonderland of Winter Fashion

As the night air chills and the morning remains ethereal I am reminded that winter is quietly approaching. For some this means never ending darkness, frost covered windows, jumping up and down at the bus stop to try and stay warm and drizzle that even the prettiest umbrella won’t keep at bay. For me it means winter clothes. Beautiful, woolly and snuggly – UK designers have it sussed when it comes to looking cool yet remaining warm.

This season there is something for everyone. A nod to the 80’s with the shoulder pad theme and embellished knits, hundreds and thousands of sequins and beads, jumpers laced with angora to give that lovely fluffy effect and sumptuous velvet. Look out for new collections from Future Classics, Sonia Rykeil and French Connection. As far as accessories go ethical label NV London Calcutta shows classic bags in the softest leather and silk scarves in prints that will brighten up any winter day.

As far as shoes go, this season will be all about the over the knee boot – a perfect combination of sex appeal with timeless elegance. Spilling over from last season, the shoe boot isn’t going anywhere. Updated to look a little tougher, wear these with your prettiest lace frock for an on trend contrast.

Cast your eyes over my wish list, place your leather encased fingers firmly on the pulse and let me remind you why winter is anything but dull.