Saturday, February 28, 2009

fashion mixtape: volume 4

It's time for another edition of Fashion Mixtape, in which I take on the harrowing challenge of picking out an outfit and guest blogger Kate makes a playlist to go along with it. It's a very scientific process.

I love this photo of cute little Emma Watson at the Yves Saint Laurent show during Paris Fashion Week last fall. Mostly because I'm obsessed with the cut of her trousers. Over the past six months I've picked up two pair of baggy, tapered, cropped, tailored pants. And with my recent purchase of a pair of black harem pants, I'm close to owning more voluminous trousers than I do skinny jeans. (The harem pants are far more versatile than you'd think. I'll wear them out with heels and a tuxedo jacket, but often just wear them around my apartment with my Robert Plant tee, since they're probably the most comfortable pants I've ever owned).

I also enjoy how Miss Watson's been wearing her blush lately. She's been wearing a pale rose high on her cheekbones. It's a tricky look. If you overdo it, you're just going to look like your eyes are irritated. But with a light application and the right shade (I prefer Benefit Dandelion), it's an interesting alternative to only applying color to the apples of your cheeks. Anyway, back to the point. Here is Kate's slightly manic playlist to listen to next time you're lint rolling your tapered trousers and dusting pink powder under your eyes.

Roxy Music "Virginia Plain"
Brian Jonestown Massacre "It Girl"
PJ Harvey "Long Snake Moan"
The Fall "Victoria"
The Cranberries "Pretty"
Catherine Wheel "Show Me Mary"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


And the winners are:

Freida Pinto in John Galliano: Not much of a surprise that Freida wore one of my favorite looks again. I love the deep blue color of her gown, as well as the subtle sari allusion. I've heard complaints that the sleeve and the beading are a bit Mother of the Bridey, to which I say, check out the original runway version (scroll a few dresses down into the post). That's about as distant from Mother of the Bride as one can get. I think that the alterations that made the dress more red carpet appropriate were beautifully done. And, as always, Freida is just plain hot.

Marion Cotillard in Christian Dior: More beautiful blue. More gowns modified from the runway. This Dior gown was gorgeous and sheer in its runway presentation, but the alterations turned the dress into something far more wearable without losing any of that Dior magic.

Anne Hathaway in Armani: Certainly not life-changing, but it's hard to go wrong with this classic beaded champagne gown.

Natalie Portman in Rodarte: I had a crayon in this exact shade when I was little. It was called "Thistle." Love.

Tina Fey in Zac Posen: Tina Fey is a beautiful woman, and though I've seen her look fantastic at red carpet events, this is the first time I've ever seen in her in a dress that I thought truly did her justice.

Penelope Cruz in vintage Pierre Balmain: This is just about as classic and elegant as you can get.

Tilda Swinton in Lanvin: I love the SWINTON. That is all.

Honorable Mentions:

Amanda Seyfried in Valentino Couture: The color of this Valentino gown is outstanding. Amanda Seyfried positively glows in this persimmon dress, and it certainly sets her apart from the other celebrities in attendance. The necklace is a bit of an unusual choice, but I think it works. However, I am not wild about her shoe selection. I find them distracting and out of place. Actually, the shoes are the only reason that she wasn't my absolute favorite of the night.

Jennifer Aniston in Valentino Couture: Hallelujah! Jennifer Aniston wore something that isn't black! Don't get me wrong, I love a black dress. But Aniston's red carpet appearances were starting to remind me of Groundhog Day. She looks stunning in this pale Valentino number, although I have mixed feelings about the hair. I enjoy braided details (and occasionally full-out milkmaid styles), but the style feels a little out of place on a woman in her 40s.

Evan Rachel Wood in Elie Saab Couture: Love the dress. Love the makeup. A little iffy on the hair.

Viola Davis in Reem Acra: The lovely Viola Davis looks amazing in this gown. Her skin is luminous, her hair and makeup are perfection, and she just looks generally great (not to mention the fact that she looks far younger than her 43 years). And though the dress is flattering on her figure, I have an intense dislike for the color. Perhaps it's because of the lighting, but the back and forth between gold and pewter hurts my eyes. It's just too much. However, I must admit that this may just be one of those gowns that doesn't photograph well, but looks fantastic in person.

Marisa Tomei in Atelier Versace: I have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to Marisa Tomei. Obviously, she was fantastic in My Cousin Vinny, but it can't have been fun trying to live the Oscar screw up rumors down. So I was thrilled when she was redeemed with her nomination for In the Bedroom and then with this year's nomination for The Wrestler. I'm just pointing this out because if the woman attended a red carpet event in a potato sack and bunny slippers, I'd probably find some way to defend her choice. But this Atelier Versace gown needs no such crazy justification. It wasn't my favorite look of the night, but the layers and pleats and folds are just so gorgeous. I've been staring at them for so long that I'm starting to go all Magic Eye and am seeing 3-D unicorns frolicking along her train.

The young stars of Slumdog Millionaire: Cuteness abounds.

And the What Was She Thinking? Award Goes to:

Jessica Biel in Prada: I know that Miuccia Prada is a genius. And even when I don't particularly like her clothes (which is rare), I can at least appreciate them. But I just can't get behind this dress. Jessica Biel may have made Vogue's Ten Best Dressed List for the Oscars, but I find the gown boring and very much resembling the bedsheet dresses that young starlets tend to wrap around themselves post-coital in romantic movies (seriously, who really does that?). Plus, the hair. My first thought when I saw Jessica Biel was, "That's what my hair looks like right now. I really need to take a shower." It's the Oscars, woman. Shampoo, rinse, repeat.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

frazzled and a little sleepy

Ugh. Sorry about the lack of posts this week. It ended up being a crazy couple of days with major changes at the day job (let me tell you, working in finance and retirement planning is a BLAST in this economy), drama with my car (I had some automotive excitement this winter and though my car's been fixed for ages, the engine was under warranty and now two dealerships are arguing about who's financially responsible for the labor), helping my manfriend move, a handful of social engagements, and I'm still fighting off the disease that wouldn't die (thank goodness I have another week's supply of antibiotics). Tonight I'm off to a friend's going away party at the CC Club (don't move to Brooklyn, Kathryn!), and then a photo shoot at midnight. Cause that's how my wacky life seems to roll.

In the meantime, JagerCon has been getting a lot of press, and in the interest of self-promotion, I thought I'd share some of it here:
City Pages
Where the Long Tail Ends

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

my fever made me write this

I try so hard to only get sick once a year (this excludes hangovers and stress-related stomach aches). There was The Christmas Flu of 2005, The Great Summer Cold of 2007, and more recently, The Walking Pneumonia of 2008 That Leads Me To Believe I Am Turning Into An Old Person. Well, I've officially already gotten my illness of '09 out of the way and then some. In addition to a 24-hour bug that I caught in January, this weekend I battled a crazy fever and sore throat. Though I was able to drag myself to the Walker After Hours on Friday night, for the rest of the weekend I was pretty laid up. I don't believe in Valentine's Day, so I wasn't disappointed to spend Saturday night in a novelty nightgown with a few of my besties and my man friend watching First Wives Club. But other than that brief social interaction, I didn't do much other than zone out while watching questionable movies. I watched Deep Blue Sea (just as good the second time around), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (not as good as I'd hoped), Mystery Men (What's up, Tigerlily?), Igor (surprisingly adorable), Wimbledon (surprisingly unmoving) and eventually I got to the classic Major League.

Which brings me to my roundabout fashion-related point. I know I'm not the only one conflicted about Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Yes, they have a classic design that flatters a wide variety of faces. And they reached iconic status thanks to movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's and Risky Business. And though they fell out of favor in the 90s, their recent resurgence felt new and fresh. But since their return to popularity, they've become ubiquitous with douchey hipsters that aspire to little more than starring in an American Apparel ad campaign and making it backstage at the Tapes 'n Tapes show. So even though I love Wayfarers and own them in a few different colors (I lost my black pair that were actually vintage Ray-Bans, but have cheap knock-offs in bright yellow, poppy red and splatter-painted hot pink), I get a little hesitant about wearing them very often. I can't help feeling a bit concerned that I look exactly like those douchey hipsters that I love to mock so much.

So much of fashion is about association, sense memory and nostalgia. So upon my recent viewing of Major League, I was delighted to be reminded that once "Wild Thing" Charlie Sheen gets his eyeglasses, he gets a pair of black plastic Wayfarer frames (customized with silver skull details). Love. Now whenever I'm running around in my red Ray-Ban knock-offs, I won't be worried that I'm being hypocritical and succumbing to the hipster sunglasses of choice. Instead I'll be reminded of the wild card pitcher from the greatest baseball movie ever made. (Suck it, Field of Dreams!) True, no one else will know what I'm referencing, but that's not really the point. Sometimes the clothes that you wear can be a subtle reference or a private joke that you share only with yourself. It's not about impressing an idea of yourself upon others. It's about enjoying what you wear for your own reasons.

On a slightly unrelated note, I miss Major League/White Men Can't Jump Wesley Snipes. I find Blade/Tax Evasion Wesley Snipes distant and joyless. Sigh.

V: The Original Miniseries

JagerCon: Sci-Fi Tuesdays

@ Clubhouse Jager
923 Washington Avenue N.

Every Tuesday
10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

Join hosts Kate Iverson (l'etoile magazine, Secrets of the City) and Beth Hammarlund (l'etoile magazine, A Tiny Machine) every Tuesday Night for JagerCon! JagerCon is a weekly sci-fi party featuring screenings of classic nerdy movies and television shows such as Buffy, Firefly, V, Star Trek, Blade Runner, Forbidden Planet and more -- topped off with 2-4-1 cocktails all night served by Star Captain Paul!

Mingle with like-minded sci-fi geeks, discuss D&D strategies, and use that Captain Picard impression you've been perfecting to pick up chicks at the bar. Snort-laugh the night away while bragging about your MMORPG addiction and enjoy a cozy, nerd-friendly environment.

Kate and Beth are life-long sci-fi fans who also dabble in art and fashion. They appreciate Joss Whedon, Karl Lagerfeld, and Matthew Barney on the same level. They can also party like Sci-Fi Conventioneers. Kate and Beth strive to unite the segmented nerd culture of the Twin Cities the only way they know how: with alcohol and awesome Sci-Fi entertainment.

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, Feb 17th: V
Tuesday, Feb 24th: Mirror Mask
Tuesday, Mar 3rd: Blade Runner (Director's Cut)
Tuesday, Mar 10th: Forbidden Planet/Angry Red Planet Double Header

Saturday, February 14, 2009

you and i are going to live forever

Things got a little ridiculous at last night's opening of Elizabeth Peyton's retrospective Live Forever. We did enjoy plenty of Infinitinis (the night's specialty cocktail), but how many of us actually made it over to the gallery to check out the art? I'm going to go with 10%.

The Walker After Hours is now providing props for its photo wall. Sunglasses, wigs, scarves. That's why I'm channeling Lady GaGa here.

With my Fashion Mixtape guest blogger Kate Duffy (both wearing Target). We refer to this photograph as "Our Inevitable Decline (Or Rise) To Ab Fab."

Friday, February 13, 2009

even more love

Beth Ditto's Love cover! I adore the Ditto, not only because she's talented, clever, silly, and inspiring, but also because I didn't like my first name until she came along. Now I kind of love it. Beths of the world, unite!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

please don't get canceled

io9 loved the first three episodes of Dollhouse. Fingers crossed that this doesn't go the way of Firefly.

52-year old jerry hall brings sexy back

photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

like naomi campbell, i enjoy a sunday roast

missed connections for nerds

Me: Black trench coat with Star Fleet emblem embroidered on the breast, sullenly sipping a Mike's Hard Lemonade and muttering about samurai swords in the corner.

You: Giving off a sexy medieval wench vibe, animatedly debating your friend about which Doctor Who is the hottest.

I thought I felt our psychic ESP matrixes click, was I dreaming? I couldn't help but notice the sideways look you gave me when they were playing the deleted scenes from "Serenity." I wasn't sure if you had something in your eye, or if my Darth Vader heavy-breathing impression was creeping you out. Either way, I've got enough limited edition Batman comic books to line our marriage bed ten times over.

I'll be at the V screening next week, if you're nasty.

confirmation...and a cover

Yesterday Vogue finally confirmed that Michelle Obama will grace the cover of their March 2009 issue. Today, the cover shot was released. And what is Michelle wearing? Fuchsia Jason Wu, of course.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Last Tuesday, my fellow l'étoile editor Kate Iverson and I hosted our first nerd night at Clubhouse Jager. With drink specials, dweebtastic company, and a projected screening of the classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Once More With Feeling," we knew we had to make this a weekly event. Tonight, we'll be bonding over Serenity (the film culmination of Joss Whedon's short-lived series Firefly). So push up your glasses, grab your Boba Fett action figure, and meet up with us for some seriously geeky bonding. 2-4-1 cocktails start at 10, but as usual, Kate Iverson and I will be there early, dinking around on our laptops at the bar. Nerds.

Clubhouse Jager
923 Washington Avenue
North Loop Minneapolis
21 and up

a night at the theatuh

I was a theater major in college, which means three things: I am extremely critical of acting and lighting design, I have a great passion for Henrik Ibsen, Jean-Paul Sartre, John Webster, and Christopher Marlowe, and I love me some William Shakespeare. Though he's not my favorite playwright, he is certainly one of the most talented and prolific. And I'm amazed at how relevant his stories remain today. Whether it's super serious (my college's production of Measure for Measure set in apartheid South Africa) or super light (10 Things I Hate About You), I'm a sucker for pretty much any re-imagining of Shakespearean stories. Enter the Guthrie with their production of the classic romantic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona, set in a 1950s retro game show.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona runs through March 29 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. To take advantage of a slick discount, attend a Sunday, Tuesday or Wednesday show. Just call the Guthrie Box Office at 612-377-2224 and use code "A74." Instead of the usual $29-$55 price tag, you'll be able to attend the show for a meager $20. This offer isn't valid online, on Area 1 seating, or on previously purchased tickets. But it's a fantastic deal. And in these depressing economic times, I think we could all use a little of the bard's romantic whimsy.

Keep in mind that Edward Albee's classic A Delicate Balance is running through March 1, and A Raisin in the Sun will open on March 12. It's the revolutionary play's 50th anniversary, so it's definitely a production not to be missed.

where is the love?

Love magazine's first issue debuts February 19.

i like my insects how i like my manga. steampunk.

Sorry rogue taxidermy. My new obsession is Insect Lab. By customizing real insect and arachnid specimens with antique watch parts, artist Mike Libby creates delicate unique pieces that celebrate the confluences and contradictions between nature and technology. As least that's what his mission statement says. Mainly I just think they're pretty. And since I've start collecting framed insects (a gorgeous leaf insect, North American butterflies), this is probably the next natural step for my obsession. They're a little pricey, so I'm just going to have to do a little saving before I take any of these home with me.

Rutelidae: Plusiotis Beyeri

Arachnidae: Nephila Maculata


Morphidae: Trogonoptera Brookiana Albescens

Mantidae: Tenodera Supertitiosa

Monday, February 9, 2009

everyone wants to know if MIA will name her baby "grammy"

Last night I attended a mean Grammy party. With a red carpet and a fog machine. I went as Jenny from the Block (black latex thigh high boots--a bitch to get on, big black floppy hat, hoop earrings), while guest blogger/Fashion Mixtape contributor Kate went as Katy Perry Getting Eaten by a Dinosaur (no pants and a dinosaur hoodie). Instead of a detailed recap of the night of debauchery, here are a few of my favorite looks of the evening.

Jennifer Hudson in Roland Mouret: I love this dress. I've posted on it before. The boys thought it looked like she just finished eating at Red Lobster.

LeAnn Rimes in an amazing Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti dress.

Oh my god. How cute is Adele? This Barbara Tfank dress was commissioned for her by Anna Wintour.

Taylor Swift in Kaufman Franco. This girl has the worst hair (and I'm guessing extensions), but I thought she looked elegant and sophisticated in this dramatic gown with patent leather details.

Gwyneth Paltrow in a Versace dress and Burberry Prorsum cardigan: Hate the tights. Love the sequin/cardigan combination. Hate the word "Prorsum."

Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles in Rachel Roy: I had never heard of Sugarland before. Apparently they're kind of a thing.

MIA in the House of Holland ensemble she performed in. I cannot believe this incredibly pregnant woman rapped and booty danced in a sheer dress on national television. I love her.

Estelle and Kanye in Chanel. My favorite looks of the night. So completely fantastic.

bafta fashion

My favorite look of the night: Emily Mortimer in Yves Saint Laurent. Bows. Tiers. Cap sleeves. I am in heaven.

The ageless Marisa Tomei in Etro. I desperately want this woman's skincare secrets.

Freida Pinto (with Slumdog Millionaire co-star Dev Patel) is still having more fun with color than anyone else in her delicate pink Oscar de la Renta.

Emma Watson looks grown-up and classic in Temperley London.