Monday, August 31, 2009

ravishing rihanna

Rihanna's mingling at the last Costume Institute Gala wasn't for nothing. The pop starlet graces this year's cover of Vogue Italia's annual couture supplement. Maybe American Vogue is next?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

district awesome

Last night, I finally got around to seeing District 9. After following the viral marketing campaign for almost a year and reading just about every review written about the film, I entered the theater with unrealistically high expectations. Fortunately, the movie met and exceeded those expectations in every way. The writing and directing were almost flawless. It was as if I'd fallen into the story. There was no fourth wall. There was no desperate creation of the suspension of disbelief. It was just an organic heart-wrenching story that happened to include a lot of really awesome special effects.

The questions that it demanded of the audience were extremely personal. In addition to challenging our Hollywood-cultivated ideas of first contact, the film addressed apartheid without the easy answer of "Of course apartheid is bad." We all know apartheid is bad, but it's rare for a film to examine why people felt apartheid was necessary, and to provide an unflinching look at the ugly truths of human nature that explain why one group of people would so conscientiously de-humanize another. These are extremely uncomfortable subjects, but people need to be reminded that kindness, patience and understanding are not easy or even necessary natural virtues to cultivate. They are probably the most challenging ideas that we have to face within ourselves as human beings.

If you couldn't care less about anything I was just saying, go see District 9 anyway. The aliens are beautifully designed and the fight scenes are gritty and tense (spoiler: a lot of people straight-up explode). It's a summer action movie that has something for everyone. And though it's clearly science fiction, it's a film that transcends genre. I don't feel like calling District 9 a science fiction film is appropriate, the same way I don't think of Deadwood as just a western and I don't think of Dexter as just a procedural.

I still can't believe they made this film for a mere $30 million dollars and with no bankable stars. I was reading an article recently about how booking major celebrities for a film no longer guarantees a huge box office performance, and how more and more producers are focusing on lower-budgeted quality films with creative and inexpensive marketing campaigns. They may not make as much money in the box office, but they're certainly more profitable. We could be on the edge of a very interesting shift in movie making. Let's hope that means paying fewer stars $20 million just to show up for filming, and instead focusing on developing unique and creative films that don't need a $150 million budget to tell a beautiful and interesting story.

Friday, August 28, 2009

damn good fashion

Thank you to everyone who attended our first Project Runway screening and Fashion Trivia at Hell's Kitchen last night. Be sure to join us every week to cheer on our local boys Christopher Straub (who was in attendance last night) and Ra'mon Lawrence Coleman (who will be joining us soon).

bloody post

I must admit, I haven't seen any of the Saw films. I don't have a burning desire to make it through the sequels, but I would like to see Cary Elwes saw off his own foot in the first film one of these days. Really, I'll watch anything Cary Elwes is in. Even The Crush (which features a young Alicia Silverstone and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). But despite my lack of interest in the series, I really appreciate the huge blood drives that they promote every Halloween. It's torture porn for a good cause. Check out the promotional poster for this fall's bloody bonanza.

It's so ridiculous and over-the-top that I find myself kind of loving it. Though this next poster is my favorite Saw Blood Drive poster to date. I would definitely hang it in my apartment.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

our love will be in virtual space

My girlcrush on Felicia Day began when I found her to be the least annoying of the potential slayers in season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But it was her incredibly sweet performance as Penny in Doctor Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog that sealed the deal for me. Lately I've been catching up on The Guild, her online series that follows a group of gaming junkies who spend their days slaying goblins side-by-side. Day writes, directs, and stars in the series, which brought her tons of attention at Comic Con this year. Can't wait to see what she does next. In the meantime, check out this hysterical music video starring Day and the rest of the cast of The Guild titled "Do You Want to Date My Avatar?"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

inappropriate imitation

It's inevitable that trends and ideas will be repeated in fashion and beauty. It's an industry that thrives on recycling and reinvention. How many times has a designer sent a look down the runway that references Marie Antoinette or Rosie the Riveter? So it's not surprising (and certainly not offensive) that two beauty companies would find inspiration from the Marchesa Luisa Casati. She's one of the most famous figures in fashion history. John Galliano based an entire Christian Dior colleciton on her. Karl Lagerfeld credited her as muse for his 2010 resort collection. And red carpet favorite Marchesa is named in honor of the lovely Casati. She is also rumored to be the inspiration of so many characters in films and novels that I can't even let myself get distracted by trying to list them all.

Clearly, I have a bit of an appreciation for Casati. So I was delighted to see this new lip gloss created to honor the heiress/muse/legendary hostess. The Napolean Perdis Divine Marchesa Ravishing Rose Lip Shine is part of the artist's The Divine Marchesa Collection, a whole series of products influenced by Casati.

(Sorry for the lame image, but it was the only one I could find.)

However, when I noticed the lovely packaging, I couldn't help but remember these little fellas.

Stila partnered with design house Marchesa (again, named after Casati) in 2008 and released the Backstage Beauty Collection. Look familar? I understand that ideas are going to be re-used, but isn't releasing a make-up collection with the same inspiration and such similar packaging within a year of the previous collection a little tacky? Come on Napolean Perdis. Someone at your company must've noticed the striking similarities. I must say I'm disappointed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

back in black

I was a huge fan of the all-black issue of Vogue Italia. And upon its release, I was perhaps over-confident that it symbolized a shift in fashion. But sadly, after the collectable issue was off stands, so were women of color in general. Thank goodness for i-D. The magazine features Chanel Iman, Sessilee Lopez, Arlenis Sosa Pena and Jourdan Dunn on the September cover. Hopefully, at some point women of color will be featured on the covers of magazines without the event seeming newsworthy. But for now, I want to promote i-D's September issue as much as possible.

Monday, August 24, 2009

hell's belles

Hello Twin Citizens! Starting this week, every Thursday my friend and l'étoile editrix Kate Iverson and I will be hosting fashion trivia and Project Runway screenings at Hell's Kitchen (owned by the parents of season three PR alum Katherine Gerdes). Be there at 8:00 to test your knowledge of all things fashion and potentially win a fabulous prize. And be sure to support hometown heroes Ra'mon Lawrence Coleman and Christopher Straub by sticking around for the episode at 9:00.

sponsored by l'étoile magazine and Metro Magazine

my precious

Thank God for io9. I can always count on them to find things like Doctor Who Ood knitting patterns and Luke Skywalker in a Tauntaun plushies. But this time, they've really outdone themselves. Today I was overcome with cuteness when they posted images of Finnish artist Mari Kasurinen's re-imagined My Little Ponies. There is truly something for everyone to appreciate. Assuming you like ponies. And you'd better like ponies.

Oh my gosh! My Little Stormtrooper! Serving the Empire has never been so adorable.

"I love you, My Little Han Solo." "I know."

My Little Darth Vader! Seriously, the Dark Side is just too precious.

Believe it or not, there are people out there who are not huge Star Wars fans. For those crazies, I present My Little Alien. I bet its acid blood tastes like cotton candy!

My Little Predator. Possibly the most badass of all the ponies.

Yep, it's My Little Pan, from Guillermo del Toro's masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth. This pony gives me nightmares.

My Little Cthulu might actually be my favorite pony. Especially since I'm currently reading Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, the publisher's follow-up to the tremendously awesome Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Science-fiction not your fancy? Maybe My Little Andy Warhol is the right pony for you.

Although My Little Frida Kahlo is pretty amazing.

Do you read Art Forum? My Little Damien Hirst is your new bestie!

If you like songs that reference hot pants and hairspray, My Little Lady Gaga is your tiny plastic soulmate.

bookworm fashion

A big thank you to everyone who attended The Sartorialist launch party at Magers & Quinn yesterday. Be sure to check out Jahna's interview with Scott Schuman over at l'étoile magazine.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

a good start

Thursday night's l'étoile-sponsored Project Runway Premiere Party was a blast, and as an extra treat for spectators, local boys and special guests Ra'mon Lawrence Coleman and Christopher Straub both advanced to the next round. Ra'mon had one of the top looks of the challenge, and Christopher took home the season's first win. It was a joy to watch the episode in the boys' hometown crowd, with plenty of martini-fueled cheering whenever either of them was featured. Whatever the outcome of the season, the pair clearly have a great rapport. During almost every commercial break they shared big hugs and smiles. I can't wait to see what happens next week!

photo by Stephen Stephens for Digital Crush.

sheer genius

Dark transparent fabric is one of my favorite trends for this fall, so I'm pleased to see that so many celebrities have already been breaking it in this summer. No matter what your style or figure, it's a trend which anyone can incorporate into her look. If you're feeling risque, try a peekaboo blouse or a dress with sheer side panels. If you're looking for something more conservative, try a ladylike detail with transparent sleeves or neckline details.

Cassie in Louis Vuitton

Diane Kruger in Chanel

Freida Pinto in Stella McCartney

Jessica Stroup in a sheer Stella McCartney blouse and Catherine Malandrino shorts

January Jones in Stretis

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

rain or shine!

Attention Project Runway fans and the fashionable public at large! This Thursday's l'étoile-sponsored Project Runway Premiere Party with special guests Ra'mon Lawrence Coleman and Christopher Straub has been moved indoors due to expected rain. Attend the free event at the Landmark Center from 7:30-10. And be sure to join us at The Saint Paul Hotel's post-party from 10-12 for cocktails and a trunk show featuring the work of contestant Christopher Straub. For those of you on the VIP list (which is invite only--sorry, kids!), we'll still be set up in The Saint Paul Hotel Ballroom. And remember that everyone's invited to the post-party, as well as the after-after party at Camp Bar. Be sure to dress for the weather. I, for one, am always looking for an excuse to break out my Moschino raincoat. And remember, sometimes the best accessory is a chic umbrella.

Landmark Center
75 5th St. W.
Downtown St. Paul

The Saint Paul Hotel
350 Market St.
Downtown St. Paul

Camp Bar
490 N. Robert St.
Downtown St. Paul

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

now and then: the lara stone edition

Lara Stone's French Vogue September 2009 cover

and her French Vogue cover from February of this year

cate the great

Cate Blanchett's four covers for Australian Vogue's 50th anniversary illustrated by David Downton

i turn my camera on

This Sunday from 5-7, join l'etoile magazine and Magers & Quinn for the launch of The Sartorialist Scott Schuman's new book. Moto-I will be providing Japanese street food and the ladies from Blacklist Vintage will be available for on-site styling tips. Truth be told, I find Schuman to be a bit of a cad, but he certainly brought street style photography into the spotlight and has become a major player in the fashion industry. Fashion photographers from Digital Crush will be in attendance, so be sure to use this handy guide from The Pipeline to ensure your spot among the street fashion subjects (click to enlarge).

rookie of the year

13 year-old Style Rookie blogger Tavi's upcoming cover for POP. When I was 13, I was wearing a Green Day Kerplunk t-shirt, Doc Martens, and a thrifted plaid shirt. Timely, perhaps, but not very inspired. I can't imagine imagine what kind of self-assurance it takes for a teenage girl to so freely experiment with clothing. I wish more young women were blessed with her sense of confidence and willingness to experiment, even if that means opening oneself up to the critiques of others.

Monday, August 17, 2009

le krug, je t'aime

As usual, I'm in love with Diane Kruger's wardrobe. And even though I'm not finding the previews for Inglourious Basterds as exciting as I'd hoped, I'm just grateful for another excuse to have her out and about on the red carpet. My only disappointment with her recent appearances is the lack of arm candy. She and Joshua Jackson always win my vote for Most Stylish Couple, and the fact that Pacey knows what's going to happen on season two of Fringe just makes me want to hang out with them more.





Hervé Léger by Max Azria

we come in peace

This weekend, District 9 opened at No. 1 with an impressive gross revenue of $37 million. The opening is even more successful when you consider that the film was budgeted at a mere $30 million. So in addition to receiving extremely positive reviews, it's already a financial success for TriStar. A big congratulations is in order for 29 year-old South African director Neill Blomkamp, as well as producer Peter Jackson. Reviews and box office performance almost guarantee a sequel, and it sounds like this is a film that actually deserves a follow-up. I haven't made it to the theater yet (manfriend was out of town over the weekend, and probably would've broken up with me if I'd seen it without him), but have been following the marketing campaign religiously for months. Can't wait to see this movie, which some critics are already calling the best science-fiction movie of the generation.

"District 9 proves that there's intelligent alien life in the movie universe this summer." -Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"This baby has the stuff to end the movie summer on a note of dazzle and distinction." -Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"District 9 is the most exciting science fiction movie to come along in ages; definitely the most thrilling of the summer; and quite possibly the best film I've seen all year." -Sara Vilkomerson, The New York Observer

"This might go down as the year that science-fiction cinema, despite the deafening crash and clangor of sparring robots, began to rediscover its brains, heart and soul." -Cary Darling, Dallas Morning News

"District 9 has the aesthetic trappings of science fiction but it's really more of a character drama, an examination of how a man responds when he's forced to confront his identity during extraordinary circumstances." - Christy Lemire, Associated Press

New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott calls the movie smart and swift, and the special effects tight and inventive.

District 9 is current running at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

for the love of scifi

they did what?

I guess this is old news, but since it’s news to me, I still find it relevant and rant-worthy. The ending of the film of adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife was changed due to test audience feedback. Apparently the focus groups who first screened the film thought the original ending was kind of a downer, so in true Hollywood fashion, the studio replaced it with something a little more happy endingy. The ending was re-written, re-shot, re-edited, and now, we have a completely dumbed down adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife to look forward to. Awesome. I’m thrilled to see a beautiful and powerful novel completely bastardized with a gift-wrapped ending. Said the director: “So we made the choice to say, ‘OK, we know what we need to do. We’re smarter now.’ It’s a process when you make a film. We hadn’t been dated or anything, so we felt like, ‘OK, let’s do the right thing. Let’s finish the movie properly.’” Grrrr. Team Niffenegger!!

My bitterness is only slightly assuaged by the trailer for The Lovely Bones, Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the Alice Sebold novel of the same name. From what I can tell from the preview and Jackson’s comments in interviews, the director is committed to making the film as faithful to the book as possible. A few scenes are just as I’d pictured them when reading the novel, almost disturbingly so. And Saorsie Ronan Continues to be one of the awesomest young actors working today.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

it was mrs.white! in the study! with the candlestick!

Be sure to check out Minneapolis auteur Rob Callahan's piece on the Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer collaboration, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?

And be sure to check out Jahna Peloquin's interivew with Glamorama Fashion Director Laura Schara for letoile magazine, as well as her Minneapolis What to Wear Guide for August.

models sans makeup

Kristen McMenamy

Shalom Harlow

Amber Valletta

Claudia Schiffer

photographs by Peter Lindbergh for Harper's Bazaar

gaga for rilke

Another reason to love Lady Gaga. She got a freaking Rilke tattoo! In the original beautiful German! I have long considered getting a tattoo of a few sentences on my forearm, and my top two choices have always been a Vonnegut quote that I’m particularly fond of, or anything by Rainer Maria Rilke. Dude is my fave.

“In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?”

Tangent: Lady Gaga’s hair in this above photograph totally reminds me of Lady Lovely Locks and the Pixietails. Cute little hamster pixies with tails made of pastel hair! And you clipped them into Lady Lovely Locks’ curls! It was quite creepy, actually.