Tuesday, September 29, 2009

i need a nap

MNfashion week came to a close this weekend after having one of its most successful and engaging weeks to date. Like many others, I am completely exhausted, and am fantasizing about spending this evening wrapped up in a blanket, drinking tea, and preparing myself for the cold months ahead. But alas, tonight is Jagercon, and my nerdly duties come first. However, before I doze off in a bar while watching Brazil projected on a wall, thus drifting on a fitful sleep on creepy pig masks, let's reflect on the last couple of days, shall we?

This season's fashion week kicked off with Envision, a runway show at Ignite Studios. A few trunk shows and mixers later, and it was time for Charmed Life, the major designer boutique event sponsored by l'étoile magazine and Metro Magazine. The night was a great success, and I made off with some beautiful locally designed jewelry and even more local pieces added to my mental wish list.

On Thursday night, my l'étoile partner-in-crime and I hosted our weekly Fashion Trivia and Project Runway screening at Hell's Kitchen. Contestant Christopher Straub attended, earning lots of hoots and applause for his stellar performance in the episode. Sadly, we lost one of our own. The beloved Ra'mon Lawrence Coleman was sent packing, a sad departure that sparked tears in more than a couple audience members and friends of the designer. True, his science fiction cocktail dress was a hot green mess, but remember what he created for last week's newspaper challenge?

(Ra'mon's newsprint two-piece look)

This design went almost unacknowledged by the judges, but I thought it was one of the top looks of the season to date. The skirt and top were completely wearable together and on their own, a major coup when working with an unconventional material like newsprint. Factor in his amazing challenge victory and strong performance from the very first episode, and it seemed like he's be sticking around all season. But alas, Ramon's prior successes weren't enough to save him from his science fiction look. Happily, our own Christopher thrived in the costume design challenge, creating one of the episode's top looks and, in my admittedly biased opinion, should have taken home the top spot. Seriously, if Michael Kors isn't going to be around at all this season, I demand audience votes be taken into account!

Friday night was a bit more cheerful at the Eat Street Style event hosted at Head to Toe. Our lovely friends at Blacklist Vintage styled some fantastic looks that had audience members ready to open their wallets.

On Saturday, Northeast boutique I Like You! was packed for their trunk show including accessories by local designers Ruby3, Liebling Designs, and Third Willow. I took home a romantic Ruby3 fascinator and a few cards that I'd seen online ages ago but had sold out. That night I headed over to SCENEaSOTA to check out the runway show featuring a few local designers, including my pal Emma Berg. The show was extremely well-produced and featured some great pieces, though there were definitely some construction issues and confusing fabric choices on the runway. I particularly appreciated the tailoring and aesthetic of Carmichael Claith's Sherlock Holmes-inspired collection.

(a prim look from Carmichael Claith at SCENEaSOTA)

Emma's Dolls-inspired collection was spot-on with its intricate construction, creative draping, and avant garde shapes. The restrained palette of black, white, gray and red helped take the collection from avant garde to something accessable and wearable. A stand-out brocade dress with draped butterfly sleeves was an audience favorite, as well as this ladylike red cocktail dress.

Afterwards, we walked over to Clubhouse Jager (site of l'étoile Tuesday night Jagercon events) to catch the reunion show of Astronaut Wife. The next stop of the evening was the Scenesota after-party, featuring our friend Juleana Enwright in the DJ booth. Sadly, too many ill-advised Jager shots at Jagerfest and this little piggy went zzz zzz zzz in the cab all the way home. Sorry friends.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this amazing week of events. With trunk shows, cut-a-thons, runway presentations, cocktail parties, clothing swaps, meet and greets, mixers, and minglers, there was truly something everyone could enjoy. Check out l'étoile magazine and le petit connaisseur de la mode for more recaps!

photos by Stephen Stephens for Digital Crush

Thursday, September 24, 2009

charmed, i'm sure

Thank you to everyone who attended last night's l'étoile magazine and Metro Magazine-sponsored mnfashion fete, Charmed Life. The event was held in the gorgeous atrium of the International Market Square, and featured four vignettes styled by interior designer Jeffrey Valley. Each scene was created to feature the work of a local designer. Aimee Dukes' Ferociter jewelry line was displayed in a traditional vanitas format, with skulls, tapestries, floral arrangements and candlesticks that would've made the Flemish masters jealous. Designer Laura Fulk, known for her edgy futuristic designs, was complimented with a modern contemporary vignette including orange polycarbonate chairs and end tables worth more than your first born. Ruby3 milliner Anna Lee and fashion designer Max Lohrback both had vintage-inspired vignettes that tied into their romantic sensibilities. Dozens of other designers, including Project Runway Season 6 contestant Christopher Straub and jewelry designer Robyne Robinson, sold their wares trunk-show style. I happily made off with a pair of Ferociter dangly earrings and an EC Design heart necklace. (I also managed to have a Ruby3 fascinator set aside so that I can pick it up this weekend at the designer's trunk show.)

The event went off without a hitch (well, there were a few microphone complications, but aren't there always?), and we certainly have our sponsors and volunteers to thank for that. My l'étoile partner in crime Kate Iverson and I hosted a styling challenge, and my most embarassing moment of the evening came when I introduced the judging panel and referred to Christopher Straub as a contestant on Project Runway "Season Sex." What can I say? If he didn't want the occasional freudian slip, maybe he shouldn't have been born so cute. Cheryl Tiegs was also among the judges, so there was definitely a starstruck moment or two. Her hair is fabulous, by the way.

Again, thank you to everyone who attended, our amazing sponsors, our dedicated volunteers, International Market Square, and Metro Magazine. l'étoile hearts all of you!

Be sure to check out Kate and me being interviewed about the event on Fox 9 News!

Monday, September 21, 2009

the emmy awards 2009: the slinky effect

Heidi Klum's Marchesa gown was customized by the designer and the fit is absolutely perfect. It's lovely to see a pregnant woman who doesn't feel the need to wear a tent for red carpet occasions. I'm sure that this far along, any woman would be tempted to cover up. But Heidi's response has been quite the opposite. She's recently been quoted as saying that she loves wearing form-fitting gowns during her pregnancy, since she doesn't feel like she has to suck in her stomach. Kind of a refreshing perspective.

Christina Hendricks is smoking hot in this figure-hugging custom L'Wren Scott gown. I hate to be the five millionth person to write about her enviable curves, but I can't help it. Her body looks absolutely amazing.

Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter is a knockout in Zuhair Murad. The actress has the body of a praying mantis, she's all long limbs and sharp joints (check out The Exorcism of Emily Rose for further evidence), but the cut of this dress gives her such a graceful and womanly shape. Her look is utterly transfixing. It certainly doesn't hurt that she's got some of the most beautiful eyes in Hollywood.

the emmy awards 2009: rainbow brights

January Jones wore my favorite look of the night, but Big Love actress Ginnifer Goodwin was a close second in fuchsia Yves Saint Laurent. I'm loving her short haircut. When her hair was longer, she looked a little bit goodie-goodie, even in avant-garde pieces. This style makes her look like a fashion risk-taker, even when she's wearing more conservative looks. Funny how short hair can do that for a girl.

Christina Applegate's Basil Soda gown reminds me of a Christian Lacroix piece. I doubt that's the kind of feedback that the designer would like to hear, but I mean it in the best possible way. I do wish that Christina had gone with more structured undergarments, but the cut and color of the gown are beautiful. She looks positively radiant.

Mila Kunis' Monique Lhuillier gown is young and flirty, but still appropriate for the event. The color really made her stand out on the red carpet, and I adore the accessories, makeup, and hair. I'm sorry to say that I still don't really understand Kunis' appeal as an actress. She was cute on That 70s Show, but nothing else that she's done really stands out to me. But if she keeps wearing such chic playful looks, she'll probably win me over. I'm shallow that way.

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss took a break from Narcisco Rodriguez and wore a deep teal Vera Wang gown. There were a few other shades of turquoise on the red carpet, but this darker color wins out for me. I can't believe this woman is almost 50. She gives me Marisa Tomei Syndrome (a sharp and sudden jealousy inspired by women in their 40s who have the skins of 16 year-olds).

Fringe star and obscenely good-looking person Anna Torv wore a glittery Marc Bouwer dress. This color is a tricky one to pull off, as the sparkles temper the red and take the dress into a Hawaiian Punch kind of territory, but it really works with Anna's complexion. I love the plunging neckline, but the ladylike cap sleeves keep the gown from feeling overly risque.

Debra Messing laughs in the face of the naysayers that claim redheads shoudn't wear red. She positively glows in this chic tomato Michael Kors gown.

Thank goodness, Blake Lively has started to wear dresses that fit. This lipstick red Versace number looks like it was made for her, and I love the slicked back hair. It's a look that was all over New York Fashion Week.

the emmy awards 2009: my fair lady

I didn't actually watch the Emmys last night (a shame, since I'm sure Neil Patrick Harris was a fantastic host), but I've been spending this morning diligently digesting the evening's red carpet fashion. Although not many major risks were taken, there was certainly a plethora of stunning gowns on the red carpet. Since there were so many looks that I appreciated, I've decided to cover the Emmys in three posts. Welcome to post number one, in which I heavily praise the pale gowns that brought a sense of light and wonder to the red carpet.

Mad Men actress January Jones was my Best Dressed of the evening in this futuristic Versace gown.The structure of the bodice is architectural and contemporary, but the color lends the look a soft romantic feel. January Jones has become one of my red carpet favorites over the past two years. She might start giving Diane Kruger a run for her money.

I haven't watched House in ages, but Olivia Wilde's red carpet choices have put her on my radar (also, when she dated Marissa on The OC!). This Marchesa confection could easily drown such a tiny frame, but Wilde wears the dress with such confidence and excellent posture that the effect is graceful and effortless.

Gossip Girl Leighton Meester takes a lot of fashion risks, and this white Bottega Veneta gown is no exception. I love the gown's knotted shoulders and layered skirt, and the bold statement lip keeps the look from veering into bridal territory.

I'm fairly certain that Sandra Oh could just wrap herself in tin foil and cellophane and still look fantastic. Her skin is radiant, her hair is soft, and she has excellent posture. This Marchesa dress makes the most of all of her attributes, and though you can't tell from a still photograph, if you find a video of her walking down the red carpet, you can really appreciate how the dress shimmers and shines as she moves.

Rose Byrne often looks slightly ethereal on the red carpet, and this Valentino dress takes that quality to a new level. I've seen a few posts that only focus on how washed out she looks, but I actually love the fair combination of her skin and the dress.

Drew Barrymore wore pale pink Monique Lhuillier. The details of the skirt really catch the light. It's a gorgeous effect and a perfect choice for the time of day.

Kate Walsh's fashion choices are usually pretty hit and miss for me. She's got great hair, beautiful skin, and a killer body, but sometimes she'll show up at an event in a look that's squandered all of that (she's like Sandra Oh's opposite). This time around, she hit the nail on the head with J. Mendel. The strapless bodice shows off her gorgeous shoulders (seriously, she should wear this cut all the time), and the pale shade doesn't wash out her complexion. She looks like a goddess in this gown.

Leave it to Chloe Sevigny to take an Isaac Mizrahi dress and make it feel like an avant garde choice. I know messy hair is sort of her signature, but I would've loved to see a cleaner hairstyle. That said, the poppy red lipstick is a great styling choice.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

through the treeeeees

I didn't hit an opening night showing of Jennifer's Body, but manfriend and I did head to the theater for a morning show this Saturday. It's always refreshing to go to an early show: cheap tickets, no lines, a theater almost entirely to yourself. So I went into the movie in a pretty good mood. The film that followed certainly didn't blow my mind, but I left the theater in the same good mood as I'd entered it.

Make no mistake, Jennifer's Body is a B-horror film, and to approach it with any other expectations will probably lead to you leaving the theater demanding your money and time back. But if you can approach the film with the right sensibility, you're likely to exit the theater pleasantly surprised. The film follows Jennifer and Needy (short for Anita), life-long friends who still consider themselves totally besties, even though they've grown up into two extremely different people with different values. Jennifer is the high school sex kitten. She's manipulative, selfish and insecure. Needy, however, is far more reasonable and self-aware, except for her friendship with Jennifer. When Jennifer runs off with a Satan-worshipping indie band (led by a hysterical Adam Brody), she's sacrificed as an offering for their success. Only problem is, Jennifer is an impure sacrifice. She's not a virgin. Thus the ritual turns her into a man-eating succubus preying on some of the sweetest boys in her high school.

Despite Jennifer projectile vomiting black bile and scooping blood out of a victim's chest cavity, the movie wasn't as gory as I'd expected. Where it really shines is its examination of toxic friendships, particularly among high school girls. Jennifer and Needy share a dynamic that almost every woman kind identify. We've all either been in that situation or we've witnessed it. There are also far subtler references. Jennifer is on a binge cycle, especially poignant when a character mentions her history with an eating disorder. Jennifer and Needy, played by Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried respectively, embody their characters fully. Both shine in this film. Amanda Seyfried's performance probably wasn't a surprise (she's been fantastic in Veronica Mars, Big Love and Mean Girls), but I was quite charmed by how perfectly Fox embodied the role of Jennifer. The two characters are so different but share such a realistic dynamic, that I found myself recalling toxic friendships that I'd been a part of during high school (and also flag practice).

This may not be the feature film follow-up to Juno that Diablo Cody fans were hoping for, but it's a smart and self-aware horror film. The Satanic indie band Low Shoulder's song "Through the Trees," becomes a tongue-in-cheek anthem for the town's tragedies, and now whenever I flip through the radio, I hear three indie rock songs that sound exactly like it. Makes you wonder how many girls have been sacrificed in the Minnesota woods.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Okay, okay. Everyone knows that Kanye West was completely rude and obnoxious when he interrupted Taylor Swift's VMA acceptance speech to talk about how Beyonce had the best video of the decade of whatever. But holy heavens people, it's not like he stabbed her. Seeing words like "violent" and "assault" used to describe the incident makes me sick to my (granted) easily upset stomach. Yes, he was incredibly inappropriate, but he has since apologized both privately and publicly (and in ALL CAPS on his blog). And seriously, Leno asking him what his late mother would say about his actions? I suppose the incident actually had a positive effect on me personally. My father died when I was little, but somehow I made it through my incredibly self-involved and cranky immature adolescent years without my mother ever saying, "What would your dead dad think?" So I called her and thanked her for never resorting to that low blow. So thank you for that Kanye. She seemed confused, but pleased.

Worst of it all, Kanye West has been receiving so much bad press that his sponsors are considering backing out of the much-hyped Kanye/Lady Gaga "Fame Kills" tour. You know who kills? Embittered Gaga fans who blog under the moniker of a tiny machine. Do NOT take this away from me Live Nation.

homeless people are, like, so last season

Model-turned-designer Erin Wasson made headlines when she stated that she got her fashion inspiration from homeless people. But come on guys, Erin Wasson's not that bad. Sure, she completely copied her jewelry designs from a struggling young designer and than actually posed in one of the original designer's pieces when being photographed for a Nylon article about her jewelry line. But, that could happen to anyone, right? As a matter of fact, I think Wasson's only offense in regards to her homeless fashion quote is that homeless people have been over for a while now. Crazy people are the new homeless people.

Like just today, I was on my way home from work and was totally inspired by this guy on the street wearing a giant Russian fur hat. Except when I got closer, I realized it was just his giant snow white afro. Yes kids, I saw black Bob Ross. And he was fabulous. As he walked down the sidewalk singing to himself in his ripped clothing and three(!) guitars, I said to myself, that guy is my muse. Because who needs to walk around carrying three guitars? Just a crazy musical savant, that's who! I mean, when I ask a woman how she decided to combine a kilt, a wedding veil and a wetsuit, I want the answer to be "The voices told me to." Seriously, there is nothing more inspiring than paranoid schizophrenia. Multiple personalities? More like sartorial variety! So screw you homeless people! Your day is over! Mental illness is the new black!

Unless you're mentally ill AND homeless, in which case, your future in fashion is bright, indeed!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

my beloved mary travers

Rest in peace Mary. You provided the soundtrack to my childhood. You sang about peace with a voice that made the idea seem like a real possibility. And you rocked platinum blonde bangs past your eyebrows and glittery cocktail dresses before Erin Fetherson was even a sparkle in her parents' eyes.

this is not what i looked like at my prom

Jennifer's Body finally comes out tomorrow, and though I'm not going to hit opening day (my friend's 30th birthday trumps all!), I definitely plan to work the movie into my weekend. Reviews have been mixed, and quite a few have been scathing, but I trust Jezebel. They've assembled 6 Reasons to Love Jennifer's Body, and in addition to being completely relatable to anyone who's had a toxic friendship, bad news haters, it seems Megan Fox can act. I was intigued by Fox when I heard that Diablo Cody had penned the film with her in mind, and I've come to look forward to her ridiculous controversial interviews in which she talks about the power of vaginas, her desire to stab her boyfriend, and Michael Bay's irrefutable Napolean Complex. Am I a Megan Fox fan? It's too early to say. But holy heavens, I am psyched to watch her slurp down goo from a hook-up's chest in total corn syrupy Fountain of Youth glory.

P.S. I did, however, wear a skin-tight stretchy long black dress to my prom, because I thought it was totally Tom Ford-era Gucci.


ice cream scoops of Supernova Lush Bath Bombs at Macy's

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

this dress deserves better

Amazing Alexander McQueen dress. Absolutely horrendous hair. When I first glanced at this photo, I thought I was seeing a strange play of shadow. But upon closer inspection, I realized that she had dyed the tips of her hair black. I often like dip-dye coloring. In addition to being fun and edgy, it can be elegant if done well. But this dye job with this cut just looks tacky. Such a shame too, since she complimented the dress so well with Brigitte Bardot sex kitten makeup and adorable peep-toe heels.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

just dance. it'll be okay.

These past few days, I haven't been quite feeling myself. I've been lethargic, light-headed, occasionally depressed. There was no spring in my step. Just the other day my manfriend stumbled upon me half-heartedly pantless dancing in my apartment while lifelessly muttering the lyrics to "Love Game." I was suffering from a malady which can spring upon anyone without warning. Friends, it was Lady Gaga withdrawal.

Fortunately, before my case escalated to a critical point, Miss Gaga performed at the MTV VMAs in a theatrical Phantom of the Opera-inspired number that I have since watched six times. Girl not only showed up with Kermit the Frog as her date (and did hysterical interviews about Miss Piggy sending her weird texts), she played the piano in thigh-high boots, was raised by one hand into the air, and wiped fake blood on her face that actually got onto her eyeballs. Readers, for your own well-being, I request that you sit through MTV's lame cotton commercial so that you can watch this video.

Also, Pink performed on a freaking trapeze. It was awesome. Is it weird that I really like Pink now?

And because it's the first thing I thought of when Gaga's performance began, check out the video of Madonna's 1990 VMA performance of "Vogue." I always enjoy watching this number, since after watching Truth or Dare eight bajillion times I feel like I know all of the dancers and back-up singers. And be sure to watch for the dancer that mimicks snorting some blow in the opening.

Did you know, before the French Revolution, the aristocrats were really into hot pants?

This post is dedicated to my friend Nate, who loves Gaga even more than I do. He has her b-sides, y'all.


Eep! has already posted a few of her thoughts on Target's Gossip Girl-inspired collaboration with Anna Sui. I read her post before heading to my local Target yesterday, and her critiques about the sizing are spot on. These clothes be tiny. In previous Go International and Designer Collaboration collections, I've consistently worn a size three. However, this collection has me firmly in the 5-7/M category, which, unfortunately, are the sizes that sell out the fastest. I tried on the navy houndstooth jacquard Blair-inspired dress in a three, which like Eep!, I couldn't completely zip closed. Too bad. It's an adorable dress. I'll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for the dress in a size up, but the collection's already selling like hot cakes.

I had better luck with the Blair Table Cloth dress, the piece that I'd been most excited about since the release of the promotional images. Although the style is loose, the cut of the shoulders is still quite narrow. The small felt a little too snug along the bust (a first for me!), but the medium was a perfect fit. The shade of the dress is quite a bit darker in person than in the photographs. I'd assumed the garment was a pale ivory, but it's actually more of a tea-stained antiquey cream. (On the website the color's actually called "Bread Dough," which sounds kind of gross.) Since I didn't already own anything with a light blue velvet bow at the collar, I decided that the dress was a necessary addition to my wardrobe and coughed up the cash for the $69.99 pricetag.

The only other item I took home with me was a pale grey tee with a black lace fringed bib. The fit was comfortable and loose, and though the fabric is semi-sheer, I didn't feel like all my goods were on display (this is mostly to the credit of my totally awesome beige grandma bra). The cap sleeves weren't quite as fluttery as they appeared in the photographs, which tempered the super-girlishness of a tee with freaking fringe on it.

Despite my two purchases, I left Target feeling quite disappointed. This is a very in-demand collection, but considering it was technically just released on Sunday, September 13 and I was in the store the next day, it was a serious bummer to not even have the opportunity to try on so many of the looks in a size that I could actually zip closed. Hopefully Rodarte for Target will be a bit more forgiving.

Monday, September 14, 2009

how to survive a zombie plague

I've had a zombie survival plan for a very long time (my friend Katherine was very touched when I informed her that her survival was considered in generating the strategy). However, this article has me considering making some adjustments. According to this mathematician, the only way for the human race to survive a zombie plague is to abandon hopes for a cure and for containment of the undead, and instead to react quickly and violently. So sorry Shaun of the Dead fans. There will be no debating whether or not to shoot your infected mother or keeping your zombie bestie in your back shed. We need to immediately arm ourselves and go for the brain.

i had a dream last night, and it fit me like a glove...boot.

Since Ambien erases my memory every night, I rarely wake up with clear impressions from my dreams. But last night was different. I dreamt that I was the old lady who lived in the shoe, except the shoe was this floral-print Doc Marten.

I seriously coveted this boot in middle school, and when it was re-released and featured in a Nylon editorial starring Sienna Miller, my obsession was re-ignited. I know that a lot of Nylon readers thought this spread was obnoxious (though I say, no more obnoxious than most other Nylon spreads!), but I personally can't judge. The fact is, if I owned a pair of these boots, I'd probably lick them all day too.

I've been keeping my eyes peeled for this boot in a size eight for years, but the few times I've actually found it, the price has been astronomical. Black floral Doc Martens, you are my white whale.

If you ever see a pair, send me a tip at atinymachine@gmail.com!

twin cities invasion

Be sure to check out l'étoile Fashion Editor Jahna Peloquin's fashion week diary over at l'étoile magazine!

Friday, September 11, 2009

champagne supernova

Although I love fashion, I've never had much motivation to design on my own clothes. I don't have that creative spark that just makes me need to sketch right this second. But if any images from nature gave me second thoughts about that, they're these new photos from the upgraded Hubble Space Telescope. I'm swooning over these images. I'm flying out to Richmond this weekend for a wedding, so don't be surprised if I return with an entire stardust-inspired collection that I conceived on the plane.

Did you know that a Champagne Supernova is a martini glass filled with champagne and rimmed with cocaine? Am I the last person to find out about this?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

eligible woman seeking gentlemanly cthulu

In addition to being a science fiction, horror and fantasy nerd, I'm also quite the Jane Austen geek. So of course I was psyched when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was released. My aunt called it "completely offensive and disrespectful of the original work," but I call it "AWESOME." Jane Austen goes with zombies like peanut butter goes with chocolate. And in the publisher's newest reinvention of her work, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Austen goes with hammerhead shark attacks like popcorn goes with milk. The result is surprisingly delicious.

While Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was really just the novel with some well-placed clever zombie references, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is far more steeped in the world of science fiction and fantasy. Sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are still the romantic heroines of the original, but this re-telling of the novel paints them as glorious warriors. You know in the original, how Marianne sprains her ankle because it's raining and she's a lady and walking is, like hard? This version has Marianne injured while facing off with a giant octopus. It's a little more empowering than the original. And in case you didn't pick up on some of the literary nuances in Sense and Sensibility, this version bludgeons you with over-the-top sea horror metaphors that make sure that you didn't miss a thing.

Overall, I prefer P&P&Z to S&S&M, but it's not difficult to enjoy the zeal with which the author attacks the central conceit in the latter. It's certainly not a classic, but you'll never look at Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet the same way again.

You can purchase your very own copy of S&S&SM on September 15 at Magers & Quinn in Uptown Minneapolis.

the sky is falling

It's true. Lindsay Lohan has been given a job at Emanuel Ungaro as an "Artistic Advisor." Ungaro CEO Mounir Moufarrige cited La Lohan's status as a "super-consumer" as one of her qualifications for the job. No word on whether next season's collection will feature leopard print leggings, stringy hair extensions, or an extra pocket for the cocaine that your friend totally left in those pants. Oh my God, I've been struck with inspiration!! I want to see a creepy stage mom Dina Lohan-inspired collection, like, yesterday!

go to hell

you'd better wear some suspenders with those booty shorts

Last night, I went into 9 with extremely high expectations. And though it was a beautiful film, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed. This weekend, I saw Gamer, and I entered the theater with the very lowest of expectations. So when it wasn't a total waste of brain cells, I was pleasantly surprised. The movie stars a good-Lord-look-at-that-guy's-arms Gerard Butler as Kable, the breakout star of the first-person shooter game Slayer, in which the players control flesh and blood humans. It's all very Death Race 2000 and Surviving the Game (an Ice-T movie that I've found myself talking about like four times in the past week).

Slayer was developed by Ken Castle (played for laughs and shivers by Dexter's Michael C. Hall), a video game designer who made his fortune with Society, a Second Life-style game. Players control real people in a controlled environment and make them go to raves, hook up with one another, and go to raves again. Slayer utilizes the same technology, but features death row volunteers who can attempt to win their freedom through combat. Of course, Kable shouldn't be there in the first place. He was framed, or in the wrong place at the wrong time, or he knew too much, or something like that. Now he just wants to win his freedom so that he can be with his daughter and extremely good-looking wife (supermodel Amber Valletta), who's currently making ends meet super-skanked up as an "actor" in Society. Though there was a lot of Valletta bum and quite a bit of gratuitous nudity in general, it works in a story based on satisfying our most gluttonous impulses. Heads explode, boobs get sprayed with blood, and Gerard Butler spends a lot of time shirtless.

The movie employs one of the central concepts behind The Matrix. Since everyone in Slayer is potentially an enemy out to kill you and end your winning streak, good guys don't need to get too caught up in the morality of shooting everyone in their path. It's just what you do if you want to see your baby mama again. Of course, there's an underground movement opposed to Slayer and Society, and thank God, it's led by Ludacris! There are actually a surprising number of well-known actors in this movie. In addition to Butler, Valletta, and Luda, appearances are made by Kyra Sedgwick, Alison Lohman, that lame guy from Heroes and Gilmore Girls, and John Leguizamo. Psych stars James Roday and Maggie Lawson appear briefly as a sleazy newscasting duo, while Tarantino's Deathproof muse Zoe Bell shows up in what is, unfortunately, little more than a cameo.

But it's really Michael C. Hall who steals the show. Watching the award-winning actor from Dexter and Six Feet Under ham it up for the camera is a blast, especially when he leads a dozen of his mind-controlled soldiers in a choreographed performance of Frank Sinatra's "Under My Skin." It's like a zombie musical, and that scene alone makes the movie worth seeing. Sure, Gamer has more than its share of glaring plot holes, some questionable continuity, and a totally anti-climactic ending. But overall, it's a good end-of-summer popcorn flick. I give it three out of five bloody boobs!

stitchpunk: salvation

9 finally opened yesterday, and manfriend and I showed up among a throng of steampunk fans to catch Shane Acker's feature film debut. And by "throng," I mean "seven other people." And by "steampunk fans," I mean I overheard an audience member asking a friend, "What the hell is steampunk?" Okay, so maybe 9 won't be a runaway commercial success, but with a modest budget of $30 million, it could certainly be profitable to the studio and a major stepping stone for the director. But anyway, enough about boring budgets and studios. Onto the movie!

9 is based on Shane Acker's Academy Award-nominated short film of the same name. The story is set in a dystopic future in which a war with machines has extinguished the human race. You know, like always happens in the future. The only signs of life are a series of tiny rag dolls that scavenge a desolate landscape for usable scrap. These dolls, or "stitchpunks" as Acker calls them, are constantly hiding from the few remaining mechanical beasts. Though the short film has no dialogue, the feature film gives the dolls voices with an impressive cast.

Elijah Wood voices 9, a doll who wakes up in his inventor's workshop with no idea who he is or how he came to be. He eventually stumbles upon 2 (Martin Landau) a seasoned inventor and fighter who, despite his skill, is abducted by one of the machines. 9 recruits his ragdoll siblings 5 (John C. Reilly) and 7 (Jennifer Connelly) for a search and rescue mission, in which the brain behind the machines' uprising is inadvertently awakened.

The visuals of the film are phenomenal. Acker's post-apocalyptic wasteland is intricately and expertly designed, and the presence of the occasional human corpse is appropriately unsettling. Though the animation of the stitchpunks is extremely expressive, the real stars of the show are their mechanical adversaries. In addition to a ferocious robot with a cat skull for a head (also a malevolent presence in the short film), the ragdolls face a snake that stitches its victims into its belly, a flying beast that's half crow and half miniature pteradactyl, and a glowing cocoon-shaped blimp that tracks them from overhead.

Though the premise is extremely creative, the film drags even at its 81-minute runtime. It was exciting and gratifying to see a fully fleshed-out version of the short, but I couldn't help thinking that the film would've been more engaging if it saw some serious editing. Sadly, there's not much of a market for 45 or 50-minute films. Additionally, I felt that the lack of dialogue in the short increased the tension and the emotional investment in the story. Despite the terrific cast, I kept wishing for the ragdolls to communicate silently. That said, 9 is a movie that both adults and children can enjoy (but again, occasional corpses) and is a major showcase for Acker's talent. I'm certainly curious to see what he'll try next.

straight to dvd? more like straight to my dvd collection.

A couple of years back I saw a trailer for Trick 'r Treat, a small horror film that explored several Halloween mythologies in a series of vignettes. Don't blow out jack-o-lanterns before midnight and those sorts of little legends. I was especially creeped out by the character Sam, a tiny trick-or-treater in a chilling burlap pumpkin mask. I waited for this treasure to hit theaters, but the day never came. Eventually I figured I'd just missed its release and that I'd probably cross paths with the movie eventually, but now I've found that I never missed it at all. This October, Trick 'r Treat is coming straight to DVD.

Who knows whether the studio screwed up the release or if the quality of the finished product was in question, but it's pretty shocking to see Anna Paquin as one of the lead characters in a straight-to-DVD movie. Also featured is Tahmoh Penikett of Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse fame. Interestingly enough, online reviews have been very positive. Maybe this will turn into one of those cult gems that the studio just couldn't figure out how to market.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

lovely lula

The new issue is out!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

spoonful of sugar

Check out Jahna's post on Mary Poppins-inspired style. This fall, try winterizing a straw summer boater with tailored jackets and structured skirts. Or, if you're feeling less literal, reference the literary heroine with bold shades of red, navy, white and black.

Jahna included my very favorite Miu Miu dress in her post. Sadly, mine is semi-retired until I get it mended. My pet rats Forest Whitaker and Bunnicula ate the hem when I hung the dress too close to their cage after New Years Eve. Lesson learned.

pretty girls make waves

This week, Minneapolis-based stylist collective Eclecticoiffeur heads to New York to serve as Lead Stylists for the Spring 2010 Collection by Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I'm so excited for my girls Jahna, Kelsy and Di. They are in for an amazing experience, and I demand that Jahna return to Minneapolis with hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos. Kelsy and Di recently relocated to The Big Apple (pout), but The Twin Cities won't be letting Jahna go anytime soon. Seriously, we got her one of those ankle bracelets and everything.

Monday, September 7, 2009

ethan hawke is a vampire! finally!

Teenage angst and longing rule in Twilight, and sex and campiness are the driving forces behind True Blood, but my favorite vampire stories are always the dark, kick-ass action stories. Whether it's the grittiness of 30 Days of Night, the dark realism of Nightwatch, or the over-the-top action sequences from Blade, I love dark storylines and epic battles. So as much as I love watching the exploits of Sookie Stackhouse, I am psyched for this January's release of Daybreakers. The film is set in a future where vampirism has become the norm, and where the last remaining humans are hunted and farmed for blood. The cinematography and production design are gorgeous, and the cast leaves me wanting for nothing. Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, and Claudia Karvan (Farscape!) are the primary characters in the film, and all that talent could make even the cheesiest of vampire movies compelling.

I'm also appreciating the music choices for the trailer. "Running Up That Hill" is my favorite Kate Bush song, and Placebo's cover makes my love for the song even stronger. It always amazes me how the right song choice can completely transform a trailer and make you emotionally invested in characters and a story that you know so little about. I felt similarly about the trailer for Lying, starring Chloe Sevigny, Jena Malone and Leelee Sobieski. Though I have no idea what the movie's about (even after watching the preview several times), the gorgeous camerawork and the ethereal music (John Maus "Do Your Best") make me feel like I know the women in this story.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

a little birdy

Breaking news! This is an image of one of the Rodarte for Target dresses being released this December. It's a black sequined mini-dress with ribcage detail on the front and a plain back. This is a very early image, so it's not an official promotional shot. But I'm so psyched to have an idea of what to look forward to from Target and the Mulleavy girls this holiday season. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like "Count my vertebrae."

(original image removed due to Target's request)

Friday, September 4, 2009

balencia-gah! my back!

Bless Jennifer Connelly's heart. From the looks of these photos, posing for for the new Balenciaga ad campaign was a pain in the neck. Literally! Ba dum ching!