Screw It

Images by Ambush Design

"Fasten, Operate, Distort, Loosen, Adjust, and Tighten!" is the motto behind new Japanese-based accessories brand Ambush. I usually don't post collections in their immediacy, since there are other sources who do so more efficiently, but Yoon and Verbal's new offerings entice a sense of curiosity that merits a well deserved observation. "Screw It", is the title of their new collection, expectedly, translates to silver and golden screws and bolts fasten onto S&M black leather hats, rings, pins (shown above affixed to a black blazer), cufflinks, and chokers that could be easily worn by your Rottweiler. Taking a more friendly approach, the screws dyed in blue and red, come affixed around a leather belt, cuff, and chain necklaces, that vaguely brings back memories of yore, when one was manipulating legos. 

Similarly to previous collections, often depicting a cartoonish vibe, these baubles almost feel like an indicator of a new possible route Ambush might be heading to. These accessories feel erotic, almost fetishistic. The photographs, taken by Sam Butts, lend an approachable sensibility counterbalancing the hardness some of the pieces give off. I'm personally tantalized by the rings, that would sure provide difficulty when you find yourself in front of a sink, but style blissfulness triumphs over nuisances any day. Applause all around for Tokyo's finest. 


Miss Little Havana

The Queen of Latin Pop, as we know her, is reclaiming her throne. Gloria Stefan is someone of a Donna Summer or Madonna to the Latin community (or at least in Miami). She has been part of a movement, along with luminaries as Tito Puentes, Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana, and Hector Lavoe, of spreading, celebrating, and educating the world of the rich diversity in Latin music. Gloria, especially, has been a key leader of the Cuban American migrants in Florida, and advocate for immigration rights, and event performed duties of hostess when president Obama visited her in Miami. Although her political views do not conflict with the message or merits of her artistry, it's pleasant to find artists who stand for what they believe in.

Miss Little Havana is her 26th album (astonishing accomplishment is an understatement), and her first English-speaking album since 2003. This Pharrell-produced album is filled with the familiar Estefanism; conga-infused, hip-swinging latin sounds, and melodramatic ballads, yet it places Estefan in a niche, as a few relevant latin artist in today's market. As you might have heard before, "WEPA" is her contagious single being played in your television screen and radio emissions as you read this. It's slowly becoming a latin anthem. How can those merengue-pop ("like merengue in the streets"!) sounds not entice a sudden movement of hips or feet? Maybe I'm being biased because I'm latin. 

I'm throughly mesmerized by the Miami-based artist LEBO's album artwork. It sort of looks like an explosion of melted popsicles metastasizing into abstract figures of exotics birds. The small conga drums add a sense of  a humorous symbolization of Estefan's beloved Havana. I'm equally please to see her in a frizzy fro a la Diana Ross. The whole image brings nostalgic memories of 80's Estefan, yet it's also pragmatic, vivid and full of life. 

Gloria Estefan, a woman of a certain age, has been making the round of national televised shows in looks that are age appropriate, without appearing to grasp with Menopause. She showed up at The View, in a gorgeous deep purple silk shift and matching stilettos (possible Oscar de la Renta), she performed live at The ALMA Awards in a demure black ensemble with beaded lace bolero, and a olive green number at The Rachel Ray Show. She seems to know what silhouette works for her, knee-lenght shifts with a soupçon of décolleté. And it's paying off. There is nothing more desperate than women, of a certain age, trying to compete with 15-year-olds. 

Now, get on the treadmill, and press play. 


What The Hell Is Going On Here?

Picture this (metaphorically): Karl invites you for a weekend in Saint-Tropez (!!!), and of course, you consent. (You can't say no to Karl). There are, as usual, the hot, illustrious, sleep-for-money crowd partying. And Karl decides to conjure up his entire Cruise '11 show there (for Coco reasons, of course). Not to be mistaken with the collection presented in Hotel du Cap in Antibes on the French Riviera a year later. If his Remember Now short film bestows any indication of what that voyage might look like, then I'm fetching my Goyards. Mr. Lagerfeld summoned folks like Pascal Gregory, Elisa Sednaoui, Heidi Mount and Baptise Gabiconi to act the part, which consists of reciting of couple of lines, move frantically inside some tony club, wear Chanel accouterments and drive expensive vehicles. The Karl Experience. 

You might find this seasons old, but how can we ever diminish A Karl Moment? Especially those instances where he's found outside a Chanel atelier or stepping out of a Zaha Hadid spectacular monument (such the ambiance of the S/S 2012 show). At the hotel, whilst everyone is in a semi-state of unconsciousness due to last night's heavy alcohol consumption, you hear "Allez Donc Vous Faire Bronzer" by Sacha Distel. Only for the cartoonish-like sounds of Distel to be contrasted with a murmur of thick french, "Quel silence" appropriated by none other than Karl. He's wearing a blindingly white, Tom Ford or Dior Homme suit, walks in to find a drunken mess, he seems infuriated because there is a lunch at 1 p.m. and people are not dressed. His passive-aggrive disposition seems to evaporate when someone utters, "But this is Saint-Tropez!", he replies, "I see". Over lunch we converse on topics ranging from who looks démodé to who is not coming back next season. You must see (if you haven't) the man in all his Largerfeldian white gloriousness here (fast forward to minute 3:38). 


Photo Diary: Yellow Diamonds In The Light

(1) As I step out of Old Glory on M Street in Georgetown, I caught the beautiful sunset on the horizon. I was mesmerized at how the pavement looks in the picture. As Mario Testino would say, very cinematic. 

(2)(3) I went for lunch at Last Canteras, a Peruvian restaurant that caught my attention once I was in Adams Morgan. The local restaurant is nestled within the former row houses that compose 18th Street. The 4-story building bares this pastel violet colour, and white window accents, suggesting it was some type of retirement home. The interior however depicts a different picture. Crisp white table cloths, comfy chairs and enough displayed artifacts for a quick lesson in Peruvian history. I ordered an Arroz con Pollo, which consists of two drumsticks of fried poultry, a bed of cilantro infused rice, all accompanied by peas, tiny carrots, fresh sliced onions and a leaf of lettuce. The beer, Cusqueña, would not be found at your local AVC. The whole experience reminded of my childhood and exemplified how richly diverse our cuisine really is. 

(4) The justly demise of the most suppressing homophobic federal policy America has been seen, Don't Ask, Don't tell, on the cover of Express. And the mustard cable knit sweater from Diesel in Details. Every color!

(5) John Legend at The Fillmore.

(6) Macbook moment. 

(7) The mysteriously-lit bar in Alero. I just recently learned there is actually a beverage called Galliano. But we all know Galliano (the man) and Alcohol don't mix well. 

(8) The architecture of the St Regis hotel (14th and K Street) is always fascinating. What's even more fascinating it's the interior. If you ever find yourself in the nation's capital, consider this one. You would be literally sleeping two blocks from The Obamas. 

(9) Porsche and Cranberry Juice at Number 9

(10) Debbie Harry at JR's.

(11) Karl Lagerfeld for Impulse at Macy's on the cover of The Examiner. I still can't get enough of Coco Rocha.


Ferrari And Ralph Lauren

About two months ago, on our way to lunch in Georgetown, I found myself sitting on the passenger seat of a friend's car. We're stopped by a flashing red light on N Lynn Street, just steps away from Key Bridge, D.C.'s version of Pont Neuf. In my vicinity, there is a piece of art stationed right outside a local CVS (out of all places). The automobile, idly parked, bears a red candy apple colour, the top is down, and an inconspicuous Ferrari logo is deflecting the sun's rays. I was dead stopped in my tracks. The red light, high above us, is still beaming brightly, luckily. Not long after I visually scanned the sumptuous monster, a man steps out of the aforementioned store. He's looking sharp, and I immediately categorize him as European. But considering the seemingly miraculous achievements of plastic surgery and well fitting clothes, anybody can appear "European". The jury is still out. He walks to the drive's seat, pulls out the keys and hops in. And the following scenario ensues: 

Me: "Hey Daddy!"

Him: *looks back* and replies, "Hey"

Me: "I love your car!"

Him: *Smiles*

Never mind my unapologetic, shameless flirting, I'm hollering halfway across the street. I still don't know what took over me. I pulled out my iPhone and snap! The light changes and we drive off. (I don't know if the man was the owner of the automobile, nor the fact that he dominates the English language, but it was certainly a hilarious bit). 

Nobody can blame me for being turn on by these type of cars (especially Porsches). It's a natural reaction. Growing up in Lima, I could only appreciate these type of beauties through a television screen. It was a "Hollywood" thing. A life so far from mines, yet I felt a intrinsic connection. I was never an ardent automobile aficionado, but I appreciate good design in any form. Mind you, I still don't know how to change a tire or handle any type of oil leaking problems, but there is always a mechanic in reach. Allow me to make a quick parenthetical here. Why are men subjugated to hard labor and wield types of metal and women to kitchens and domestic matters? This iron age type of thinking (or lack there of) must be eradicated from minds living in today's world. Now back to regular programing. 

We arrive in Georgetown a few minutes later and found precious parking space at some alley (sometimes parking in D.C. can turn into a nightmare, that's why folks choose the underground form of transportation.) As we walk around M Street, discussing where to eat, my eyes start to meander the buzzing milieu. The climate was in our favor, mild, and I guess that enticed the privileged to take their whips out for a nice ride. I spotted a couple of Porches, one who pretty much includes similar characteristics to my dream car. It was killer red, convertible and super shiny. You could've though a Hilton was cushioned in there. I later descry a Big Birdie Mazda, that could've easily played double on Transformers. And what topped the day was this caravan of canoe-like capsules of vehicles pedaling down M Street. I thought this could've been an actual competitive sport in the Olympics during the 1930's. You could only see the top of the drivers' head. Their bodies, I suppose, were positioned mummy style. It was a rather interesting twenty seconds. 

As the day goes on, sitting in the restaurant, I start thinking about Ralph Lauren and his ridiculously luxurious collection of vintage cars. Then, the cover of the 2007 October issue of the now defunct Men's Vogue came to mind. In the Bruce Weber photograph, he's wearing an army green tee and bares a half grin (have you ever seen Mr. Lauren smile?), gripping the steering wheel of his 1965 Jaguar XKD, which constitutes, as the magazine calls it, "the world's greatest car collection". The cover line reads, "American Visionaries". A very apropos title in every sense of the word, if you ask me. In the brilliantly written piece titled "King of The Road", Hudson Morgan spends the day with Mr. Lauren at his Bedford, New York, estate. And is introduced to a more intimate side of his life, away from the runway. After riding with Mr. Lauren on Old Montauk Highway in his 2007 Ferrari F430 at ridiculously fast speed records, Morgan reacts with, "shock, awe and perhaps longing" after he's shown nine red vintage Ferraris ("Roman legion of mighty engineering') by the man himself. The proof is in the pudding. Although I had to cut out a quarter of a sheet for a fashion project years ago, I can still witness, clearly, Mr. Lauren ostensively sybaritic display of wealth. There is a lipstick red Ferrari 250 GTO from 1962, a silver 1995 Mercedez-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe, a Batman-worthy 2006 Bugatti Veyron (can you picture Mr. Lauren in the Bugatti Boyz vid with Diddy & Rick Ross? Major) and an bevy of other vehicles strategically positioned fittingly for an art gallery presentation. 

"Maybe it's stupid of me to drive them all. But they're not precious. When I was younger it was, 'Look how fast I can go." Now it's, 'Look how well I can handle this car.'" - Ralph Lauren (image by ralphlauren.com)

As much as you might think of Mr. Lauren as an icon or having a god-like complexion, he remains grounded, humble, recognizing his gaffes. "I feel that's a failure. A failure!", he admits to Morgan, in regards to Derrick Miller of Barker Black and Alex Carlenton of Rogues Gallery, former key Polo designers. "I shouldn't have lost those guys", he adds, "Losing someone means he felt he can't grow in your company, can't make it". Although Mr. Lauren and his 11 billion company are not exempt from loosing creative types, the article portrays the man not only as a vintage car collector, or fashion tycoon, but as an American archetype. His ambitious is uncanny, "In the next 20 years, the company will have another dimension. It could be a multimedia, it could be hotels, it could be spas. It's like, what makes you? What's your home look like? What's your car?", he adds, "What can I say about myself that's not been said" How will I be perceived when I walk into that party? I have all this money--how am I gonna make myself look cool?" If being "cool" is what Mr. Lauren is concern about, then I think he has already accomplished that. On the second page, there is a black and white picture of Mr. Lauren with his two sons, David and Andrew, wearing (expectedly RL) tuxedos and they all look quite radiant (all was missing were Tom Cruise-worthy aviators). Now I'm left wondering if his wife, Ricky, calls him Ralphy. 


The Skin I Live In

Whilst browsing IMDb for future film releases, I'm visually detained by a photograph that immediately entices a spark of interest in me. The unmistakable Antonio Banderas is quickly recognized, exuding a seemingly timid disposition. He's standing behind a bald headed woman wearing a prosthetic mask. There are lines carefully sketched onto her body as meat ready to be chop. Her eyes are wide open, holding a certain level of fear. 
The striking photograph is the poster of the new film, "La Piel Que Habito" (The Skin I Live In), by august Spanish maestro (and one of my favorites) Pedro Almodovar. 

The official trailer in Spanish (above) depicts a tortured and demented plot, just as how Pedro's films go. In case you have no dominance of the Spanish language, peep this trailer (it might just make more sense). The IMDb synopsis explains, "A brilliant plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas), haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: A mysterious and volatile woman (Elena Ayana) who hold the key to his obsession". Sounds like a Telemundo soap opera to me. Intriguing nonetheless. 

Althoug the film, which debuts on October 12th during the New York Film Festival, will suffer from a limited viewership in The States, it does not take away from the artistry of story telling, if judged by the few minutes of trailer footage. Also, very important, Antonio Banderaaaassssss is in it. Enough said. 

Peep this shot of Pedro (in Prada SS 2011) holding Banderas in his arms during this year's Cannes. 


Chanel Cruise '07

"Perhaps we should not even call it cruise anymore, it's a limited term of a big ship for middle age people. That's not proper"

As a palette cleanser after devouring Fashion Month, I present you a stream of visuals branded with an interlocking double C's logo all over it. Chanel! Rolls off the tongue. The collections of yore, often deemed as irrelevant, and if one braves to step out in a piece from the archives, the term "out of season" would come following. This is not meant to be a nostalgic pang, but a minuscule display of pure Chanel prowess. This, along with a collection shown at a L.A. airport (Chanel private airplanes, anyone?) back in 2007, are some of the strongest Cruise offerings from Uncle Karl (a.k.a. Karl Lagerfeld). The seemingly endless ooze of creativity from the czar is still going strong (for prove, check the SS 2012 show). Like a German Energizer Bunny, still going, going, going... 

"I thought it would be fun, nice, and polite to show in New York", Mr. Lagerfeld told Tim Blanks back then, "It's the idea of travel, and an act of freedom", he added. The Chanel empire took over Grand Central Station, and reformed the upper platform into what appears to be a posh airport waiting area. In this case, I guess, it should have a resemblance to a train central. How many fashion houses can you name that are financially and socially capable to conjure a spectacle of that caliber? Exactly. 

The rare visuals above depict the raw behind-the-scenes of the shenanigans that takes place behind a Chanel collection. Who would have thought Karl smiles? Dare I say, he evens looks jaunty in bits. That's rare. Everything from Lysianne and her bichon named Albert, Karl's minions pulling out 27 Goyards, models smoking in secrecy, Anna Wintour-watching, Andre Leon Talley in white gloves -- "Click, Chanel, Click", and ultimately the Chanel team departing in a black mini bus (who knew Karl rides buses? I was shocked) is pure fashion goodness. Needless to add, the collection, was history in the making. 

My climax arrived in this hilarious exchange where Karl shouted, "A cardigan with a cardigan...it's a gay twin-set", pointing towards a striped cardigan on male model Garrett Neff. "Why a gay twin-set", A lady, sitting close by enquired. "Because they are two of the same", Karl responded. I'm still longing for my CC gay-twin set. 



This exemplifies the perfect marriage that occurs in fashion when you least expect it, or assumably, when two extraordinary talents combine forces; Nicolas Ghesquiére and Pierre Hardy. The duo, Ghesquiére as creative director and Hardy, head of design for accessories has given the fashion crowd memorable, almost orgasmic moments. The "athletic techno" sandals that resembled football helmets for Fall/Winter 2007 (which was blatantly pirated by brands that shall not be named); the rather intricate, fetishistic, knee-high lace up boot for Spring/Summer 2008; and most recently, the blocked heeled shoes that resembled legos for Fall/Winter 2010 are just some of the wondrous pieces of art that have come to fruition by the febrile minds of these two fearless visionaries. The Fall/Winter 2011-12 Men's footwear collection follows sue. 

The collection delineates a sensible comparison to Cristobal Balenciaga's disposition for architectural shapes. The austerity of the leather boots in burgundy and black with what seems to be a shrunken, polished spur fixated at the toes combines the rigorousness, yet understated luxury found in the house's archives. A line of athletic shoes, some which resemble Nike's Air Max running shoes, feature appliqués of leather and suede in shades of forest green, sand and fluorescent red. Most likely, you won't find this conjunction of such genteel fabrics in one design at your local Foot Locker. Elsewhere, canvases with a stiff, plank-ish tongue and high trainers (one in plastic soles) diversify the offerings. And what you might see Prince wear this fall include those round-toed loafers and monks (featuring a seductive yellow sole), or even those sexy chelsea boots. 

Peep over at Balenciaga for its newly designed e-home and to see all the accessories in all their glory. As it should be, of course. 


Partying with Jimmy: Amid Bears And Pigs

That night. It happened. And I survived to tell it. I was seduced yet again by my unsatisfying curiosity for the new.  I'm glad to report I was not disappointed. Instead, I received an expected dose on reality in homo-factions. A couple of weeks ago I wended into unknown territory, a realm in which I had if not little knowledge of, but again, my undying curiosity provoked a sense of inquire for a different experience. (I use the term "different" here in the standard sense of unfamiliarity; for the slow ones). I made prior arrangements to meet with two distinct friends (though they both seem to delve in this peculiar type of divertissement) at Town, a two floor, partly composed of wood, college kids laden, super queer club right off U street (they call themselves "boutique", which I think, only makes them sound pretentious; it's a darn nightclub). 

On one special night out of the week, harry, robust men, some with protruding bellies congregate at the aforementioned locale. These burly homos are known, to the gay world and culture at large, as bears. This a subculture within a culture. What I would learn later about this subculture would frighten and intrigued me at the same time. I've found myself at the second floor surrounded by these types. It was "Bear's Night". The upper plant was decorated by glowing white balloons that randomly changed colors, similarly to the ones you'll see at an oriental restaurant. I still don't know what those fluorescent ropes suspending from the ceiling were alluding to, but it was recognized as part of the decoration. Gargantuan plasmas hanged on two walls, displaying the most random shit. It usually shows a distorted remix of visuals of whatever the DJ is playing, but in this instance the gay on duty was still waxing body hair somewhere. What stood out, but not necessarily for good, were these plates of cookies placed scantly around the venue. I'm not a misophobic, but the source of these treats looked dubious. I never touched one. They almost stayed intact the entire night. "They gotta feed the bears", a friendly bear told me later as I enquired about the sweets. Then I thought, "send me a pasta!". 

But then, there I was with a drink in one hand observing "the bear behavior". Picture this: If you were at a BBQ convention in Middle America. Now, think of all these greasy men groping each other dressed ready to go hunting or maybe S&M hunting. I was the pope at a sex shop. The sight was tantalizingly exciting enough for Peter Marino (who I love!) to come join the festivities. It was leather accruements, combat boots, and mesh shirts galore. Of course, with the exception of the stylish, non-bears ones. If for some strange reason you can't quite grasp the ethos of this community with my depictive descriptions, peep the wondrous shots below. Apparently, bears are not as intimidating as you might think. They are actually nice people. The gentleman right below was kind enough to pose for me. I thought it would be an interesting shot (whether you find it attractive, that's subjective; judge me by my novice photographic approach). The guy following looked like he could serve duties as my bodyguard and yet talk about the state of the economy (currently taking applications). I was loving his seemingly timid disposition. I thought of concealing his identity not because he told me so, but because I thought it looked Margiela-ish. 

I was working the room, hoping from one contingency to the next. I caught up with the two friends I arranged. It was pleasant seeing both. What wasn't quite unpleasant was what I unwittingly found out through one of them. I'm a very visual person, and it always works in my advantage. At one point during the night I noticed this 30-something unassuming bear-wannabe with a thin black band around one of his arms. I was curious to learn if there was any type of symbolism behind it. My friend confirms my doubt. He tells me the arm in which one wears the band, right or left, determines your sexual position, top or bottom (that's gay 101, google it). I needed more. He pulls out his phone to further explain his point, and before I know it, a graph bares on his screen. This pretty elaborate graph is categorized by color and side (left or right). The graph sure looks complicated, but I quickly reckon the main points. Colors here take more of an explicit literal meaning; a yellow band signifies urine, and whichever arms you choose to wear it, translates to what end your position plays during the "the golden shower". I'm sure you can conclude what the brown color meant, but my friend assured me that he has not seen anyone sporting that color in his bear-mingling career. (I saw another gentleman with a black tee that bear the word "pig", that's self explanatory). Who knew this whole bear thing could be so complicated? I suggested of using a verbal language when addressing these type of interests, which seems more practical than memorizing all these high school tricks, but the bears are like fashion people, they rather tell it visually. I came out of that conversation with an expanded mindset.  

I adore full-stacked bars, not necessarily for the alcohol value, but I enjoy seeing all these bottles containing colorful liquids positioned next to each other. I find it alluring. In my mind, Zaha Hadid would be the one who will design my future bar, and George Clooney would be my bartender (a boy can only dream). Adding to the liquor conversation. As I was waiting to be served my drink, a bear, who I saw was gawking me earlier, slithered his way through the crowd, came close enough and uttered a "woof!". I though the man had a wolf complex, but then I realized I was in his world. I said, "What am I suppose to say to that?". I don't remember exactly what he replied, but our confabulation lasted close to 30 seconds. It came to a conclusion when I suggested he should buy me a drink, that ensued a negative reaction (I had already ordered and payed for my drink, which was about $8.00; this was only a friendly test). Red Flag! As he was walking away I noticed a big flashing sign festooned on his back, "Broke!, Broke!, Broke!"

As the gathering was coming to a conclusion, the bears decamped and headed to their caves. Needless to say, any of those caves were not in my agenda for the night. As I was coming down the steps, I immediately recognize uncountable legions of gay kids surrounding the stage. The drags queens were out. It was their time to perform and sing for their life, in true RuPual fashion. I seldom come early enough to catch the show, but this time I was there as the show was in its early stages. I was destined to club hop, so my time in the house was limited. I pulled the camera out and caught the above shot of this queen, whose name do not come to mind now, but her look is a hybrid of Beyoncé meets Tina Turner meets Diana Ross, in case you couldn't tell. (The first time I saw him, I was bamboozled for a second. I thought he was actually a born-female; then I thought this is exactly how less experienced, borderline-sexually confused straight men get chicaned; As an advice, always check the merchandize before you buy it...literally). 

Before heading to Dupont, I stopped by Darnell's (Florida Ave. and W Street NW). The decor is unlike any other lounge in D.C. I love Darnell's motley collection of art, hanged on brick bare walls all over the lounge (he once told he there were bestowed by his artist friends). The lights dimmed low, creating an intimate setting. I don't think words do justice, thus your own observation is required for an accurate assessment. The lady holding duty behind the bar caught my attention. Her dress was reminiscent of what Stefano Pilati just shown for YSL resort 2012. The vintage find caught the nautical essence of Mr. Saint Laurent 1982's collection. She wore it belted and hair pulled back. I was loving it. The drink she prepared, a cold "sex on the beach", quenched the thirst, and actually started my night.  

 And don't worry, you'll see my handsomeness in future posts. 


Freddie Mercury

A couple of days ago the good folks over at Google released an animated Woody Allen/Mario Bros-esque clip commemorating Freddie Mercury's birth. The gaudiness. The mannerism. The artistry in motion. You can't fake that. Queen for ever. 



The wood-framed doors of the hotels open wide, droves of individuals with cameras held up to their faces point and flash insidiously. It quickly turns into an organized mayhem. Two adults with a bevy of kids in tow step out. The man, who couldn't look more incredibly handsome is wearing a bespoke Armani suit and a child in diapers resting on his arm, while holding another kid by the hand. His female counterpart, with a noticeably robust lips and long wavy black hair is wearing a tan trench coat under a white summer dress, struggling to keep three kids on her near vicinity preoccupied she's in a middle of a spectacle, starring her extended family. The two Herculean-sized men in black suits and dark shades are standing at each end acting as shields protecting the couple from the rabid crowd, frantically shouting, "Brad!, Angelina! Over here!".   

A young boy in Peru is standing in front of his television, rapt in bewilderment. His world is far from theirs, yet he has been fed with images of the couple in similar circumstances for years. He watches them appear on films, as protagonists and antagonists. And he gazes at he bacchanalia-like spectacles their presence bestows. He is just an infant, but he's perfectly aware of the term "movie star". 

When Doug Liman's Mr. & Mrs. Smith was approaching, W Magazine saw an opportunity for a cover subject. They commissioned master photographer Steven Klein to document Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and a couple of Caucasian kids in Palm Springs for the July 2005 issue. The shoot (which Pitt co-directed) resulted in a massive display of photography prowess by Klein, depicting "The Pitts" in a 60's (assumably it's 1963, the year Brad was born) domestic milieu. On the cover, Jolie is wearing a white swimsuit sprawled atop a beach chair hoisting a purple ball, while three kids are playing in a kiddie pool with Daddy. In other shots, she's wearing a Giambattista Valli ostrich feather and tulle dress wrapped in the arms of her man. In a more intimate setting, Angelina has a Bardot like coiffure, and Brad shirtless laying in bed. 

When W unearthed these relics on its website, the flashbulb lit. I was destined to have a moment. Since I was never part of any adoption agency in the middle of Kenya, they've never found me. Perhaps, if they were to look down in South America, I might've been more lucky (I guess I missed Madonna too). But what if I was christened Jimmy Pitt Jolie? How hot would that be? The photographs above might've just illustrate how my life would've been. Sitting in the lap of Daddy eating my veggies. Yup.


Food For The Soul

I've been raised with the principle of home cooking. Not that we lacked the means to eat out, but there was little desire to spend money on food that Grandma can easily cook at the convenience of home, even more tasteful than other places. She can whip out idiosyncratic Peruvian delicacies such as, ceviche, papa a la huancaina, lomo saltado and relleno, with the same deft and finesses as pizza, ice cream and hamburgers. It was her dedication and love for cooking that my mother carried on with her through the years. I guess it's genetics. There was a subtle misbalance or discontinuation of such genes when I came out of the woodwork. I'm not Mario Batali, but I will cook if I'm presented with Survivors-like scenarios. In my head, I'm the neglected latino son of Martha Stewart. 

Apparently, I've fallen into the trap of documenting what I digest. As ubiquitous as it is, I like this trend. Why not? If the majority of us can't afford a couture piece, it seems plausible that we find comfort in other places, food is not a bad source. I think the term "comfort", though, takes a slightly heighten expression in America. I'm not going to elaborate on the perilous obesity problems America is facing now, and how food contributes to that, just because this, sadly, is not a food blog nor bon appétit, but instead, underscore the opportunity I have to bring attention to this matter through this blog (shout-out to Michelle Obama). 

On a sunny, unsuspecting August day, I wended to Copper Canyon Grill in Downtown Silver Spring before heading to the cinema. I've never eaten there, but the outside decor looked welcoming. I believe there was a small bonfire display behind plexi glass, it caught my attention. Out of all the items I ordered (at heart, I'm a fat guy trapped in a slim's guy body - get me out!), the most visually appealing was this grilled chicken sandwich (above) accompanied by precisely cut tomato slices, delicious avocado, fresh pieces of lettuce and what I can only described as Chinese celery. It also came along a serving of slim cut potatoes sticks and a silver cup of good ol' ketchup. I'm not American, but I think this can be easily pigeonholed as an all-American meal. (The plate, by the way, made me feel like I was lunching at the Georgia O'Keeffe ranch, I was loving it). 

Just recently, I visited The Dupont Italian Kitchen on 17th Street. The locale has a nice looking patio filled with round tables and a few patches of greenery. Conveniently, it was a slightly breeze, cool night, making our experience even more enjoyable. Perfect weather to eat outside. I ordered a Caprese Salad, consisting of 3 vine-ripe slices of tomatoes, fresh thick slices of mozzarella and basil leaves surreptitiously hidden in between the two. Since then, I've been transformed. If I could have this salad every day, I would. For the serious meal, I ordered a Fettucinne Alfredo. As the waiter was approaching, I could easily see the smoke slowly rising and dissipating in mid-air. The creamy Alfredo sauce swimming with the delicate angel hair made for a compelling observation. When it's eaten with a piece of garlic bread, the experience in your mouth is yet more scrumptious. 

One of the undeniably best areas in D.C. is Georgetown. On any day, you can find the best looking dressed gallivanting the cobble sidewalks of M Street and quite ordinarily you will find the most dreadful looking get ups all on the same place. All in all, it's a magnificent entertainment metropolis. I was suggested to eat at Ristorante Piccolo, right off 31st Street and M. The restaurant is unapologetic Italian, from the menu (which is all titled in Italian, but provides description in English) and the interior decor, to the manner in which the server go about their waiting duties. I was particularly overwhelmed with the precision and attention given to how the food is placed on the table and mannerism of staff. I've read the restaurant has been open since 1985 and is famous (or infamous) for being "a perfect spot for first dates and marriage proposals". Though I wasn't proposed, I knew why this family run business has been so successful in a very competitive market. 

The seemingly endless litany of choices was stunning; a dashing variety of poultry and veal, and well balanced salads, and succulent pasta dishes. I've opt-out from the obvious (pasta) and ordered something less obvious, chicken. The dish was dubbed, "Pollo all'Aglio", which basically consisted of a grilled chicken breast marinated in a subtle acidic concoction accompanied with a puree of baked potatoes and veggies, all served in a stark white squared plate. The chicken was tender, with a roasty, fumed aroma, and the veggies tasted as if they were just harvested. The whole spectacle did not only looked delicious, but tasted delicious. 

Not everything that I've digested lately is being documented within the premises of this blog, it would just take too long to elaborate. Let's keep it short and sweet. Though at times, it may seem, in my head, that I've been eating as if I was at The Last Supper, I've been just exploring "what's out there". It goes without saying, all this scrumptiousness was consumed with the help of good ol' wata!


Mcqueen As Background

Phones...what left is there to say? The world is in a constant search for the new, and it seems like each and every day we become more dependable on technology. It's scary. When the world comes to a standstill, in which technology fails to function, we will be doomed. But let's rejoice. Let's celebrate the advantageous features of technology now. Especially, relating to this post, my beloved iPhone 4 (No offense to Crackberry users). Thanks to Steve Jobs and company, I can hold a conversation, browse the net, look at pictures, utilize an app, and send an e-mail, all at the same time.  A quasi-uncanny luxurious practice, my grandmother and her counterparts would have never dreamt of occurring. It's a reality. Hopefully, the iPhone 5 would be equipped enough to perform laundry duties. 

Not too long ago I was in a conundrum, my iPhone 3 looked deficient (and functioned deficiently). During an ordinary day at work, I made the immortal error. My unprotected handheld insidiously slipped out of my hand, and hit the pavement. It cracked, along with my world. The following days were filled with slight embarrassment, apprehension and mea culpa. In order to uplift my morale, I wended to good ol' AT&T and purchased The 4. I must had to upgrade. I discarded The 3 (in case you're curious, yes - that's a picture of David Gandy wearing Dolce & Gabbana undies), and personalized my brand new acquisition. But I felt something was missing.

Whilst browsing a few art blogs, I came across an image that stopped me in my tracks. It was a pencil drawn sketch of Alexander Lee McQueen's face. It was unmistakably him. A McQ logo plastered over his forehand, a seemingly appropriate crown floating over his head, a portending skull to the left, a 3-D cross to the right, a cube covering part of his face, and heedless scribble written at the bottom, all attempt to create a story around the man. It's not only a tantalizing picture, but thoughtful. It belonged in my background.

Check out John Paul Thurlow's blog here (I later saw more of his work on Elle UK Collections with Kate Moss in Vuitton on the cover. Pure Talent!). 


From A Piece Of Fabric

If you were living in the middle of Mississippi and have no remote idea what a fashion designer does, this short clip would give you a glimpse of what the job entails. There is always a secretive allure to forthcoming collections, designers become reclusive in the confinements of their ateliers to concentrate on their work. I was pleasantly surprised when I unearthed the video above. Thailand-born, New York-based designer Thakoon Panichgul let cameras infiltrate his studio and record his creative process. He's working on his 2011 Fall/Winter collection, which was shown during New York Fashion Week last February. 

There is a model walking back and forth wearing what seems to be a Masai print blanket, she resembles a Kenyan tribe member. Thakoon, along with the help oh his team proceed to cut, nip and tuck the fabric. The draped dress slowly starts taking shape, and when it hits the runway, it evokes a relax chic sensibility that he's known for. I think it's also important to point out the fact that he's draping on a real woman, not on a mannequin form. This is a method that has been used by the likes of Christian Dior to Oscar de la Renta, and everybody in between. It's clear to see that Thakoon devotes preeminence to how the fabric falls on the body, and most importantly, how the woman in it feels. 

Sometimes, you have to touch your heart with one hand, and reach your pockets with the other one. He's releasing a limited edition Masai print scarfs which 100% of the proceeds would go directly to a children's relief efforts in Africa. Go help


Pin-Up Girls

In the past, I've expressed my sentiments on the objectification of women in fashion. Although this may not be a matter of concern for fashion only, music, cinema and media also do so. As a society, we have come to a state of fetichism where women, at times, are just blatantly seen as a marketing tool or sex toy. We have come to focus on sexuality rather than brains. Obviously, sexuality, as often said (and proven to be true) sells. It seems to me that society have unwittingly filtrated through various mediums to my generation mixed messaged on the prevalence on our appearance over intellectual value. We live in an era based on looks and fashion does nothing to discredit it. At the same time, rather complexing, fashion offers an idea of tasteful fashion imagery of women and their sexuality. That's Helmut Newton territory. I can appreciate a beautiful picture, a beautiful woman, a beautiful men. Beauty in general (brings memories of a scene in "The Last Emperor" when a reporter asks, "What do women want?" and Valentino, in his iconic italian accent, casually replies, "women just want to be beautiful" - so simple, yet so poignant). 

Muse, a fashionart Italian (provides translation in English) magazine boasts sex-driven, artistically inclined imagery that resonates with the visually stimulated crowd (including me). I've purchased a couple of past issues, but I can't quite pin-point at what exactly piqued my interest while looking at these photographs, including the cover photographed by Harri Peccinotti. The images elicit a vintage, voyeuristic, Lolita-esque attitude. The cover features Russian mannequin Anne Vyalitsyna wearing a ripped collegiate t-shirt, exposing part of her bosom. There is an innocence to her eyes, yet it seems like, through body language, she's inviting you to have a good time (if you know what I mean). The rest of the editorial boasts the same type of innocent sensuality. The models look as if they just stepped out of the pool, with their damp hair and sun-kissed lips. Something tells me that at least one of them is dating a surfer. 

Yes, you can argue these photographs objectifies them, but there is a certain aesthetic here that separate this Muse story from banal raunchy porn. 


Kate Moss And Terry Richardson

This post was going to be titled, "Mango?", which might mislead you to wonder, the brand or the tropical fruit? But if you're the least familiar with this blog, then you know I'm referring to the brand. The question marks seems fitting. Mango, a Spanish-based fast fashion line, has not reach the level of popularity in America (or any other fashion metropolis besides Spain) as the likes of Swedish juggernaut H&M, or compatriot Zara. I'm not the most acquainted with Mango, but the most I've seen from their offerings are sherbet-colored short dresses. Nothing out of the ordinary, but wearable nonetheless. 

The clip above, shown at a special show at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, directed by naughty photographer Terry Richardson, starring himself and supermodel Kate Moss, might just be the panacea to place Mango in worldwide popular demand. The brief video depicts Kate and the director himself wearing Terry paper masks (I so want one, just so I can dress as Terry Richardson for Halloween), suspiciously escaping from a Mango store with cargo bags in tow (you know here they are up to no good). They hop in a white van and recklessly careen through the streets of Paris. While in there, Kate changes in and out of a couple of looks which were presented at the show. They arrive at some parking lot, walk through undergrounds halls, only to find a passel of (stalkers?) fans once they open a door. 

The 1:43 minute-long film is amusing, tantalizing, and exciting. Just by peeking at what Kate pulls out of the bag, it seems that the collection, which arrives in stores in July, might be a hit. It only leaves me wondering the sumptuous check Kate received to hop on a white van and change clothes. I kinda want that job. 

Check out Terry's Vimeo account here. He has videos of Francois Sagat, male models PJ and Dave Ransone, and a hilarious one of his Mom. 


The Fruit And Nut Issue

A few weeks ago I stopped by one of the D.C.'s best hidden magazine shops on 20th Street NW (and one of my favorites) in an attempt to appropriate yesteryear glossy issues from your good old Vogue to some of the rarest publications in Europe, and everything in between. I find amusing flipping through past issues, imbibing all the rich, inspiring visuals in form of editorials and thought-provoking writing. Just as fashion recycles itself, these issues become part of a pool of references that would provide a common ground for future issues. On an unusual trip to China a few months ago, Anna Wintour mentioned to a reporter, "I find my inspiration in the history and tradition of the magazine, that I'm so honored to be working at". Who can argue? If you had the privilege to be editing The Fashion Bible, there is not shortage of inspiration, taking into account the over 100 years worth of Vogue

Anyways, as I was segueing my way to the back of the rather small shop, I turn the corner and I see a magazine that stands out from its counterparts that were tightly stacked among each other. The title is not what catches my eyes at first, but the cover image. I immediately recognize Naomi Campbell displaying a timid face, while holding her head, atop is what seems to be a headpiece adorned with thin gold straps and green feathers. Naomi seems to be channeling her inner Carmen Miranda, perhaps inspired by Miuccia Prada's sensational summer collection.

The whole fashion story does not read Italian glamour, but a stylized abstract impressionism. If you see the images, you'll find Naomi wearing assorted designer garbs in some of the most odd poses (at the end of the day this is Pop). What struck me the most was this white blotchy substance smeared on Naomi's face. Excuse me, but this could easily be mistaken for something a men's scrotum produces and emerges during ejaculation. In addition, the subtitle, "The Fruit and Nut issue" does not help to disseminate any erotic thoughts away from this assumption. Regardless, the photographs, taken by Broomberg and Chanarin, were peculiarly intriguing, and leaves one wondering the thought process behind the story. 

Expounding on these hard-to-get-around oddity of images, I spotted a second cover from the same magazine on the shelf behind. Elton John is sporting a Gaga worthy pair of shades made of out spikes and baubles. In case there is any doubt Prada had anything to do with the concept of the cover, Elton is wearing the now ubiquitous banana-printed shirt from the collection. Typical Elton John. 

Follow Me Follow Me (Quem Que Caguetou) - (Tejo, Black Alien And Speed)

Staying within the tropical theme of this post, I thought sharing this song I was bumping to while watching Fast Five. Not only the movie contains enough eye candy (Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson and Vin Diesel) for both genders, this is actually an action-packed thriller. You must go watch it. Now, I've heard the song before, but I never actually took the time to research the artists. After I came back from the cinema, I got on iTunes, and finally found the darn song. It's probably something you'll hear at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (one of the breathtaking scenes in Fast Five), or be found as one of the many additions in my iPhone. You're welcome. 


Twitter Love

I'm always receptive and welcoming of compliment and positive comments, including the comment section. Someone once had the panache to ask me out (check previous comments). The commenter probably meant it facetiously. The twitter folks show me love too. The proof is in the pudding. Yes, that's Kimora, Ms. Fabulousity. And his Academy nominated husband Djimon Hounsou.

Although, I don't recommend anyone from hurting themselves over anything, I appreciate the love. 


A Whole Lot of Blackness

In one of those moments of lassitude, I came across a set of steamy new visuals by Kelly Rowland. This did not come as a surprise. A few days before the video came to surface, she ostensively mentioned via twitter the release of her new video dubbed, "Motivation" featuring Weezy (who by the way, is on the April cover of Interview. He was interviewed by Paris Hilton. You already know how that went down). Ms. Rowland has parted ways from trio Destiny Child's years ago, but the sultry, vixen mantra is still looming over her persona. Sex sells, and Ms. Rowland knows that. She injected all these notions of sexuality in Motivation, that at times comes off as a soft-porn flick.

The video takes place at a foggy abandoned warehouse, where Ms. Rowland seductively walks across the hall, imposing her presence, wearing a purple frilly swimsuit under a long cardigan. She's not alone. She's accompanied by a bevy of chocolate shirtless dancers and models, who bare a perfectly sculpted physique. We later see Ms. Rowland wearing what seems to be a shredded macrame dress over a fishnet bodysuit. When fashion suppose to further express one's own identity, this look muddled it. But I don't think it hindered the outcome of the original idea. In one scene, Kelly's hands appear from behind a shirtless dancer and blatantly starts groping his beefy body (this is eye candy to the 100th power). In another instance, she's holding on to a dancer's belt while he's withering along with her. Their bodies come to a synchronized move that suggests sexual tension. This sex factor reached its climax, when one model is pushed against a wall, and a male model is portentously standing in front of her. His right arm is not on the shot, but it suggests that he's grabbing her privates. But then the camera slowly lowers and we can see she's wearing men's boxers. In one group shot, this could certainly be confused as an orgy in its beginning stages (I hope I'm not setting myself up here). At this point I can't fathom how this video made it on mid-day national television. 

After the video came to a conclusion, I couldn't help but to associate its resemblance to an Interview editorial published back in May of last year (see below). The fashion story, shot by Mikael Jansson and styled by Karl Templer, gave much fodder to discuss. The photographs portray a clutch of diaphoretic black models (this is what I call "glamorous sweat") caressing Polish model Daria Werbowy in a mysteriously-litted, smoke-filled mechanic studio. Evidently, Daria's light pigmentation against a black body of mass makes a stark contrast. This contrast of white and black lead to a flood of accusations of racism. I never though of Jansson and Templer as racists, hence they worked with black models before, and celebrated their beautiful skin tone. Perhaps, that was the idea of the story; make the Versace gown stand out, at the risk of portraying black models as fashion "accessories". I don't think it was intentionally done, but I comprehend why some people felt offended. They now have Lil' Wayne on the cover of the April issue. Not as an attempt to seek forgiveness from the world, but as a manifestation of culture diversity. 

This alleged racism that the photographs portray did not lead me to link these two forms of art. But I was more intrigued at how both, the video and the editorial boast raw sexual tension within its subjects. I don't know if Kelly was imbued by Jansson's pictures, but it's clear that both forms share similarities in attitude, setting and dialogue.  If you take a look at the entire editorial, and ponder for a minute what is unfolding in the story, one could easily see the locales, and how they're precisely illuminated in order to give off a mysterious, almost underground vibe, that they are not too far from each other. They both display wet, dingy floors, deteriorated furniture, and accoutrements you could only find at an specific place. In addition, the lascivious attitude of the models in the editorial, and talented dancers in Motivation further intensifies the nonchalance, romance, and sex so unabashedly presented in both forms. It's also important to note this non-verbal dialogue between subjects that can be read through body language in sexual suggestive pelvic thrusts, dalliance, and the manner in which they interact. In short, they both ooze sex. 

Karl Templer is a seasoned editor and one of the best in the business. What he does for Interview Magazine you won't find nowhere else. Once again, these shots (click on the link provided above so you know what I'm talking about) exemplifies his adept abilities to conceptualize a story. The Interview pictures you could see there is a fashion dialogue going on. It's certainly better edited and stylized than Kelly's video. However, though, they're both so rich visually appealing and entertaining enough that it sorts of makes you want to be there, absorbing all kinds of artistry in motion, or even if it's just for eye-candy purposes. 


What A Gala That Was

I couldn't help but radiantly gleam when I received an email from Carlos Reaves (this time, toiling the producer hat) cordially inviting me to The Washington Chiefs Gala Fashion Show. It was a natural reaction. Invitations that pour on my inbox are always well appreciated. According to press notes, Washington Chiefs is a youth service organization that provides support to underprivileged kids in the Washington DC metropolitan area. In their own words, they put kids first. Though it might be obvious that I come off a bit harsh at times, I still have a tender heart. So I made it my obligation to attend. Showing up is not the dilemma here, but what to wear. I was initially planning to wear vintage Cardin, but from matters out of my reach, I was not able to. Needless to say, I had to execute plan B with just a few hours shy of the event. I rushed to Georgetown to pick up a pair of pants, because the ones that are sitting on my closet were not speaking to me at the moment. When I arrived, I realized I shouldn't have worried. 

The "gala" was held in the 2nd floor at the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. The art-nouveau deco present all over the walls and columns, and carpeted floors gave the hotel a quaint feel, though the bathrooms' floor, if I might add, were covered in vinyl tiles with sleek detailing on the sink (I don't particularly like pee-wafting-stench type of bathrooms). Once I checked in, a lady with a clipboard unprecedentedly appeared and proceeded to walk photog Matt (who showed up earlier) and I to the reception room. The hallway that connected the reception room to the ballroom where the show would take place, was filled with vendors from assorted types pushed against the wall. The attendees were treated with hors d'oeuvre that included cheese/crackers, and a few celery and fruit options, placed in a long white table at the entrance of the room, right across was a small bar area with an amicable bartender ready to pop bottles. I, of course, stayed away from not-age-permitting beverages and poured myself a glass of punch. As I mentioned to Matt while sitting at one of the many round tables occupying virtually the entire room, this is the way the press should be treated. I'm not asking for a personal assistant, but feeding me (though I wasn't that hungry), and assigning someone as usher was a nice treat. Kudos to Carlos for that. 

In case you didn't know, Washington D.C. or many of its fashion followers have their own way of doing things. In this case, it seemed, the meaning of a "gala" was deprecated a few notches. This was my very first "gala", but I never consoled the idea of wearing a tux. In the back of my mind, something suggested it was not those type of haute events. Regardless, a tux was not in conversation (maybe when I get invited to The Met Gala someday). The perfect scenario would be: I dial Tom Ford's number and he proceeds to invite me to his studio (I would go to Dubai if I have to) to select a look from his fall collection. In the same vein, I would be as equally as content to be outfitted by Domenico Dolce/Stefano Gabbana, Mr. Armani or Stefano Pilati. Now, back to earth. I chose a white shirt vs. a tuxedo shirt from Hilfiger, the pants and coat from Zara, and vintage shoes. Once there, it didn't take long to spot a coterie in jeans or skimpy, short and tight dresses more adequate for a boite around the block. I was speechless. 

This picture, taken while waiting at the foyer to be seated, depicts a mixture of frustration, impatience, and timidness, but I waited patiently. I can't profess enough my perpetual love for this Zara military coat.

Unfortunately, the show started with a sour note. Never mind, the blindingly bright lights (my shades came in handy). The show started with deafening sounds of an anonymous DJ hidden behind a wall of navy blue curtains that divided the runway with the backstage area. Out comes local artist Ki-Mani, I wasn't sure if he was rapping or singing (at one point while I was answering an e-mail, I looked up, and he's suddenly groping a woman on the middle of the stage. Though he attempted to appear as The Adonis, he come off as The Perpetuator. He exited with his pants sagging below his butt. Now you know why people like Lil' Wayne don't get invited to fashion shows) while "models" ostentatiously walked around the rectangular-shaped runway, wearing accoutrements from Coogi (think of it as oversize sherbet-colored tees, shirts, and jumpers with sparkling details. I was confused as to why they thought their line needed to be on the runway? This is coming from someone who has been at their showrooms in New York). The tone was set for the rest of the night. The girls, or young ladies, I should say, looked pretty, but being pretty does not make you a model. I couldn't help but noticed, in some, their exaggerated strut and superfluous hand gestures and long pauses at the end of the runway. I don't know if they were trying to emulate an intoxicated Naomi Campbell or if they nursing a hurting leg, or maybe the lights affected their performance, but it all made sense when the host, who seemed to have difficulty reading her script uttered, "this is urban modeling!!!". "Urban modeling?", I pondered for a second, "Is this a new term in the fashion industry?", "Or was she referring to those models in hip-hop videos who seemed to have forgotten their clothes at home, and thought exposing themselves to goons was sexy?". I don't think baffled is the word here. I looked over at Matt, who was sitting on one end of the runway, with my mouth slightly open in complete disbelief. I signaled him not to take pictures since those shots would most likely won't end up here. It all went downhill from there.

A few looks from Tyrell Collections. Every woman (and drag queen) loves a great evening gown, but I thought Mr. Mr. Tyrell presented scantly clad models in gowns that seemed to be unfinished. Black works, but it would be nice to see him explore other colours. 

One of the few reasons that kept me on my seat was the fact that designers that I've never heard of were going to show their collections at this event. I thought they will take this opportunity to introduce their brand to a new market. As far as first impressions go, it wasn't a particularly good experience. Tyrell Collections (his last name is nowhere to be found) was intriguing, to say the least. The source of inspiration behind this dark collection was most likely Cat Woman stepping out of a strip club. He focused on eveningwear, but the gowns he presented made me wondered what type of event she was going to. Not a red carpet, for sure. Most of his designs included diaphanous chiffon panels, exposing the models legs, breast and at times their underwear, leaving not much to the imagination (I don't know any woman who would go out showing that much skin). He elevated this fetishistic obsession by adding wide leather corsets that seemed to be pulled out of an S&M shop. But why were pink embroidered rosettes cascading down the side in one of his gowns? If he attempted to juxtapose sex with the romance and delicacy of the rosettes, it didn't work. Not because some other designers have done it better in the past, but because the execution and vision were not there. LT Dickens was on the same boat. The problem here was fabrication. It was visible the materials she chose to work with were not on her favor, or maybe they were just the wrong fabrics (bingo!). A shiny taffeta pant suit just looked odd, if not revolting, and a bicolored lace gown was downright sad. If there were any signs of youthfulness was a pantsuit with a perfectly fitted, belted jacket and gathered slim pants. Not only did it looked great on the model, but you could see it work in a variety of sizes (there were other casualties that occurred on the runway, but I'm trying to stay positive). 

Meena Tharmaratnam presented an array of dresses, versatile enough for every woman in attendance. 

Meena Tharmaratnam saved the night. She owns a boutique in Bethesda, Maryland, where she carries an assorted line of womenswear from designers such as Joseph Ribkoff and Samuel Dong. I love her eye for clothes, no wonder she selected some of the best looking pieces of the night, such as a white top with an asymmetrical zipper that looked hip and modern, sexy laser-cut cocktail frocks, a variety of day dresses with exotics motifs, and a gorgeous lilac floor sweeping gown (the best of the night). Another one that stood out was Philissa Williams, the creative mind behind Thembe. It's always delightful to watch her use of draping and far-flund references, but somehow it all came together in vision. One of her best offerings was an open-neck white shift festooned with beautiful soft blue rosettes (from far away they looked like blurred blue splotches, intriguing nonetheless) and a cowl-neck navy top worn with a grey felted wool long skirt. 

I came in with an open mind, and left light-headed. It was not the event that I was expecting. I didn't stay for any type of post show festivities. But I was still inquisitive of the story behind this event. I called Carlos the day later but there was not a response. We finally talk two days later, and he provided me with some insight that I would not discuss through this medium. There were obviously, as Carlos puts it, style differences, or even better, a "tug-a-war". In the midst of the debauchery, something good happened, they raised approximately $20,000. At least the kids would be happy. 

All pictures by Matt Statler