Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between at the Metropolitan Museum of Art



Like many women, I’ve had a somewhat turbulent relationship with my self-image. Thanks to a particularly nasty bout with eczema when I was younger and constant weight fluctuations, it was difficult to feel comfortable — much less confident — in my own skin. Age helped me navigate those treacherous waters, but fashion was mostly what kept me afloat. Despite how I felt about my body, I always found ways to have fun with how I dressed.

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Better Late Than Never: 2016 NYC Holiday Window Displays



Whether you’re noshing on leftovers, watching Christmas Vacation again, or shopping the after-Christmas sales, we thought we’d help you eke out another ounce of holiday cheer with some pictures from the holiday window displays around New York City.  The amount of creative work that goes into the windows is always inspiring.  Making the pilgrimage has become one of our treasured holiday traditions, so we thought we’d share some of our favorites here. 

Here are some highlights from the same route we shared in last year’s post:

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New York Fashion Week: Hot to Adopt with Fresh Step



Four years and twenty-six days ago, I lost my cat Felix.  Everyone thinks their cat is special, but calling Felix “special” would be doing him a huge disservice.  He was uncannily shrewd.  He figured out how to open doors and drawers.  He manipulated timed feeders into futility.  And he orchestrated cover-ups: he’d once gained access to a large bag of food in the pantry, but continued to pretend he was hungry at feeding times so we wouldn’t get suspicious.  Felix gave me fourteen years of laughter, frustration, pride, annoyance, and lots and lots of love.

I’ve never shied away from the “cat lady” moniker, but it turns out maybe I should have.  The term is often used in a derisive manner, with images of unattractive women destined for eternal singlehood attached.  So Fresh Step set out to dispel the negative connotations with its first ever Fresh Step Feline Fashion Lounge and Adoption Event during New York Fashion Week.  In a space located just off the High Line, Fresh Step and actress Katie Cassidy (of Arrow, Gossip Girl and Melrose Place fame) played host to a Hot to Adopt event, where models walked the runway in fabulous fashions and the hottest accessory in town: a cat.

NYFW Hot to Adopt - Mad Hatters NYC
Our little babies, Felix and Chloe in 2007

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New York Fashion Week: Tommy x Gigi



Most kids remember getting up early to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons while they noshed on their breakfast cereal of choice, but I remember eagerly anticipating Sunday mornings at 10 am, which is when Fashion File would come on in Malaysia.  I’d plop myself in front of the TV and watch as models strutted the runway in Versace, Lacroix and Gaultier.  To say the industry has evolved since then is quite the understatement!  Fashion has become more accessible than ever, and now addicts like myself can easily live stream runway shows, refresh social media feeds, or check blogs that are being updated every few minutes during major events like New York Fashion Week.

Designers have already had to increase the number of shows and reduce their production cycles to keep up with fast fashion retailers, but this year designers have kicked it up several notches, with “see now, buy now” being the catchphrase.  While most New York Fashion Week events are still not open to the public, this direct-to-consumer approach has reverberated throughout.  There has been a move to be more inclusive: retailers, beauty brands and even hotel chains are getting in on the action and hosting fun New York Fashion Week events that anyone can attend.  

NYFW TommyxGigi - Mad Hatters NYC

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Manus X Machina at the Metropolitan Museum of Art



I have a confession to make: I am terrible at being a girl.  I’m tragically unromantic, I’m disastrously undomestic, and I’m really not much of a nurturer.  I pluck my eyebrows only when they’re one step away from becoming a unibrow, and I mostly sport unpainted, barely trimmed nails.  But I love fashion.  (I spoke a little about my fashion obsession in this post.)  When I find myself in the presence of pretty, pretty clothes, it’s the only time I feel 100% like a girl.  So I was thoroughly excited to finally make my way to the Manus X Machina exhibition at the Met to indulge my oft-neglected girly side.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute originated in 1937 and has since evolved, with the help of some of the biggest names in fashion, into a respected destination for fans of fashion design and history.  It’s near-impossible not to anticipate the annual Gala Benefit that takes place each May, as it draws celebrities of every ilk.  In a true visual feast, titans of film, fashion, music and business show up in fantastical outfits tied to the upcoming thematic exhibition.

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Wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel haute couture, 2014

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Fairy Tale Fashion at the Museum at FIT

Growing up as a fashion-crazed girl in Malaysia was like being a bread lover with celiac’s.  So when I moved to the United States to go to college, I couldn’t wait to indulge my fashion proclivities.  I happily rocked plaid miniskirts with matching sweaters a la Clueless (I realize I’m probably dating myself here), when one day I overheard a classmate snidely remark, “So nice of her to dress up for class.”  Then I started working, and the whole idea of an office wardrobe beckoned, so inspired by the power suits of Dynasty and Working Girl (okay, dating myself again here), I enthusiastically traded my plaid miniskirts and sweaters in for pencil skirts and tailored jackets.  A colleague rolled her eyes and stated, “I don’t understand why people dress up for work.”  

Time and again I was made to feel like the girl in the ballgown at the ballgame.  I understood that for most people, clothing was simply meant to be functional.  But for me, it always felt like an opportunity to be creative, albeit on a different type of canvas.  I was enthralled with the myriad colors, shapes and textures to choose from.  I was enamored with the way a piece of clothing could take you to a different place and time.  I marveled at the designers who created wearable art, and I yearned to bring a piece of that world into mine.  Fashion was aspirational:  it was a bridge between the the life I wanted and the life I had.  

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The Patricia Field Boutique

The term “Fashion Icon” can conjure up so many varied images, and nowhere is that more true than in New York City. New Yorkers have long had the privilege of having an array of unique style idols to look up to, and Patricia Field is an undisputed member of that class. Best known for dressing Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, she taught legions of style mavens to mix the high with the low, the hard with the soft, the masculine with the feminine. And it’s that keen eye and sense of whimsy that you can find on full tilt in the unique store that bears her name.

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