Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hannah from Hansel from Basel: legs pt I

[So, surprisingly...I have a lot of post topics prepared. But as I promised, this post is about the interview with LA designer Hannah, from Hansel from Basel!] (artsy sock photos: Zen Sekizawa)

Socks. When a person typically thinks of socks, the stylish they probably go for are those white ankle socks. Short, clean cut, barely-there. Practically invisible. More of an afterthought. However, it seems Hannah Byun, founder of Hansel from Basel, thinks socks are supposed to, and can be, much more than that [but of course traditional minimalism is always appreciated]. I completely agree. I happen to think socks and other hosiery are like scarves and any other accessory. You can express yourself and your sense of style through them.

In the last few years, the hosiery industry has certainly bloomed and established themselves as much more than simply "something you wear with your shoes". They are a mark of fashion in themselves. Now, so many varieties exist [I mean, yes, there was 80's legwear...but I'd rather not talk about that. I tend to have a bias against 80's fashion :( ]. There is so much more than one's argyle and tube socks, and brilliantly patterned and colored tights instead of neutral ones. Plus, you've got your lamé and holographic leggings. They are as integral a part as a top in an outfit. Sometimes I find myself purchasing things to go around my socks. Is that intense?

Can I just say, I love it? I have a whole shelf in my dorm dedicated to tights, socks, and leggings. I've pretty much acquired them all over the past year. I am a little obsessed. I love to walk into stores that happen to be ridiculously high-end, and come out with a pair of socks or tights. Is that weird? It's just... they are just as creative, sometimes mind-boggling, but tons more affordable than an actual garment piece. Sometimes there just happens to be a really good sale too...so you get your $50-70 Gaspard Yurkievich stockings for $25-35 when a typical Gaspard Yurkievich top is $300. Even spending that amount may seem absurd to some, but you can't simply think of them as "socks".

I am going to stop that hosiery spiel now. Here is where Hansel from Basel comes in. I came across them online a couple months ago and just fell in love with their line. love love. Especially all the kneepad (a few of which I own) socks and the tuxedo socks... not to mention the schiele print socks and dotted socks...which is basically everything. They were just so fun and whimsical and quite colorful. And there was hardly a single company that had such cute and innovative designs. A chance encounter allowed me to meet the actual creator behind Hannah from Basel, Hannah Byun, in LA. I even remember what she was wearing- her cute striped socks, a fairisle sweater, full-ish skirt, and comfy-looking boots, and her hair was tied-pinned up in the back. It took a lot of guts to ask her if I could ask her some questions at another time, but thank goodness I did! Hannah was very sweet and down-to-earth. It was so enjoyable and I had so much fun (while attempting to be serious at the same time). In the same spirit, for some questions I have kept some of the original IM format. Please enjoy.

Life Style: Where do you originally hail from?
hanselfrombasel: I grew up behind the orange curtain (aka orange county)

Life Style: When did you start getting interested in fashion? How would you describe your "style evolution" from when you were a kid?
hanselfrombasel: I have always loved fashion. As a child, I was obsessed. I read vogue as a pre teen... my style evolution has not changed. Despite my interests in fashion fashion, I tend to dress preppy with a twist and have my whole life. I remember wearing wool plaid shorts with henleys while other kids had scrunchies, baggie neon shirts, and tights… I also still wear some of my clothes from high school. My style has been consistent through and through.

Life Style: What did your parents have to say about your obsession as a teen? [I know my mother goes nuts]
hanselfrombasel: They didn’t think much of it. I’ve always been in my own boat with that stuff and if anything, they let me be as obsessed. It wasn’t like I couldn’t study… or spent my money on clothes, because I didn’t have any money.

Life Style: I understand that you graduated from UCLA, majoring in Studio Art and Art History. How did that lead to hosiery?
hanselfrombasel: My father had a business manufacturing hosiery lines for mass market brands. It was an opportune time in creating something interesting without the hassle of finding connections but using ones you already had.

Life Style: So what is a typical work day like for you?
hanselfrombasel: I wake up, read emails, write emails and I mean a lot of emails, research designs and inspiration, eat sometime in between, manage the manufacturing because it's hectic ...work work work. It's a lot of work and changes everyday. Like today, I have to get packaging approved, approve production samples, figure out taxes, designing the fall 08 mailer, manage fall 08 samples, figure out pricing.........

Life Style: So you oversee the production process?
hanselfrombasel: I do my production in China and Korea. Though, I plan to focus on Korea from now on.

Life Style: Are you having a Spring 08 line? (so excited!)
hanselfrombasel: Yup, and it's just about ready to ship ...just checking on some minor details and changes. It won’t be in stores for another month [February]

Life Style: Where does the name "Hansel from Basel" come from?
hanselfrombasel: Well, it's a combination of things: it's similar to "Hannah", I've always loved Switzerland and the idea of lederhosen, yodeling, chalets, etc., and I took a lot of German in college… it's kind of a little character that I've created as an alter ego, I guess

Life Style: The oft dreaded question: Where do you get your inspiration from?
hanselfrombasel: Oh a lot of places. Spring colors were inspired from the fall 07 comme des garcons collection…I love vintage knitwear… Japanese crafts…

Life Style: So you're a big vintage shopper?
hanselfrombasel: Interestingly, I cant stand vintage shopping…I do it all online. I’m so busy that anything requiring "search" frustrates me.
Life Style: I think its fun! But I agree about the frustration at times.

Life Style: Speaking of Comme des Garcons…Who are your favorite designers?
hanselfrombasel: Oh so many. balenciaga's nicholas ghesquire is so good. I am obsessed with the cargo bag and asymmetrical dresses he did early on for them.
hanselfrombasel: I love marni, tao by comme des garcons...isabel marant is a good everyday designer that I love
hanselfrombasel: Oh man, I am having a serious monday brain slur
hanselfrombasel: I love miuccia prada… I really like acne jeans too.

Life Style: So I am guessing that you spend most of your time in or around LA. What are your favorite places to frequent?

hanselfrombasel: Yes, I spend a lot of time in LA though I’ve been traveling to NY a whole lot. In LA, I love creatures of comfort. My whole wardrobe is from there, no joke.
hanselfrombasel: I don’t shop all that much in LA…I will go to creatures and be done done done. I hit Barneys once in a blue moon but mostly for face products. I love South Willard for their postalco products and I like APC but I just go to creatures for it…
hanselfrombasel: [On cafes and eateries] Yuca's burritos on hillhurst, izayoi in little tokyo, mozza, intelligentsia (my friends and I are addicted), cafe los feliz for amazing croissants that are as big as your face...I’m trying not to go out to eat as much…so unhealthy! I like haru ulala for cheap Japanese eats… Oh and I love yabu for noodles! Inaka on la brea for macro japanese food...sooooooooooo good, my favorite.
Life Style: My kind of girl! I eat too much for my own good too.
hanselfrombasel: I’m totally going off track. I think about food a whole lot.
hanselfrombasel: Oh and bagel broker....BAGELS! So good. Ok I will stop with food.
hanselfrombasel: I think about food as much as I stress about socks.
Life Style: Well, I’m sure you can get inspiration from different cuisines
hanselfrombasel: Sure thing

Life Style: How would you characterize your line in a few sentences?
hanselfrombasel: It's a spirited line with whimsical designs that come straight from the heart.
hanselfrombasel: ?
Life Style: that's good
hanselfrombasel: thanks.

Life Style: Lastly…Any advice to those who would want also to pursue any sort of design in the fashion industry?
hanselfrombasel: Perseverance. I think once you have your aesthetic and sensibilities in line, it's really important to secure a strong production base…60% of being a designer is managing and perfecting your production. I can't stress how important that is. And it helps to be organized. <>

Oh, and did I mention their socks feel so comfortable and have a slight sheen? They feel so comfortable and have a slight sheen!

Anyhow, Hansel from Basel is sold online at anthropologie.com, activeendeavors.com, creaturesofcomfort.us, chocosho.com, stevenalan.com, and bonandging.com (sales on most sites!). Store stockists can be found online here.



Shh...My favorites from her SPR 08 line: the spats long socks, white colorblock mondrian socks, and azure/blush mini striped stockings.

SPR. 08 sneak peek

Sunday, January 13, 2008

nyc trip + outfit photos + the trollsen twins

Hey girls (and guys if there are any). So I've been MIA for a few days cause I spent some quality time with my girls in nyc! [that's us in front of rockefeller] One of my first posts actually covered our first nyc trip together, the joy of finding the marc jacobs store, etc.

I think I walked about 200 blocks total in the span of 4 days, no joke. My feet were falling off. We zigzag-ed all over soho, tribeca, chelsea, greenwich, meatpacking district, at one point Soupi and I walked all the way down to the edge of chinatown from our hotel next to Penn Station on 32nd street. Other things: We walked through the Chelsea Flower Market, went to the milk bar, rode the subway up to Lincoln center to watch Persepolis, went to St. Patrick's Cathedral and did a prayer for my mum. Storewise: I freq'ed A.P.C, the Museum of Modern Art, Opening Ceremony, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Scoop NYC, Macy's, Saks, etc.

Anyhow, it's that time again!! You know, when I showcase my personal style. [no big no big ; ) ] It includes what I wore in NYC, photo journal style, and then at the end is what I promised about my photos from school (my aunt brought my camera back) and the outfits with the items I bought which I mentioned last entry. Have fun, and I hope you find something inspiring.

All outfits were paired with my trusty Cream Converse - except the one with pumps.

Day 1

outfit : Anthropologie cardigan (gift), AA sweetheart-cut shirt, Cheap Monday jeans, Un-matching pink and blue socks (I couldn't find the their mates, haha. looked cute though).

Day 2

this one actually has an 'amusing' story. so, as one can see, I finally caved in and purchased a pair of Norma Kamali Gold Leggings. I plead that they were on sale and shiny + I had a coupon code and I recieved a gift certificate with my purchase [via http://www.chickdowntown.com/ ...and they wrapped it up so nicely]. Plus I heard the AA ones scratch easy. See below + Soupi's stalkerish picture of me.

Um, yeah the thing is no one told me wearing lamé leggings in NYC was a bad idea, although in retrospect I should have known. I just figured city girls are some of the most daring and unique dressers so I figured if I don't wear them in NY, where else would I wear them? Plus they were warm! Of course, it looked like more girls were wearing long boots, dark tights, and dark earthy colors, not too stand-out, so I guess I was wrong.

Long story short, half of the people I passed were looking at me or my legs (I hadn't thought it would be that big a deal), including strange creepy guys. One guy puckered his face and said, "hey sweetie!" and someone poked his head out of a taxi and continued to stare at my friend and I for about 30 seconds... which is a really long time. Plus a woman smiled and shouted, "Goldfinger!!" which I wasn't quite sure how to respond to. Not to mention when night fell I got scared and I pulled down my skirt and pulled up my leggings, I wanted to tear them off, really, because of the creep pheromone they were giving off. And that's why at night when we went out to eat, I switched to safe opaque black leggings.

Day: Scotland Cream hat (gift), DKNY sleeveless sweater (gift), Kors skirt, Norma Kamali Gold Leggings.

Night: Navy and Plaid childhood cape, DKNY sleeveless sweater (gift), U/O tights, Kors skirt.

Day 3

Day: Sweetees cardigan (also http://www.chickdowntown.com/) I was so surprised when I saw they matched my Hansel and Basel socks [btw, interview with the founder of Hansel and Basel will be up very soon!], free people cable tights. Yes I wore socks over tights... Orchid AA skirt, Vintage (?) Vivienne Westwood bag [mentioned last entry].

Late Afternoon: Orchid AA skirt, H & M shirt ($5) I purchased in NY, Hansel & Basel scrunched down socks, Green payless pumps.

Late Night: McQ by Alexander McQueen bandana dress (mentioned last entry), CK short cable sweater, U/O tights.

Mishmash Things I did not wear but purchased in NYC

Nepal Hat: $8 somewhere on Howard St. [across from Opening Ceremony- 35 Howard St]

H&M zipper trapeze dress- $20 [purch. next to Macy's]

MBMJ bandana (I just stuck it in the dress)- $8

MBMJ socks- $10, Marc by Marc Jacobs store.

Elizbeth Hurley Caftan- $35 Scoop NYC in Meatpacking District, across from Stella McCartney's store (drool).

MoMA lips postcard- $2.50, Museum of Modern Arts. I also bought a pretty umbrella from there- $35.

My friend Soupi and I decided to have some fun picking some ridiculously expensive clothes and trying them on. I chose an oversized Anna Sui coat with roses (it said Petite though!). It was just for laughs- my skin tone doesn't go well with that sort of red-- Soupi said I looked like a giant tomato. Lol.

long awaited PHOTOS from School @ dorm

The Chloe skirt I told you about, paired with Matt & Nat Wright bag, Abaete flats, and Hello Kitty sweatshirt.

Different Takes on 1 childhood piece

Look 1: eclectic folk dressy: styled with gray cotton cami, H & M belt, Kate Spade Cape Cod cotton scarf [threaded it through button holes), U/O socks.

Look 2: Puffy Pretty and Chill: gray cami, H & M belt, puffy skirt from Anthropologie, U/O socks.

Look 3: Casual, Laidback, etc: gray cami, random red ribbon, Cheap Monday tight jeans.

outfit 1: headband from fair, stuck feathers on it, free people rough long shirt and cable tights, Old Navy herringbone shorts, Eleanor Grosch flats.

outfit 2: U/O scarf, Tara Jarmon for target dress jacket, blue cami, Cheap Monday jeans ($14 via Barney's warehouse sale), Eleanor Grosch flats.

outfit 1: free people sequin hoodie, CK knit tank dress and cotton skinny pants, Palladium boots.

outfit 2: CK knit tank dress and cotton skinny pants + Stella McCartney stilettos (via Ebay).

Organic (?) Shirt from some LA sample sale. Cardigan and tights-- U/O. Express skirt. Vintage YSL pumps via Ebay [the ones I mentioned last post].

Prep with a Twist

outfit 1: CK cable sweater, Cross craft fair pin, Abaete flats, Phillip Lim for UNIQLO skirt.
outfit 2: BCBG plaid blazer, Gap scarf, Green Gap Tank, CK white shirt, Giordano khakis, Kate Spade canvas skimmers.

While we're on the subject of style...or lack of...

during the school semester and my inability to post, something I was surprisingly impressed by, was Peta's approach towards new campaigns which come off not only effective and informative, but educational, interactive, media savvy, and have punchy humor with a bite. I'm not endorsed by them in any way, so rest assured these are my own true opinions.

Mary-Kate Olsen (photo via WWD)

For example, the big campaign that you might have heard about are about the Olsen twins' heavy use of and ignorant approach to fur. Peta created an intriguing Full House parody clip. Ashley and Mary-Kate are nicknamed the Trollsen twins and...the graphics pretty much say it all. Anyway, they set up a webpage, where people can watch the clip, dress them up in their typical disgusting (and you'll see it's disgusting) fur-wear. For a while, the Trollsen twins even had their own Myspace account created. Isn't that intense?

Anyway, you guys can check it here: http://www.peta2.com/trollsens

Dress up the Trollsen Twins at peta2.com!

It's really interactive and user-friendly...therefore, quite effective in reaching out to those who don't know a thing. So props, honestly. In any case, the Olsens don't have any style in my book when they can can support such an inhumane fur industry. It's surprising that they can keep ignoring it. Especially when they have such young girls looking (or had been looking) up to them.

They even made this snowglobe for winter. You can shake it up and everything. It contains Anna Wintour.

Anna wintour in mid-shake

With designers like Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada, Benjamin Cho, Erin Fetherston, Rebecca Taylor, Charlotte Ronson, Nicole Miller, Trovata, Vivienne Westwood, and Alexandre Herchcovitch shunning fur, why even bother?

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Year, New Designer + liquid "leather"

gloria here.
first, happy new year!!

second, i'm sorry [for not updating]!! This last semester has been of the hellish variety. And I wanted to kick back-relax for the beginning sprigs of the holiday break.

third, we have much to catch up on //// so warning: this post may be all over the place.

what have I done since you last saw me?
++ basically, study. that's all I did. study, break down, go to sleep, repeat. I swear, monthly magazines sent to my dorm were completely untouched.

what significant things have I purchased?
++ huge obsession with legwear so bought hella lots of tights and socks. (but not footless) I was so saddened when eva new york sold out of those marjan pejoski owl socks. I kept waiting for them to go on sale (hello? poor college kid cannot spend $40 on tights), and by the time eva new york had their big sale they were already gone. Also, a spankin new McQ bandana dress [so gorgeous; I only had to pay ~$70 because it was on sale and I had won a shopbop g/c], an amazing AMAZING new beaded Tocca gown, from a discount store for <$35, which I'll never get to wear unless I'm throwing a swank soiree at age 30 or run for Miss. Taiwan or Miss. America (neither of which is likely to happen), it's completely animal-friendly, not even silk. Also bought a pair of vintage caramel colored YSL heels via ebay <$30, and most recently a sparkly vintage Vivienne Westwood fannypack (yes, I said fannypack) that I wear as a purse <$30. I'd show you all my photos and outfits I put together around them but ditzy me left my cam in CA. Oh and at an LA BDB sale I recieved a $90 mustard, viscose Chloe skirt discounted from...like $1000 [no joke] courtesy of my aunt.

what have I been listening to?
++ not that you guys care, but lately I have retrograded to a wide spread of older music: duwop, swing, stuff like jay & the americans, frank sinatra, the temptations, beegees, tony bennett. and george harrison, beatles stuff. and sometimes it's just too exhausting to keep up with new 'hip' artists. was that awkward? I sounded like an old man. hey you know what's really awkward? Sitting in the car with your mom while the radio is playing a cover of the syncopated dance mix version of the popular 60's hit, "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". Anyway...onto actual content >>>

With a new year comes a new designer (not new as in "new on the scene" but new as in "a new designer that I like"). It's more of a reference to her fall 2007 line that this post is about, but in an excuse for not posting beforehand I'm saying bitter january winds make it just as applicable. I am bumbling about Daryl Kerrigan's line, Daryl K. On the hunt for that pleather caramel-camel jacket which I never found but studiously scouted for every waking moment, I came across her magnificently made "liquid leather" jackets. aka they're not really leather, but they look like it, in fact, honestly, they look even better. It's a true savior in this Mike & Chris world. Are you a new reader? Wondering why does this even matter? Read this post.

So I contacted someone from Daryl K who said: "That leather-like material is a sheened synthetic fabric we deemed 'liquid leather'". It's also from Japan. I was not told if they have a certain policy on fur and leather but later on I found that they sell a suede bomber jacket on their site so I'm guessing they just like the look of this japanese fabric. I do too; the sheen is way nicer and no amount of chemicals you treat with actual cow-hide could possibly produce that sheen. no offense cows. *hug*

Anyhow, Daryl Kerrigan's faux-leather jackets and dresses look incredibly phenomonal. They are also, as expected, phenomonally pricey. The sales do knock off the prices considerably well though, especially on Shopbop. See for yourself:

Daryl K is sold online at: darylk.com/shop, activeendeavors.com, barneys.com, bluefly.com, EvaNewYork.com, LaGarconne.com, theMilkshop.com, shopbop.com, tg170.com, HampdenClothing.com. + they have a storefront on 21 Bond St [NYC].

Intriguing tidbits on Daryl Kerrigan: Dublin-born, she moved to NY and used to sort second-hand clothes for thrift-shop dealers. She opened shop in the East Village in 1991. She became famous for "the perfect pair of jeans" she designed: boot-cut hipster jeans. She also has a diffusion line called K-189. She won the CFDA Perry Ellis New Talent Award for womenswear in 1996. She started doing runway shows in 2000. But the Leiber group stopped distribution of her Fall 2001 collection and closed her stores. She fought and repurchased the rights to her name and label and has made clothes every since and has lived happily ever after. The End. [info- designerhistory.com]

Cruelty-Free leather looks from her Fall 2007 show [I think the most sophisticated of all her shows]

My favorite out of her of her spring 2008 show [unfortunately, a rather disappointing show], and two favorites from older collections.

Oh and I'm in love with her red vinyl leggings. [$290 darylk.com, ouch!]

See mon amis? You don't need to feel bad wearing "leather" when you're with Daryl K [some of her jackets do have silk linings though]. It doesn't have to be a painful fashion statement. I used to have this innate averseness to leather jackets but I think Daryl K cured me. [well I still have an aversion to real leather jackets. I even joined this facebook group called, "Unless you're Brad Pitt, don't wear a leather jacket"]

Some more pricey, not cheaply made, faux-cowskin designer outerwear

I promise to update again real soon! kisses and hope your break is just as nice as mine! : )