Fashion Q&A: Irina Shabayeva
We chat with Project Runway winner Irina Shabayeva.
March 25, 2011
Since winning Project Runway Season 6, Irina Shabayeva has been living the designer dream. She debuted her first fall collection at Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week Fall 2011, she recently launched a line at Macy’s and has had celebs like Lady Gaga wear her creations. We chatted up the New York-based designer who was recently in Miami scouting boutiques to carry her collection. Here’s what we found out:
What was Project Runway like for you and how do you feel you’ve grown as a designer since then?
IRINA SHABAYEVA: The experience was very rewarding and I did grow as a person and a designer. But I also think as a designer you grow every season with your collections. You have to explore and you have to have the accidents when you’re creating.
You’ve dressed several celebrities like Lady Gaga and and Selena Gomez. Is there a specific star you’d like to dress?
IS: Julianne Moore and Halle Berry.
Why did you decide to collaborate with INC and Macy’s for the Irina for INC collection? What inspired you?
IS: Well, I won a challenge to design a dress with INC when I was on Project Runway, so our relationship flourished from there. I think they do a great product for a great price. I looked at all sorts of dance [for inspiration]. The more embellished pieces like the silk baby doll dress was inspired from ballet.
I read that you hate to shop and only do so for makeup, jeans and shoes. Do you really make everything you wear?
IS: It’s true. I’m really conscious of how things fit on the waist and bust so I like to make my own clothes.
What are you doing these days?
IS: I’m currently working on finishing production for my Spring 2011 and bridal line. I’m also launching a home line. Right now it’s only going to be throws and pillows. My line [Luxe by Irina] is also growing with HSN. It’s going to include ready-to-wear, handbags and accessories.
What else do you want to achieve in the future?
IS: I want to get into costume designing for plays and movies. I also want to grow more and eventually have the company be strong enough so that I can have people to run it.
Remembering Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry was merely one small thing that made her larger than life.
March 24, 2011
People tend to assign the word “icon” rather cavalierly these days—is Kate Middleton a style icon already?—but there’s no argument that it applies to Elizabeth Taylor. When you’re equally legendary for your work, your passions, your style and your philanthropy, "icon" actually seems too slight a word.
The global reaction to Taylor’s passing Wednesday morning only supports this idea, as tributes pour in from around the world for the woman who perhaps best defined 20th-century celebrity—and not merely for the Oscars she won or the designers she wore, but because before anyone else she shrewdly used that fame to create awareness for causes she cared about, most notably AIDS research and prevention.
Later in her life she indulged one of her other passions: In 2002 Taylor had written a book, My Love Affair With Jewelry, which chronicled her considerable collection and her personal anecdotes of famed pieces, including two purchased for her by Richard Burton, the 33.19-carat Krupp Diamond ring and the 69.42-carat Taylor-Burton pear-shaped diamond. The success of the book led to conversations about whether Taylor was interested in designing pieces herself, and in 2007 I had the good fortune to interview her about the jewelry line she launched as a result. Under the moniker House of Taylor, the collection reflected her personal love for all things that sparkle.
What inspired you to make the transition into jewelry design after garnering such a well-known reputation as a collector?
ELIZABETH TAYLOR: I’ve always had a passion for jewelry. I bought my first piece for my mother when I was 15, and it was love at first sight. So when I was asked I thought, what fun to design jewelry for other people. I’ve designed pieces for myself for many years. It all starts in my head: Many of the designs come to me in my dreams, and when I see the pieces come to life, it’s magical.
How involved are you throughout a design’s development?
ET: Totally and completely involved. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother to do it. My mind goes buzzing off to jewelry all the time. Sometimes I’ll write an idea down in the middle of the night and sketch it out in the morning. I’ll call the boys at our little shop and say, “I have a new design,” and it just grows and grows into reality.
Any favorite stones or cuts that will always be a part of your design?
ET: Diamonds, of course. You can’t cry on a diamond’s shoulder, but they sure are fun when the sun shines. I think people may expect diamonds of me. We have a certain association. I love cushion cuts. People often ask about the Krupp. When I look into it, I see the deep Asscher cuts, which are so complete and so ravishing, like steps that lead into eternity and beyond. It’s my baby.
In your book you tell great anecdotes about various pieces, such as the ruby and diamond suite from Mike Todd or the Iguana Schlumberger brooch from Richard Burton. How much of a piece of jewelry is about wearing something gorgeous, and how much of it is about sentiment and a wonderful memory?
ET: The importance of jewelry is emotional and psychological to me. Who gave it to me matters greatly. Each piece in my collection pays tribute to a certain moment in time or memory that I cherish. I always want to share my collection with others so that they have a glimpse of the joys, the thrills, and the pure happiness that these beautiful creations have given to me. I know they will one day belong to others, but not anytime soon. That’s why designing for our little company is giving me such joy. I am able to share jewelry with people today in a very personal way.
With so many wonderful memories about your own collection, what sort of memories do you hope to evoke in those who buy the pieces you design?
ET: I hope their presence and their magic will be passed on to others, loved but not possessed, for we are all only temporary custodians of beauty. I want women who choose our jewelry to be passionate about it, to love it, to protect it, to nurture it and to share it. Most of all, jewelry and love are to be shared. Without love, nothing else really matters.
Beach Read: Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut
Jill Kargman’s latest book delves into the Upper East Side world of NYC power moms.
March 22, 2011
Bestselling author Jill Kargman’s latest offering, Sometimes I feel Like a Nut, explores subjects far beyond a snack impulse. “If I had to identify myself with one advertising campaign, it would be the eighties jingle of Mounds and Almond Joy,” she confides. “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.”
Known for such chic lit hits as Arm Candy and Momzillas, Kargman uses grade school style illustrations, personal observations and pure no-holds-barred wit to demonstrate the life of a converse and jeans clad mom trying to fit in on the New York’s Upper East Side—aka Gossip Girl country. We caught up with Kargman to find out just how much of her latest book is autobiographical.
Are the book's sex-addicted babysitter and the Manhattan momzilla characters based on real people?
JILL KARGMAN: One hundred percent true. You can't write this shit!
I’ve noticed some crossover themes in your books. Do you consider them to be a series?
JK: Yes. My real life informs all my work, even the novels. This is the first nonfiction [book] where I'm not hiding behind characters to say what I want to say, so it's more vulnerable.
Will readers notice a difference in voice, since the new book is so personal?
JK: The voice is the same as the irreverent sidekick characters in my trashy novels. My inner gay man is more out and about and I also let loose more in general as I was unburdened by a narrative.
You like to balance heavy subjects, like cancer, with ridiculous tape dispenser throwing bosses and Don Henley.
JK: True, but the underlying thread is always humor. Using wit as a weapon to combat life's challenges whether it’s a shitty boss—which we all have—to cancer to being snubbed by Don Henley, asshole of the universe.
Do you think these characters only exist in New York, or could you see them in Miami as well?
JK: Sure. Anywhere there are high-maintenance people—drama queens are omni. I'm sure there are whorish babysitters, fashion victims and fame fuckers here.
Smurphio: Afrobeta’s Other Half
The guitarist spills on Ultra's best bands and why he only wears animal shirts.
March 22, 2011
Tony Laurencio aka Smurphio
We recently interviewed Afrobeta’s Cuci Amadaor and immediately knew we’d need to have Tony Laurencio aka Smurphio answer a few questions to grasp the full Afrobeta magic in time for their Ultra performance this week.
You're playing at Ultra, but who are you excited to see perform?
SMURPHIO: Empire of the Sun, STS9, Duran Duran, Chromeo, Telekinetic Walrus, Sounduo, Disco Biscuits and DJs Boys Noize, Wolfgang Gartner, Skrillex, MSTRKRFT, Fakeblood, Feed Me, Afrojack and Deadmau5.
Afrobeta is known for their unique sense of style. Where do you shop?
S: Are you kidding me? I only wear animal shirts. I shop wherever they sell animal shirts.
I've also seen you with a parrot on your shoulder.
S: That's Kunta. I rescued her at Burning Man last year. She travels with me from time to time. I've added a flying squirrel that was a gift from Telekinetic Walrus and the Pride of Ions.
What would you put on a playlist for a girl you like?
S: Hall and Oates.
I love your name. What’s the origin?
S: Smurf architecture.
Who would you most like to work with next?
S: Chico was one of my ex-roommates cats [that] sang in the key of Bb. We would sit on the porch for hours playing guitar and he would come and start meowing in key. As far humans, I would like to collaborate Eddie Van Halen.
Launch Party: Miami Surf Archive
Celebrate the arrival of Miami's newly formed surf culture club.
March 21, 2011
An image from the Miami Surf Archive Project's collection
We might not have the killer waves of Hawaii, but Miamians have been riding boards since the 1930s when Dudley and Bill Whitman—considered as Miami's first surfers—were introduced to legendary surfer Tom Blake. By the 50s, Miami's fiberglass boats were inspiring surfboard designs and, in the 60s, surf culture further exploded with Haulover's North End beach being dubbed "surf only."
Last summer, The Webster hosted “Surf The Webster,” which paid tribute to Miami’s surfing history and paved the way for the creation of the Miami Surf Archive Project (MSA). Led by local surfing enthusiasts Steve Manning, Lance O’Brien, Gary Kessler, Michael Laas, Robert Kahn and Cindy Manning Sands, MSA celebrates and preserves Miami's boarding culture. Learn more at their official launch party (March 24, 7 PM) at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. Guests will be able to view classic surfing footage and images, as well as a display of historically significant surfboards. A raffle and musical performance are also on slate and drink tickets are available in exchange for a cash donation. 2000 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, 305-673-7256
Jewelry Find: TAudrey
Designer Tiffany Ortiz comes through with a gorgeous new line.
March 16, 2011
TAudrey—the latest line from local jewelry designer Tiffany Ortiz—defines itself as a playful yet sophisticated jewelry line for “the woman who does not fear taking risks and betrays every label that society places on her.” Wear this necklace of layered gold vermeil medallions ($96) and you’ll understand where she’s coming from. Available at Miss Pepper and Atikshop, Mary Brickell Village, 900 S. Miami Ave., Suite 175, 305-373-9707
The Wanderlust festival brings four days of yoga practice and music to Miami.
March 16, 2011
As one of the fastest growing yoga and music festivals in the US, Wanderlust—which kicks off its 2011 tour March 17–20 at The Standard—is a can’t-miss for South Florida yoga devotees. Esteemed teachers, many of which have worked with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Sean Penn and Courtney Cox, hold classes and lectures. New York instructors—including Schuyler Grant of Kula Yoga, Elena Brower of Virayoga, and Barbara Verrochi and Kristin Leigh of The Shala—join local yoga gurus Christy Nones, Loren Russo and Paul Toliuszis.
Go for the full four-day package ($750) of yoga instruction, access to spa amenities (hamam, aroma steam room, mud lounge, infinity pool, cedar sauna), three nights of lodging and daily breakfast, or purchase day passes. After you’ve perfected your downward dog, groove to beats from Bonobo, Garth Stevenson, Prasanna, Shaman’s Dream and The Mayapuris. Think of it as Winter Music Conference meets Eat Pray Love. The Standard Spa, 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach
Fashion Watch: Gomez-Gracia
Gomez-Gracia dresses give spring and summer a pretty, sexy edge.
March 14, 2011
FROM LEFT: Mamma Mia, Venus, Ronya, Patricia
London-based women’s wear line Gomez-Gracia pairs refined, feminine style with a rock ’n’ roll twist. Patricia Gracia-Gomez, the up-and-coming designer behind the brand, might live in London but she was raised in Miami and still calls it home. This past Friday she was in town for a trunk show at Azzuro in Merrick Park, showcasing her Spring/Summer collection filled with sophisticated, detail-rich party dresses with an emphasis on contrasting textures. Here are some of our favorite pieces. Azzuro, 358 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables, 305-447-1025
Shoe Trend: Wedges
Step out this season in sky-high wedges
March 11, 2011
Wedges are a warm-weather staple and The Webster (1220 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) carries a rainbow of choices. Try on a pair in person or shop via the store’s new website. We’ve chosen three of our favorites:
Knotted suede wedge ($465), Alexandre Birman
5 Questions With: Uffie
French pop star Uffie answers a few queries.
March 10, 2011
Last night Uffie performed at The Standard, bringing her own rebellious brand of French pop to Miami. Born in Florida, she grew up in Hong Kong and now lives in Paris as part of Ed Banger’s portfolio of talented artists. Her album Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans has created even more buzz around this beauty, and a well-documented rift with Lou Reed over writing credit proved that Uffie speaks her mind. She’s also crossed over into fashion, designing a capsule collection with Diesel.
Where do you hang out when you’re in Miami?
UFFIE: The Standard’s pool
Miami and the rest of the US is developing a taste for French music, but who is influencing you?
U: Tyler the Creator of OFWGKTA is one of my favorites.
You’ve collaborated with some great artists like Pharrell and Justice. Who do you want to work with next?
U: The Strokes
You covered Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Hong Kong Garden.” Would you like to cover any other songs?
U: “After Dark” by The Flowers
Any favorite new fashion designers?