30/11/2012 § 3 Comments
As I previously mentioned, a few weeks ago I was pleased to accept an invite from Lotuff Leather to visit their workshop in Norwalk, Connecticut. I was very excited to seize the opportunity to meet the fine folks behind the brand and witness firsthand the craftsmanship that goes into every single piece of leather that bears the Lotuff name. Fair warning: this is about to be a bit of a photo-palooza, but there was just so much to see and love – I hope you will indulge me!
Lotuff, a New England-based luxury leather goods brand founded by brothers Joe and Rick Lotuff nearly four years ago, is a brand you need to firmly place on your radar. The Lotuffs, along with creative director Lindy McDonough and a whole host of highly skilled craftsmen and women, take great pride in producing some of the very finest leather items made in America, using techniques honed over decades – and in some cases, generations – of combined experience. A men’s brand at heart, the all-leather bags, briefcases and accessories that Lotuff creates epitomize the elegant meeting of timeless style, functionality and quiet craftsmanship.
Not only was I inspired by the passion I heard from Joe and Lindy as they discussed their values and goals for Lotuff, but they also deeply affected my personal concept of “luxury” – calling into question some of my own assumptions about the true worth of some of the high-end bags I have lusted for in the past. My day in Norwalk reinforced the notion that luxury is not achieved by the mere application of a name or a high price point to an item. But rather, an item is properly considered luxurious in relation to the process, materials and skills that go into its creation — and seeing up close the massive amount of pride that each of the Lotuff craftsmen and women pour into their work brought this into sharp focus.
While this fuller concept of luxury appears to have taken hold in some #menswear circles, it is interesting to note that the majority of women continue to be fine with paying top dollar for cheaply manufactured status accessories. Indeed, it is difficult to decouple this tendency for status from womenswear’s obsession with fast fashion. For those of us who find ourselves frequently left wanting by the “it bag” of the moment, the premiere women’s collection by Lotuff is a godsend. And my leather-scented day spent trying out all the gorgeous prototypes? Heaven indeed.
For more information, visit Lotuff Leather.
Please say hello to my new best friend… In. Love.
Pop Up Flea
Friday, Nov 30th 3pm – 9pm
Saturday, Dec. 1st 11am – 7pm
Sunday, Dec. 2nd 11am – 6pm
443 W. 18th Street (nr. 10th Ave.)
16/11/2012 § 2 Comments
Very excited to share with you Lotuff Leather’s premiere offering from their very first women’s collection, released this week! Just in time for the holidays the Zipper Satchel #9 is a limited edition bag in sumptuous, hunter green vegetable-tanned leather, that comes with a hand-braided leather tassel, a removable leather pouch, and a detachable shoulder strap. Befitting a truly unique piece of superior craftsmanship, each bag bears its own serial number, and can also be monogrammed. I definitely hope that Santa is listening.
Lotuff, a New England-based luxury leather goods brand founded by brothers Joe and Rick Lotuff, is a remarkable collective of exceptionally skilled craftsmen and women dedicated to making quality things by hand with the best practices and finest materials available. A men’s brand at heart, Lotuff has offered some of the very finest American-made all-leather bags, briefcases and accessories for nearly four years now, and the move into the women’s space is best viewed as a continuation of that tradition.
Guided by creative director Lindy McDonough, the Lotuff women’s collection is quietly elegant and timelessly stylish – the diametric opposite of the “it bag.” Rather, your Lotuff bag is meant to be carried a lifetime and then passed on to younger generations, and this longevity is ensured by the American workmanship that went into its creation. I especially love the collection’s nuanced menswear influence and the casual sophistication evident in the preview lookbook – these bags intend to seamlessly carry you from the office to the weekend and back. Perfection.
I recently had the immense pleasure of spending a lovely day at Lotuff’s Norwalk, Connecticut workshop. It’s not every day that I get to spend time talking to gifted craftspeople about heady topics such as commitment, precision and passion, so when the folks at Lotuff Leather invited me to do just that, of course I leapt at the chance. Stay tuned — I’ll be sharing my visit with you next week.
For more information, visit Lotuff Leather.
07/05/2012 § 19 Comments
Very happy to share with you some of the looks I created for the Wolverine 1000 Mile Collection by Samantha Pleet F/W ’12 Lookbook! As I mentioned in my behind-the-scenes post last week, the lookbook features an amazing collection of shoes by the lovely Brooklyn designer Samantha Pleet for Wolverine 1000 Mile, an American footwear company that has been in existence since 1883. Based in Rockford, Michigan, Wolverine 1000 Mile is probably best known for their handsome workboots, worn by the hardworking people who built America’s railroads, highways and skyscrapers.
It is the first full-range shoe collection designed by Samantha Pleet, who best known for her whimsical apparel collections that frequently feature menswear-inspired details. Her venture into footwear is especially apropos, considering her genealogy, with a great-grandmother who owned a shoe store and a grandfather who was a shoemaker. The shoes made their debut at New York Fashion Week, at Samantha’s runway show, to great success.
I was ecstatic to be brought onboard to style the lookbook! Working closely with Samantha and the great folks at Wolverine, I created a collection of looks inspired by the same amazing group of women who inspired Samantha’s designs. Composed of vintage clothing from the amazing guys at Brooklyn Dry Goods, gorgeous accessories supplied by The Shiny Squirrel, some of Samantha’s own designs and even some of my own vintage pieces, I hoped to show how versatile the Wolverine 1000 Mile Collection by Samantha Pleet can be.
And, if I may quote myself (weird, sorry!) from the lookbook:
It was important to me to honor the spirit of adventure and independence and while creating looks for the modern woman, no matter if her adventures take her on safari in Kenya or on the subway downtown to the office. As a girl who wears men’s shoes on occasion, I really love the subtlety of the Samantha Pleet x Wolverine 1K Mile collection. Samantha doesn’t simply design men’s shoes for women, she combines the best of both worlds and has created something nuanced, nostalgic, but completely modern.
Last, but certainly not least, I had the privilege of working with the exceptionally talented photographer Mikael Kennedy, who took these amazing photographs.
Head here to view the lookbook!
I hope you like it! I would love to hear your comments!
Karen Blixen is the fearless romantic, the Out of Africa writer who left her native Denmark to establish a coffee plantation in Kenya. When I think of Karen, I think of genteel safaris, of imported finery in the wilderness, with plenty of khaki and well-worn leather. As I mixed vintage pieces with Samantha’s designs I felt as Karen must have, pairing romance with rough-and-tumble. For the Blixen boot, I wanted each of these sides to show through – with one look reading more conventionally feminine and the other a bit more tomboyish.
Amelia Earhart is travel personified. She wanted to go everywhere, see everything – an adventurer for adventure’s sake. When I think of Amelia, what immediately comes to mind are the trappings of an aviator, e.g., fleece-collared bombers and silk scarves, two of her personal signatures. Here we stayed very close to Amelia’s own aesthetic, but the look is softened a silk blouse and romantic hair.
Evelyn Nesbit is the chameleon. From humble beginnings, she reinvented herself as a chorus girl, actress and muse – so I really wanted to show versatile the beautiful kiltie boots she inspired Samantha to create.
The Nesbit kiltie oxford is a true year-round, day-to-night shoe that will take you from the office, to the weekend, and everywhere in between. The tomboy in me loves their dandy details with a dress or with cuffed trousers and no socks.
Anne Bonny is a woman to be reckoned with, as she was one of the most infamous female pirates in history. For this look I embraced the flamboyance of what Anne might have worn herself, pairing vintage ruffles with one of Samantha’s amazing capes. I love the colors of this boot – it really widens your palette possibilities when creating outfits.
All photographs by Mikael Kennedy, courtesy of Wolverine 1000 Mile.
20/03/2012 § 1 Comment
Have you ever wanted to love something so much, because you felt it was thisclose to perfection — but you just couldn’t quite get there? This was the exact feeling I had while watching the Louis Vuitton Fall Winter 2012 show. Even before that magnificent train fully pulled into the “station” and the models disembarked one at a time, trailed by immaculate porters bearing the iconic bags the house of Vuitton is known for, I knew that Marc Jacobs was pulling from the same early 20th century inspiration well that Ralph had also dipped into (and that I loved) and I got excited — but I should have seen the kaleidoscopic Jacobs twist coming. Indeed, with all the glittery doo-dads, exaggerated silhouettes and ridiculous hat action, I wouldn’t be very surprised to learn Dr. Suess or Tim Burton had assisted. And while I definitely respect Vuitton for pushing their boundaries, I must admit that I frequently feel disinterested in the brand’s contemporary fashion collections. I suppose I’m just not a Marc Jacobs girl.
The bags and luggage are usually a different story, and while I did find plenty to like among the collection’s accessories, I was still most bowled over the amazing production value of the show — which is destined to be my favorite concept for a very long time. I did want to share a few bright spots from the show though, which were best shown by the detail photos of Yannis Vlamos for Vogue Magazine.
Perfection. Complete and utter perfection.
Of course, if you are more of a Marc Jacobs fan than I,
you can head here to view the full collection (via Vogue).
Also amazing is this short film produced by Louis Vuitton, which is a lovely behind-the-scenes look at the show’s preparations all the way through its execution:
27/11/2011 § 5 Comments
I’ve not returned from Buenos Aires just yet, but I thought I would do a brief post from the Southern Hemisphere on what’s turned out to be my favorite travelling companion from the past few weeks. In October, I posted about my trip to the Rose Bowl Flea in California to visit The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co. and meet founder Warren Schummer. Aside from having a lovely visit, I also put in an order for one of their handsome 16″ tool bags. I was very pleased to receive it before I jetted off for South America and it’s been absolutely great on the trip.
Large enough to fit a MacBook Air, several guidebooks, a Louis Vuitton Pochette, Kate Spade Lacey wallet, a Nikon D60 (and its bag and cords), a few other bits and bobs, and somehow still fit under the seat in front of me, this bag is made for travel. With a firm board bottom and metal feet, it also keeps its shape beautifully when not quite so fully stuffed. I especially liked the detachable shoulder strap, which I usually wore cross-body to keep my hands free. It definitely came in handy while rambling around the antiques market of San Telmo in Buenos Aires, where the photos were taken.
The leather was quite blond when I received it, but after only a few weeks it’s already aging nicely. I’m definitely looking forward to years of use from this handsome bag — and of course, many more trips around the world with it. If you’d like your own bag from this very limited run, all completely handmade in Southern California, head here.
You’ll notice two small alterations on my bag, courtesy of Warren: the addition of a small snap at the top to keep it securely closed and — and! — my monogram just below that. If you ask him very very nicely, he might be able to fix yours up as well.
All photographs courtesy of Erin Rickards, who is a great photographer and even greater friend, but sadly is without a website. She did just start Instagramming, though. If you’d like to follow her there, her username is @ericka22.