Muse Magazine

Friday, April 28, 2006


Now that it's warm enough to show a little leg, we're all about riding out the transitional weather in cut-off jeans the way Joy Bryant does here. Added bonus: you don't have to pay a lot of dough. This can easily be done at home by hacking last year's bootlegs.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

LIFE: On our to-do list this weekend


New York

Kara Walker at the Met: After the Deluge
This exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a huge deal considering that the curator and artist is only 37-years-old, let alone still alive at all. Her juxtaposition of historic works from the museum's collection with her own silhouette-driven pieces is one of the most powerful commentaries on Hurricane Katrina that we've seen to date.


Los Angeles

The band performs it's eclectic blend of broken beat, hip hop, and soul live at the Terrace Restaurant.



Because we're obsessed with Gnarls Barkley and dying to see what Cee-Lo and Dangermouse deliver live. Madonna, Jazzanova, Seu Jorge and Massive Attack are also on the lineup.


SOUNDS: If our life had a soundtrack...

The opening scene (aerial view of a woman surrounded by guests at a dinner party):
"Division of Joy," by J Davey (Click on song titles to listen)

The moment of transition (fade in to a partygoer dressed in a Zegna jacket and tie. He approaches the protagonist):
"Dollar," by Steve Spacek

The second moment of transition (cut to woman as her eyes glaze over. He's telling her about the dull details of being the "top guy" at his firm. She always attracts the boring ones):
"St. Elsewhere," by Gnarls Barkley

The climax (she accidentally spills Kir Royal on his tie):
"Mr. Mister," by J Davey


Saturday, April 22, 2006

TRENDS: Three things we're obsessed with at the moment

1) Pierre Hardy heels
The shoe designer caught major blow-up with the spaced-out chunky heels he crafted for Balenciaga. This pair from his own line is just as big a conversation-starter, only a tad more wearable.

2) "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov (the annotated version)
Because we Cliff Noted it in school...

3) Mariah Carey
Most of the music videos that dominate MTV and BET are a bit of a bore. But we love, love, love the Paul Hunter-directed clip set in Paris for her new single with Pharrell, "Say Something" just because it's fabulous without following the age-old formula of glossy performance shots and cheesy choreography. C'est magnifique.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

SOUNDS: Profile

The Morning After
Amel Larrieux Is Finally Comfortable In Her Own Skin

If you figured Amel Larrieux, who grew up in an artist commune in the West Village in New York, for a cosmo-boho-fashionista, you’d be right. If you assumed by her album titles – “Infinite Possibilities” and “Bravebird” – that she’s an unflappable phoenix, you’d be wrong. That's surprising considering the maternal optimism her music emanates. “I don’t have a lot of confidence. I’m not innately secure as Amel,” she admits.

The 30-year-old even says she has struggled with her image. “Like a lot of American women it somehow snuck in my psyche. It’s off-putting because I wasn’t raised to think about that stuff. But people would be surprised to know I’m insecure about my looks. I always wanted to look like somebody else.” Her 12 years in ballet imbedded the ideas; its conformity drove her to explore her feelings through songwriting at 16. And so, she learned how to cope. “Because my job is about me presenting myself, at least I know not to stand there and cry,” she explains.

Her career really got moving in 1995. Yet she wasn't comfortable in her own skin. Even after spawning the massive hit “Tell Me” as half of the seminal Groove Theory, she split. “Infinite” came in 2000; its jazzy eclectics made her a neo-soul fave, but she still fled – this time the big label. “I knew during Groove Theory that (Epic) wasn’t the place for me. They had this preconceived idea about how black female artists should look sound and act, and that didn’t fit my world at all.”

In 2004, she and husband-producer Laru Larrieux started the indie Bliss Life, releasing “Bravebird.” More soaring than “Infinite,” it more importantly marked a milestone: she was finally confident as an artist. “It’s like when you know as a parent your kid does better in a small school. It’s exactly what I needed.”

Her latest release, “Morning,” seems a touch more ephemeral and experimental than before; there’s less of an R&B formula. “I definitely like this better than anything else we’ve done. We finally found the comfort zone.” She credits much of her sonic innovation to Laru, who initially encouraged her to abandon the major label mindset and go grassroots, initiating intimacy with her fans. “I would go through the (website’s boards) and print out 50 or so pages and read every one. I’d get to know their names. And every single show I would say,’ Is so-and-so here?’”

That touchy-feely sensitivity shows in her stage delivery too. For many years, she would perform with her eyes closed. “I was really shy and scared of rejection,” she says. But she’s growing. “Now I’m more confident. I get to the point of elation and joy. Then you can open your eyes bring other people in.”

-Malcolm Venable

WARDROBE: Reese's pieces

“I’ve shopped in so many places. I’m totally looking for something new and different. I’m not excited by department stores because they follow a certain formula. It’s usually one-of-a-kind stores with personality that attract me. I like shops that you can walk in and see their love of x, y, and z,” Tracy Reese says of what she looks for in a retail experience.

Those words could also apply to her new boutique on Hudson street in New York’s West Village. “The location is perfect because it’s the bridge between Bleecker street–where I originally wanted to open the store, but couldn’t get enough square footage–and the Meatpacking district, which is way too industrial for me,” she explains. She’s in good company. Catherine Malandrino and Calypso have also recently opened up shop on the same block.

With its plush pink seating and opulent baroque chandeliers, it’s a whimsical space that oozes deliberate femininity, a mecca for the girliest of girlie girls. “My favorite aspect of it is that it’s very soft and curvy. I love the idea of having no hard edges. There’s no strict modernity. It’s not architectural, although I do love architecture,” she explains.

The clothing’s not so bad either. All of the coveted looks (vibrant prints, lush embellishments, vintagey brocades) from her clothing line are there, in addition to goods from her secondary line, Plenty and her home collection of the same name. And according to the Parsons grad, even more shopping options for the Reese addict is to come. “We’re definitely plan to develop into other areas. I’d love to do a home scent, candles, rugs, upholstery fabrics, and the list goes on. Every time I develop a print, I think this would look great as a pillow or on a notebook. I’m still working on that.”


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

TRENDS: London calling

I kind of noticed it in Paris, when the UK Jack OK! art opening was the highlight of fashion week. And then Target began hyping up it’s Luella Bartley line. Now the Metropolitan Museum of Art is preparing to open an England-themed Costume Institute show called Anglomania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion. Do we smell the beginning of a trend? Is London cloudy? Here are the top three things we love about the city that gave birth to punk and Vivienne Westwood.

1) Top Shop
It’s like H&M, only a thousand times better with spot-on replicas of high-end looks that hit racks minutes after designers show them on runways. Lucky for us, the wallet-friendly chain with the massive cult-following is supposed to open its doors in the States this year.

2) Gilles Peterson
Arguably one of the coolest white DJ’s on the planet, the longtime BBC Radio One host spins everything from rare Syreeta Wright to of-the-moment Jazzanova. Fortunately, the station’s website offers streaming audio of the show every week.

3) The Streets

His moniker sounds like a Three Six Mafia song, but Mike Skinner, the quirky MC is cute in a sweet, geeky, disarmingly honest kind of way. Like the guy from your English class who wasn’t all that tall or handsome, but won you over with his complex angst and obscure literary references. I mean, honestly, how many guys can describe an alcohol induced anxiety attack as believably and with the pathos he does? Who knew clubbing could be so traumatic?


WARDROBE: What We're Sweating Now

I've got a closet full of shoes. But for some reason, once the warm weather hits, I only ever wear metallic flat sandals. I guess because they're versatile and pretty much go with everything. I'm especially looking forward to adding this gold and silver pair by Musa to my collection.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I've grown a little tired of coating my lips in alternating shades of clear, pink and beige gloss. And as the humid summer approaches, the thought of sticky lacquer weighing down my pout grows more and more unappealing. This clean, matte alternative pictured on a model backstage during New York fashion week looks much more current instead.


LIFE: What’s on our collective conscious

When I was in middle school, I had a classmate who clearly needed a stronger eyeglass prescription. She constantly struggled to see our teacher’s ginormous chalk letters on the blackboard. Whenever my friends and I would point this out, she’d always respond, “I don’t need science, I’m praying for God to make my eyesight better.” Now I believed (and still do) in the power of the creator, but her opinion struck me as frighteningly close-minded. I thought about her recently when I came across a few facts in a recent New Yorker article about how the Bush Administration is approaching H.I.V. and HPV, two viruses that affect women in disproportionate numbers.

-over 50% of Americans contract the human papillomavirus (HPV)
-the leading cause of cervical cancer, HPV kills roughly 5,000 women every year
-December 1, 2005, a pharmaceutical company applied for a license to sell an effective HPV vaccine that if administered to young girls before they become sexually active, would protect them from infection
-the Bush Administration and his allies of the religious right opposed the HPV vaccine. Why? Because they believe the vaccine would promote promiscuity
-a similar mentality could hinder an HIV vaccine should one be developed. “We would have to look at that closely. With any vaccine for H.I.V., disinhibition would certainly be a factor and it is something we will have to pay attention to with a great deal of care,” says one-time medical adviser to the organization Focus on Family, Reginald Finger.
-under the Bush Administration, one third of the budget for H.I.V. prevention must bo to abstinence-only programs.
-Several years ago, the Centers for Disease Control removed a fact sheet about condoms from its Web site and replaced it with a release about why they’re not very affective. The statement remained there for over a year.
-In 2004, the Department of Health and Human services forbade medical researchers to attend international conferences without its approval, this included meetings held by the World Health Organization.
-That same year, the government said that it needed to save money and reduced the number of doctors and researchers who could go to the International AIDS Conference. A total of 150 medical researchers had to stay home.

Think about all of that the next time you go to the doctor, or the poll booth for that matter.


Sunday, April 16, 2006


We love seeing stylish women on the street. We only wish we could clone ourselves and take our trusty digital camera to all of your cities. Are you rocking an especially cute ensemble today? Email us a head-to-toe pic of yourself at and we’ll make you our wardrobe inspiration of the week.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

LIFE: On our to-do list this weekend


Maya Azucena Live!
The songtress earned a cult-following in Brooklyn with her solid blend of rock, soul and hip-hop. Now, she's broadening her fanbase by taking her show on the road. The next stop is Toronto's nightspot, Supermarket. Click here for info.


New York
Warhol's World
Photography & Television
This exhibition features a slew of photographs (300 if you're counting) from Andy Warhol's now legendary social life including images of the eccentric with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Diana Ross, Debbie Harry and Bianca Jagger. The show also features footage from television programs produced by the pop art luminary. Added bonus: you can take the exhibit home with you when you leave. It comes with a companion book. Click here for the deets.


Los Angeles
What's New
Don't you love it when music and art hook up? This art show features the work of Hell-A artists Mike Aho, Todd Bratrud, Rik Catlow and Dennis Hodges among others to a soundtrack of live music by Sounder. Mosey on over here to find out how to go.


WARDROBE: Sardinia would be good right about now

During a moment of writer's block today, I began daydreaming about my planned summer trip to Sardinia. I'd ride a bicycle to the beach in this Missoni mini dress and then once I reach sand, strip down to this matching bikini. "Those colors are gorgeous," the other female sunbathers would think as I'd knowingly smile and begin working my way down to the water. And then my phone rang with a call from my editor wanting to know why I had blown my deadline.



At the risk of sounding like a bad commercial, ever since I stopped using Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask in favor of a pricier, more high-end brand, my hair stylist has been leaving me under the dryer for extra long conditioning sessions every weekend. "El pelo es seco," she chastises as she rinses. But she never used to say that when I'd give myself the at-home mask treatments. So I guess it's safe to assume that the hardcore Neutrogena conditioner works, which is cool with me because I'll save a bit of change.



I'm dying because my absolute favorite fragrance, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, is now being offered in a cute travel size. Now, when I feel like adding a hint of brown sugar, coconut milk, hibiscus and Tahitian vanilla behind my wrists or ears, all I have to do is reach in my handbag--as if I need to add anymore weight to that thing.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

SOUNDS: If our life had a soundtrack...

The opening credits (zoom in on heroine walking through a crowded subway station in the morning): "Crazy," by Gnarls Barkley (Click on song titles to listen)

The extended stare-down scene (the girl action hero spots the bad guy across the platform): "Two Can Win," by J Dilla aka Jay Dee

The action/fight sequence (with a series of impressive kicks and jabs, the heroine finally knocks the enemy out with a fatal stab from her two-bladed stiletto boots of power): "Foxy," by Lauryn Hill

The resolution (having won another battle, the heroine puts back on her secret-identity costume--a Tracy Reese sundress and LV sunglasses--and goes on her merry way): "Sunshine," by Grupo X

WARDROBE: Channel your inner Tracy Chambers

"Mahogany," one of our favorite films of all time, takes place in winter in Chicago and Rome. But if the story had unfolded in spring, we have the feeling the movie’s painfully fabulous protagonist, Tracy Chambers aka Mahogany (played with perfect campiness by Diana Ross), would have worn ensembles like these gorgeous ones made by Philly-based designer Nic*Fish.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

LIFE: What's on our collective conscious

Don't mean to be a downer on a beautiful spring Sunday, but I watched “Hotel Rwanda” onDemand last week and then logged onto to and saw this article about the current genocide in Darfur. Could Africa be any more invisible right now?


LIFE: What's on our collective conscious

"So are you any closer to getting married? I'm not. My boyfriend won't even call me his 'girlfriend.'" That's the second thing that came out of an old friend's mouth. We bumped into each other during my trip visiting my parents in my hometown down South where people normally jump the broom right out of undergrad, forgoing the promise of spontaneous travel, a rotating cast of boyfriends, selfish shopping sprees, and the singular disposable income that comes along with young adulthood. (Not that I’m knocking marriage, my parents have been happily together for more than 30 years). We hadn’t seen each other since we were 16, yet she spoke as if we've been chatting with each other every day since then (maybe the area's hyperactive grapevine made her feel closer to me than I did to her). Overall, I think the whole "when am I going to find my huzz-band" discussion incredibly lame. Maybe she should chat with the woman who wrote this article instead.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

FILMS: Could you do that hitch-kick with more feeling please?

Try getting your man to do this on the dancefloor.

LIFE: 5 things we love at the moment

Glittered Miu Miu pumps

"Run for Cover" by DJ Chairman Mao

"Apex" by Colson Whitehead

Lagerfeld Canderel set by Karl Lagerfeld

Red lipstick

The color yellow


Sunday, April 02, 2006

TRENDS: The Pursuit of Fafiness

The French underground art world icon Fafi has just launched a girl action figure called "Irina" with Necessaries Toy Foundation. So if you're too broke to purchase one of her paintings, cop this affordable piece of her work instead. We. love. it.


SOUNDS: If our life had a soundtrack...

The sweeping aerial view opener:
"La Ritournelle" by Sebastien Tellier (Click on song titles to listen)

The satirical self-referential montage:

"Black Betty" by Kudu

The boy meets girl on a beach on a summer day and they connect with each other and now they're so happy they found one another montage:
"Dream" by Alice Smith

The love scene:
"Just Me 'N' You" by JR Bailey from Gilles Peterson Digs America

The travelling home on a train in deep self-introspection sequence:
"Thought It Out" by the Randy Watson Experience featuring Al Green

The break-up scene which ends with an epiphany that life isn't all romantic movie montages:
"Character" by Van Hunt

The closing credits:
"You've Gotta Have Freedom" by Build An Ark


LIFE: Which one of us is different?

Oleg Cassini was my friend- well, about as much of a friend he could be
considering that I only knew him for a little more than a year. I met
him in December of 2004, when he invited me to his home/ company
headquarters on the Upper East Side for an interview. At such an early
stage in my career as a fashion editor, felt like I was interviewing
the president of the United States.

Nervous, I did far more than my usual preparation for a story, researching anything that Lexis Nexis and word of mouth from my industry friends would give me on this man. My preparation paid off. I spoke to him over an hour, and bonded over everything from tennis to my graduate school program. I told him how he, as an American designer, had captured the attention of three generations of women in my family-two of them from half way around the world. Later on he autographed his
book (an ode to Jackie Onassis) for me with a big heart next to his signature. “You ask smart questions,” he said, the message echoing in my head. “You have great style. Better stick with journalism.” I was dying!

Months after the interview, Cassini would keep in touch via hand written notes. The first one came with an orchid plant that was so beautiful I was sure it was sent directly from Malaysia. This was his signature way of saying thanks and I now joined the long list of “important” people in his life that had also received an orchid plant. To keep in the loop with him, I would attend his events at stores and
make sure to say hello. He always greeted me with a brilliant smile, a double kiss and left me feeling like incredibly special. Just for the record, this wasn’t a case of being star struck. I’ve interviewed so many designers and celebrities—none had the charisma of Cassini. This man was 92 years old. He had met so many people in his life that he didn’t have to be nice to anyone. But he was kind to me—and I really,
was no one.

Last summer I was invited to a dinner honoring Cassini with a lifetime achievement award and I was psyched. I hadn’t seen him in a while and was super excited, because everyone was buzzing about the event. I was personally invited to dine with Cassini and his friends. So cool.

But something really strange happened when I arrived that night. I looked around and noticed all of the women there were dressed in couture, blonde, perfectly manicured, buffed and skinny. The men were their male counterparts—like Ken dolls. They looked at me as if I had three heads. I looked at them and then down at my vintage black dress showing my non-stockinged brown legs and bare arms and felt a discomfort that I hadn’t felt in years, the scrutiny that comes with
being different.

As I moved through the crowd, my sense of self increased by ten-fold each minute that ticked by. People were staring not because I was amazingly dressed, they were simply wondering what I was doing there. Their world felt so foreign to me, I could have been on a different planet.

For more than ten years I’ve navigated New York’s many subcultures with ease—Wall Street bankers, Bowery punks, Park Slope dead-heads, Williamsburg hipsters, Bronx b-ballers, fashion icons, etc. Yet, here I was, having gained entrée into the insular world of Upper Eastside’s society set and for the first time, I felt self-conscious. Why the insecurity now?

I think about that night a lot these days. I wonder if living in the city gives you a false sense of the way the world views diversity. Maybe because Manhattan is so forgiving and so accepting of who we are, that we forget there is a world that isn’t so ok with difference especially when it’s rockin’ vintage at a very formal black tie event. My parents were all about assimilation when they came to this country
in the early ‘70’s when racism was still overt and grotesquely accepted. Fast-forward to 2006, when my neighbors are a lesbian couple with a baby girl and my boyfriend is Jewish, and I can’t help but wonder if I’ve been trying to assimilate in my own way? As much as I go to fashion week collections, dressed like my Intermix-shopping counterparts, talk like them, have strangely similar interests, I am totally different.

That became painfully clear at Cassini’s dinner and the realization was
so shocking that I had to leave the dinner. I ran as far away from Gramercy Park as I could get and tried not to think about the dinner ever again.

I didn’t get to say “hi” or even “goodbye” to Cassini that night, a move I now totally regret. The next day I read in the industry papers the soiree was a success and Cassini was his usual dapper self. I wondered if I had just waited a little longer to see him if I would have felt more at ease with my situation. Or, maybe it was an important lesson learned- despite all the clothes, intonation in my voice, taste in music and movies, all the things that I thought made me who I am, I
will always be an Indian woman.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

WARDROBE: What We're Sweating Now

Wedge Sandals

Maybe it's because they remind me of an especially hot old photo of my mother in the 1970's in which she wore espadrilles, short-shorts, and a faded tee with her Aigner handbag, but I'm loving wedge sandals for spring and summer. This brocade pair by the Spanish label Castaner for the global high-concept brand Colette and these wooden Chloe babies are especially retro.


TRENDS: Damn that Nicole Richie

Okay, sure my shopping habit can be perceived as frivolous, wasteful, materialistic, blah, blah, blah, and yes, I probably could have saved the downpayment for five houses (right now I'm close to nailing down one) with the cash I've plopped down for handbags. But, look everyone has their vice. I'll drop $1,600 for a hobo in a minute but sweat bullets about spending $1.50 more than usual for a box of cereal. I'm a handbag whore. "It" bag, vintage satchel or obscure designer sack, I love them all. There's something about the marriage of fashion and function. But I digress. Part of the joy of splurging on a coveted item is knowing that you won't run into every Amy, Tasha and Tina on the street carrying it. That is until the tabloid explosion happened. After tracking down the Fendi Spy bag I had been sweating for nearly a year (I guess my obsession clouded my discernment for trendy "It"-dom), I was beyond dismayed to see my latest acquisition on Nicole Richie's arm in a paparazzi photo. Several days later I saw a pic of a preggers Gwen Stefani rocking it. Publicists at high-end fashion houses gift celebs with designer goods in the hopes of generating sales from midwestern women who want to look like Lindsay Lohan. I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before US Weekly starts calling it Hollywood's latest must-have (ew) and I'll be screwed. Maybe I can get my money back by selling it on ebay.

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