The Style List—June 2009
edited by Tessa Benson
L.A. is the capital of sunglass chic. And right now, it’s all about shades of yesteryear. In a total Mad Men effort to keep things sleek, stores such as Hotel de Ville—filled with deadstock frames—are spearheading this retro rebirth of cool. “The allure of vintage eyewear is simple,” says Van de la Plante, who co-owns the shop with Javier Brambila. “Back in the ’60s and ’70s, it was about quality and style. Frames were hand cut, with superior attention to detail. We’re in a recession. People want to feel like there’s still quality in the world, so trends are leaning toward classic.” Well said—and well framed. $149–$500. —TB
GOTTA HAVE IT
This summer, step out in Sigerson Morrison’s braided silk and silver-chain hippie sandals, called the Friendship because of their youthful ankle ties that resemble the bracelets we exchanged in childhood. It’s the sole of the season, a visual flashback to the 1960s Bernardo-meets-Jackie O era. Look for it in three colors—turquoise and green, sand (pictured) and black. Really, what could be more fun and nostalgic for kicking around? $425. 8307 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles. —TB
SMELLS LIKE SUMMER
The world of fine perfumery has always projected a unique fascination—but little information is shared with the public about fragrance creation. I like breaking this pattern of secrecy. It is one of the intentions of Le Labo, the brand I created with my friend Eddie Roschi, to provide a glimpse into a perfume lab: seeing the technicians touch, smell, create—essentially to look over the shoulder of the perfumer at work.
In terms of perception, smelling a fine fragrance can be compared to listening to choir music. To appreciate the beauty, we must close our eyes and regard not only the talent of each individual voice but all of the artists as a whole. Since there is no specific vocabulary to describe perfume, my partner and I use music terms: A perfume blend of a few ingredients is called an “accord,” a complex blend a “composition” and each ingredient a “note.” To paraphrase Frank Zappa: “Writing about perfume is like dancing about architecture.” And here I am now, darkening this page with all these fragrant words.
Music, of course, has no season—I enjoy Bach in December as much as in July—but it’s different with perfume. I can’t stand getting in an elevator with a woman proudly doused in, say, Angel by Mugler (oriental notes) in the middle of August. For summer, it’s all about wearing a scent built around the freshest, most fragile ingredients in a perfume lab: citrus. Citrus notes have a light and sunny character. They come from the family of agrumen oils—bergamot, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange and bitter orange. My favorite is Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermes ($150, hermes.com). What a pleasure after the first splash hits the skin. It is joie de vivre in a bottle.
For men, Artisan by John Varvatos ($75, johnvarvatos.com) boasts clementine, mandarin orange and orange blossom, a sparkling introduction to the sensual woody, dry down. And for women, Sabbia 167 by Pucci ($59, sephora.com) uses mandarin as well, but it’s mixed with a soft musky following.
Citrus is the absolute essence of this season—think of it as summer in a bottle. There will always be those who want heavy, long-lasting perfumes that speak loudly, even at 105 degrees. This explains, in part, the invention of air-conditioning. —Fabrice Penot
Who’s cooler than Miles Davis? Pay homage to one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century—and get dad an awesome Father’s Day gift—with Columbia Legacy’s 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time. The box set comes with the artist’s music journal, a DVD (including interviews and studio sessions), two CDs, a vinyl record, a poster and a 60-page book of color photographs. It’s the ultimate bible for fans of the musician who invented modern jazz. Now that’s something to sing about. $110. geniusofmilesdavis.com. —TB
TREND DU JOUR
Fashion follows music this summer. Club beats are a diverse mix of musical genres, including hip-hop, rock and electro soul. Baggy pants are a thing of the past—darlings of today’s rock movement are donning tighter jeans, with cuffs that ride up when you sit down to reveal the ultimate accessory: designer socks. The perfect complement to your ultra-hip low-riding summer sneakers, Paul Smith is a season favorite. $30. 8221 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-951-4800, paulsmith.co.uk. —Raha Lewis
Breezy days, saltwater, daisies and colorful sunsets—the inspirations behind mirthful L.A.-based designer Andi Ballard’s premiere collection are just as uplifting as they are edgy, and you won’t regret the price tag. Named after the street in Virginia where the designer grew up, Seneca Rising is a sweet-as-candy mishmash of nostalgic, free-flowing tees, tanks and dresses perfect for layering and easy enough to take from the beach to a casual summer night out. “It’s about spending the whole day at the ocean, then going to a barbecue and sitting by a bonfire till the early morning, while looking and feeling flirty and comfortable,” Ballard says. The custom-made fabrics in 100-percent cotton jersey and vintage cotton mesh are heavenly. $50–$180. Barneys New York, 9570 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-276-4400, senecarising.com. —Allison Kornberg
If you’re a material girl, you’ll be delighted to know this season’s guilty pleasure in jewelry is felt. Highlighting the tactile trend is British designer Giles Deacon, who—after three seasons partnering with Atelier Swarovski—has upped the ante. Inspired by a visit to a national felt museum, Deacon, known for his innovative approach, eye for contrasting materials and cutting-edge vision, delights in the unexpected pairing. “I loved the idea of mixing a utilitarian fabric with highly engineered crystal,” he says. The result of that collaboration is exquisite jewelry, hand-stamped with felt bases and adorned with Swarovski-cut chains, studs, pins and crystals in an elegant palette. It’s conversational, really. Shannon necklace, $930. atelierswarovski.com. —AK
I'M WITH THE BAND
Late-night debauchery, trashed hotel rooms, inspiring millions—ah, the vibrant life of a rock star. Worn Free custom makes and reproduces T-shirts that were once worn by rock legends. The 100 percent cotton tees are prewashed to ensure that authentic vintage feel. John Lennon’s “You Are Here,” Debbie Harry’s “Camp Funtime” and Kurt Cobain’s “Grunge Is Dead” are but a few to help you talk the talk. Learning to walk the walk is up to you. $35.95–$54.95. wornfree.com. —TB
Josh Groban will be inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame on June 19. The slight 28-year-old with the big voice is honored not just for his considerable talent but for his advocacy for music education. But we want to know what makes him tick...
1. Did being a character on The Simpsons clarify to the public that you are not an opera singer?
Josh Groban: [Laughs.] I’m always looking for a way to show the bigger picture of what I do. And Lisa Simpson is a fan. I’ll take that—it’s a huge honor.
2. Were you ever tempted to join a rock band?
JG: Not vocally. When I open my mouth to sing, this is the voice that comes out. But I play the drums to get my rock emotions out there.
3. Rick Rubin is producing your next album. Are you changing genres?
JG: No. We’re not reinventing my sound, but I’m coming out from behind the instruments. We both have a healthy dose of fear and excitement.
4. What was it like testifying before Congress about funding for the arts?
JG: It was like theater. I felt right at home. At first everybody’s relaxed and chatting, then down goes the hammer and it’s time to read your monologue.
5. If you could sing a duet with anyone...?
JG: Björk. She has the most amazing voice. Whether it’s pop, classical, jazz—everything she does is undeniably her.
READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP
Wouldn’t you call an elegant product that replenishes dry skin, balances oily skin, softens lines, lessens the appearance of sun damage and scars, all while having the divine scent of neroli oil, a phenomenon? We certainly would. Liz Earle’s Superskin Concentrate, a plant-based facial blend of argan oil and organic rose-hip oil, is “one of the wonders of modern skin care,” according to Earle. A journalist and BBC beauty-show host, Earle started her eponymous line 15 years ago and now oversees the harvesting of botanical ingredients from Malawi to Morocco. Her masterpieces haven’t gone unnoticed. Makeup artist Pati Dubroff uses Superskin Concentrate on such clients as Miley Cyrus, Jessica Biel and Sheryl Crow and stashes the roller-ball version in her own purse while traveling. “It’s an herbal remedy for the skin,” says Dubroff, “and everyone looks more radiant and youthful with the glow from this oil.” Concentrate, $70; roller ball, $34. Studio BeautyMix at Fred Segal Santa Monica, 500 Broadway, 310-394-8509, lizearle.com. —Martha McCully