Tagspring collections

Invasion of the Blog People

Last night, I invited more than a dozen gorgeous bloggers to Christian’s studio to drink Champagne, see the Spring 2010 collection and shop Fall 2009. Our guests were Jennine from The Coveted, Jordana from Clutch 22, the three Fasshonaburu ladies, Jessica from What I Wore, the Jessica Rabbit-shaped Midtown Girl, Jillian from Nova Style, Pamela from Market Publique, 39th and Broadway, Jeanne from The Periodic Elements of Style, tiny Alixrose and repeat customer Princess Poochie.

I need to invest in a video camera so I can properly capture events like this. Still photos are nice, but they don’t let you hear the high-pitched squeals that followed the presentation of every darling spring dress, not to mention the giggling and gossiping. Christian was quite brave about it, but a couple of times I did find him hiding his office, checking baseball scores in a desperate effort to counteract estrogen overload.

Christian told us that Spring was inspired by the American Museum of Natural History’s famous dioramas. He imagined how the museum might display three species of fashionable New York ladies that he had identified and named. Here are his descriptions:

  • The Wild Sugartooth (cravus sucrosius) is an upbeat, social creature who displays lively colors and a bright smile. A springtime stroll past Dylan’s Candy Bar, Magnolia Bakery or Pinkberry is often rewarded by the sight of this species, which appears to enjoy nothing more than eating a sweet snack and wearing a pretty dress on a sunny day. (A subspecies of the Sugartooth can be found clad in gym clothes near the Cadbury Dairy Milk bars in supermarket aisles.)
  • The Eastern Gameling (brainius cumulonimbus) is a gifted and talented breed with a natural immunity to gloomy weather. While some may nap the rainy day away, the Eastern Gameling seizes the opportunity and invites her flock over for an afternoon of fun and games. But even while she’s perched in her apartment alone, she finds stimulation in the bright colors and bold graphic prints that fill her closet.
  • The cheerful Meadowspringer (novella picnicana) can be found in Central Park, frolicking around freshly mowed grasses or engaged in animated conversation around a picnic blanket. Well adapted to the landscape of fields and parks where she spends her free time, the Meadowspringer is as colorful as a flower shop and as melodious as an outdoor concert.

When Jordana tried on the same tartan dress I was already wearing, we decided to pose as mirror images. We ended up looking into each others’ eyes so intently for so long while everyone got their pictures that I felt obliged to ask her to marry me afterward.

Everyone looked adorable in their purchases. The most fortuitous one was by Fasshonaburu’s Alyssa. She was mourning the fact that she never got one of the graffiti-inspired dresses from the Spring 2009 collection, when lo and behold, we found a lone wrap dress lurking on a rack. How great does she look?

I’m hoping that Fasshonaburu’s Vyque (now the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind Francis skirt) follows through on her threat to organize a Francis-wearing flash mob for Fashion Week. I’ll be checking my phone for your text, Vyque.

Thanks again for coming, ladies! I hope you had a good time. And, to anyone who wasn’t able to join us last night, don’t fret! I’ll give you your own private tour of the studio any time. Holla at me at wendy at cfrnyc dot com and we’ll set it up.

UPDATED TO ADD: I had no idea that Princess Poochie DID have a Flip video camcorder. Here’s a half-minute clip that starts with the Jordana/WendyB mirror pose and gives you a good sense of the volume of voices in the studio. Now imagine that going on for 2 1/2 hours! I love hearing Princess Poochie saying, “Clothes, clothes, clothes…” in a sing-song voice.

Greetings (and Graffiti) from Paris

I am currently in Paris. I’ve had great timing. Not only was I here for Bastille Day, but I also was able to catch the Cartier Foundation’s graffiti exhibition, Ne Dans La Rue (Born in the Streets). My second and third posts for this blog were about how graffiti inspired a whole group of pieces in Christian’s Spring ‘09 collection.

Luckily, I brought along the perfect Francis dress to wear to the exhibition.

Tag! I’m it!

If you’re in Paris between now and November 29, you should definitely check out the exhibit, which has photos of the original subway art from the ’70s and ’80s, newly commissioned pieces, Basquiats, Harings, video interviews (I loved the one in which former New York City mayor Ed Koch proposed five days in jail for repeat graffiti offenders), movie clips and music videos. And if you want to cause people to do double takes like I did, you can buy a Francis graffiti dress just like mine at bloomingdales.com, where it is currently reduced to $486.50, from $695.

If you don’t get to go, you can get a little of the vibe from the Clash’s This Is Radio Clash video, which was running along with Blondie’s Rapture video on one of the monitors.

I had totally forgotten about the graffiti element in the Clash video. Joe Strummer, forgive me!

UPDATED TO ADD: To continue the international theme, you must check out gorgeous blogger Mer’s post on an Au Revoir Simone concert in Barcelona, where band member Erika Forster wore her Francis subway map dress. And speaking of the dress, FabSugarUK has posted a “love it/hate it” poll on it. WTF? The only voting options should be “love it/love it so much I can’t live without it.”

The Writing on the Dress

I’m always psyched to support a good cause, so my husband (MrB) and I gathered up a few friends and went to the Fresh Air Fund’s annual benefit on Thursday night. I’ll write more about the cause and the party soon. Right now I just want you to check out my Francis by Christian Francis Roth dress.

The graffiti goes all the way around the dress and says “Style Wars.” It’s from Christian’s Spring 2009 “Gangs of New York” collection. There are six gangs in the collection: the After- School Specials, the Lace- ups, the Downtown Locals, the Twill Seekers, the Pieces of 8th, and the Tie Breakers. The Downtown Locals gang — which includes my dress — was inspired by the wild subway graffiti Christian saw in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when he used to take the downtown local from the East 77th Street station to school. You out-of-towners can take a look at Christian’s subway map dress to get your bearings.

The train he took was the 6. That’s the same train that Jennifer Lopez name-checked in the title of her first album. And that factoid is all the excuse I need to share my all-time favorite J. Lo moment. Check out what she says when she’s asked to “defend her outfit.”

I’m sad that the camera cut away right before she whipped a razor out of her ponytail and cut the bitch who dared to challenge her fashion sense.

Getting back to the graffiti, my gorgeous friend Maggie Kneip recently invited me to the opening of a big street art exhibit called “Whole in the Wall” at the Helenbeck Gallery. Maggie was invited by HER gorgeous friend Tamara Warren, who is married to renowned graffiti artist Lee Quinones. Christian is a huge fan of Lee back from the days when he’d see big “LEE” tags on the subway cars, so we brought him along too. We went to dinner at Bianca first, and after a little lot of wine, Christian declared he was going to ask Lee to tag his ass. Backwards. So he could read it in the mirror. To my everlasting disappointment, he did not go through with this. When I asked why not, Christian pleaded poverty: “He (Lee) would have been like, sure, that’s $1500!” Cheapskate. Anyway, Lee was gracious enough to pose for a photo, free of charge.

Seconds after this picture was taken, Christian went from being totally starstruck by Lee to saying stuff like, “Yo, come down to the studio. Hit me up, man. I’ll show you my work, dawg.” He might have thrown in a few more “yo’s” and grabbed his crotch or something while handing over his business card. It was all very tough and urban. I grew up in Mahwah, N.J., so I was very impressed by all of this. I mean, if I were to meet my idol, Coco, I would lose all self-control and scream, “OHMYGOD! YOUAREMYIDOL!” Maybe that’s why I prefer my memory of how Christian looked right before coolness struck him. As Maggie said, “Witnessing the shining eyes of Mr. Christian upon meeting Lee Q. made the night complete.” Seriously, yo, it was adorable.

After tearing ourselves away from Lee and leaving Maggie and Tamara to catch up, Christian and I went off to find Christian’s friend Meres, the graffiti artist who designed prints for the “Gangs of New York” collection. We all said “Yo!” and then I took this picture.

Here’s one of the Meres dresses. It’s on sale at Bloomingdales.com — only $269.50 as I’m writing this. That’s a great price for a wearable work of art! I think the only thing better than a work of art on the wall is a work of art that can be worn, don’t you agree? Look closely at the asymmetrical hem. Christian points out that borders were always important in graffiti. The art didn’t just take place in the middle of a tag. Christian applied that idea to this dress and turned a graffiti border into a hemline. Clever boy.

The graffiti on my dress was done by another artist. You can buy my dress in person at Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street in Manhattan — unfortunately, it’s not online. Those of you who can’t get to the store can call 212-705-2000. For the same graffiti vibe in a different style, check out this spectacular dress with a “Francis” tag at Bloomingdales.com.

One of Christian’s friends wore this one to a party and she was the center of attention all night. That’s what you want out of a dress. Trust!

If you’re going to be in New York this month, the Whole in the Wall exhibit runs through June 27. Here’s a New York Times article on it. If you want to know more about graffiti art in general, Christian says Subway Art is the book to get. He also says Style Wars is a great documentary. And, if you prefer fiction, the movie The Warriors was a major inspiration for the “Gangs of New York” collection.

Remember that if you buy one of the dresses from Bloomie’s, you need to send me a photo for the blog. And if you bump into Lee Quinones and get him to sign your ass, I need a picture of that too. Thanks, dawgs!

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