September 25, 2007

We've Got the Beat: Jack Kerouac's Jacket

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Hogan's Jack Kerouac bomber jacket.

By Nandita Khanna

Earlier this spring, Italian luxury leather purveyor Hogan launched the "Jack Kerouac Project"--a capsule collection of six well-worn, buttery-soft leather pieces from bags to sneakers--at Colette in Paris. The collection also marks Hogan's first foray into outerwear. Hogan's launch is timed with the 50-year anniversary of Kerouac's iconic novel On the Road, which embodies the essence of the Beat movement.

The line bows at boutiques in U.S. this month and will be on sale through January. The standout piece is by far the bomber jacket, which is fashioned after Kerouac's own, and is most certainly a nod to the writer's own rumpled, urban nomad style with its ribbed wool banding and double front pockets ($1,590). A fifties-style high-top sneaker and work boot would make excellent shoes for pounding the city pavement (shoes from $295 to $475). For modern adventurers out to emulate Kerouac, the caramel-hued travel bag ($1,290) is clearly priced beyond Kerouac's means but manages to evoke that "this-old-thing" feeling that makes it so darn cool looking. And, hey, it might just inspire you to pack your bags and set off on your own cross-country adventure.

September 07, 2007

Westward Bound

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White Haute: Smythson's Nancy Bag, which is an L.A. store exclusive through October.

By Nandita Khanna

Having spent a large part of my formative years in Southern California before moving to Atlanta for college, Washington, DC for my first job, and now, to New York City, I am often hesitant to answer the straightforward question: "Where are you from?" While my allegiance often vacillates between both coasts--most often depending on season--I'm quite territorial about all that is to be savored in New York from its culture to its restaurants and shopping. California has my wholehearted fidelity when it comes to beaches--not even Southampton or Fire Island come close in my eyes. So when Deputy News Editor Debi Dunn (a loyal Californian, might I add), who edited our September L.A. Insert, posed the question "Is L.A. becoming more like New York, or is New York becoming more like L.A.?" I did some poking around when I was out there this spring.

Much to my rather selfish delight, I was pleased to see that many of the boutiques that have become institutions in New York are broadening their reach and tapping the starlet-pounded pavement of Rodeo Drive and North Robertson. West Third Street is becoming real destination for fashionistas in search of smaller-name designers and international labels, while even heavily trafficked North Robertson--made famous most notably by its appearances on the pages of US Weekly--is getting quite a facelift with Chanel and Scoop rumored to be shopping for retail space. Even the girls at Foley + Corinna are purportedly poking around looking for a perch, and Helmut Lang is opening on Melrose.

Herewith, some of the newest boutiques--all of whom have flagships in New York--to hold court in La-la land.

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August 15, 2007

Local Intelligence: Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles


Jean Therapy: Paige Premium Denim is just
one of the celebrity haunts on Robertson
Boulevard in Los Angeles.

By Nandita Khanna

When I'm traveling it's not the guidebooks that I turn to, or even the area magazines (but I do buy them)-- it's the locals. Who knows where to eat, sleep, and hang out better than those who call the city home? Earlier this spring I headed to Los Angeles on assignment for the magazine's 20th anniversary issue. While I'd like to think I know the city well--I grew up there-- much like New York, things change in the blink of an eye. And while I insist that In and Out Burger is still the best place in town to grab a bite, I invited these three trend-setting women below--all of whom have taken up post on perpetually packed Robertson Boulevard--to share their favorite secrets and tips in the City of Angels.

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July 25, 2007

A Real Gem

By Nandita Khanna

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World on a String: A multi-strand tourmaline necklace from Hornig's collection.


More so recently there has been a heightened awareness in fashion about giving back to the local community, sustainability, and smart consumerism. When I came across New York-based jeweler Joan Hornig, who donates 100 percent of the profits from her line to a charity of the buyers' choice (drawn from a list of more than 160 organizations), I'll admit, I was flat out stunned. It then dawned on me that Hornig truly embodies this forward-thinking movement with her delicate, but show-stopping nascent collection.

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July 18, 2007

A Rare Import

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A Stately Affair: Space.NK's U.S. flagship sits on historic Greene Street in New York's trendy SoHo neighborhood.

By Nandita Khanna

As a student studying abroad at University of Oxford in England to my delight I found that small, inexpensive pleasures abound: a pain au chocolat at the patisserie on High Street, an afternoon spent perusing the books at Blackwell's, and watching students perform Shakespeare on the Thames. It wasn't until I traveled into London that I discovered small pleasures could be found there too--only there it's for a costly sum given the current exchange rate. It was then that I came across Space.NK.apothohecary in Covent Garden, and quickly became hooked on high-end beauty products and the store's eponymou--and affordable--beauty line. What struck me about Space.NK was that I wasn't finding run-of-the-mill beauty lines that I'd find at say, Sephora, but I was finding special, more boutique-y feeling lines that weren't on every girl's vanity. The great thing was that the lines carried here were quite diverse--there's everything from Acqua di Parma to Laura Mercier and exclusive lines like SheerinO'kho and Eve Lom.

Space.NK's founder, Nicky Kinnaird (who I'm proud to say, shares my initials), believes that beauty is a natural extension of fashion, and in her first atelier in Covent Garden helped garner attention for the likes of Anya Hindmarch and other up-and-coming Brit designers. Kinnaird believes that there isn't one particular brand that does everything perfectly (a rather sensible approach, if you ask me), but rather, plenty of different brands that do a few things very well. With that very mindset, Kinnaird launched her own eponymous line Space.NK, which now includes fragrance, aromatherapy, thalassotherapy, and even beauty tools (like a genius eyelash curler, but more on that later). Plus, there's several great travel sets including the "Fragrant Traveler" that comes in scents like Compelling (inspired by Kinnaird's trips to Morocco) and Soulful (influenced by her trip to a Japanese hot spring 1-1/2 hours outside of Tokyo).

Much to my delight Kinnaird opened her first US location here in New York in SoHo--giving faithful Space.NK habitues like myself a new place to play. Because isn't that what apothecaries are all about? Spritzing and sampling to your heart is content? I like to think so. Here, Belfast-born Kinnaird, a frequent flier and constant globetrotter talk to us about her new store opening and some of her travel tips (and discoveries).

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June 26, 2007

Tee Time

By Nandita Khanna

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Height of fashion: Diane von Furstenberg's T-shirt for the cause.


It's an undeniable fashion truth: the little white T-shirt permeates our wardrobe day in and out. And why shouldn't it? T-shirts are comfortable, easy to wear, and can be paired with just about anything. In fact, I've amassed quite a collection of tissue tees from some of my favorite designers (adampluseve, Splendid, J.Crew, James Perse). But what happens on those days when you don't really want your T-shirt to play second fiddle to the rest of your outfit? Or you want to look chic on the plane, but more effortless than dolled-up?

As it turns out an event called Limited Editions New York (L.E.N.Y.) speaks to our sartorial woes. L.E.N.Y. is a twice-yearly exhibition during New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week that will call upon the design talent of some of fashion's boldest names to create limited-edition pieces made available at only the hippest boutiques around the globe (Colette in Paris, Harvey Nichols in the UK, Milk in Los Angeles, and Intermix in New York).

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May 23, 2007

Phillip Lim takes on Uniqlo

By Nandita Khanna

Philliplim_materialist

Japanese casual wear empire Uniqlo made quite a entrance earlier this year here in New York's SoHo with the arrival of its first U.S. post by positioning numerous advertisments throughout the city showing impeccably folded cashmere sweaters for under $75 (it's true). In a smart move, Uniqlo also announced that they'd launch a Designer Invitation Project in which they'd enlist designers like Lutz & Patmos, Alice Roi, and Phillip Lim to design women's capsule collections that would be rolled out each month during the spring. Yesterday morning Uniqlo debuted New York-based Lim's brilliant capsule collection (his belted mindress is pictured at left) to much fanfare by hosting a group of lucky fashionistas and magazine editors to pre-shop the collection before the store opened their doors to the general public. Upon arriving at 9:15 a.m., to my surprise there was already a long line of women (and some men) outside the store ready to snatch up the collection before it opened at 10 a.m. The charming collection featured a few linen minidresses (black, off-white, plaid), high-waisted shorts, and jersey dresses (in gray and green) that brilliantly capture much of what Lim's 3.1 collection is all about: maintaining an easy elegance and freshness regardless of your personal style. Here, Phillip Lim weighs in on the collection and his favorite pieces.

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May 16, 2007

High-Flying Luggage Goes Retro

By Nandita Khanna

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Pan Am's vintage Explorer bag.

It appears that what's old is new again. Again. This time though it's Pan Am hand luggage something I never had the privilege of toting through airports the first go-around. That's right, the "it" airline of the 1950s and '60s made famous by its patrons that included John F. Kennedy to the Beatles is looking to bring this nostalgic accessory back into the grasp of stylish jet-setters.

Pan Am--celebrating their 80th anniversary this year--recently debuted twelve piece line of PVC weekend bags in white, turquoise, and royal blue all emblazoned with the iconic Pan Am globe. The interiors are appropriately lined with a kitschy globe and airplane pattern and some of the bags even have great detailing like a Pan Am logo zip tag on them or contrasting piping. All the bags are roomy and have enough pockets to satisfy even the most discerning travel--or at least one looking to stand out in a sea of black carry-ons. Travel bag prices range from $55-$90 and the rest of the line includes T-shirts, travel journals, notecards, and postcards based on vintage Pan Am posters.

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April 27, 2007

One Night in Bangkok

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A crocodile bag found in Bangkok's La Sourire

OK, give the Materialist a break. She's always wanted to use that hed, and besides which, she's feeling a bit cooked.

Don't get the Materialist wrong--Southeast Asia is fabulous! Great food, great infrastructure, genuinely great service, great orchids (a great profusion of all tropical flora in fact, that is making the Materialist long for Honolulu, where she WOULD be renting a house this summer were her friend Rupert not such a tightwad).

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April 26, 2007

Green is the New Black (really!)

By Nandita Khanna

Like many other eco-conscious, but equally style savvy counterparts of mine I never realized the sheer number of forward-thinking designers that have turned their attention to producing socially conscious clothing. I'll admit, I had always thought that clothes made from organic cotton were rather hippy-dippy for my personal taste. Breaking through that stereotype is Brit designer Stella McCartney, who has always churned out stylish PETA-approved pieces and accessories made from synthetic materials (even the shoes, which are outfitted from a leather-like plant derivative and stamped with the Suitable for Vegetarians slogan). But it appears, Stella isn't alone, and there are plenty of other designers who are stepping up to bat for the cause, or simply developing their lines based on sustainable practices.

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