From Hedi's lips to our ears.

Just released from the Hedi Slimane press office:

"I GUESS THIS WEBSITE COULD BE MY OWN TRIBUNE. ENGLISH IS NOT MY NATURAL LANGUAGE, BUT I THOUGHT I WOULD WRITE THIS MYSELF. HOPEFULLY IT WILL MAKE SENSE TO SOME, AND STRAIGHTEN SOME IMPRECISE RECORDS. I WAS SILENT FOR A LONG TIME. I OBSERVED WITH INTEREST HOW BLURRY AND TWISTED EVERYTHING HAS BECOME. I ALMOST FEEL LIKE I’M A STRANGER TO ALL THIS, AND TOTALLY RELIEVED IT HAS FINALLY COME OUT.

IN JULY 2000, ALMOST 7 YEARS AGO, I JOINED CHRISTIAN DIOR AND STARTED TO DEFINE DIOR HOMME. I CAME FROM SAINT LAURENT. I WAS A LITTLE MISERABLE AND SAD OF THIS SUDDEN EXODUS, AND THE IDEA OF STARTING EX-NIHILO A DIFFERENT MASCULINE PROJECT AT DIOR WAS APPEALING. I’VE ALWAYS FELT FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL HOUSE.

I BELIEVED DIOR HOMME, NEWLY CREATED, COULD BE A HOLISTIC PROJECT. THROUGH THE YEARS I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO COLLABORATE WITH SO MANY CREATIVE MINDS AND DEVELOP A COMMON SENSIBILITY. I WANT TO THANK THEM ALL FOR A REALLY FRUITFUL COLLABORATION. IT WAS A TIME CAPSULE—7 YEARS OF PRODUCING MUSIC, BANDS, ARCHITECTURAL SPACES, ART PROJECTS, AND DESIGN. I GUESS I WAS SOLELY INTERESTED IN THE TIME I WAS IN, LIVING IN COMPLETE MOVEMENT.

I ALWAYS TRIED TO STAY FAITHFUL TO MY BELIEFS, AND THE IDEAS I WAS PURSUING. I TRIED NOT TO GET DISTRACTED. I HAD A CERTAIN IDEA OF THE HOUSE OF DIOR, WHICH I LOVE, AND TRIED TO EXPRESS IT THROUGH DIFFERENT MEDIUMS. IT WON’T BE FOR ME TO JUDGE IF IT WAS OF ANY RELEVANCE. I WAS JUST TRYING SOMETHING.

I CANNOT THANK MY TEAM ENOUGH, MY STUDIO, AND MY ATELIER, WITH WHOM I BUILT DIOR HOMME. IN SOME WAYS I FEEL IT IS THEM I HAVE LEFT, AND I WOULD HOPE THEY WILL UNDERSTAND. I WANT THEM TO KNOW I LOVE EACH ONE OF THEM. THEY WERE ALWAYS BY MY SIDE, AND ME BY THEIRS. WE HELPED EACH OTHER THROUGH THE PROCESS OF DESIGN AND THE EXPECTATIONS. I ASSUME WE HAD THE BEST TIME TOGETHER DESIGNING ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IN THIS TINY STUDIO.

I ALSO WANT TO THANK ALL THE BOYS THAT DID MY SHOWS AND THOSE I PHOTOGRAPHED, THE ONES I FOUND RANDOMLY AND ALL THE OTHERS. THEY HAVE BEEN A STRONG INSPIRATION–IF NOT THE ONLY ONE–AND THE REASON WHY I DESIGNED THE CLOTHES. I LIKED NOTHING MORE THAN SEEING THEM TAKING OVER THE SHOWS AND MAKING THE CLOTHES THEIR OWN.

I WANT TO THANK ALL THE MUSICIANS I WORKED WITH, THE ONES I DRESSED, THE ONES I PHOTOGRAPHED, AND THE ONES THAT COMPOSED MUSIC FOR ME. I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO PARTICIPATE IN THE BIRTH OF THIS NEW SCENE, WHICH I GUESS HAD A LOT TO DO WITH THE SILHOUETTE I WAS TRYING TO CREATE. I ALWAYS HAVE THIS GENERATION IN MIND, AND I GUESS I’M STAYING BY ITS SIDE. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL THE BOYS AND GIRLS WHO FELT IT.

I WANT TO THANK ALL THE PEOPLE THAT MANUFACTURED MY DESIGNS WITH SO MUCH CARE AND PRECISION, THE TEAMS THAT CARRIED THIS PROJECT INTO STORES, AS WELL AS THE RETAILERS THAT SUPPORTED MY COLLECTIONS.


I WANT TO THANK BERNARD ARNAULT, WHO TRUSTED ME WITH THIS PROJECT. I WAS REALLY BLESSED TO BE ABLE TO DEVELOP IT. I HOPE HE WILL UNDERSTAND MY POSITION AND DECISION, IF NOT NOW, THEN HOPEFULLY WITH SOME TIME.

CLOSE TO A YEAR AGO, MORE PRECISELY LAST JULY, AT THE END OF MY CONTRACT, I FELT IT WAS TIME FOR ME TO MAKE A MAJOR CHANGE, AND LEAVE THE COMPANY. I HAD ALREADY SET UP THE PRINCIPLES THAT COULD CONTINUE TO BE THERE FOR DIOR HOMME. AS FOR MY OWN STYLE, I DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO SEPARATE THE 2.

IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT A PROPOSAL CAME TO ME TO START A NEW HOUSE UNDER MY NAME IF I STAYED WITH DIOR HOMME.

I TRIED TO MAKE THINGS WORK FOR ABOUT A YEAR. HOWEVER, I HAD THE FEELING IT WAS NOT THE RIGHT PROJECT FOR ME. THERE ARE AREAS I WILL NOT COMPROMISE WITH AT ALL WHEN IT COMES TO MY WORK, AND SETTING UP A LABEL UNDER MY OWN NAME. I ALWAYS KEPT IN MIND THE PRECEDENCE OF SOME DESIGNERS I ADMIRE WHO WERE IN A SIMILAR SITUATION, AND CHOSE THE OTHER PATH. PERHAPS IN ANOTHER TIME IN MY LIFE, UNDER OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES, MY NAME, AND THE MANAGEMENT OF A COMPANY UNDER MY OWN LABEL WOULD BE CONSIDERED DIFFERENTLY. RIGHT NOW I FEEL IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO STAY TRUE TO MY PRINCIPLES, AND THE IDEA I HAVE OF FASHION.

I HAD NO OTHER CHOICE THAN TO REFUSE THE KIND PROPOSITION THAT WAS MADE AND TO DECLINE A NEW DIOR HOMME CONTRACT. I MADE THIS CLEAR JUST AFTER MY LAST SHOW, THE SECOND WEEK OF FEBRUARY, AND LEFT FOR LOS ANGELES. I DECIDED TO WALK AWAY FROM DIOR, AND MOVE ENTIRELY FORWARD."

Also, Hedi has his own MySpace page!

Copycat

DESIGNER SUES: 'EVIL' TWIN VON FURIOUS AT 'COPYCAT'

By DANICA LO

(DVF dress left, Forever 21 right)

March 29, 2007 -- Seeing double? Well, Diane von Furstenberg is seeing red.

The famed designer thinks cheapie-fashion store Forever 21's $32 "Sabrina" smock dress looks suspiciously similar to her own $325 "Cerisier" design.

Von Furstenberg's studio filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit last week against Forever 21, claiming the downmarket retailer willfully copied the pattern, colors, and measurements of her popular frock - as well as another dress from a previous season.

While the fashion industry has long been plagued by counterfeiters hawking knockoffs on Chinatown street corners, rarely do established mass-market retailers so brazenly mimic high-end designers' current-season offerings, von Furstenberg's lawyers say.

"The so-called 'legitimized' versions are slightly better in quality [than knockoffs] but none are the same as the original genuine product," said Harley Lewin, of law firm Greenberg Traurig, who is representing von Furstenberg's studio.

"The harm done is probably greater. Consumers are more likely to think they're buying the real thing at a retail outlet like this one, as opposed to a street corner," Lewin said. "When the quality isn't there, as it ultimately isn't, the consumers blame the brand."

The similarities go beyond appearance. Both dresses are 100 percent silk, and both are made in China. To the untrained eye, the construction seems almost the same.

The difference in prices likely has to do with the premium put on a designer name, product development on the part of von Furstenberg, the manufacturing conditions and the quality of the material.

It's rare that designers willingly spend the time and effort to go after offenders. But von Furstenberg, whose fans include the likes of Susan Sarandon, Paris Hilton, Carmen Electra and Kate Moss, has taken a more aggressive approach. In recent months, she's filed lawsuits in five states in an effort to protect her brand's intellectual property.

In addition to seeking unspecified financial damages, von Furstenberg requested a court order that Forever 21 remove and recall the dresses and any promotional display or commercial distribution of products that infringe on DVF's copyrights.
Forever 21 did not return calls seeking comment.

Digital images and the Internet have made it more difficult for fashion houses to fight imitators. Where sketchers from rival houses were commonly banned from fashion shows in the 1940s and 1950s, today rivals can log on minutes after a presentation and see incredibly detailed images.

"With today's electronic media, you can show something in a store or on a runway [and] pictures, good ones, are available on the Internet within hours," Lewin says. "To digitize a print from such a quality photograph is relatively easy. After that, it's a matter of finding someone to make the fake goods and in China, unfortunately, that's not terribly hard."

Additional reporting by Raakhee Mirchandani

Haute List

HAUTE LIST

By DANICA LO and RAAKHEE MIRCHANDANI

March 29, 2007 --Tag, and you're 'it'

LATELY, it doesn't matter whether you spend $30 or $3,000 on a handbag or pair of shoes - like clockwork, by the time you've scrimped and saved enough to make the last payment, everyone around has managed to get their hands on one, too.
Unless you can afford to splurge on couture (we're talking $40,000 dresses from Paris, folks), exclusivity in fashion is practically dead. With the commodification of high-end labels and the ease of eBay and e-commerce, it seems like everyone's got the latest limited-edition must-have this or that.

Just like you, we're longing for something personalized, something new - without being subject to a three-month wait or exorbitant couturier charges.

(Before you say Bedazzler, homey don't play that.)

So it got us thinking - if you were a New York teenager in the early '90s, chances are your friends spent most days hanging out in the park wearing baggy pants, oversize plaid shirts, North Face parkas, and carrying navy blue L.L. Bean campus backpacks - covered in marker by fledgling local graffiti artists.

Now, we're all grown up, and have not-so-novice friends - namely, legendary graffiti artists Claw Money and Semen Irak, to whom we entrusted our years-old white Goyard St. Louis tote and new-season fresh-out-of-the-box black Chanel rain boots. A few strokes of genius and a pack of Pilot paint markers later, we're proud owners of better-than-new unique luxury goods.

In case you don't happen to have best graffiti buddies of your very own, we don't necessarily recommend lurking under the Brooklyn Bridge clutching your Louis Vuitton monogram tote. Try schmoozing up the staff at downtown streetwear stores like aNYthing (anewyorkthing.com, 51 Hester St.; [212] 777-0919) and Alife (158 Rivington St.; [212] 375-8116) for inspiration and connections, or check out the Open City street artist program exhibition, through April 7 at Eyebeam (eyebeam.org, 540 W. 21st St.; [212] 937-6580).

Obsessions of the week

* Knock it off: Chanel's $995 Coco Cabas black vinyl bag (pictured) flew out of stores and boasted a waitlist of hundreds when it was first introduced last season. For those with slimmer wallets but comparable fetishes for all glossy things with chains, we recommend this oversize patent leather tote, a snip at $75 from shopintuition.com.

* DIY: If the fear of dropping your pants in front of strangers has you avoiding your regularly scheduled waxing appointments, try Completely Bare's Wax Works home hair-removal kit ($135 at completelybare.com). The do-it-yourself kit contains everything you need to groom your unmentionables within the privacy of your own home, including a very, ahem, thorough instructional DVD.

* Rock candy: All the coolest fashion girls are rocking big cocktail rings to go along with the season's pretty frocks - we're especially keen on these enormous candy-colored rocks, available in rose, champagne, lemon and chili-pepper red, $350 each, at davidlundahl.com

* Knock you out: Pair your freshly graffiti'd merch (pictured) with another '80s throwback accessory, a two-finger blingy boombox "Papa said knock you out" ring, $95 at shopzenat.com

My feet

Look at me!

STOP THE PRESSES! Kate Moss for Topshop at Barneys

WGSN.com is reporting this morning that the highly anticipated Kate Moss collection for Topshop will launch in the UK on May 1 and will be available in the USA at Barneys New York on May 8, the same day the line will become available on Topshop's own website.

I really like it when friends come to visit...

It's the only time my apartment reaches a higher state of tidiness.

Spider spud has a beer

Spider spud at Langan's

Henry Rollins' nuggets of wisdom

I'm a big fan of Henry Rollins and really enjoyed this bit from an interview he gave the Spring/Summer issue of Another Magazine:

"I don't think Bush is a racist, I think it is much worse, I think he doesn't care about poor people. Watch Spike Lee's documentary about Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke -- it's really worth seeing, all four hours of it. Don't be poor and black in America unless you have a canoe. Bring your own peanut butter and stay away from alligators."

Are you an American Princess?

Maybe that bitchy girl from last season's "The Bachelor" should try out -- you know, the girl from podunk who wore a tiara on her head and mimicked Paris Hilton the whole time...

NEW SERIES CASTING NOW:

"American Princess" for WE - 12 girls will be chosen from around the country and brought to NYC - 9 of those girls get to go on to LONDON where they will compete for an official British Title while living in a castle (yes - a real castle)!
This is NOT a dating show - this is simply a fantasy come true for one lucky Girl!
"EVERY girl dreams of being a princess .... maybe it could be YOU!"

Age range 18 - 30 ... single .... a girl that is on top of her game (career wise - style wise - has her stuff together) ...... If you know this girl let us know!

Casting Cities:

Pittsburgh, PA : March 24 and 25
Dallas, TX : March 31 and April 1
Sacramento, CA: April 6 and 7
Orlando, FL: April 14 and 15
New York, NY: April 21 and 22
**email us at americanprincesscasting@gmail.com for exact locations in these cities.
All participants must meet the above criteria nad have a sched. appointment at the city of their choice.
Email us at the above address to get your audition spot!


Jimmy n Jacob
Classic Entertainment Group / 212-367-7434
americanprincesscasting@gmail.com

Haute List

HAUTE LIST

By Danica Lo and Raakhee Mirchandani


March 22, 2007 -- Owl boutique is a hoot: BRAND-NEW jewel-box-size boutique Owl's Lab is a shining beacon of retail hope in the mall-esque wasteland of the Union Square area. Proprietor Ashley Thompson, an Orange County, Calif., native and Parsons grad, handpicks the cult and mainstream girly faves that populate Owl's Lab's rails. Hard-to-find labels such as Los Angeles dress designer Jenni Kayne and hipster favorite Vena Cava hang alongside Italian diffusion import CNC by Costume National.

Ruthlessly edited to include only the best one or two pieces from each designer, the store, while small, is the perfect last-minute one-stop shop for a meet-the-parents date dress or last-minute party frock. Just check out this Graham Spencer polka-dot sleeveless tunic, $286, that Thompson is holding (pictured).

Bonus: Limited, exclusive stock means you'll avoid any chance of an "H&M moment" - i.e. "Oh my god! Did you get that at H&M? I totally have one, too!"

Also on the shelves: pretty French line Paul & Joe, hats from N.Y.C. milliner Eugenia Kim, and quirky prints and knits from Parisian fashion queen Sonia Rykiel.

Owl's Lab: 20 E. 12th St., between University Place and Fifth Avenue; (212) 633-2672.

Clearly, a heel of an improvement

Supportive and comfortable aren't always flattering - think granny panties - and most wedges, according to Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham, make your feet look like they're encased in cement.

Enter avant-gardeist Belgian design house Maison Martin Margiela - the designer's designer who's also a favorite of celebs such as Ellen DeGeneres and Cat Power - who's created this innovative and flattering Lucite wedge heel that makes you look like you're walking on air.

Available in two styles - T-strap or round-toe - we're partial to this sexy version in red patent leather ($645 at Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Ave., [212] 753-7300).

But act fast. The first shipment of Margiela Perspex wedges almost immediately blew out of the Maison Martin Margiela boutique, as well as Bergdorf, Barneys, Jeffrey and If boutique. The sales associate who helped us at Bergdorf said the second shipment "just arrived, and they're already selling out."

Obsessions of the week

* Napoleon complex: So yummy-smelling we want to eat it, we can't get enough of Aussie Napoleon Perdis' Body Delicious fig and pomegranate body wash and lotion ($33 for the set). We're also nuts over his brand-new Smooth Over Body Scrub - a gently microexfoliator perfect as a prep for self-tanning ($33 at Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave.; [212] 753-4000).

* Doggonit: We've gone dog wild over K-Swiss' collaboration with edgy U.K. streetwear label Fake London - three limited-edition sneakers priced from $220 (six pairs are available at cult sneaker retailer wesoldout.com). Fake London's mascot - a white bull terrier named Bebe - adorns the tongues of our favorite pair, called "Fake Dog."

* Shady ladies: Style-conscious celebs like Rachel Bilson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Richie are plotzing for this season's It sunglasses, Chloe's Myrtle Aviators ($275 at Barneys New York).

* Gold members: Beauty and booze companies are speaking to our inner Vegas showgirls, and we just can't get enough of the shiny, metallic gold packaging popping up everywhere from makeup counters to bars. Some of our favorites include Japanese skin-care company SKII's newly launched Ultimate Revival Cream ($300 at Saks Fifth Avenue) an indulgent anti-aging product sold in a bright gold jar with a tiny gold spatula. Also, La Prairie has a liquified version of the precious metal in its Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold ($525 at Bloom-ingdale's), which promises to plump face, neck and decollete skin in as little as an hour. Superparfumer Clive Christian has entered the shine game with ultra-luxe No. 1 ($735 at clive.com), and Absolut Vodka is the best bet if you're traveling international - the Absolut Bling Bling bottle is less than $30 at duty-free shops.

Weekend update

Bars visited: Two

House parties attended: One

Restaurants eaten in: Buddakan, Cowgirl, Sammy's, and does the Whole Foods Cafe count too?

Number of Dartmouth '99s seen and spoken to: Six

Video games played: Wario: Master of Disguise, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice for All, New Super Mario Bros.

Magazines read: Vanity Fair, Blender, Marie Claire, Glamour, Revolver.

Text messages sent: 43

DVDs watched: The Holiday, Almost Famous, Little Children, She's the Man, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Friends coming to stay next week: One

Apartments cleaned: Zero

Haute List

Haute List

By DANICA LO and RAAKHEE MIRCHANDANI

March 15, 2007 -- Sikh and ye shall...

TURBANS - they're not just for Sikhs and Mommy Dearest anymore. Following in the footsteps of screen sirens Greta Garbo and Faye Dunaway, Eva Mendes sports a head wrap on the cover of Citizen K magazine this month. Prince wore a turban to the Super Bowl. And Madonna even included one in her new line for H&M.

Famous New York turban wearers include celebrity jeweler Waris Ahluwalia, whose House of Waris line just debuted at Bergdorf Goodman, and posh hotelier Vikram Chatwal, who owns the Dream Hotel.

This spring, the turban trend hits stores in a major way - with Prada and Ralph Lauren both showing pricey ($695 and up), elaborately dyed and bejeweled versions on their runways. The H&M version goes for a more affordable $12.90, in either black or white.

While traditional turbans are single lengthy scarves wound around the head or a foundation hat, designer versions you can pick up in stores are fashioned like hats and require far less time to don in the morning.

Turban voyeurs can check out ratemyturban.com to, um, rate turbans on a hot-or-not scale. To learn to tie turbans in traditional Sikh ways, check out the instructional videos at sikhnet.com/s/tyingturbans

Obsessions of the week

* In the red: CrackBerry addicts will be pleased to know that the BlackBerry Pearl now comes in a raspberry shade. The pretty new Red Pearl is $199 with a two-year AT&T/Cingular contract and hits stores today.

* Brush up: Want a makeover or makeup lesson, but afraid to hit up your local cosmetics counter for fear of a hard sell? Enter nomausa.com. The rapidly growing make-up-artist-for-hire database, created by twin sisters Kelli and Vanessa Dunn, is an ideal resource for hiring a professional artist for parties, weddings, graduations and other special occasions. Browse hundreds of portfolios, discuss your needs, and screen the makeup artist before committing. Never walk out of the department store with frosted green eye shadow again!

* Frankie says relax: Stop swiping your kids' baby lotion and get your own - Johnson & Johnson's adult skin-care division just launched its Melt Away Stress line of cream, body wash and moisturizing oil. Each product is $5 and helps you relax, unwind and sleep better.

* Pretty in pink: Girly-girls everywhere rejoice! Industrial-strength, but not industrial-looking, we love FHI Heat's brand new pink ceramic tourmaline flat iron ($195 at fhiheat.com) that features temperatures adjustable from 140 to 450 degrees.

* Bag it: Here's another contender for a new spring bag - Kipling's Katie, a dead ringer for the Chloe "Betty" purse, from the brand's new Hip collection. The best part? It's durable, wipeable and cheap - $120 at Macy's Herald Square.

Standing on the precipice of 30

Still, at 29, nothing really seems impossible.

Like, I still kind of secretly believe that if I really tried I could get into amazing shape and be a dancer in a rap video. Or if I cleared some time in my schedule and sat down at my piano, I could really write an amazing song. I bet I could still learn to play the guitar if I put my mind to it (and, then, write that hit song). And of course given a couple of days I'd definitely get through Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu, in French, no less.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about age, getting older, and other stuff. I started my 401K a couple of weeks ago when I counted only 35 more years until retirement -- my financial adviser said I need to squirrel away 15 percent of my current income to maintain my lifestyle. Turns out, that's a lot of percent.

I've been looking at flats in London and houses in Oxford. I want to summer in Helsinki this year and pick up my fall wardrobe over a late-August weekend in Antwerp.

But I just bought a couple pairs of this season's lucite Margiela shoes at Bergdorf.

And, still, I can't seem to organize my closet.

Fashion worlds collide: Coming Tuesday

Coming Tuesday: Fashion worlds will collide -- stay tuned for something extra-special...

Metal, Hardcore, Unearth -- Should I bring earplugs?

Today my friend IMed me from LA:

E: Hey what are you doing Wed 25 Apr? I will be in NY for 1 day 1 night for Unearth before going to Metal Fest in Worcester

Me: What's Unearth?

E: Unearth is a band.

Me: Oh.

E: It's our label's 25th Anniversary too, so there's like a show and party at Metal Fest. You should come with!

Me: You're all going in a bus from NY to Worcester??

E: Yeah!

Me: That's crazy! Hey, holy crap, Unearth has 3 million plays on myspace!

E: Yeah! Come!

Me: I need a road trip.

So come late April I'll be heading up to Worcester for the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival and I'm psyched! I don't know anything about metal or hardcore, but I've been thinking, lately, that I really need to broaden my horizons -- I've spent years and years hanging around with the same kind of crowd (fashion people and academics) and although I live and die for my closest friends, I'm turning 30 this year and want to experience and see and hear as much as possible as soon as possible -- before someone spots me at a show somewhere and gives me the "weird old person" dirty look. And while living abroad and going to grad school to study fun things was amazing, there's so much to do outside the little world of media, magazines, books, tv, and jaded urbanites I live in...

Route 69 / in Finnish


Amazing amazing amazing! My friend Jamie just sent me this Finnish copy of The 69 Eyes' book Route 69 -- a photo documentary of their last few years on tour. It's not available in the States yet, but a must-order for fans of the band. The photo index at the end is annotated with commentary by Mr. Tan-tastic himself, Jussi69.

Tila Tequila, Queen of Everything



Myspace Queen Tila Tequila (she has 1.7 million friends on the site!) blew through New York in a whirlwind of 4'11" smokey-eyed fabulousness -- last night landing briefly at the "Steppin' Out" magazine party hosted by Chaunce Hayden.

We love Tila -- and if you're one of the few people on earth who haven't heard of her, check her out for yourself Here.

Wii + Wario / DS + Rabbids = My weekend


Yeah, so the weekend got off to a promising start on Friday night when, after work, Sam decided to host an impromptu Nintendo Wii party at his house. I didn't bowl or box or play tennis, but I did make a Wii Mii (a little danica avatar named 'bananica') and play WarioWare (amazing, a.d.d., nonsensical, best-game-ever that Nick brought over) until the wii (ha) hours of the morning.

Saturday I met up for late lunch with my friend Sharon, who was in from L.A., and who, afterwards, refused to go to the video game store with me. (In fact, she was completely horrified at the whole idea.) To be honest, I was kind of scared to go myself, but Friday night really triggered some pre-adolescent Nintendo flashbacks in my mind, and I just had to have something to do on my three-month old DS besides playing with my kind-of-lame Nintendogs (corgis named Buggles and Goober).

Here's what I got: Rayman Raving Rabbids, Trauma Center (a surgery game!), and The Sims 2 (which I chucked aside two minutes in). Rayman Raving Rabbids is awesome -- so super-fun that I played for five hours straight until my hands felt like they were going to fall off and I was half an hour late to a dinner party that night. A few glasses of champagne, a strange Frenchie main course, some sorbet, and a run through the East Village in the rain later, I was back at home, ensconced in bed with my Raving Rabbids -- until 5 a.m.! (I sound like such a loser, I know -- I will understand if you never want to read this blog again.)

This morning I woke up at 10 and played until 1 in the afternoon (or really, 11 and 2, since I forgot to spring my clocks forward for daylight savings...), when I won the game. Then I went for a coffee and walk with William, who is in on a break from his very glamorous Kentucky-Paris bicoastal book-writing life, where we gossiped about all the people we know and he didn't overtly make fun of my boots, but the look in his eyes said it all.

Five more cool things about Finland

FIVE MORE COOL THINGS FROM FINLAND:

March 10, 2007 -- Candy: For licorice lovers, Finland is the promised land. Called salmiakki in Finnish, the candy comes in hundreds of shapes and flavors - even salty and spicy. We're partial to the Haganol "pharmacy-grade" licorice. Order your own at suomikauppa.fi.

Nokia: Based out of Finland, which, aside from Goth-metal, is most famous for its design industry. We love this Nokia 5300, $100 with contract from tmobile.com.

Furniture: Though designed in the mid-20th century, Alvar Aalto's and Eero Saarinen's brands of form-meets-function are still relevant in today's homes - and you can pick up your own piece of Finnish interior at Design Within Reach. Aalto stackable stools are $149 and Saarinen's iconic dining tables are $3,150 (dwr.com).

Food: While we've yet to find a Finnish restaurant in New York, it's possible to get a taste of the Baltic at the city's Scandinavian establishments. We love Smorgas Chef - which boasts three locations in New York - where you can sample Gravlaks: aquavit-and-dill-marinated salmon with mustard sauce and cucumber salad ($22, smorgaschef.com).

Fashion: Marimekko's bold prints and brilliant uses of color are an intrinsic part of Finland's design culture. Find a clothing and textiles retailer near you at marimekko.com.

Brother-and-sister design duo Tuomas and Anna Laitinen won accolades at last year's design Festival d'Hyeres in France - earning them a fabric sponsorship from Punto Seta, which also produces textiles for Chanel and Chloe. Their premiere collection has just been snapped up by Maria Luisa Paris (marialuisaboutique.com).

Strong Finnish

STRONG FINNISH: FINLAND'S FINEST BANDS LAND IN N.Y.C.

By DANICA LO

March 10, 2007 -- LET'S play a quick game of word association: Cat? Dog. Hot? Cold. Finland? Um ...

The sparsely populated (5 million) sliver of land inconveniently situated between the former U.S.S.R. and Sweden, where it's dark all winter and light all summer, is probably best known for native sons designer Eero Saarinen and Linux inventor Linus Torvalds, and for having a female president, Tarja Halonen, who's a dead ringer for Conan O'Brien. (He actually campaigned for her from New York, helping her win re-election.) The country's most famous resident would be Santa Claus.

Or at least, he was. In just a few short years, the nation of northern lights has cornered its own quirky niche in pop culture and has quickly become the coolest - literally and figuratively - country on the planet.

It's all thanks, in no small part, to the country's rock and metal music industry - most publicly championed by MTV-gen influencer Bam Margera, who all but worships singer Ville Valo, even going so far as to get matching tattoos. The music scene has produced acts like "love metal" band H.I.M., heavy metal cellists Apocalyptica, multi-platinum goth-pop ensemble The Rasmus, and self-dubbed "Helsinki Vampires" The 69 Eyes, who just played a sold-out show at Irving Plaza last week.

Finnish Monster metal band, Lordi, won last year's pan-continental Eurovision song contest with the most number of votes ever recorded in the history of the competition. Come May, all eyes will be on capital city Helsinki, which will play host to this year's Star Search-esque showdown.

Select up-and-coming bands from Finland will hit New York full force this weekend, with an open-to-the public musical showcase before heading down to Austin for the annual South by Southwest festival.

Progressive metal band Callisto, alt-rock Lapko and indie-pop Rubik play Sunday night at Sin-e (150 Attorney St.; [212] 388-0077). And the Finnish Moosic Tour 2007 - featuring punk rock Disco Ensemble, indie Lodger, experimental accordion band KTU and electro-pop 22-Pistepirkko - takes over The Knitting Factory (74 Leonard St.; [212] 219-3132) Monday evening. Before you go, check out their sounds and those of other Finnish favorites.

The Rasmus (above, right): Goth-pop heartthrobs who've sold nearly 3 million albums worldwide - lead singer Lauri Ylonen is famous for his sculptural feathered hairstyle. Myspace.com/therasmus

The 69 Eyes (left): Self-dubbed Goth "Helsinki Vampires" play sold-out shows all over America. Lead singer Jyrki69 sounds like Elvis and shakes it like the New York Dolls. Tan-tastic drummer Jussi69 rarely wears a shirt. Myspace.com/theofficial69eyes

H.I.M.: The initials stand for His Infernal Majesty. Lead singer Ville Valo makes frequent cameos on Bam Margera's shows - even allowing Bam to hijack the H.I.M. tour bus in one episode. The band's brand of "Love Metal" went gold in the United States this year. Myspace.com/heartagram

Lordi (right): They're monsters who are "Bringing back the balls to rock" - metal fans and lovers of high camp will adore them. myspace.com/thelordi

Apocalyptica: Gothic heavy metal cello trio boasts a vast, but underground, fan base in America - its Stateside shows always sell out. In Europe, they're best known for their "Bittersweet" collaboration with the lead singers of the Rasmus and H.I.M. myspace.com/apocalyptica

Nightwish: Goth-metal Nightwish was one of the biggest Finnish exports to the rest of Europe in 2006. Fans of Evanescence might like it. Myspace.com/nightwish

Children of Bodom: One of the most promising metal exports from Finland, with millions of MySpace hits and 400,000 albums sold. Myspace.com/childrenofbodom

Disco Ensemble: Post-hardcore punk-rock quartet have garnered rave reviews for its balls-to-the-wall lyrical and performance style. Myspace.com/discoensemble

Callisto: Progressive rock quintet Callisto has just released its second album, "Noir," full of atmospheric sounds the band has become most famous for. myspace.com/callistochaos

Rubik: Rubik's mellow, twisted pop lyrics and melodies have earned them strong buzz in their native country for the band's upcoming album. Myspace.com/rubikband

Lodger: Famous for its award-winning animated music videos, Lodger's indie-rock album will be released Stateside Tuesday. Myspace.com/lodger

22-Pistepirkko: Making bluesy guitar-based, electronica 22-Pistepirkko is a mix of acoustic folk and bohemian rock. Myspace.com/22pistepirkko

Lapko: Alternative trio Lapko garnered domestic accolades for its festival performances - their quirky, catchy sound has been fostered over lifelong friendship. Myspace.com/lapko

KTU: Named for its members - Kimmo Pohjonen, Trey Gunn, Pat Mastelotto - a progressive accordion artist teamed up with a percussionist and drummer to create a unique sound. Myspace.com/ktuband

Haute list

HAUTE LIST

By RAAKHEE MIRCHANDANI and DANICA LO

March 8, 2007 -- Hot for hip waders
SO far, March has been equal parts lamb and lion - leaving those of us with fall's chic ankle boots or winter's worn-out knee-highs pretty much up a creek. Until now. While most cold-weather merchandise has long since disappeared from department store shelves, there are still some chill-proof boot options available for spring.

Remember the nerdy kid in the second grade who wore quilted nylon athletic ankle boots to school? Who knows what happened to him, but his boots are back. Rubberduck brand Snow Joggers - complete with black sneaker-esque tread soles - are gracing the feet of Hollywood starlets like Lindsay Lohan, Sienna Miller, Teri Hatcher and Katherine Heigl. Get your own for $80 at rubberduckbrand.com.

Across the pond, Kate Moss prefers to shod her hooves with good, old Wellington boots while slogging through the muddy English countryside with pillar-of-society boyfriend Pete Doherty. Fine for boggy, soggy Blighty, but for icy sidewalks we love Treds, which you wear over your own shoes - they've even been worn on expeditions to Antarctica - and are just $40 at treds.com.

Lately, we've noticed that all the cool, skinny hipster girls on the F train are sporting these Aquatalia "Wasabi" synthetic patent leather boots (pictured) - totally waterproof knee-high round-toe rain boots that have the added benefit of not looking like rain boots. Available in black, yellow or red, the Wasabi boots completely sold out this winter, and reorders have only just arrived. They're $235 at Bergdorf Goodman (754 Fifth Ave.; [212] 753-7300).

Yay: another plucker!
THE brows fame the face - so say those who know. If your frames are looking a little furry, stop by Benefit's first New York City Brow Bar at Bloomingdale's. Aestheticians are lined up at the new grooming counter just waiting to wax and pluck you into arched perfection.

Why, one wonders, would someone make the trek to Midtown to tweeze? Not only do you get properly shaped, the Brow beaters will give you a mini tutorial, explaining and demonstrating how to use the legions of eyebrow gels, waxes, powders and pencils designed to tame rogue hairs.

Brow arching is $21 and facial waxing ranges from $11 to $26.
The best part? You never need an appointment.

Obsessions of the week

* Jeanius: Reach for the extra piece of pizza, it's now a lot easier to squeeze into a hot pair of jeans. Both Serfontaine's and J Brand's spring collection include XFIT Lycra, new denim technology that provides a stretchier, more flattering fit by expanding in all directions - as opposed to just from side to side. And we swear there's even some lifting action - the view from behind looks that much better. Serfontaine's Minx style straight-leg jeans are $220 at Saks (611 Fifth Ave.; [212] 753-4000) and J Brand's Love Story flares (pictured)are $250 at Henri Bendel (712 Fifth Ave.; [212] 247-1100).

* Pop-up stores: Nike's set up shop right outside the Madison Square Garden box office to showcase the new Be True collection, a series of patent leather Air Force 25s (pictured) made for true March Madness fans. The $150 sneakers - inspired by the 16 Big East schools like St. John's, Syracuse, Georgetown and Villanova- are limited-edition and on sale till Saturday.

* We're obsessed with London design duo Fiona Sinha and Sasa Stanic, the couple whose highly acclaimed upstart label, Sinha Stanic, has just landed on the fifth floor at Barneys - right alongside Ann Demeulemeester and Veronique Branquinho - for spring 2007.

Grads of London's Central St. Martins fashion school, the pair's first collaboration for London's 2004 Fashion Fringe competition earned them a manufacturing and distribution deal with AEFFE, the Italian luxury goods company that also works with Alberta Ferretti, Moschino and Narciso Rodriguez. In the two short years since they produced their first commercial collection, Sinha Stanic has become available in 26 stores in 10 countries.

We love this black-and-white print one-shoulder dress (pictured) - dresses from $1,100 to $1,700 at Barneys New York (660 Madison Ave.; [212] 826-8900).

Liz is...

CLAIBORNE IS BORN AGAIN

By DANICA LO

March 7, 2007 -- YO' momma's Liz Claiborne - those '80s and '90s-era pastel plastic logo purses, outlet-bought sunglasses and pink crocheted sweaters - is ancient history. Last night at the Museum of Modern Art, the company unveiled a radically overhauled line for fall - sleek, modern silhouettes crafted from luxe materials such as cashmere and sheepskin. Liz Claiborne executives hope it changes the perception of the company - and of its customers.

"Just because you live in the middle of the country doesn't mean you don't want fashion," says Richard Ostell, vice president and creative director of Liz Claiborne (and whose classmates at fashion school include Dior's John Galliano), who recently overhauled the brand's 20-strong design team. "Our best sellers this February were all fashion pieces."

With a résumé that includes stints at Romeo Gigli, Nicole Farhi and six years designing acclaimed collaborative line Flyte Ostell with business partner Ellis Flyte, Ostell has years of insight into what women want.

"Liz Claiborne herself was never seen as a high-up, removed designer," Ostell says. "And I really identified with that. My philosophy when it comes to fashion is based on purity, integrity and respect. It's a simple straightforward approach - and it's timeless."

As for the changes at Claiborne? They're drastic. There'll be no more dowdy floral-print green corduroy jackets - instead, customers will find slick, belted hip-length fine-wool coats in neutral browns and blacks. Instead of drab print polyester dresses, there are pleated and belted sheaths that wouldn't look out of place on Parisian runways.

Though adhering to classic Claiborne wallet-conscious prices - the most expensive item, a fine leather jacket, tops out at $348 - has been a challenge, "I love challenges," Ostell says. "They represent an opportunity to reinvent yourself and to potentially do something relevant for others."

"We have a tag line: Every woman works," Ostell says. "I want to dress a wide variety of women, real women - creating understandable, on-trend fashion that's flattering."

Morning Show with Mike & Juliet


This morning I stopped by the FOX Mike & Juliet Morning Show to talk about How Not to Look Fat in spring dresses, bathing suits, and jeans. Check out some of the tips by clicking on the above image. Or Click here to see the video.

The Pierces / Lily Allen / Vanessa Hudgens

TOP OF THE POPSL GET INTO THE STYLES OF MUSIC'S HOT NEW ARTISTS

By DANICA LO

March 5, 2007 -- THOUGH their trippy, sultry, harmonic folk-rock-pop debut album, "Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge" doesn't hit stores until March 20, the Pierces - blond Catherine and brunette Allison - are already garnering heaps of industry buzz. But it's not just their music that has our attention - the Brooklyn-based, Alabama-born duo are just as beloved for their Southern-charm-meets-urban-hipster senses of style.

"My style changes depending on what I'm going through in my personal life," Catherine says. "I went through a phase last year, where all I wanted to wear was little vintage dresses. Lately I'm in to jeans - they make me feel powerful for some reason. The new high-waisted ones have made them interesting again."

Sister Allison has been opting for girlier staples - "I've been wearing a lot of black lately, I feel really comfortable in it," Allison says. "In the summer, it's always light flowy sundresses."

When not out on the road, the girls can be found scouring the rails of the Mandate of Heaven boutique in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, trying on boots at Edith Machinist on the Lower East Side, or digging through the vast vintage selection at Cobblestones in the East Village.

The Pierces aren't the only up-and-coming songstresses who are making waves in the fashion world. Turn the page to see how London chav-tastic Lily Allen and Disney breakout starlet Vanessa Hudgens put their looks together - and how to co-opt their styles for your very own.

Click on the image to see the spread:

One night only: Helsinki Vampires



One night only in New York, The 69 Eyes, one of the coolest looking bands ever, played a sold-out show last night at Irving Plaza (supporting Cradle of Filth).

Note: Jyrki, the lead singer, is one of the best-looking human beings I've ever seen in person. (This is coming from a fashion writer who spends the vast majority of her time with exceptionally pretty people.) Also, he is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. See for yourself.

Haute List

HAUTE LIST

By DANICA LO and RAAKHEE MIRCHANDANI

March 1, 2007 -- Arm candy

HOLLYWOOD'S red carpeteers have been a bit heavy-handed lately. More is more when it comes to icing the wrists, and starlets are taking the lead by piling on bangles of all shapes and sizes.

Take a tip from Drew Barrymore, who gilded her forearms with wild abandon for the Los Angeles premiere of her film "Music and Lyrics."

Find similar ethnic-inspired bangles - without breaking the bank - at dress shops that line 74th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens, where gorgeous Indian bracelets can be had from upward of 25 cents each.

On the red carpet, big-time stars such as Anne Hathaway and Celine Dion piled on wrist carats from luxury high-end jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels. For everyday wear, and to avoid getting mugged, try inspiredsilver.com, our favorite site for inexpensive sterling silver celebrity knockoffs.

More faves: Peruvian Connection's gorgeous crystal-and-metal bangle ($30 at peruvianconnection.com); New York & Company minimalist striped bangles come in a variety of sizes and a rainbow of colors (from $10.50 at nyandcompany.com); J. Crew's hand-painted enamel stripes and spots are preppy perfection (from $88 at jcrew.com); Kenneth Cole's sculptural industrial-inspired bangles come in sets of four ($68 at bloomingdales.com); Alexis Bittar's green deco bangle ($300 at alexisbittar.com); and Hidalgo's skinny enamel bangles are gorgeous, glossy and great for stacking ($125 each at hidalgojewelry.com).

Kickin' it '80s style

In the post-Jane Fonda, pre-New Wave age of aerobics, there was one shoe that defined an entire generation of young women in the throes of early-MTV fashion - the Reebok Freestyle.

In the late '80s, no cool tween could maintain her street cred without at least one pristine white set, a pink pair to wear with ruffled tiered skirts, and a black pair - for when she was feeling edgy, black-lace-glove-y, and Madonna-ish.

Tonight, Reebok celebrates the 25th anniversary of its iconic '80s shoe with a party hosted by VJ Downtown Julie Brown and DJ Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa fame. It's also launching six limited-edition Freestyles (from $65 at rbk.com) - some authentic bring-backs, others artist collaborations. We're partial to this candle-adorned metallic birthday version. Now, if we could only find our pastel leotards, stirrup pants and terry-cloth headbands ...

Obsessions of the week

* Light-up makeup: We can't stop playing with Giorgio Armani's new limited-edition Hollywood Lights Compact, which literally lights up every time you open it, perfect for emergency in-the-dark makeup application. The $100 compact is available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and at giorgioarmanibeauty.com

* Get an earful: New York-based jewelry designer Erika Pena's plastic is fantastic, especially her new flower and star Lucite earrings ($58), which hit Bloomingdale's this week.

* Great BAPE: Here's a business idea - scoop up the 2007 spring/summer A Bathing Ape catalog ($13 at Kinokuniya Bookstore, 10 W. 49th St.) and put it on eBay, where it often goes for $30-$50. Or crack it open and check out what's going on in the super cool Japan-based stores - BAPE Pepsi cans, the new menu items at the cafe in the Harajuku store, and hot new printed hoodies. But, to be perfectly honest, we're really suckers for the gift with purchase - this season it's a Baby Milo camo fleece blanket and the usual page of stickers.

* Help! for your skin: Organic, vegan and luxurious - YSL recently launched Care by Stella McCartney, a full range of face-care products. We especially love the 5 Benefits Moisturizing Cream, a light lotion made from white mallow, sweet orange extract and musk rose oil. From $35 to $76 at sephora.com

"Observe Everything. Always think for yourself. Never let other people make important decisions for you." — from Bad News by Edward St. Aubyn