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MY WORK: CHERRY BOMBE MAGAZINE



            This past summer I had the pleasure of becoming part of the team behind Cherry Bombe, a terrific new magazine that celebrates women and food.  The first time I came across the magazine I was at the McNally Jackson bookstore in SoHo and noticed that Karlie Kloss was on the cover.

Of course, a magazine with Karlie on the cover is nothing new… I’m sure there were at least three others there featuring Ms. Kloss in various positions of flexing her abs and giving good cheek. But what was especially unique about this cover was that Karlie, decked out in an apron and splattered with cookie batter, looked genuinely joyous.  Upon purchasing the magazine and actually reading through it, that feeling of optimism seemed to prevail throughout the issue. While the topics discussed were just as serious as the kinds of stories appearing in other trade publication, you couldn’t help but feel happy as you paged through. The design is beautiful and entirely aesthetically appealing – unlike other periodicals, they’re not afraid of white space and know how to use it to their advantage. This, I now know, is thanks to Claudia Wu (one half of the editing team) who designs each issue herself.

            As cheesy at it sounds, when I like something this much, I have to go after it. So after meeting with two of the most inspiring and empowered women I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, Kerry Diamond, the editorial director, and Claudia, I was actually able to become a part of putting the next issue together.


One of the highlights of my time there was interviewing and writing a piece on bag designer Pamela Barsky, who has made a name for herself creating bags featuring hilarious (and mostly true) witticisms such as ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said I was busy talking about myself.’ (See the full article below.) It was such an honor to work with everyone who contributed and became a part of team Cherry Bombe over the summer and I can’t wait to see how it grows and develops over the next few years.




I am a famous chef: True or not, it’s a proclamation few of us would make out loud. Now, thanks to Pamela Barsky’s quirky bags, our accessories do can the talking for us. She has quickly earned a cult following for her signature cotton-duck bags silkscreened with statements that range from sweet (“New York is my boyfriend”) to outrageous (“Sometimes it takes people a minute to realize how beautiful I am”) to drop-dead funny (“In case of emergency, put mascara on yourself before helping others“). 

Barsky, who makes all of the bags at her Lower East Side studio, came up with her business idea after she was fired from her job in advertising, a circumstance that clearly hasn’t affected her sense of humor. She doesn’t have to go far to come up with the new phrases she is constantly generating. Inspiration, she says, comes from “right out my front door. Life is pretty funny.” Though she was born in Detroit, Barsky clearly counts her adopted city as a muse. She’s become a die-hard New Yorker thanks to her husband Fabio, who is “not leaving here unless you forcibly remove him.”

Barsky sometimes sees strangers toting her bags. “Last week I stopped a woman in the loo line on my flight to Vegas when I saw her carrying one of my bags,” said Barsky. “I just had to tell her I made it. She thought I was a psycho, I'm sure.”

Her inspiration for the “Chef” bag? Nothing in particular. Her main connection to the food industry is simple: “Well, if I don't eat I'll starve and die.”

Her audacious attitude is clearly translated onto her bags, and part of the reason why her customers can not get enough. Lucky for them, Barsky is expanding her collection in the near future to include tees, sweatshirts, posters and “obscenely expensive leather bags.” Her canvas pouches are available for purchase at her studio on 29 Essex Street; the Artists and Fleas shop in the Chelsea Market, and through Etsy. --Caroline Mason 



FASHION ON FILM: ROMY & MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION


            I’m almost embarrassed to admit how long it took me to get around to watching Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion (1997) for the first time. But given the weather and my dwindling Netflix queue, I had no excuses for not doing so on a recent chilly evening. And now that I have finally seen the light, I can honestly say that my life was not complete until now.  

The cult classic is filled with eternally quotable one-liners and bang-on captures the whole girl-power style movement of the late ‘90s. Michele (Lisa Kudrow) and Romy (Mira Sorvino) are the kinds of friends who’ve been attached at the hip since birth. After graduating high school they move to Venice Beach, CA together where they spend the majority of their time re-watching Pretty Women and getting their groove on in fabulous outfits. After running into a former classmate, Romy is informed of an upcoming 10-year class reunion back in Tuscan.

Deciding that it would be a blast, she and Michele decide to attend. However, looking back at their yearbook they realize that they hadn’t actually been very popular in high school. In fact, many classmates (most notably, the ‘A-club’ girls) aimed at making their lives a living hell. Well, fine! They would go back and get their revenge by showing them how successfully their lives had turned out despite their torment.

Only, when going over the logistics of the most effective way to rub their awesome lives in the faces of their former classmates, it dawns on them that maybe their lives aren’t actually impressive. In an attempt to make up for lost time, the girls scheme to get better jobs and score hot boyfriends before the reunion.

            When that plan doesn’t pan out as well as they had hoped, they decide that the best way to make their classmates jealous would be to invent a success story. Romy & Michele would pose as serious businesswomen for the weekend (they invented the post-it, if you were wondering), complete with the requisite businesswoman mini-skirt suit and flip phone.

Obviously, things don’t go over too smoothly, but the girls learn a valuable lesson: In the end the most important thing is to be yourself no matter what others think. And above all, dress for yourself!



Romy: "This is like the cutest we ever looked.
Michele:"Oh, It is definitely the cutest."
Romy: "Don't you love how we can just say that to each other
and we know we're not being conceited?"
Michele: "Oh, I know we're just being honest."


I am getting some Jeremy Scott / Moschino vibes from their workout looks.


another important life lesson: If you have the choice of either being unemployed or working at a bargain basement, you choose unemployment. 


If you're noticing the similarity between the costumes in Romy & Michele and Clueless, it's because the two films share a costume designer: Mona May. 





WEEKEND ON THE FARM



            Well if anyone had any doubts that I am a city girl at heart, a recent expedition to the midlands of England should expel any residual uncertainty. A friend of mine who studies at Uni in LA came to visit me in London. Her Mom grew up and now lives in a small town called Melton Mowbray, near Nottingham, and graciously invited the two of us up for a weekend. Little did I know that a "weekend in the country" was code for uncompensated manual labor. 

            Honestly, I admire people who live in the country. People always ask me if living in the city is hard or scary, but I think it’s just the opposite. Silence and too much open spaces are what really terrify me. I need the constant orchestra of traffic, drunken brawls, and noise restaurants to keep my sane. 

            Nonetheless a weekend on a farm was something new and really got me out of my comfort zone. I rode a horse! I caught a runway (naughty) chicken! I fed the birds! The only downside was getting very excited about these accomplishments and then witnessing my friend’s three-year-old cousin do the same things in half the time. Living on top of a 24/7 Duane Reade has really sheltered me from the real world, huh?



We also took a side trip to the lovely town of Eton: Let it be known that should I ever have a son he will be getting shipped off here for school. 


WHO WINS WHEN FASHION AND ART INTERSECT?



            Unsurprisingly, the worlds of fashion and art have a lot in common. They’re both aesthetically minded industries that rely on the desire of wealthy patrons to strive for and support their continued growth. So it makes sense that the two would come together and lend their resources to each other when necessary.

Such is the case in Italy at the moment as many of the countries’ top luxury houses rally to aid in the refurbishment of many of its beautiful but crumbling monuments. However, while these brands may stress that their incentive to get involved comes from a place of cultural responsibility rather than a marketing push, ulterior motives may be at play.



            Fondazione Prada, a non-profit organization founded by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli in 1993, is slated to open its newest wing on May 9th. The large exhibition space will be located in Largo Isarco, an area just south of Milan’s city center. The space, which was designed in collaboration with OMA and Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, will consist of three main sections: an auditorium, a museum tower, and an exhibition space, all connected by a large open courtyard.

The Fondazione’s space will also feature a kitschy bar designed by film director Wes Anderson that is meant to resemble a traditional Milanese cafĂ©. In addition to the exhibition space available to contemporary artists (in the past Prada has sponsored shows from the likes of Francesco Vezzoli and Steve McQueen) there will be ample room for special displays and events hosted by Prada.



            Also wishing to give back to its hometown, Fendi has partnered with the city of Rome as a part of their Fendi for Fountains venture. The most notable restoration will take place on the Trevi Fountain, the landmark made famous in Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita.

            Pietro Beccari, Fendi’s chairman and chief executive, was struck by the idea while driving through Rome listening to the radio. An announcement asking for citizens to donate to the cause inspired him to take immediate action. “I asked the mayor to accept our offer, and he was extremely supportive of the idea.” Mr. Beccari says, “This is not any type of sponsorship. Of course it is marketing to show our wish to tie ourselves to Roman culture and to associate Fendi to Rome as a city that represents a lifestyle.”

            Despite Mr. Beccardi’s claims that the project is not a PR-push, there will be a silver plaque mounted on the fountain for four years to acknowledge Fendi’s patronage.



            Versace has also laid its claims on Italian heritage by donating to the restoration of Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and opening a new boutique within it’s halls. The refurbishing of the century old landmark is expected to be completed by April 2015, just in time for Milan to host the Expo 2015.

            While these brands represent the most recent contributions, many other Italian luxury houses have also been donating to myriad repairs/upkeep.



Ferragamo has been working with the famous Uffizi Gallery in Florence to reopen a number of its rooms for future exhibitions. In 2012, Tod’s donated a record $25 million to fix up the Coliseum. Bulgai, in recognition of the brands 130th Anniversary, donated $2 million to help with the necessary improvements of Rome’s Spanish steps, located down the street from their flagship store.

            Preservationists and historians have expressed their skepticism about the consequences of these contributions. Their main concern lies in the potential threat of such donations to leading to commercialization of Italian heritage. Although both the government and fashion houses involved have made it clear that no advertising will be allowed on/near the actual monuments, there is still potential for profit margin. ““A brand cannot just showcase beautiful products and fashion shows,” says Mr. Beccari, “making a difference in the wider world is what divides a true luxury company from the rest.”

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Caroline Mason: 21. Native New Yorker (and one time North Carolinian). Assistant to Derek Blasberg. Just a girl who is OCD about all things fashion, drinks way too much coffee, and has an affinity for late night talk shows and travel books. FIT class of 2016. Previously with Karla Otto PR, Lori Goldstein and Lester Garcia.

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