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Beyond the Masthead

The People Behind the Scenes and in the Front Row 

Watching some of the most glamorous women and men make a mad dash for the door in a rush to the next show or party seems like a crazy spectacle to some, but the perfect opportunity to people watch for others. Once the first guest steps out, it won’t be long until the next hundred well dressed people follow franticly behind. 
The scene outside Proenza Schouler’s spring 2012 runway show was just that: a flurry of trendsetters sprinting to their black town cars. Occurring outside 330 West Street on an extraordinarily warm night in early September, the post-show mobs were accumulating. Each of the sumptuously attired showgoers were attempting to hail a cab or hurriedly scoot into their waiting SUV.
In the weeks following the show, there will be talk of the ‘50s-Americana-inspired looks and the model’s Elvis-style hair that designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez showed on the runway. Included in the chatter, will be the subject of how nicely the collection fits in with the overall retro feel of the spring season. What will not get as much press, however, are the majority of the people sitting in the front row. 
Understanding the dynamics of the industry often starts with knowledge of the people who govern it. These are not the icons whose faces and outfits are habitually featured in print,  but rather the folks behind the scenes and on the mastheads. Take any large scale production, and the cast of people seated front row is largely the same. There are the members everyone knows about: Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Carine Roitfeld, Joe Zee, Giovanna Battaglia, etc. Then there are the remaining people whose names are often hear and whose faces are frequently seen, but it is always laced with confusion over who they actually are. Looking at the shots from Proenza post-show mania and an entire crop of the so-called “lesser knowns” appear as if out of nowhere.  

First up is former accountant and current front row staple Caroline Sieber. Hailing from Austria but living in London, the talented stylist appears often on the pages of street-style blogs. Though her own clothing has earned her many accolades, it is her work as a stylist that warrants the most praise. Her impressive client roster includes many of today’s top celebrities including “Harry Potter” star Emma Watson. Sieber is often cited as being the one to thank for Watson’s meteoric rise to style icon status. In addition to her styling work, she is also a member the Costume Institute Gala Committee: the board in charge of creating the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala. This coveted position gives her the unique opportunity of being able to style museum exhibits. Further cementing her status as style-setter, Karl Lagerfeld has recently named her a brand ambassador for Chanel.

Another Caroline, resident cool girl and editor, Caroline Issa is the marker editor/publisher of indie fashion magazine Tank, as well as Editor in Chief of online magazine, Because. Canadian raised and London based, her repeatedly photographed (but rarely acknowledged) style reflects that of her magazine: easy and chic with a kick. Her online prowess is reflected in her demeanor as she is rarely spotted without an iPhone in hand.

Kate Young is frequently confused with another popular bleached blonde stylist, Kate Lanphear of ELLE magazine. Of course, upon viewing their respective work, it is clear that the two women occupy very different, yet equally cool, niches of the industry. Following the recent stylist-turns-designer trend, Young has come out with a line of effortless basics for New York based company Cardigan. In attempt of establishing professional relationships with designers while simultaneously making extra cash, Young does consulting and advertisement styling for her designer friends on the side. She began in an infamous position at American Vogue as editor in chief Anna Wintour’s personal assistant, eventually moving up to the position of market editor. Though she has since left the editing business, she remains a regular contributer to an array of reputable magazines, such as Teen Vogue, Interview, i-D, and Instyle. 

It would be impossible to look up a photo of Lynn Yaeger and then forget her. It is a constant challenge to stand out from a crowd of professionally tastemakers  during fashion week, but Yaeger masters the kinks that make her a memorable front row mainstay. Her eclectic style is easy to spot both in what she is wearing and in what she is writing. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where (or if) Yaeger’s style falls on the map, but she is basically what a grown up Tavi Gevinson would look like. Former style reporter for The Village Voice, Yaeger’s critiques and witty phrasings can now be found on the pages of Vogue and The New York Times. Like any well versed industry veteran, she has seen it all. She can be trusted to express her true feelings on fashion at all times, no matter who she is bad mouthing, as long as it is deserved.

Another fashion week regular that would be hard to forget is Purple Fashion magazine’s founder and Editor in Chief Olivier Zahm. Zahm and his work are very similar to that of American fashion photographer, Terry Richardson. Zahm and Richardson each keep online “Diaries” profiling their work and recent expeditions photographing the lives of models and celebrities at a different event every night. They each have their own signature pair of glasses (Zahm: aviators; Richardson: plastic and prescription) and have both come under heat recently for their notorious reputations for photographing nude (sometimes underage) women. Though his morals are questionable, Zahm does have a way of elevating the typical playboy stigma into a high fashion concept. His “pornographic fashion,” as it is often described, is especially geared towards and well received in his native city of Paris.

Last of the Proenza front row pack is Gaia Repossi, artistic director of her family’s namesake jewelry line, Repossi. On top of her general duties as artistic director and social duties as a prominent Italian socialite, Her signature style itself has developed somewhat of a cult following. When sitting front row at any fashion show, rumors fly in expectation of future collaborative possibilities between Repossi and the brand because of her track record with like Alexander Wang, Zadig & Voltaire, and Joseph Altuzarra. 
Back outside Proenza, imagery of ‘50s rock-and-roll runs through the minds of the crowd as cars start heading off to the first parties of the night. Elvis was a brand; behind his iconic image were clans of talented visionaries who had major influences on the creation of the American staple. Yet, as a whole they received little publicity or mention whatsoever for their role from the public. One could argue that this is a metaphor for a parallel for the unaccredited style makers themselves. True, many members of this group are frequently overshadowed by the A-list of others, but ultimately they are the forces keeping the industry afloat. 

Step Into the Spotlight

The Top 5 Footwear Picks for Spring 2012

As much of a hard-pressed fashion girl as I am, the first thing that I notice about someone’s outfit are their shoes. My relationship with shoes mimics that of Carrie Bradshaw’s: its a serious condition. The footwear trends coming down the runway for Spring/Summer 2012 catered to an eclectic mix of styles and tastes. This season, showgoers were subjected to everything from neons to snake skins, to an overload of sparkles on each pair stomping down the runway. The overall feel was upbeat betwixt vibrantly colorful details at high altitudes. With such a broad range of shoe choices only one thing is for certain: shoppers will not be thinking about comfort when selecting their new go-to’s. While I fantasize about owning practically every pair off the runway, there were five pairs that stood out against all the others as being worth their high price tags. 

Bottega Veneta spans all generations as their sophisticated aesthetic speaks to all ages. Their surefire winners came in the form of a sculpted sling-backs, available in brown, purple, and green. These open toed suede and python heels played with the existing negative space in between the heel of the shoe and the sole of the foot by inserting a multipurpose triangular wedge. This wedge gives extra support to the wearer’s weight while synchronously creating an intriguing silhouette. The contrast between the light brown python and the soft green suede brings to mind the luxurious interior of an old sports car (or something out of the Gucci archives, depending on the viewer’s perspective.) The small shot of the architectural trend, when combined with the built-in comfort, makes them felicitous for all day use. 

The next pair of shoes prevails as the antithesis of the refined details of Bottega Veneta. Marc by Marc Jacobs reworked the classic “pumped up kicks” into a commodity every downtown fashionista and hip Brooklynite will be lusting after in the coming season. Their appeal is much the same as that of their predecessors: the Isabel Marant Perkins. They instantly elongate the legs of their wearer and convey the illusion of height thanks to their built in wedge. A massive logo on the front of a shoe would usually ruin the overall effect, but Jacobs’ supply logo works their utilitarian aspect into play, instantaneously raising the cool factor of anyone lucky enough to be wearing them. Their versatility is such that they could just as easily be worn with denim as they could with a dress thanks to their alluring multitude of effulgent hues. 

The Prada runway was literally ablaze with Miuccia Prada’s cheeky new collection inspired by the culture of ‘50s Americana. While they will appeal only to certain kinds of people, they are hands down the footwear with the most personality. There are options galore depending on your comfort zone: for confident players there are crazy out-there versions which boast multi-colored leather flames and built in hot-rod tail ends, and for the more commercial of us, a safe but interesting combination show of the traditional red leather Prada heel in the front, and in the back the added retro Cadillac embellishment. A sort of stiletto mullet, if you will. Each pair is meant to explore the relationship between a woman and her cars, by transporting you back to the notions of a 1950s drive-in. Even if vintage taillights aren’t you speed, you are sure to change your mind once you see the ingenious way Miuccia infused all the sexiness and glamour of an old motorcar into one killer pair of shoes. 

The king of street style, Alexander Wang, was also looking to the past to create a sexy shoe of the future. Keeping true to his grungy club kid roots, Wang generated shoes worthy of the cult following who are sure to snap up every pair in a matter of hours. The urbane heels have a clear ‘90s influence apparent in both their shape (pointed, strappy and low to the ground) and their material (a slightly messy fish scale to balance out the girly detail of the back loop). They come in three colors, my favorite being the darker blue as there seems to be something about them that is inherently nostalgic of batman or a vintage scooby doo cartoon. Wang says the collections was inspired by aerodynamics and nascar, which would explains the sculptural cutouts and pointed closed toe. Just like any good Alexander Wang dress, the subtle sex appeal lies in the details.

Thakoon took a trip around the world and came right back to New York to find his east meets west mentality for spring. He took the most iconic piece of the Western frontier, the cowboy boot, and reworked it into shoes that even the most sophisticated of socialites will want to kick on. The sturdy ankle boot (albeit unrecognizable from its early Americana counterparts) is a statement in its aquamarine shade and gold tipped toe. Paired with jeans or simple black, they are ready for the masses, but paired with the East Indian textiles as seen on the runway, they’re ready for some serious editorial work, a fair representation for the season’s shoes as a whole. 


Satellite was written by Jamie Hince about his now-wife Kate Moss
an ode to Kate Moss

What the Olsens did for Coffee

The Twin Tycoons Influence on an Industry’s Addiction

It’s unlikely to see photos of Mary-Kate Olsen or Ashley Olsen out and about in New York City. Conducting a recent search on tumblr for the Olsen twins, I discovered the majority of the pictures were above captions like “Mary-Kate on a coffee run in NYC” or “Ashley leaving Starbucks.” It’s rare to see either twin sans-caffeinated drink. The reason? “[going to Starbucks] is the only time I leave my house or get out of my car to go somewhere.” explains Mary-Kate.
I have been obsessed with the Olsens since I first saw them on “Full House” in the first grade. Obviously, I had absolutely no idea that they would become the fashion tycoons that they are today, nor that I would be as enticed with them at seventeen as I was at seven. There was just something about the way they said “You got it, dude!” and “Welcome to Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Party!” that, as a kid, made me want to be just like them. Now I have them to thank for the inordinate amount of faux-fur  coats that I own, and the various arrays of Alexander McQueen scarves I have neatly folded in my closet, but more importantly, I have only them to blame for my addiction to coffee.
At thirteen, I can remember watching Mary-Kate rave on and on about her addiction to coffee on an interview with Conan O’Brien. “I remember, at ten,” she told him, “sneaking my own coffee and pouring a ton of sugar in and going up to the playroom and drinking it.”
She was, of course, quite a bit more deserving of caffeine that I was at ten. At this point in her life, she had already been heading a multi-billion dollar company, DualStar Entertainment Group, for four years, while I, on the other hand, had been doing little other than watching television and going on play-dates. But, no reasoning could convince me; I was willing to do anything within a thirteen-year-old’s comprehension to become more like my idols.
Though Mary-Kate seems to have picked it up rather hastily, coffee is a delicacy one must gradually develop a taste for. It is not an instantaneously lovable beverage, as I soon found out. Trying coffee for the first time was disgusting; I promptly spit it right back into the mug. But there she was, taped to my wall holding a coffee cup, one that she could have probably fit inside of no less, and looking so cool that my thirteen-year-old self could hardly handle it. I was motivated.
As often happens when the Olsens touch anything, fashion follows suit and the coffee cup has become a garden-variety prop in fashion editorials from Vogue to Numero. A coffee cup represents so much more than an energy booster. It is an inexpensive prop utilized to communicate the imaginary lifestyle of the girl being featured in the shoot. Mango’s Fall 2012 lookbook advertising Isabeli Fontna shot by Terry Richardson drinking a petit cappachino at an airport cafe, signifies an international jet setter. Clemence Posey enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee at an outdoor Italian cafe in Foam Magazine  suggests that she lives a leisurely lifestyle, likely as a result of a wealthy family. Karlie Kloss in Free People’s Spring 2012 lookbook, is shown clutching a street vendor cup while hurriedly walking a clan of dogs down the sidewalks of New York, illustrating to the viewers a broke teen trying to afford life in the city.

The Olsen’s influence on coffee sales does not stop there. Fashion’s other favorite twins, Dan and Dean Caten of DSquared2, cited the Olsens as the inspiration behind their memorable Fall 2009 collection. The collection, which described as “Olsen-twins chic,” presented models stomping down the runway in Mary-Kate-and-Ashley-styled layers, colossal sunglasses, and of course, their own oversized Starbucks cups.
Whether it is the Starbucks survival diet (coffee, without the extra calories found in additives actually speeds up the metabolism) or just to stay awake after long hours spent working on their next collection, Mary-Kate and Ashley’s public consumption of copious amounts of coffee has touched numerous components of the fashion industry. A $4.35, coffee gives their fans a fair opportunity to steal their style without having to pay up $1420 for Louis Vuitton Beauty Pumps or $1400 for a Givenchy Nightingale tote. The only side effect is the over-crowding of the Starbucks franchise adjacent to Lincoln Center during Fashion Week. I have survived many a dirty look given over close calls involving the less than forgiving fluid and showgoers most street-style worthy outfits. Though I have fallen prey to the trajectory of the Olsen’s influence, I must try and remain unbiased and recommend this trend with caution. Do you know what Splenda can do to silk?

Checks Abound

Lincoln Center
Fashion Week

Elizabeth Olsen Covers Asos March 2012

Well it's not exactly a breathtaking editorial piece, but it makes for a cute catalog spread. Though I have yet to see any of her five films slated to come out in 2012, I am already obsessed with the 22-year-old (almost 23!) I have to admit that my adoration is somewhat (or all) based on her name. 
Anyway, it's probably healthier to spread the obsession over three people than two. 

read her interview here

photos via Tom & Lorenzo

Thursday Playlist

Fluorescent Adolescent Arctic Monkeys
Ass Back Home Gym Class Heros
Boy Ra Ra Riot
Animal Mike Snow
Armistice Phoenix
Signs Bloc Party
Heads Will Roll Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Ordinary People Asher Book
Under the Sheets Ellie Goulding
Undercover Martyn Two Door Cinema Club
The World We Live In The Killers


My photo
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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