Tag Archive: NYC

Oct 05 2011

NYC Adventure: Daphne Guinness Exhibition

Daphne Guinness: Jacket by Chanel

I have kind of bombarded you all with my whirl-wind trip to New York, I know I get a little giddy sometimes, but I promise you this is the last post about my NYC Adventure. On my free day before I flew back I just couldn’t resist going to check out the Daphne Guinness exhibition at The Museum at FIT.

Daphne Guiness: Dress by Alexander McQueen

The exhibition features over 100 garments and accessories, think gorgeous McQueen and Chanel pieces, all from Daphne’s personal collection. Seriously this woman has an amazing wardrobe, to be honest she is a walking museum and collector and I am so glad that she chose to share her pieces with the world.

Daphne Guinness: Dress by Chanel

There are a lot of Alexander McQueen pieces, as well as Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, John Galliano for Chrisitan Dior, and Azzedine Alaïa, Dolce & Gabbana, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, and Valentino. People do call Daphne Guinness a designer’s muse but for me she really is a collector of couture, someone who loves fashion and who is fearless in her style. You can tell going round this exhibit that Daphne co-curated it as her favourite pieces really do shine through.

Daphne Guinness: Dress by Givenchy

Overall the exhibit isn’t massive, but the space is packed nicely and divided into six sections: the first is ‘Dandyism’, showcasing her masculine styles, I loved all the cropped jackets and white lace'; second area is the more edgy of her looks ‘Armor’, which features the exquisite Gareth Pugh catsuit studded with nails; then separated by translucent screens is my favourite areas dedicated to elegant cocktail suits and evening gowns, titled, respectively, ‘Chic’ and ‘Evening Chic’ there are some gorgeous couture gowns here, as well as the striking Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel jacket seen in the top image, the white sequins and feathers was just amazing to see up close.

The final two areas, ‘Exoticism’ and ‘Sparkle’, were full of her most flamboyant outfits most featuring feathers or fur!! The most striking piece though had to be the colourful kimono patterned with cranes designed by Alexander McQueen, while he was designing for Givenchy.

From top left: boots by Alexander McQueen, red suede shoes by Nina Ricci, shoes by McQueen, and boots by McQueen

As well as gorgeous couture gowns, Chanel suits that I lusted over, there was an amazing array of shoes that I am sure Lady Gaga would love to own and wear. These beauties were all changed behind glass but it was easy to see what attracted Daphne Guinness to them, they are all exquisite in design. My favourite has to be the black leaf moulded shoes by McQueen.

Want to see more but you don’t think you’ll be stopping by New York before it finishes on January 7, 2012? Well I have found this video on Youtube that takes you round the whole exhibit.

**Unfortunately I needed to get pre-press approval to take my own snaps, which of course I didn’t do as I wasn’t sure I would have time, but hey I have borrowed these beauties from the Museum at FIT.**
[Pics: Museum at FIT]

Sep 30 2011

Hotel Review: My Love For The Soho Grand Hotel

I have stayed in fancy hotels before but none quite as special as the Soho Grand Hotel in New York. Not only is this a very cool hotel, the location is perfection right in the heart of Soho, just round the corner from Canal Street subway which means you can get anywhere, but it was the exquisite decor that knocked me out, I loved the luxurious fabrics mix in with the industrial touches, everything about this hotel from the very helpful staff to the fashionable crowd makes it a great base to take in New York.

I am not joking when I say that the Soho Grand Hotel attracts the fashion elite, the concierge was telling me that the hotel was buzzing during New York Fashion Week where a number of designers held presentations, parties and stayed. They are also hosting the British Fashion Council when they come to New York in November with their London Show Rooms. The hotel also attracts a few rocks bands, apparently one was staying while I was there I didn’t recognise them and I didn’t catch their name *bad groupie*, even Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson frequently stay over, and the barman was also telling me Alan Cummings held his Halloween party here last year and it was “off the hook”!!!

Seriously this Downtown hotel seems to attract a very hip crowd, while I was getting a bite in the lounge area a lot of fashionable folk whizzed through for meetings, lunch and a general catch-up, a great place to people watch.

I loved the lounge area, filled with comfie sofas and leather armchairs, and decorated beautifully with birdcages filled with Christian Louboutin shoes and shoe boxes. It took me three times seating in this area to realise that they were actual Louboutin red soles!

On the first night, which so happen to be the last day of summer, we all chilled out down in The Yard nibbled on french fries and I had the most amazing Pimms cocktail. My pictures are all poor, I blame poor light, tiredness after the flight, oh and the alcohol!!

I have to admit now I didn’t actually spend a lot of time in the hotel, hence no pics of the gym, or much of the inside other than my room, I didn’t even get a spare moment to find the pantry, which is on ever floor to get a tea or coffee. But what I did see I loved it was such a cool place to relax in after a long day and my room was perfection, even if I was a little scared of falling out of my huge bed!!

My view wasn’t the best, I over looked some office block, but the other girls got views of the Empire State building, so if you stay here request a higher floor as they offer the best window glazing opportunities my sixth floor room not so much.

What I did love about my room was the bathroom, if you felt the tweetie bird was something new think again, it seems that Saul Steinberg, a cartoonist for The New Yorker in the 1950s had the idea first. His designs were on the wallpaper and shower curtain and I am going to get my picture blown up for my bathroom as I love it so much.

I even got a rubber duck, LOVE!!!

I have spoken about my love of bathroom goodies before, well the Soho Grand have the best from the amazing Malin + Goetz – I adored my rum shampoo and body wash, and I have to admit I sneakily brought my set home with me.

The Soho Grand also has one of the quirkiest mini bars I have ever seen, I seriously was worried I would get the munchies and need these gummy bears.

I have to give it to the Soho Grand I haven’t raved about a hotel so much in a long time. I loved my short trip to New York and in-part that was because the hotel was so amazing. There is so much more to this hotel that I didn’t get to explore, like you can have a complimentary goldfish to look after during your stay, I would have loved the time to take the bikes out, or even enjoy a beauty treat at the Privé Salon maybe I can do that on my next visit.

One last thing that more hotels should take note of, the Soho Grand offers free wi-fi throughout, which for me is a must as I use my smartphone all the time, and generally my laptop is near by.

Sep 28 2011

NYC Adventure: HTC Inspiration Tour – Part 3 – Charlotte Ronson

The fifth and final host on the HTC Inspiration Tour was the very down-to-earth and quite poorly fashion designer Charlotte Ronson. Such a trooper though as she just wrapped up warm in her own designed parka jacket from her spring/summer 2011 collection, as she sat waiting for each group to come by on the High Line. Not only did I love her parka, yes I am someone who loved the 90s, I also love how she couldn’t go without a little glamour, working her own black laced ankle booties from her Resort 2011 collection.

Grundy vs pretty is a great look – LOVE!!

Charlotte was sweet in talking about how her musical family, if you didn’t know she is the sister of Mark and Samantha Ronson, inspires her work she even went onto tell us that Samantha created a mixtape that inspired one of her collections. It was also interesting getting insight into how she juggles her main line collection that just showcased spring/summer 2012 during New York Fashion Week, as well as her on-going collaborations with JCPenney, a new beauty line that just recently launch into Sephoria and her expansion into Asia.

I have to admit I wish I had more time with her, would have been interesting to know more about the celebrity influences on her collection, not only from her own fame but also how much it helps a brand like hers when famous pals include Kelly Osbourne and Nicole Richie wear her designs.

It was nice to hear her inspirations for her spring/summer 2012 collection, which she described as more “lady like” than previous collections with a lots of Victorian influences in the detailing such as covered fabric buttons and lace, which contrasted nicely with the seventies bohemian vibe of crop tops, patchwork denim and “cute florals”. When talking about her collection she was so passionate it was inspiring to hear, I think some have the feeling that she works off her ‘Ronson’ name but I think that couldn’t be further away from the truth. From just a short meeting it is obvious that Charlotte is driven and works very hard on her line.

I did ask whether we would ever see her show during London Fashion Week, and it doesn’t look like it would happen as New York is very much her base. It would be nice to get the brand more recognition here in the UK, especially as she doesn’t have a press team here, but Charlotte didn’t say no to one day doing something here. Maybe one day I will be able to attend her show at NYFW.

As well as having a great chat Charlotte also gave us all a copy of her Spring ’12 runway mix created for her by Samantha Ronson. I love it so much especially track 7 –  Rolling in the Fire by Adele/John Legend a special S.Ronson mix. Very cool keepsake from such a fabulous day.

It was also great to see Charlotte feeling a little better and all glammed up at the HTC Rhyme launch party. She looked stunning in her black three-quarter sleeve lace vintage dress, teamed with coral strappy heels. I just love how she is still rocking the same very cool, uber-unstyled bun in her hair and friendship bracelets.

Sep 28 2011

NYC Adventure: HTC Inspiration Tour – Part 2

I loved meeting the chef, the artist and the mobile phone designer, but I was so pleased that the HTC Inspiration Tour also featured a fashion element. The fourth stop on the tour was inside the swanky The Standard Hotel’s The Living Room bar to meet with jewellery designer Samantha House.

This was a perfect setting to meet Samantha, as the bar has a lounge-cum-surf shack feel about it, and Samantha in her bra-flashing wrap dress and cute girlie vibe is kind of a free-spirit of contradictions herself. I was really taken with the décor of floating lights and plants down the windows, and a surf board signed by Kelly Slater, as well as the fantastic looking cocktails.

I have to admit out of all the hosts I was completely mesmerised by Samantha, her confidence and attitude was amazing, and it was one of those meetings that I wish I had recorded rather than just took pictures. Not only are her designs stunning, she also has an amazing perspective on people and New York that was fascinating to hear, especially when it comes to how NYC can change peoples style.

Both Samantha and Hip Guide Syl were wearing her designs and they were spectacular. Working a lot with brightly coloured and luxurious polished stones and beads, Samantha also adds textures to her designs with wire and rope, each piece is handmade and very couture-like. I love that Samantha simply described her line as “pretty”. It is certainly more than that, the designs are exquisite and it is rare to find something that is luxurious while still being fun.

The lovely Aparna modelling one of Samantha’s designs, which we were lucky to receive as a special gift from HTC at the end of the scavenger hunt as our prize. The piece is called the Angelina, and Samantha said that the wire design represent the avenues of Manhattan and the clear beads the sparkle of the city, and I quite agree. Such a gorgeous piece that you imagine it weighs a ton, but it is so light that it makes it easy to wear. One of the girls wore it to the party in the evening and it looked fab under the disco lights.

One of the things that always inspires me is finding new brands to adore and obsess over, and I think that after meeting Samantha I will definitely have to keep an eye out for her new collections, I really do appreciate a crazy creative!!!

As well as meeting an amazing designer I was also taken back by the enormous sculpture standing guard in front of the hotel designed by KAWS.

Want to know more about the HTC Inspiration Tour click for Part 1 here, or visit my Facebook for more pictures.

Sep 28 2011

NYC Adventure: HTC Inspiration Tour – Part 1

As well as whisking me to New York for the launch of their smartphone, click here if you haven’t read my review of the cute Rhyme, HTC also treated us to a very cool inspirational scavenger hunt around the Meatpacking District and on the High Line organised by Syl Tang *far right above* from Hip Guide. I have to admit I wasn’t sure what this would entail, all I knew was that I would meet five different hosts who would talk about what inspires them ranging from a chef to a fashion designer. Interesting concept all built around HTC’s people-watching skills that helps them develop such crazy hot mobiles.

So we were split into teams and assigned a guide, to help us if we had no idea what the clue was on about, and off we all raced off into the Meatpacking District with our cryptic clue in hand. First stop was to meet Harry Stoehr a chef in the Chelsea Market. I was thinking it was just going to be a little like Borough Market, but it was so much more, I’m actually not a foodie, don’t get me wrong I love to eat but not so much to cook, if I had this place on my doorstep I am sure that would change. Jammed packed full of character, this place has everything from buying fresh produce or offers you something different to eat whether it is seafood, vegan delights, just good quality American food or amazing chocolate delights. I just really loved the vibe of this market.

It was also beautifully styled as well, lots of cool archive pictures of how it used to look, very industrial with the exposed pipe gushing out water to make a waterfall, brass sculptures of feet, exposed brick work and cogs, I could have spent all day in this place in.

As well as all the stop off points it was amazing to take in the architecture and character of the area, so many painted murals, cool people and colourful scenes.

This was underneath Chelsea Market, I just couldn’t help but snap it, also just around the corner was the Loss Sqid, and some cute Vespa’s, every turn uncovered something completely different.

If you thought I was joking on how cryptic the clues were, this is one of the best we were given to track down our second stop.

“Leave behind crepes, cupcakes, chowders and chocolates. On High at Sixteenth is a host who can do portraits. Find a view of a lady, tall and proud. Who witnessed the journey of many a crowd. On benches tiered in rows of three your host sits looking out to sea.”

Instantly we knew that it had to be artist Matthew Thomas but I was a little confused about the sea and lady, that was until I turned around on the High Line and just in the distance you could spy the Statue of Liberty *my picture isn’t great – trust me she is there*.

Matthew was one of the most interesting hosts on the tour, not only was his artwork exquisite, he has such an interesting background, which comes out in his amazing portraits. I really loved all them, especially the ones of his dog and the more abstract pieces.

Next stop was to speak to Nichole Rouillac, one of the HTC designers who headed up the hardware design for the new HTC Rhyme. Not only was she adorable in her polka-dot dress and red hot nails, but her excitement and enthusiasm for the new phone was infectious. It was another great opportunity to play with the phone, as well as find out more about the features and I am excited to use the camera as they’ve made improvements. Better autofocus, face recognition as well as adding more effects so kind of like Instagram, and the thing that excited me the most it comes with a five-shot burst. This is one great camera phone and as I snap a lot this is going to be perfect for me.

What I loved most about this tour, as well as running around everywhere with the lovely Aparna and David, was to chance to explore the High Line, which is a public park built on a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure that runs from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street on Manhattan’s West Side. If you are heading to New York soon I promise this is worth a visit, I loved all the expose rail track, all the seating, and most of all the views are incredible, as I said you can see Statue of Liberty on a clear day, also you can people watch into all the buildings that run by the side, I loved watching this girl dancing she was so stunning.

I took so many pictures I have decided to cut this post into a few parts, I think the fourth and fifth hosts who were eccentric jewellery designer Samantha House and fashion designer Charlotte Ronson deserve their own blog posts. So watch this space!!!

I have also put another folder of pictures on my Facebook Page – so pop over if you want to see more from my NYC Adventure with HTC.


Sep 26 2011

NYC Adventure: HTC Launches Rhyme Smartphone

Last week I had the pleasure of flying to New York for the launch of HTC’s latest smartphone, HTC Rhyme, which was held at a rather cool warehouse studio the High Line Stages, just round the corner from the redeveloped High Line railway walk network.

I have to own up I am a Blackberry girl, my last three mobiles have been of the qwerty variety and I have had a strictly no touch screen policy, well that is until now. The iPhone as appealing as it is with all its applications, I completely despise something that doesn’t allow me to change the battery; yes I am an over-user of my mobile and sometimes I need to re-juice it with a spare battery, I am not one for struggling to find a plug socket. Trust me I was the only one during London Fashion Week not suffering from battery fatigue.

I have always heard good things about HTC and Android its operating system, mainly from men to be honest, and the Taiwanese company have a knack for developing great looking phones, but nothing purely driven at the lifestyle market. It seems that HTC Rhyme is set to remedy all this with a cool smartphone aimed at us girlies. I know many brands have done this before, and most of them have been a hue of pink, do you remember the Samsung E530 or how about the Nokia 7373, or they’ve featured a calorie-counting app pre-installed or adorned with diamantes, or maybe you were one of those women who bought the LG mobile complete with a mirror to re-apply your lippie?

Well trust me the HTC Rhyme maybe be plum in colouring but that I think that is where the girlie-specific characteristics stop. Yes it is feminine it in its appeal, as it is slightly smaller than the norm for HTC, the screen is 3.7 inches rather than the 4.3 inches seen on the HTC 3D Evo, but saying that still bigger than the iPhone screen.

It has a sleek interface called HTC Sense, which includes a quick menu on the front that shows your most used applications, for me it would have to be email, Twitter, text messaging, and contacts. Talking about contacts, one of the things I love with my BB is that if I go to contacts it shows my recent activity with that person, well HTC have gone one step further as well as emails, phone and text it also features social media conversations. Just testing out the phone I loved the interface and can’t wait to see how it copes with my over-use when it launches here in the UK next month.

As well as being a great mobile, HTC have considered all those little things that you normally buy separately and combined it in the same set-up box. So as well as the Rhyme, you will get a dock, tangle-free headphones, and trust me they are tangle-free I tested them out much to the amusement of the HTC demonstrator, and a cute bag charm that clicks into the headphone socket and clips to your bag strap; so when you receive a call, text, email for instance it flashes, great idea for people like me who have huge bags and are prone to losing them inside!!

In the development of the Rhyme it seems that HTC did a lot of ‘people watching’ and researched how people use their mobiles, and apparently most people take their phone to bed with them *I must be the only one who doesn’t*. So to make this easier the mobile comes complete with a dock in the box, which means no-wires-required charging and it makes a great alarm clock. I told you this smartphone was nifty. They’ve also developed other accessories like bluetooth headsets, and something that I was very excited about, like with your iPod or iPhone there is going to be an exercise accessory that can be strapped to your arm. Seriously LOVE this phone!!

As well as being available in Plum, the handset will also come in Clearwater, a gold hue, a step away from the classic black or iPhone white. But as you can see above you can make it any colour you want as you can buy covers.

If like me you’ve never gone for touch screen, or maybe you also don’t want an iPhone the HTC Rhyme will surprise you. This little beauty is sleek in its design, features a sexy interface that caters to your needs, and best of all it is super light, I always worry about touch screens being heavy but this one was about the same as my Blackberry Bold. If anything can get me to step away from the qwerty keys it is this mobile, I know I have gushed about it, but at heart I am a geek and I love gadgets and this one has gone to the top of my wish list.

So far only O2 have released the launch date of October 17, sadly with no price points as yet, but trust me if you are due an upgrade soon and you want something a little different then please try this out before going with the norm.

Also did I mention HTC also has a mirror app!!!

**Disclaimer: HTC paid for my trip to New York, but didn’t influence my review of the launch, they were impeccable hosts who opened my eyes to more than just my Blackberry or my friends iPhones.**
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