Thursday, February 5, 2009

Designer: Gary Graham

What to Wear in Abandoned Places

His designs are delicately crafted, incorporating Japanese dyeing techniques, distressed leather, reversible jackets, silks and intricate embroidery. Mythic, romantic, moody and rock star are some of the terms used to describe his collections. I say his clothes are what a poet and time traveler can wear to leap into centuries past or future without blowing her cover. He says, “It’s like Scarlet O’Hara after the war.” I got to interview Gary Graham and ask what’s a typical day in his life like, who are his influences and where he would go if he could time travel. Gary Graham’s designs are available at ABC Carpet and Home, on the first floor.

What were you like as a young boy?

I was really into Vincent Price and horror movies. I was very shy and stayed inside. I went to see Vincent Price give a lecture and he was so incredible and creepy and generous. I made lots of costumes and puppets.

When did you start designing?

I started designing my own collection in 2000.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Washed and worn, dark, romantic, past lives.

Who/What are your influences?

Its like Scarlet O’Hara after the war. That transition was a big influence or Dorothy in the reverse from distressed to clean. David Lean’s Oliver Twist (I wanted to be in that gang). Times Square with Robin Johnson. My mom’s tooled leather distressed stilettos from the 30’s. Tallulah Bankhead in Lifeboat sort of blew me away and made me think that there was a whole other type of person out there. Edward Gorey.

What kind of woman, do you think, likes to wear your clothes?

I just did a trunk show up in Calgary and all of the women were smart, beautiful, a bit off and completely amazing. I had so much fun. If there was a big fancy party with like a live band and a big staircase entrance, my customer would enter through the garden doors covered in mud or something like that and the leading man would fall in love with her and then she would ignore him and then regret it the next day.

What's a typical day for you like?

I wake up at 5:30 and meditate, drink coffee, do a power sketch stream of consciousness session, work out at the gym, get to the studio by 10 and meet with my team. Then the day just kind of happens. We design, make and sell clothes. Then I go home and go to bed. I do exactly the same thing everyday.

What music are you listening to right now?

Right at this moment, I am listening to Brian Eno. I’ve been listening to Meredith Monk a lot lately and also Marilyn Manson’s American Family album I’m relistening to. I listen to Svarte Grenier most Saturday mornings if I am home. Vorak, Irene Cara, Red House Painters, Minor Threat, this type of thing. First, Last, Always by Sisters of Mercy is one of my favorites.

What type of sunglasses are you into right now?

I cant wear sunglasses.

What public figure would you like to dress/design for?

I’ve dressed Lili Taylor and I love her to death. There is a scene at the end of Abel Ferrara’s, The Addiction where she is covered in blood walking through the streets that is just incredible. We have lots of cool women shop at the boutique but I don’t like to name names.

If you could time travel, what era would you go to and why?

I just read Luc Sante’s, My Lost City so I would like to go to 70’s NY for a couple of days. It seemed like a no man’s land. I like abandoned places.

Sheehan McGuirk

Fashion Stylist: J Lamar

Art. Future. Ferocity.

When I was a little girl, I watched my father dress for work. He discussed (in great detail) why he chose a yellow pocket square versus a blue one. He laid possible outfits on the bed and described how the print of a certain tie accented the fine grey stripe in his suit. It was from him that I first heard the Coco Chanel quote about taking one accessory off before leaving the house. Had my father been born in another time he may have been a fashion stylist, not a financial advisor.
Around the time I was under my father’s tutelage, a young boy in Bridgeport, CT was pulling from his first closet (his grandmothers) and reconstructing the vintage garments in an attempt to stand out from his middle school crowd. Years later, he’s found a way to get paid for his efforts and styles for runway shows, hi-fashion editorials and regular folks like you and me. With a number of reality shows about fashion stylists, a tabloid frenzy about a certain underfed celebrity stylist and the unfortunate lack of fashion “don’ts” on the red carpet nowadays (save for Cher) it seems fair to say this young man was born at exactly the right time. I asked Jlamar some questions.

What were you like as a boy?

An imaginative introvert with a great attraction to space and otherworldly things. I was very much into science fiction and the arts as a kid. I started out reconstructing old things I found around mine and my grandmother's house. I have a 'thing' about seeing the same stuff that I have on other people, so I started designing to make my wardrobe a bit more exclusive.

What do you do as a fashion stylist?

Being knowledgeable of designers and collections is a must. You do everything from researching inspiration for shoots and setting up appointments with showrooms to dressing models & creating/styling looks. Even the small things like steaming garments, setting up racks and taking inventory of loaned items. You do it all, and it's definitely to your advantage to know how.

How would you describe your personal style?

Hmm... I love to wear neutrals, especially black. Particularly, pieces that are strong and defined. I usually get dressed with a specific item in mind, and build a look from that. It's pretty entertaining to watch.

Who/what are your influences?

Art. Future. Ferocity.

Who are some of the designers you've styled for?

Marc Jacobs, Imitation of Christ, Vogue Italia, Womens Wear Daily.

You also design clothes, what's the name of your line and what’s the aesthetic?

I had a line out called Junk by Jlamar a while ago. It was a small line of shirts and accessories that were made with re-used fabrics and materials. I'm working on some really fun and interesting new stuff right now. It's all still in my head, and I need a good chunk of time to get it out and execute. You can email me at Website coming soon!

What are three items of clothing that you’re really into right now?

1. Neon Yellow Patent dress shoes
2. Black Dior Homme pleated front trousers
3. An Ivory fencing uniform.

What trend would you like to see die?

Girls: I despise Ugg boots with all of my being.
Guys: Sagging pants. I mean... really?

What music are you listening to right now?

Kelis (always), punctuated by some 80's to mid 90's hip hop and r&b, classic/northern soul, doo wop, and depressing love songs.

What kind of sunglasses are you wearing these days?

Most of what I own is vintage, but I recently bought a pair of black/grey gradient wayfarers in Soho that I really love. I'm on the prowl for some Horn - Rimmed frames, though.

If you could style/design for anyone who would it be?

Bjork. She's insanely creative and uninhibited when it comes to fashion, and music. The closet for that project would be AMAZING.

Sheehan McGuirk
June Jacobs has been around since 1999 and is sold in high-end luxury spa’s like NYC’s Mandarin Oriental and Exhale. June Jacobs Spa Collection is botanically based and designed to bring a luxurious spa experience right into our own humble surroundings. The June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Travel Kit offers 8 products including a mandarin cleanser and polishing beads, intensive age defying brightening eye cream and hydrating serum, body emulsion, SPF, complex cream and serum. It’s travel size so you won’t be hassled at the airport as you jet off to Turks and Caicos. The Intensive Age Defying Hydrating Mask is paraben and preservative free and is a powerful weapon against aging. It’s packed with ingredients that nourish, hydrate, help your skin produce more collagen and elastin and neutralize free radical damage. It’s a creamy consistency so you can apply it at night and let it work it’s magic while you sleep. For the ultimate anti-aging, anti-gravitation experience, apply the mask and strap yourself down in your bed with some heavy-duty steel tape, to train yourself to sleep on your back. Your friends will think you own a hyperbolic chamber.

Sheehan McGuirk
Get pampered at Spa Hydra

Spa Hydra
35-11 36th Street
Long Island City, NY 11106
Tel: (718) 267-7991

You wouldn’t expect it from outside the converted warehouse across the street from the Museum of the Moving Image in Long Island City, but inside is a seriously chic spa. The floor is laid with white marble and the separate, dimly lit relaxation area is just the type of place you want to chill before or after your treatments, sip your tea and research Britney’s breakdown. Body treatments and facials are available as well as top-notch massages, waxing and nails. Fun fact; did you know that after 10 years your mattress will weigh almost 15 pounds more than when you bought it? For $80 you can have a Signature Salt Body Scrub that smells amazing and leaves your skin so smooth your pants might fall off. It starts with a hot scrub, then a relaxing shower, and ends with a massage using a heated aromatherapy balm. For total enjoyment, promptly go home and get naked. --Sheehan McGuirk
Get Beautified at Priti Organic Spa

Priti Organic Spa
35 East First Street
NY, NY 10003
Tel: (212) 254 3628

Lot’s of salons smell more like a mortuary than a sanctuary. That’s courtesy of all the chemicals wafting through the air. Priti Organic Spa doesn’t compromise your health for your outer beauty. Have your feet soaked in mint and rosemary while your fingers are scrubbed with lavender and polished with 100% organic products. Bamboo flooring and an earthy design make this Lower East Side hideaway feel like a little slice o’ Thailand. Priti also provides organic facials using Stella McCartney’s Care and Dr. Alkaidis product lines as well as massages; both are very popular with mommies to be. After you’ve been beautified, walk across the street and get your brunch on at Prune. You may have to wait in line for a while but you’ll have the time considering how you just helped save the earth and got cuter at the same time. -- Sheehan McGuirk
Pure Spa and Salon
40-15 Queens Boulevard
Sunnyside, NY 11104
Tel: (718) 784-6400

Like other European owned and operated spa’s, Pure seems to adhere to a higher standard. You’re greeted with an authentic smile and a warm cup of tea. The reception area leads to a separate and spacious manicure and pedicure area (no awkward elbow touching) then through a long, candle lit hallway, off of which are generously sized treatment rooms, locker rooms for men and women and the first of two relaxation areas with complimentary snacks and more tea...score. Walk downstairs and the exposed brick and dimly lit relaxation area creates a cozy, urban shelter before you enter a treatment room and fall into a drooling abyss. No issues with pushy sales, overly chatty therapists or scary burning flesh, just an effective variety of relaxing, quality facials (using tried and true Dermologica products) and massages (shiatsu too) from therapists and technicians who know what they’re doing.

--Sheehan McGuirk
93 Spring Street
(btwn Broadway and Mercer Street)
New York, NY 10012
Tel: (212) 925-0742

Like a singing ice cream shop or a one eyed, clairvoyant witch, Sabon has their thing that sets them apart from the competition. Sabon is a suds shop on Spring Street that sells all natural, animal free, handmade products from Israel (yeah, don’t pretend like you knew it from the name of the place). They slice up delicious smelling soap loaves and sell it to you by the morsel. You can get a 3.5 oz piece for about $6.00. With choices like Jasmine, Clove, Lemon Grass Olive Oil or Dulce de Leche, body salts, body creams, room sprays and candles, you’ll want to bring your competitive, long distance, sniffing skills. Also, you might want to bring dirty, unwashed, stinking hands because they will be washed, scrubbed and moisturized in public bathing ritual after which your hands will be vibrating from the power of the Dead Sea. That’s their thing.

--Sheehan McGuirk