the style publication of southbay magazine
Spring/ Summer Standouts
Queen of Bohemia Meet Head Regalâ€™s Amber Laforet
A custom event designed for the Borzi Family
#DONTBEBORING 540 Hawaii Ave, Torrance 310.320.6200 | www.chouraevents.com
Welcome to our second issue of Et Cetera! We are so thrilled with the continued positive response to our launch issue last fall and very excited to share with you the contents of these pages. We aim to inspire you with style, fashion and design from the South Bay and beyond. We love seeing people empowered to follow their hearts. This is what this issue is about. We saw 750,000 people take to the streets of Los Angeles, march and stand together for human rights. This inspired us to look in the South Bay for people who are positive and uplifting within the arts. To grace our cover, we found a strong woman who also embodies the values of our community: Amber Laforet, a South Bay mother of two who runs her own business and gives back whenever she can. In the pages that follow you can read more about her story and other creative people doing amazing things. We highlight local designers, such as the innovative couple behind Right Tribe and Kristin Coia of the eco-friendly brand Go Gently Nation. We also feature the story of South Bay artist and entrepreneur Justin Cooper of Another Fine Mess. From further afield, we bring you the latest fashion trends for the season straight off the runways of New York Fashion Week and journey to the streets of Tokyo to uncover Japan’s cutting-edge fashion and culture. These stories motivate us to do more of what we love … there is so much to enjoy and celebrate! Thank you, and welcome!
Tanya Monaghan Editor Instagram: @TheKayaGirl
THE DATEJUST 41 The new generation of the essential classic, with a new movement and design that keep it at the forefront of watchmaking. It doesn’t just tell time. It tells history.
OYSTER PERPETUAL DATEJUST 41
oyster perpetual and datejust are ® trademarks.
Manhattan Village... enhancing life along the coast
A new and improved Manhattan Village is on the horizon. A new, expanded Macy’s coming in 2018. All stores open during construction.
Sepulveda and Rosecrans Manhattan Beach shopmanhattanvillage.com
White HouseIBlack Market
Pottery Barn Kids
Janie and Jack
Brickworks Roadhouse & Grill California Pizza Kitchen Chili’s Olive Garden Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks
C70 Carbon Fiber 70 th Anniversary Limited Edition
810C SILVER SPUR ROAD ROLLING HILLS ESTATES www.medawarfinejewelers.com 310.544.0052
S P R I NG 2 01 7
Street Smart What the South Bay’s wearing
special section 22
Trina Turk Melissa Shoes at Del Amo San Lorenzo Bikinis at The Point Morgan’s Jewelers Palos Verdes
7 trends for spring/summer
Getting It Right Handmade goods with Right Tribe
The Stone Age Marmol Radziner Jewelry
Tropical Heat Wave
Super Bloom Nordstrom at Del Amo Urban Clothes Horse Margaret O’Leary Planet Blue at The Point
Another Fine Mess
Age is Just a Number The LA Collective of Style
, La Vie Boheme The inspired life of Head Regal’s Amber Laforet
Cinematic Scent Hollywood legacy of Krigler
Earth Mother Cozy with Go Gently Nation
68 Tokyo , s Catwalk Fashion and frolic in stylish Tokyo
On the Cover Local businesswoman Amber LaForet with her children. Photographed by Coco Knudson.
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EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Darren Elms
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MARKETING & OPERATIONS Partner/Brand Publisher | Emily Stewart Partner/Managing Director, Media & Analytics | Warren Schaffer Brand Publisher | Hannah Lee Associate Brand Publisher | Cherice Tatum Director of Digital | Charles Simmons Director of Film & Video | Bryce Lowe-White Art Director | Angela Akers Operations Manager | Allison Jeackjuntra Marketing Manager | Rachel Gotko Marketing Manager | Danielle Price Accounting | Janet De La Cruz No part of this periodical may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written consent from Moon Tide Media, LLC. Any and all submissions to this or any Moon Tide Media, LLC publication become the property of Moon Tide Media, LLC and may be used in any media. We reserve the right to edit. TO OUR READERS Et Cetera magazine welcomes your feedback. Please send letters to: Reader Response Department, Et Cetera Magazine, 200 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 110, El Segundo, CA 90245. Please include your name, address and email. Edited letters may be published. SUBSCRIPTIONS Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 310-376-7800. Subscriptions are $29 per year. 200 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 110, El Segundo, CA 90245 Tel 310-376-7800 | Fax 310-376-0200 | MoonTideMedia.com | OurSouthbay.com/EtCetera
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IT’S WHAT THE SOUTH BAY IS WEARING. Photographed by ANNIE DEPTULA
HELEN RAY LAUREN PRESSEY
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Brenda Randall MANHATTAN BEACH DOMESTIC CZAR OF THREE AND FASHION BLOGGER @LAFILLEDUROCK MY PERSONAL STYLE: French-inspired: classic, simple, yet with an edge. I don’t follow trends. I usually work with my wardrobe staples and add unique pieces. MY DAY-TO-DAY: I don’t really think too much about it because it depends on what is going on. Ultimately, being comfortable is what is important to me. MY FAVORITE PIECE: Right now I’d have to say my snakeskin Lena boots by Zadig et Voltaire. I’ve lived in them all last season. WHAT INSPIRED THIS LOOK? I think T-shirts are great, versatile basics to have on hand. I am a big fan of graphics tees and mixing them up to create a unique look. CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: A good quality, well-tailored blazer. If it’s done right, it can make anything look chic.
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Leila Cunningham PALOS VERDES ESTATES PILATES INSTRUCTOR, BLOGGER, PRESENTER AND FOUNDER OF FITPILATESLC.COM MY PERSONAL STYLE: Classic but cool, or should I say “cool classic”? MY DAY-TO-DAY: Having a very physical job and being an active mom of two, I gravitate toward more comfortable pieces of clothing. I also want to look stylish when I step out the door. I am always on the go, so both my work attire and day attire need to mix. MY FAVORITE PIECE: My Rag & Bone navy blue velcro tennis shoes (featured in this photo). They are very versatile. I can wear them with jeans, yoga pants or dresses. WHAT INSPIRED THIS LOOK? My everyday dressing inspired the outfit I am wearing today. Although what I am wearing is comfortable and functional, it is still stylish. CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: My Miu Miu tote bag (also featured here). It fits perfectly into my daily life. It is classy, fun and easy to match with any outfit.
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Wayne Seglison MANHATTAN BEACH SALES MY PERSONAL STYLE: A mix of casual and classic style. MY DAY-TO-DAY: Between the office and taking kids to practice and games, I keep it pretty classic and comfortable. MY FAVORITE PIECE: Tied between my black hooded Diesel blazer and my French Atelier Voisin shoes. WHAT INSPIRED THIS LOOK? My fiancé, Bree, inspired this outfit. My favorite JBrands and Voisin shoes are an everyday look for me. CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: I am a surfer, so if I am not working you can find me in my Birdwell board shorts and my Scott Hawaii “slipahs.”
Bree Valbuena MANHATTAN BEACH MANAGER, BIRDWELL BEACH BRITCHES MY PERSONAL STYLE: I live at the beach, so during the day it’s easy-breezy—like jeans and a tank with my Birdwell jacket, of course. At night I like to have a little edge. MY DAY-TO-DAY: I live and work in Manhattan Beach, so I keep it pretty casual. MY FAVORITE PIECE: My Birdwell competition jacket in olive and white. I can wear it year-round, and it looks great with everything from my bikini to my torn-up mother jeans to my Helmut Lang leather leggings. I love it! WHAT INSPIRED THIS LOOK? I love this dress designed by Sis at Greigh Goods. I paired it with comfy Golden Goose sneakers and my Ampersand As Apostrophe parcel to give it a more casual look that I can wear all day long. CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: I wouldn’t want to live without my black Raquel Allegra dress or my favorite Mother jeans, but if I had to choose just one it would be my leather booties. They can transform any look.
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Getting Fresh PHOTOGRAPHER ANNIE DEPTULA HEADED TO NEW YORK FASHION WEEK TO COVER THE LATEST STYLES TO HIT THE RUNWAY. TAKE A FRONT ROW SEAT TO THE HOTTEST FASHION TRENDS FOR SPRING AND SUMMER 2017. Written by TANYA MONAGHAN | Photographed ANNIE DEPTULA
Boudoir Dressing Let’s be honest. We’ve all dreamed of walking around all day in our pajamas … so here is your hall pass. Sleepwear has become a top trend to wear out. While this officially became a trend a few seasons back, this year the look transforms into a more glamorous iteration. BY HELEN RAY Think Hollywood glamour: silk robes, flowing pajama pants,STYLED transparent fabrics and luxuriPHOTOGRAPHED PRESSEY ous nightgowns. You can pull off this look for day by wearing flat sandals BY to LAUREN dress it down.
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Shine On We are once again borrowing the metallic trend from decades before and adopting it for 2017. Models were seen up and down the runway draped and sculpted in liquid metal—looking like glittery walking mermaids. The color range was not limited to classic gold and silver, but in all colors. This look is very reminiscent of the 1970s Studio 54 nightclub scene. Designers used sequins and lots of lamé this season and even incorporated prints into the fabric, as seen at the Monique Lhuillier show.
The Look of Romance A lot of the top houses turned to romancing the runways like a modern-day fairytale. The looks were jaw-dropping, as models walked in long, sheer, flowing skirts. Some designers upped the ante by incorporating embellishments such as feathers, sequins and floral appliqués. The look was modernized this season by revealing skin through sheer fabrics, plunging necklines and off-the-shoulder cuts. Obviously not for everyday wear, this would be the perfect look to wear to a spring or summer wedding.
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Peek-a-Boo The designers were definitely scissor-happy this season, as cutouts were prolific on the runway—seen in all styles of dress, from street wear to formal attire. The winner for the most flattering and favored cutout is still the shoulder cutout. This is not a new trend but one that is surely sticking around, and maybe that’s a good thing because—unlike the crop-top trend—most people can wear it.
Take a Bow Bows have made a comeback this season. Last season’s entry was the pussy-bow blouse and the wrapped-up-around-the-neck choker, bolo tie-style. Designers have been busy creating other usages for the bow. The bow has now moved south, either tied around the waist in all shapes and sizes or constructed to be the main focus somewhere unexpected. Time to tie one on.
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Play on Panels Designers were getting playful with patterns and panels. One of the top trends was the use of paneling across asymmetrical skirts, tops and leggings. Jill Stuart made this a major component of her show by incorporating an arty pop look using color block themes and geometrical prints across all styles and fabrics. She mixed this look with subtle polka-dot prints, which made it fun and different. Be brave and bold this season and give it a try.
Parting Shot Slits were being placed everywhere on the runways. We have been seeing the side slit up the thigh for the past couple seasons. For this season designers have gravitated to cutting multiple slits in their gowns—showing off legs in the most beautiful and unexpected way. Usually gowns restrict movement, but these multiple cuts allow women to move more fluidly and freely. The most inventive use this season is the shoulder slit. This was seen on the runways, even in some suiting where the jacket was made more like a cape to free the arms.
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Trina Turk Melissa Shoes at Del Amo Fashion Center San Lorenzo Bikinis at The Point Morgan’s Jewelers Palos Verdes
special advertising section
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HEAT WAVE BUST OUT THE BOTANICALS, TURN UP THE COLOR VOLUME AND SPLASH DOWN IN CHIC SOUTH BAY STYLE.
Styled by TANYA MONAGHAN Photographed by ANNIE DEPTULA Makeup & hair by JENNY KARL
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Embrace your true color, and don’t be afraid to stand out in a crowd.
Trina Turk Gypsy solid off-the-shoulder one piece, $128, Wawona pant, $248, Gold Luxe mule, $228, Bold signet ring, $58, Puili stick earring, $48 333 Manhattan Beach Blvd. in Manhattan Beach 310-303-3153, trinaturk.com Social Media: Facebook and Instagram: @trinaturk; Twitter: @shoptrinaturk
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Dip your toes in a splash of bold summer color.
Melissa Shoes at Del Amo Fashion Center Neon yellow satchel by Melissa and the Cambridge Satchel Company, $125; Melissa Beach Slide III white/pink flower sandal, $85 21540 Hawthorne Boulevard #408 in Torrance 310-793-7463, shop601.com, delamofashioncenter.com Instagram and Twitter: @MelissaShoesUSA
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Go classic, flirty and fun, and always carry some extra sand in your pockets.
San Lorenzo Bikinis at The Point Mind Bali Soul Interlace Monokini in Lotus by San Lorenzo Bikinis, $230; Horn necklace, $18; Triangle earrings, $16; Half-moon ring, $14 The Point 830 S. Sepulveda Blvd. #111 in El Segundo 310-616-3306, sanlorenzobikinis.com, thepointsb.com IG: @sanlorenzo_manhattan; Snapchat: @SLBIKINIS
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Be colorful and playful while elegant and timeless.
Morgan’s Jewelers Palos Verdes, Inc. 18k yellow gold necklace, $13,000, and bracelet, $5,780 with multicolor natural gemstones set in an “Endless Design” by Nanis Co.; 18k yellow gold dangle earrings with multicolor gemstones from Ipanama collection by Nanis Co., $4,375; 18k yellow gold three-stone ring with moving prongs and stones and Florentine finish from Endless Collection by Nanis Co., $2,925; 18k yellow gold dome bypass Florentine ring by Nanis Co., $3,850; 18k yellow gold blue topaz ring with Florentine finish by Nanis Co., $1,875; 18k yellow gold bracelet with Florentine finish handmade by Nanis Co., $12,900 50C Peninsula Center in Rolling Hills Estates 310-541-2052 | morgansjewelerspalosverdes.com Social media: morgans jewelers palos verdes
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HELEN RAY LAUREN PRESSEY
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Getting it Right A CREATIVE COUPLE BRINGS A MUTUAL LOVE OF VINTAGE AND HANDMADE GOODS TO MANHATTAN BEACH. Written by TANYA MONAGHAN Photographed by LAUREN PRESSEY
If you frequented Right Tribe, s storefront in Manhattan Beach, you can consider yourself lucky. Anyone who walked into this creative space came out with a smile on his or her face. Lauren Kolodny and Johnny Red, the inspiring duo behind the creative brand and studio, were often found inside, making their handmade goods. Being in their store was like being in their own home. They would offer you coffee as your eyes bounced around the room. Johnny’s beautiful handmade leather goods and Lauren’s handmade, colorful pom-poms and wall hangings adorned the shelves. In every space in between you could find treasures found at flea markets or crystals from far-off places.
Taking center stage was my personal favorite: the beautiful, worn-in, vintage Eames chair once owned by Lauren’s grandfather. Johnny could often be found crafting his leather visors or bags by the cash wrap. It was a whole new experience for the South Bay. Their deep connection to the South Bay originates from Lauren. She was raised in Palos Verdes and grew up very close to her grandmother, who taught her everything from crafts to fashion. In her early 20s, Lauren moved to New York to pursue her career as a fashion stylist. After several brutal winters, she returned to the South Bay in 2004 and made Downtown Manhattan Beach her home. Johnny Red, on the other hand, grew up in the Pennsylvania countryside on a small hobby farm. He was exposed at a young age to tools and materials of all kinds. His father liked woodworking, and his mother took to sewing quilts.
positive response from customers. After a year they were selling their visors wholesale to Free People and also landed their dream account at Wright’s in Downtown Manhattan Beach, situated one block from their home. Their brand grew from visors to other leather accessories, including hats, handbags and home decor.
Johnny and Lauren attended the Tucson Gem & Mineral show and brought back more than 200 pounds of geodes from Morocco for people to crack open at their studio. They have held several community workshops, including how to make leather plant hangers, indigo dying and a geodecracking event.
Eventually the two had the incredible opportunity to open their own beautiful creative studio/shop downtown. Having a storefront opened up a whole new world, as they were able to personally interact with their customers. They found that their customers also really enjoyed the experience of interacting with them, the artists.
They would start their day with a cup of coffee and walk two blocks from their home down to the studio. It gave them the space to be creative, make things and talk to their customers. Lots of people would come in and ask for custom items, which they were very happy to accommodate. If they were not at the shop, they were out in the world cruising in their RV, looking for adventures and inspiring materials.
They were also pleasantly surprised to find that there is still a longing for the retro style in the South Bay. And people are hungry for the arts, hand-made goods, crafts and workshops. There is a real sense of community, and people want to support local artists and art events.
After graduating college in Colorado, he moved to Japan to teach English for five years before moving to LA to work in film and television as a production designer. It was during this time that Lauren and Johnny met. After working an entire year together on projects back-to-back, they ended the year filming an independent film in Oregon and fell in love. Right Tribe was born several years later when Johnny was given the gift of a leather wallet designed and crafted in the U.S. He was inspired by the quality of the material and simplicity of the design. He decided to try to make something with remnant leather. Johnny soon realized that if you use quality materials, you end up with quality goods. Leather became his favorite medium to work with. They started by selling their handmade leather visors on Etsy and had a very
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When asked what inspires him, Johnny says, “One-of-a-kind things. Things that have a practical purpose and a timeless aesthetic—for example, the new line of leather plant hangers we have released this
FLEA MARKET SHOPPING TIPS: YOU LOVE FINDING TREASURES AT FLEA MARKETS, AND YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE A KEEN EYE FOR SPECIAL THINGS. WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR SHOPPING? We find the strategy is to have no strategy. When we are specifically looking for something, we find it harder to find. Let the items speak to you and see where the treasure hunting takes you. GIVE US 10 TIPS ON HOW TO SHOP AT A FLEA MARKET. 1. Bring a granny cart, water and snacks. 2. Sun protection, perhaps a leather visor! 3. Arrive early. 4. If you like it, buy it. 5. Buy it now; it won’t be there later. 6. Talk them down. 7. Don’t forget to look for materials, i.e., beads, fabric and crystals. You never know what you’ll use it for later. 8. Wear comfortable shoes. 9. Strap it to your roof, if it doesn’t fit (don’t forget to bring rope). 10. Go with a friend. DO YOU EVER FIND IT HARD TO LET GO OF THE THINGS YOU MAKE OR FIND? All the time, but one great thing about the store is getting to know our customers and having them share photos with us later of where the item has been placed or how they are wearing it on vacation. So the item is still connected to us somehow.
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spring. I am inspired mostly by Lauren or nature. Sometimes it comes from a single color, shape or material that inherently wants to be something. Most times materials inspire their own design.” Finding this space was a dream come true for the couple, but sadly they recently learned they needed to move on from that location. So what is the future for Right Tribe? Lauren and Johnny hope to get Right Tribe in more stores across the South Bay and continue to hold workshops within the community. As a regular visitor, I know many people are going to miss their storefront presence in the South Bay. Johnny and Lauren have definitely felt the love and support from the South Bay community. Mary, a long-time business owner, shared the space with them, helping them be able to afford the opportunity to create their dream studio. And Nancy McFarland of Wright’s in Manhattan Beach, another long-time South Bay local business owner, started carrying their visors, hanging mobiles, leather plant hangers and koozies. “This town has not only been our home but also a very supportive community,” they say, and this is why they love living here. |||
The Stone Age A PROMINENT CALIFORNIA ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN FIRM DEBUTS A NEW LINE OF SCULPTURAL JEWELRY. Written by JENNIE NUNN
For architect Ron Radziner, design principal of California–based firm Marmol Radziner, the idea to launch a jewelry line derived from an unexpected object he found on the beach and wore as a bracelet: a piece of metal. From there, Ron asked one of his metalsmiths in the in-house metal shop to create a slight variation of the bracelet with a dark patina that matched custom hardware in his own home. Seven years later, the firm’s new Stone collection includes pink topaz, rutilated quartz and Herkimer diamond—all mined in Brazil, Peru, the Himalayas, Arizona, New York and culled in various gem shows in Southern California and Tucson. Ron’s wife, Robin Cuttle—Marmol Radziner Jewelry’s chief designer and creative director—conceived the collection inspired by the work of artist Robert Ryman by placing a piece of broken glass on one of the firm’s existing cuffs. “I saw the beauty of the clean lines of the metal contrasting with the broken, raw edges of the glass fragment,” says Robin of the handcrafted baubles made in the firm’s
metalsmith shop in El Segundo. “Because Marmol Radziner Jewelry is not cast like most jewelry pieces, it presented challenges to our method of production on how to attach a stone to the metal band. Our production method is old-fashioned metalsmithing (cutting, torching, hammering and bending sheets of bronze and brass.)” Next up, the firm is hard at work on making prototypes for pendants with new finds scored at the Tucson Gem Show—including tourmaline, turquoise and chrysocolla (a blue-green copper mineral) for new rings and cuffs. “I love that our jewelry line is an extension of Marmol Radziner architecture, embracing the close relationship between industrial materials and their natural environment,” adds Robin. “Our vision explores a play on light, proportions and materiality regardless of the scale. The jeweled pieces celebrate the relationship between the craggy, organic qualities of the raw, uncut stone against the linear, machine-aesthetic of the metal band. To me, beauty lies in the juxtaposition between these opposing aesthetics, which feels fresh and modern.” |||
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HELEN RAY LAUREN PRESSEY
Creative Chaos A LOCAL ARTIST AND ENTREPRENEUR SEEKS TO MAKE THE UNCONVENTIONAL ACCESSIBLE.
Written by TANYA MONAGHAN Photographed by ANTON WATTS
STYLED BY HELEN RAY ‘Dark Matter 0311’ edition by Michael Cina for Another Fine Mess PHOTOGRAPHED BY LAUREN
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The South Bay is well-known for its pictureperfect beaches, volleyball and California surf culture. You might immediately think of the South Bay as an incubator of artists, yet one of its own is trying to change that. Justin Cooper is the founder of Another Fine Mess (AFM)—a Los Angeles–based publisher and producer of limited edition works by contemporary artists and designers. His mission is to make great art easily accessible to all. AFM collaborates with established and emerging artists who push the boundaries, adhering to their own aesthetic influences and meticulous production standards. They provide access to a distinct range of fine art prints and artist multiples. You might ask what gives him the street cred to curate these capsules? Justin previously co-founded Society6—a global community of more than 250,000 artists and more than $60 million in annual artwork sales. The goal of S6 was to empower the world’s artists to profit from the sale of their artwork without giving up control of their rights. Justin is himself a multidisciplinary artist
and art publisher. Much of his work is motivated by the celebration of imperfection and references both postmodern abstraction and minimalism. His mostly improvisatory method and utilization of unconventional materials—such as paint, tape, polyethylene, newsprint and carbon powder—promote a process of discovery and restart to generate aesthetic forms. Justin has been a resident of the South Bay for the past 16 years, where he lives with his wife, Becky, and their daughters, Mckenna and Sidney. He was raised in a working class family in Kansas City. His mother was a graphic designer/typesetter, and his father had a lifelong career with the local railroad. Justin’s creative pursuits started at a young age. He attributes much of that creativity to his undying passion for skateboarding, punk music (namely Hermosa Beach’s very own Black Flag) and everything we have come to love about Southern California counterculture. AFM brings together so many of these passions and influences. “AFM is everything that I always wanted to do that I couldn’t do with Society6,” says Justin. “It’s a celebration of the most relevant artists of our time, where the notion
“We have profound respect for uncompromising honesty and sincerity.” — 42 —
of limited editions and multiples is a valued principle over mass-produced, ubiquitous art. We have profound respect for uncompromising honesty and sincerity.” Since AFM’s launch in October, that philosophy forms the basis for how it operates. It is an ongoing process of discourse and refinement, with the goal of providing direct access to a distinct range of high-quality, editioned artworks. Justin exudes passion with his approach. “From the products to the people, the ideas and inspiration, down to the raw materials and the packaging, we have worked tirelessly and collaboratively across continents to create a distinguished artwork publishing platform that is authentically our own,” he shares. “As we weighed past experience against present expectations, we learned a great deal. What we learned and came to believe is that our collective point of view (all of the artists, art directors, designers, photographers, artisans, printers and fabricators involved with AFM)—highly considered and meticulously executed—is our truth.” In a very short period of time, Justin and his team have already worked with some
international heavies, including Eike König, Michael C Place, Michael Cina, Jesse Draxler and many others. They are also currently collaborating with some of the most respected artists today, like Jordy van den Nieuwendijk and Brian Roettinger, to release upcoming limited editions. AFM is a curated (by invitation only) publishing platform for artists where quality and scarcity reign supreme. You will never find any mass-produced, ubiquitous art on AFM. Justin is going above and beyond AFM by also starting a movement to make the South Bay a more creative environment. Along with a few friends and notable creative people from the community, Justin has been actively exploring ways to bring things full-circle and merge his love for the visual arts with the community he lives in— in the form of a physical space … a place, he thinks, that “will become the creative hub of the South Bay, a working-studio meets gallery and concept retail experience.” We can’t wait. ||| You can visit AFM online at anotherfinemess.com, or follow along on all social platforms @anotherfnmess.
‘Blush’ by Justin Cooper installation view
‘Not Close Enough’ edition by Jesse Draxler for Another Fine Mess
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Age is Just a Number FOR THE MULTIGENERATIONAL SOUTH BAY WOMEN OF THE LA COLLECTIVE OF STYLE, ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.
Written by CATHARINE GRACE | PHOTOGRAPHED BY MIKE CASTAGNA | DRESSED BY BLVD
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The inspiration of the Women’s March has sparked a dialogue, encouraging women to come together to celebrate and embrace what it means to be a woman. From this, The LA Collective of Style (LACS) was born. We are women representing four decades— from our 20s to 50s—and we openly dare you to tell us apart. We are from different generations, yet we feel ageless, timeless, beautiful and empowered through our individual journeys. Each woman carries a story of her own with a unique sense of style and flair. Age isn’t something physical. Age is simply your outlook on life. It’s a mindset embracing inner beauty, which you can only find within your heart. The women of the LACS embody these qualities and serve as an inspiration to women everywhere. Each of these women see beauty as neither separate or external but rather as a sum total of their radiant inner qualities. Beauty isn’t a thing. It’s a heartfelt feeling and a way of being in life. It’s about having a beautiful perspective on life and choosing to see both ourselves and others through a clear lens. Beauty is an action. It comes from embracing everything about you, especially those things you may feel called to hide. Those personality quirks that you may see as “weird” or different are, in actuality, the things that make you special and unique. These women represent the essence of the LACS, one based on love and compassion for all. When I’m surrounded in the love that I feel from my LACS sisters, I feel more beautiful than ever. On International Women’s Day, we gathered together on the cliffs of the magical Palos Verdes Peninsula. Waverly and BLVD boutiques, located in Downtown Manhattan Beach, provided the fabulous boho-style inspiration. There’s something very special that happens when women
come together supporting and honoring one another. There’s nothing more beautiful than a beautiful heart, and these women have that in spades! Tanya Monaghan, editor of Et Cetera magazine and South Bay blogger @thekayagirl, is one of those ageless wonders—with a personality that defines inner beauty. It’s the qualities of empathy, kindness, compassion and love that come together to create a world of beauty on the inside. Tanya is also a mother of three and a former editor of South Africa’s Glamour magazine. She’s the definition of an empowered woman. Lauren Dailey is the creator of bohemianbythebay.com and stays true to her Colorado roots with her grounded and humble nature. Michelle Marcinowski is a local fashion blogger who is just about to join the ranks of motherhood. She’s one of the creative partners behind the blog fiftytwothursdays. us and is always ready with a smile or a kind word at a moment’s notice. And I’m Catherine Grace O’Connell, the founder of catherinegraceo.com and the impetus behind The LA Collective of Style. With a deep desire to show the world that age is a state of being, the LACS have created a powerful and beautiful force that’s based in love. They are out to dispel a common belief that fashion/lifestyle bloggers tend to come in one shape or age demographic. In reality, the blogging world is reflective of society with a variety of races, genders, backgrounds and, certainly, demographics. It’s about harnessing your creativity with passion and purpose at any stage of life. We are believers that youthfulness is not reserved for the young. Youthfulness is an internal attitude that lives and breathes from your heart. Stay tuned for more ageless style inspiration as The LA Collective of Style encourages you to embrace your inner beauty. We are here to show you that love is beauty and beauty is love. |||
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Nordstrom at Del Amo Fashion Center Urban Clothes Horse Margaret O’Leary Planet Blue at The Point
special advertising section
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WE’RE WILD FOR THESE WHIMSICAL AND WONDERFUL TRENDS SPROUTING UP AROUND TOWN.
Styled by TANYA MONAGHAN Photographed by ANGELA MARKLEW Makeup & hair by VERONICA LANE
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Subtle sensibility will get you everywhere.
Nordstrom at Del Amo Fashion Center A.L.C. rust dress, $395; Nordstrom gold bangles, $28 21500 Hawthorne Boulevard in Torrance 310-542-9440, nordstrom.com, delamofashioncenter.com Social Media: @nordstromdelamo
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Embrace the light and go bright.
Urban Clothes Horse Free People mini dress, $148; Urban Headwear Malibu Sunset fedora, $39; Leatherock fringe pochette, $168; PennyLane leather necklace, $39; Sevya turtleback brass copper ring, $39; M. Drake silver beach braid ring, $85 1901 S. Catalina Avenue in Redondo Beach 424-247-8948, urbanclotheshorse.com Facebook & Instagram: @UrbanClothesHorse; Twitter & Pinterest: @UClothesHorse
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Be versatile, chic and stylish at any age.
Margaret O’Leary Baton pendant necklace by VLM, $178; Parallel ring by VLM Jewelry, $98; Arizona by Birkenstock, $135; Bias dress by Margaret O’Leary, $215; Tie front cardigan by Margaret O’Leary, $190 1012½ Manhattan Avenue 310-363-8830, margaretoleary.com Social Media: @margaretoleary
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California on the beach, on the street and everywhere in between.
Planet Blue at The Point Nightcap Samba Gown, $297 Chan Luu bone ring, $118 840 S. Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite B102 in El Segundo 310-616-3380, shopplanetblue.com, thepointsb.com Social Media: @shopplanetblue
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MEET AMBER LAFORET, AN INSPIRING SOUTH BAY WOMAN WHO TRANSCENDED PERSONAL TRAGEDY AND CHALLENGES TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL LOCAL BUSINESSWOMAN. Written by TANYA MONGAHAN | Photographed by COCO KNUDSON
his year has already been a major marker for women. We made history as 750,000 of us took to the streets of Downtown LA to march peacefully but passionately for our human rights. Here at Et Cetera, we really wanted to find a woman to put on the cover who represents these times—a modern individual who embodies strength, resilience and beauty with balance. When I first met Amber Laforet, her sirenlike beauty drew me in. With her long, perfect, spiral curls and immaculate skin, she looks like a contemporary, bohemian Venus. But as I got to know Amber, I realized she is so much more than a pretty face. It wasn’t long before I knew she had to be on our cover.
The way Amber tells it, Head Regal began as a collaborative idea that was born after a divorce and the need to find oneself again after becoming a mother. “It was about finding something that makes you feel good on the inside yet expresses your individualism on the outside,” she shares. “I draw my real inspiration to make blankets from things such as safety, comfort, wellness, staying in the moment, restfulness, peace, calm, truth, vulnerability, playfulness, love and home. They are essentially personal blankies for all ages, created with the intention of making you feel good. The fact that it looks good at the base of your bed or on your couch is really secondary.” As a child of the ‘70s, there is a consistently vintage vibe to all of her designs. “I generally don’t like things to feel too new or perfect,” she says. “I am most inspired by the ocean and the sky, colors of the rainbow—from pastels to rustics, and the endless quest to stack the perfect vintage spectrum of indigo,
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALEXA MILLER
Her design company, Head Regal, embodies so much of what we want from the products and companies we support. They make beautiful, artistic blankets, quilts and other goods that are not only designed for the way they look but for the way they
contribute back to the community and the way they make you feel.
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reminiscent of the greatest denim shirts and faded blue jeans. I make small batches at a time, so I am able to have quality control and there is no waste. All of my blankets are hand-dyed, distressed or vintage—so they are all unique. I work a lot with closeout, vintage and recycled materials.” Amber’s journey has not been an easy one. She has suffered immeasurable heartache and loss, but what is most admirable about her is her resilience, positivity, generous spirit and how she allows those qualities to filter down to her children. “I try to practice good business karma and give back in ways that I am able,” she explains. “I will give a blanket to someone if they are really sick or have lost their home, or if they have experienced the death of a loved one and need some extra comfort. I have organized fundraising sales for our local PTA, a local family in need or simply donated to organizations I really want to stand behind.”
PHOTOGRAPHED BY NOAH LAFORET
This last holiday season Amber was able to raise enough money to purchase eight water filters through Waves For Water, providing 800 people with clean drinking water— which came out to 8 million gallons. “My kids are very involved in the giving back aspect of the business. It’s a family thing,” she adds. “I believe in just doing what I can—whether it’s recycling when possible or making a small, tax-deductible donation. There’s really no reason not to. There aren’t any separations in my life. Everything I do is pretty connected, although I try to compartmentalize. I try and treat everyone the same—with kindness, respect and total honesty. It’s important to me that everyone is happy. I usually will do anything for the people in my life, including my customers and stores. That seems to create pretty great relationships that I am proud of.” Amber has grown accustomed to dealing with adversity, being a single mother and
running her own business. But to understand this successful entrepreneur better, it’s helpful to start from the beginning. Amber was born at home, six weeks premature and breach, in Silverlake, California, which at those times was a borderline miracle. She was so incredibly jaundiced that her mother called her Amber. She grew up in the valley riding her bike down Ventura Boulevard, riding horses in the mountains and going to the beaches in Malibu over the canyon from Calabasas, where she and her family eventually lived. She had three brothers and was a poster child of a California girl. But as a teenager she wanted to grow up fast. By the age of 17 she had already moved into her first apartment with a friend in Hollywood. After a brief stint modeling,
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she found photography. By 18 she had convinced one of the best printers to give her a job at his lab on La Brea. It was here that she had heard stories about an active artist community in Prague. People were comparing it to Paris in the 1920s, and this idea intrigued her. Her wild and free nature prompted her to get rid of everything she owned and move to the Czech Republic with a Pentax 6x7, 100 rolls of HP5 film and a duffel bag of clothes. While living abroad, a friend lent her a stack of books that deeply struck a chord in her. She was so profoundly touched by these books, when she found out the author was a teacher at Western Kentucky University, she moved there a few weeks later.
A series of internships took her all over, allowing her to witness this beautiful country through newspaper photography. She was awarded scholarships and awards and received the honor of Most Accomplished Photojournalism Senior at her graduation.
A year after the tragedy, Amber was pregnant again—this time with her daughter, Eliana. Noah was 4, and they decided it was time to move back to California. After 12 years, Amber was finally home in the South Bay.
After graduation, she spent time in New York City—where she met her soon-to-be husband, then a staff photographer at The New York Times. Post-9/11 was a time of uncertainty. Being a journalist seemed to change overnight from being a neutral storyteller seeking truth to becoming an extreme target.
The sunshine was healing. Her family was close by, and being near the Pacific Ocean felt right. Unfortunately, although everything seemed great on the surface, Amber
Life had become crazy and a bit scary, and Amber decided it was time to put the camera down. She worked in New York City at a large picture agency as a picture editor and multimedia producer. It was at this time that the most important thing to her became being a mother. Amber soon became pregnant with her son, Noah.
With her business partner at the time, she started making all kinds of things that they both loved—from headboards and blankets to purses and key chains. They held private sales in friends’ homes in Manhattan Beach and Malibu and received incredible support. Instagram provided them with the platform to become designers overnight. “It’s been amazingly liberating to be able to start and sustain a business within the confines of raising two children as a single mom,” says Amber. “I view the early Head Regal years as my business/design schooling and the surrounding areas of DTLA and Compton my creative playground. I source materials and work with the washhouse and my sewer on samples until they are right. When I first make a new blanket, I usually drag it everywhere with me first—the movie theatre, the soccer field, the beach, my parents’ house, the couch, etc. It’s usually when I live with it a bit that I come up with how I could improve it—or the next color I want to try it in. My kids and I give it the snuggle test, and I know if we all love it, then it’s ready to share.”
“My kids and I give it the snuggle test, and I know if we all love it, then it,s ready to share.”
She was a young mom and really struggled to find other moms her age. It was a weird time. The “California earthy mama” in her was present, but she felt isolated and alone living in a fast-paced city. All looked good on paper, but Amber felt like she was losing her true self in trying to keep up with the hectic world surrounding her.
It was at this time that she received a phone call from her father—one that would crush her world and make her question everything. Her younger brother, Gregg, was lost in the ocean off Hawaii, and they could not find him. There had been a small tsunami on the other side of the island, and a rogue wave had knocked him into the water. After many hours, rescuers found his body. Her parents brought him home and buried him under a 100-year-old oak tree in the hills just north of their home in Calabasas. Amber was devastated by the death, but what came out of it was a very bold, visible line designating what was important and what was not.
and her husband could not find happiness. After 8½ years of marriage and once they felt that every stone was turned they sold their house and the rest of their belongings and started the divorce process. Fresh out of her divorce, she found herself at the age of 35 living in a tiny, 1920s Spanish bungalow in North Manhattan Beach as a single mom with two young children who really needed her. She had no idea how she was going to go back to work. The first thing she did for herself was make a headboard out of a vintage kantha quilt. They had never had a headboard, and for some reason this really bothered her. It was from that headboard that Head Regal was born.
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From brainstorming design ideas to cutting the final product, she is present and passionate about each step of the process. As you hold this magazine and look at this beautiful woman on the cover with her arms around her children, you will realize that it is more than a pretty picture. She is a passionate woman who has overcome adversity, persevered through painful times and successfully followed her heart. That is why we believe she is a woman to celebrate—a true South Bay woman. ||| Find Head Regal items locally at BLVD in Manhattan Beach or at headregal.com and @headregal.
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Cinematic Scent AN AURA OF YESTERYEAR WITH KRIGLER PERFUMES
Many of today’s celebrities endorse perfumes and colognes, some branding the product around their own identity. Fantasy by Britney Spears, anyone?
during the filming of Roman Holiday; and Grace Kelly discovered Chateau Krigler 12 while shooting To Catch a Thief in Cannes.
But in the past, the connection between an icon and his or her signature fragrance was much more than dollars and a marketing campaign. Rather, that kinship sought to capture an essence much greater than the contents of the bottle. It truly embodied the spirit of he or she who wore it.
Following a few dormant decades, a fourth generation of Krigler perfumers revived the business and opened an outpost at The Plaza hotel in New York City. In addition to a new headquarters in Berlin, the fashionable Four Seasons Beverly Hills features a dedicated Krigler store in the lobby, where all the intoxicating scents are available to sample—a full-circle moment for a perfume company enjoying a starry Hollywood story arc. |||
Such was the case with Krigler, a perfume house born of a chemist from Berlin and built on the prestige of St. Petersburg, Russia, at the turn of the century. By the 1920s, Krigler relocated to the South of France, and soon trendsetters along the French Riviera made the blends famous.
Charming California 215 opens with a celebration of coriander and orange blossom, combining Japanese green tea with captivating Italian bergamot and invigorating Guatemalan cardamom. Blooming with rich Brazilian jasmine, it transitions into a smooth and warm finish of Californian cedar wood.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wore Lieber Gustav 14; Marlene Dietrich once gifted Cary Grant with Blue Escapade 24; Audrey Hepburn wore English Promenade 19
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A MANHATTAN BEACH MOM FINDS COMFORT, STYLE AND A SATISFYING CAREER WITH A NATURAL APPROACH. Written by TANYA MONGAHAN Photographed by LAUREN PRESSEY
o Gently Nation is not only a fashion brand; it is a philosophy, an idea and a way of living. Kristin Coia, the brainchild behind the movement, founded the company on a culture of sustainable thinking. She wanted to build an eco fashion brand that mastered comfort and style while never losing sight of doing right by the environment. Go Gently Nation only uses organic and sustainable fabrics, recycled paper hang tags, water-based inks, low-impact dyes, recycled fabric remnants and countless other environmentally friendly business practices. Go Gently Nation also proudly manufactures all of their garments here in Los Angeles. When you first meet Kristin, don’t be fooled by her refined features and petite frame. Although she is small in stature, you soon realize that she is a powerhouse and a great force to be reckoned with. Her design story began in 2007 as Go
Gently Baby—a children’s wear brand. Success there pushed the company to recently grow into Go Gently Nation—a lifestyle brand for the entire family. Kristin describes herself as someone who walks fast and talks fast, always operating at a million miles an hour. “When I met my husband, he of course is the exact opposite of me … super chill,” she says. “I describe him as someone who has this way of ‘going gently’ through life.” Soon after getting married, they decided to start a family. After becoming pregnant, Kristin noticed quite a void in the market for simple, comfortable and stylish clothing that was also organic. She decided to launch a children’s wear line to meet that need. “The words ‘go gently’ really resonated with me, and a year later Go Gently Baby was born,” she shares. “Go Gently is an idea, a mantra, a way of living—the notion to slow down and to go gently through life, being
conscious of goodness along your way.” When asked if she always knew she was going to be a fashion designer, Kristin says she remembers holding the “best dressed” award in her high school yearbook—though a fashion design career path only opened itself up to her much later. “Growing up I was always petite, and back in the ‘80s they didn’t make the smaller sizes that they have now—like size 0 and 2,” she explains. “So in junior high and high school, my mom used to sew my clothes because nothing ever fit me. We would go to the fabric store and spend hours looking at patterns, fabrics and notions. I drove her completely crazy redesigning every pattern and coming up with my own combinations and styles.” Kristin says that she learned from her father how to run a business and worked for many years after college as an event planner and catering director. She loved it but also knew there was more she needed to accomplish creatively. She began to realize that she wanted to run her own business. This local Manhattan Beach mother of two wears many hats. She designs the clothes, manages all aspects of the design production and runs the entire business in her studio space in the South Bay. What I admire most about Kristin is how the philosophy behind her brand filters out from the way she lives her daily life. She authentically walks her talk. She has been vegan for 15 years, as she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. The shift to an all organic and vegan diet has helped greatly with managing the disease naturally. Holistic living became a way of life for her and her family. “It is fully intertwined with everything I do in my life,” she says. So when Kristin started the company, the notion of selecting fabrics with additional chemicals was not authentic to her. She felt fully committed to selecting organic fabrics and practicing eco and sustainable processes throughout every aspect of the business. Over the years of building a successful children’s wear brand, they had countless requests for a women’s line as well. She notes, “I felt I had really defined who we were as a brand and felt it was the right time.”
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So Kristin made a conscious decision to maximize what they were already doing and move into the women’s wear arena. They do all design, patternmaking and planning in-house, as well as managing their own manufacturing locally. “We are also working on a small menswear offering so that the whole family feels a part of our journey,” Kristin adds. “At the moment we are keeping quite busy pulling off our many collections each season and continuing our manufacturing here, which allows us to support many small factories and businesses in our community.” Go Gently Nation is currently in development of their spring/summer 2018 collection, due out next year, and also the production of their fall/winter 2017 collection coming out in August. “We are meticulous with fit and quality and stand behind every garment,” Kristin says with pride. “Today we are Go Gently Nation, and we look forward to creating garments that we know you and your family will love.” |||
“Go Gently is an idea, a mantra, a way of living—the notion to slow down and to go gently through life, being conscious of goodness along your way.”
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Tokyo’s Catwalk OUR FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER LENDS HER LENS TO THE STYLISH SIGHTS OF JAPAN’S CURIOUS CAPITAL … BUT FIRST, RAMEN.
Written & photographed by ANNIE DEPTULA
A few years back, I had an opportunity to see Japan up close and personal. Unfortunately, I did not make that trip. It wasn’t until many years later that I would truly discover what I was missing. As a fashion photographer, you never know from one day to the next where you’ll be working. Some days your “office” is 5,500 miles away. After the 11+-hour flight from Los Angeles to Japan, I arrived with excitement and a hunger for authentic Japanese cuisine—ramen. I made my way through the streets of Ebisu and stumbled upon what is considered one the best and trendiest restaurants for ramen in this neighborhood and possibly all of Tokyo: Afuri.
At this point I had no idea what to expect. Anticipating a hostess nearby, I was instead met in the doorway of the restaurant by a ramen vending machine. I made my selection—the house special yuzu-shio—and proceeded in. Ticket in hand, I was filled with the excitement of the unknown. I was guided to a place at the very crowded counter by a young, hip girl all of 25. Shortly after taking my seat, I received a full pitcher of water, one glass, one set of chopsticks and an array of sauces. As my ramen arrived, I followed protocol and waited a few moments before indulging, as the spices and flavors need time to take effect. In ramen world, timing is everything for the perfect dish. I’m beginning to discover that the Japanese take their food very seriously. I once read that Tokyo is home to 80,000 restaurants, compared to the 24,000 in both New York and London. With more Michelin stars than any other city in the world, the food in Tokyo is nothing less than exquisite. The following day I stopped at M House—what I’m told is the “best outrageous coffee shop in Tokyo.” I snagged a cup of the house brew and boarded the train to Harajuku station, sipping my coffee en route. This very well could be the best cup of Joe in the East. I made my way through the crowded street of Omotesando, a walk-through of who’s who of contemporary architecture. This boulevard links Harajuku and Aoyama. Four of Japan’s six Pritzker architecture prize winners have buildings here: Fumihiko Maki, Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito and SANAA (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa). SANAA designed one of my personal favorites: the Dior building. I saw fashion at its finest for days between the two neighborhoods—once called the city’s living catwalk. The streets are lined with some of Japan’s most fashionably desirable trends. The upscale shops keep Japan’s most fashionable in the latest of this season’s couture. Omotesando was originally designed as the official path to Meiji Jingu and is now home to high-end fashion boutiques housed in designer buildings of contemporary architecture. The likes of Dior, Louis Vuitton, Tod’s, Prada, Gucci, Michael Kors, Ted Baker and Farfetch—to name a few—line this regal boulevard. I noticed how cohesive the Japanese culture really is. Yes, the streets were crowded, but everyone was simultaneously working together.
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Quickly I was spotted with my camera, and the shying away ensued. I often feel photographing someone without their permission is quite invasive—maybe even intrusive. I made my way over to a group of welldressed shoppers and asked two of the girls in the group for a quick photo … more a form of charades, as my ability to speak Japanese is minimal and their English is lost in translation. The moment I raised the camera to my eye, the two girls begin giggling and striking a pose for my camera. I was elated with this, as I assumed shooting street fashion photography would be much more difficult. I took this approach over the next few hours, capturing Omotesando street fashion at its best. I found myself filled with a yearning to become one with these trendsetters. I’ve been told that Harajuku comes alive in late afternoon. I was anxious to find this out for myself, so I made the journey to Harajuku—known as the gathering point for Tokyo’s eccentric fashion tribes. As I stepped to the side and scoped out my path along the alley of Takeshita-dori, I saw there was only one way to wade through this trendy teen fashion bazaar—and that’s camera-ready. I looked around and discovered the birthplace of Tokyo street trends in a kaleidoscope of fashion and colors. I simply love the fashion of Comme des Garçons, which is French for “like boys”—a must-see on anyone’s list with an appreciation of fashion. Designer Rei Kawakubo’s specialty is asymmetrical designs. She’s viewed in the world as a fashion icon and has pushed through barriers to make a name for herself with Comme des Garçons. Her flagship store in Harajuku is a go-to while in Tokyo. Secondhand stores are also a huge hit here. I saw this season’s trends lining the corridors of each shop. The bomber jacket is everywhere here in Tokyo along with Doc Martens, widelegged pants and berets. I was immediately taken by “Japanese cool.” I saw girls, hand in hand, wearing makeup the likes of NARS, Takami, YSL, Three, Lancôme, Shigeta, Addiction Beauty, Suqqu and Flowfushi. The art of “reapplying and touching up” is a ritual not taken for granted by these lovelies— even in the middle of a crowded fish market. Presentation is everything. Back on the streets, I saw what is referred to as a Kawaii Girl—best described as “cute, lovable
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and adorable.” These girls are dressed like little dolls, with pigtails, knee-high socks and character backpacks brandishing Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse and My Little Pony. I asked one of the girls for a photograph, and she stood flashing her best “Super Kawaii” (super-cute) smile for my camera. This mini photo shoot began to attract the attention of another Kawaii Girl. I couldn’t help but feel I was in some type of Candy Land dream, complete with rainbow cotton candy and ice cream cones. Hysteric glamour of poetic fashion in motion describes the scene. The great pride taken by the Japanese in their appearance and fashion impressed me immensely. I spent the next few days milling about this exquisitely beautiful land. As my time there came to an end, I realized I had merely scratched the surface and looked forward to my return. I’m forever changed and grateful I had this incredible opportunity to see Tokyo up close and personal. |||
Annie’s Tokyo Essentials MEIJI JINGU SHRINE Just around the corner from Harajuku’s Takeshita Street is Meiji Jingu, a stunning Shinto shrine set in a wooded grove completely surrounded by lush, green, natural forests. I made my way through the immense torii, which is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine. The torii symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred. This shrine, known as Tokyo’s grandest, is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. I learned that the gates were created from 1,500-year-old Taiwanese cypress standing over 12 meters high. The Meiji Shrine is located in an evergreen forest that consists of 120,000 trees of 365 different species, which were donated by people from all parts of Japan when the shrine was founded in 1920. The forest is visited by many as a recreation and relaxation area in the center of Tokyo. I was overwhelmed with the sense of calmness, serenity and tranquility. The air is pure, and the landscape is the greenest I’ve ever seen. Silence among the hundreds of visitors is the tone throughout. I followed the path and arrived at another rite of passage: the temizuya. I learned that
visitors purify themselves by pouring water over their hands here. I took in the tradition and embraced that unknown feeling of great clarity. I was told that while I was there, I needed to visit the sake wall, made up of empty sake barrels donated to the Meiji Shrine. Sake is making quite the comeback. One of Japan’s most ancient and preferred drinks, sake or nihonshu—as it’s called in Japanese—has been in decline due to the integrity compromises caused by mass production. In recent years, sake has become once again “fashionable” and the drink of choice in Toyko and most all of Japan. ITASOBA KAORIYA This charming, quaint little spot has all of 10 tables. I was briefly greeted at the door by the only waiter in sight and asked three words: English or Japanese? I quickly responded and was handed a bilingual menu and directed to a small table in the rear, close to a window. I looked out and saw the hustle and bustle of rush hour traffic … on foot. The waiter saw my eyes widen as I looked upon the scene outside. He said, “Shibuya.” After a few nods and my extremely poor ability to converse in Japanese, I somehow managed to order what I’ll consider the best meal of
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the trip thus far: soba tempura. SHIBUYA CROSSING Some would say this is a big mistake—a tourist misstep. Not so, I said, and embraced every chaotic moment. It’s a scramble of madness and what we see in the movies: the frenetic pace and mindblowing crowds, giant video screens, neon lights, people darting in all directions. At peak hours its been said that 1,000+ people are crossing this intersection at one time. I made it 1,001—nonchalant agility at its best. Watching from the corner feels like a video on loop as the people replenish each corner with the changing of the streetlights. This is no mad dash of disaster. All walkers are once again dressed in their finest and its art to the eye even at lightening pace. TOKYO TOWER This 1958 vintage tower is considered a beloved symbol of the city’s post-WWII rebirth. It stands 333 meters or 1,092 feet tall, just 13 meters taller than Paris’ famed Eiffel Tower—which was the inspiration for the design. The Tokyo Tower is painted bright orange and white to comply with the international aviation safety regulations. The main observation deck is 145 meters, approximately 475 feet. Beautiful views of the city from any side highlight a climb up this gem.
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If the Shoe Fits ...
HELEN RAY LAUREN PRESSEY
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY ARCHIVE PHOTOS / STRINGER VIA GETTY IMAGES
Hungarian actor and former Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay drinks Champagne from the heel of his bride, actress Jayne Mansfield, at their 1958 wedding at the Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes.