THE OBSESSION ISSUE
JUST SO FIROOZ ZAHEDI MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION Volume 29.6
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The Fine Art of Three Dimensional Canvases
The Influencers Jackie Rotman
Just So Photography by Olivia Beasley
Chrome Dreams Photography by Mike Kobal
The Time Machine Tumbler
The Power Purse
about a place
Coming Up Vintage
art & culture
Art to Adorn
i - pose
Love to Pose
art & design
Laser Guided Photography by Nigel Barker
future stars of fashion
The Time-Machine Tumbler TEXT BY TERESA RODRIGUEZ
Don’t get too excited Whiskey drinkers, since this cool tumbler aroma therefore allowing you to feel the true characteristics of is not a reality yet. But, for the time being, allow us to wet your the whiskey.” Don’t plan on pouring your aged and expensive whiskey into whistle. If all goes well with the inventors’ kickstarter campaign, then in a few months you’ll be able to drink your whiskey from this charred chalice. “Our tumbler is not meant for aged whisan old cask. Unfortunately, not a full-size cask, but a beauti- key,” says Toms Liepkalns, CEO of ZOOTY design workshop. fully made tumbler that sits perfectly in the palm of your hand. “It’s meant to flavor your drink instantly. When a small amount Created and handcrafted in London by ZOOTY design work- of whiskey interacts with a large surface of the charred oak the shop, you can see why this piece of art will be a success. They results are incredible. All the flavors increase rapidly.” Looks like the OKA tumbler is going to solve a few problems have dubbed their invention the OKA tumbler. Each tumbler is handmade from premium white oak, then charred inside. with our current hurried culture. Since most of us do enjoy drinkThe inventors employ the same manufacturing methods used ing whiskey, but probably won’t invest in a set of Baccarat crystal on whiskey barrels for centuries. They promise that drinking tumblers, the OKA is ideal. First, we don’t have to actually age whiskey from this charred oak tumbler is like drinking cask- whiskey like they did in the eightieth century when they had strength whiskey from of a 25 year old oak barrel stacked deep plenty of time on their hands. And we can also fool our friends in a cold dark cellar. Because Kristopher K., COO of ZOOTY by serving them bargain whiskey in these fancy tumblers. So, design workshop believes that gentlemen don’t drink whiskey instead of investing in super expensive whiskey, we can simply to get drunk, but to savor the taste of it. He shares, “When tast- fund their kickstarter campaign, get a few tumblers and buy ing whiskey form OKA tumbler you will notice that the scent is cheap whiskey from now on. much softer and more pleasant compared to a glass tumbler. It Might be a smart investment. is because our charred oak interior absorbs part of strong alcohol 8
The Power Purse TEXT BY TERESA RODRIGUEZ
That dreaded moment. You’re about to send the perfect, witty text to your crush inviting him to join you, but then your phone dies right before you press send. He doesn’t know why you didn’t respond and he can’t find you. Bummer. In the past you’d frantically try and find someone with an outlet charger, which is near to impossible when frequenting popular bars amassed with beautiful people. Well, the ladies at Chic Buds felt your pain and brought to market a sexy little number that not only looks super cool around your wrist, but it also charges your phone. Pretty and practical, this tiny tote can carry all your essentials like your lipstick, keys, and has slots for your cash and credit cards. It’s called Clutchette Power, and this fancy tech device is a must for the girl-on-the-go who is always on her phone texting, calling, Facebooking, or catching up on the latest funny cat videos. What’s great is that with its useful wristlet, you can wear it like an accessory and you won’t lose it. If you don’t want to use the wristlet, easy, just take it off. The Clutchette is 8 inches wide and 4.75 inches deep and it’s stylish enough to be carried 10
alone and small enough to throw into a bigger purse or bag. So, how does it work? It has an ultra-thin battery and built-in USB cords that connects to your smart phone and starts recharging it instantly, so the second you plug your phone into the Clutchette, you got power. To recharge the Clutchette, simply plug it into your computer or a USB outlet charger. It takes around an hour to fully recharge the battery. There’s no need to purchase any additional adaptor kits, you just use the charging cable that fits your phone. The Clutchette is made of soft vegan leather material with satin interior lining and it comes in 13 different colors, so you’re bound to find the ideal shade for you. Searching for that “It” gift to give your friend who has everything, except enough energy to keep her phone charged? Look no further. At only $49.99, you can afford to buy the Clutchette for your girlfriends who’ve given you the excuse that their phone died and they couldn’t call you back. Solved that problem. Visit www.chicbuds.com for more information and to purchase the Clutchette Power.
Future Stars Of Fashion
Fashion’s Future TEXT BY JENNIFER MOULAISON PHOTOGRAPHY BY SINYA KEITA
Fashion has always had a way of marking time. The archaic and medieval Victorian corset or the repression of the mid-century housewife’s dresses and pearls serve as mile markers for the progress of humanity. We scoff at standards of fashion from our past and proceed to congratulate ourselves on how far we’ve come. But for Tamae Hirokawa, it isn’t far enough. This Japan-based designer has re-imagined the concept of dressing one’s self and reshaped it into the pinnacle of modernity through the innovative use of digital technology. Her collection, titled Second Skin, uses a digital process where the inner structure and the outer design are created simultaneously and molded together, denying the need for old fashioned thread and needle. To view this collection is like glancing into fashion’s bright, efficient future and fashion of the past instantly becomes outdated. Following her highly successful runway show at Tokyo Fashion Week, we spoke with Tamae and discussed Somarta and the future of couture as it begins to unfold before us through her revolutionary work. Can you describe what defines Digital Couture and why it seemingly remains under-utilized in modern fashion? We are entering a new era in which digital technology is in our everyday lives. The definition of Digital Couture means striving to make the highest quality garments while utilizing various forms of digital technology. Although digital technology is found in our everyday lives and even contemporary fashion, I would like to suggest that by creating the definition of Digital Couture signifies that we have entered the age of Digital Couture. Many vendors maintain hand-made production processes in order to convey quality and attention to detail, in what ways do you think Digital Couture is and will continue to 12
revolutionize this way of thinking? Based on the system of Prét-å-porter and mass production, the twentieth Century was a time of development in mass-production systems. However, this has put all other forms of creative production on the verge of extinction due to the declining number of skilled craftsmen paired with the lack of people to continue the business. Digital technology aids in the development and spread of information and will likely lead to more development and newer technology. Of course, there is something special about things that are handmade. In actuality, most digital technologies are highly influenced by the developers’ own intuitions, so I don’t see much of a difference with handmade items. I understand that we are in an age where this is a difficult thing to see, so I feel that it is very important to get this message across. Tell us about the tribal influence and other aesthetic styles represented in the Spring/Summer Somarta collection. We are the Native Digital Race that was born at the beginning of the digital era. I am expressing my idea of a digital race that transcends borders and has no nationality. Where do you see the future of the fashion industry going with the continued development of new technology? In an era of material abundance, I feel that we need to re-asses what we really need. People are seeking things within the oversaturated fashion offerings that express themselves. The digital technology age allows us to once again create one-of-a-kind items and expanded the possibilities of creative production. If designers think of new ways to express their ideas, then I think there is a future for creative production.
VALLEY EYEWEAR “A refraction of light, a direction to darkness” TEXT BY JOA BOHORQUEZ PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL CRAWELY
Meet Michael Crawely, designer, photographer and art director of the cutting edge Australian sunglass brand, Valley Eyewear—a collection of dramatic, hand crafted eyewear that carries a bold personality. Valley Eyewear is the construction of a creative world with no boundaries, which represents a movement of a somewhat dark, fashion-forward cultural tribe. They are risk takers with forward- thinking personalities and eccentric taste who are not afraid to make a statement. Take for instance the influencers that have obtained customized eyewear such as Kat Von D, Chris Hemsworth and Kanye West. These epic frames come from a selection of vintage piles of acetates curated by MC during his travels. The strong and lightweight bio-plastic materials are then tattered and sampled to find deep colors and unique fades. Each pair of glasses takes twenty-five sets of hands to be completed and carries the lenses of Zeiss Optics; long time experts in the field. The designer has constructed a sharply polished and minimal assemblage of progressive techniques that offers an eclectic collection of eyewear strong enough to enhance styles and moods with a message that expresses individuality. The final result is a confidence-boosting construction inspired by architectural bulky angles that is perhaps not for everyone, but rather for design driven individuals. We wanted to hear more about this creative vision and got to chat with Crawely. “Since I’ve started the brand I’ve always wanted our brand identity to be big and bold and almost somewhat of theatrical like. I love to create scenes or sets where it makes you look at the whole panorama and take it all in.” When did you start the brand concept? I started valley eyewear around three years ago. I began drawing frames from scratch and wanted to create an eyewear line that reflected my passion for architecture, and the somewhat darker clean high fashion element of style that I was so drawn to. 14
What does your role entail? I shoot the photos on all our campaigns, art direct them and have done the eyewear so being across the whole project from start to finish ensures I get the look and feel for the brand that I’m portraying to the people. Can you tell us a little more about your collaborations with other artists? We brought together like-minded people into the mix. We work with closely with Jesse Draxler, the guys at ATTAK in the Netherlands and THEBLACKMATH in Melbourne. Lee Brennan designs have crafted a ring collection for us. Chelsea Wolfe also collaborated with her song on the film we made for the last campaign. And I’m working on a project with Rick Owen’s DJ “ Bryan black - Black Asteroid. We have all have similar love for music and darker edgy fashion. Where do the inspirations of your campaigns come from? The beauty of putting three twelve foot high prisms in the middle of amazing natural habitats has been a strong element for u. This time in the middle of a cracked dirt mud basin in the California desert. It has all the beauty of nature with the polar opposite black structure and the handcrafted frames. Those elements make it striking; a strong message that shows our brand is unique. The prism is part of our logo and what we call our collections, it is a symbol that represents our core concept: “A refraction of light, a direction to darkness”. A slightly obscure, high fashion fused with the natural simple and minimal elements of the earth. Any plans to design apparel? Absolutely, apart for the sunglasses we are already designing optical glasses and jewelry; it just feels like a natural thing to progress in other lines of products. We have talked to some really interesting people about potentially doing something next year.
Street Pulse: Obsession PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENA CUMBO
Coming Up Vintage
Three gems across the country to satisfy your deepest vintage cravings. TEXT BY NOELANI PITERS
Pretty Parlor Pretty Parlor, located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, charms instantly with its pink ombre walls, dreamy boudoir aesthetic, and shop cat, Sophia. A rainbow of petticoats and parasols hang from the ceiling beside paper lanterns and chandeliers. It is a retro paradise with swingy flapper dresses and fifties chiffon frocks that float across racks. Beaded minaudières and tiers of costume jewelry shimmer. Owner Anna Lange takes decade dressing to a new level, curating an immaculate and extensive assortment of vintage, new, and locally designed fashions. If you’re seeking a one-stop shop for head-to-toe vintage looks, you’ve found it. Prices for vintage pieces start at a reasonable twenty-four dollars, providing the opportunity for shoppers to guiltlessly snatch every rhinestone headpiece and dress that they desire. Browse the colorful displays of authentic clothing and accessories from the twenties onward. For a remix on old classics, look for House of Pretty Parlor, Lange’s label of repurposed garments à la Pretty in Pink. The shop sells vintage reproduction from brands like Bettie Page and Trashy Diva, and some Seattle talent, including Frankie Four and Ames Bros. There’s also a “Manland” section for dapper gentlemen, with casual printed shirts and crisp suits perfect for picnics and Gatsby parties, respectively. Getting hitched soon? Pretty Parlor’s Bridal Boutique has its own storefront right around the corner and offers vintage gowns, veils, and all the trimmings. This year, Pretty Parlor celebrates fourteen years of glitz and glamour and to-die-for pieces, like the triple-layered silk chiffon dress that was recently scooped up by actress Catherine Keener. “It was just beautiful,” says Lange of the dress. We can only imagine. 119 Summit Ave. E., Seattle, WA 98102 prettyparlor.com 18
Afterlife San Francisco’s Mission district is home to many a vintage shop, but Afterlife Boutique brings a certain je ne sais quoi to its home on the bustling Valencia Street. An old American flag hangs near the cash register by an old Evel Knievel pinball machine. Rainbow serapes for sale perch on the edges of industrial fixtures. A rusting sign reads “Prescriptions” and “Drugs.” Afterlife is a slick hotspot for cool-kid vintage, specializing in rare, collectible t-shirts. The store sells a variety of goods for men and women, like tooled leather purses, Converse sneakers, and gently worn lace-up boots, but t-shirts are the name of the game here. The wall is adorned with the most coveted of band tees: crewnecks, raglans, and tanks sport the likes of the Grateful Dead, Nirvana, The Clash, The Beatles, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Run DMC. Collectible tees can skyrocket into the triple digits, but much of Afterlife’s merchandise remains under the hundred-dollar mark. The shop also carries new costume jewelry, eyewear, and Cheap Monday jeans to round out their offerings. Brother and sister team Danielle and Luke Teller opened Afterlife in 2010, after having collected rock concert tees during their school days. Their medley of low-to-high priced items allows casual shoppers to always purchase what they unearth, while vintage aficionados can consistently score lifetime pieces. Each tee is lovingly washed before it’s put out on the sales floor, proving that Afterlife goes the extra mile to ensure those flea market finds are treated with extra care. That care translates to a shop of unexpected treasures, and customers will fall in love again and again with the passion that accompanies the cult of vintage. 988 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 afterlifeboutique.com
Worship Look no further than Worship for the holy grail of eclectic vintage. The buy-sell-trade boutique, Worship, embodies a bohemian rocker aesthetic: you’ll find anything from patterned mohair sweaters and fringed leather jackets to nineties overalls and ethereal Victorian-era eyelet dresses. The shop offers stagewear, everyday basics, and everything in between for a balanced mix of designer and vintage apparel. A smattering of independent designer accessories can be found here as well, including CRAP Eyewear and Adina Mills jewelry. The rocker vibe comes honestly for owners Sara Villard and Vashti Windish; the two toured in bands together for years before manifesting their love of clothes in a full-fledged vintage venture. Founded in 2013, Worship houses exceptional attire for fashion-obsessed, well-traveled men and women. Worship’s got both coasts covered, with Villard manning their Bushwick
location in Brooklyn and Windish tending shop in Los Angeles’s Echo Park. If neither store is nearby, vintage mavens jonesing for Worship’s wild wares are in luck—both stores update Instagram feeds daily with their ever-changing stock and ship worldwide. Though both buy-sell-trade and vintage stores run the gamut in terms of cost, you won’t find any outrageous price tags at Worship. Pieces like Mongolian lamb fur coats top the list at a few hundred dollars, while super soft t-shirts can come in at around eighteen. Quality and affordability are essential for every stunner at Worship—and that’s something worth praising. 117 Wilson Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11237 1104 Mohawk Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026 shopworship.com 21
Art & Culture
Jamie Okuma Art to Adorn TEXT BY JENNIFER MOULAISON PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAMERON LINTON
Detailed, exhaustive, complex or any other single term used to describe the profoundly intricate beadwork that adorns designer Jamie Okumaâ€™s shoes, handbags, accessories and garments feels just a little inadequate. Her bold aesthetic, which is steeped in Native American culture, comes from her formative years as a child, when she attended annual pow-wows with her grandmother at the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho. Taking in the traditions of dance and music at the pow-wows meant she required something appropriate to wear and Okuma began creating extravagantly beaded clothes suitable for the occasion. Her mother, who is also an artist, actively kept Okuma surrounded by the world of art, often taking her to gallery showings and art exhibits. Okumaâ€™s creative pursuits lead to her own exhibit by age eighteen. Now residing on a reservation in La Jolla, Okuma continues to maintain her heritage, providing us with an established collection of wearable art that might leave its possessor conflicted with the notion of actually wearing such dazzling pieces. To answer this question, and a few others, we sat down with the exceptional artist herself and the enlightening discussion left nothing to be desired. Your artistic career began very early. Does the accomplishment of your current work reflect much of the style you began with, or have you completely evolved since that time? I would say both. The very first beaded piece (which I still have) was based on traditional designs, which I still do today. The evolution is in the direction of my work and the modernization of 22
traditional designs. What started out as a necessity for being able to dance at pow-wows as a child turned into a career in art. My first pieces and what I had continued to do for about 12 years was the mix-media sculptures. They are, in an essence, miniature people. So I moved from making miniature native clothing to actual native inspired ready-to-wear and couture pieces. There are many natural influences and materials used in your pieces, such as animal hides and shearling. What are your sources for these materials? Detail and quality are the two elements I obsess about most. When working leather or shearling it has to be Italian, which I get from Italy. I have yet to see any better. My native pieces (beadwork) are always native brain-tanned buckskin that is used to bead on. It is the gold standard in Native American attire and base for beadwork. And in particular my brain-tanned buckskin comes from my grandmothers reservation, Fort Hall in Idaho. The beads I use are mostly antique seed beads from France, Italy and Czechoslovakia. In elaborate works such as in your Art to Carry collection, are these intended for use in an everyday fashion or should these be viewed and respected for their aesthetic value? Honestly it is for both intentions and always has been according to my collectors. It is what I have been told they love about my work. It is truly wearable art and the bags specifically are made to be used, and then can be displayed as an art piece.
For whom do you create your work? Who is it you envision will wear your product as you create it? First and foremost I create for myself and what I love. If I didn’t, how could I expect anyone else to love and care for it as I do? The person who wears my pieces is a lover of life, culture, and diversity. They are unafraid to make a statement and be noticed. With something as detailed as your floral beaded scarf, what is the production process like for executing such intricacy? The floral “beaded” scarf is a digitally printed image on 100% silk from a fully beaded cradleboard, which took a full six months to complete. It is beaded on brain tanned buckskin and wool using antique seed beads, brass beads, trade beads and elk ivory. It is currently on view at the San Diego Women’s museum though November. Tell me about your childhood experiences on the reservation and attending the pow-wow’s that inspired your journey as a designer. I was born in Los Angeles and lived there until I was five years old when my parents decided to relocate to the reservation to 24
raise me there. As much as I missed LA as a kid (and still do) I would not have had it any other way. I love my reservation and the freedom I had to run around as a kid was priceless. Being apart of a tribe and living around family is truly a unique experience unto its self. Tell me about the Nomad Two Worlds art collaboration with Russell James. It was so refreshing to be involved in a project backed by nonnatives who wanted an authentic Native American view – not their version of what they thought a Native American’s view is. Rarely does this happen, so when I was asked to join there was no question. I was given total artistic freedom to do and say whatever I wanted and I will forever be grateful to Russell James and Nomad Two Worlds for that opportunity. In what direction do you envision your work moving aesthetically? My current work is fairly “new” as it is so I’m hoping to keep on this same track for the moment. It has a lot of momentum and has had a really great response from viewers.
Firooz Zahedi TEXT BY KARENA AKHAVEIN PHOTOGRAPH BY DARIAN ZAHEDI
Firooz Zahedi has spent the majority of his life capturing arresting images. His body of work runs the gamut from portraits of personalities including Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, and Angelina Jolie. He has covered everything from advertising campaigns, print media and album covers, to fine art photography and collages. Born in Tehran, Iran, Zahedi grew up in London before moving to the United States. He interrupted a brief career in diplomacy when he enrolled in the Corcoran School to pursue his love of visual arts. After graduation, Zohedi met Andy Warhol, arguably the single biggest cultural influencer of the time. This led to a position as Washington correspondent for Interview magazine. He eventually moved to Los Angeles to be Elizabeth Taylor’s personal photographer on the set of Return Engagement. By 1988, Firooz was shooting iconic cover images for magazines including Vanity Fair, TIME and Vogue. In 1998, Zahedi started shooting images of interiors, architecture, and flowers. Over the course of his career, he has enjoyed many prestigious group and solo gallery exhibitions. He will be publishing a book, My Elizabeth: 35 Years of Photographs of Elizabeth Taylor, this winter. Can you tell us about your meeting with Andy Warhol? I met Andy through my friend Nima Isham, who was a journalist. Andy loved publicity, and Nima was always writing about his social activities in her column in the New York Post. I thought he would be very weird like his early sixties image, which was quite psychedelic, but in fact he was fairly conservative, dressed in a jacket, shirt and tie, and he loved to make money! We got on well, and I helped promote him in Washington, DC, where I was living at the time (in the mid 1970s). He made me the correspondent of Interview magazine in Washington. I started as a photographer by shooting for that magazine. 26
What makes a particular celebrity a good photographic subject? My favorite person to photograph was Elizabeth Taylor. She was a dear friend and we laughed a lot. I never felt I had to prove anything to her. She gave me my earliest major break, and was always supportive and made me her personal photographer and I went all over the place with her. It was very special. I have worked with many talented and beautiful (and handsome) celebrities, and most of the time, they have been great to work with. If they respect and like your work and are cooperative, celebrities will give you a great photo. If they can’t trust you and feel insecure, then the portrait becomes so-so. What are your thoughts on photography as an art and as an industry? Anyone with an iPhone can be called a photographer. Photography has become so conceptual. Fine art photography doesn’t necessarily mean the artist is a great photographer, in the sense that he/she knows anything about lighting, and composition. Fine art photographers, as opposed to more commercial photographers, need someone, be it themselves, a gallery owner, a curator etc. to explain the meaning of their creation. Commercial photography is pleasing to the eye, and easier to digest. But for the last twenty years or more, people have been seriously collecting photographs, and have moved on from collecting the classics by earlier photographers to collecting more conceptual photographs, which are digitally shot and produced. I have had several exhibitions of my [digitally shot] abstract photos, and I enjoyed the results, but I continue to have prints made from images I shot on film. You can’t fight the digital takeover, but I still collect beautiful platinum or silver gelatin prints. It’s great that photography has become so prominent in the art market. Why not? It is an art, and it will continue to evolve and become more dynamic.
A practical person, good at making matter obey him. It’s easier for him to understand
Not a follower in any way. He’s not really
material objects than people’s motivations.
a leader either, just very independent and marches to his own drummer.
He has a tendency to give orders to others.
He has a sensuous relationship with the
tools of his trade. The best gift you can give this guy is a useful tool that feels good in
At least others think they sound like orders – he thinks he is just being clear and is very
surprised that other people get offended because he’s “ordering them around.”
He will repurpose objects in very unusual and creative ways. He can probably find a hundred and one uses for a paperclip or a
coathanger, but he’s particularly good and creative with weird stuff.
8 Deeply loving. A romantic, particularly in his thoughts. Was – or would like to have been – promiscuous in his teen years. Once
he reaches adulthood, however, love is much more important than lust and he will find himself monogamous.
2 He’s not much of a traveler. If forced to travel, he will seriously overpack. He likes
His deeds are kindly meant, with a strong wish not to disturb others. However, due to his independence of action, this often
doesn’t work out the way he intends.
having all his creative materials around him and his creativity is physically expressed, he is a maker.
A good strong constitution is shown here. There He has quite a collection of things to make
will be little sickness in his life and lots of energy.
things out of. They give him inspiration
He doesn’t understand the limitations of others regarding how long they can work at some-
and joy. Not much interested in money or fame.
thing since he has more physical energy than
He just likes doing and making and is very
most of the people around him and, for him,
good at it.
POSE PHOTOGRAPHY BY
Yumi Nagashima Almonte Casting by Nigel Pembroke-Sloan for Mint Management Hair & make-up by
assistant photographer Angelina
Model Miriam Matabaro Posing as Billie Holiday Occupation: Model
Model Justin Rock Posing as Muhammad Ali Occupation: Model
Model Wemi Ahunamba Posing as Nina Simone Occupation: Model
Model Erica Wiltz Posing as Dorothy Dandridge as “Carmen Jones” Occupation: Model
Model Javis Williams Posing as Malcom X Occupation: Model
NARS x Steven Klein Collaboration TEXT BY KARENA GUPTON AKHAVEIN PHOTOGRAPHY BY NARS/STEVEN KLEIN
Creative collaborations seem to have become a facile way for cosmetics companies to exploit the distinct marketing advantage of covetable and collectable limited edition offerings, and to enjoy the extra exposure afforded by cross-industry name recognition. In the case of makeup artist favorite NARS Cosmetics, however, collaborations are truly the organic result of a complex creative process, born of the mutual admiration between two artists. Francois Nars, Founder & Creative Director of NARS Cosmetics and an acclaimed photographer himself, has chosen to partner only with artists, photographers, and fashion designers, living or dead, such as Andy Warhol, Guy Bourdin, and Christopher Kane, whose work or vision are not only a good match for NARS products, but which more importantly push creative limits even further. François Nars explains: “We build collections from scratch, we don’t just take two things and put them together. I like things done a certain way, and they have to be done well.” NARS’ newest project, a magnificent holiday collection, is also a fruitful creative collaboration with cult photographer Steven Klein. Eminently obsession-worthy and gift-able, it’s probably not something to give grandma for Christmas: Klein has been known throughout his career for his boundary pushing, edgy, at times fetishistic work, seemingly a counter intuitive 34
choice for a holiday collection. However, the formulas are so extraordinary and the packaging so beautiful, that it somehow makes perfect sense. Francois Nars welcomed the idea that working with Steven Klein might mean creating a controversial product. “You don’t look at his images and instantly think about makeup,” he explains. “When I approached him about a collaboration, he responded right away and was very excited. I think it was unexpected for him, and we both realized this idea was something very different.” Klein’s darkly iconic images were the starting point for the collection, and informed everything from the formulas, to the colors, to the packaging. “I started by working with Steven to identify imagery for the collection,” says Nars. “I met him at his studio in Chelsea and he showed me all of his photographs, some I knew, some I didn’t. We are friends, so it was very laid back. Then we met again and sorted the images. (…) It was very fun, almost like going shopping. Looking at thousands of images you love (…) That’s my favorite part in the whole process – choosing the images and meeting with the artist who dedicated his/her life to them. Then I try to build something from there.” The final ten or so photos were chosen with the help of art director Fabien Baron, who is the man behind NARS’ instantly recognizable, clean-lined packaging. These images needed to
be representative, and at the same time constitute a coherent come up with the names.” This strategy yielded truly original narrative. “Fabien thought it was a fabulous idea to work with results. A dual-intensity eye shadow palette called Dead of Steven, the whole process was really smooth. He created all of Summer contains four wet-dry shadows, including three new the packaging, the keepsake boxes and the logo.” The unique limited-edition-shades named by Klein: a golden toned Studly, packaging was very carefully thought out. The most risqué con- a rose-bronze Stag Film, and a dark slate Blackmail. Another tainer is without doubt the Full Frontal box, which contains a eye set called Tearjerker exploits the theme of cinematographic set of kabuki brushes. The outer sleeve is plastered with a photo emotion with two new limited edition kohl liners, Tragic and of a scantily dressed male pole dancer, and the inner keepsake X-Static, as well as a mini Audacious Mascara. This is a good case bears a close-up image of a man in a studded thong. It’s per- example of how thoughtfully Nars integrated appropriate existfect for display on a vanity, or even for storing cigarettes, which ing products into this collaboration, as the Audacious mascara happen to be a frequent prop in Klein’s photos. The most collect- gives an intentionally clumpy effect that is well suited to the able item would have to be the An Abnormal Female Lip Pencil “tearjerker” theme. The name of the Magnificent Obsession Coffret, a large gold and red bullet-shaped container, an objet Red Lip Set may reference the classic romantic film starring Jane d’art in its own right, containing three Velvet Matte Lip Pencils Wyman and Rock Hudson, but it could also describe Nars and in Sex Machine, Dragon Girl, and 413 BLKR, which Nars aptly Klein’s shared fascination with a dramatic red lip. It contains a refers to as “weapons of seduction.” new limited edition Velvet Lip Liner in Misdemeanor, a classic Francois Nars is infamous for the edgy and evocative moni- red, a lipstick in Flamenco, a candy-apple shade, and a Velvet kers he gives his products, which run the gamut from the Matte Lip Pencil in the universally flattering Mysterious Red. This brings us to the formulas. The Velvet Matte Lip pencils titillating, such as Orgasm, Deep Throat, and Pussy Galore, to the exotic and obscure, such as Peloponnese, Euphrate, and are indeed both velvety and matte. They go on smoothly, but Kamchatka. This time, he left the nomenclature reins to Klein: have real staying power, and the advantage of more precise appli“Because Steven has such a world of his own and an intellec- cation than a lipstick. The most wearable award goes to Killer tual vision of his imagery, I thought it made sense for him to Shine lipstick, a new formulation that is creamy and glossy, with 35
saturated pigments that ensure long wear, in Besame Mucho, a nearly neutral deep rosy beige that complements a range of skin tones. Killer Shine glosses, which can be worn alone or layered on top of the lipstick, are also an all-new formula, infused with nourishing camellia oil. They lend dramatic dimension to the lips. Both of these products exploit Klein’s fascination with the extreme reflectivity and texture of patent leather and latex. On the subject of extreme shine, special mention should also go to the nail polishes in the collection. NARS is already well known for must-have nail polishes, but when a new shade is released, and it’s a shimmery slate blue inspired by the unique saturated yet dark color spectrum of Klein’s work, fans take notice. The formulation is impressive: the glossy finish is long lasting, the application idiot-proof, and the dry time remarkably fast. Possibly the most surprising formula is the Dual-Intensity Blush in Vengeful, a dark brick-red color paired with a white-gold highlighter. In the package, this hard-edged, very graphically presented blush looked intriguing, but also intimidating, perhaps not like anything one would actually want to wear. In reality, the product melts into the skin, delivering a unique, fevered flush. NARS blushes are known for their fine texture, which can be used to render a believable or dramatic look, and this version does not disappoint. “The wet/dry formula is a completely new approach to blush. What I love about makeup is that it lets you express yourself and, in a way, this blush takes that concept to another level. Apply it wet for this watercolor effect that is so 38
unexpected. Apply it dry for bold, beautiful color. There are so many possibilities,” says Nars. The white-gold highlighting powder that accompanies the blush, however, is far from natural. It gives a strobe light effect best reserved for evening, and an evening out somewhere avant-garde at that. But this collection is all about stylized drama, and in that respect, this product is perfect. “Stylized drama” could also describe the killer preview party thrown by Nars and Klein at Alder Manor in Yonkers, complete with drag queens, disco inferno ambiance, and an edgy guest list that included de rigueur party fixture Alexander Wang and nineties club queen Amanda Lepore, known among other things for her over the top lips, and who looked like she might have scored an advance sample of the Limited Edition Killer Shine Lip Gloss in Special Force. Also in attendance was trans model Andreja Pejić, male models in fishnets and platform heels, and the legendary Susanne Bartsch. “It was like Steven’s photography that came to life,” raves Nars. “We were able to create an entire environment at this large manor—each room was a different experience that spoke to the collection and to Steven’s work. The whole house looked like a horror movie. It was very surreal.” A Steven Klein-produced short film shot at Alder Mansion, hauntingly neon-lit and featuring bondage-masked figures, empty swimming pools, Juliette Lewis in full glitter face rifling through a medicine cabinet, and seminude male models, was recently released by NarsMedia, and gives civilians a teasing taste of the experience.
The Fine Art of Three Dimensional Canvases TEXT BY JOA BOHORQUEZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAX DOLBERG AND KEI MORITA
Tattooing was once considered the preserve of a “closed society” and often associated with all kinds of nefarious elements of a variety of subcultures, from savage Polynesians to rebel merchant classes, to criminals and bikers. It has since passed through entire social levels, including the elite and royal classes. Indeed, it is believed that back in the 1800’s intricate tattoos were once very much the preserve of the upper classes in England, even for women. Since then, tattooing has proliferated over time periods as symbols of cultural movements and generational ideas. Those who make a life choice and decide to be part of the core of this culture are the clients of Analog Tattoo Arts Kolectiv (ATAK)—one of the most interesting and creative spaces to get a tattoo in the Bay Area. A great example of the work this group of tattoo crafters have developed over the last decade is their self-published, colossal book, BLOODWORK: BODIES Vol.1&2, which is an accumulation of projects the group has put together over a decade. It is encompassed of well balanced, meticulously worked ink with precise details and interesting shapes. These crafters acknowledge the permanence of their work and their clients become a work of art. We sat down with one of SF’s most impressive tattooist: Adrian Lee, a member from the exclusive workspace ATAK, who explains how he carefully works on building a long-term trust relationship with his clients while planning his ink work (art) on 40
the canvas (the body) and considering the human body as isolated planes to create a harmonious and well balanced positive and negative space composition. How long have you been tattooing and what is ATAK? I’ve been a practicing tattooer since 1993, working in the Bay Area since 1995, and am a contributing member of ATAK. In San Francisco we operate on a appointment only workspace that does monthly exhibitions of works by various artists. In addition to the workspace/gallery we self-publish editions on the craft. What is a tattoo? That seems like a simple question but its difficult for me to answer. Basically its a transient mark; no different then that of a meteor hitting earth. I tend to view the human form as one single canvas and that, no matter how many tattoos you have, at the end of the day you only have one body thus one tattoo; a single canvas. If you look at a painting, you are looking at a flat canvas, but a tattoo is like looking at a painting on or in a single three-dimensional canvas; except the canvas is living. Tattooing that is culturally relevant and aesthetically specific is what excites me. Put craft and culture together: it makes art. Or maybe how Robert Williams stated it better when he said
something to the effect “If it commands attention it’s culture, if it matches the couch it’s art.” What is one of your goals as a tattooer? Many collectors prefer to acquire a lot of work from a variety of tattooers; I think that path is great and can yield wonderful outcomes. However, as a tattooer one of my goals within this limited lifespan is to work on as many single canvases as possible. I would prefer to have more tattooing done on fewer people as opposed to many tattoos scattered across a myriad of people. Do you divide the body in anatomical stations for designing? I consider a collectors body to be one canvas however when designing it helps to separate the forms into the primary and secondary planes. For example the back, from the base of the neck to the back of the thighs is considered one primary plane. The arms are secondary planes themselves having several tertiary planes. A good reference book on this matter is Bushido by Takahiro Kitamura. Tell us about one or two of you favorite/inspiring tattoo artists Two tattooers that have influenced me beyond measure are Tamotsu Kuronuma and Marcus Pacheco: Kuronuma for his sense of scale and dynamic flow and Pacheco with his structural black, textures, and profoundly intuitive use of color. What do you see is happening with people who get tattoos in our generation compared to other generations? Honestly not that much. The motivations and outcomes are 42
basically the same. There is just more of it now. However, the base community of tattooers and collectors remains about the same. What kind of clients do you tend to seek out? I tend to look for clients who want to make a life choice. Therefore I try to focus on single tattooer/client relationships wherein we can build trust over time and work toward a greater goal. It often takes multiple years to complete a back piece or bodysuit so having a working relationship based on trust is important. What is the trend in the tattoo industry? The movement has morphed into several distinct worlds. It has become an industry where it often feels like a feeding frenzy, a bit overwhelming, where it has become much more casual and more accessible. But on the other hand there is still the core community of people who keep the fire—the creatives who are in it for the love of the craft, not for the instant gratification. The popularity of the tattoo experience tends to have extreme peaks and valleys but the heart of it seems to remain the same. The “core community” of the people stay; but the “adopters” or those that kind of course through it will fall out and probably will move on with other trends. Is there still a stigma about tattoos? The stigma its been reduced but once someone is heavily tattooed there is still a stigma and you can recognize it right away. I think it’s healthy to recognize those persons who negatively classify it so you can choose to disassociate yourself from that type of behavior. A tattoo forces you to see a story—not merely a snapshot in time.
The Influencers Jackie Rotman TEXT BY KYLE THORNBURG PHOTOGRAPH BY LUCAS DEMING
Jackie Rotman, 24, leverages philanthropy as a universal tool. From a professional history that began with bright ideas as a teenager, Jackie’s career is rooted in quality of life. At 14 years old she founded Everybody Dance Now!, a nonprofit organization with a knack for instilling self-esteem into the lives of underserved youth through dance. Now, Jackie serves as the Executive Director for Spark. Based in San Francisco, Jackie and her team at Spark use strategy and investment of the global sort to support women’s initiatives around the world and spark altruistic discoveries along the way. In a way, your creativity as a young adult was the impetus for the career that was ahead of you. How does creativity show up in your life today? For me, creativity and spirituality are inextricably linked. There is a beautiful TED talk by Liz Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, about how – unlike our society today where we think creativity comes from the self and the individual–ancient Greeks and Romans thought that creativity was a divine spirit that came to human beings from an unknowable source. I feel this way when I feel inspired and creative–that sometimes an idea or organization or vision wants to be born, and I get to serve as a vessel to make that happen, but it comes from somewhere bigger. When I founded Everybody Dance Now! at fourteen years old and discovered the beauty of “social entrepreneurship,” that creativity extended to my work as an organizational leader. I have always felt social entrepreneurship is a creative art form. Developing an organizational vision/mission and organizing the team, strategies, and resources to serve a purpose. It’s a similar creative process to me as conveying a theme on a stage and organizing bodies and movement to serve a purpose. Everybody Dance Now! was your first foray into the professional world of philanthropy. What were the most valuable lessons you learned through that organization that you apply to your work life today? One lesson I learned from Everybody Dance Now! (EDN!) is that you don’t have to wait to make a difference. A philanthropist in San Francisco, Helen Diller, always used to say, “It is never too early, too late, or too often to make a difference.” I think we often perceive that to be in the role you want, you need to 44
work your way up a ladder in an institution to gain the necessary skills. When you have a vision and you’re passionate about manifesting it, you learn the skills and ropes along the way. You find mentors and team members to help you—whatever it takes. The scrappiness, resourcefulness, and “learn-as-you-go” mentality I learned at EDN! are very helpful going forward. Which professional freedoms or advantages within the nonprofit sector have you found to be the most enriching? My work allows me to be a professional “relationship builder.” A lot of what I do at Spark can be called “fundraising,” and at first I felt uncomfortable strategically interacting with people when financial contributions are a potential goal. One of my incredible mentors, the CEO of Moishe House, David Cygielman, helped me reframe and see the work I do as “building authentic relationships.” When I saw it that way, I loved that work more and began to thrive at it. Getting to form deep bonds with many different people and helping them fulfill their passions and needs for helping others, it is very gratifying. Who are the women who inspire you most? In my professional life, Amy Rao and Kathleen Kelly Janus are two women who inspire me tremendously. Amy, a CEO and a philanthropist for human rights, is incredibly empathetic and action oriented; this past month, she has hopped on planes twice to Lesbos, Greece to help with the refugee emergency. Kathleen, a co-founder of Spark, is so tactful and strategic based on years working with social entrepreneurs; I learn so much from her. In popular culture today, I greatly admire Lena Dunham, creator of the TV show Girls. She’s bringing attention to trans and women’s issues (like women in politics, reproductive health, and female sexuality), and she has also shared her own experiences to spark dialogue on mental health. I am incredibly inspired by Everybody Dance Now! leaders– mostly young women across the nation under 21–who give so much to affect thousands of youth, while balancing high school and college. And I admire Spark’s Board, staff, members, cofounders, and past Board Chairs who have committed their energy for the past decade to building this powerful network of Millennial activists for gender equality, while redefining who can be a “philanthropist.”
Photo by Clinton Hussey
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BarChef TEXT BY ROHINI MORADI
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEANNE NEUFELD
There’s a special kind of buzz surrounding a new bar in Toronto– domestically and internationally–and it only grows with each dazzled patron who enters the dizzying expanse of his cocktail kingdom. Frankie Solarik, author of “The Bar Chef ” and coowner of Toronto’s BarChef, is applying the same detail and passion to preparing cocktails as a chef would to haute cuisine. The result has been lifting the perception of cocktails to a whole new tier of appreciation. “It’s the idea of presenting a drink as a dish, I strive to compose cocktails with the same visual, visceral and taste appeal and complexity that is possible within a dish, the general goal for me artistically is to challenge the conventional thought as to what’s possible within the medium of a glass.” Although he prefers to describe some of his signature beverages as “Modernist” rather than “molecular”, the cocktails offered at his Toronto cocktail bar are perhaps best described as compositions. Rather than harmonious musical notes, they are a personal artistic expression; a textural and sensory experience presented in liquid form. Traditionally, the mystique of a cocktail is due in part to the 78
fact that they are as much an expression of the personal taste of their creator as they are of that of the person who chooses to drink them–in the case of Solarik, even more so. “That’s what makes the creative process so special, the goal is to challenge the perception of flavor.” Solarik is dramatically expanding on the Modernist movement in ways both elegant and shocking, glamorous and rustic, cultured and curious. Although many of his signature “dishes” feature complex flavors and spectacular presentations, employing everything from frozen carbon dioxide to hydrosols and blowtorches, at their very core the compositions depend on a “less is more” approach; a process rooted in balancing components that complement each other rather than contrast, regardless of how many ingredients are in the mix. At BarChef, Solarik continues to push the envelope, growing a reputation as an innovator and advocate of the progressive approach to mixology. His approach is unique, his research impeccable, and his goal is as altruistic as it is ambitious. Put simply: he inspires others worldwide to adopt a completely new approach to cocktail culture.
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