No Such Agency

NSA2

Last week, I ventured into Chinatown to visit the ready-to-wear showroom of No Such Agency, a boutique PR firm. They, along with a handbag brand and a lingerie brand, occupy the Triple A Loft, a cool, airy space filled with natural light. A zebra greeted me when I stepped out of the elevator, and I wandered past the mod yellow sofa and issues of WWD and Electrify in the lobby to the No Such Agency space, a charming area with a minimalist desk and table, an old-fashioned window, a floor-to-ceiling mirror, and six racks of samples. An intern greeted me and showed me around, telling me all about the collections.

I was immediately drawn to the Daniel.Silverstain rack. “I want to focus on this brand because I would wear every item here,” I stammered. I don’t always say this. Liking every item from a clothing brand is rare, in the way that it’s rare to enjoy every song in a music artist’s repertoire. What was it about these few items, hanging on a single steel rod, spaced a few inches apart? There was the recurrent pairing of black and white. There was the dramatic asymmetry, the kind that makes you feel perpetually a step ahead of the here and now.  There was the formality of each piece – being in my early twenties, I often like to dress older so I will be taken more seriously. And even though common prints and materials were used across items, as is typical for a seasonal collection, no two pieces blended together. There was nothing redundant, nothing forgettable. I could envision every item on myself, each one standing out on a crowded block, each one making a distinct impression.

NSA16

This is the Fall 2016 collection, shown last September as a see-now, buy-now presentation. Titled WHITE.CITY, it was inspired by the effects of the Bauhaus movement on Tel Aviv in the 1950s.

Me in the layered blouse, black pants, and crocodile-embossed shearling coat with separating panel in orchid. Though I prefer warm weather, I have always gravitated toward the grandeur of a long winter coat. All runway photos by Robert Mitra/WWD.  

Daniel Silverstain founded his luxury apparel brand in 2013. He takes inspiration from industrialism, modernism, and futurism. “I design to inspire women to be bold, to be courageous, to stand out, and to create a story of their own,” he says. Originally from Israel, Silverstain started his fashion career at the Israeli division of KEDS Kids in 2006, advancing quickly to Design Director. In 2009, he moved to New York to pursue a BFA in Fashion/Apparel Design at FIT. While in school, he interned at Marie Claire for a semester (see, even acclaimed designers pay their dues) and worked as an assistant designer at 3.1 Phillip Lim and a designer at Muuse and Elie Tahari.

He launched Daniel.Silverstain soon after graduating. Last year, he co-founded Flying Solo, a designer-owned retail incubator in Little Italy. Flying Solo provides a platform for startup brands to enter the brick-and-mortar market without selling to a retailer, which requires accommodating a retail markup and often supplying high minimum orders, or maintaining their own boutique, especially in New York where rents are high. Flying Solo is owned and operated by twenty-eight fashion brands.

     Daniel Silverstain Janelle Monae

Janelle Monáe, my favorite actress now that she’s an actress, in a Daniel.Silverstain coat for Cosmopolitan. Photo by Max Abadian.

NSA44

I recognized KUT from the Kloth from Nordstrom, where I sold their jeans in the Point of View department alongside brands like Caslon and NYDJ. I really enjoyed seeing the brand on its own, in its complete form. I always knew they had great-fitting jeans, but I didn’t know that they also had dresses, tops, jackets, and pants! I loved the profusion of florals, the pinstripes, the sweeping bell sleeves, and the whimsical paper bag waist on a pair of dress pants.

Me in the Luz blouse and Regina pants. Life Stride shoes.

NSA40

The effervescent bell sleeve of a pink blouse. 

KUT from the Kloth is based in Los Angeles. Their core focus is “to offer women of all shapes and sizes the perfect-fitting jean”. They started with the denim concept in 1977, but expanded to add sportswear in 2006. The company has a strong commitment to workers’ rights, requiring that all of their suppliers and vendors adhere to their Code of Ethics policy. They make sure to work only with factories that do not employ workers younger than 15, pay a fair wage, properly dispose of all hazardous materials, and have an environmental management system in place that includes disaster and emergency preparedness. After the Rana Plaza collapse, this is welcome to hear.

NSA38    NSA35

The Ruthy dress and Rosie skirt. 

  NSA42    NSA41

The off-shoulder flutter sleeve dress and Adyson dress. 

You can find KUT from the Kloth on their website, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Century 21, Zappos, Bluefly, and many boutiques nationwide. As a resident of Bushwick who likes to shop at little shops, my source of choice is Néda in Park Slope.

NSA43     NSA39

No Such Agency’s fashion showroom makes appointments for editors, stylists, celebrities, bloggers, and “micro-influencers” to select samples to borrow for photo shoots and events. The biggest appointment witnessed by the girl I talked to was from Vogue, to select pieces for a Karlie Kloss spread shot in Australia. Karlie Kloss has been my favorite model since this article in 2007, so I was pretty excited. No Such Agency keeps six brands at a time. The founders, “This British power couple”, consistently choose independent ready-to-wear brands “with a cool vibe”. They also have a showroom in Los Angeles.

Besides fashion, No Such Agency represents clients in the media, music, art, and lifestyle industries; in other words, everything creative and glamorous. The founders, Dan and Helena Barton, came from marketing at Diesel. Dan has worked at Maison Margiela and DSquared2. Helena has worked at Rag & Bone and All Saints. On the music side, she has worked for James Brown, The Strokes, Kings of Leon, and Franz Ferdinand.

Neighborhood Store — Beacon’s Closet

beacons-closet

When I moved into my senior dorm at NYU, I was pleasantly surprised to see a clothing boutique on my block. Now I have walked past a lot of  boutiques in New York, but I got super excited about this one because it was affordable. Beacon’s Closet is a consignment store with a focus on designer labels and unique vintage items. Yes their mascot is a hipster baby (or a hipster old man), yes there are a lot of quirky things in there, but they truly have something for everyone. The small, high-ceilinged room was absolutely packed with inventory, with sections for long dresses, clothing by color, shoes, jewelry, hats, glasses, scarves, belts, and handbags.  Because there are so many things to choose from, if you put in the time you can find plenty of pieces that complement your personal style. For me, that means feminine and sophisticated. I spent five hours there on my last trip, and this is what I found:

 1. Maje top                                                              2. Tibi skirt

20161026_001311                           20161026_001428

tibi-2    tibi

20161024_190048   20161024_190333

                                                                 Forever 21 earrings

tibi-3    20161024_190537

Vintage velvet purse; bracelet from Croatia, from my father

3. Ella Moss dress                                                       4. Lazarus hat

20161026_001533   wellington-16

ella-moss         20161024_194844

Vera Bradley purse;  poster from my mother; Forever 21 stackable rings

   20161024_194812

Style & Co. shoes

5. Elizabeth and James dress                                 6. L.K. Bennett penny loafers

20161026_001648             wellington-23

elizabeth-and-james         20161024_201547

Vintage lariat necklace

20161024_201025   20161024_201328

H&M earrings; Forever 21 bracelet; Forever 21 ring

20161024_201747

Chanel handbag

7. Cynthia Rowley blouse                                          8. Kors Michael Kors shoes

20161026_002017            kors-michael-kors

20161024_214607     20161024_213615

Forever 21 skirt; custom poster by Sir Shadow, from the 2015 Harlem Fine Arts Show

20161024_213636    20161024_215230

Vintage clip-on earrings

20161024_214827

Xhilaration bracelets; Harajuku Lovers ring; vintage purse

9. Yumi Kim top

20161026_001840

yumi-kim    yumi-kim-2

Bebe reversible skirt; Jennifer Moore purse

20161024_204500   20161024_205845

Anna Belen headband; Xhilaration espadrilles; poster from the NYU Bookstore

20161024_210029  20161024_210337

Bracelet I have had since I was little, of unknown origin; Lady Gaga concert ring; Hello Kitty ring, found on the floor at Forever 21

10. Halston Heritage dress

20161026_002328       halston-heritage-3

Van Eli shoes; Charter Club handbag   20161024_221410

Narmi watch

11. Sportmax dress

20161026_002542  sportmax

    Vintage purse with abalone shells and wooden handle

20161025_233836     20161025_233818

This dress is comfortable and convenient — it zips in the front and has spacious pockets!

20161025_233415

Earrings from Iran, from a friend

20161025_233539   20161025_233730

Bracelets from my mother; Forever 21 ring; Sbicca espadrilles

12. Nonoo dress                                                     13. Marc Jacobs flats

20161026_002643   20161025_235201

nonoo

Purse from my great-aunt; clock from Indonesia, from a friend

My wardrobe has always been a mix of fast fashion, vintage, and gifts from family and friends, so I am very happy to have found Beacon’s Closet. They have four stores in NYC, and a website for everyone else! Happy shopping.

 

Shopping Is an Experience

Shopping Is an Experience

 

Stuart Weitzman high heel shoes
$2,735 – saksfifthavenue.com

Sergio Rossi shoes
$1,790 – shopbop.com

Christian Louboutin high heel shoes
$1,640 – saksfifthavenue.com

Dolce&Gabbana ankle strap shoes
$1,450 – farfetch.com

Versace shoes
1stdibs.com

Rochas platform pumps
luisaviaroma.com

Valentino platform shoes
$525 – stylebop.com

Charlotte Olympia nude pumps
$895 – nordstrom.com

Brian Atwood high heel shoes
$1,810 – net-a-porter.com

Haider Ackermann nude shoes
$1,755 – selfridges.com

Charlotte Olympia platform shoes
$955 – selfridges.com

Chanel clutch
tradesy.com

Dolce Gabbana studded purse
luisaviaroma.com

Pink handbag
$5,990 – shopbop.com

Judith Leiber purse
$5,255 – neimanmarcus.com

Chanel evening bag
1stdibs.com

Dolce Gabbana studded purse
luisaviaroma.com

Judith Leiber white handbag
$5,210 – saksfifthavenue.com

Judith leiber handbag
saksoff5th.com

Dolce Gabbana shoulder bag
luisaviaroma.com

Dolce Gabbana shoulder bag
modaoperandi.com

Chanel clutch
designer-vault.com

KOTUR lucite purse
lanecrawford.com

Arunashi pandora jewelry
marissacollections.com

Bulgari pandora bracelet
$61,680 – selfridges.com

Pandora jewelry
shop-hers.com

Pandora jewelry
1stdibs.com

Pandora jewelry
1stdibs.com

Love This Brand — Alice + Olivia

My fantasy is to travel the globe in search of new Alice + Olivia pieces. Here is how I would go about it…

START: ALICE + OLIVIA BOUTIQUE, NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Alice + Olivia boutique  Alice + Olivia from Alice + Olivia

Cherry pouf dress, $698

SCOOP, NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Alice + Olivia from Scoop              Scoop

Lewis drop waist knit skirt, $220

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK, NEW YORK

 

Saks Fifth Avenue           Alice + Olivia from Saks Fifth Avenue

Lang two-tone strapless cut-out waist jumpsuit, $440

NORDSTROM RACK, WESTBURY, NEW YORK

Alice + Olivia from Nordstrom Rack                          Nordstrom Rack

Dakota ankle strap flat, $120

MYTHERESA.COM ON THE PLANE

mytheresa Alice + Olivia from mytheresa

Verity fur jacket, $1,315

OXYGEN BOUTIQUE, LONDON, ENGLAND

Alice + Olivia from Oxygen Boutique      Oxygen Boutique

Wynn sleeveless slim fitted dress, $525

SELFRIDGES, LONDON, ENGLAND

Selfridges                     Alice + Olivia from Selfridge's

Floral ball gown skirt, $900

SMETS, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

Alice + Olivia from Smets              Smets

Sheer crochet top, $235

LA CASA MODA, SCHORNDORF, GERMANY

La Casa Moda   Alice + Olivia from La Casa Moda

Breton sweater, $173

EXCELSIOR MILANO, MILAN, ITALY

Alice + Olivia from Excelsior Milano     Excelsior Milano

Mandy dress, $352

SHOPBOP.COM ON THE PLANE

Alice + Olivia from shopbop

Shopbop Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Shopbop.com)

Vintage box leather car pouch, $225

LANE CRAWFORD, SHANGHAI, CHINA

Alice + Olivia from Lane Crawford          Lane Crawford

Perna flower swing coat, $810

THECORNER.COM ON THE PLANE

Thecorner                         Alice + Olivia from thecorner

Knee length skirt, $490

NORDSTROM, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

Alice + Olivia from Nordstrom                               Nordstrom Headquarters

High waist wide leg pants, $365

DSW, NOVATO, CALIFORNIA

DSW                   Alice + Olivia from DSW

Dina floral pump, $290

CUSP NEIMAN MARCUS, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

Alice + Olivia from Neiman Marcus Cusp                             Neiman Marcus

Eddie floral-print boot-cut pants, $298

BLEU, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Bleu                           Alice + Olivia from Bleu

Sarita sequin drop shoulder top, $385

ZAPPOS.COM ON THE PLANE

Alice + Olivia from zappos                        Zappos

“Only you could know how perfect our trip is XOXO” Stella, $345

TOOTSIES, HOUSTON, TEXAS

Tootsies                         Alice + Olivia from Tootsies

Cady patterned shorts, $290

AND BACK HOME TO NEW YORK, WITH A BETTER WARDROBE TO SHOW FOR IT!