Love This Brand — T. Tandon NY

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I met Tina at a Member of Tribe dinner party in the Hamptons. She wore a yellow backless gown, and when I told her I loved her dress, she said it was of her own design. We quickly bonded over fashion, and when I asked her about her clothing line, T. Tandon NY,  she invited me to her Spring trunk show. The event was held at the Waldorf Astoria in an intimate suite, where guests drank champagne, lounged on the couches, tried things on in the walk-in closet, and received henna tattoos. A photographer shot two models in full looks throughout the night. The Spring preview featured one rack for day and another for evening. The day offering was cheerful and delicate, with soft silk charmeuse blouses, bow and eyelet details, and incredible embellishments of fringe, feathers, beading, and embroidery. Part of me wanted to wear the poet collar blouse with a midi skirt, and part of me wanted to wear the cut-out dress and stop everyone in their tracks. The evening section was even more distinctive. Everything was leather, in its most feminine iterations. The classic black biker jacket stood out with gold flowers and chains. A dress  that was asymmetrical and peplum in front revealed itself to be backless. My favorite thing of all was a black dress with an abbreviated cowl neck and flower embroidery. It was in the evening/party section, but I could see myself wearing it anywhere! The trunk show also featured her other brand, Posh Pari Couture. Designed for the Indian market, the Posh Pari rack was filled with beautiful saris, scarves and suits.

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Tops and dresses for day. 

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Leather and sequins for night.

Tina Tandon was born in the United States, but spent her early childhood in India (ages 2-12) and her teen years in North Carolina before moving to New York for college. Her earliest memories of knowing she was interested in fashion were in India, going with her mother to the tailor for custom-made outfits. She had the desire to start her own line since “eight or nine”, saying that she has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In high school, she was teased for her background and her clothes. Now she focuses on the value of that experience. “It has given me a wide understanding of fashion, and how it relates to culture and the social dialogue in each region. In some regions, the lifestyle is more relaxed and casual, and so is their dressing choices, and in big cities like NYC, the ladies like to dress to the nines, representing their polished and ambitious outlook. In India, fashion has now become an amalgamation of traditional heritage and the western modernity.” She went to college at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), earning the Faculty Scholarship, Presidential Scholar honor, and the Jay Baker Scholarship,  which is awarded to only ten students each year. It was during these years that she developed an interest in American vintage, which continues to influence her designs. Tina started the FIT South Asian Club, interned in public relations at Escada, and worked in showroom sales at Christian Lacroix before graduating summa cum laude. She embarked on her full-time career in design and product development at West Elm, then moved on to product development at Kenneth Cole and Liz Claiborne. In 2006 she went out on her own as a freelance fashion consultant, writer, and celebrity stylist before starting her own brands, Posh Pari Couture and T. Tandon NY.

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Tina’s take on the Aztec trend, with daring black fringe.     An ombré coverup.

Posh Pari came first, in 2006. Tina calls it “an ethnic fusion line”, designed for the Indian market. Posh Pari has shown at Indian Fashion Week and the Cannes Fashion Festival. Tina started her primary focus, T. Tandon NY, in 2007. She describes her namesake brand as “modern with a hint of vintage”. Based in Manhattan, T. Tandon shows Tina’s American side. “I think it would be very cliché for me to design an Indian-inspired collection for the American market, being of Indian origins. And I am anything but a cliché!” Tina says. “This line is designed for the contemporary young, hip, jet-setting fashion savvy girls all over the U.S. and internationally,” she explains, inadvertently describing herself. Every piece stands out for its details: a graceful drape, a smooth texture, an eye-catching embellishment, a dramatic cut. All of her pieces feature embellishment or asymmetry, sometimes both.  “I like the contrast of the fluid and the static in my collections. Silk crêpes, chiffons and georgettes are often paired with structured leather pieces,” she says. She is also eager to point out that the details, like a pattern of beaded flowers on a violet blouse, are always done by hand. T. Tandon NY has a practical orientation, offering dresses, tops, skirts, pants, and outerwear for Day, Career, and Party. But of all the categories, Tina considers her signature to be “the very unique leather jackets”. Half of new businesses fail  within the first five years, but T. Tandon NY is approaching its tenth anniversary, in part due to public relations success. T. Tandon showed at New York Fashion Week, sponsored the New York Indian Film Festival (held at my school, NYU!), and has been worn by many celebrities, including Brooke Shields and Padma Lakshmi. The brand is currently sold in 38 boutiques nationwide, including L.A.’s Kitson, and has also spread to Québec, London, Jeddah, Riyadh, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Tokyo. As a resident of Bushwick, Brooklyn, my source of choice would be Sunday Brunch  in Fort Greene.

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A signature moto jacket with chains and exquisite beading.

The brand makes a point of being environmentally and socially conscious. “Giving to children and women’s causes is an integral part of our company’s modus operandi,” says Tina. The fabrics, from silks to wools, are natural and biodegradable. Manufacturing takes place in factories owned by Indian women, and the brand supports the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).  A portion of the profits is regularly donated to help underprivileged children in India so they will not be forced into child labor.  Tina recalls, “Visiting India often and seeing the poor kids on the streets and seeing them skip school to work always broke my heart.” In the U.S., T. Tandon NY has sold product for donations at Super Saturday, an annual fundraiser started by Donna Karan to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF).

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The Keira party dress.

Inspiration for a collection is an organic process. “It can be anything from a button to architecture in a city I visited,” Tina says. That said, the process often starts with the fabrics. “Images of various possibilities usually dance in my mind, when I see fabrics that inspire me.” Her consistent sources of inspiration are “my travels, American vintage, nature, the current trends and demands of the market, and the future where the fashion is heading.” Her muse is her mother. “Looking through her pics from the ‘60s and ‘70s really gets me excited and inspired.”

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As if a rounded collar wasn’t cute enough, this blouse is embroidered with tiny bows.

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Sexy and sweet—this backless blouse has two large bows to bridge the gap.

Tina has her pulse on the Indian market and how it is changing. Indian fashion is “extremely wedding-driven,” she says, with bridal lines getting the most attention. But she is excited by the increasing global travel and purchasing power of the young generation in India. “India used to be focused on local tailors, custom wear. Now American and European brands have penetrated the Indian market, and Indian women keep up with them,” she explains. Indeed, T. Tandon NY is carried by India’s Samsaara chain. Of course, Indian fashion carries its own influence.  “Nothing can compete with the intricate embroideries, beadwork, and embellishment techniques of India,” Tina says. She appreciates chikankari  work in particular, sometimes incorporating the technique in her spring collections. Tina has been selected as a Roshni Honoree, an award given to top South Asian professionals in America.

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My favorite thing! Note the dangling sleeve straps. When on, they create the coolest cold-shoulder shape.

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Me at the trunk show. Halston Heritage dress and Style Paris handbag.

Having worked in so many different parts of the fashion industry, Tina is seen as an industry authority, full of insight and advice for those seeking to join the fashion world. “Fashion is so saturated these days that you not only have to know the people you want to cater to, but also fine-tune your unique selling point and aesthetic as well,” she says. She gained ten years of experience in the industry before starting her own business, and she recommends that aspiring designers take time to work in the industry and learn their craft. “It can get discouraging sometimes, but it’s important to stay passionate and believe in what you have to offer.”

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Tina Tandon stands proudly before her collection.

 

 

TBT — 2013

Brette Portrait

Top, A. Byer; skirt, Forever 21; shoes, Alba; necklace, Forever 21; “happy” necklace, Forever 21; bracelet, a gift from my grandmother Sylvia; vintage watch; black flower ring, Folk Art Gallery; lips ring, Claire’s; heart ring, street fair on Broadway; headband, Anna Belen; belt, Forever 21; handbag, H&M.

It’s been a month and a half since I graduated from NYU, and I am left with so many wonderful memories. One great experience was doing a photo shoot with a fellow student for his class project. The prompt was to create a “portrait” of a person, that is, to capture her or his everyday life. I had met Jordan in 2012, when we both lived in the same freshman residence hall. In Fall 2013, when we were sophomores, he approached me about the project and asked me to come up with a few outfits and make a list of places I go to on a typical day. The first places that came to mind were the NYU library, Washington Square Park, and Forever 21. We shot at and around the Forever 21 store in Soho.

Ages 19 and 20 were a fun, carefree, and experimental time for me stylewise. I was inspired to look girlier than ever before, hunting down bow and flower headbands specifically and trying both blush and white eyeliner for the first time. The shoes were of the “heel-less wedge” variety, inspired by Noritaka Tatehana. It’s rare for me to wear more than one necklace at a time, but I decided to add my “Happy” necklace to express how happy I was with my new life in New York.

Brette Portrait 2

I generally wear two or three main colors in an outfit, and I love to blend from one shade to another in the same color family. I snapped a skinny belt at the waistband to differentiate between the top and the skirt, and because I love bows.

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Browsing in Forever 21. I actually didn’t buy anything. There was a pair of black skinny jeans with small words in white cursive scrawled up and down the legs, that I was thinking about getting but didn’t get. Since I can still visualize them perfectly three years later, I probably should have gotten them.

Of course as I have gotten older, I have been wearing work-appropriate outfits more often than not. I don’t think there is a single part of this outfit that I would wear to work! Okay…maybe the bracelet, watch, and handbag…but not at the same time. The professional world is exciting and fulfilling, but one’s life outside the office is important too. So when I’m not at work, I like having the nerve to wear whatever I want.

Photos by Jordan Star

http://www.jordanstarphoto.com

Style Icon — Marina and the Diamonds

Everyone who knows me knows that I live for the music of Lana Del Rey and Marina and the Diamonds, and if I find out that someone does not like either of these artists, I regard him or her with a healthy amount of suspicion. As if it isn’t enough that I have fifty-two of Marina’s songs on my iPod, I also adore her sense of style. She has described her fashion sense as “vintage, cheerleader, and cartoon,” and her style icons are Gwen Stefani, Leigh Lezark of the Misshapes, and Shirley Manson of Garbage. Here are my favorite Marina looks:

      

    

    

    

Marina and the Diamonds (aka Marina Diamandis) was born in Brynmawr, Wales and began her musical career in London. She has released two albums, The Family Jewels and Electra Heart, and will be releasing Froot in its entirety this coming April. She has also collaborated with Charli XCX and BetaTraxx, and has covered songs by Gwen Stefani, Justin Bieber, 3OH!3, Late of the Pier, and Paolo Nutini. She has had two headlining tours, The Family Jewels Tour and The Lonely Hearts Club Tour, and has toured with both Katy Perry and Coldplay as a supporting act. She has won the following awards: Best UK & Irish Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards (2010), Best Newcomer at the Virgin Media Music Awards (2010), and Best Music Award at the Attitude Magazine Awards (2012). She even has a fashion line, 11 Diamonds.

=^.^= Cat Lady =^.^=

My cat Belle and I worked on this post together…seriously! (She sat on my lap.) Everyone knows that kitties are adorable, far superior to dogs, and a rich source of inspiration in the world of fashion and art. Here is some feline-themed clothing that is as fun to wear as it is to pet a cat!

Rotita  Unique Vintage  Storyland

Palm Beach   Miss Sweety   Grumpy Cat for Prada

    Brian Lichtenberg

rolling cat   Karl Lagerfeld  Noir Jewelry

Orla Kiely  Burberry  Anna Sui

Dolce & Gabbana 2 (2)  computer bed   Charlotte Olympia 7

Eugenia Kim  Au Jour Le Jour  True Facet  Judith Leiber  The Aristocats

1. Rotita earrings, $6

2. Unique Vintage leggings, $10

3. Storyland top, $24

4. Palm Beach ring, $28

5. Miss Sweety handbag, $31

6. Olivia Pratt watch, $50

7. Bling Jewelry brooch, $60

8. Brian Lichtenberg beanie, $65

9. Karl Lagerfeld tee, $115

10. Noir Jewelry bracelet, $135

11. Orla Kiely cardigan, $150

12. Burberry Prorsum scarf, $220

13. Anna Sui skirt, $245

14. Dolce & Gabbana wristlet, $289

15. Charlotte Olympia shoes, $705

16. Eugenia Kim headband, $1,270

17. Au Jour Le Jour dress, $1,274

18. Chopard necklace, $1,620

19. Judith Leiber minaudiere, $5,595

 

If I Could Buy the Entire Collection, I Would — Moschino

Moschino Pre-Fall 2015

I will admit, the McDonald’s stuff kind of freaked me out. When I think of McDonald’s, I think of a place where college students go at 4am because there is nowhere else to eat when they are studying, and where homeless people go at 4am because there is nowhere else to sleep. I also don’t think barnyard red and sunshine yellow are a pleasing color pairing, fast food connotations notwithstanding.

But as Katy Perry would say, that was then and this is now (“Part of Me”). For Pre-Fall Jeremy Scott is still basing the collection around one obvious motif, but this time it is much more chic. The pieces below evoke objects found in a clothing atelier, like tape measures, order forms, hangers, and garments still under construction.

Moschino 7 Yes   Moschino 11 Yes  Moschino 3 Yes  Moschino 6 Yes  Moschino 8 Yes  Moschino 5 Yes   Moschino 15   Moschino 12  Moschino 10 Yes   Moschino 1 Yes   Moschino 4 Yes   Moschino 13   Moschino 9 Yes   Moschino 14

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!

My Favorite Things at Nordstrom

I work at Nordstrom in Corte Madera, California, mainly in the TBD and Savvy departments, but also in Point of View, Individualist, Dresses, and Men’s Clothing when needed. Here are the best things I have noticed during my days there…

Kensie   Natasha Couture

Kensie, $15              Natasha Couture, $48            ASTR, $49

Joa   Sondra Roberts        kate spade 2 (2)

J.O.A., $92              Sondra Roberts, $98                           Kate Spade, $109

Jane Post   Alice + Olivia        St. John

Jane Post, $325             Alice + Olivia, $345                         St. John, $2,595

Departments (from top left): Hosiery, Trend Accessories, Savvy, Savvy, Trend Accessories, Accessories, Studio 121, Via C, Via C