Shopping Is an Experience

Some people say they would rather spend money on experiences than the accumulation of objects. To those people, I say that the act of shopping is a beautiful experience.

Model: Sasha Pivovarova

Jimmy Choo pumps. Stuart Weitzman heels. Chanel heels, handbags and clutches. Charlotte Olympia heels. Sergio Rossi shoes. Christian Louboutin heels. Dolce & Gabanna shoes and handbags. Salvatore Ferragamo heels. Versace shoes. Rochas pumps. Valentino platforms. Brian Atwood heels. Haider Ackermann shoes. ShopBop handbag. Judith Lebier handbags and coin purse. Kotur purse. Arunashi ring. Monique Pean ring. Bulgari bracelet. Pandora brooches. Buccellati brooch.

Driving in Cars with Boys

“I’m pretty from afar, like a dark star.” — Lana Del Rey

Junya Watanabe Comme des Garcons top. Donna Karan skirt. Boohoo faux fur coat. Charlotte Olympia heels and clutch. Tatty Devine necklace. Chanel watch. Solange Azagury-Partridge ring. Flower ring from 1stdibs. Forever 21 ring. Les Petits Joueurs clutch.

Couple Goals, Part I

DSquared2 top. Haider Ackermann skirt. Sophia Webster heels. Moschino purse. JW Anderson jacket. Sofie d’Hoore pants. Emporio Armani shoes. Yazbukey clutch.

Love This Brand — Laura Ciccarello Collection

Laura Ciccarello Logo

Laura Ciccarello has spent all of her life immersed in art and fashion. Growing up in Virginia with her brother and parents, her creativity was strongly encouraged. As a child she drew and painted constantly, and her family would often sit and draw together. Her obsession with gemstones was also fueled by her upbringing. Some of her favorite earliest memories are of digging through her mother’s jewelry box and wearing the jewelry – and not just for dress-up. “My mother said I could wear whatever I wanted,” she recalls, “and she had a collection of fine jewelry. So when I was in kindergarten, I wore chunky sparkly necklaces to school. I probably looked like a nut job, but I was happy.” She grew up to sell her oil paintings as a young teenager, win an international design competition by The Sak Company, complete pre-college at Pratt and college at FIT, design for multiple brands including Fernando Sanchez, provide fashion consulting services to major retailers, and found the company Red Lipstick Inc., under which she launched her eponymous brand Laura Ciccarello. Her creative origins continue to inspire the “glamorous yet organic” aesthetic of Laura Ciccarello Collection.

Laura Ciccarello Lookbook

Lookbook shot at a penthouse overlooking Central Park; model wearing Big Blingy Starry Night scarf

Laura Ciccarello Collection started with scarves, then extended to handbags. The product category Laura is most excited about right now is jewelry, which launched at the Accessories Circuit trade show just this fall. Every piece in her Metal Lace and Gemstone Jewelry collections is made of silver or gold, with the latter bearing evidence of her childhood gem fascination. She sees her jewelry as a bridge between costume and fine jewelry, two of her favorite things. Each piece is handmade in Manhattan’s Diamond District. Manufacturing close to home is challenging because the production landscape is dominated by ready-to-wear and it can be hard to find people who identify more with stones than cloth. “It would be cheaper to make the jewelry somewhere else,” Laura says, “but I like to do things the better way. New York is higher quality. Overseas uses ‘flash’ plating that wears off in two months and we use ‘heavy plating.’”.

 

Laura Ciccarello Lace 4      Laura Ciccarello Lace 6   Laura Ciccarello Lace 5    Laura Ciccarello Lace 3

Silver lace filigree ring, $93; La Ventana silver lace ring, $180; La Ventana gold lace ring, $180; Gold lace filigree ring, $93

Laura’s design process is serendipitous but clearly effective. “The process of creating a collection starts with me going out all the time and getting a lot of random ideas from what I see. The idea starts out with a sketch, and then I do more sketches, maybe change a few things, before doing the painting. Then I infuse photos I take with Photoshop and start to digitally print the fabric.” This process caters to our ever more technology-focused world with fabulous and luxurious results. With names like Queen of Everything and Diamonds Are More Than My Best Friends, the five scarf collections are full of motif surprises. These include Marilyn MonroeKarl Lagerfeld, and even handcuffs, which have a subliminal feel when infused over her colorful abstract paintings.

Laura Ciccarello Tied Up and Painted    Laura Ciccarello Diamonds Are More Than My Best Friends    Laura Ciccarello Karate Karl 2

Tied Up and Painted handbag; Diamonds Are More Than My Best Friends scarf; Karate Karl handbag

“My perfect situation would be designing all day and making thousands of SKUs,” Laura says, “but that’s not the reality.” As a business owner, Laura spends much of her time on manufacturing and logistics in addition to design. When designing a collection, she chooses the best thirty or forty ideas to produce. The scarves and bags are manufactured in India and China, but Laura is seeing an industry shift to South American manufacturing, thanks to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a growing workforce that is becoming more educated in patternmaking and manufacturing. Fashion has a reputation as one of the world’s fastest-moving industries, where everyone discusses Fall when it’s spring outside and work on a collection must begin a full year in advance. This is not an issue for Laura. “I am hyper-decisive,” she says, “so I take less time than average to complete a collection. I always like to be ahead of the curve, so I exceed my deadlines.”

Laura Ciccarello Rock Royalty     Laura Ciccarello Stone Roses

Crowned Royal scarf; Stone Roses scarf

In a volatile industry where a large number of brands are selling similar products to similar markets, Laura Ciccarello Collection stands out. “Individuality is the biggest trend that no one’s talking about. The woman wearing my clothes values individuality above all else. She wants something bold, something beautiful, not just trendy,” Laura says. “It’s about standing out, doing something different, and having a quality product. This matters more than artificial marketing and grey-area-press. Press and marketing are making major changes right now. The reality few are talking about is you don’t sell from publications anymore, you sell to people.”

Laura Ciccarello 3

Laura herself wearing the Kryptonite scarf

Laura Ciccarello Collection has received attention from many high-profile sources, like Neiman Marcus and Miss Universe. Laura tells me that her PR success comes from networking. “I like to go out, go to events, go to parties, and I meet so many people,” she says. “You need to be out and present. I have seen people pass up big opportunities because they stayed at home all the time. Home is a very comfortable place, but as a designer you’ve got to put yourself out there.” But she is quick to note that networking comes with a caveat. “My favorite show is VH1’s Behind the Music,” she tells me. “I don’t go crazy like the celebrities in Behind the Music. I have fun but I keep my priorities straight. I always want to be 100 percent on point. If I were swinging from a chandelier, I would be sending a business email from my phone with the other hand.” That might be the best advice I’ve ever heard.

Laura Ciccarello 4    Laura Ciccarello 2

Laura at a studio wearing the Fool’s Gold scarf and handbag; a chandelier from Laura’s Instagram

Laura Ciccarello Collection has a website and a presence on Facebook and Instagram, but Laura’s ambitions for the brand center around wholesale. As someone with extensive experience designing for department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and The Home Shopping Network, pitching her own brand to high-end retail is a natural progression. She is excited about expanding into a new product category and “going outside my design comfort zone.” Can’t wait to see the results!

Laura Ciccarello Malificent   Laura Ciccarello Big Blingy Starry Night    Laura Ciccarello Queen of the Aztec

Malificent handbag; Big Blingy Starry Night handbag; Queen of the Aztec handbag

 

 

Dorm Decor — How to Make a College Dorm Feel Like Home

Maybe it’s because the place is called a “dorm” and not an “apartment”. Maybe it’s because “dorm” is short for “dormitory”, a word that makes me think of Hogwarts and other boarding schools for people between the ages of 11 and 18. Maybe it’s because the dwelling is used in conjunction with a specific institution (a university), as opposed to being a dwelling amongst the dwellings of people whose activities and occupations have nothing to do with yours. But for whatever reason, outsiders to the college experience, or even those people who graduated more than a decade ago, tend not to think of a college dorm as a home.

Home is where the heart is

Yet besides being where the heart is, a home is a place where you live on a longterm basis. It is the place where you wake up in the morning, keep your possessions, entertain guests, watch TV and update your social media, spend quality time with a loved one, and curl up under the covers after a long day. For me, the place where I do all of these things is an NYU dorm in the East Village. At New York University (NYU) I live 3,000 miles away from all of my family members in California. And because Manhattan is the second most expensive region for housing in the United States, my plan was always to live in a dorm for four years. Now I am on Year Three, and my plan has been going well. Along the way, I learned the three most important ways to make your dorm feel homey:

1) Move as many of your possessions as possible to your dorm

2) Invest in interior design hardware that is compatible with dorm regulations

3) Use empty space in unconventional ways 

I moved 90 percent of my California clothing items to New York and have purchased many wonderful things during my college years, and I keep all of it in one dorm room. I got the stuff out here by packing multiple 70-pound suitcases and shipping large boxes, but fitting everything in has been the greatest challenge by far. What changed everything was investing in command hooks and a portable clothing rack.

command hookscommand hookscommand hookscommand hooks

Besides being easier to use than a heavy hammer that could crush your fingers if you drop it, command hooks are great for college dorms in particular because they can be mounted and removed without leaving a mark on the wall (no paying for damages when you move out!). I have 50 command hooks in my dorm, and they can be used for every clothing item imaginable.

BELTS

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Lineup inspired by Christian Grey’s playroom

Command hooks work for all types of buckles:

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Small rectangle (Desa)   Large horseshoe (my mother’s)   Sash (Forever 21)

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Large square (Apt. 9)          Small horseshoe (vintage)  Large circle (Forever 21)

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 Snaps (Forever 21)    Hole punch (vintage)

SCARVES

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Scarves of all lengths and shapes can fit on a command hook:

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Infinity (Apt.9)                     Short  (Ben Berger)            Small square (Vintage)

20150312_143928      20150312_143936    20150312_143959

Large square (Grand Bazaar in Istanbul)  Silk (vintage Georgiou)  Pussy bow (Payless)

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Long and thick knit (Gap)

HANDBAGS

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H&M, vintage Kathy van Zeeland, vintage, Candies’s; Forever 21, vintage, Apt.9, Chateau, Sears

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Vintage Pylones; Loungefly Loves Hello KittyI came across this Hello Kitty command hook for $7 at Target.

NECKLACES

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One standard size command hook can hold at least 13 necklaces

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PORTABLE CLOTHING RACK

My dorm came with one closet, which is enough space for my jackets and coats. What about everything else? I found a two-rod,wheeled clothing rack for $27 at Kmart, and it is large enough to hold my dresses, jumpsuits, tops, skirts, jeans, leggings, and pants; in other words, everything that won’t fit in the standard closet!

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Dress by City Studio; skirt by Forever 21

MAKE USE OF EMPTY SPACE — THE TOP OF THE DRESSER

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While I am not allowed to remove this dresser, I can use it to display my jewelry.

 20150312_144453    20150312_144442

 Sunglasses by Foster Grant, Girlprops, Target, and St. Mark’s Place

Bow from American Apparel; Blue watch made by my mother, gold watch, vintage; Dried rose given to me by a boyfriend in 2012; Box of rings hand-decorated by my sister; Purse by Magid (from my grandmother in Istanbul)

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Left to right: Claire’s, my mother’s, vintage, vintage Ethel & Myrtle, Forever 21, vintage, Forever 21

Vintage, vintage Ethel & Myrtle, Forever 21, Forever 21, Barbie Girls, Forever 21, gift a friend brought back from Iran

Forever 21, vintage, my mother’s, my mother’s, my mother’s, Claire’s, Forever 21, H&M 

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Watch, vintage Narmi; Bracelets: gift a friend brought back from India, Forever 21, my grandmother’s, Macy’s, my mother’s, Macy’s, gift a friend brought back from India

Earrings, street vendor in Berkeley, CA; Brooches: vintage, vintage, vintage, vintage, gift from my grandmother in Istanbul, vintage 

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Sophie, gift from a friend, vintage Betty Boop, vintage Le Baron, Xhilaration, vintage Adrienne

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All of my rings are kept in my ring box; a small purse can store bracelets when it is not being worn

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  The top of a dresser can also store shoes. 

 Lamp, gift from a boyfriend in 2013; Heels: Forever 21, Style & Co., vintage Colin Stuart, vintage Caressa, Nina 

DESK SHELVES

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We line up our shoes on closet shelves, so why not desk shelves? 

 Fioni, vintage BCBG, vintage Nine West, Divided by H&M, vintage Style & Co

Nine West, vintage Linea Paolo, Rue21 etc!, Sbicca, Xhilaration

YOUR WORK SPACE

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     As you can see from the books, computer, and printer, this desk/shelving unit is primarily a space for me to do my work. Yet there are actually many ways to make your work space aesthetically pleasing, and even ways to store accessories!

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My “fun books” (non school-related)

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A vase of fake flowers is a romantic and permanent way to decorate a home. I found my four roses at PANY in Chelsea, a shop stocked entirely with fake flowers in hundreds of varieties. I found two matching vases for the flowers at Pier One. A vase without water also comes in handy for headband storage and display. Speaking of niche boutiques, Anna Belen in the Upper East Side is a cute shop that specializes in affordable headbands and other hair accessories. 

Headbands: Topshop, Anna Belen, Anna Belen, Anna Belen, Forever 21

20150312_150427    20150312_150354   20150312_150155

Shoes as bookends: Divided by H&M, Albano (from Istanbul); An Aldo clutch rests on the desk; fashion magazines

THE HEATER

The top of a long heater can be used as a shelf for shoes, provided that the vents are not on the top (mine are on the  front side).

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If your heater takes up this much space, you might as well make use of it! 

Forever 21, Aldo, Elle for Kohl’s, Forever 21, Shiekh, Alba

NAVIGATION

I have lived in New York for three years, and I still do not have all of the subway routes memorized! A large subway map on the wall acts as a display piece and helps me plan my routes in advance (so I never have to ask for directions).

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PETS

I can’t speak for every college, but NYU does not allow pets in a dorm, unless they are fish. So I bought a Grumpy Cat with an NYU scarf to keep me company!

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Grumpy Cat hates this picture. 

Once you are finished with all of your housecleaning, you can sit and relax!

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On me: Vintage A. Byer top, H&M tiered skirt, my mother’s pearl earrings, Forever 21 “Happy” necklace

On wall: MG Collection, vintage, vintage, gift from a friend, heart purse designed and sewn by me, Magid (from my grandmother in Istanbul), Mary Frances taxi purse

I moved into this particular room at the beginning of the last Fall semester, and am staying here for the Summer term. By the time the Summer term is over, I will have lived in this dorm room for a full calendar year. Seems like as good a reason as any to make a request that I stay in this room as a senior!

No matter what school you go to, how many roommates you have, or how long you plan to stay in a dorm, there is always a way to make your space reflect your taste, and to make your dorm feel like home.

A Kiss on the Lips

The lips are one of the most beautiful and expressive parts of the body…so it only makes sense that they would be picked up as a common motif in women’s clothing. Whether you crave the delicacy of a pale pink lipstick, the pop of an Andy Warhol piece, or the edginess of an Ed Hardy tattoo, in today’s trend landscape it is easy to find an item you will want to kiss as soon as you bring it home (just take your own lipstick off first).

Putting on Lipstick   Alice McCall  Liz Blackpurple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick   Romwe  Giles purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick   Hallhuber  Philipp Plein 2   purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick   Choies  American Retro (2)purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  MSGM Yes  MSGM 2purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  Choies 2  MSGM 3 Yespurple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick     MSGM 4purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick   Au Jour Le Jour 2    Adriana Degreas   purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  Mimi Hollidaypurple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick   Mancienne   purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  Philipp Plein 3purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  Stephen Webster  Delfina Delettrezpurple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  Solange Azagury-Partridge  Lydia Courteillepurple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  Alison Lou  Overstockpurple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  American Retro 2  Anna Coroneopurple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  Studio DKS by Deborah Shavlik  Diane von Furstenberg 2purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  Melie Bianco  Sarah's Bagpurple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  Miss Sweety 2  Philipp Plein 4purple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick  M.R.  Manish Arorapurple lipstick

Putting on Lipstick   Unique Vintage 2  Diane von Furstenberg 3purple lipstick

 

1. Alice McCall dress, $440

2. Liz Black dress, $2,480

3. Romwe blouse, $14

4. Giles shirt, $420

5. Hallhuber t-shirt, $14

6. Philipp Plein t-shirt, $545

7. Choies sweatshirt, $27

8. American Retro sweatshirt, $291

9. MSGM jacket, $478

10. MSGM coat, $3,162

11. Choies skirt, $24

12. MSGM skirt, $310

13. Soho Girl jeans, $30

14. MSGM trousers, $192

15. Au Jour Le Jour shorts, $154

16. Adriana Degreas swimsuit, $329

17. New Look thong, $6

18.  Mimi Holliday thong, $61

19. Mancienne sandals, $31

20. Rupert Sanderson sandals, $835

21. QQ Trend flats, $21

22. Philipp Plein sneakers, $814

23. Stephen Webster necklace, $4,100

24. Delfina Delettrez mono earring, $6,311

25. Solange Azagury-Partridge ring, $2,300

26. Lydia Courteille ring, $17,719

27. Alison Lou bracelet, $1,495

28. Overstock sunglasses, $10

29. American Retro scarf, $160

30. Anna Coroneo scarf, $325

31. Studio DKS by Deborah Shavlik carryall, $46

32. Diane von Furstenberg pouch, $158

33. Melie Bianco clutch, $35

34. Sarah’s Bag clutch, $1,645

35. Miss Sweety handbag, $21

36. Philipp Plein handbag, $2,985

37. M.R. backpack, $29

38. Manish Arora backpack, $747

39. Unique Vintage umbrella, $13

40. Diane von Furstenberg iPhone case, $48