Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana, Bottega Veneta

Dear Kristin,
Another good thing that happened a few days ago:

You know it's going to be good when that's the first look.  Here are five more favorites (fine, six), all Dolce & Gabbana:

The last one, though it's hard to tell from the picture, glitters and bounces on the body
 So delicate and rare.  Oh, bright white, you do me right. (Rhyme!)  There were other colors, but they didn't matter as much. What did matter, and always does at Dolce & Gabbana, was the POW!

Finale at Dolce & Gabbana, Spring 2011, found at Jak & Jil Blog
Not to be neglected.  And after (in my affection, not chronologically) Dolce & Gabbana, comes Bottega Veneta.  (Don't those names just sing together?).  To include or not to include.  I couldn't decide:

Did I make the right decision?  You likey?  There's a lot to likey.

J. Benny

P.S.  It was the "move it" option on that really swayed my BV decision; I suggest you give it a go if ever you have a spare moment.  And, in less news and more opinion, none of the above holds a competitive candle to Jil Sander.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm Behind: Jil Sander Spring 2011

Dear Kristin,
These are pants:

Click me!  I get bigger.

Astroturf green palazzo pants. GIANT. They make me want to buy:

Warehouse Bright Floral Wide Leg Trousers, from Asos
The rest are skirts/dresses. Obviously.  I wanted to write something smart about this deserving collection.  It's brilliant, the brilliantest (brilliantest?).  Real word of not, it is, at the very least, in the running.  Raf Simons, the man behind today's Jil Sander, spoke some pre-show about couture, about the difficulties of exploring the label's minimalist mantra in world where minimalism has now become the norm.  Difficult, sure.  But he rose to the occasion and turned out one of the most challenging, beautiful, meant-to-be-worn couture-ish collections of the season.  The above is just a sample and a poor one at that.  Any sampling would be poor.  It works strongest as a collection or on a piece by piece basis.  Collages are nothing compared to the "move it" motion option at  And I omitted many a lovely look because of size constraints, both those pertaining to the blog itself and those concerned with flattering fit, which you know I'm advocating these days.  Still, in spite of the billowiness (or because of), I loved these:

Let the muumuus hit the floor.
In conclusion: Jil Sander is all I've been think about for days.  That and writing.  I just thought you should know.

J. Benny


No More New Bands

Dear Kristin,
I believe I'm fresh out of brand new bands for you.  But no matter: 

It's time for the all-stars.  You missed this concert last week, which was sad, but you'll be attending their next NYC show, which is happy.  Titus Andronicus.  They really put on one of the best performances I've ever been witness to (neck and neck with our Deertick).
J. Benny

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Jackson

Dear Jackson,
I thought of you while you were away this week.  Here is a picture of you and me in Wyoming:

As lakes!  In that picture we are millions of years old.  And now, just me:

As Lykki Li + Johnny Cash!  Also, I found you this toy:

With the help of New York Magazine (who brought it to my attention) and the New York Times, who are the makers of this fun toy (that I found for you).  Walking New York City today, I also found for you a shop of spices and truffles and star anise and coral colored salt blocks from the Himalayas:

A store in our backyard with many items you've searched the city high and low for.
To pique your senses, I made the above collage of their items, a sloppy imitation of these pretties:

From Ikea's free baking book, Homemade Is Best Made, which we'll pick up the next time we're in Sweden (where it will be available).  I bet you sixty-eight krona you can't guess the cooked identity of these raw ingredients.  That is, to be clear, TEN AMERICAN DOLLARS.  A lot of money to lose.  (Fortunately, I do not know the answer to the baby blue and so we both win.  Or lose,)

And, finally:

Photos taken by Leanne of Be The Oak. 

And so, you see, I thought of you.

J. Benny

P.S.  I almost bought you a rainbow whisk today.  Instead, I thought frugal and bought you whole milk for your morning coffee tomorrow.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fendi, Spring 2011

Dear Jane,
We've moved on to Milan. Which means we're nearing the end of fashion week(s), which means I'll start posting goods we might purchase in the here and now (as opposed to a year from now) with real money (as opposed to the imaginary money we've used for purchasing every bit of clothing I've posted since the start of NY Fashion Week a fortnight ago).

London let us down. Milan will not. Or at least it looks that way thus far:

Fendi. Karl Lagerfeld may be a kook (in my mind, he will speak, forever and always, with the voice the Fug Girls gifted him (brunch is nature's mid-morning ointment. SLATHER.)), but Man can design.

Whatever it was Marc Jacobs was trying to do (resulting in slightly overextended, slightly campy, full-on punchy 70s), Karl did better. Whatever it was Ralph Lauren was attempting (big-buckley, wild-westerny, country mashers (potatoes!) dipped in suedes and wheats and fringe (fringe!)), Karl achieved with a dash of country meets coutryside meets a gentle summer breeze meets a young lady with good taste.  It's got a 70s spin to it, but it's also fresh and fun, not to be confused with fun-ny, which MJ verged on.

And it feels living. It's what I want to throw on tomorrow to feel easy, effortless, like I'm getting away with something (that something being clothing as comfortable as pajamas, tailored into impeccable day-to-evening wear). I enjoy it so much. The colors reminded me a bit of what we saw in London (and the marginally more tempered Gucci show the other day), without the chaos.  It's a bit of Easter, without the happy gimmickry that defines Easter in New York (oh, those crazy hats - good only for spring holidays and the racetracks). I'm not saying I loved everything (ambivalent to: the off the shoulder flamenco puff-blouses topping a few dresses and the real-world 3-D sunglasses (barely more real-world than the ones distributed at Avatar)), but he rarely struck a sour chord and, starting at look 20, put on a damn near perfect show.  It's just so nice.  And with all the cockamamie BS that's floating around out there, it's nice to see nice.  Like, okay, this is nothing to scream about, but after appreciating most everything that came before in the collection, I couldn't help but feel a little breathless.


It's won't send shock waves across the fashion world.  And, yet.  I WANT. Cathy Horyn, the head fashion columnist at the New York Times, wrote recently about collections that resonate, that recall a moment in time, not because they're literal, but because they're personal. They recall a moment in your time, your history.  This is the look I want my future self flashing back to twenty years from now, my look circa today. What I mean is, I WANT NOW.

J. Benny

Sharon Van Etten, Extra Lens

Dear Kristin,

I could have done a Make Me Happy Mixtape today, but I felt lazy and busy and like I only wanted to post when I couldn't come up with another compressed metaphor, the kind that speaks for itself and doesn't play with that like/as simile bullshiz. Right now I'm taking a wine break (break with wine, not to be confused with break from wine).  Here's what I learned from NPR yesterday:

Sharon Van Etten.  I suppose we already know her from a previous post.  But she's almost Kathleen Edwards here, no?  And the second:

No video, just link.

The Extra Lens. He's almost The Mountain Goats, yes?  Yes.  He is part Mountain Goat.  This is John Darnielle's side project and he's visiting us (via the Extra Lense) at Mercury Lounge Oct 22nd as part of the CMJ Music Festival.  You know what that means: 21st, Diamond Rings; 22nd, Extra Lens.  We're doing this!

J. Benny

P.S.  No we're not.  Mercury Lounge has announced a date change.  THE TWENTY FIRST.  No.

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,
Look what I did today:

And on closer inspection:

It was comfy and easy and I wore it to the bank.

J. Benny

Quick clothes: Matthew Williamson

Dear Kristin,
London Fashion Week was a bust. Burberry really blew it. And it's so sad, because they usually make me the punky English girl in me very happy and they used to be the Best Berry and now they're just Another Berry (the best being Mulberry). I'm not saying I have anything against leather leggings (see previous posts), but if that's the best you've got, that and an over-studded leather biker jacket, you've got a long way to go. It was just too literal,with too little to be inspired by there.

Oddly enough, though:

Matthew Williamson is a favorite. I say "oddly" because I suspect those attached to his usual work (which I find a bit too quirky-Floridian-grandma for my taste) will be disappointed. And by "those people," I mean AARP members. And rake-thin catwalkers, the only other folks on the planet who can get away with shapeless hot pink mumus covered in peacock feather prints. (I'm generalizing - that was just his collection for H&M).  Anyway, cheers Williamson!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

White Magic

Dear Kristin,
 Sometimes White Magic sounds like Heartless Bastards:

And sometimes they make me uncomfortable in their folksy, Dirty Projectory, creeping Quentin Tarantinoy mishmashiness:

And that's a good thing.

J. Benny

Monday, September 20, 2010

Make Me Happy Mix Tape: Leather pants and music and musical pants

Dear Kristin,
I may buy these.  Thoughts?  They'll cost me around $50, down from $250 at the Outnet, but they won't crack in the crotch (one hopes they're better made than my my forever21 version) and they won't cost as much as the leather version I really want.  Because I almost need leather pants.  But I can't imagine getting a decent pair for less than one hundred, two hundred dollars.

Really, the more I think about it, the more I want to dress/punch like Buffy this fall:

All leather, all the time.  I'm not saying I need a leather suit, but I'm not saying I don't, either.  Case in point: as I was readying myself for the today's sunny breeziness, I actually thought "you know what would be perfect with these boyfriend jeans and this cool, refreshing air?  A leather t-shirt."  I just want a version of the look that doesn't come directly out of 1999's figurative closet.  Here's what I mean, modern spring leather:

(All Spring 2011 RTW.  Rebecca Taylor bookends, then Cushnie et Ochs, two Ohne Titel and an Elise Overland)
Boyfriend jeans, the month's most recent attempts:

Left: jeans are men's Gap with Peirre Hardy for Gap platform.
Right: my actual boyfriend's (Levi's) with a vintage scarf and wedges from Cynthia Vincent for Target

I'm trying to get used to showing a little midriff.  There was a nary a Spring 2011 collection without an exposed stomach or two (whether through transparency or simple nakedness of the area).  Which I rather like.  Moving on to a more covered-up me.  Flares:

Skinny jeans just seem so staple-ish, so obvious and constant.  What I like about all of the above is that the pants are really carrying the outfit.  Flares are often a bit too preppy for my taste, though; hence the giant safety pin

and wrap around belt and platforms.  Skinnies wouldn't have been interesting or flattering enough, and the boyfriends would have been downright frumpy.  And hot damn, I love that belt.  Also lovable?  (Pardon my leap.) Someone else's home videos set to your music:

The Suckers.  They are lovable, especially live.  (I saw them quite accidentally at The National's Terminal 5 performance).  Perhaps a little too close to Sunset Rubdown for (complete) comfort, but whatever.  Sunset Rubdown is the tops.  That's sort of how I feel about this Head and the Heart video:

Does he sounds laughably like Ryan Adams?  Yes.  Is it a friendly laughability?  Absolutely.  Does it make me a wee uncomfortable?  Sure.  But you know what it MOSTLY makes me?  Glad to have a new, goodish Ryan Adams in my life.  Also, they're not copycats.  They usually sound a great deal more like this:

So phew. But that means I still need Ryan to get good again.

J. Benny

Friday, September 17, 2010

Florence + The Machines, Pretty Shoes

Dear Katy,
The whole CD is good:

That's just one song, but you can find the rest here; it's number 16 and you can listen to the whole thing for no charge whatsoever.  I recommend you do this. 

Also, I saw these and thought of you:
Kate Spade Twirl Karolina

Who knows why.  Maybe the red heel, the shiny sequin sparkles?  But who doesn't love sparkles?  I love sparkles.  I know others who love sparkles.  But I thought of you.

J. Benny

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Dear Kristin,
  • Yuck (among others, like Teen Daze) is playing at Glasslands on October 23rd.

  • Lykki Li will be at (le) poisson rouge December 1st.
  • The Walkmen are playing at Terminal 5 on December 2nd.  I'm not crazing about Terminal 5.  I am crazy about The Walkmen.
  • Phosphorescent will be at Bowery Ballroom on Dec. 10th.

I could pretty much do every last one of these.  DR is a must, though.

J. Benny

Best of Today's Rest: J. Mendel Etc.

Dear Kristin,
1.  J. Mendel orange:

(J. Mendel heels, close-up screenshot from
2.  Featherweight fur and barely-there knits for spring:
(J. Mendel and Jason Wu for TSE, the first from the Wall Street Journal, the second from nymag)

All of J. Mendel's dresses were, by the way, gorgeous (and flimy!).  And Jason Wu's TSE capsule collection was everyday awesome.  Really some of the best basics inspiration from this season, worthy of a collage (time allowing).  Too bad light-as-air knits won't be available on the cheap, seeing as they're made of chiffon threaded by hand.  Damn his craftsmanship.

3.  Dressing like a reluctant grown up at Proenza Schouler and Mulberry:

(3 by Proenza Schouler, followed by 3 Mulberry, all from

J. Benny

I've Loved You So Long: 3.1 Phillip Lim

Dear Kristin,
Are you aware that Fashion Week lasts a MONTH?  Yup, a week for New York, and then it's on to Europe, a big continent with many big, back-to-back fashion weeks.  So.  That's a long time to care about fashion every single day.  In other words, while there's a lot worth talking about - Rodarte's aggressive warrior princess (Zena!) dresses, Marc Jacobs's somewhat lackluster (for him, at least) fruit-flavored take on the 70s, Narciso Rodriguez's red shoes and slightly swishy shifts -  I'm only giving you the standout-to-me stuff.  We've got no time for middling.

I've loved him so long:

That's Phillip Lim and he really is, probably more than any other designer, my guy.  I don't always love him, but I always want to love him.  Wait, that came out wrong.  Because I'm not making myself feel anything I don't already feel.  He's easy to love.  And, I guess what I mean is, I always find something about his collections to love.  Like those pokadot pants.  (I also think he does the bronze on bronze

(Okay, so the middle one is more peach on peach.  Still, same drift.  Marc Jacobs, Mulberry, Philip Lim)
 better than anyone else).  And the way he seems to just throw beautiful things together, like it's just another day on the catwalk, like it ain't a thing, when it totally IS a thing.  A great thing.  So while I'm not digging this collection (it had lots of sheer and aprony layers upon layers that, while neat, didn't feel as fresh to me, probably because I used to wear the aprons and sheer layers not so long ago etc.) as much as his previous spring and fall ones, I do dig.  Ya dig?

Also, fairytale:
The dresses that struck me most at Marchesa's Spring 2011 show were the ones that appeared to have been slowly wasting away in some lost duchess's lost chamber since the Georgian period.  The look as if they'd crumble at your touch, as if they've spent the last two hundred and fifty days somewhere slightly damp (a castle, for instance) and are consequently suffering from a fungal condition.  This is all a major compliment.  I love them.  And I even admit that the final frock smells a bit of baby bird and Hostess Sno Ball:

And that the lady who owns and sports this dress will be rendered a mite crazy, but my guess is she probably is crazy, and this dress just made that crazy lady's day.

J. Benny

P.S.  POW:

Marchesa Spring 2011 (image from, all others from

I dare you to fall all over yourself while sliding through the NYTimes's awesome close up function on their website.  It's amazing.  So it that one-should cadet grey waterfall gown.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Master Bateman

Dear Chad,
You at forty:

It's the "you got it" that really sold me.  Yes?  Yes.

J. Benny

P.S.  You're Pa told you not to steal.

A Walkmen Are the Best Men, a Video

Dear Jamie,
Whoa.  How right you were.

Dear Kristin,
OhmygodthisWalkmenvideoiswonderful.  Please watch and listen in full.  PLEASE.  I beg of you.  It's important to me.

Dear Garrett,
You too.


J. Benny

Music, Victoria Beckham Spring 2011

Dear Mom,
These two things make me think of you:
Because you'd look so lovely in them.  Victoria is good at that - fitting and flattering and just generally making people look good.  The pieces in this new collection of hers aren't groundbreaking, and I'm sure I prefer last fall's (for fall 2010), but they are still what we want and have even come to expect from her designs - simple feminine flattery.

Also, this might be our you & me song:

And it only dawned on me five minutes ago, after years of listening.  I mean, really: LISTEN.  It's pretty much made for me and you and the 2610 DMC folk.

J. Benny

The New Cool

Dear Kristin,
This seems everyday doable:

Theyskens Theory,

I want.  Now to find leather cropped skinny pants that flatter.

J. Benny

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A song I like

Dear Kristin,
This is a song I like.  It makes me feel EXCITED.  Like running-out-into-the-cool-night-with-wine-disguised-in-a-coffee-cup excited.  I'm working on student essays right now and feeling a little HAPPY.  Which is weird.  It must be the song, no?

I'm not saying it's crazy inventive.  It has a Bat for Lashes, My Brightest Diamond feel.  I think.  I'm not going to double check with my iTunes library.  I'm not sold on the band yet (and people do seem to be selling them pretty hardcore these days), but I enjoy the song.

J. Benny

Monday, September 13, 2010

In Which Jenny Packham Kills It and Earns an A+, Spring 2011

Dear Kristin,

Donna Karen felt dated.  The crinkled silks reminded me of that bad phase we went through five years ago that, while convenient for the lazy and ironless, always looked a bit too hammered together for me.  And the antiquey, lingerie-inspired dresses looked still older (and yet still very 2005), but due to their gorgeousness, it probably doesn't matter.  They are boidoir and sexy since forever:

(This and Halston, below, from
Halston had a nice, slightly nuanced dress or two - asymmetrical float-away hems, body-conscious cape-draping for the waist - but left me fairly cold:

Perhaps because these were nuances I much preferred at William Tempest:

I will somehow incorporate these into my day to day.  I mean it.  Yes, I love jeans.  I will still wear jeans.  But I also want this sculpted drapery in my life.  I want a discretely corseted, defined bust, and diaphanous layers that do all of the hard  work for me - revealing and concealing and shaking up a look's natural lines.  This is impressive stuff and my best unexpected acquisition thus far this fashion week (Derek Lam being less new-to-me or unexpectedly great, though that was a bit of a surprise).  Moving on:

(This and below from
 Monique Lhuillier had some murderous reds and a punchy, bubblegum blue to show for herself, but besides a few very notable highlights (above etc.), she felt like a poor rich man's Jenny Packham.  (Which is to say, she did a good job, but her competition was serious).  AND SPEAK OF THE DEVIL.  Jenny Packham is ready to make all of our dreams come true and we probably don't even need to sell her our soul (easy, Faust).  We will, however, have to sell all of our belongings and live with our parents and declare bankruptcy.  But when we're sleeping in our childhood beds, nightmaring about insolvency, we may also be sleeping in these:

(I HIGHLY recommend you click to enlarge)
Wrapped in this soft picture of dawn:

Because we will have nowhere to wear them but at home in bed, seeing as we'll be working three jobs just to keep ourselves out of debtor's prison.

J. Benny

P.S.  Jenny Packham really did a bang up job: