ROSE COLORED GLASSES

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They say a study abroad is simply something you have to do. Considered as a right of passage for any 20-something craving an extra slice of life, plunging into a culture that isn’t the one you were born into is more than meets the glistening eye. Time abroad for some is a life chapter that gets retold over and over again at dinner tables and first dates across the world. Yet for others, it’s just another page in the book.

Consider my time in Paris the last chapter that has come to a full stop.

Even Parisians will tell you Paris isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. “Paris would be Heaven without Parisians,” they say. And it’s true. I’m not going to list all of the reasons Paris and I didn’t click in to avoid defacing a city that carries such a recognizable face, but the visage I met was nothing short of a dated, weathered grimace. Sure, go see it for yourself, but live there— don’t just visit for a week and hit all of your Instagram photo ops. It only took about two days for me to realize I was baguette deep in my own wrong turn.

For starters, I began the entire journey with a break up. It’s hard not to get emotional about this part because it rendered my first months in Paris the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do on my own, so I’ll remain candid and cut it short just like he did.

I remembered our last night together in New York like it was yesterday: Dinner under the stars, a beautifully gifted necklace I’d been longing for ever since I noticed its trend hugging the necks of the women of the Upper East Side, and a promise I still can’t get out of my head: “I belong to you, and you belong to me; I’m not going anywhere.” And after two weeks of being away, he made an abrupt exit and hasn’t spoken to me since.

I’ll never understand how he could leave me so unceremoniously.

The following months were a struggle. I found it hard to eat, I’d fallen prey to the French bureaucracy - which made me feel even more powerless - and I couldn’t stop looking at old photos. Hell, It was only today that I took the charm off that necklace (even though it’d lost its charm about 9 months ago). No matter how post-monogamy one might be in this day and age of the selfie, there’s nothing like being heartbroken in Paris. But after a few long walks from one edge of the city to the other, I slowly began to feel like myself again. Paris was mostly bad to me: Two iPhones stolen, the anarchy that is an education at La Sorbonne, the slowest pace of any major city I’ve ever had the displeasure of being perma-bored in, the discouraging snarls of Parisians (and their secret jealousy), a wifi war that never quite made the connection, birds shitting on my head and shoulders, a cuisine that consisted of meat and carbs (a 9-month stomach ache for clean eaters like myself), and an exchange rate that made me feel like its little bitch everytime I used an ATM.

People say New York is a city that inadvertently chooses its inhabitants, making each survivor play the role of a slave to a city that doesn’t even want them by way of sky-high rents and cigarettes that are $13 a pack. But maybe that’s the point of studying abroad: sticking through it and reading until the last chapter. Will I only realize how good Paris was for me after I’ve already left? And wasn’t it Madonna who claimed if it’s bitter at the start then it’s sweeter in the end?

So now that I’m back in New York finding my footing once more, I’ll say something I never thought I’d say before: Thank you, Paris.

Thank you for teaching me how to find wisdom in every crack in the pavement, how to be a rough and tough, and most importantly: The beauty in all good things coming to a close. I’ll still never understand why Paris didn’t accept me in all my East coast quip. Or why he changed his mind at a time when I needed him the most. But I still believe everyone knows how to love because we’re all born with that gift. And we all have the power to rewrite our own endings. So as I write this next to an empty seat on my flight back to the Big Apple, maybe I wasn’t alone. Maybe there was an angel with me the entire time.

Manhattan, was it you? New York is the city beneath my hearbeats and there’s no one that can make me feel as alive as you do. I’m sorry for exiting the way I did, but I promise I’m here to stay this time.

So here’s to putting the pen to the only love story in my life that doesn’t have an ending. After 9 months of mind over French matter, I’m moving back to New York fuckin’ City. We New Yorkers are just living the dream one mistake at a time and after my time spent trying to find my own story line amongst the gypsies, tramps, and thieves that create the untold reality of Paris, I’ve concluded that France just isn’t for me.

Hey, New York! I can see you now. My heart is singing and my eyes are smiling.

Consider me faithfully yours. Forever a city slicker.

(And don’t you forget it.)

LOVE IS A CONSCIOUS LIE

Perhaps one of my dirtiest secrets, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t Goop. I Goop on my stoop. I Goop eating soup. And I Goop when I poop.

But today was a sad day in Goopland.

Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin posted an announcement on the lifestyle website announcing their divorce. Or as they quite WASP-ily put it, their “uncoupling”. And I am completely beside myself.

For the majority of my early 20s, my biggest problem when it comes to men has been convincing someone to “couple”. To couple in the gay world today means to leave behind the boyish ways of your romantic adolescence and [for probably one of the very rare times in your sex-driven personal life] exclusify your heart and your temple to one person. I say exclusify because I think the gay community these days uses fear-inducing words like monogamous and relationship when I think the idea of a relationship should be celebrated, seen as more of a team — something that takes an audition (“try-out”, if you will) and an act of giving yourself to just one person, even if for a temporary amount of time, for the mutual benefit of your teammate. And goddamnit, I’ve been Team Gwyn & Chris since Apple!

The partnership’s love eulogy was beautifully and carefully written “coupled” with a lovely photo of the two during happier times, which I think is the saddest part. For me, nothing brings the waterworks faster than looking at smiley photos of my ex and I from trips to the Hamptons or CitiBiking through lower Manhattan. Your iPhoto becomes something more like a very sad, relationship yearbook filled with emotional landmines where you’ve got to watch your scroll or your heart will be blown to pieces all over again. It raises questions like, “What happened to this?” and “How did we get here?”, which are questions I need Gwyneth to answer stat!

I assumingly like to consider myself the Gwynny P. of my generation so I tend to follow her every move. I remember when It’s All Good came out and trying to convince my plus-one at the time to buy me an autographed copy. I love this woman! So it’s only fitting that this whole breakup hits close to home for me (as I think it should anyone who finds themselves a party-for-one at the moment). 

In their post, they write, “We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been.” The entire paragraph made me cry crocodile tears, but this sentence came at me from left field. Is this in fact the idea behind “conscious uncoupling”? To divorce in a way that actually… brings you together?

Seems sort of backwards to me, don’t you think?

For now, I suppose I’ll have to sleep on this one. I really hope this idea of “conscious uncoupling” isn’t going to be used as another excuse to avoid the modern relationship, because my type of man would certainly consider this “too much work”, right next to “answering the phone when I call”.

So departing with a play on words of my curlier blonde-hedded spirit animal, Carrie Bradshaw:

“After all, computers crash, people die, and relationships fall apart. The best we can do is breathe and reGoop.”

Photo by Hilary Weeks

MY THOUGHTS ON KIMYE’S VOGUE

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So if you’re anyone with $5 dollars or perhaps access to the Internet, there’s a slight chance that you might have seen Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Vogue cover… only about a hundred times. And if you’re like me, someone who frequently dabbles in the social media arts, your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter newsfeeds have been filled to the brim with backlash.

While I know the majority of America isn’t the most fond of the Kardashian empire, the hatred reached new heights this past weekend. Fame comes with a price, sure, and we all know by our own experiences that it’s quite rare to be liked by everyone, but America has taken this quite glamorous opportunity and turned it into something of a public stoning:

“Congratulations to Vogue for making girls hate something more than their own bodies.”

“Well, now she’s legit.”

“Anna finally caved to the demands of the hotheaded rapper and his fame-hungry reality star wife.”

“It actually happened.”

“Kim finally gets the Vogue cover she’s been waiting for and Anna Wintour’s seal of approval.” 

“Kim Kardashian, the porn maven turned reality star, on the cover of Vogue? I’m cancelling my subscription.” 

I’m not usually one to comment on those that are viral, but this one hit a little close to home as my generation has in a way grown up with the Kardashians and I’ve worked with Vogue myself. The reaction to Kim’s cover has been a total societal letdown for me and I’m disappointed in the Internet’s knack for judging a book - or in this case, a magazine - by its cover. In the age of equality and post-modern celebrity, I thought we were past that.

 
Let me start by saying: Look— I get it. I understand each and every one of these sentiments. I even remember sitting in a meeting with Vogue’s top-tier editors a couple of years ago when I asked if we could add Kim Kardashian to that issue’s list of It-girls under 40. My answer was quickly met with a concise: “No. As long as Anna is in office, Kim Kardashian will never be in Vogue. It’s just not going to happen. Sorry.” And for a short-time, that’s just the way it was. But thankfully, as with fashion, opinions change alongside the trends, and years later, I’m happy that Vogue is about to sell its #mosttalkedaboutissue in a very long time.

And so a lot of readers have found the cover to be distasteful and undeserved. “How could Anna Wintour put a woman on the cover of Vogue who is only famous for a sex tape? Is that the best representation of American culture they could find?” To be a Vogue cover girl takes beauty, status, and poise— all of which are represented in the image. Regardless of her past, there’s no denying Kim Kardashian is an Armenian-American knockout. She’s arguably the most beautiful woman to come out of reality television stardom, and obviously, the most successful. So what’s poor taste in my opinion is insinuating that Mrs. Kardashian-West needed some sort of validation (in this case, the cover) anyway.

As Anna famously told CBS news in 2011, “To be in Vogue has to mean something,” and to be on the cover is a gift, not a seal of approval. Believe it or not, while Anna Wintour is a very powerful figure in fashion, people in the industry don’t actually revere her or fall at her feet. At the end of the day, Anna Wintour is a working woman just doing her job the same way she did when she was at Home & Garden and none of you knew who she was. Yes, her job at Vogue is quite a title that holds enormous influence, but fashion takes a team, and Kim having already graced over 300 magazine covers in her 10-year span of fame really says something. I’m glad Anna took note of that. Kim is a pretty big social fixture to miss (no pun intended, not even a booty pun) no matter what country you live in, so can we blame Anna’s curiosity (and willingness) to investigate with a lunch and a trip to Kanye’s Yeezus tour?

Kim hits every mark of what it takes to be a Vogue girl today, and using her sex tape as some sort of counter argument is trite and no longer applicable. After all, if you’re going to compare her to anything, forget the porn star label and turn the limelight onto another California-bred, sex tape cum tabloid queen: Paris Hilton. What is she up to these days? Mothering 47 miniature dogs and DJing in Ibiza?

Let it be said that being on the cover of Vogue, for anyone, is a feat that should be celebrated. And Kim Kardashian looks stunning.

From Lanvin to Alexander McQueen, the off-white ensembles are ethereal on Kim, hugging her every curve in all the right places. The hair & makeup is simple and classic, as any bride is expected to be, quintessentially Vogue. And Kanye and little North look so happy next to her. The combination of the images and its story warmly reminds me of Carrie and Big’s mock cover shoot in Sex and The City’s first film, with the real deal (this time including Chris Noth himself) following in Vogue’s June 2008 issue.

The cover’s hash tag and “selfie” lingo is very fun to me. It’s clear Anna is continuing to take the glossy forward, staying true to her belief that anyone can pick up Vogue and understand what’s going on in America at the time, which as an editor-in-chief who isn’t a writer (with a team of larger-than-life creatives underneath her), is quite a task to pull off.

So I think to understand the cover, I’ve got to put myself in that Lanvin gown (even if I plan to marry in custom Miuccia Prada w/ a ring from Tiffany’s myself). There I am, wrapped up in my husband’s arms, my ring finger weighed down by a gigantic rock, smizing into the lens of Annie frickin’ Leibovitz. Who wouldn’t want that? While my husband would be much taller (and less explosive) than Kanye West, I would be just as graceful and thankful as Kim.

In other words, for the true Keeping Up fans out there: The girl’s got class and she’s doin’ it with a big ass.

Photo by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

SEX AND THE SHITTY

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While my version of Paris has been less than meets the eye, its knack for breaking me down and digging the hole even deeper (as opposed to the expected literary “building me up again” cliché) reached new heights this late weekend. The stakes were high as I left work on Friday: The kids behaved all week, I’d somehow survived off of less than 50 euros since the weekend before, and a Tinder date with a handsome fashion executive was on my horizon. Yet come Sunday night I’d be reminded Paris is still the hardest club to get into.

Playing the part of Paris’s most fashionable tourist since Carrie Bradshaw herself in season 6, I lived Friday night as if it were for the books. To make a short story even shorter: You could find me seated next to Rima (my Canadian bombshell here in Paris), swigging from a bottle of 4-euro red wine on the Seine against the sounds of an Arab playing an acoustic guitar set for his francofriends. You call it storybook, I call it Instagram. Before we’d scurried to the metro after hours of alcohol-induced teary-eyed conversations later, a set of lesbians seated themselves next to us staring along as we videotaped each other for our respective social media accounts. I eventually mustered up enough liquid courage to walk on over and let them know how beautiful I found them both, but as I returned to Rima, our gay-date would soon be crashed by a French-Algerian mut who fancied the Miranda to my Carrie (flaws and all). Sexuality in France is as bendable as Karl Lagerfeld’s adherence to the legacy of Coco Chanel herself: Way off course. So cut to 30 mins. later and one could find Rima (the good sport) patiently waiting at the bottom of my stairwell for the sexually ambiguous Mohammed (that is not a joke) and I to finish our 5th-floor rendez-vous.

Finally settling into a new me after months of embarassing and unnecessary grieving over a break-up that deserves no air time (and finally reposessing an iPhone after being pickpocketed in February), I decided to shamelessly redownload Tinder.

Tinder, for me, is the land of unfinished conversations. And when it comes to actually meeting someone? Tumbleweeds. (Tinderweeds?) This is particularly misleading because I find the selection on my Tinder to be more cultured and youthful than any other application out there to date. His name was Guillaume and he is the international public relations director for a major French luxury brand who shall not be named (but starts with a B).

Saturday began with noon o’clock Manhattans and a haircut, followed by shopping in Le Marais with my Parisian fruit fly. Sometimes I don’t think our hags know that we need them as much as they brag about us. I stopped into French brand Iro to look at a sweater I’d seen in their Spring/Summer ad campaigns a few haircuts back while I was reading French Vogue in the chair, and after comparing it to a tee I’d fancied in Sandro earlier that day, I decided to go with the former. Nearly 150 euros later, I’d find myself stranded chez moi after being canceled on (of course) by Mr. Balenciaga himself, thus I was in desperate need of a fabulous back-up plan. My Glasgowian counterpart Amelia came to my rescue and met me for drinks two hours later. Low-and-behold, two drinks in, I found myself Grey Goose-deep in a conversation with 4 Americans and 3 Brits.

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I’m at a loss for my taste in men at the moment: Tall yet down-to-Earth personalities, WASP-y yet bad boy, and all-American to a T. Mr. Rose, the bold Washington D.C. congressman who fed me one Vodka-Red Bull after the next (that’s Carrie circa season 3) fit my subconcious criteria. He paid for the cab home and I was about 69 sheets to the wind when I realized I’d committed the unfashionable crime of yet another one-night stand since the New Year. (But I’m pretty sure this is an essential part of being gay and on study abroad in Europe, no?)

Fastfoward to Sunday morning, as we were walking to a café for our first sober discussion since we’d met less than 24 hours ago, something falls onto my head and shoulder as we’re steps away from a coffee: Bird shit. That’s right. A bird shit on my shoulder as I was wearing a sample sale-purchased longsleeve white tee by BLK DNM while I marched alongside a man who’d I’d just entered for the first time in the history of ever 12 hours before.

Rose was suprisingly calm about the entire situation. I’m still not entirely sure if it was a front or some sort of chivalry duty to disengage from my embarrassment, but he minded his P’s & Q’s like a pro. Yet when I’d returned home to quickly wash my hair in the sink and change outfits before returning to his side once more, he chose to remain in my lobby. After literally getting shit on by a fucking French bird in the company of a handsome, 6’2” (to my 5’8”) one-night stand, I wondered why he didn’t accompany me upstairs. Even in laughter.

I’d given the man permission to use the blue toothbrush out of the four-pack I’d purchased a month before for God’s sake. Blue is my favorite color!

Yet as I write to you a second-date cancellation later, I’ve finally found my answer to the false gallantry of men: Retail therapy.

Because as I re-entered my apartment covered in bird shit that fateful Sunday, I noticed my recent purchase still tied up in my shopping bag from the day before. And in rediscovering this fresh, stainless new top, I couldn’t help but wonder if that whole “A bird shitting on you is good luck” urban legend everybody had been telling me was actually true. Or was this simply a full-circle moment? I’ll max out my credit card on a pair of Louboutins before I split the pole, so superstition took the lead and I wore my new shirt to brunch.

So I guess there really is a reason for everything, isn’t there?

Fashion credits—

WWRD: WHAT WOULD RIHANNA DO?

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Recently, I was talking with a friend about the music scene’s current gang of pop stars over a healthy serving of fish and chips. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera, and even Britney Spears. We discussed their successes, their flops, their men, and their pop— but one nugget of the conversation stayed with me the entire train ride home: Which songstress has created an identity outside of her music that the entire world wants to be a part of?

The verdict? Rihanna.

I’ve talked about @badgalriri and “the Rihanna effect” before after reading her March issue of American Vogue, but this time, Amelia and I were comparing her against her fellow Billboard charters and seeing how she faired. It’s no contest she holds the throne when it comes to the fashion side of things, and I can’t remember any other pop goddess having such an influence on my own personal style since the Spice Girls.

The first time Rihanna caught my eye (not my ears) was with her first collection for British high-street retailer River Island. Frankly, I was shocked at how friggin’ good it was! So stunned in fact that I bought four pieces straightaway whilst trying oh-so-desperately to pay attention during a Psychology 101 lecture. I bought two shirts w/ a slit down their left sides and two crop tops (one in black, one in white respectively) because I couldn’t be fucked to decide and I had to do it fast before class ended and I lost wifi. I’ll always remember those pieces being the first things I ever charged onto my first credit card. #fashionmemories

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When it comes to style, I prefer sex over comfort. Believe you-me, if there’s a masculine way for me to show a little bit of skin, I’ll do it; whether that’s a short-short and a set of Nikes at the gym, her crop tops with an oversized pleated trouser, or a see-thru tee so transparent the band of my Calvin Klein briefs is more evident than my nipples— I’ll go for it. And it’s that sense of sex (and danger, even), that makes me love Rihanna so much— not just with her lyrics as a singer, but her choices as a style icon of today. While the beginnings of her wardrobe evolution can be credited to her collaboration with stylist Mel Ottenberg, glory be to God that Rihanna has grown into her own and how fun it’s been learning from her every step of the way.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of RiRi’s style, her habit of covering almost every limb in yellow gold jewels and diamonds (real & fake) makes me weak in the knees. I’m a jewelry guy, yet when it comes to my men, they never seem to get it quite right, so I’ve decided to begin 2014 filling my own jewelry box.

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To my surprise, Rihanna claims nearly all of her jewelry is fake, buying most of it from Claire’s and her mom’s boutique in Barbados, but I beg to differ as Jennifer Fisher is featured in practically every Insta(hand)gram. So in desperate need of some gold for Spring - as it’s already 70 degrees here in Paris - I decided to make a trip down to Claire’s myself to see what all the fuss is about.

And, of course, the queen of blunts and bijoux was right: Claire’s is where it’s at to get your goldfinger fix. I walked phresh out the runway with 27 fake rings of varying sizes for 10 euros. (Don’t ask me how I did it because I’m still trying to figure that part out myself.)

To be honest, only a handful of them actually fit my man phalanges, but I couldn’t be happier with my find. They’re delicate, simple, but still say “I’m a bad bitch” at the same time.

I don’t expect any of them to actually stay on my fingers when I take them out for their first night on the town, but is that in fact why the seemingly queen of cheap heads to the low-brow boutique to get her jewels in the first place? Because it’s nearly impossible to wear so much jewelry at one time and seriously expect it to be there to take off after a long day in the life of a worldwide pop princess?

I don’t know about you guys, but I think I just found love in a hopeless place (and I still got my money).

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Rings purchased at Claire’s and Catbird and tank by Acne.

SHIT ON MY NIKES

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For pretty obvious reasons, I don’t want to actually come out as a Kanye West admirer, or even that I’m having a Kanye moment, so I’ll just say I’m having a moment.

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If you indeed happen to be a fan of the self-mononym’d Kanye, though, then you might find keen my recent revelation that the man’s got style. I’m not ashamed to admit I split my time equally between NY Times articles about De Blasio’s education reform in New York and CocoPerez. And while it’s no doubt the guy has had major influence on Kim Kardashian’s taste (though perhaps not strong enough to steer her away from those tired crop top-pencil skirt combos), his own liking for giant wool coats, t-shirts, and impeccable sneaker game continues to catch my eye.

(And I may or may not run on the treadmill to “Black Skinhead” because that song scares the shit out of me; like, literally right into a sprint. I’m talking a terror so intense it triumphs that I-have-to-pee-so-badly-I’m-gonna-shit-myself feeling you get when you’re on a roadtrip without a toilet in sight.

Picture it: Right there on the machine. In front of everyone. Shit all over my Nikes.)

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So, I’m a remote fan then.

I recently ripped my favorite BLK DNM trousers right up the crotchal area due to a case of severe twerking at Trou Aux Biches latest soirée here in Paris, and seeing as they’re the only black pant I took with me to Europe, I was pleased the fashion gods presented me with [yet another] excuse to buy something new.

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A store I like to think plays a key role in my “Ballin’ on a budget” theatrics of shopping, it seemed as though Zara was just a few steps away from chez moi (because it is), so I paid the circus boutique a visit. This location housed its womens collections only and, um— like I cared.

When I’m shopping, I generally take a first browse where I graze nearly every item with my fingers (consider this evidence of some deeply-rooted fashion taboo), followed by a careful selection of what stood out to me to try on. Shopping in Paris is sort of like that time you tried to cook poached eggs and you just ended up with a pot of runny yolk and hot-ass water instead of the work of breakfast art you set out to create: The intentions are there but you’re not Anne-Sophie Pic, and this is high street not Saint Laurent. So I worked with what I had and stumbled upon this pair of 29 euro leather runners from Zara.

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The Kanye drop-crotch is purposefully absent because the reality is: I’m still single and these legs shan’t be hidden on the weekends any longer. But my affinity for all things sportswear is still satisfied. They’ve got an imitation suede inner lining that rubs against my thunder thighs like the real deal, purely ornamental hip zippers that make for easy access on a Saturday night, and a pee-pee opening that doesn’t actually open. The pants hit all of fashion’s cringeworthy faux pas: pleather, Made in China, and a surefire copy of someone else’s work— and I’m obsessed.

They’re so Sporty Spice circa now, no? You tell me.

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I think that’s why I love high street fashion retailers like Zara: They cater to my need-it-now demand that fashion itself is at fault for spoiling me with at prices my bank account agrees to.

Call me the Yeezus of high street fashion findings, but I think I’m on to something.

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Fashion credits—
Hat: Acne
Coat: Sandro
Turtleneck: Kate Moss for Topshop (first collection, 2007)
Pants: Zara womens
Ring: CatBird NYC
Shoes: Stan SmithxAdidas

Photos by Kate Iorga

HOLY HAIM!

The first time I heard a Haim song was back in 2012 in an American Apparel on Westheimer in Houston, TX. I love that damn store! My first boyfriend bought me my first deep V-neck from that location (when those were a thing). I bought all of my dance clothes from that AA during the ballet years. And each time I head back to the big-ass Texas for little visits, my best friend Alison and I make it a point to go to that goddamn American Apparel and buy things we don’t actually need.

Anyway— it was 2012 and Falling had just hit the charts. I remember the beat being so funky and so American Apparel, I Shazam’d the shit out of that song. But after Falling, the girls sort of “fell” (see what I did there?) into the abyss that is my iTunes library, and it’d take two years later until I’d listen to them again.

I find really cool shit on the Interwebs about a hundred times a day, but this one I have to share: Please find above Haim’s new badass track, If I Could Change Your Mind.

Gaining foot with Beyoncé, this whole New Wave uproar of feminism seems to be quite trendy at the moment and I’m a huge fan. Really! But while I wouldn’t seriously associate this supercool girl band with feminism, the blend of these late 70s visuals and the I-ain’t-too-proud-to-say-I-want-you-back lyrics radiates an undeniable sense of girl power. Even though my beloved Spice Girls didn’t quite make it through Y2K, I ask myself: Are they my new Spice Girls minus 2? I’m not sure I could continue identifying as gay without maintaining a girl group obsession burning in my iPod.

This video is just incredible! Let’s skip the fashion and get right down to the moves: Who knew these chicks could move like that? Did anyone else notice the tall, Whitney Port one to the right basically outdancing the other two? I mean, she literally gives more face, hip, hairography, and shoulder than her counterparts in almost every frame. Take 1:52-1:55 for example: The sassy head swivel, the Carlton-esque dance move itself, the snaps— it’s just too good! And putting Haim into a three-girled group context, the member (ahem, Michelle) at the lead singer’s (Beyoncé) left doesn’t outdo the lead vocalist of the group, but when it comes to moving her body, Miss Thang on the right steals the entire clip for me! Not to mention she’s totally stealing my shirt swag with that top but I don’t mind.

It’s no surprise that LA-bred Haim is a master of synth beats and harmonizing sultry pop vocals, but who knew the trio could get down like that, d-down like that?!

I’m obsessed and I can’t stop replaying/trying to learn the kickass synchronized Pop choreography.

Fuck, it’s just one of those songs that you just can’t seem to turn up loud enough.

Watch Haim go HAM above and let me know what you think!

P.S. Is this first date approved? Like, instead of showing them my Single Ladies choreo, could I now be all, “Yo, wanna see me do that crazy-sexy-cool routine from that Haim video?” Terrified, he’d probably just be like, “Uh, sure.” I don’t know about this one since the dudes I tend to fall for can’t even wipe their own asses without getting shit on their hands, but I’ll let you know if/when I give it a go.

LANDON IN LONDON

I’m currently blogging to you from a coffee shop in London’s über cool quarter of Shoreditch, a very Nordic looking young lady is practicing her selfie game over there in the corner, and there’s a table of Germans to my right dressed in roleplaying costumes from Sailor Moon gossiping at a volume so high I’m almost not even sure of what I’m actually writing.

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I’m so taken by London. So far I’ve been met with five full days of sunshine, which I’m near positive I carried over on the Eurostar with me, and I’ve seen just about everything a true tourist should. The fact that I can even say I’m [finally] here calls for one of those Is-this-real-life? pinches seeing as I almost skipped out on New York and came straight here for university three years ago. I was 17 and I had just tweeted Eva Chen asking what to study when it came down to working in fashion. I’ll never forget her “Study whatever comes naturally and easiest to you! Fashion comes second” reply because it was that very tweet that even got this whole thing going for me. Shortly after, I endured a six-month application process to the London College of Fashion’s BA Fashion Journalism program that consisted of multiple (expensive) interviews, a writing and graphic design portfolio, and about three timed essay tests. And goddamnit I got in! I was over the moon with joy but alas, in hindsight, the idea of spending 50K on tuition per year haunted my dreams of taking over the world of fashion features, so I opted for university in New York instead.

London and New York reign as the capital cities of Cool and when you’re in the streets of both, you simply want to be a part of it. The it being the cities’ own iClouds of awesomeness and dive bars respectively. The people here are brilliantly kind; so kind that I sometimes engage in conversations with unknowns just to soak up what it feels like to have someone looking into my eyes when they’re speaking to me. I’m quite talkative when I’m with my closest confidants, but talking to strangers in the street or a shop doesn’t quite interest me, so discovering this souvenir really turns me on.

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The style here is quite a delightful contrast to that of rustic and simple Paris. I’ve already lightly addressed my confusion as to why people refer to Paris as the fashion capital of the world so I’ll digress straightaway and conclude that London is where it’s at. I’m staying in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Hackney Central, which makes the walk to the bus stop alone a sight for fashion eyes. (Not to mention its Williamsburg equivalent of Dalston just a stone’s throw away to add an influx of hipster fashion phenomena to my study.) The attention seems to be centered in double-breasted wool and mohair coats, where the hems fall right below a woman’s ass and a man’s knees. I’m an ardent fan of a good coat and it’s there where my knack for excessive spending is put on display. Shoes play a key role in the Londoner’s wardrobe, as well, where I’ve noticed women opting for brogues and trainers and men playing it safe with a luxe Chelsea boot. As I’m the biggest advocate of my writer’s wardrobe of t-shirts and sneakers, this allows me to admire London’s fashionable habits from afar in hopes of one day being able to pull it off.

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London gays happen to tickle my fancy, as well, in all of their bearded, 6-foot-something glory. Compared to the New York gay scene, the focus seems to shift from the body to the clothes, as I’ve noticed all of these amorous potential tickets to British citizenship harvest their own personal styles— each and everyone one of them very Londonized, whatever that may stand for.

It’s my last full day here and I’ve just recently answered the call of Rihanna’s March issue of American Vogue howling my name from the newsstands because I’ve found myself simultaneously homesick and happy here in the UK. The issue is filled with anecdotes of what Vogue is christening “The Rihanna effect”, something they regard to be her international influence on the past few seasons’ runways. And I have to say: I agree. Vogue’s Plum Sykes notes designers like Tom Ford, Peter Dundas behind Emilio Pucci, and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain to be under the Pop princess’s spell of oversized men’s baseball jackets, sheer tops, and “denim minidresses cinched at the waist”. On a personal level, I happen to really like Rihanna. I last-minutely went to her Diamonds World Tour concert in Brooklyn last year and had the time of my life. And at one point we were both donning matching leather snapbacks and dark purple lipstick. Is that a match made in fashion and beauty heaven or what?

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When you open the glossy monthly, try to give the images and the articles equal attention. And I unashamedly admit shedding a few tears over articles in Vogue! There’s this concentrated way of dissecting Vogue that I think is fundamental to understanding each issue. You’ve got to read Vogue with the sort of Editor’s Eye the American edition has created in recent years. It goes without saying that working with Vogue has changed my life and the way I view fashion, but my time at Condé Nast also brought a new sense of comprehension when it came to the stories and images every editor slaves so diligently over to create. Anna Wintour claims being in Vogue “has to mean something” and the pages of Vogue really mean something to me. So there’s no one way to read a magazine, but let it be said that you can’t read every book with the same set of eyes.

Understandably, Vogue can be intimidating and seem at times completely out of touch with reality, but it is indeed special and thought-provoking in ways beyond imagination.

See throughout a few photos from my first days in London and don’t forget to read The Lost Girls, Susan Minot’s compelling reaction to a friend’s story of the Lord’s Resistance Army’s brutal 1996 abduction of 139 young students in Africa, and Shock To The System, Mimi Swartz’s conversation on the state of military rape and sexual misconduct in America in Vogue’s March issue— two spectacular stories that render “worth reading” a grave understatement.

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IF I WERE A GIRL: NYFW F/W ‘14 EDITION

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Victoria Beckham, Ohne Titel, Sally Lapointe, Opening Ceremony

So, I hope it’s no secret by now that I sometimes (very often) like to wear lady clothing. 

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BCBG MaxAzria, Prabal Gurung, Thakoon, Ostwald Helguson

No, I am not a drag queen, and no, I don’t want to be a woman (even though y’all know I’d kill it in the skreets!), but I do love celebrating women of all shapes and sizes. I’m pretty much as gay as they come, but being surrounded by groups of beautiful, strong women is my idea of friendship. So with that being said, you could call me a momma’s boy. And when it comes to shopping, I generally stay away from skirts and heels for obvious reasons, but when I’m in my element, I’m talkin’ ‘bout big-ass saggy diaper butt pants, structured knee-length coats, and surely anything that shows a little side-boob. There’s nothing else out there that gets my fashion gears going as much as rocking a MaxMara coat I saw on Karlie Kloss the season before and having your dude-est of dudes approaching me asking where I bought said piece of sartorial unicorn genius.

And for the sake of paying myself a well-deserved compliment, I’d say I’m more drawn to the cuts of womenswear nowadays because I’ve got a rather petite upper frame compared to my lower half. Note: That’s Ciara from the waist up and Beyoncé from the waist down (perhaps the single remotely accurate thing he’d ever said to me, a less-than-perfect ex of mine once told me that I don their arms and thigh-booty combo respectively). I’m not yet sure if being able to create my own niche within the confines of the gender gap of fashion makes me indecisive or just simply a victim of a set of ambiguous fashion growing pains. But I’ll wrap this up by saying it’s just plain fun creating my own version of today’s game of dress-up without having to actually dip into my mother’s treasure chest of 80s garb. When talking about design, where a house thats specialty is womenswear is under the direction of a male creative director, 9 times out of 10, the masculine influence is undeniable (see: Proenza Schouler, Jil Sander circa Raf Simons, Jonathan Simkhai).

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Lacoste, rag&bone, Ralph Rucci, Peter Som

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3.1 Phillip Lim, Jason Wu, Richard Chai LOVE, Prabal Gurung

As usual, Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014 brought what I’d call “a myriad of shit I want but can’t afford”. And by “myriad of shit”, what I really mean is:

  1. Coats with NSFW elements like glitter and sequins. Designers might be trying to create fashion’s version of the inverse mullet where the party’s in the front and the business is in the back because I don’t know about you, but that red sequined jacket from DKNY, the bomber-inspired sequined caftan from 3.1 Phillip Lim, and that work of pink art from Rodarte have my name written all over them.
  2. The boyfriend sweater. After years of what seemed like a neverending trend, by now I’m pretty sure we’ve all purchased (or stolen) the boyfriend jean. But now it’s apparently time to steal his sweater, too, because designers like Ostwald Helguson, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen of The Row, Michael Kors, and Sally Lapointe are convincing me that cleptomania in the name of comfort is in.
  3. Ultra-deep V-neck-belted waist combo. A trend that knows no borders (or waistlines), the magic of a belted waist is an option of the everyday woman’s wardrobe. But the likes of Jason Wu of Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs, and Victoria Beckham are introducing a sexier addition to the go-to outfit remedy in the form of a deeper than deep V. I’m talking so deep, you’re nearly invading your va-jay-jay’s personal space in ways like never before.
  4. Skirts with leg slits. Perhaps a new way to present those gams you worked so hard for all summer, the leg slit isn’t just for Angelina Jolie and maxi-dresses anymore as brands like Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony, BCBG MaxAzria, and Prabal Gurung are carrying the famed trend over to skirts for Fall. Short skirts, knee-length skirts, and those that scuff the floor beneath you now include the famous “sex sells” element in textiles like leather, wool knits, and skin-tight lycra. (Don’t take this one too seriously, gals, because you’re going to be fucking cold.)
  5. Color! I wouldn’t necessarily call this one a trend rather a decision, but it seemed as though this season’s runways were splattered with sharp hues of our favorite shades. Whether it was turquoise, citrus, cranberry, or teal, designers dabbled in every palette of the color wheel, leaving street style bloggers and editors alike pining for the long-awaited summer (that we need, like, yesterday).
  6. Laser-cut leather. A trend we’ve seen for a few seasons now, designers dipped their toes even deeper into the world of laser-cut leather for Fall. Ralph Rucci, Monique Lhullier, and Alexander Wang (just to name a few) showed us just what brand-recognition (and revenue) can do for the design process. I’m not sure how many of us actually have the bank roll to afford a luxury laser-cut leather coat this Winter, but if you’re lucky enough to snag one for yourself, wear it for the rest of us and pair it with even more leather. You call it dominatrix, I call it badass.

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Monique Lhuillier, DKNY, Altuzarra, Alexander Wang

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Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Ostwald Helguson, Calvin Klein Collection

Where I believe London, Paris, and Milan to be the incubator cities of new fashion trends, I think New York designers interpret them through a different perspective, adding elements of downtown cool and new-age design technology every step of the way. None being better than the other, it’s safe to say Fall in New York this season is going to be a tough act to follow.

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Alexander Wang, Jeremy Scott, Wes Gordon, Tory Burch

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MM6 by Maison Martin Margiela, Rodarte, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Wes Gordon

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Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Theory

All images used in cutouts via Style.com

MOMMY DEAREST (OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT)

Let me just set the runway for you: supermodel mother with a career span of 30 years and counting, billionaire publishing mogul-cum-husband, two ambiguously gay sons of 20 and 17, a mansion in Connecticut, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell for godmothers, supposedly pretty much anyone who’s anyone in fashion on speed dial, etc. The absolutely ridiculous list goes on, but I’m going to stop there for the sake of laserbeams of jealousy shooting from my eyeballs reaching my keyboard and burning my fingernails off.

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They’re called “the Brant Brothers”. The first time I heard of this C-list fraternal duo, I was about a month into my internship at Vogue and a fellow intern had emailed me an article with the subject line “Wtf”. The article was centered around Peter Brant, Jr.’s infamous kiss-on-the-mouth to his bikini’d mother (the Stephanie Seymour, 45) on the beach, which I wasn’t too distracted by. “Poor guy just got snapped in the wrong position at the wrong time” is pretty much all I had to say about that. But when I noticed the writer’s underlying fascination with the boys as I read on, I couldn’t help myself and momentarily pushed my transcriptions to the side to Google stalk. And what I gathered was that while the lil’ guys seem to be mildly obsessed with the idea of fame, they can’t seem to break the walls of the fashion industry. I don’t know what you call famous, but me don’t agree.

So I decided to ask my dad to help me out in determining who the heck these dudes were (and just for a little self-gratitude and giggles, of course).

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My father is so out-of-touch with mainstream culture outside of the great walls of the pretty-fucking-hard-to-miss state of Texas that I trust his every word when it comes to the who’s-a-whos and who’s-a-nots. So when I asked him who the Brant Brothers were and he replied with “No idea. Goddangit! I forgot to put another BudLight in the freezer,” I was pretty friggin’ sure I’d hit the nail on the head in passing them up in conversation when I saw my fellow internette in the Condé cafeteria later that day.

So look— if Papa Peoples doesn’t know who the Brant Brothers are, I don’t need to either. But I just— we just cannot ignore this photoshoot and accompanying article of the family published in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar. Everyone’s talking about it!

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When I look at the photos, I can’t help but picture myself in the same poses with my family and there’s just absolutely no fucking way in Hell that would ever make it into any edition of Harper’s Bazaar, much less a sidebar advertisement in a friggin’ TV Guide. (I actually suggest everyone else to do the same for a good laugh.) And it’s not because my mom was never a supermodel or because I’d never seriously pose in a fashion magazine clad in polka dot PJs or a ribbed tank, but just because I don’t think they get an excuse for being “pretty”.

I find it interesting, though, how the Photoshop and the fashion (Versace, Tom Ford, Manolo Blahnik, Dolce & Gabbana, the list goes on…) work together in elevating the integrity of the shoot but also bring it down to a softcore porn type of ground level at the same time. I don’t think the shoot goes as far as somehow trying to make incest fashionable, but various poses do cross the line. One photo in particular shows Seymour backing-that-ass-up onto her older son while she rests her airbrushed hand against her krotchal area - which is undeniably not cool and there’s no way you can convince me that it remotely is - where another shows the boys caressing their mum’s supermodel gams who find themselves unfortunately placed between both of the boys’ own legs.

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"Society obsessions?" I don’t know, guys. What do you think?

I will say, however, that I do find the entire spread incredibly hysterical and to be catalogued as just another one of those tone-deaf fashion editorials that we all talk about for a few days and only search for again when something similar happens in the future. It is creepily adorable, too, how much the boys worship their mother, which any queen of any age can indentify with. But if you really can learn a lot about a man by observing the way he treats his mother, then you heard it here first:

Peter Brant, Jr., with your 20 years of age— no, I would not mind a practice makeout sesh if you ever needed one, or like, a first date or something or whatever in the very distant future in the privacy of your own mansion, if I have to. OK?

Thus, I rest my Brant Brother case and return to gawking at the true heiresses of fashion: The Hiltons.

That is hot.

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Photos by Sebastian Faena for Harper’s Bazaar