Hands Down Best Accessory: Vintage Cafe Racer!

Man, this year has been pretty crazy thus far, I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep up with the KV blog! New job, new home, new hobbies, a lot of things are coming up Tiffany, so it's been a constant go go go the past few months.

So: what exactly have I been doing? What could possibly tear me away from sharing my favorite fashion picks and projects? Why, just toting around a jaw-droppingly beautiful accessory that will quite literally take you places. Not an Hermès bag, not Cartier diamonds; even better in my opinion--although both those sound extraordinary!.

Say hello to Phoenix, a.k.a. Honey Vroom Vroom Child (watch Dance Moms for reference), my 1975 CB360 cafe racer-style motorcycle!

 Ever since a boy took me on a date on the back of his Harley through the Angeles Crest highway that scours the mountains outside of Los Angeles, I've been in love with the idea of getting my own. My own bike, that is. I took the MSF training course, which I highly recommend to any new riders, and got my license before buying a bike. 


I loved that boy's Harley, but they're HUGE for someone like me (although I've seen smaller women riding them) and is hard to find under $5,000 even used. A number of pals had 70s Honda CBs, which can run from 100cc engines to 750cc. Comparatively, the smallest new Harley is 883cc so a good size for a beginner is a 250cc bike. I looked at getting a Honda Rebel, which is styled after a Harley at 250cc, but they seemed too generic. Although knowing what I know now, I probably should've bought a Rebel I can drop and kick around, but why buy sneakers when you can buy stilettos?!

Boo, Honda Rebel. Zzzzz...

After a ton of online research, i.e. looking at motorcycle porn like Bike Exif, I decided on liked the cafe racer look because the distinctive cut-out seat sits the rider lower to the ground--good for my short lil' legs--the lowered handlebars. I'm told the bike is tiny, but for someone who is barely over 100lbs, its still a lot of lift! Plus, cafe racers have a certain refinement you don't see with choppers. I'd love to have a chopper, but it's too much metal for me physically handle right now.

The style came out of 60s England, named after the preferred style of motorcycle kids would literally race from cafe to cafe on. While the mods rode their multi-mirrored Vespa and Lambretta scooters in their Fred Perry polos, their mortal enemies the rockers rode these customized Triumph, Norton and BSA motorcycles in their leather moto jackets covered in buttons. For a time I was a total mod girl, but nowadays I'm really loving a rough rocker/punk look and can't get enough black leather!

These are photos of my bike from the eBay post, kind of like her baby photos, right? I'm yet to take new ones with her new additions.
Love a black and gold moment! This bike in particular is perfect for me because it is as stripped down as possible to make it extremely light compared to a stock CB360. Admittedly it's still heavy to me, but I'm lifting weights to change that.
She's named Phoenix because I actually drove out to the 111-degree weather in Arizona to pick her up. Hopefully the name doesn't backfire and I end up dying in a pit of fire.

 Scenic pit stop on the way to Arizona.

Hey girl, hey.

This CB360 was built out of a box of parts, according to the builder Shawn Smith. She's all CB360 aside from the pipes, which were from a CL360 scrambler. Gives it a sportier look. The tail is completely handmade out of fiberglass by Shawn and so is the paint job. Real nice guy, but not sure why a 6'2'' dude would build just a small bike!

Headed to her new home.

My friend Drew and I roadtripped from Los Angeles to Phoenix to pick her up, just as an excuse for an adventure. I must say it was a long drive, and not cheap to buy a hitch, install it to my car, rent a trailer and drive almost 2,000 miles in two days. But it was worth it--sorta. Nevertheless, it was so nice to get out of Los Angeles, meet Drew's lovely friend Emily, and see what Phoenix was all about.

Not an easy drive.

But happy to bring her home!

I love love love my new bike, but I have to say that buying something that is completely custom-built gets expensive. California requires turn signals while Arizona does not, so just wiring ones on cost as much as a new Alexander Wang bag because the shop had to figure Shawn's work out!

I'm vowing to update this blog more often on new adventures in fashion and motorcycles. But you can keep the most up-to-date with what's happening on my Instagram.

xo T

LOVE / LUST: Disco to Heavy Metal Heel-Less Platforms

LOVE:

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Rock Star Platforms by Jeffrey Campbell - $195.00 at Nastygal.com
I've been wanting to actually purchase some of these floating Gaga/Guinness-esque platforms for quite sometime, and I think these might be the ones! The metallics and patent leather makes this shoe an ease to drift back and forth between rock n' roll, disco and glam depending how you dress it.

As for my LUST...

LUST:

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The Shadow and Spike Bootie by Jeffrey Campbell - $264.00 at Karmaloop.com
I had to, I just had to. Look at this mess of spikes that's a certain rip-off of previously featured Japanese shoe artist (what he does is truly an art) Noritaka Tatehana. But the little goth teenager in me screams and my wallet starts to shake in fear! I like the patent version as opposed to the regular black leather version because with a design like this, you might as well go ALL THE WAY. I would strongly advise to not wear these with a maxi dress/skirt or long flowy pants since they're bound to get shredded--on the other hand that might be a cool look!

Ooo, experimenting with animated gifs, I like! Leave a comment if these seem a bit too much. :)

LOVE/LUST: Blood-Dripping Sunglasses x 1972 Honda CB350Four Motorcycle

LOVE:

Blood-dripping sunglasses by Ann-Sofie Back - $285, Oooga Booga
I'm dying, I'm dead. I found myself literally mouth-agape as I sat at my desk when I came across these beauties. A bee could've flown into my mouth and I wouldn't have noticed or cared. Handmade by couture frames craftsman Tom Davies for British clothing designer Ann-Sofie Back, these shades prove what a huge difference a tiny modification to a classic shape makes. But at almost $300, I have myself already scheming for a DIY project with the $5 aviators I can find along Venice Beach!


LUST:

1970s Honda CB-350Four
A few weeks back I fell head over stiletto heels for a motorcycle my friend Sean sent me a link to. I've been on the lookout for my first bike and mostly looked at used Harleys and Honda cruisers that look like Harleys. I wanted a bike that would make me look scary, so a lot of the Japanese vintage variety didn't appeal much to me. But having seen this one with it's chic design and the badass twin exhaust, I was sold. So we went over the Pasadena to check it out...

 ...And it was beautiful! A 1972 model (they only produced the Fours between '72-'74), the bike was in perfect shape, no rust, original paint, even still had the original tool kit and manual. Sadly, the twin exhausts were replace years ago, but I still loved the look. The seat had a little tear but was easily replaceable. It started up on the first try, the engine roar gave me the chills and the bike had remained in one family since being purchased from the dealer. I had cash money in my purse and was ready to hand it over until...
...I actually sat on it--and it was too tall! You can't see, but that day I was wearing 3'' ankle boots and was still on my tip toes. I'm 5'6'' but with short little Asian legs so there was no way I could've safely drive this bike. Very rarely do I actually go out to buy a Lust, and the one time I did I was crushed!
Trying to not cry
The bike was already almost at it's lowest rung, so my only options were to replace the shocks with shorter ones, and carve out the thick foam seat café racer style. But it the end, I decided I should look for a smaller bike (it was pretty wide for me too). Happily, Sean decided to buy this one so if ever I wanted to get it back, I know who to rob. Plus, I probably should learn to ride a motorcycle in the first place, oops! Still, after seeing this one I fell in love with the whole 60s-70s Honda CB fleet. Someone sell me a CB150?

Wearing the blood-dripped aviators on a CB bike sounds like a truimph in accessorizing to me!

12th Day of Xmas Gift Ideas: A Fucking Custom Harley Davidson Motorcycle

Closing up our 12 Days of Xmas Git Ideas list (like, really late because reality takes up too much of my time!), I've chosen our ultimate of ultimates, totally, ridiculously awesome gift idea is of course, a FUCKING CUSTOM HARLEY.

Now, being a fashion blogger I can write about clothes, shoes, jewelry, runway, editorials and such like second nature. But my freshly minted motorcycle obsession is just a little too rare for me to sink my writing teeth into it just yet. So I've enlisted our new friend Charlie Stockwell of London's own Warr's Customs to help guide us through the sexy world of custom Harleys. They're essentially the haute couture of bikes, right? A custom Harley versus a custom haute couture gown? That's a call I hope no one ever has to make.

'Tracker'
Started as: 2009 Dyna StreetBob
Inspired by the slick 60's cool of actor and racer Steve McQueen, the Tracker has homages to the same military-esque paint design (he was himself a serviceman) and slim builds of bikes the actor himself owned and rode. Stockwell said, "My Dad is a big Steve McQueen fan, myself as well. So I wanted to build a bike that reflected him and his era, but also had a strong Harley feel to it." Let that be a new McQueen to add into your style lexicon.

Cost £18,500 ($27,750)



'Unorthodox'
Started as: 2010 Fatboy
Going against some traditionalist custom Harley practices, this bike uses unorthodox design, materials and components. Stockwell used World Super Bike spec Ohlins front forks, a solid carbon fiber solo saddle, fenders and clip-on handlebars, rear lights in the end of the exhaust, a massively tuned motor and so forth--things that I personally have much to learn about! But the finished product is like that of a superhero's weekend Harley, modern without going too futuristic. Again, my frame of reference is quite small at this point, but this bike would slay when paired with these YSL patent leather platforms.

Cost £87,000 ($130,500)



'24 Boardtrack'
Based on: H-D 2010 Crossbones Softail
Delving deeper into the history of motorcycle racing, this one was inspired by the Boardtrack race bikes of the early 1900's. The bikes back then were essentially as thin as bicycles, so the slimmer wheels, thin spokes and decorative use of a racing number plate on the side reflect the bikes of the era. "The last year of Boardtrack racing was 1924 which was also the year that Warr's opened their first Harley store here on the King's Road in London," Stockwell explains. I personally like the thinner build bikes, especially since I would actually be able to ride them. The smaller details like the gold rings around the exhaust and copper wires combined with the black and white palette (clearly inspired by the pagoda in the background) give this one a chic, but still sporty, vintage look.

Cost £37,000 ($55,500)



'Frisco Bobber'
Started as: 2010 Crossbones
With this glittery beauty, Stockwell wanted to build a bike that combined the feel of two of his favorite places: California and Asia. Hey, I'm an Asian girl living in Los Angeles, so I'm really loving this one!
He said, "I grew up travelling across Asia quite a bit. Mostly Thailand but have always been in love with all of Asia. The custom Harleys that are built in Japan a proper cool. They have taken what people were doing in the 70's on the west coast of the States and then made it their own." Japanese fashion has been re-appropriating heritage American styles for their shoppers for a long time (and us them!), so that practice clearly has spanned beyond just clothing. The warm colors and sunburst paint design are two things that California and Asia undeniably share. And oh so sparkly!

Cost: £32,000 ($48,000)



'Kamome Sprinter'
Started as: 2011 Crossbones.
Of course we have Stockwell's collaboration Harley with Japanese denim brand Evisu. I still can't get over the gorgeous nickel engravings done by an actual gunsmith. I've written about this bike in a previous post, but let's expand beyond the fashion elements onto the bike itself. You can read more the fashion collaboration with Japanese denim brand Evisu in one of my previous blogs: Evisu x Harley Davidson Collaboration Motorcycle.

A reputation for building vintage-inspired bikes (although that's not the only style he can do!) Stockwell certainly went vintage with this one, to meld with collaborator Evisu's tradition of authentic selvedge denim. "There are loads of Evisu graphic in the engraving on the engine as well as lots of Japanese Tattoo art. I hand stitched Evisu denim around the control cables, battery cover, hand grips and other trim," said Stockwell. The kind of meticulous work expected of a couture bike.

Cost: No chance people, this stunning bike was already sold to a good friend of Stockwell's--a person he can only reveal as a "Formula 1 superstar."


That's one happy bike.

See more of Charlie Stockwell's work at Warr's Customs and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

And that closes out our 12 Days of Xmas Gift list! Happy holidays everyone, we're officially on vacation starting...NOW.

Day 11: Post-Physical & Occult One-Stop Shopping With Actual Pain and Black Milk


Oh man, it's getting rough narrowing down all the killer stuff I'm finding for our 12 Days of Xmas countdown! As I'm saving the ultimate holiday gift for the last day tomorrow, I'm combining two lines for this post. If these sites don't help check things of your holiday shopping lists for your favorite street goth or rave punk, nothing will!

Loving the graphic bathing suits, leggings and dresses from Australia's Black Milk and the tongue-in-cheek occultist tops, caps and jewelry from Seattle's Actual Pain (they have a .org website, ha!). With differing degrees on the darkness spectrum, what the two lines do share is a surprisingly expansive selection within their respective design themes.

Black Milk has the slick website, hot models and the high-quality photography expected of an established fashion brand, but still retains a sense of DIY initiative. Focused on bold colors and eye-popping graphics, the line turns stretch fabrics into photographic canvases, creating bathing suits featuring skeletal structures, outer space vistas, beach sunsets, wildlife closeups and film art from the likes of Rocky Horror and Metropolis.

My favorites are the Ribs Black Swimsuit ($90) and the Tiger Swimsuit ($90)
I certainly wouldn't restrict these pieces to the pool or beach (especially since I hate sun) and instead would pair with high-waist shorts, mini skirts or for the most daring, just alone with over-the-knee socks and a motorcycle jacket. The site also has an extensive photo galleries of how happy customers styled their pieces if you ever need inspiration.
 Worth noting too, their Beetlejuice Suspender leggings ($125). Such a cute idea!


Actual Pain is the polar opposite of Black Milk in many respects, with it's raw, punk rock website and stripped down, guerrilla graphics. But Actual Pain selection is no less expansive than Black Milk's, exploring droves of goth, occult and pop culture memento mori upon what seems like every blank item in the Hanes catalog. I'm particularly drawn to the more humorous pieces in the line, like the utterly Midwestern pom pom beanies and crew sweatshirts.



Actual Pain just launched their winter collection yesterday (Dec 12) and already pieces are sold out, so be sure to grab anything you can as soon as you can. Oh how I lament that these Sixth Seal ($36) leggings are gone! People of Actual Pain, please tell me there will be more!


Day 10: Leather Trim Sweaters by SGC NYC

After seeing fellow fashion maven Natalie's post for Blackbook on label SGC NYC's one-year anniversary, I fell in love with their effortless street designs and had to add them to my list. In particular, I'm obsessed with SGC's leather trimmed sweater pieces. Being a huge black leather fan, I'm always looking for pieces that uses the material in a unique way. Leather-trimmed cashmere blend? If it had steel beading it would be the hardest to dry clean piece ever, so don't party too hard in it.

Then again, SGC stands for "Social Gathering Clothing" i.e.party clothes. So... dry cleaning be damned!


My apologies for not posting over the weekend, but I didn't want the 12 Days of Xmas Gift Ideas countdown to end on a Monday, so I thought I'd take the weekend off. There was a certain level of incapacitation due to late nights involved as well, but that's what the holidays are about, right?

I only WISH I had one of SGC's leather detailed sweaters to keep me warm through the ice luge's and bikini bars over the chilly LA weekend. While they may not seem like much on the hangers at first, SGC's editorial shows just how effortlessly styled these pieces are. Considering they are handmade in NYC, the prices are super reasonable compared to other handmade pieces involving leather. 



The sweater dress would be perfect with a matching leather five-panel hat (since it kind of reminds me of a baseball jacket), some Doc Martens lace-up boots and patterned black tights. The gray sweater would look great with some crazy black leather platform shoes, metallic gold denim for the holidays and all the long, antiqued metal necklaces you can layer. Or y'know, just black panties works too.

On a side note, I'm totally in love with the blond model. Her and her real-life husband star in Cee-lo Green's stunning, unexpected cover of Band of Horses' "No One's Gonna Love You". The video makes me want to fall in love so much, good times and bad!

Day 9: Witty, Brooding Graphic Tees from TUCO

I keep telling myself I need to be buying fewer t-shirts and more grown-up shirts (whatever that means), hoping it will help me keep a refined look. But then I see lines that just floor me and I take my back all my anti-tee thoughts. Los Angeles-based Graphic designer and super hottie Jenny Ryf Doucedame's graphic tee line TUCO combines clever, black humor slogans with stark monochromatic images that are ripe for the outwardly brooding urbanite--who actually doesn't take it all too seriously. Any Tuco shirt makes a perfect gift for the badass dude or chica in your life and makes you look cool for finding it.

The name Tuco sound familiar? The line points out the name derives from:


  1. character from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966): A wanted man in the American Old West with a price on his head of $2,000. His motto:
    There are two kinds of people in the world my friend, those with a rope around their neck and the people who have the job of doing the cutting.
  2. character from "Breaking Bad" (2009): An erratic Mexican drug kingpin.

Are you going to be the one hanging, cutting or scaring the shit out of people?

Not just rad graphics, Tuco pieces are extra soft with "grinding" on the collar and hems for that comfy, worn-in look and feel. These shirts primed to become your go-to afterhours/morning-after/going out and grinding/staying in and grinding/"where the fuck is my favorite shirt" tee. I think a key point may be that wearers can very comfortably sleep or black out in Tuco.

They come in a single size for an oversized look that goes great with pretty much anything. My own rule with oversized tees is to go extra slutty on the bottom to keep a good balance. As part of the launch, Tuco's also offering 25% off orders with code URMYFRIEND for the holidays. What's your excuse not to get one?

My personal faves that jaw-droppingly meet FAB (Fight A Bitch) status are the "House Party Vibes" and  "Don't Go Chasing" shirts. I still mourn the demise of the wild weekly house parties in LA (seriously where did they all go? Did we trash them all?) and there are just way too many waterfalls that I need to stop chasing (plus, I fucking love that TLC song, duh).

Jenny, you're reading my mind.
 Don't stop.


Day 8: (Almost) Anything From Chloë Sevigny's Latest Collection for Opening Ceremony


Chloë Sevigny impressed with her fourth collection for Opening Ceremony. The design collaboration started off a little rocky for my taste like most celebrity-designed collections (Kate Moss for Topshop too), but this time she collaborated with vintage-inspired eyewear designer Barton Perreira and heritage street and skate brand Vision. The combination of the collaborators plus Chloë's tastes and OC's talented design team supporting her, it made for a stylistically bi-polar collection with some iffy pieces and some "I will fight a bitch for it" must-haves.

Click through to see more:
 Drawing particular inspiration from Chloë Sevigny's Kids days in 90s NYC, the collection is billed as "old-school street wear meets vintage underwear... channel picnic at hanging rock for ultra-feminine silhouettes while 80s-style ra ra skirts key into a different kind of nostalgia—for Chloë’s early days in New York and the skate culture of Kids." While not blatantly 90s, I think they took appropriately small snippets of the decade. Chloë Sevigny herself is even an appropriately small snippet of the 90s!

The leather and cotton "Eyelet Pinafore" dresses show above are my top choices for FAB status (Fight A Bitch, let's see if this catches on), and are, of course, some of the most expensive apparel pieces in the collection: $700 for the white cotton, $1,200 for the black leather. The bathing suits are also to die for, especially since they have structured cups that can accommodate those of us with lesser cleavage--a rarity for most structured bathing suit top designs. Here are some more of my favorites that I think can fit almost any stylish lady you're shopping for. Chloë for OC spans apparel, eyewear, bags, sneakers and also some menswear!









Day 7: 50% Off JewelMint Bling With Code "fall112"


I know there are plenty of you out there who haven't even thought about the mounting holiday shopping list as it gets closer to Xmas/Hanukkah. I've definitely been guilty of sending "New Years" cards because I didn't get to sending Christmas cards out soon enough. If you're looking for a gift that literally keeps on giving, you can sign a friend/girlfriend/wife/anyone/cat/pirate/why not yourself up for monthly jewelry deliveries from JewelMint.com!

I'm stoked that the JewelMint team contacted me to help promote some stunning jewelry designed by bi-eye-colored actress Kate Bosworth and designer Cher Coulter. Certainly helped knock a day off my 12 Days of Xmas Gift Ideas list, and helps ease your emptying holiday wallet right away.
Here's a gift from me to you: Copy and paste fall112 at checkout for 50% off your first month of JewelMint, courtesy of the Los Angeles Mint Brand Ambassador Team.

Click through for more about JewelMint:


How it works: Click here to join and take the Style Quiz to create your own personal showroom. Every month, new styles are added to your showroom based on your tastes for you to choose from.


Each piece is $29.99, but with our very own discount code, you can get your first piece for $14.99 plus FREE SHIPPING.

Some of my faves:



And now for the real skinny: If you want to skip a month, you can. There's no obligation to buy anything your showroom suggests for you. You can also return/exchange within 30 days if you change your mind.


How to gift this? Make a nice card for your lucky recipient with their JewelMint login information written inside. You can even say something like "6 Months of Jewelry!" While you can't set a certain amount of time for membership, you can cancel at anytime. So set a calendar alarm on your phone for six months later and remember to cancel. And if you forget, what's the harm in your loved one getting a little extra bling?

Day 6: Ornate Legwear By Bebaroque

I'm a little upset at myself for not thinking of this earlier, but as a tights and over-the-knee socks fan, the ornate legwear from Scottish company Bebaroque caught my eye immediately. These gold lamé and sequin socks are particularly perfect for holiday party looks. Give these as a gift and I almost guarantee the lucky recipient will wear them to their New Year's festivities.

The brand has a whole assortment of embellished, embroidered, tasseled and bedazzled legwear, dresses and body suits that had my mouth watering. But with the above gold and sequin knee socks priced at $144.00, I'll have to roll my tongue back into my mouth for a little longer.

Click through to read more:


Part elegant hosiery, part luxury dancewear, Bebaroque essentially offers a sort of haute couture shortcut, combining the meticulous details haute couture demands with the simple canvas of universal, American Apparel-like basics. Pairing any of their pieces with a simple pleated skirt, belted dress, or really anything as Toyko style blogger Shan Shan has done (killed it!) gives a unique, eye-catching element that no one else on the street will have. One embellished body suit will cost you at minimum $350.00, yet compared to the ceiling-less pricing of runway couture, it's a steal. I'm particularly enamored with the black outfit below, I would wear that out as is!

Selections from Bebaroque's SS12 collection


But who am I kidding? I'm a total cheapskate, and upon seeing the knee socks and tights I thought to myself, "I can do that easily. Just hadn't occurred to me to do it before." Now, while I don't have the patience to make any of the lavishly decorated pieces, some of the simpler designs would be easy enough to make with a visit to the right craft store, a sewing kit and an hour or two of work in front of the TV. Maybe after our 12 Days of Xmas Gifts countdown I'll do a DIY post for a tights or socks project :).



Day 5: Alexander Wang "Marion" Sling Mini Bags



A little late on this one today, but it's a damn good one. My friend Christine--an amazing graphic designer who has created entire looks for the likes of Smashbox Cosmetics and Kate Somerville--had an enviable sling bag with her on a night out that I immediately (without having seen the design before) recognized it as an Alexander Wang piece. Wang's Marion Mini Sling Bag is chic, classic bag that with the rhodium details still retains Alexander's signature edge.

Click through to read more:
I was a huge fan of Alexander Wang's stud-bottomed Rocco bag, but the actual portability had mixed reviews. Holding Rocco myself, it had a surprisingly heavy weight despire the small size due to the solid metal spikes. Knowing how much I like to cram into my bags, I couldn't go through with a purchase despite being as lusty as a bar wench for it. Even though it came with an across-the-body strap, it was certainly a shoulder killer.

Side note: Rhodium is a silvery-white, durable metal that is related to platinum. I came to know the material because the high-end store I worked at as a salesperson in college (I was unceremoniously "let go" for sitting down once) used to sell giant fake cubic zirconia wedding rings. For about $100, women with actual giant diamond and platinum wedding rings would buy the CZ/rhodium ones to wear when they travel in case the rings were lost or the women robbed. Funny how that works?
But with the Marion bag, it's the perfect size for a night out to dinner, dancing and then some. You can fit a wallet, car keys, phone, some cosmetics and maybe a few other necessities in it--which is great weight-wise and cutting down on purse clutter (big problem for  me).
At $650, the Marion bag is on the cheaper end of the spectrum for Alexander Wang bags, and is simple enough carry from season to season. Plus, there are different colors and materials to match anyone you're shopping for: Emerald lambskin (sold out in all the places I could find); royal blue leather, black ostrich print leather, black lambskinazure leather and if you act fast, the butterscotch/rhodium color is on sale for practically half-off for $389 at Barneys.com.

Anyone would be lucky to recieve one of these mini babies for the holidays!

Day 4: Silver Collar Tips Chic Up Any Shirt

I was suprised at the reaction to one of my latest accessory purchases: Western collar tips. I was inspired to buy them after seeing Zara's lovely Studio Shirt was sold out everywhere I looked.

The top retailed at about $90.00, which for my taste is slightly too pricey for a Zara shirt. And it didn't even matter because right now I can't even find it on eBay. But for much cheaper, you can have a far better alternative:

Click through to read more:

For about $7.00, I bought the best part of the shirt, the tips! A common accessory in Western wear, they're a fantastic addition to a shirt buttoned to the neck in lieu of a necklace. You'll have to dig around for ones that are not blatently Western/horse/cowboy themed, but they really are jewelry in my opinion.

Here are the ones I bought; this is a photo I posted on my Instagram (follow me! Username KidViskous)


The best part about having the collar tips alone instead of the Zara shirt is that you can add them to any collared shirt you own. They have screws in the back to grasp onto the colla for a simple change-up. I bought mine off eBay and I encourage you to search around there for tips that suit you or your gift recipient. They can come in a basic generic metal for under $10 or you can find more intricately engraved, uniquely shaped, sterling silver or 14k gold ones for more. Some even come set with a semi-precious stone like turquoise or onyx.
These sterling silver vintage paisley ones are fantastic for $18 on eBay.

It's almost like DIY, but easier! A great pro-style gift for anyone looking to advance their existing wardrobe.

Day 3: neuLash Active Eyelash Growth Serum (RECANTED)

UPDATE, May 2012: I raved about this product last winter, but a friend who had been using it longer than I had came down with a case of blepharitis. She was told by her doctor it was because of the neuLash and had to take antibiotics and fish oil supplements. It took a few weeks for it to go away! Now I'm not saying everyone will catch blepharitis, but knowing some close to me who did caused me to stop using this product. I've actually paid up to get Latisse, and a month later I'm stoked with the results!

---------------------------

Just a quickie Saturday post for Day 3 of our 12 Days of Xmas Gifts countdown. While I'm not much of a beauty expert, my friend Danielle of hot D.C. band Shark Week turned me onto neuLash saying it worked for her and others she knew. And guess what, worked for me too! But it'll cost you.


Read more about my experience after the jump:



It's hard to rave about this product without sounding like some ad, but it really does work. As an Asian girl, my lashes are naturally pretty short and sparse, so I've been looking into eyelash enhancers for a while. I've tried Idol Lash to no avail, and I hear castor oil alone helps (it's a main ingredient in most eyelash growth serums). But for my $85.00, (and no prescription like Latisse requires) neuLash has been one that actually showed me results.

To a clean, makeup/mascara/moisturizer-free face, you apply a thin layer to the base of your lashes before bed and that's it. I've only been using it about 5x a week (supposed to use each night, but you know, I come home late, and I've been partying, whatevs) for two months and so far it has noticeably lengthened my lashes, but not made the growth thicker. You'll have a weird in-between time where one lash is way longer than the others, but the rest will catch up eventually.

neuLast comes in 0.11 fl oz size for $85, and 0.2 fl oz for $150. Sounds so expensive for so little, right? But my $85 tube has lasted still this long. I haven't had any irritation, but I have noticed it's a little harder to open my eyes when I wake up in the morning due to slight puffiness and some darkening around the eye where the product is applied. The darkening is very slight, and happens where I'd put eyeliner or eyeshadow anyways, so it blends in in my opinion.

I purchased from Dermstore.com, they're offering free 2-day shipping plus a ton of other deals if you just click around. And they send you cute little free samples with your order, which I of course love. They also have a holiday 3 pack of neuLash, neuveau Brow serum (haven't myself tried, geez getting crazy with the faux French) and a brow definer pen. So what are you waiting for, get winking! A holiday gift for yourself is a holiday gift nonetheless, right?





Day 2: Geniune Lady Gaga Platforms from Noritaka Tatehana

So, I started off writing the second of our "12 Days of Xmas" posts about a pair of shoes my friend Dominique of the stunning wedding photography duo Love Me Sailor and I recently saw ("we were ready to pull a bitch by her hair out of the dance cage at Rhondavous for wearing the shoes we had been lusting after"). But after some research, I've discovered something better. MUCH better. Behold, the work of platform shoe artist and Lady Gaga cobbler Noritaka Tatehana


If you can't control your boner for Tatehana's work like I can't...

Click through to read more:


Now, none of Noritaka Tatehana's shoes are for the faint of foot, but I like to think I've been working towards my platform blackbelt. Tatehana's shoes are stunning, gravity-defying explorations of fashion, whose conceptual designs are on the cusp of art. Archival pieces are currently being exhibited at the Comme des Garcons Trading Museum and shop in their Paris and Tokyo locations and Dover Street Market in London.

The young designer (a mere 26 years-old) was born in Japan and mentions his family came into money from the "centre of an entertainment and red-light district in Tokyo". The red-light district inspiration can certainly be seen in his work. Starting at 15, he taught himself fashion design and construction processes, later majoring in dyeing and weaving in college. Currently, every single one of his pieces are hand-executed by Tatehana himself! You can't ask for better craftsmanship for shoes ranging from $2,500 - $4,000. Many designer shoes are already in that price range, but can you imagine how much a shoe completely handmade by Christian Louboutin himself, or Karl Lagerfeld himself would cost??
The man himself, makin' your shoes


While no new collections are up for sale on his site, you can still special order pieces from the Tokyo  Trading Museum Comme des Garcons:

Opening hours AM11:00-PM6:00
2F GYRE Bldg 5-10-1 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo 1500001, JAPAN
TEL +81 (0) 3 3486 8590 

Aaand for those of you who aren't quite up to task for Tatehana's shoes, or perhaps live in the real world and plan on walking on real streets, copy king Jeffrey Campbell's "Night Walker" shoe is a fantastic alternative for the much more affordable price of $170.00. While Tatehana's pieces are a crash course, Campbell's shoes are a nice, gentle beginner's lesson in footwear ergonomics without being ankle-breakingly dangerous (and nowhere near as gorgeous).

EDIT: My friend Joshua reminded me that Campbell's Night Walkers are a direct reproduction of another platform diva's go-to shoe designer Natacha Marro. That diva? Why self-styling fashion maven Ms. Daphne Guiness of course.


12 Days of Xmas - Day 1: The Light Keeper Set

I. Love. Christmas. Call me a sucker, but when the lights go up, the holiday songs start playing and everything has pumpkin spice in it, I get all tingly inside. Stealing Alexander Wang's idea, we're doing a 12 Days Of Christmas gifts countdown (A.Wang will certainly make it on our list) to inspire your holiday shopping this year. If anyone would like to send one of my picks over to me, feel completely free to do so!

 Kicking off the list is a beautiful sterling silver "The Light Keeper" necklace set by James Banks. It comes with a set of tool charms: a screw driver, tweezers and a funnel along with a real glass light bulb. But the real kicker? The lightbulb is filled with 30 loose black diamonds and then some.

Click through to read more:

Harmoniously working together, the purpose of the funnel and tweezers is to aid in switching out the jewels (or "the light") inside the light bulb. The filament can also be removed and worn as a charm. I love the ability to customize your necklace with this set, and how everything has it's utility: the bulb for keeping the light, screwdriver for opening the light, tweezers for choosing the light and the funnel for transferring the light. Being able to participate in the design process, however small a contribution, is always a welcomed element--although that might only be because I'm a jewelry designer myself!

How this set actually came to my attention was that one of the James Banks designers is Adam Shulman, a.k.a. actress Anne Hathaway's freshly minted fiance. Along with jewelrysmith Heidi Nahser Fink, who does stunning metal work herself, the duo has so far released a very small collection of antique-inspired necklaces.

The set comes in a beautiful leather "tool" pouch and a polished wooden box with instructions on how to use the precious tools. Any guy or girl will be thrilled to receive this set (I know I would), but with a $1,100.00 price tag, you may just want to keep it for yourself.

Check back tomorrow for #11!

LOVE / LUST: Stacked Rainbow Platforms x Stud Saturated Boots

LOVE:
Oh Jeffrey, you never miss a beat. Instead of making another made-for-the-masses designer knockoff from the latest season, Campbell went all the way back to 1938, recreating a Ferragamo design made for Judy Garland. While the design may not be as famous as Garland's ruby red slippers rom the Wizard of Oz, the originals were still celebrated in an archival installation last year. I'm torn between Campbell's replicas and the Chica rainbow platforms, which is better?
The $2,500 original (obviously the best). I initially thought they were painted wood platforms, but they're actually wrapped in dyed suede. So posh!


Click through to see my LUST:






LUST:
Handmade Studded Booties - $3,500, Patricia Field
Patricia Field's shoe selection is KILLING it right now. I just about fell out of my chair when my friend Dominique from Love Me Sailor sent me a link to these boots. They're a total mess and practically unwearable and I lust for them like crazy! Perhaps not as violently chic as the Crystal Spike Shoe Harness, but has a post-apocalyptic, robotic glam worthy of Bowie himself (or Optimus Prime if he ever wanted to do runway). The "handmade" tag on these shoes makes my own craftiness start ticking, perhaps I'll be a one-woman Jeffrey Campbell and knock these off myself!

LOVE/LUST: Gaga-esque "Magic" Leopard Platforms

LOVE or LUST?
Magic Leopard Platform - $118, Nasty Gal
When I saw these booties, they just had to have their own LOVE/LUST feature. For $118, less than what most Jeffrey Campbell shoes sell for, it's a steal for the design. But what I'm unsure of is if I'd actually wear them? No doubt I like them, I'm absolutely nuts for them! But could $118 be better spent? With an EIGHT inch heel height, that makes out to $14.75/inch, while most mid-priced shoes would be double the price per inch.







My previous purchase of a 6.25'' platform wedge proved to be ill-made since the arch of the heel is still quite high. Basically when you walk, you have a constant feeling of falling forward. Despite how crazy I am about these shoes, I won't be able to get drunk in them:

"Mercer" by Michael Antonio Studio - $99, Amazon ($15.84/inch)

The "Magic" leopard platforms appear to have a lower arch, the equivalent of a 3.5'' heel (very low in my book). But there could be other difficulties with the "heel" of the sole being so far underneath the foot. I'm crossing my fingers I'll find these downtown in the cheap fashion district for half the price.

What are your thoughts: Would you wear the Magic Leopard Platforms (more than once)?

LOVE / LUST: Patterned Collaboration Wedges For Spring

LOVE:
Julian Louie x Aldo Sobeslava Ikat Wedges - $125, Select Aldo locations (for now)
The tribal patterns blew up in last year's ethnic-inspired spring trends and looks like it's hanging on this year. A collaboration between Aldo and designer Julian Louie, whose reconstructed pieces don't usually favor patterns (think a color-blocked Proenza Schouler), the limited-edition collaboration launched today. Only one style is available online so far (but I'm getting a page error...) and the rest of the 8 styles are for sale at five Aldo flagship locations. The collection will be hitting the rest of stores and online starting April 18th. This is the first of three collaborations Louie has done with Aldo: The Fall 2011 collection in discussion for production and Louie already started on the Spring 2012 collaboration.



LUST:


Loeffler Randall x SUNO Erin Lace-Up Wedge - $645, LoefflerRandall.com
I mean, it's 5.3 inches high, of course this is the Lust! The Aldo wedges look about 4.5'', but no word on that yet. Another great collaboration, this time with shoe line Loeffler Randall and NY-based clothing line SUNO. Both designers have been around under five years and their low-key alliance for Spring 2011 matches well with anything from vintage daisy dukes to classic shirt dresses. Although it seems an unlikely collab, Randall's shy, feminine styles works wonders with SUNO's striking Kenyan-inspired prints.

LOVE / LUST: Party Girl House of Holland Tights x Bombshell Wolford Tights

LOVE:

House of Holland Tights Collection by Pretty Polly - £12-£15, Houseofholland.co.uk
Superstar Black, £15; Sheer Super Suspender, £12; Superstar Gold, £15; Knee Star, £12
I'm not the hugest fan of House of Holland, but their tights collections have been so on par. You've got to appreciate that strategically placed star on the Superstar Black tights.


LUST:
Wolford Artiste Tights - $225.00, Wolford.com
UNBELIEVABLE tights, it appears they have real laces going through them which justifies the steep price tag (almost). Forever 21, please knock these off for $5!


LOVE / LUST: Pamela Love Mazels, Delfina Delettrez Gives A Hand

LOVE:

Pamela Love Six Point Star Bangle - $230, Opening Ceremony
Described as, "inspired by indian and african symbols of protection, inimitable spirit pamela love delivers a spring collection of tribal, geometric, and well-worked jewelry that stuns." No mention of it totally being a Star of David? Its the SoD I'm attracted to, might have to make one for myself...



LUST:

Delfina Delettrez Skeletion Hand Belt - $2,450, Opening Ceremony
Barely into her early 20's, I love Delettrez's morose approach to luxury pieces without being overly (though still overtly) gothic. Doesn't hurt that her mother is Fendi Accessories Director Silvia Venturini Fendi and father is French jeweler Bernard Delettrez. What better accessories training can you get? I first saw this hand belt piece at the Fendi opening party in Beverly Hills last fall, but instead worn over a head wrap:
And I much prefer this stylish lady's take on this Delettrez piece than a belt!