Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tutorial How to do Natural Makeup

Things are not always as they seem, sometimes we tend to make them more complicated than need be, and other times, the simplest matter holds more complicated secrets and alluding details than we perceive. This is true when I think of impressionistic art. It seems easier to lay paint strokes at a whim in large shapeless forms, but this symphony of chaos is actually much more difficult than the perfection of a clear image. 

Natural makeup, when done well can also be more difficult than the use of strong colors, creams and eyelashes. I am actually guilty of applying a lazy eyeliner because I know the false lashes will cover parts of it and act as a guide for correction. When you apply natural makeup, however, it should define and enhance natural features, it should address imperfections in a way that doesn't look like you are covering up. It should look effortless. As I will show you in my tutorial at the end of the post, the key is in a good skin foundation and really getting into the eyelashes. 

I take all of my own photos (Photography by Laura Okita)

With my husband away in Europe working and Paris fashion week coming to a close, my thoughts have been constantly on the catwalk. I am really excited about the revival of 70s rock. For Spring we will see a lot of fringe, bohemian dresses, high boots are making a return, overalls with a modern spin, and large scale boho prints. For makeup we see the usual split between natural looks on the runway in New York and splashes of colored cateyes and exaggerated wings in Europe. There has also been the interesting dusting of glitter here and there. I cant wait to see what comes into full bloom this upcoming spring.

This is a fun 1970s fringe dress, vintage renewal from ModCloth. It has a magnificent metallic shimmer to it that ads a great contouring affect.

The necklaces are vintage from Amarcod, one of my favorite weekend shopping destinations in New York City.

For a little touch of extra glamour I used Jin Soon Gala Nail Toppings. I like this glittery polish because it has a variety of texture and metallic colors in it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


It is easy to understand how the natural world is so intricately woven into the fabrics of Japanese culture, a dominating theme from religion to art, culinary traditions and architecture. It has even persisted in modern manifestations through fashion and entertainment. In contrast, I originally come from Colorado where you are more likely to catalog the many types of dry grass than you are to encounter gigantic vines and flowering forests. While Boulder and Tokyo are similar in that they both enjoy four seasons, it is astonishing how much vegetation thrives even in busy urban environments. The diversity of flora in Japan never ceases to amaze me. With cities as large as Tokyo and Yokohama, there is of course infrastructure and man made construction, however, it always seems to be done in a beautiful way, working with nature. That is what I loved about this location. The lattice like cut of the concrete provided a canvas for moss, minerals and algae to paint upon, and a made a dramatic drop for these long vines.

I take all my own photos (Photography: Laura Okita)

The lattice wall and this lattice patterned dress seemed quite at home together. Made of a velvet and linen, this dress was one of those that, aside from the almost offensive initial shock of color, did not look very appealing on the hanger, but once it was worn, gave a very Prada -esque look. It seemed to take on a very Japanese mythological feeling of coming to life through the wearer.

While shopping I go through phases where I gravitate toward certain colors or textures. I have been obsessed recently with velvet fabrics and berry colors. This is likely stemming from the fact that velvet is very difficult to sew and musters a great appreciation from my weary sewing fingers when I encounter it hidden upon endless sagging thrift store racks filled with corduroy and polyester.

As for the berry colors, maybe its from the persisting lip color trend ruling the runways for the past few seasons, or maybe its from my Marc by Marc Jacobs handbag that I received while in Japan at Christmas. Either way, I just cant get enough of it.

I have to confess to one of the most difficult posts to date as far as climate goes. I was doing my hair and makeup for this post in August. If you have ever been there in the summer, you would have also experienced the incredible heat and humidity. That is probably what keeps the plants going, but its what makes me want to jump in a snowbank. Christmas in July, yes please! The poor attempts at doing my hair in the dripping humidity was a creative struggle. Somehow I made it through with a little help from breaks of eating chocolates and ice cream roll cakes. My makeup inspiration was a 90s editorial look. I was glad I had my Marc by Marc Jacobs cosmetics to stand up to the humidity and give me these bold berry colors. See my review from the archives here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Making Vintage Modern with Urban Outfitters

Do you ever wonder if new trends suddenly all start to appear at once, or if its one event that has brought these things to your attention, things that were actually always there if you had looked. For example, I never paid much attention to the cameras that people carry around New York City. When I first got my Leica M4, I thought it would be rare to see others on the street. After all, 35mm film is becoming rare. However, on the first weekend out with it, I saw quite a lot of people with vintage Leicas and other vintage film cameras. That is definitely something I just hadn't noticed before, but newly having my own camera prompted me to start paying attention. Similarly, a new topic seems to be grabbing my attention lately. It started when I had left my hair, makeup and dress on from last weekend's post to go to lunch with my husband. He was not exactly excited about the prospect of dining with me in full attire, so I altered it from vintage editorial to a wearable street look. The same week I noticed the topic circulating the vintage circle online, how to dress vintage without looking like you are ready for Halloween. While my blog does focus on a variety of full on vintage styles from realistic replication to inspired fantasy, I do want to begin to address the topic of wearable vintage. This is a new series that I will be adding in periodically, "Making Vintage Modern".

I was out hunting in Midtown for the perfect white shirt, when I came across the new Urban Outfitters that just opened in Herald Square. It is like no other UO I have ever shopped before. There is a coffee shop cafe at the entrance level, a complete beauty department, shoe department and the traditional men's, women's and home. Although a third soy latte for the day was quite tempting, it was what was next to the coffee shop that caught my attention. A vintage 1950's tulle dress in butter cream yellow? Its probably just a rack of tulle skirts, I thought, but curiosity won me over. I found an entire department of freshened up, perfect condition, revitalized vintage! The range was huge, from Victorian to 1930s lingerie, 1950s party dresses and men's work wear. Here was the perfect place to begin Making Vintage Modern.

I am the photographer for all of my posts and photographs.

Step 1

Step One: The modern staple. With an edgy white shirt, you will be able to push any vintage skirt or pant into 2014.

I had always kept a collection of vintage suspenders. Like most vintage gals, I am sure we all have a box of things we love that we just aren’t sure how to wear. I like to think of it more as waiting for the right moment. My husband would call it hoarding. Every time I tried styling the suspenders, it just wasn’t working for me, until our recent trip to Japan. While we were in Harajuku, I saw a trend that picked my attention, pairing suspenders with a fall skirt, specifically, accordion or wool. This was the perfect opportunity to bring my thrifted vintage wool skirt into current street trends and finally use my suspenders! To go with them, I found this Silence + Noise Surplice Drapey Top from Urban Outfitters. 

This was my first step towards temporary modern rehabilitation, find the perfect white shirt. I liked this shirt because its made of a lux t-shirt fabric with silk like detailing on the shoulders and pockets. The long open neckline allows me to show off vintage lingerie, slips and camisoles without looking overtly boudoir (another struggle to wear conquered). I wore this vintage Yves Saint Laurent camisole underneath. 

Step 2

Slow and steady, Step 2: swap it out. I love hats, however, vintage hats tend to really push a look over the wearable edge. We have to cheat in a new piece that looks vintage from time to time. The fedora has been really trendy since Spring now and is carrying through into fall full, steam ahead. A good wide brimmed felt or wool hat will go a long way this season and will also complete any vintage/modern mixed look. I picked up the Gambler Panama Hat in grey. 

I finished it all off with vintage shoes and  new socks from Japan. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bernie Dexter

In the world of fashion the road to success can be instant for the lucky 1%, but for most it is a unique story that travels down a path as interesting as the the star's final destination. None seems as inspiring as the pioneers of vintage, the pinup girl. Of course we have all heard of the beautiful Bernie Dexter, but I hadnt learned much about her story until I received this dress from the Bernie Dexter collection. Browsing through the website and finding her Facebook page, I also came across her biography. If you have'nt read it already, please do. She would definitely be on my list of people to meet. Now I was even more excited to wear the dress in these pictures.

I took a break from Japan posts because I thought this print was perfect for the upcoming Paris fashion week! I cant wait to see all the runway looks.

Photography by me (Laura Okita)

Thank you Bernie Dexter for a lovely pinup dress! xoxo

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Vintage Kimono

Back from Japan and missing it already! Every time I go (Tokyo and Yokohama) it is so different, and one would expect that from such a large city with an ancient heart. I feel that with each trip I discover a new layer of details and culture that slowly peel away, illuminating more of the mystique and beauty of Japan. In future posts I will show you some fun street and subway experiences and also have a guide to vintage shopping on the way, but in this post, I wanted to share a more traditional look.

Even in an urban setting you will find lush bamboo, flowering trees and bonsai gardens flourishing everywhere. The first time I came to Japan, I sat on the balcony to my husband's old bedroom and listened to the summer night's breeze rushing wildly through these trees. As soon as the sun is up, the cicada begin loudly buzzing and humming from every direction, but I had a feeling they lived in the small forest on the edge of the hill near his childhood home. This is one of my favorite memories, strong since it is attached to not only a feeling but also sound, smell and temperature that can only exist in that moment, but I can still feel it forever. Its like a first kiss or a favorite song.

When I found this vintage kimono in the markets at Asaksa, I was instantly in love with the bold geometric pattern and colors. Almost all kimonos for women have beautiful flower and bird patterns painted up from the bottom, dancing across elegant sleeves, giving a very delicate feminine look. This one is a theater kimono and very unusual. With the glimpses of red inside the lining, I knew it was perfect for my bamboo forest and signature red lipstick.

I did not bring my tripod to Japan, so my husband and I took these photos together. I cant wait to show you the rest of Japan, including some 35mm!