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July 31 2014

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10 posts tagged "Lily Kwong"

At The Jane, An Aiko Family Reunion

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On Wednesday, the scene at the Jane hotel was like a family gathering for movie night in the living room. Charlotte Kidd, Lydia Hearst, Aiko designer Cynthia Mittweg, Lily Kwong, and friends gathered to watch the Kidd-directed Aiko Fall 2011 short film, starring Hearst. The gritty short follows a mysterious Hearst throughout various places in Los Angeles, including a grimy motel, as she shows off Mittweg’s designs. “Charlotte was one of the very first people I met in New York, actually,” Kwong, who modeled in Aiko’s recent lookbook, explained. “We met at one of Jamie Johnson’s film premieres and we are still good friends—tonight is a real family affair.” (She also mentioned she and her boyfriend are hard at work on a fashion film of their own. “It will be in a completely new medium than people have seen before, but I can’t share details just yet,” she said.)

For Kidd, last night marked her first official foray into the fashion film arena and she already has her sights set on doing more. “It’s funny, one of my very first internships when I was like 16 was in fashion, and immediately after that I decided I didn’t want to be directly in the industry,” Kidd, who happens to be doing another film with Hearst right now, said. “I think I would definitely like to do more fashion films, for sure.”

Photo: Neil Rasmus / BFAnyc.com

On Our Radar: Aiko

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The sweatshirt enjoyed a new renaissance a few years back, when designers like Isabel Marant and Dries Van Noten rescued it from the bottom of the dresser drawer and sent the slubby staple marching down the runways. But they weren’t the only ones to revive the look. Inspired by her own favorite sweatshirt, Aiko designer Cynthia Mittweg built her entire label on tweaks and twists on the theme. After founding her line quietly in Spring 2010, Mittweg built up her presence in stores like Barneys Co-Op, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, and Shopbop, all of which she counts among her stockists.

Like her inspiration, Norma Kamali, Mittweg focuses on affordable materials and casual chic. But she’s grown her line from a sweatshirt range into a full-scale contemporary collection, with knits, silks (newly introduced for Fall 2011), skins, fur, and more. (Not bad for a woman with no formal design training; Mittweg honed her chops designing her own pieces for the stage while fronting an experimental band, Ich Bin Aiko, the line’s namesake.) Sweatshirts still figure into the new Resort collection, but so do silk palazzo pants, sweaters knit with the names of vacations spots like St. Bart’s, ikat skirts, and pintucked sweaters. “I like to call her a beautiful mess—her house isn’t tidy,” the designer tells Style.com of the woman she has in mind. Her new model, social fixture Lily Kwong, may be more beautiful than messy, but the point stands.

Photo: Courtesy of Aiko

From Public School To The Fashion Trenches

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For a girl not even finished with college—she’s got a semester left at Columbia—Lily Kwong has a pretty fair number of achievements already under her belt. She’s worked at the studio of her cousin, Joseph Altuzarra; in magazines, at GQ; kept an enviably packed social calendar; and modeled on the runways. But if that weren’t all enough, there’s her latest project, working with public school kids with the nonprofit JAM (Jamboree for Arts and Music). Produced by Nuvana—a gaming development company that has produced educational games for Nickelodeon and PBS—JAM creates arts-centric assignments for students (everything from creating a piece of public art to visiting a local museum exhibition and reinterpreting a piece), which can then be shared via its own social network. Partnering with local institutions during the pilot run, JAM sent kids to sites like the Bronx Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the New Museum in New York, and SFMoMA and the De Young Museum in San Francisco.

Over the weekend, the highest-achieving participants in the program were invited to the first JAM Lab, a day-long workshop focused on producing a photo shoot, taking its cues from a world Kwong knows well: fashion editorial. Mentors like Garance Doré, Vena Cava’s Lisa Mayock, Shipley & Halmos’ Sam Shipley, model Claudia Mason, and performance artist Ryan McNamara stopped by to offer their advice on shooting, styling, and posing. “With arts and music programs dwindling in public schools, we need [JAM] more than ever now,” Kwong said by phone yesterday. “You could really feel that at the JAM Lab event—these kids were so hungry to express themselves and create something. They’re just so inspired by seeing people who make art for a living.”

Drawing in the experts turned out to be easy. “When I asked them, everyone right away said of course,” Kwong said. “Everyone has a story about their first teacher who made an impact on them, or the first time they realized their creative potential. I think everyone walked away feeling really excited to be a part of it.” The amateurs turned out to have plenty to offer their advisers, too. “Fashion has a particular logic and the kids turned it on its head. The kids thought about things we hadn’t thought about, were using props in ways we weren’t expecting, framing things in interesting ways. I think a lot of our mentors walked away with good ideas for upcoming shoots and projects.”

For more information on JAM and Nuvana, visit www.jam4art.org or www.nuvana.org.

Photos: Olivia Barad

The It Girls Were Honor-Bound

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Honor’s first retail store debuted quietly a month and a half ago, but the year-old New York womenswear label picked the perfect spring evening for its opening fête. “It was actually planned as a pop-up shop,” designer Giovanna Randall explained yesterday. “But then when all the fixtures came in, it looked so beautiful, it just felt right to stay.” Located on a cobblestoned Meatpacking District street (“My first job in New York was in Meatpacking,” Randall added), the two-floor long rectangular space was light-filled and airy. The Spring collection lined the glossy ivory walls, and down a flight of steps there was a very chic library of sorts: Arty tomes ranging from Henri Rousseau to portraits of Catherine Deneuve were stacked neatly, there, perhaps, for boyfriends waiting out a lady’s spree.

The ladies were in full force last night—owing, perhaps, to the coterie of It girls who hosted the party (with Randall, center, above), including Lily Kwong, Lesley M.M. Blume, and Arden Wohl, and the one—Alexandra Richards, fresh off a plane from Turks and Caicos—who did deejay duties. (Randall reported that she showed up straight from the airport, still wearing her bikini.) The charity connection—Honor made a donation to New Yorkers for Children for the fête—added to the jovial mood, too. But most of all, perhaps, the warm weather gave the evening its happy buzz. “Finally! We’re so overdue for this,” co-host Kwong said, noting all the ladies in bold pink, garden florals, and white frocks. “But look at me, I’m still wearing black.” With a trip to Tulum, Mexico, on the horizon, Kwong would be wearing her own sunny pieces soon enough. Meanwhile, for some, the season meant turning over a new leaf—for the wardrobe, that is. “It’s time for spring cleaning,” Ten Underwear designer Daphne Javitch noted. “I’m super-organized. I just re-did my closet and I spent all weekend folding.”

Honor NYC is now open at 68 Gansevoort Street, NYC, (212) 225-2233.

Photo: Joe Schildhorn / BFAnyc.com

Popping Bottles “Just For Fun” On Avenue Crazy

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Ever try to assemble a group of fashion types for something that’s not a launch, an opening, or a worthy cause? Harley Viera-Newton, Lily Kwong, and Stephanie LaCava gave it a shot last night, hosting a dinner in the East Village that was billed as “Just for Fun.”

In truth, Dom Pérignon had one of its top wine experts in town and figured it could do a little outreach. The promise of vintage Champagne pairings at a hip new restaurant (Edi & the Wolf, on Avenue C) was enough to draw the likes of Elise Øverland and Alexandra Richards (above) to the eastern fringe of lower Manhattan. “I’ve been to Bangkok more recently than I’ve been this far east,” Waris Ahluwalia admitted.

He and some 40 others dined on Austrian mountain cheese ravioli and arctic char in a dim room reminiscent of an old shed. The ambience, however, was a little more glam. “I’m a big fan of Champagne. I like to pop bottles in the club,” Viera-Newton said. She nodded at a bucket of Dom that was sitting on the copper-topped bar. “I’m planning on popping all three of those.”

Viera-Newton took off on the early side, to go DJ at Madame Wong’s. Richard Chai (who swung by with Phillip Lim) joined her, but not before taking a trip down memory lane. “When I went to Parsons, my dorm was just off Third Avenue, and we used to venture off this way,” he said. “This was way back when Avenue C, if you got that far, was called ‘Crazy.’ If you got to D, it was called Dead.” Clearly, not the case anymore. “That’s the nature of New York,” Chai noted. “No neighborhood is sacred.”

Photo: David X. Prutting / BFAnyc.com