July 30 2014

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5 posts tagged "Neil Blumenthal"

Drag Queens, Credit Card Debt, and Fashion’s Rising Stars


Rising Star Winners

“Think of me as sort of a gay male version of Maggie Smith’s character on Downton Abbey,” said Simon Doonan while smiling onstage at Cipriani’s yesterday afternoon. “I’m going to give you some life tips. Rising stars, are you listening?” And so began the 17th Annual Rising Star Awards, an industry event that drew the likes of Anndra Neen’s Annette and Phoebe Stephens, Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, and NARS’ Sara Zucker to celebrate emerging talent in fashion, beauty, jewelry and accessories, business, and design.

“Thank God for menswear, otherwise I would be freezing my ass off on days like today!” exclaimed Hal Rubenstein before presenting the menswear award to Pyer Moss’ tear-stricken Kerby Jean-Raymond and a very surprised Ian Velardi. “I really didn’t expect to be up here, so I have nothing to say,” offered the former. “But I do want to thank my girlfriend for allowing me to max out all of our credit cards. I promise you that I’m gonna buy you a ring after we pay off Chase, American Express, Capital One, and every other credit union who ever lent us money.”

Honor’s Giovanna Randall later received the womenswear award from a fanny-pack-totting Stephen Burrows, who wore his sunglasses onstage. The accessories prize, meanwhile, was handed to Edmundo Castillo. “Of course you want it, but you never know…” he whispered after leaving the podium.

We have to imagine that, as they left the luncheon, all the event’s guests felt like winners—after all, they had been privy to Doonan’s sacred life tips. His best advice? “Always make sure that you have at least one drag queen in your orbit. They’re very inspiring.”

Photo: Courtesy of Rising Star Awards 

Warby Parker’s Westward Expansion


Warby Parker Store

Warby Parker may have launched its sunglasses and specs exclusively online in 2010, but the brand is showing some serious dedication to brick-and-mortar. Fresh on the heels of a three-store retail rollout in Manhattan and Boston, the eyewear label—which was cofounded by Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, Jeffrey Raider, and David Gilboa—is opening its Los Angeles flagship this week inside the lobby of The Standard, Hollywood. “Los Angeles is our second-biggest market, after New York,” Blumenthal told “And in terms of national and global influence, we think that Los Angeles is a great cultural city that we want to be a part of—a community of vibrancy.”

Designed by Partners & Spade—the firm behind the New York stores—the new space boasts a sleek maple compound and powder-coated metal, which provide the perfect contrast to the bustle of Sunset Boulevard outside. In fact, the storied street served as an inspiration for the design. “Our stores tend to be slightly different, in that we take influences from the community around us,” Blumenthal offered. Set among the cases of frames are curated books from fourteen independent publishers, along with a backgammon table.

Behind the glasses stands the specially commissioned mural by local artist Geoff McFetridge, whose work for Chocolate Skateboards in the nineties put him on the map. “Geoff had done a ton of work with The Standard, and his designs have been incorporated into the carpeting and other aspects of the hotel, so it’s a perfect marriage,” said Blumenthal. Needless to say, the store embodies Warby Parker’s authentic spirit. Take a first look inside the boutique here, exclusively on

Photo: Courtesy of Warby Parker

Waiting For The Warby Bus


There’s always an educational element running through Warby Parker’s DNA. The do-good eyewear brand did its first fashion week presentation (in September 2011) in the New York Public Library, and this summer, the label named after Jack Kerouac characters set up a Warby Parker Readery at the Standard, Downtown L.A. Now, founders Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal have organized a cross-country Warby class trip. The brand’s first metal collection, the new Pencils of Promise collaboration, its Fall offerings, and a few of the originals have all been loaded onto the Warby pop-up shop bus for the grand tour, which kicks off in New York at Bryant Park tomorrow. The goods, with prices starting at $95 and topping off at $195 for Titanium prescription sunwear, will be on sale at the New York stops (Bryant Park, Soho, and the Meatpacking District) before the bus takes off for Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Nashville, Atlanta, Dallas, and finally, Los Angeles. Here, has an exclusive first look at the Warby shop. Don’t miss this bus!
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Eat Right


Want to draw in a summer fashion crowd? Skip the usual cocktail hours and fanciful outdoor fêtes; instead, serve up Finnish brown bread, pineapple-jalapeño popsicles, artisan olive oil, and white truffle mayonnaise. That combination and more was the brainchild of Paper magazine’s Kim Hastreiter (pictured), who has put food and fashion, often an oxymoron, to the test at the Super (Duper) Market. “I’ve never seen fashion people with their eyes so big,” observed Annelise Peterson, who was hanging with Waris Ahluwalia and Cameron Silver, of the mouthwatering options.

The three-day pop-up super store, hosted in conjunction with Target and American Express, in New York’s Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District, debuted with a launch party last night that drew the likes of David Byrne, Sally Singer, Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal, and Steven Kolb. The latter paused to admire cookies frosted with its own nutrition info and “Subzero” logo magnets by DJ duo Andrew Andrew. “Amazing,” Kolb said simply.

Others were drawn by the food on offer. Kirna Zabête buyer Evren Dogancay had saved up her appetite, while Kate Schelter stopped by after dinner for some dessert (hint: the S’mores pie was a standout). All had big smiles—not your usual fashion flock expression—including Hastreiter, who professed to know her way around a kitchen. “I have a couple signature dishes in the summer,” she said. “I am famous for my ever so slightly cooked heirloom multicolored cherry tomato sauce on spaghetti. And the dessert I am famous for is my fresh peach torte.” She’s so particular about the stone fruit that she goes all the way to Harlem for a specific dealer. “You have to buy before noon because he sells out,” she said. “But they’re the best peaches I have ever eaten.”

Photo: Angela Pham /

Ready At The Warby Readery


Since Warby Parker is named after two early Jack Kerouac characters, it’s no surprise that the sixties strongly resonate with the do-good eyewear brand’s latest creative effort: the Warby Parker Readery. In collaboration with The Standard, Downtown LA, the Readery will reimagine in irreverent detail the age-old lobby newsstand—an apt extension fit for a brand that has been built on discovery. “Two pillars of our brand are innovation and customer experience,” Warby co-founder Neil Blumenthal explained of the impetus behind the expansion (set to land at New York’s The Standard, East Village next week). “We very much look to the hospitality industry and The Standard to see how they welcome people and make them feel at home and comfortable and inject fun—and we’re trying to do the same. There’s a perfect synergy there.”

Said synergy is evident in the converted space’s glossed design, realized together with The Standard’s creative director, Claire Darrow Mosier. Set against the powder-coated aluminum finishes are vintage books by the sixties’ most iconic Beat writers, select first editions, essential sundries, the brand’s standard optical range, and a pair of limited-edition sunglasses ($95) debuting for the launch. Co-designed with The Standard team, the special pair is a riff on Warby Parker’s classic Winston shape in a striated Ale brown frame and green lens, both tones that draw heavily on the referenced time period. Just days after summer’s official calendar start, Blumenthal believes the curated kiosk comes at the perfect time. “We were thinking about summer as a time of leisure and one that you want to have fun and relax, but we still always want to be learning,” he continued, suggesting the perfect poolside pairing of vintage reads and Warby’s perennially cool specs. And in the spirit of summer, The Standard, Downtown LA will kick off the collaboration with a throwback pool party on Saturday.

The Standard, Downtown LA, 550 S. Flower St., L.A.

Photo: Courtesy of Warby Parker