Bye bye, 2017

While I'm happy for this year to be over, I did get to work on some really fun, really rewarding stories. Here are some of my favorites. 

Why Daniel Day-Lewis Had to Go to Fashion Bootcamp I investigated how the Oscar-winning actor learned to cut, drape and sew for his role as a 1950s couturier in the new film "Phantom Thread." 

How Claire Foy Perfected the Queen's English for 'The Crown' Interviewed the on-set historian and dialect coach about how the Netflix show gets all the details about Elizabeth II's life right.

A Mystery Woman Is Leaving Little Works of Art Around NYC My husband and I have been fans of the street artist See Me Tell Me, who leaves little "presents" around our neighborhood for people to pick up. I finally found out her identity and her story for the New York Post!

'That's Not French, That's Just Dirty'  I asked French women what they think about the French-girl myth. I got some pretty funny answers!

How New York Fashion Week Became the Spectacle It Is Today New Yorkers have complained about fashion shows since time immemorial — or since 1903, when Sixth Avenue dry-goods emporium Ehrich Brothers hosted the first one in the US. In the intervening years, police have tried to stop them; editors have tried to tame them; the industry, and the designers themselves, continue to try to improve or disrupt them.

Jeremy Scott Is the Man Fashion Loves to Hate He's also probably the most influential designer working today. My profile.

How a Struggling Photographer Became the Duchess of Carnegie Hall Editta Sherman was far more than an eccentric extraordinaire with a bouffant hairdo and twinkling tiaras who danced the "Dying Swan" for Warhol and posed for shutterbug Bill Cunningham. She was also a great photographer.

These Pampered Pets Have Wardrobes Full of Designer Clothes I met pet designer Ada Nieves at the Algonquin Cat Fashion Show, where I found out she had sewn all the ornate cat clothes herself! I interviewed her and met a few of her colorful clients, including a pet chicken named Lady Gaga.

How New Yorkers' Obsession With Cuba Gave Rise to Salsa It's the rare story that combines my music training, my heritage and my city!

Brides Are Making Their Guests Dress Up in Costumes Back in the old days, weddings came in two flavors: black tie or cocktail. Now, brides and grooms are asking guests to wear all-white, put on a fancy costume or evoke some kind of theme such as “rustic casual.”

This Will Soon Be the Most Famous Cat in NYC My first scoop! Got to meet the legendary Algonquin Hotel's new cat, Hamlet. (I also profiled an Upper West Side cat who is the city's most successful foster dad and wrote a eulogy for the Algonquin's former feline ambassador, Matilda III.)

Forget Mani-Pedis — Now Moms and Daughters Bond Over Botox A heartwarming Mother's Day story ;)

The World's First Supermodel Was More Than Just a Clotheshanger Lisa Fonssagrives was not just famed fashion fotog Irving Penn's muse, she was an artist herself. 

Break Out the Shoulder Pads! Dynasty Style Is Happening The return of 1980s glamour.

Quad Cinema Is Back! "The city’s first-ever multiplex, with four screens showing everything from second-run features to arty foreign films to even (rumor has it) porn, opened in 1972, and its gritty charm and resilience made it a neighborhood institution. It was the kind of place where you could rub shoulders with glitterati such as Mick Jagger and David Bowie, and then moments later run into a guy pleasuring himself with a blowup doll in the men’s room." I wrote about the colorful, sometimes X-rated history of the Quad, which reopened this year after closing in 2014.

How Movies Changed the Way We Dress A look into how certain trends go from silver screen to the street.

Princess Di Was the Queen of Revenge Dressing Parsing the princess' post-divorce style

'La La Land' Is Inspiring People to Take Up Tap This was just a fun, feel-good story to report.

Manse built by America’s first self-made millionairess seeks new life "Madam C.J. Walker was America’s first female self-made millionaire, a former washwoman born from slaves who had made her fortune launching a line of hair-care products. Villa Lewaro, was the pinnacle of her achievements: a 34-room Italianate manse in a neighborhood that was also home to Rockefellers and Astors."

She Changed the Way America Saw Black People How Ming Smith became one of the foremost chroniclers of black life in the U.S. and beyond. (Also, she is a truly amazing, inspirational, kind human being.)


Some of my favorite art and museum shows (besides Ming Smith, linked above) I covered included: Aliza Nisenbaum's portraits of undocumented immigrantsNative American Fashion NowGeorgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, the secret life of textilesRei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons at the Met, the history of the 7 Train at the Transit MuseumNever Built NYCRebecca Leveille's portraits in Gowanusthe Frieze Art Fairthe Whitney Biennial and an art show just for dogs.

Some of the coolest people I got to interview included actress/artist/farmer Isabella Rossellini, photographer Baron Claiborne (famous for his portrait of Biggie wearing a crown), Elsa Dorfman and Errol Morris, the guy who makes footballer Cam Newton's hats, and this couple who got married on a city bus.

Some of the weirdest things I did for my job included posing with a bunch of chard, getting thrown out at Tiffany's, and learning how to boob-contour.

And finally, my favorite lede: "Amazon may have finally killed the bookstore once and for all — by opening one."

January Links

A selection of stuff I wrote this month ...

Met and fell in love with the photographer Ming Smith, who talked to me about modeling with Grace Jones, shooting Muhammad Ali when she was in college, and how she worked to change how black people were represented in American media. She is also the most wonderful, most intelligent, thoughtful, generous, sweet person ever. As I said, I'm in love.

Also here is a photo of us at her show at the Steven Kasher Gallery --- she (on the right) is ridiculously chic.

I got interview fashion-blogging heroes Tom + Lorenzo AND the Fug Girls about the first-time Golden Globe nominees. Highlight was when GFY's Jessica Morgan said that English Rose Claire Foy, of "The Crown," should hit the red carpet in PVC.

Talked to hat-maker Alberto Hernandez and Cam Newton about all the crazy headgear Hernandez makes for the flamboyant footballer.

I wrote about where you can get your hygge on in NYC.

And finally I went deep on the trend for boob-contouring.


Bye bye, 2016

I wrote a lot of articles in 2016. Some of them I liked, and some even helped restore my sanity and and faith in humanity during a hell of a year. Here are a few of my favorites:

Why Jackie Kennedy's Wedding Dress Designer Was Society's "Best-Kept Secret" Ann Lowe, who was the first black high-fashion designer in the U.S., with her own boutique on Madison Avenue and a clientele that included Rockefellers, DuPonts and, yes, the Bouviers — she made Jackie's debutante and wedding dresses. Yet, she ended up dying broke and forgotten at the age of 82. The Smithsonian's new African-American Museum, as well as FIT and some amazing costume historians, are working to change that.

Grandmas From Around the World Cook at this Local Eatery I traveled to Staten Island to interview some of the nonnas who cook at beloved neighborhood establishment Enoteca Maria. And boy, were these ladies not only a total delight but also totally inspiring. One had come from war-torn Syria three years ago, knowing no English; her daughter-in-law translated for her, and by the end of our chat all three of us were crying and hugging one another. It reminded me of why I so love New York City.

America's First Methodist Church More Than a Historical Landmark Back in January (of 2016), I went to a service at John Street Methodist Church, after hearing the pastor was working on a Bowie sermon. He told me that this year the church, the first Methodist one in the country, was celebrating its 250th anniversary, and I thought "Hmm... that might be a good story for the Post!" It only took 10 months to do it! This was a fun story to write (this place has had its share of entertaining factoids), but on a personal note, I found it helpful after the election to take a look at a place that has been a beacon of light and hope for the Manhattan community for such a long time. It's important to remember that these social community centers can be agents of change and places for healing and processing. And it's inspiring to see those that have managed to survive tumultuous times.

How Butter Became a Villain — and Why It's Actually Good for You Just in time for the holidays, I wrote about America's love-hate relationship with butter, the butter vs. margarine wars, and why fat actually isn't bad for you. Most surprising fact I learned: margarine was actually invented IN FRANCE. Sacre bleu!

'Miracle on the Hudson' Pilot Landed Us Our Children My first (and probably only) New York Post cover! And a rare uplifting, heart-warming one too, about a couple who re-found love after going through the crash on the Hudson River.

The Man Who Changed the Red Carpet Forever Just because I love the Oscars and Hollywood and fashion and history, and this has all of those things. 


There's a starman waiting in the sky ...

"This was not supposed to happen. Ever."

That was my reaction, too, when I heard the news today, that David Bowie — that beautiful, elastic, shape-shifting mad musical genius — had died, this morning, of cancer. The man had, just days ago, dropped his latest album, "Blackstar," as searching and radical and inquisitive and forward-looking as anything Bowie has ever done. He had a new musical, "Lazarus," playing Off Broadway. He starred in a bracing video (below), a parting gift of sorts, where he writhes blindfolded on what looks like a hospital bed, and even does a kind of robot dance. Who knew he was battling cancer the whole time? Bowie's relentless pursuit of art, the breakneck speed with which he ran toward everything new and exciting, made illness seem inconceivable, and his death like a vanishing or disappearing act. Surely, he had just shed one exterior for another. Surely, Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane/The Thin White Duke could not really be mortal. But, he hadn't. He was. And, it's so, so weird.

I came to Bowie rather late. I was in high school, and my best friend had rented "Velvet Goldmine," Todd Haynes' high-octane surrealist tribute to glam rock. (Fictionalized, but the lead character is an obvious Bowie stand-in.) I had never seen anything so strange and beautiful and sexy. It felt dangerous and reckless and freeing watching men kiss one another and transform into glittery beings and perform this shiny, electric, perfect music in platform shoes and eye makeup. I was never the same.

In college, Bowie's music followed me everywhere. At a coffee shop, studying to the crunchy riff of "Rebel, Rebel"; in a movie theater, as the plastic-soul incantations of "Young Americans" played over the closing credits of "Dogville"; in a friend's room, listening to her favorite song in the whole universe, "Starman," which I assumed was about the slightly unreal Bowie himself ("there's a starman waiting in the sky/He'd like to come and meet us, but he think he'd blow our minds"). I encountered photos of him with long hair and flowing folkie dresses; with a rust-colored mullet and face paint and metallic silver jumpsuit; in a dapper vest and crisp collared shirt and jaunty fedora. And each time I couldn't believe this was the same artist, that one man could have so many lives, could have such a prodigious capacity for imagination, could conjure so many worlds and personae.

I haven't even mentioned Bowie's acting career, but it makes sense that someone so fluid could morph so seamlessly into Andy Warhol (in "Basquiat"), or a romantic cello-playing vampire ("The Hunger"), or a spandex-clad goblin king ("Labyrinth"), or even Nikola Tesla ("The Prestige"). And there's, of course, his eerie, other worldly creature flung from space in "The Man Who Fell to Earth," a film that used his extraterrestrial beauty and hauteur and intoxicating impenetrability to wondrous, heartbreaking effect.

That slipperiness could make Bowie seem cold and alien, plastic and fantastic, even distrustful. But it always conveyed freedom to me: the freedom to be weird, to become whoever or whatever you want, to slip in and out of various guises and identities, unbound by age or gender or place or time or labels. That openness has to be why his music is so challenging and surprising and wonderful — why he continued pushing and experimenting till the very end. But it's also why it will live forever: because it gives us more ordinary dreamers and weirdos the permission to go in search of, or build our own, more adventurous, fabulous, and expansive worlds. RIP David Bowie.