April 19, 2013
April 17, 2013
Jenna Wilson and Cary Vaughan, the textile-obsessed team behind Brooklyn-based Ace & Jig™, started their breezy, laid-back label to create summery clothes they could wear through all seasons.
All of their fabrics are custom-designed directly with weavers in India, built around a stripe of some sort (so really, how could we not love them) and constructed into the kind of clothes you want to live in. We asked the design duo—who met as design interns and whose kids are now best friends—to tell us about their ideal warm-weather days, favorite local spots and where they go to hide out in their hood.
DREAM BROOKLYN DAY:
FAVORITE SUMMER IN THE CITY ACTIVITIES:
Brimfield Antique Market (in Brimfield, Massachusetts) in May, July and September for amazing antiques, collectibles and vintage
SOMETHING YOU’VE NEVER DONE BUT ARE DYING TO:
Visit Storm King sculpture park an hour north of the city in the lower Hudson Valley
Trois Pommes Patisserie in Park Slope
GO-TO LUNCH SPOT:
Mile End in Boerum Hill. (It’s very close to our studio.)
Boerum Hill’s Opalia Flowers
LOCAL BEAUTY PRODUCT:
Saipua handmade peppermint soap, from their shop in Red Hook
Sycamore Bar & Flowershop in Ditmas Park
April 15, 2013
When the Brisbane-based singer stopped by our store in Austin during SXSW to play a few tracks off her just-released album Vs Head Vs Heart, we were floored. It’s one thing to write music that has celestial qualities to it, but crafting a song that truly sounds like a dream? That’s where Emma Louise excels.
We interrupted Emma’s jam-packed touring schedule to get in her head about stage clothes, favorite tunes and even accidental road trip keepsakes.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s always hard to describe my sound. But, to describe my songs in a fashionable way, they are heartfelt songs wrapped up in detailed power suits or metallic frilled dresses.
Who are your favorite musicians or bands?
What do you like to wear onstage?
I am always changing my mind, but at the moment I seem to be wearing tights and jackets. I got a new haircut that makes me feel a bit manly, so I’m kind of manning it up a bit. Girl-man chic.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A big band cuddle and a few deep breaths. And afterward, I always try to go somewhere quiet to settle down.
Do you collect anything on the road?
Not really. I always seem to collect flight tickets in the bottom of my bag.
What would you be doing if you weren’t traveling the world playing music?
I’d probably work with animals or be a hairdresser or makeup artist. I’m pretty glad I’m doing music, because I didn’t really click with anything else.
April 13, 2013
Leave it to the French to master the art of effortless romantic style, which is why we’re pretty much always on the hunt for hidden fashion gems from the City of Light. Our latest find is By Zoé™, a Parisian line founded in 2005 by a trio of stylish sisters. We chatted with eldest sister Melvina Sebban (she also doubles as head stylist for the brand), to hear first-hand how she and her siblings cultivate that quintessentially French je ne sais quoi that embodies each and every piece in this emerging line.
How did you and both your sisters get involved in fashion?
We grew up in the fashion industry. Our father was a pant maker who specialized in denim, and growing up, we all worked with him. As kids, we would dress our dolls with bits of fabric we found in the factory.
Your designs feel so essentially Parisian. Why do you think that is?
Paris is romantic. We try to translate that into our collections and represent a vision of modern femininity.
What inspires you beyond the local culture?
We’re crazy about music! And we spend a lot of time looking at street style from around the world.
How can one easily master a laid-back French look?
We don’t buy head-to-toe looks from one designer, and we never hesitate to mix different pieces, even pairing fancy luxury goods with perfectly worn-in vintage denim.
Describe By Zoé in 5 words or less.
Cool, urban, feminine and sexy.*
*Editor’s Note: We couldn’t agree more.
April 10, 2013
For those of you who have Coachella on the horizon, it’s major crunch time for putting together a festival look. In addition to our breeziest dresses, cutoff shorts and supersoft linen tees (it does get really hot in the desert), we’ll be piling on the bracelets. (After all, what goes better with the mandatory wristband than an armful of bangles and friendship bracelets?)
Photo by Bryan Derballa
Take a tour through our fresh crop of arm candy and then tune into the ten artists from this year’s lineup who we’re most excited to see—even if we have to experience them vicariously via YouTube footage.
April 8, 2013
We’ve been fans of Katy Goodman since we first spotted her bouncing around on stage with Vivian Girls, the all-female peppy punk band she has been the bassist for since 2007. And while she remains a faithful member of VG, we have found ourselves even more smitten with her solo project, La Sera, which brings Goodman’s utterly charming, soft-focus vocals and knack for catchy pop songwriting to the forefront at long last.
Since one of the songs from her 2012 album Sees the Light (the tropical-tinged “Real Boy”) serves as the backdrop for our captivatingly cool Madewell swim video (seriously, it’s like a little mental vacation), we thought there was no better time for a catchup with Goodman to talk songwriting, spring rituals and poolside playlists.
How’d you come up with the name La Sera?
I was on tour in Italy with Vivian Girls while I was trying to come up with the name for my new solo project. We were at a restaurant when I saw a crazy pink tropical drink get sent to a table and I asked the waiter what it was called. He said “la rosa de la sera,” which means “the rose of the evening.” I thought it was a beautiful phrase, so I shortened it into a band name.
Sees the Light is, by all accounts, a breakup album; was there something cathartic about putting all those feelings into song?
Oh definitely, that was the main motivation behind writing the album. After singing all those songs a thousand times, I can safely say I am over that breakup.
Can you tell us a little bit about your songwriting process?
I tend to start off by myself in my bedroom with a guitar. Lately I’ve been experimenting with more unique chords and song structures. On Sees the Light, I generally wrote the music first and lyrics and melody second.
What are your plans this year for La Sera and/or Vivian Girls?
I plan on recording my next La Sera record this spring! I’m very excited. Also, I think Vivian Girls will be doing a few shows here and there…
What’s your favorite springtime ritual?
I live in LA, so it feels like springtime all year round. I would say my favorite daily routine is walking to the coffee shop every morning without my cell phone. It’s only 15 minutes, but it’s the perfect way to start every day. It almost feels like meditation.
Any favorite song that always gets you in the mood for sun-filled days?
Maxine Nightingale’s “Right Back Where We Started From.” It’s an instant mood-lifter.
April 7, 2013
April 5, 2013
If you swing by our new Chicago store (and you should—doors just opened at 932 Rush Street on April 3rd) you’ll notice a captivating multipanel wood installation.
The impressive piece is the work of Michelle Peterson-Albandoz, a Chicago-based mixed-media artist and painter we commissioned to build a sculptural screen for our first-ever Windy City store. We’re excited for you to see it, and all of our spring goods. We caught up with the artist to talk about the piece and get her recommendations for must-see art shows in the area.
How long have you lived in Chicago and why did you choose the Windy City?
I moved to Chicago from Puerto Rico in 1989. I chose the city to further my education at the Art Institute of Chicago. I graduated with a BFA in sculpture and painting.
Can you tell us about the installation you built for the new Chicago Madewell store?
It celebrates nature. My hope is that the viewer will celebrate nature and its gifts and become more sensitive to them.
What environmental issues are of greatest concern to you right now?
The sustainability of our forests and protection of our oceans.
How do you communicate this in your work?
By choosing reclaimed materials I relay the concept of sustainability and reveal nature’s beauty. I hope that the grounding visual of the work will inspire people to think about nature’s essential value in their lives.
What are your favorite places to look at art in Chicago? Any must-see current shows?
My favorite spot is the Modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Chicago History Museum has a great show up of Vivian Maier’s photographs. She wasn’t discovered until after her death and her story is worth knowing.
April 3, 2013
If you haven’t already heard, these are no ordinary beach blankets—in fact, the story behind them is quite extraordinary.
The mission of the Collaborative Group brand is to partner with and provide sustainable employment for artisans in small communities in need around the globe by connecting them with brands looking for unique products. “I founded CG in September 2011 after spending four years working in the developing world and seeing firsthand women who were capable of making beautiful products that people would love, but who were still living under the poverty line and I wanted to change that,” says Kathleen Wright.
Each of the woven beach blankets we are carrying at Madewell is entirely crafted by hand in India’s northern Rajasthan region by skilled artisans—the weaving is done in a number of villages, depending on the design (ikat in Pochampally and Andra Pradesh and stripes in Baksar), and the sewing in a community sewing co-op in Bikaner.
The co-op is particularly unique because it is mixed-gender, employing many local women who traditionally are not permitted to work outside the home or alongside men. So the beauty of each of these Collaborative Group beach blankets goes way beyond the stitch—and that’s something we can definitely get behind.
April 1, 2013
Did you know one of the earliest records linking the first day of April to purposeful foolishness was in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales? While today the faux holiday is celebrated with silly inter-office emails (among other shenanigans), there was a time when hijinks were taken very seriously. Here, five all-time bests that’ll make you think twice about investing in that whoopee cushion:
1. The Scholarly Stunt
On the last day of classes back in 1994, a group of crafty MIT students placed a flashing police car on top of the school’s tallest building—or so it seemed. The vehicle was, in fact, the shell of a Chevrolet merely painted to resemble the campus’ cop cars, but the legend lives on as one of the university’s best stunts.
2. The TV Trick
On this day in 1957, the BBC aired a faux documentary about Switzerland’s “spaghetti harvest.” How convincing was the piece? Well, a slew of viewers actually phoned in to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.
3. The Gotham Ghosts
In 2010, an NYC improv group surprised a room filled with unsuspecting Public Library patrons when they burst in as Proton pack–wielding Ghostbusters, recreating the movie’s famed literary scene. Sadly, no books flew off the walls, but in the end it didn’t matter—the bookworms gave them a round of applause.
4. The Crazy Clock
College students are master tricksters, apparently, and a savvy few from Louisiana Tech shocked everyone when they reprogrammed the main clock tower’s bell to play “Dueling Banjos” (from the film Deliverance) every hour on the hour. If you’ve ever seen the film, you know this prank was probably very funny and slightly terrifying all at once.
5. The Oldest Trick in the Book
During the Trojan War, in a brilliant scheme fit for modern day, the Greeks pretended to retreat, leaving a large-scale wooden horse in front of the gates of Troy. The structure, which the Trojans mistook for a victory trophy and brought into their city, was—surprise!—actually filled with Greece’s finest soldiers, who snuck out in the early morning hours and opened the gates, letting the entire Greek army in and winning the war. Next-level horseplay, folks.