March 28, 2013
This season, Madewell designer Maggie put colored pencil to paper to spell out her spring love on a dreamy linen tee using all the beautiful things she associates with the season: M is a vine-covered wall, A is daisies, D is leaves and a rose, E is a hose and water, W is braided leather, E is leaves and those double L’s are calla lilies.
Here, a few snippets of her handiwork as it evolved:
Think of it as our love letter, or rather letters, to all things spring.
March 27, 2013
For a fresh look this season, we are in love with linen tees. Lightweight and perfectly draped, they are supersoft perfection thrown on with everything. They’re also a key piece of the effortless, off-duty model look, so we asked three of our favorite faces to give them a spin. Here, they share their thoughts on tees and other warm-weather pleasures.
What do you normally wear to a go-see? Skinny jeans and a simple T-shirt or tank top.
What’s your favorite thing to do once the weather warms up? Explore a new city with freshly blooming flowers.
Favorite word that starts with T? Truth.
What do you normally wear to a go-see? Usually my outfit is very simple: skinny black jeans, a white T-shirt and high-heel boots.
What’s your favorite way to soak up spring? On the weekends, I love having a glass of rosé on the terrace with my friends. We’ll stay there for hours enjoying the sun.
What smell most reminds you of spring? The smell of Nuxe Oil—to me it means that winter is over!
Favorite word that starts with T? Travel.
What’s your favorite rite of spring? Just sitting in the park with a nice book, sunbathing. What else do you need? I also like the fact that I can put on anything I want and not worry about being cold. I’ve been collecting new skirts, dresses, shoes and other stuff all winter, and just waiting for the moment I can show them off.
What smell most reminds you of spring? Lilac and cherry blossom.
What’s your favorite way to wear a tee? Over a swimsuit, while playing beach volleyball on summer vacation.
Favorite word that starts with T? Tomorrow.
March 26, 2013
We’re longtime fans of Brooklyn label Whit, led by ever-charming designer Whitney Pozgay (she of the signature top knot and coral lip). Her new collection—full of feminine silhouettes and whimsical prints—is so perfect for the season, we decided to pick her brain about all things spring.
10 Ways Whit Thinks Spring:
1. What’s your dream destination for a spring break?
I have always wanted to go to Indonesia. This April, we are finally headed to Bali. We’re going to scour the island for inspiration for our Spring 2014 collection. There’s so much to explore, from spending time with the craftsmen who produce amazing traditional textiles, to hiking to the terraced rice fields, volcanoes and temples, to experiencing the rich culture during the colorful religious ceremonies that will be taking place while we’re there.
2. Spring-cleaning strategy?
I take everything out of the closet and donate what I haven’t worn in a year. (In theory that is…I have a hard time letting go of some things, especially vintage.) Then I organize by item and color. It looks really beautiful for about a week or two. If I could only figure out how to keep it that way!
3. Spring produce of choice?
I love strawberries on everything, especially arugula with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar.
4. Music that sets the mood for spring?
Go Outside by Cults
The Banana Boat Song by Harry Belafonte
Anything by The Beach Boys
Itchycoo Park by Small Faces
Cleo’s Mood by Jr. Walker and the All Stars
Dance Yourself Clean by LCD Soundsystem
5. Cultural event?
My husband is from New Orleans and we’re hoping to make it down to the Jazz Fest this year. Fleetwood Mac and The Black Keys are playing in the same weekend and the food is off the charts.
6. Spring nail polish shade?
“Butler Please” from Essie is the best bright blue for toes! It’s really saturated and looks rad with a tan.
7. Spring fragrance?
I’m obsessed with Bobbi Brown Beach. It smells like sunscreen. I wear it year-round.
8. Spring flowers?
I love bright pink ranunculus for entertaining, but I am a sucker for white daisies. We keep them in the kitchen all through spring. They make any room feel brighter.
9. Quintessential hue?
Pinky corals are my favorite for spring. They look great on everyone.
10. Outdoor activity?
Pro Kadima in the green grass.
March 22, 2013
Model Liu Wen is by far one of our favorites. Born in Hunan, China, the 25-year-old beauty is known for her outgoing and funny personality (not to mention killer cheekbones).
But what we love most about this girl is her impeccable personal style. Her knack for mixing denim with designer duds and streetwear constantly provides us with style inspiration. The cover star of our first-ever Madewell catalog, she’s back in our latest spring edition modeling black and white fashion, one of the season’s biggest trends.
We caught up with the whimsical, globe-traveling Wen to find out about her denim choices, her styling tips and what she can’t leave home without. (Spoiler alert: It may include a cookie or two.)
You have such incredible off-duty style—who else do you admire for their sartorial choices?
Where do you look for fashion inspiration?
My work is the best inspiration! Every makeup artist or stylist with whom I work has many special ideas, tips and creations. I can always learn so much from them.
What did you like about this shoot?
Striped shirts and printed shorts, jeans and trousers are all items I buy and wear a lot in my private life. They are very easy to mix and match and they’re must-haves to create many different looks.
How would you describe your denim style?
I prefer skinny jeans. I’ll wear simple, tighter clothes on top to make a sexy look and when it’s colder outside I wear a big jacket over them.
You’ve said you would like to be a stylist. Do you offer advice on shoots?
Ha, ha—actually, I rarely offer my opinion on shoots. After all, I am working as a model now and think it’s more important for a model to let others be creative and realize their ideas.
How will you wear graphic black and white this spring?
I’m thinking of using a bright solid-colored bag to contrast with the black and white.
When you have down time, what’s the first thing you want to do?
I let myself wake up naturally, do a manicure and my hair-care routine and cook for myself.
Is there anything beauty-wise you would never try? Say, with your hair color?
I wish to try everything beauty-wise (except plastic surgery), although sometimes I’m just not brave enough to take the plunge and do something that makes a big difference.
Since you are constantly traveling for work, what are you packing musts?
I collect a lot of eco-friendly shopping bags that serve to separate my shoes and other small stuff in my luggage. For skincare, I always pack facial masks from Estée Lauder. There are always candies and very often a half a pack of cookies in my bag.
March 16, 2013
By Susan Cernek
Chalk it up to a few too many viewings of Casablanca and The Man Who Knew Too Much, but a trip to Morocco has topped our fantasy getaway list for some time—notably, the palm-tree-dotted city of Marrakech.
And so, with visions of long lazy lunches of steaming tagines and trips to the souk to find tooled leather bags and vibrant woven rugs in mind, we packed up and headed south to shoot a story for our spring style issue.
Should you too be inspired to book a trip to soak up the vibrant bustling city, here are five places to put at the top of your must-see list. Think of it as your very own Marrakech black book, courtesy of Madewell. Bon voyage!
1. The cool boutique hotel: Riad El Fenn
The brainchild of Vanessa Branson, Sir Richard Branson’s sister, this beautifully appointed riad is perfectly placed in the medina—meaning it’s 30 easy paces to a taxi stand. However, the restaurant and bar are so inviting (and kitted out with great art and a tasty menu) that you may spend every night in.
2. The fashion favorite: YSL’s Jardin Majorelle
The famously lush retreat of late designer Yves Saint Laurent will have you loving and living in cobalt blue. Don’t miss the Berber mini-museum and the gift shop—the latter is loaded up with YSL books that you can’t get stateside.
3. For a fancy nightcap: Hotel La Mamounia
It’s frequently ranked the best hotel in the world and you can see why; the grounds are gorgeously manicured, from the orange groves to the sod tennis courts. All four restaurants are a dream, but the stately Churchill Bar is a favorite. It has potent, perfectly made drinks and fantastic live jazz every night—similar to New York’s Carlyle Hotel or Le Meurice in Paris, but in sun-dipped Marrakech.
4. The photo op: Palais Bahia
One of the most picturesque tourist stops in a gorgeous city. Go late in the day when the crowds have thinned and you get golden-hour light.
5. Round-the-clock shopping stop: Place Jemaa El-Fna + the souks
Behind the big square (where there’s produce for sale during the day and food stands pop up at sundown, along with snake charmers and fire breathers) sits a maze of souks selling everything you can imagine. Prepare to haggle and be sure to pick up a pair (or eight) of leather babouche slippers, some argan oil and all the Berber rugs you can carry. (Hint: You may want to bring or buy an extra bag so you can tote home all your Marrakech treasures.)
March 15, 2013
As you’re probably well aware, we here at Madewell know a thing or two about denim—after all, the brand has been carefully making it since 1937. And because our heritage is such an important part of who we are, we have an in-house capsule collection called Rivet & Thread devoted to keeping it alive. We asked our resident denim designer (and all-around jeans guru) Tonya to give us a quick primer on Rivet & Thread so, you know, we can finish crafting our seasonal denim wish list (believe us, it’s already crazy long).
So what exactly is Rivet & Thread?
Rivet & Thread is our premium line inspired by heritage Madewell. The line uses selvedge Japanese denim exclusively, with special vintage-inspired washes that give the denim a uniquely cool worn-in feel.
Where does inspiration for the pieces come from?
We pull details, washes and fits from our archive of vintage Madewell denim as well as pieces from numerous old vintage workwear companies that sadly aren’t around anymore.
What are some of the standout R&T items to look for this season?
We are really excited about our new premium cropped jeans coming out in the spring. The fit came from a vintage pant that we unearthed at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in LA. It comes with a shorter inseam and slouches like a classic men’s jean and we are offering it in two amazing vintage washes. We also brought back our Worker Jeans that sit slouchy on the waist but slightly lower than the cropped jeans, and have a slightly tapered leg.
March 13, 2013
Welcome to our very first installment of denim school, wherein we offer a lesson in all things denim-related and pick the blue jean–filled brains of some of our resident experts for answers to all your pressing denim questions. So, without further ado, denim school is officially in session.
Lesson 1: How to wash your blues so they don’t lose their blue.
According to Madewell denim designer Tonya Wilson, the solution lies in your pantry. Her detergent of choice? Vinegar. Yup, that’s right. “Wash your jeans with roughly a cup of household white vinegar instead of regular detergent to really help prevent color loss,” she says. So we already know the question on your mind: Will your jeans smell, er, salady? Nope, not at all. According to Wilson, there will be no errant vinegar smell left behind. Phew.
March 12, 2013
After months of bundling ourselves up under wool, wool and, oh yes, more wool, there is nothing quite so exciting as the prospect of lighter wardrobe fare. Enter a myriad of easy, breezy styles — from textured dresses to a parade of shoes (in springy pastel hues) to tees and shorts in a rainbow of colors and prints. It’s the breath of fresh air we’ve all been waiting for. Springtime, here you come, courtesy of our newest arrivals.
March 11, 2013
The perfect vintage-y shade of army green and military-inspired details make this the ultimate fatigue jacket. But the best part is how cool it looks over absolutely everything.
March 9, 2013
By Marcy Roberts
Here’s a perfect recipe for a winter dinner party with a few friends. Six happy people recently enjoyed it over a potato and celery root purée with a crusty baguette to dip into the delicious sauce and a green salad to start.
5-6 lbs. bone-in short ribs
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
10-12 carrots, 2 peeled and chopped, 10 cut into 3” pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup tomato paste
2–3 cups hearty red wine
1 28 oz. can tomato puree
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup pitted green olives, quartered
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
1. Season each short rib generously with salt and pepper. Let them sit at room temperature for an hour or two if you can; they’ll taste better.
Coat a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven with a few glugs of olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat on stovetop. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
3. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pot. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pot with a little fresh oil and add the chopped onions, celery and carrots, reserving 3” carrot pieces. Season generously with salt and cook over medium heat until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and brown for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook another 10 minutes to reduce the liquid and concentrate the flavors.
4. Return the short ribs to the pot and add 2 cups water or enough to just about cover the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pot and place in the preheated oven for about 3 hours (yes really—you cannot overcook this!). Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water if needed. Halfway through the cooking time, turn the ribs over and add the remaining carrots. After 3 hours, the meat should be fall-off-the-bones tender. Reduce the heat to 250 degrees F. Remove the lid, add the olives and parsley and cook for another 20 minutes to get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. Spoon over the carb of your choice, sprinkle with more chopped fresh herbs (parsley and chives) and serve!