March 7, 2013
Photo by Tom Oxley
Whenever a new band with their music manages to subtly reference the past while simultaneously experimenting sonically in an entirely current way (and, perhaps most importantly, gets our toes tapping at the same time), they can count us as immediate and ardent fans.
Natalie and Eliot Bergman, the brother-sister duo behind Wild Belle, do just that. Their singular sound (on new album Isles) has footholds in reggae, soul, doo-wop and afrobeat, and seems to rely as heavily on powerful percussion and horn (brace yourself for some killer sax) as on Natalie’s rambling, retro-tinged vocals (think a funkified Amy Winehouse).
We caught up with Natalie to talk music and style icons, dream island destinations and what it’s like to work with her brother.
Can you tell me a bit about your musical background?
I come from a musical family. My mother was always playing Joni Mitchell on guitar and Gershwin on the piano. My father is a great guitar player and has a strong voice like Sinatra. Singing and dancing was always encouraged in our household!
I started playing violin when I was in preschool, then piano a few years later and shortly after found my fondness of songwriting. I was in gospel choir in school and my teacher, Mr. Bell, was an amazing pianist. I studied with him all through high school, and he gave me a real outlet for expressing myself. I was rejected from all of the school musicals, and Mr. Bell gave me a place to shine. I’ve never really thanked him, but I am so appreciative of him for turning me onto all sorts of soul music and a whole bunch of African music.
I moved to Boston for college where I studied piano and percussion for a few years, then took a break from school to move to New York City where I played with various musicians around town before eventually ending up in the studio with my brother!
Had you worked together before? What was it like collaborating with your brother?
Elliot was recording a new record in Michigan at Key Club with Bill Skibbe. He invited me into the studio to work on some demos I had recorded in GarageBand over the past few years and we sort of reworked the demos and they magically evolved into something called “Wild Belle.”
Neither of us predicted what was to come, but it was all very natural. If I had no eyes and I no longer had ears, Elliot could navigate for me. He knows what sounds I like. He understands me more than most people on this planet and I am extremely thankful for that.
March 5, 2013
March 4, 2013
Are you a constant chronicler? Unlike the Instagram-ing masses, do you rely on something more than an iPhone for your nonstop picture-taking? Can you rattle off your favorite photographers the way most name-check celebrities?
If you answered yes to all of the above, Foam Magazine’s annual Talent Call just may be for you.
The highly esteemed Amsterdam-born quarterly photography magazine (and one of Madewell’s must-reads) holds a contest every year to find the next set of young and hungry photo talent (the age limit for entries is 18–35).
So what exactly do you win (besides major bragging rights, of course)? Your work will be published in the magazine and online, and, as if that wasn’t cool enough, also exhibited for the public to behold at Amsterdam’s annual Unseen Photo Fair.
Think you’ve got an, ahem, shot?
Enter the Talent Call here.
March 3, 2013
Pssst. Want a peek at what our designers have dreamed up this season? ’Course you do.
All you need to do is sign up to receive our spring style issue; we’ll take care of the rest.
March 2, 2013
We spend a lot of time searching the globe to bring you our favorite finds from different labels we love. And sometimes, in the midst of our treasure hunting, we discover a style love match—two labels, each wonderful on their own, but even better together.
In this case it’s Bensimon®, the iconic French sneaker brand found on Paris’s most fashionable feet, and Herschel Supply Co.®, the Canadian maker of super-functional and cool backpacks. Both with a bright color palette custom-made exclusively for Madewell—a pack plus a pair adds up to our favorite way to get colorful this spring.
February 28, 2013
Playful. Awkward. Irreverent. That’s how we’d describe painter Rebecca Kolsrud’s portraits of anonymous women she discovers by combing through old photographs or books. Though these women remain nameless, Kolsrud captures little subtleties and gestures that manage to offer a glimpse of their personalities (or at least who we imagine them to be). With a new show at New York’s JTT Gallery slated for later this year, we caught up with the LA-based artist to talk about her work and her secret desire to be a Sears photographer.
Has LA always been your home base?
Yes, I was born and raised in LA, more specifically the San Fernando Valley. I went to NYU for my undergraduate degree and UCLA for my MFA.
Talk to us about your subjects; who are they?
The Yackety Yack Girls came from my father’s 1969 yearbook. I fell in love with the photographs of the sorority girls, each smiling and posing awkwardly. Body language, hand gestures and props distinguish each girl’s unique talents and traits, as well as represent each sorority distinctly. The discrepancy between these images and historical images of the time (Vietnam, Woodstock, the first moon landing) cast these girls in a different light. This discrepancy is what motivated me to paint them. Over the years I have collected yearbooks from all different eras and places, as well as studio portraits, glamour photographs and school photographs. I have catalogs and family photo albums, and have staged models to create my own scenes as well. In my studio I have thousands of photographs of people I draw from for my work. (Sorority girls are just one of many groups I have painted.
February 27, 2013
In case the warmer temperatures and bird chirping hasn’t tipped you off yet, the time to spring into new styles has arrived.
February 26, 2013
When it comes to timeless sneaker styles, Keds is king. And they are definitely more than mere jeans-and-tee fare; in fact, the iconic sneaks can, with a little know-how, have a dozen style lives in your wardrobe. Need further proof? Check out our Keds-inspired, color-coded ensembles on Facebook, and tell us which one gets your vote for a perfect pairing.
P.S. Be sure to join us in Madewell stores on February 28th to celebrate the latest Keds x Madewell styles. RSVP here.
February 24, 2013
February 23, 2013
A chat with Jessica Taylor, a performance maker and curator, confirmed a travel fact we had long suspected: Berlin just may be one of the coolest European capitals, period. Expat Taylor, whose next project is conceptualizing the menu for a weekend pop-up eatery at Sing Blackbird, a spot local to Berlin, shared some of her favorite places in the city she now calls home.
Avant-Garde Haven: Volksbühne, Linienstraße 227, +49 30 24065 ext. 5
What I love about the Berlin theater scene is that even the state-run theater is experimental and innovative. I’ve seen incredible productions at Volksbühne, from the great Laurie Anderson to an epic 11-hour marathon adaptation of Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman.
Artsy Haunt: Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstraße 50, +49 30 3987 3411
A former railway station, Hamburger Bahnhof houses permanent pieces by Cy Twombly and Joseph Beuys along with a fantastic rotation of exhibitions. My favorite: a Carsten Höller exhibition with twelve live reindeer in which (a few lucky) visitors were invited to spend the night on an elevated mushroom above the reindeer pen and wake up to breakfast in bed!
Locavore Gem: Little Otik, Graefestrasse 71, +49 30 5036 2301
I used to live around the corner from this gem that specializes in farm-to-table fare.
Fashionable Café: Sing Blackbird, Sanderstraße 11, +49 30 5484 5051
My girls Tasha and Diana run this sweet little cafe/vintage shop. In the three years it has been open it’s quickly turned into a Berlin institution, serving delicious treats and hosting the most fly vintage-clothing flea market in town.
Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. Many a late morning have been spent here enjoying a fine English breakfast that languidly eases into afternoon scones, and suddenly it’s half past six and you’re ordering a pitcher of Pimms.
Indie Movie House: Babylon Kino, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 30, +49 30 242 5969
A great place for film buffs! My favorite Babylon moment was watching a live orchestra perform during a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.
Vintage Treasure Trove: Das Neue Schwarz, Mulackstrasse 38, +49 30 2787 4467
A superstore of beautiful fashion! Sometimes I get dizzy just thinking about the impeccable selection of accessories.
Singular Bookshop: Dialogue Books, Schönleinstraße 31, +49 30 6273 5111
A haven for expats looking for great literature. Dialogue’s expert team of book geeks will actually sit down with you to recommend their favorite reads and take special orders. I always leave with something unexpected.
Round-the-clock Hangout: Tempelhof Feld, Künnekeweg 1, +49 30 9170 0700
When the city of Berlin decided to turn one of Europe’s most iconic airports into the city’s largest public park, Berliners went berserk. And rightfully so. Now you can spend the day barbecuing, gardening in your vegetable plot, going to trade shows or dancing in the hangar to Diplo.
Palatial Escape: Sanssouci, Schloss Sanssouci - Potsdam, +03 3 1969 4202
Germany’s very own Versailles! If you’re looking to escape the DDR architecture of the city, take the train 30 minutes outside of the city and explore Sanssouci’s verdant gardens and majestic palaces.
Buzzy Boutique Hotel: Michelberger Hotel, Warschauer Straße 39/40, +49 30 2977 ext. 8590
Hotel Michelberger knows how to throw a shindig. For their opening party three years ago, they invited guests to party all night and stay the entire weekend in their rooms to party some more. Classic Berlin!