FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

FASHION

FASHION | Travel To The South of France + Spain

FASHIONLauren CaronComment

SHIRT | EARRINGS | JACKET | HEELS | HAT | BATHING SUIT | SKIRT

I've finally settled our itinerary for our upcoming trip to France and Spain this May. It's going to be a bit of a splurge, but something well deserved for the both of us. The next step is planning our activities each day. I'm set on horseback riding in the Camargue region while we're in Arles, and the theme of the trip will be based around modernist painters, ones in particular; Cezanne, Van Gogh, Chagall, Renoir, Picasso and Dali, with visits to house museums and such. Another big part of our trip will be Cannes (which is also the main reason why we're going). My husband's student thesis film was submitted to Cannes and accepted! It is not likely that we will be rubbing noses with the stars, but we will have passes to the festival and I believe access to the shows. We are still finalizing those details. Another great concern for me, being a lady, is what will I pack and what will I wear for all of these marvelous activities?! Horseback riding is dirty stinky activity (although the smell is pleasing to me) and Cannes will probably include some put-together date night ensembles. I can't help myself but pull some inspiration from my favorite classic films like Breathless and To Catch A Thief. One thing's for sure, there will be lots of horizontal stripes - and I'm preparing for that by hitting the gym hard for the next few months! 

Above is a short list of a few things I'll be adding to my staples of tees, tank tops, denim, and sandals. I'm not much of a sneakers gal, but I have to find a good pair that will be cute and not too bulky. Luckily, it's en vogue to wear sneakers for almost any occasion. 

FASHION | American Made

FASHIONLauren Caron2 Comments

Earlier this month on a Sunday, I had a few errands to run in Lower Manhattan. I'm usually never in that neighborhood so with Jack in hand, I thought we'd make the most of the sunny Sunday by being a little touristy and visiting the Stock Exchange as well as the recently opened 9/11 monument. In addition to those places, we walked up to Tribeca to see the Shinola store. Shinola is a luxury-goods company based in Detroit, Michigan. Originally a shoe polish company founded in 1907, the new iteration of Shinola bought the name in 2011. In two years the brand has successfully re-branded, thanks to good marketing and above all, as the Washington Post is calling it "understanding the consumer zeitgeist" by means of "consumer guilt - or "responsibility, if you prefer."" Whatever they have done with their marketing plan, which I will agree is genius, they're also producing quality products in the USA. 

JEWELRY - EX VOTO VINTAGE | WATCH - SHINOLA | DRESS - REFORMATION | COAT - EMERSON FRY | JEANS - 7 FOR ALL MANKIND | BOOTS - FRYE

This trip inspired me to discuss and support a few other brands that I've grown to appreciate and love, which also produce products in the USA. It's finally starting to look like we can begin to outfit our lives with goods made here. It's not really easy, but little by little if we support the companies that have made a point to produce here rather than overseas, we'll see more and more of them. 

EX VOTO VINTAGE

JEWELRY

Ex Voto Vintage is a jewelry company started by the designer Elizabeth Adams. With former training in architecture and a strong appreciation for history, traveling and collecting, Elizabeth created the jewelry line of one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces inspired from ex votos or keepsakes, that she hand picked along her travels. Her newest collection of modern heirlooms captures the beauty of classic designs like signet rings and stacking rings of semi-precious stones. 

REFORMATION

CLOTHING

Reformation is a cool fashion company based in LA that has a concept of trying to produce zero waste and be eco-friendly. Their 'secret weapon' as they call it, is in their materials. Because the textile industry is one of the most chemically dependent industries on the planet and the #2 polluter of clean water, they make their clothes from three different types of materials: 1) new bad ass sustainable materials, 2) repurposed vintage clothing and 3) rescued deadstock fabric from fashion houses that over-ordered. 

EMERSON FRY - NEW YORK

CLOTHING

Emerson Fry is one of those New York cult brands. Originally founded as Emersonmade in 2009, Emerson Fry is now named after the owner and chief designer. All of the designs are classic and beautiful wardrobe staples, which makes sense considering the mission of the brand is to create strong, beautiful, function pieces that serve their customer long term. The main line is produced in the USA and the shoes or other specialty pieces are produced in origins specific to their craft. Ie. the shoes are made in Italy, and the caftans in India. 

FRYE BOOTS

SELECT BOOT STYLES

Frye has been making boots in the USA since 1863. Now, please take note that only select styles are made in the USA and their reasoning behind that is that they chose their manufacturers based on craftsmanship and quality, unlike how many companies choose based on cost. It is very difficult to find quality leather or fashion shoes made in the USA because, typically the best shoes are produced in Italy. For Frye, many of the American mad designs are men's however there are few women's designs that are mostly of the work or motor style.

7 FOR ALL MANKIND

DENIM

Remember 7's! Well 7 For All Mankind was the biggest denim brand back in the early 2k's and recently they've been overpowered by other companies like J Brand and rag & bone (who also produce in the USA). Not that I don't love the others, 7's are still a standby favorite of mine. They always fit well and last long. 

  Federal Hall | Site Where Washington Took the Oath as the Nation's First President | Lauren L Caron © 2015

Federal Hall | Site Where Washington Took the Oath as the Nation's First President | Lauren L Caron © 2015

NEW YORK MADE

While I was searching for clothing produced in America, I was really searching for brands that were based out of New York. Unfortunately, this proved to be more challenging, because there are several companies coming out of New York and Brooklyn in particular that focus on menswear and accessories rather than women's. So, If you're a man, with a good income you'll be set for life on American made goods, better yet, New York made! A few brands that I are on the top of that list including a select few that carry women's as well are below: 

Alexander Olch -Neckties

General Knot & Co. - Neckties

The Hill-Side - Small leather goods & accessories

Enest Alexander - Menswear & accessories

Maptote - Totes with maps on them

Stanley & Sons - Utilitarian accessories

Brooks Brothers - Bet you didn't know that!

Freeman's Sporting Club - Menswear 

Sleepy Jones - Cute Sleepwear for men & women

Spiewak - Uniforms & Outerwear

Steven Alan - LOVE Steven Alan, women's & men's clothing

rag & bone - really great jeans and fashion forward clothing for men & women

E. Vogel - Riding Boots

A full list of American Made brands can be found on A Continuous Lean

Lastly, to leave you with a few more images, here are some pictures from our day in Lower Manhattan. Do you have any favorite brands that produce goods in the USA? Anything from New York that I missed that I really shouldn't have? Please let me know!

FASHION | Friday Style Envy: Emmanuelle Alt

FASHIONLauren CaronComment

I have this slight fear of people asking me such questions as: who is your style icon, who is your favorite artist, what is your favorite source for inspiration, or what is your favorite book, band, or city, etc. Because I don't really have a one favorite anything, especially something that has stood the test of time. Maybe it's because I am still developing my innerself or that I can't restrict my tastes to be defined by one factor.  I love many things and have several favorites in each category. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a minimalist. So much so, that I collect favorites too. 

I have tried to narrow my fashion icons list down, and recently came to a realization that there is one style icon that I find to be near the top of my list. Emmanuelle Alt's sense of style is something I can relate to with my current lifestyle of a casual, professional, living in NYC, and her signature silhouettes really work on my body.

  Image from StyleCaster.com

Image from StyleCaster.com

Alt is the editor-in-chief at Vogue France. She has a very distinct style that centers around casual, sexy and cool. There seem to be boundaries around her style characteristics, that she never really crosses or moves too far from.

Recently, when I'm thinking about buying an article of clothing, I'll ask myself, "Could I see Emmanuelle wear this?" If the answer is no, then I won't buy it. If yes, than that's another story. One thing she has that I don't, is the budget for designer and high end pieces, so I have to pick and choose my statement pieces and find the rest within my price range. But the good thing about the original question is that it's keeping my spending down, and pushing me to buy less. 

Let me break down her essentials list and add some options at a price point that I and hopefully my readers can afford. If she's not someone that you relate to fashionably, I would suggest that you do some soul searching and find your muse for your own personal style. It's helpful to have a direction and one that's visual is even better. I've pinned my most favorite looks of hers and others (like the Olsen twins) onto a Pinterest board called "My Style" you can find that [here].   

BLAZER - ZARA | FEDORA - & OTHER STORIESWOVEN BELT - ASOS | JEANS - UNIQLO | T-SHIRT - JCREW |MARC BY MARC WATCH - JACOB TIME | BOOTS - STUARTWEITZMAN | MANOLO BLAHNIK PUMPS - NEIMAN MARCUS

Alt has wardrobe staples that she can mix and match easily as the color scheme is minimal and pairs well together. At times she'll wear a pop of color - but only in the form of a tee shirt or sweater (something that's easy to layer in with her investment pieces). You can tell she invests in her accessories and outerwear. Often she'll wear a leather jacket or leather pants. Her most "dressed up" looks involve tapered trousers, with a button front blouse or silk tee, however the styling always remains the same - Narrow pants, loose tops, fitted Jackets and heels. If she wears a large coat, it will most likely be belted. On warmer days you will hardly ever see her bare arms, most often she wears a loosely fitted button-down with a great pair of white jeans. And on days that she's doing a lot of walking, her heels are lower kitten heels. She doesn't wear much jewelry, at least from what I can see. She does always have the classic, square-faced, black, leather strap, watch on. It looks like a classic luxury timepiece, which I'm sure was an investment or a gift. She often is seen wearing another classic, aviator style sunglasses. Lastly, I've only seen one handbag (probably because she never needs to), she mostly only has her phone and a show invite in hand. The handbag was black leather, fringe - I think YSL. 

What she says of jeans...

So there you have it, one of my favorite style muses. I have others, but she's a very close first. I would say I have a slightly more feminine aesthetic, as I do love jewelry and will wear a dress or skirt once in a while. I'd be curious to hear if anyone else has any favorite muses, if so what are they? I'd love to know how you try to emulate their style as well. If you have one, feel free to link your "my style" Pinterest board in the comments. 

SPACES | New York Holiday Windows | Bergdorf Goodman Men's Store

FASHION, SPACESLauren CaronComment

For my last windows installment of the year, I wanted to feature the Bergdorf Goodman Men's windows. The Men's store is often overshadowed by the Women's store. The Men's windows are designed and installed by a different team and deserve similar appreciation and attention. 

Shane Ruth, the Men's Visual Director designed Fifth Avenue windows to be inspired by the Sciences. Focusing on Chemistry, Botany, Astronomy and Archeology the window's are layered complex and detailed. The Chemsitry window, showcases men's fragrances pokes a nod at particular nose in the industry.  

 Chemistry Window - Bergdorf Goodman Men's | Lauren L Caron © 2014

Chemistry Window - Bergdorf Goodman Men's | Lauren L Caron © 2014

 Botany - Bergdorf Goodman Men's | Lauren L Caron © 2014

Botany - Bergdorf Goodman Men's | Lauren L Caron © 2014

 Astronomy - Bergdorf Goodman Men's | Lauren L Caron © 2014

Astronomy - Bergdorf Goodman Men's | Lauren L Caron © 2014

 Archeology Window - Bergdorf Goodman Men's | Lauren L Caron © 2014

Archeology Window - Bergdorf Goodman Men's | Lauren L Caron © 2014

If perhaps you're in the area before January 5th, you should make an effort to look at the men's store windows in addition to the women's. Hope you enjoyed my short and sweet windows tour on 5th and 57th street. Happy Holidays and cheers to the New Year. 



SPACES | New York Holiday Windows | Bergdorf Goodman Women's Store

SPACES, FASHIONLauren Caron2 Comments

The Bergdorf Goodman windows have always been my favorite. They're the most outrageous and the most exciting, much in part is do to the scale and the great fashion but also, the amount of detail and obvious hours spent to create each masterpiece. 

This year's theme was based loosely on the store's overall marketing direction of BG INSPIRED. David Hoey (Window's Director) conceptualized windows that were Inspired by the Arts. There is Literature, Gastronomy, Photography, Music, Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, Theatre, Dance and Film. 

 Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Photography | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Photography | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Gastronomy | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Gastronomy | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Literature | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Literature | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Architecture | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Architecture | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Architecture | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Architecture | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Theater | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Theater | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Theater   | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Theater | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Painting   | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Painting | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Painting   | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Painting | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Music   | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Music | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Dance   | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display - Dance | Lauren Caron © 2014

I can now say that I've been behind the scenes after working for the company for a few years and still agree that the windows are magical, and there is just as much effort put into these as you would have imagined. I was within the interiors team so I never actually worked in the windows, but I had a good relationship with David Hoey and the windows team.

For my luxury room installations we collaborated on concept development and wanted to make the store feel cohesive - by creating installations in the interiors that reflected the windows. David is extremely gifted and has the process down to a science. He is able to focus all of his attention to these windows. When he says on January 2, they're already working on ideas, for next year, they really are.  Another unique opportunity that this team has that other companies do not, is that they often work with outside craftsmen and artists on the windows. He has a favorite's list and uses these artisans who specialize in certain crafts and skills, every year. Each of the holiday windows is tasked out to specific teams that can provide a detailed and attentive focus to the composition of the window. For the architecture window, they brought in a sculpture artist from Japan for 6 weeks, to build the lion and the gargoyle, along with two other artists who are known for their paper craft. The Literature window featured the work of Burke & Pryde, a creative studio that specifically designs and creates windows and installations for retailers. They specialize in handcrafted production. Often when you see a Bergdorf Window that has a taxidermy animal covered in feathers or crochet - it's the hand of Johanna Burke and her team. I'm hoping in the near future to spend a day with Johanna to visit her studio and get a closer look into where she works what her spaces look like, stay tuned for that....

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays - 57th Street   | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays - 57th Street | Lauren Caron © 2014

On the 57th street side of the store, they usually do not carry the same theme over, but mostly focus on accessories and showcase a wintery mix of the latest products and gifts available for the season. This year, they constructed large trees (do you recognize the shape, one was rehashed from of the 2013 holiday windows.)

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays - 57th Street   | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays - 57th Street | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays - 57th Street   | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays - 57th Street | Lauren Caron © 2014

  Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays - 57th Street   | Lauren Caron © 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays - 57th Street | Lauren Caron © 2014

Within the store, at the main entrance on Fifth Avenue I designed an installation also based on the BG Inspired theme. Focusing on the concept of light and the the literal translation of the lightbulb that is used to symbolize an idea, I wanted to create a dramatic display that beautifully lights the fragrance gift outpost. We used 10 different chandeliers, mirrored furniture and fixtures, as well as mirrored components to bounce more light around the space. 

For another look at Bergdorf Goodman, I plan to post images of the Goodman's the Men's store tomorrow. Please make sure to check back as they are carrying along with the nspired theme, but focusing on something a little different. Thanks for reading.