Monthly Archives: March 2011

HABITUAL Obsession: Florence Welch

Posted by The E on March 31, 2011

Florence Welch on stage

By now you might have heard of Florence Welch, the red haired British import who records under the name Florence + the Machine. After she was discovered performing in a small club in London, she has quickly gained fame in both the US and Europe, and her debut album Lungs has gone gold, selling over 500,000 copies and peaking at #1 on the Billboard Heatseeker charts. Her voice has been likened to Kate Bush, with occasional touches of Bjork.

She really hit the mainstream this year when she earned a coveted spot on MTV’s Video Music Awards  to perform her single “The Dog Days Are Over”. She has since followed up with high profile performances during the Oscars, The Brit Awards, SNL, Dancing with the Stars, and the Grammys, where she was nominated for Best New Artist and paid tribute to Aretha Franklin alongside Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride and Yolanda Adams.

She puts some real vocal power behind unusual melodies to make soulful, emotional music that hits all the notes. We love “Girl With One Eye”, perhaps the most minimal song on the album, and “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”, an epic battle cry and the most recent single.

We also can’t take our eyes off her fashion.  Her uncoventional looks have landed her recent spreads in Elle, The New York Times T magazine and Vogue, and she was all over the blogs for her looks during Paris Fashion Week. She’s a 24 year old that could pass for 38, with light skin, vermilion red hair, and long, thin legs that people just won’t stop talking about. It’s features like these that help her pull off nearly any look, from basic jeans to the ethereal, vintage dresses she loves to wear on stage.

Florence Welch about town and at the MTV VMAs

You can catch Florence performing (with the Machine) during her U.S. tour, which starts in June.

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Explained: Vermilion

Posted by The E on March 30, 2011

When the fall 2011 line reaches retail, you will notice that the brilliant red orange color vermilion has made its way into the final collection.

Vermilion is a storied color that has been around since ancient times. In its naturally ocurring form, vermilion is actually mercuric sulfide, a toxic compound also known as “cinnabar”. Like most compounds containing mercury, the substance is toxic to humans, and significant exposure can lead to the psychic and emotional disturbances that result from mercury poisoning. Today, vermilion dyes and paints are synthetic and non-toxic, though natural cinnabar is still mined in China.

Vermillion Paint Swatch

We had been watching the red trend over the past few seasons, moving from the bluer reds of last year to vermilion red with an orange tone in current lines. Isabel Marant is a frequent offender, having used vermilion in several past collections. Hermes, Tory Burch and Chanel have all offered vermilion leather designs, and BMW recently offered vermilion as a paint option on its X5 SUV. We have also seen a lot of red hair both on the runway and in fashion editorials, which became a design inspiration for the fall line.

Red Hair

The origin of the word vermilion is even more interesting. It comes from the French vermeillon, meaning “bright red”. This is derived from the Latin word vermiculum, which means “little worm”, and refers to a small orange red insect the Romans used to make red dye (the same word is also the origin of the pasta shape “vermicelli” – doesn’t that make you hungry?).

Not sure what it is about the ancients using insects for coloring, but carmine is another, deeper shade of red that was made from the crushed up shells of a certain kind of beetle. The Egyptian queen Cleopatra allegedly used these insect bits as a sort of primitive lipstick.

In ancient Rome, the pigment was used to color the face of the statue of Jupiter, and to honor victorious generals as they made their return to Rome. It also decorated the cheeks of gladiators who fought in the Colisseum. In China, vermilion was used by royalty to create imperial writings. Traditional Hindu women still dab vermilion in the part on the top of their hair during certain ceremonies to indicate that they are married, while men wear the color on their forehead. 

The master Italian painter Titian used vermilion powder to create the bright red tones of paint in his fresco Assunta in 1518, which still hangs in the Santa Maria gloriosa dei Frari chapel in Venice. Caravaggio also kept vermilion in his palette to brighten the clothing and blood of his often grotesque imagery. 

Assunta by Titian

"Assunta" by Italian painter Titian

Judith Beheading Holofernes - Caravaggio

Caravaggio's "Judith Beheading Holofernes"

Vermilion also occurs in nature. Scientists gave the vermilion rockfish and vermilion flycatcher their names because of their bright red pigmentation. The Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona is a popular tourist attraction and photography subject. Several cacti also produce bright vermilion flowers.

It’s really no wonder how vermilion found its way into the line.

Vermilion in Nature

Clockwise from top: Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, a bright cactus flower, Vermilion Rockfish, Vermilion Flycatcher

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Made in the USA: Esquivel Shoes

Posted by The E on March 28, 2011

One of the things we are really proud of at HABITUAL is that every pair of jeans is conceived, designed, and handmade in USA. Right in Los Angeles, actually. From cutting and sewing, down to attaching hardware and shipping them to retail, it’s all done here at home. So we have a special affinity for other brands that represent American craftmanship to their core. One brand giving great weight to the “Made in America” tag is Esquivel shoes, which are also handmade here in California.  While it’s a safe bet to buy a pair of shoes that say “Made in Italy” inside the tongue or on the sole, it is hard to challenge the impeccable quality of Esquivel’s footwear.
Esquivel Dublin Black Boot
Most of their designs feature classic shapes, with a touch of whimsy or unconventional bit of color to set them apart.  This incredible video from the Esquivel website will give you a better understanding of their attention to detail, and exactly what it means to be handmade in the U.S.A.

Esquivel from David Hubert on Vimeo.

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Up Close and HABITUAL: NYLON March Issue Dinner

Posted by The E on March 11, 2011

We are always excited for the newest issue of NYLON. The editors are known for having their own take on the fashion of the moment, presented by some of edgiest makeup artists, stylists, and photographers out there. It’s so fun to see a known talent in a new light or discover an underground artist just before they break.

Last night we co-hosted a private dinner with NYLON to celebrate their latest issue with cover girl Kate Bosworth, at Hemingway’s Lounge in Hollywood. In a town known for its clubs, Hemingway’s is a real bar. With classic décor like velvet furniture, a marble bar, and walls of books, arranged and proportioned in a contemporary fashion. It feels like a bit of New York City was somehow transplanted to the heart of Hollywood Boulevard.

Guests included NYLON editor-in-chief Marvin Scott Jarrett and publisher Jaclynn Jarrett, the HABITUAL team, Kate Bosworth and fellow actresses Amber Lancaster, Ashley Hinshaw, and Daveigh Chase, and stylist Cher Coulter. Alexander Skarsgard and Entourage’s Rhys Coiro also came by to enjoy a couple of drinks.

DJ Lindsay Luv HABITUAL Audrey

DJ Lindsay Luv in the HABITUAL Audrey Legging

DJ Lindsay Love looked amazing in the Audrey Legging in python, and she really set the tone for the whole event with her low key but upbeat selection of indie pop. You can download or listen to part of the set, which included tracks from Robyn, The Gossip, The Raveonettes, and Muse, on her Soundcloud page.

Lindsay Luv x NYLON Mag *Live by DJ Lindsay Luv

Marvin Scott Jarrett, Cher Coulter

Nylon Editor-in-chief Marvin Scott Jarrett and stylist Cher Coulter

Ashley Hinshaw, Matt Bloomingdale and Gina Bloomingdale

Actress Ashley Hinshaw, Matt Bloomingdale and HABITUAL's Gina Bloomingdale

Dinner Tables
Dinner Tables

Wall of Typewriters

Wall of Typewriters at Hemingway's

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HABITUAL Obsession: MM6 x Opening Ceremony

Posted by The T on March 7, 2011

 MM6 by Opening Ceremony Jackets

Right now we would wear anything and everything from the new collaborative capsule collection between MM6 Maison Martin Margiela (one of our favorite lines) and Opening Ceremony (one of our favorite retailers).   Simple and multifunctional, the 20 pieces in the new collection are designed to transform into additional silhouettes. For example a outerwear piece that can be removed layer by layer, or a leather bag containing a portfolio and also a clutch. The only problem is that we don’t know if we have the patience to wait until September!

MM6x Opening Ceremony Leather Tote

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Who's got THE HABIT? Amanda Seyfried

Posted by The E on March 3, 2011

Amanda Seyfried in Alice Mid-Skinny

Only someone like Amanda Seyfried could make packing up the trunk look so stylish! She paired the Alice Mid-Skinny with a short jacket and black combat boots for a casual but collected off-the-set look.

Amanda appeared recently on the Late Show with David Letterman to promote her new film Red Riding Hood, a modernized version of the classic fairy tale, directed by Catherine Hardwicke. The film opens next Friday, March 11th.

Amanda Seyfried in Alice Mid-Skinny, Venus Wash 2

Thanks to DenimBlog for first spotting this one.

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HABITUAL Obsession: Hermes Leather

Posted by The T on March 2, 2011

Hermes Evelyn III

Just have to share this story. A couple of us were visiting the mothership on Madison Avenue (open during renovation), and we overheard a young, well-dressed man with very little knowledge about the House of Hermes, trying to surprise his equally young girlfriend with a special gift. We should have minded our own business, but we couldn’t resist!  He wanted to know which bag was the most iconic, and the sales woman wasn’t telling the whole truth. She was trying to sell what was available versus what was not. After a quick conference we intervened.  After 30 minutes of Birkin vs. Kelly 101, we recommended the practical Evelyn III in a neutral color. Hermes just knows how to handle leather. It turned out that his girlfriend is a designer who loves timeless, chic, and functional luxury. Sounds like our kinda gal.

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Behind the Scenes: ENK and Coterie

Posted by The T on March 1, 2011

February is an important month for the denim and fashion industries, not only because of the collections showing at Fashion week, but also because of two back-to-back trade shows, ENK and Coterie.

ENK takes place for three days each year at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, and brings together fashion brands from all over to showcase the latest sportswear, denim, dress, accessories, and footwear lines to the buyers who select what shows up in the boutiques and department stores nearest you. Trade shows are where a lot of the hard work of the fashion business takes place. Beyond the glamour of New York’s million dollar runway shows, trade shows are an intersection of salespeople, fashionistas, stylists, buyers, and businessmen, taking appointments and standing in heels for long hours in a massive convention hall.

Habitual Booth at ENK Las Vegas

The Habitual Booth at ENK Las Vegas

Immediately following ENK is Coterie at New York’s Javits Center, one of the largest fashion trade shows of the year, with nearly 14,000 vendors, ranging from the modest booths of new denim startups to the massive, built out fashion experiences from billion dollar global brands. This year we tried to keep things relaxed and open for the thousands of attendees to work through at their own pace.

Habitual booth at Coterie in New York

The Habitual booth at Coterie in New York

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