Nothing says spring like cherry blossoms. And if you’re in the East Coast this weekend, you’re in luck. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which has more than 200 Japanese flowering cherry trees — the most diverse array outside Japan — will be holding its annual Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festival. On May 1 and 2, come out and join tens of thousands as they revel in spring’s most picturesque display.
But it’s not just a botanical wonderland. The festival has evolved into a celebration of the best of both traditional and contemporary Japanese arts and culture — and you know what that means. Cosplay! Short for “costume play,” cosplay has become an integral part of any celebration of Japanese culture. Gawk at lush cherry blossoms and cosplayers alike, all while enjoying dance, martial arts, food, manga, workshops, demonstrations, and guided tours of the Garden’s Japanese-inspired plant collections.
There’s a lot going on in just a weekend, but highlights include:
* Traditional taiko drumming, as well as the more modern COBU, a taiko drum-meets-rhythmic footwork team founded by and featuring members of STOMP!
* Concerts by Brooklyn-based Japanese gypsy rock band Kagero
* Thrilling karate demonstrations and original action drama by Samurai Sword Soul
* One of the more popular events is the Sakura J-Lounge, which has been expanded to feature even more manga, anime, and cosplay culture,
including a “high tea” for the Victorian maidens and boho Bo-Peeps; a para para party with New York’s best anime dancers; and a stunning fashion show that demonstrates how creative cosplay can be.
And of course, there’ll be plenty of traditional Japanese arts and music like ikebana (flower arranging) and Japanese cuisine.
For festival hours, admission and schedule, check out the festival’s official site.
All photos courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
I’m not one to follow fashion rules, especially ones involving your “colors” or skintone. I may have golden undertones in my skin, but I wear whatever color appeals to me. But I do have to admit, even I see the difference when I wear the wrong yellow too near my face.
But oh, yellow. Such a great hue. That’s why leaving that sunny color to your bag or shoes is the perfect solution for the yellow challenged among us. Antoinette Lee “Dolcita” clutch is that perfect shade of sunflower yellow that I could never wear as a top, but is just right as a look-at-me bag.
The mini sidekick to the Dolce, the Dolcita clutch features Antoinette Lee’s signature center strap and gold hardware accents. But my favorite feature? The adorable striped lining inside! So nautical chic!
For all you lovers of celluloid, the film fest love continues. The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, April 29, and goes till May 8.
Some films we’ll definitely be watching:
The Actresses, May 8
Six big-time, multi-generational South Korean actresses come together on Christmas Eve for a once-in-a-lifetime Vogue magazine cover shoot. But with big entourages — and even bigger egos — in tow, anything can happen in this pseudo-documentary. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Korean entertainment industry, touted as hallyu (or the Korean Wave), that is sweeping the world.
Starring Kim Ok-vin (Thirst), the ingénue du jour, and Choi Ji-woo (Winter Sonata), playing up her “ice queen” persona, The Actresses holds nothing back, from plastic surgery to alcoholism.
Au Revoir Taipei, April 29
Arvin Chen’s Au Revoir Taipei, starring Jack Yao and Amber Kuo, is an adventure-romance-caper film. Taking place on the streets and back alleys of Taipei, a lovesick dumpling vendor gets caught up in the eccentric and dangerous world of the Taipei mob.
And it’s not just films. There will be plenty of panels for those looking to break into filmmaking (or just to gawk at all the Asian American talent!).
Filmmaker Justin Lin (SHOPPING FOR FANGS, BETTER LUCK TOMORROW, FAST & FURIOUS, NBC’s COMMUNITY), along with other industry professionals, will be discussing the qualities they look for in filmmakers in a special panel called YOMYOMF.com’s Interpretations: So You Really Want to Make Films. Taking place on Sunday May 2, the panel will also be the launch of You Offend Me You Offend My Family’s INTERPRETATIONS, a short film initiative designed to put this knowledge to practical use, support emerging talent from the Asian American creative community, and give filmmakers a chance to share their unique perspectives and have their work evaluated by seasoned professionals with a breadth of experience in studio and independent film/television.
Get a complete schedule and ticket information here.
Tamae Ishii, the Japanese American designer behind Ishii New York, may have learned the trade in Rome and New York working for Valentino, Calvin Klein and Zac Posen, but she knows what women want. “As a female designer, I always remember which body parts women complain about the most, and try to design and cut the styles to minimize those common problem areas,” she says.
Comfort is fine, but Ishii also knows you’ve got to look good to feel good. So she culls her luxurious fabrics from the finest mills in Europe and Japan, and makes sure to add a dose of heady femininity to all her designs.
And her striped jersey dress with belt doesn’t get much easier. Forgiving, drapey, with heather grey stripes that reference the sports-chic motif seen all over the spring runways. Dress it up with a blazer for the office. Wear it all weekend with boots. It doesn’t get easier.
I’m a huge fan of KidViskous. I’ve raved about her “Ew” necklace. There was a time when I wore her pyramid grid earrings every day. Now, designer Tiffany Lee has entered the arena of the statement ring with her hilarious “Mustache” ring.
It’s a pretty abstract swirl, until you look closely. And it looks like a double ring — all the rage right now — but it’s not. I can’t wait to get my hands on the gold one; it’s also available in black and silver.
Back when I was a co-ed at UCLA, living for the first time away from home, my mom used to pack me food and goodies every week. And we’re not talking boxes of ramen. She’d fry up a bunch of dumplings, stir up a batch of fried rice, and bottle up some stews and soups in those giant glass kimchi jars. We’re talking enough to feed a small army.
Of course all those containers wouldn’t fit in a measly grocery bag — paper or plastic. No, my Korean-born mother would wrap up the jars and bins in giant square pieces of faded cloth. I didn’t think anything of it. It did make a covered rice bowl easier to carry. It wasn’t until I saw an old Korean War movie and I saw all the refugees carrying their life belongings in similarly wrapped cloths that I realized it was a Korean thing.
It turns out, it’s an Asian thing. The Koreans call it bojagi; the Japanese furoshiki.
It also happens to be a very environmentally friendly thing. Fresh handmade cosmetics brand Lush is getting in on the bojagi/furoshiki action. They’re decreasing their packaging by offering Knot-Wraps, a large scarf made of either recyclable materials or vintage fabrics, to wrap up your purchases.
They’re just $6.95, and the Knot-Wraps can be used and reused in a variety of ways. Use it as a unique way to wrap a gift. Stick your farmers market purchases in it. Or do it Asian-mom-style and bringing your lunch in it. So much cuter than brown bagging it.
Yet another easy, breezy dress from Joy Han. The perfect berry hue for spring with touches of ethnic flair. Wear it layered now with a de rigeur utility coat, tights and boots for the urban nomad look. Wear it alone come summer for the easiest throw-on imaginable.
In our Spring issue, I highlighted one of my favorite trends for spring: the techno alien.
It’s what I like to call a hybrid of digitized prints, alien anatomy and tie dye gone awry.
A lot of designers showed variations on the theme, from Proenza Schouler’s surf-inspired looks that had a distinct alien-reptilian bent.
Emilio Pucci’s shine directly referenced the trend, but it’s the abstract, alien pattern that makes it a real contender.
Even the more classic Carolina Herrera got into it, showing a ligamental print on an otherwise ladylike silhouette.
Of course, if you don’t want to beat around the bush, nothing beats Rodarte’s goth alien.
Now, you don’t have to go as extreme as any of the above to get the look. A touch of tie dye gone askew, some slashed cut-outs here or there, or some melting Jolly Rancher-like watercolors will suffice. Try pairing a tie dye tee with an abstract print floral skirt (just make sure the floral print has a similar hue in it for a perfectly clashing-matching look).
Add a space age-worthy shoe, and you’ve got the look down.
For a more subtle reference, pick an accessory with a techno detail, whether it’s a knotted rubber necklace or a bag with spacey detailing.
The ultimate way to get the techno-alien look? Add these leggings. It’ll definitely get you noticed.
What do you think of the techno-alien trend? Are you a fan like I am? Talk to me!
Oh, the minimalist ’90s. Sometimes, I have to admit, I do miss it.
Well, I’m in luck because based on the fall 2010 runway shows this past February, the ’90s is going to have a huge comeback in a handful of months.
Maybe you’re a minimalist or a classicist at heart. Or maybe you just like to get a leg up on the fashion competition. Either way, you’re gonna wanna get your hands on Ija’s large clasping bangle in sterling silver.
So simple and yet … what a statement.
Got your spring wardrobe in gear? No? Let us give you a jump start.
Veronica M. is giving three lucky Audrey readers their choice of any dress from her website. That’s right. You pick the style and the size, and it’s yours!
Designer Veronica Monroy-Ferrer is all about easy cuts that make women of all shapes and sizes look great (and comfortable!). The only daughter of a successful Peruvian seamstress, Monroy-Ferrer learned early on the secrets to designing no-nonsense, affordable clothing for the modern woman balancing career, family and style. She incorporates bold, fun prints with forgiving silhouettes, available online and in her five Veronica M boutiques in Southern California.
Want one? We know you do! Go check out Veronica M’s website and tell us which piece you love and why — you may just be wearing that piece in no time! Start commenting now! You have until April 28, 11:59 pm!
Keep reading to see more Veronica M designs.
*No returns or exchanges allowed. All winners are picked at random.