I’ve been on a bit of a rehash lately when it comes to fashion.
It started with leggings a few seasons ago. I mean, I went through the whole leggings-Madonna-wannabe fashion phase the first time around and, I have to admit, I had no qualms about jumping right back on that bandwagon this time around. (That old adage about not wearing a trend if you’re old enough to have worn it the first time around? As relevant today as not wearing white after Labor Day.) Besides, jeans may be comfortable, but leggings you can literally live in.
This fall, designers upped the ante with lots of shine.
Then when bold shoulders showed up on the runway, I pounced in an ecstatic furor. For once, a fashion adage I had slavishly adhered to during my lawyer days paid off – the one about buying “investment pieces.” I lovingly pulled out my Calvin Klein Collection and Richard Tyler blazers from my lawyer days, carefully stored somewhere in my parents’ spare closet. Paired with graphic leggings from Alexander McQueen’s McQ line for Target, a men’s white tank, and sky-high ankle booties, the blazer once appropriate for the courtroom became not only current but took on the added cache of being “vintage.”
Chloe Fall 2009.
Du Juan in Derek Lam Fall 2009.
And there’s no sign of the bold shoulder or the legging disappearing any time soon. They both made a strong showing on Spring 2010 runways.
It’s one of the few upsides of being of a certain age. You actually accumulate quite a lot of good fashion stuff.
One rehash from about the same period is Hard Candy. Remember that cult beauty line from the mid-‘90s, with its off-the-wall colors (Sky Blue anyone?) and kitschy candy packaging? Well, they’re back. Same packaging (plastic rings on nail polishes), same cutting edge colors (a luminous sapphire blue nail polish, neon eyeshadow sticks), but this time they’ve got retro cache.
From left: Hard Candy Just Nails in Frenzy, Walk the Line liquid eyeliner in Sugar Plum.
The prices are retro, too. Sold at Walmart, their nail polishes go for $5, mascara for $6, and baked blushes for $7.
Their timing couldn’t have been better. Eye glosses? Check. Colored mascaras? Check. Even eye tattoo stickers for an over-the-top Halloween look — genius! And another update for the times – the nail polishes are free of toluene, formaldehyde and DBP. It doesn’t get any better.
Make the transition from your beloved dark nails to a sinister green with Hard Candy Just Nails in Envy. Catch the light just so for a flash of blackened shimmering peacock green.
Scared of color? Try a swoosh of it on the outer corners of your eyes. It lights up dark eyes. I like Hard Candy’s Take Me Out Liner in Bamboo. Line the inner lids with black, dab a touch of Bamboo on the outer corners (which actually looks more like Chanel’s minty jade than a leafy green). Gorgeous!
All available at www.Walmart.com.
There’s an area in San Francisco called SoMa, which stands for “South of Market Street.” Once a rundown industrial part of town, it’s revitalized into a hip arts district home to hopping nightclubs, art galleries and headquarters to companies like Wired and Twitter.
Interesting factoid about the hip ‘hood: It’s also known as “SoMa Pilipino.” Not only is approximately a quarter of the population in the area of Filipino descent, many of the smaller streets were named by early Filipino settlers after their loved ones back home (Dore, Minna, Tehana, Jessie, Natoma).
So it only makes sense that SoMa’s 1:AM gallery is putting on a group exhibition celebrating Filipino folklore and mythology through urban contemporary art.
“When I was growing up, there was no difference between the real and mythical,” says Minette Lee Mangahas, one of the more than 40 participating artists. “Ghosts, dwarves, trolls were
as real as the trees and anthills they were said to live in. Part of what has been lost to us in the U.S. — in the Westernization of our culture in diaspora — is the magic that connected us to the rhythms of nature.”
Titled “Tabi Tabi Po” (“Excuse me,” which is what you say before entering a ghost-infested area), the multimedia exhibit is curated by James “Ganyan” Garcia and features an impressive lineup of artists of Filipino descent from the U.S., the Philippines (in partnership with Pablo Gallery), and even Norway. Artists include Angry Woebots, Minette Lee Mangahas, Analog, Krayolaeater (who did the artwork shown above), Jet Pascua, and dozens more.
Scary? Sure. But it’s all for a good cause. A percentage of art sales will be donated to the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng through BAYAN Philippines and BALSA (Bayanihan para sa Sambayanan).
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s SoMA district, the exhibit’s opening reception is this Friday the 13th (how apropos), from 7-10:30 pm, but you have until December 12 to check out the cutting edge art. Special events include a Bindlestiff Puppet Show on December 5, and a closing reception on December 12 with a live performance by Baliktad.
Tabi Tabi Po
Nov. 13 – Dec. 12, 2009
1:AM, 1000 Howard Street, San Francisco
To find out more, go to www.1AMSF.com.
It’s film fest season and we’ve had plenty to choose from these last few months. But it’s not over yet. The MIAAC (Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council) Film Festival is kicking off its ninth annual festival on November 11-15.
Held in New York City and featuring Indian and Indian diasporic cinema, the festival’s holding 47 screenings this year, 44 of which are premieres. Highlighted are the opening night film “Today’s Special,” a heartwarming comedy about food inspired by Aasif Mandvi’s Obie Award-winning play “Sakina’s Restaurant,” and the closing film “The Endless Wait,” starring Sharmila Tagore and Aparna. Get your tickets to the opening night gala and mingle with Indian luminaries such as Sharmila Tagore, Mira Nair, Aparna and Shyam Benegal.
If you miss Mira Nair at the opening night gala, check her out at “An Evening with Mira Nair” where you can watch her groundbreaking film “Salaam Bombay!” The festival will also feature panel discussions at New York University, free to the public, on topics such as “The State of the Indian Screenplay” featuring renowned Indian screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar, and “Queer Bollywood” on the portrayal of homosexuality in Indian cinema.
In “Life Goes On,” a London family is thrown into turmoil when the mother suddently dies. Starring Girish Karnad, Sharmila Tagore, Om Puri and Soha Ali Khan. Photo by Vipul Sangol, courtesy Stormglass Productions.
For a complete list of films, schedules and ticket info, go to www.miaacfilmfest.org.
Photos courtesy of the MIAAC Film Festival.
My skin has gone through its share of crises, and this last milestone birthday is no different. All of a sudden, in a matter of weeks, my normally very combination skin (oily T-zone, normal cheeks) went where it has never gone before: Dry.
Sure, experts say your skin gets drier as you get older. But my T-zone was getting oilier by the month in the last few years, so I thought “dry” was a word I’d never have to seek out when it came to skincare.
Now, of course, I’m scouring my beauty arsenal for anything to treat dry skin. Thank goodness we’re getting products all the time to test out. Here’s what I’ve tried:
Cle de Peau Beaute Synactif
The latest technology in luxury skincare goes after the skin’s own lymphatic system to detox the skin and combat aging. I slathered the Intensive Cream on during my 20-hour flight to India, and landed with clear, soft skin. And now that my skin has gotten dry, I’ve replaced my usual witch hazel toner with the Synactif Softening Lotion. It got rid of the dry flakes around my nose and mouth flake-free, and my pores, oddly enough, actually look smaller.
From left: Softening Lotion, Intensive Cream, Soap.
Available at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman.
Relastin Eye Silk
Our own Ask Audrey expert, Dr. Jessica Wu, is a big fan of this product,which I use before my regular eye cream. “Clinical data shows Relastin works to thicken the epidermis and restore skin elasticity,” says Dr. Wu. I love its matte, satiny feel, and anything that claims to reduce undereye bags, I’m going to try.
Relastin Eye Silk, $69, www.relastin.com.
Amore Pacific Time Response Skin Renewal Foundation SPF 18
Experts say you need a retinol at night, an antioxidant during the day. What I love about this foundation is its multitasking abilities — it provides really good coverage (it’s creamy, not runny) and smooths out all my spots and unevenness, while also giving me an extra dose of antioxidants for my skin. And the pump mechanism (you push down and a little dollop pops out) keeps everything contamination-free.
Sundari Rose & Lavendar Hydrating Mask
Sundari, which means “beautiful woman” in Sanskrit, is a skincare line based on Ayurvedic principles. I used to use this mask only on my cheeks, but now that my skin’s gone dry, I use it all over. Just once a week after exfoliating and it leaves my skin super soft and dewy.
Travel is a passion of mine and I make sure to take a major trip at least once a year. It gives me something to look forward to, appeases my need-to-plan-and-organize nature, broadens my world view, and ironically, really gives me an appreciation of home.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of products out there made for the frequent or hard-core traveler. And this last trip I took to India really tested my mettle. We were going to do a lot of traveling on the road within the Rajasthan region of India, so we needed to travel light. But we also needed to bring a lot with us, since we wouldn’t necessarily have access to the usual amenities. (Saline solution anyone?)
So here’s a list of my must-have travel products, tried and tested for two weeks in India. Trust me, you won’t find me traveling in the near future without any of these items.
MyTagAlongs The Handywoman’s Kit
Like a chic version of a Swiss Army knife, but about the size and width of a credit card. Scissors, a nail file, tweezers … you can’t go wrong.
Murad Matte Perfection Collection
This travel size kit includes the oil control mattifier with SPF 15, which solved the dilemma of how to protect my oily T-zone from the sun while keeping my skin oil-free as I slogged through the crazy streets of Chadni Chowk in Old Delhi. Then, after a day of gawking at ancient sites and battling bovine traffic, I treated myself to a mini facial with the one-use packets of the pomegranate exfoliating mask, Murad’s newest product.
MyTagAlongs Onetime Anytime Towelettes
In the madness and chaos that is India, I’d often find myself in the middle of some amazing fort or some dust-ridden street, hot and tired, my makeup and sunscreen slowly melting off. These one-use towelettes saved me. Sunscreen, hygiene towelettes, even deodorant! Genius.
MyTagAlongs Sunhat To Go
I’ve finally given in. I may have strolled the bougainvillaea-filled alleyways of Positano, swum with sharks in the Seychelles, and backpacked through Southeast Asia, all without any form of headwear and minimal sun protection. But long gone are my bohemian, tan-loving days. These days, the only sun I get is on my commute home during Daylight Savings Time, and then I use a hand fan to keep any lingering UV rays at bay.
So this time, while traveling through India (they had their hottest October in years — go figure!), I had no choice but to don a wide brimmed hat. This roll-up travel hat saved my face. It rolls up into a little tube so it was actually really easy to throw into my travel bag. (That meant I didn’t have to actually wear it until I got out into the blazing sun.) I may not have looked cool, but hey, my skin remains one less sunspot-free. And at my age, that’s important.
And yeah, while I suppose it could remind some of an Asian farmer hat, I choose to see it as more Audrey Hepburn a la Holly Golightly. I’m sure if Miss Golightly went to India, she too would don the appropriate head gear. And look way more chic than I doing it.
I’m back! After two glorious weeks in India, I’m back to reality, but not back to the same ol.’ The vibrant colors, pungent scents, and raw earthy richness of Rajasthan still color my vision, and I’m going to try to sustain that sensory high that is India for a while longer.
One thing that really surprised me about Rajasthan are the incredibly bright hues of the saris. I’m talking neon pinks, yellows and turquoises, sometimes all worn together. Women wore these amazing colors all the time — while harvesting millet, herding cows, even making the three-times-a-day walk to the local well while balancing giant silver jugs full of water on their heads. It made for such a picturesque scene as we made our way across the countryside from city to city.
All those bright pops of color can brighten any winter wardrobe — try these scarves by Bindya. They’re as sheer and colorful as the saris worn by Rajasthani women.
And of course, the women are never without their jewelry. Depending on the caste, different women wore different jewelry, ranging from giant gold nose rings, to armfuls of shiny lac bangles, to chunky circles of ivory covering shoulder to wrist.
I don’t think I can get away with wearing more than a few chunky bangles at a time (trust me, inspired by Marc Jacobs, I tried to all last spring, and let me tell you, it’s not easy writing with an armful of 3-inch thick bangles). So I love Sibilia’s Calder 20 strands cuff. One cuff, with the look of 20 bangles. No clinking and clanging.
South Asian American designer Rosena Sammi makes amazing jewelry that is definitely Indian inspired but very modern.
I’m going to wear brilliantly hued crystal accessories like these with white men’s tanks and must-have boyfriend blazers.
Notwithstanding all the stunning jewelry and clothing, I’ve always thought that women in India were gorgeous. My two weeks in Rajasthan confirmed it. Even their babies are major lookers. In a Bishnoi village I visited in Jodhpur, mothers put kohl on their babies’ eyes for good luck, which only emphasizes the dark fringed lushness of their little peepers.
While I may never have the thick fringes Indian women are blessed with, I’m going to fake it with Shalini Vadhera’s Global Goddess Boho Exotic Eyes Kit.
The kit comes with a set of fluttery fringey fake lashes, perfect for creating my own lush look. Add a bit of the shimmer shadows in the prettiest of neutrals, kohl/kajal eye pencils in three hues perfect for Asian eyes, and a volumizing mascara, and I’m all set.
Global Goddess Boho Exotic Eyes Kit, $40, available at Dillards,
www.VictoriasSecret.com, and www.GlobalBoddessBeauty.com.
The palaces and forts in Rajasthan are as inspiring as the people. Just look at the intricate carvings of Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.
I love the packaging on Cargo Cosmetics Eastern Eye Pencil Collection. The scrollwork designs remind me so much of all the intricate filigree work at Mehrangarh Fort. (Sigh — I really miss India!) And the different colored pencils, in hues like midnight blue, tarnished silver and burnished olive, are dark enough for my Asian eyes, but with a color kick to add some fun to the holiday season.
Cargo Cosmetics Eastern Eye Pencil Collection, $18, www.Sephora.com.
I’ll admit. I’m not an organic-all-natural-for-sensitive-skin-only kind of chick. I don’t mind chemicals. In fact, I’d have to say that chemicals, pills, synthetics — all manner of man-made goodness — have made my life better thus far. I grew up popping antibiotics for my chronic tonsilitis. My coffee addiction goes hand in hand with my addiction to first Sweet N Low, and then Equal, and now Splenda. And read the ingredient list on any of my must-have beauty products, and you’ll find enough dimethicone, glyceryl stearate and propylparaben to make your eyes cross.
So I was a bit skeptical when the Lush Coco Lotion came across my desk. Sure, the packaging — a little ice cream pint container with a twist off lid — is adorable. And the press kit tells me the hand and body lotion contains extra virgin coconut oil harvested from Nias, a small Indonesian island that was devastated by the 2005 tsunami. (Lush’s support of the island’s new sustainable coconut farm is helping to build preschools there.) OK, so I’m definitely intrigued. But it’s a lotion. I’ve tried a million body lotions here at Audrey. And unfortunately for my dry skin, nothing really works unless it’s oily, greasy and sticky.
What really threw me off was the ingredient list. It reads, and I quote: “Ingredients: Spring Water, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Mandarin and Rosemary Infusion, Pimento Berry, Nutmeg and Star Anise decoction …”
What the? Where’s my cetyl alcohol? Cyclomethicone? Isopropyl Isostearate? I was confused.
But like a good editor, I tried it. I slathered it on after a shower one night. Not much fragrance. Went on smoothly. Not sticky. Not greasy. Good luck, I thought wryly.
I woke up this morning, bright and early at 7 on the dot. (Thanks, jet lag.) My face was inexplicably dry (another little betrayal, in addition to wrinkles and adult acne, of age … more on that later). But my arms … and my legs … were inexplicably soft. Seriously. Soft. Not sticky. Not greasy.
After that discovery — and the fact that I swear my eyelashes grew lusher after drinking Indian whole milk for two weeks — I’m seriously giving organic-all-natural a second look. Maybe Mother Nature knows a thing or two after all.
Lush Coco Lotion, $19.95, www.Lushusa.com.
Happy Halloween! No tricks, but a major treat — some eye candy, in fact.
We’ve been following actress Maggie Q’s career ever since she graced our cover for our June/July 2006 issue. Though she landed on the American media radar with her starring role opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III in 2006, and Live Free or Die Hard opposite Bruce Willis, she’s been a mega star in Asia for years.
Most recently, she’s been spotted on the red carpet for the premiere of New York, I Love You, a romantic drama starring Natalie Portman, Orlando Bloom and Blake Lively. As usual, she looked stunning in a Grecian-inspired draped jersey gown with de rigeur cutouts by BODYAMR, Le Vian onyx and diamond earrings, and a Le Vian onyx and diamond ring.
Maggie’s keeping busy shooting Chinese films, like the action flick The Warrior and the Wolf, out in China now. Look out for her in her next project, Priest, starring Paul Bettany, due out in 2010.
In our fall issue, we told you that Hello Kitty would be celebrating her big Three-Five with a special exhibit at Royal/T in Culver City, Calif. Well, the exhibit is live now, with a kicking premiere party attended by Kimora Lee Simmons and her two daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee, and a bunch of other celebs. Our reporter tells us the line was hella long to get in.
But never fear — you can still get in and check out all the Hello Kitty madness. It’s going on until November 15. For updates on upcoming events, go to www.sanrio.com/threeapples.
If you can’t get there, check out our pics of the exhibit, taken by our own writer and photographer Liz Kim. (I, for one, can’t wait to try out the Kitty breakfast.)
After wowing audiences with her role as a sexy lesbian in the 2004 romantic comedy, Saving Face, winning an Asian Excellence Award in 2006 for Outstanding Newcomer, Lynn Chen took some time off acting. It took another cute yet fresh romantic comedy about an Asian American family to get her back on screen. In the highly buzzed-about Dave Boyle feature, White on Rice, Chen plays Ramona, a college student who is being pursued by one very unappealing suitor: an irresponsible, middle-aged divorcee with a love of dinosaurs and geology – who also happens to be her uncle.
If the premise of White on Rice sounds quirky and a little dysfunctional, that’s because the film centers around a quirky and dysfunctional anti-hero, Jimmy (played by Letters from Iwo Jima’s Hiroshi Watanabe). Jimmy gets dumped by his wife and moves into the basement of his sister Aiko, who lives in America. Jimmy’s search for a new wife is thrown off when he sets his sights on his niece-in-law, Ramona, and tries to woo her away from his co-worker, Tim (played by Heroes’ James Kyson Lee).
“I think everyone has had someone who’s wanted to be with them that they didn’t want to be with,” says Chen, her jet black hair flirting with a smile that looks like it’s keeping a secret. “There’s this initial reaction like, ‘I don’t want to be mean to you, but this isn’t going to happen, honey.’” She laughs as she settles into an olive green couch, looking perfectly at home in the cold, formal-looking conference room. I’m sitting (slightly more uncomfortably) with Chen, the actress, singer and food blogger, as she talks about what drew her to White on Rice and more.
Audrey Magazine: Congrats for White on Rice receiving a theatrical release!
Lynn Chen: Thank you, I’m excited. With these indie films you never know what’s going to end up happening. You never know if it’ll see the light of day, if it’ll end up on DVD or not. So the fact that we’re getting a theatrical release is very exciting.
AM: What drew you to the part of Ramona?
LC: When I first read the script, I loved that there were so many parts for Asian women and they were so different from one another. I was like, “there’s one Asian woman, and another Asian woman, and another Asian woman! Wow, how great!” I liked that whoever wrote this must understand that these parts aren’t always available, so when you see an opportunity like that, you want to grab it. Of course I wanted the lead. There’s also actually a deleted scene and Tim and Ramona get to sing and I wanted to sing. I’ve been singing my entire life and I’ve never really gotten an opportunity to do that, so shooting that was really fun.
AM: You play someone who gets chased by a pretty creepy suitor. Any similar occurrences in real life?
LC: I don’t think there’s ever been any stalker-ish behavior. In Saving Face, I did have an influx of fans when the movie first came out because we were the first Asian American lesbian couple, and for a lot of lesbians this was the first time they got to reach out and talk to someone. That first flood of fan reaction didn’t freak me out, but it did freak my husband out. He was like, “Hey! What’s going on here?” But it’s really harmless.
AM: What was the shoot like?
LC: This was one of those experiences where it doesn’t happen very often. It’s like making magic. It was a very grueling shoot for me because we shot in Salt Lake City and it was 110 degrees and I didn’t sleep at all. So I was an insomniac and I got heat stroke. But the experience was still amazing – very talented cast, very talented director.
AM: What was it like working with Hiroshi?
LC: He’s a complete professional. He’s hilarious even though he doesn’t know he is.
AM: Is he similar to his character Jimmy?
LC: He is in some ways but not as extreme – he’s not an annoying person at all. He definitely stuck on his own. For example, on days off, we’d be like, “Hiroshi, come to dinner with us and he’d be like, “Nah it’s OK. I’m going to sleep and go to Red Lobster. [Laughs.] And we’d be like, “OK, you go do that. We’re not going to do that with you, but you do that.” He does his own thing and I love that.
AM: And how about working with James Kyson Lee?
LC: We never worked together [before White on Rice], we only knew of each other. It’s funny, the Asian acting community is so small and so close that we see each other all the time. So it was awesome to work with him, getting to know him and getting to see him.
AM: And what about director Dave Boyle?
LC: He’s very calm and he really makes you believe he actually delivers, that he’s capable. He makes you feel like you can screw up however you want and he won’t make you look like a fool.
AM: Would you ever want to work with Dave again?
LC: I would love to be Dave’s muse! I want to be in all his films!
White on Rice is playing now in select theatres. Check out http://whiteonricethemovie.com/theaters.html for dates and cities.
Keep up with Lynn at www.LynnChen.com.
By Janice Jann.