City Pulse

By P.J. Gach

Last night was “Project Runway” night, was it on in your house? You know I couldn’t stay away, even with a deadline looming up at me; I just had to plonk myself on the couch and find out if this was the week that Wendy finally got the boot. I’m still reeling in shock that they let her stay, despite the fact that her swimsuit didn’t have a bottom. I am not surprised that Alexandra had to leave, but am wondering why it took the judges so long to do it. Her designs were pretty basic; there wasn’t anything truly unique or wonderful about them. Her clothes didn’t sing or talk.

Speaking of singing, doesn’t this happen to you when you’re shopping – you wander through the aisles just looking, and then, and then, and then you see it. It could be anything: a shoe, a bag, a blouse or pants. But it speaks to you. You hear it whisper slowly and quietly how wonderful the two of you will be together. How every time you wear them, life will be incredible.

That’s what I heard when I saw Jill Taft’s line of accessories. Jisu is all about divine workmanship, clever little details, wonderful color, luxurious fabrics and dreams. Only someone who knows the ins and outs of fashion, and what women crave could design this bag and the entire Jisu line.

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It’s cool, sophisticated and tells the world that you are an amazing fabulous woman. It whispers to you that life is a fun, flirty luxurious adventure, and shouldn’t it be that? The color is happy, the details are beautifully done, and you can actually put things inside it. It’s from her forthcoming spring/summer 2005 collection. Don’t look too long, if you do like it, hurry and get it. Ever since Jill turned from modeling high fashion to designing accessories, her collections have sold out almost immediately after being placed on display.

For years Jill was a model based in Paris, Milan and London. Jill worked with some of the world’s most creative geniuses, including Armani. Being based in Europe, Jill was able to observe firsthand the easy elegance and chic that European women seem to be born with; it’s as though they have that extra fashion gene. It’s like they instinctively know that midnight blue at night can be sexier than black. Or that you can wear very masculine cut clothing, but if the design is made with feminine luxurious fabrics, you automatically make everyone in the room pant (in a very good way).

Jisu’s collections are limited editions. Jill felt that it would keep the integrity of the line and preserve the uniqueness of each creation. The philosophy behind the line is that Jill “realizes the importance of seeing women as individuals rather than a group.”.

When you look at one of Jisu’s accessories, you understand that it’s just the way women are; strong, sleek, smart and beautiful.

Jisu’s designs are cutting edge, with exquisite detail work and old fashioned workmanship. The materials (leather, suede and python) are imported from Italy. Each design is made here in New York City.

Now I’m sure you know by now that the two hot trends for spring are metallics and coral. You’re probably starting to notice that women are carrying gold bags in different shapes and sizes during the day. Coral in every hue from pastel to bold will be worn everywhere and anywhere.

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This Jisu design is almost an hommage to the ideal of a perfect circle. It’s clean, modern and sexy. It’s the bag that will carry you from day into night. While Jisu doesn’t ascribe to color or trend reports, or fashion forecasts, they are referenced. Think of the woman who always seems to know where the fashion wind will blow instinctively and you have Jill Taft. If you study her line, you’ll be able to see hints of trends to come.

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Jisu’s bags mix up color combinations daringly. What you may think won’t work, does with these bags. It’s all about the proportion of color, shape and detail that balances everything.

These accessories move easily between whimsy and practicality; femininity and strength. They are made well enough to be treasured and passed down to a younger generation. They are new classics; and by that I mean that the designs are unique and clever enough to stand on their own. They’re unusual but not faddy, trendy yet clean.

When you do look at them and touch them, your mouth will water from the softness of the fabrics, your eyes will tear from their deliciousness and you’ll find yourself saying that you definitely need one or three.

You can find Jisu accessories at high end boutiques around the world. In New York City they can be found at Verve (353 Bleecker Street), Blue Bag (266 Elizabeth Street) and Sorelle Firenze (139½ Reade Street). Her line is coming to Wink soon, and Jisu will be a partner in Burrow, a designer Co-op that will open on Crosby Street in Early February. To view her designs, please go to her website, http://www.jisuaccessories.com

Federico Calce has clever hands and a wonderful eye. He’s a celebrity superstar hair stylist. Some of his clients include Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan and Michelle Pfeiffer. He’s also coiffed top models for Fendi, Valentino and Armani. Before Federico opened his own salon 14 years ago, he was the Artistic Director for Bergdorf Goodman and is known for his insightful approach to hairstyling.

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This Monday, the 24th, Federico won’t be charging his clients a cent for any service at his salon. Instead he is asking that they make a donation directly to UNICEF to aid the child victims of the Tsunami that rocked South East Asia. All the members of Federico; the manicurist, makeup artist, assistants, and all 13 stylists are donating their time and services to raise money for this very important cause. The salon will be open on January 24th at 10 AM. If you’d like to make an appointment and donate to UNICEF, please call the salon at 212-262-3027. To find out more about UNICEF, please go to their website, http://www.unicef.org

What: UNICEF Fundraiser @ Federico
When: Monday, January 24th, 10 AM – On
Where: Federico, 36 East 57th Street, 5th Floor (between Madison & Park)
Call: 212-262-3027

I just found out that February is Hot Chocolate month. Forgive the pun, but that’s sweet. Or as Paris would say, “That’s hot!” Maury Rubin owns City Bakery and is kicking off the Hot Chocolate Festival Sunday, January 30th, by closing down 18th street between 5th and 6th avenues, trucking in snow and making a temporary ice rink. Ice skating will be free and every day he’s going to create a new flavor of hot chocolate to celebrate the festival in tasty style.

What: Hot Chocolate Festival Kickoff @ City Bakery
When: Sunday, January 30th, 10 AM – 4 PM
Where: 3 West 18th Street
Information: 212-366-1414

Did you know that Kenneth Anger is a Mickey Mouse aficionado? Me neither. You’ll find out more about him during his appearance tonight at MOMA. He’s also a film maker and an author. Tonight he’s premiering his latest short, “Mouse Heaven” and will be showing his other recent works like “The Man We Want to Hang” (2002), Anger Sees Red” (2004) and “Elliott’s Suicide” (2004).

What: An Evening with Kenneth Anger
When: Tonight 8:15 PM
Where: MOMA, 11 West 53rd Street
Call: 212-708-9400
Cost: $20.00
Website: http://www.moma.org

The experimental opera, “La Belle Captive” by composer John King will be presented tonight at The Kitchen. The performance combines live actors and video footage. The theme of the opera is drawn from the works of Omar Khayyam, the poetry of Maria Innes Aidaburu and Alain Robbe-Gillet’s novel “La Belle Captive.” Underlying themes thrown in are the ideas of captivity, power, and mathematics. It’s going to be an unusual and possibly thought provoking evening.

What: La Belle Captive
When: Tonight through Saturday, January 22, 8 PM
Where: The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street
Call: 212-255-5793
Website: http://www.thekitchen.org

Originally published January 2005
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