Monthly Archives: October 2009


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World Premiere: “Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z (Feat. Alicia Keys)

It would be wrong as a New Yorker and a hip-hop fan not to post this vid. I must admit, watching Hov and Keys open game 2 of the World Series made me reconsider hating BP3…and baseball.

Picture 277I met Justin Melnick at the door of some club my freshman year of college. Almost five years later (and with a trip to the Middle East under his belt), Justin Melnick has quit the life of club impresario to explore the world of socially-conscious photography. Most notably, his “Arm.Me” series; in which he uses weaponry to examine and exploit the disarmingly forceful effects of luxury designer brands, defines loaded statement. It’s also a perfect marriage of high fashion and hip-hop fit for Smoke & Mirrors.

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photos courtesy of justin melnick


icebergWorld Premiere: “Big Money” – Game

Producers Cool & Dre have concocted Game’s latest beat out of what sounds like a growling old modem and a couple of handclaps. Sounding like something out of a Michael Mann movie, it more than works. It’s funny that while Game is on his ill-received Hova diss campaign, he hops atop a bigger beat than anything on BP3. While you wait for Detox, let this mothafucka bump. The R.E.D. Album drops December 8, 2009.

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Natalia plays muse to Nicola Formichetti and Hedi Slimane in Givenchy couture for the latest V magazine shoot. Issue 62 hits newstands November 3rd, 2009. Be ready.


Not a fan of Ri-Ri’s latest Bond-sounding single even though the content matter is more than appealing. Adam Hadrys Russian Roulette ring is the perfect compromise to a horrible first single choice.



Song of the Day: “I’m Good (Remix)” – Clipse (Feat. Pharrell & Rick Ross)

Clipse is pretty much my favorite rap group ever. Wasn’t feeling the Virginia rappers’ initial drop with Cam’Ron (“Popular Demand”), so, I’m pleased they’ve redeemed themselves with a video for their summer ’09 effort featuring a hook and production by Pharrell (and added verse by Rick Ross). ‘Til The Casket Drops in stores and online December 8, 2009.  Even in a drought…Clipse hits hard.

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Jackson has yet to choose his “graduation gift.” I dare him to ask for this Carol Christian Poell jacket. Rivaling Balmain in price, it’s only $6,500…but for good reason: it’s entirely made of aged gray kangaroo leather with retractable gloves and is limited in its production to a very select few. It’s by far this season’s best men’s jacket!


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World Premiere: “Echo” – R.Kelly

Kells takes on Jewel and Julie Andrews in his latest tune “Echo” off the upcoming Untitled album. Don’t think the von Trapp family will be taking this on their next tour of Austria. But perhaps the von Trapstarz will.


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This is the very reason I wear fur.
– get it together.

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Ever wonder what made up your silver, gold, or platinum trinkets? Design duo, Joe Johnson and Jeanju Choi-Johnson, a.k.a. ITSNONAME, gives you answers in the form of rings – periodic rings! Chemistry has never been so chic.


‘s hooves will eat your other footwear alive.

photos courtesy of


Honorable Mentions

Smoke & Mirrors‘ list of second bests from the S/S 2010 Collections

00290m-5Francesco Scognamiglio
Plays ruff like none other.

00040m-4Tim Hamilton
Did I style this?

Dolce & Gabbana
A witchy 90’s revival.

Dries Van Noten
The prints only get better.

Saran wrap skirts!

Guy Laroche

Tampon tie-dye and slit sleeves…I think yes.

click here to view the 10 best.

photos courtesy of & wwd


balenciaga_travelThe Balenciaga Arena Trolley bag
Disclaimer: never check this bag.
Caution: scuff it and die.


amy-boobs-2Picture 269

Look who got new titties! Janet welcomes you to the club…
You’re in good company.


Missoni Hotel
— wha????
Book your trip to Edinburgh today.




Peep my girl, Lindsey Thornburg‘s signature cloak on none other than Devendra Banhart. Utter perfection.


6292World Premiere: “Love Come Down” – Dirty Money
(Diddy, Dawn, & Kaleena)

Sean Combs has too much money for his own good. I remember buying Puff’s Forever album in ’99, crying. It was so terrible – wanting and needing Puff Daddy & The Family’s No Way Out back; we haven’t been the same since. Other than my guilty pleasure being Making The Band(s), Diddy and I have put our relationship on hold. From what I’ve heard of Last Train To Paris, his televised [Making His Band] concept album with ex-Danity Kane member Dawn and newbie Kaleena, he might be able to rekindle our former flame. Is there another “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” in the man/corporation? With too many wrongs to right, Diddy disappears behind a new name once again. “Dirty Money” is what seems like his 12th name change. The result is a tribal street banger only dirty money could buy (“Love Come Down”). Though, sadly, it would be a better endeavor altogether were the boss left off.

PuffDaddyNoWayOutMo’ Money, Mo’ Problems indeed.

fashion focus: clog.hog

It’s most certainly my Scandinavian heritage that’s harvested my love for clogs. I’ve grown to incorporate the pointy-toed elf shoes into some of my most unorthodox looks. The connotations of clogs stateside are somewhat pejorative. Most see Crocs, Berkeley lesbians, Heidi and gardeners as clog’s only friends. For Spring ’10, Chanel opted for clog’s mainland farm look, adding a wooden heel to a leather-topped mule for the fashion set. Brazilian plastic shoemaker, Melissa, has created my favorite rendition of the classic footwear to date, in collaboration with designer Edson Matsuo (worn in photo). It seems like it’s finally time to let your inner gnome thrive!

chanelclogs_blogChanel / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week
Picture 268Melissa Clog by Edson Matsuo


Fendi has the sickest clutches for S/S 2010.
They remind me of these…
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3-1World Premiere: “Gun Harmonizing” – Royce Da 5’9
(Feat. Crooked I)

I was in the vocal jazz choir in high school, but we never scat like that.


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Alexander McQueen / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week


You think Amy Thompson‘s plastic robo-leggings sound the same way track pants did in the 4th grade?

track anatomy: thug love

“Piggy Bank” – 50 Cent

“Sonet Shekspira” – Alla Pugacheva
Dupont don’t pretend

“Doing Anything” – Freeway

“Baby Come Back” – Player
Officially Philly’s time to shine.


theface_01Could this be true? Rumor has it one of my all-time favorite mags: The Face, is to return as a digital-only monthly? Pretty, pretty please. Need an editor?


lg_4ae0b00a-8bf0-4bfc-ac54-12744b7db902_1256239114_look30Another day, another dolla.
Vote for your boy at
Picture 263(mighty munchkin)

photos courtesy of Catharina x

CardigansGranTurismoThe Cardigans’ Gran Turismo (1998) LP still stands as one of the best albums of the 1990s. Timeless in its production, Turismo dodges definition. “My Favourite Game” sounds as relevant today as it did yesterday. “Do You Believe” is something Portishead or The Knife or The Faint or even Missy Elliott wished they’d done. The Cardigan’s icy Swedish delicacies are inexplicably bright. Take a listen.

Song of the Day, Pt. 1: “Do You Believe” – The Cardigans

Song of the Day, Pt. 2: “My Favourite Game” – The Cardigans


JULIUS-ADFINALJulius’ new collection is a Thriller.
Available exclusively at Atelier New York.



Product designers do the darndest things! Look to Hafsteinn Juliusson’s line of growing garden jewelry for living (literally) proof. The collection of mini-moss gardens come in one, two, or knuckle-ring varieties and are handmade in Iceland. Get your shit growin’ here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.Song of the Day: “I Love Your Smile” – Shanice

In ’92, Shanice had the #2 single in the country. She was the “easy listening” equivalent to Janet Jackson who kinda-sorta looked like that chick from Family Matters. While she only had one solid crack at the top ten, “I Love Your Smile” stands as one of the most defined sounds of the early 1990’s. Perfect for Kids Incorporated or MMC.

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fzfgjgjgj-019Eva Niyiri’s senior thesis collection at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design officially puts Hungary on the fashion map. It’s like something out of Dune. Samurai armor (similar to Third Floor, NY) and exaggerated silhouettes made of black crackled patents position her interchangeable pieces far from the rest. Her heavily-referenced use of dangerous imagery is insanely appealing. I’d die for a stab.



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For those confusing Mary-Kate Olsen’s elusive quilted leather coat for Chanel: come corrected – it’s J Mary. A demi-couture LA institution headed by artist cum designer, Jennifer Gheur, sold exclusively at Maxfield. The pieces are all handmade, and retail for $10,000+. The aesthetic is comparable to Ellen Barkin’s fave, L’Wren Scott. Fans include (how appropriately) Janet Jackson, the Olsens, and Diana Ross. Nice lil’ base ya got there Mary – keep on mama.

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UjvfVmsRYpy5nq5kxsQeEAfwo1_400World Premiere: “The Thrill” – Wiz Khalifa

Now that Empire of the Sun is common knowledge (hence Entourage and Blueprint 3), it’s time for hip-hop to exploit the shit out of it (see: MGMT and Peter Bjorn & John before them). Wiz Khalifa (one of my favorite emcees) is the first to sample “Walking On A Dream” and give it some hood relevance. While it’s nothing to rave about (he delivers a meager few bars, freestyling aimlessly in the studio), it sufficiently plays to his apathetic stoner persona while pleasing his skinny-jeaned fanbase. Fresh from his forthcoming mixtape collaboration with DJ Ill Will (Burn After Rolling), the track is a feel good announcement to the world – hip or not – Wiz will not to be slept on. His time will come. Trust the kid.!

Paramount Pictures StudiosLIL BOW WOW TYRA
World Premiere: “Every Other” – Bow Wow

To say Bow Wow is/was an interesting pop entity would be an understatement. I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to [Lil’] Bow Wow – that is, until the shorty dropped his mentor JD (So So Def) and signed with Cash Money (Wayne and Young Money, Juvenile, Baby, Mannie) to face his manhood. He has yet to prove to the game he can abandon his teeny-hopper past for street-worthy material and has employed production duo Cool & Dre to help in the attempt. Since the sign, Bow’s released his Greenlight mixtape to over 500,000 downloads in a day and a half, proving there’s more than just a lil’ interest in his mature repositioning. (I’m not saying he’s rhyming like Mobb Deep now by any means.) On this track, Bow does his best Drake impression and goes the singy-rap route atop a shuttering key-laden accompaniment. The production is on point – it’s worth a listen and one hell of a double take.


Picture 257I can’t wed, but, I sure found my ring.


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Dolce & Gabbana / Spring 2010 / Milan Fashion Week
(Bring Neve Campbell back!!)

artist spotlite: the phenomenal handclap band

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you’re into the apathetic tone of Brazilian hipsters, CSS, then, boy, do I have a treat for you. The Phenomenal Handclap Band, hailing from Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan is less of a band and more of a musical collective. Each member brings along with them their own quirky spin on world, funk, and rock music. Their music is hard to pin down to one genre. Their debut album’s sound is a cross between Blondie and Rusted Root. The video for their single “15 to 20” is something of a “Sabotage” remake (Beastie Boys), only this time with each member’s POV.


The 10 for S/S 2010

Smoke & Mirrors’ curated list of highlights from the latest designer RTW collections

RAD-HOURANI-3.preview10. Rad Hourani / Spring 2010 / New York Fashion Week
Rad’s latest proves to be more than recession-ready with its transformable, reversible, zippified creations. Jackets become vests. Pants become shorts. You get the picture. You only need one.

9. Manish Arora / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week
New Delhi designer, Manish Arora’s S/S ’10 collection presented a tougher take on his rhinestoned obsessions. Tech-warrior body apparatuses looking like astro-armor covered the heavily boned party dresses. Arora’s imagination proves once and again that there’s much more than tradition to India’s fashion community.

Rodarte / Spring 2010 / New York Fashion Week &
Balmain / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week
The Mulleavy sisters and Christophe Decarnin must’ve felt like the rest of us while designing their most recent collections. Bleak, apoco-looks reigned supreme in what looked to be the designer’s next big blockbusters. Tina Turner in Mad Max played muse to both collections’ new world order premises, adding a level of toughened tread to the lines.


7. Burberry Prorsum / Spring 2010 / London Fashion Week &
Marios Schwab / Spring 2010 / London Fashion Week

Beauty never looked so good. This spring, it felt as if designers were stuck under their own shadows, pessimistic in their views of tomorrow. Instead, London’s rising stars brought the pretty back. Schwab put three-looks into one while Bailey draped for days. The looks represented a shift away from their peers’ preoccupations with apocalyptic distopias.

garethpughss10176. Gareth Pugh / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week
The young Brit’s costumed gothic predispositions for the first time veered away from blacks and whites to develop a foggier feel. Essentially overcast. In the process, Pugh has brought an entirely new light to the grayscale. And for that, we’re thankful.

5. Mary Katrantzou / Spring 2010 / London Fashion Week
Mark Fast / Spring 2010 / London Fashion Week &
Fashion East x Holly Fulton / Spring 2010 / London Fashion Week

Classic? What’s that? The British fashion council’s equivalent to the ‘Brat Pack‘ delivers the most forward in prints, knits, and shapes. Consider their looks to be those you’ll see in lights ten years from now.

4. Lanvin / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week
For Elbaz to add me to his fanbase, he had to look to J.Lo, toilet paper, and serpents. Strangely enough, it worked luxuriously.

viktor_rolf3. Viktor & Rolf / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week
The design duo took a chainsaw to classic Cinderella ball gowns to create optical illusions on the runway for Spring. The best way to describe it: impossible.


2. Haider Ackermann / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week
I’m a sucker for Ackermann‘s aesthetic. His trademark silhouettes elongate any and every figure. His in-depth experiments with pigment have assisted to provide the line its signature earthy aura. His latest outing delivered some of his most delicious offerings to date; cinched and gathered, he provides peasantry a safari alternative.

1. Alexander McQueen / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week
I grew up in the theater, so, when it comes to fashion, McQueen‘s always been my savior. His theatrics have never ceased to amaze both the drama and fashion lover in me. His latest show boasted some of the most mind-blowing pieces seen on the runway since Thierry Mugler’s day. The practicality argument doesn’t apply when deciphering McQueen‘s studied creative approach. Thinking to 2095, he’s designed the post-icecap human; one with fins, gills, and hooves. His brilliance goes beyond ready-to-wear and lands closer to the range of couture mindsets. Always a forward thinker, don’t expect him to dull down anytime soon. McQueen pushes fashion in directions no one thought fathomable.

Honorable mentions: coming soon.

photos courtesy of wwd,, & fashionspot


Vodpod videos no longer available.World Premiere, Pt. I: “Thinkin’ About You” – Mario

The Runners have taken Mario‘s name literally on their latest collaboration, “Thinkin’ About You.” Applying a beeping Super Mario Bros. tune behind a vox-y synth and Mario’s falsetto, The Runners have finally got their hit. The video for the single finds Mario serenading his lost love throughout the streets of London, England – a setting fit for such a regal beat. Now that Usher’s reign has passed, Michael’s gone, and Ne-Yo’s in the studio, Mario may finally catch his break. I’m happy the SoundZ-produced “Emergency Room” duet with Rihanna made the album, but sad it’ll never see a single release. The track which leaked after the Rihanna-Brown fiasco last Grammy season (but recorded prior to the incident) was too close to the police report to ever receive radio play. I’ve included it below so you can hear the hit that never had a chance. (Speaking of Ri-Ri, it’s been confirmed: her next album hits stores November 23, 2009.)

World Premiere, Pt. II: “Emergency Room” – Mario & Rihanna




Sandra Backlund‘s S/S 2010 collection is off the wall.
A rollercoaster ride as per usual.

photos courtesy of fashionspot

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Song of the Day: “Lullaby” – Shawn Mullins

This trucker had a hit back in ’98 and then quickly evaporated along with the rest of your parent’s favorite soft-rock/VH1-Adult Contemporary fare. His lurky “Lullaby” has got to be one of my favorites. Favorite for taking advantage of unconscious Jersey girls after sloshed nights out on 27th Street. Mullins’ rapist gap-toothed muttering is just enough creepy to work as a sedative for the lay. Especially when he says something about Sonny and Cher. The maniac was only worth one-hit, but his stankness earned him a Grammy. P.S. Speed this shit up and take it to the streets. This song is the next great hip-hop sample.



hairEagle ‘Do by Muffin, photo x David Yellen.

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Shouts to my girl Julia on over at Modelizing for re-introducing me to The Daily Show. I love it, just sucks I don’t have cable. I’m up in this mug makin’ it hail – throwin’ quarters. I’m still in school over here. At least I have Slim Thug to sympathize with me. (Click below to watch part II.)

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Lee either reads my mind or my blog. That said, I would and will sell my soul for McQueen’s next-gen bracelet/best handjob-of-all-time. Note the pro-nails.
Smoke & Mirrors
, baby!

photos courtesy of


Andrea Klarin‘s Grace Jones portfolio reminds me a great deal of Missy Elliott’s classic breakthrough video, “The Rain.” I miss Missy! Come back!

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Picture 255Song of the Day: “Medicine” – Plies (Feat. Keri Hilson)

Sorry for the lack of updates but I’ve fallen victim to the SWINE. The doc prescribed me some doses of Plies and Miss Keri’s new joint, “Medicine.” But I still feel a lil’ woozy.



As ridiculous and gimmicky as the latest Louis Vuitton may have been, I must say these trash bags are creepily cool.


snoop-dream-gangsta-luv3World Premiere: “Gangsta Luv” – Snoop Dogg (Feat. The-Dream)

Woke that ass up. Just to put it to sleep. Dream helps put the G-mack down on Snoop’s first single off the forthcoming Malice in Wonderland album. Hear it here first.


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Loving on this Victor Vasarely-inspired vintage Fendi baguette.


Picture 254Spotted! Vote for your boy on here.
Big ups to Catharina.