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    I was recently able to travel to Japan with my family. I stopped in Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, and Nara and set off with a large list of recommendations of places to visits and the various kinds of Japanese cuisines I was determined to eat. My days consisted of eating 4 + meals a day—with a multitude of snacks in between, of course.

    In Tokyo, my aim was to visit as many areas as possible (often by foot) to see the nuances of everyday life and the changes of atmosphere and architecture. However, one of the things that no one tells you about Tokyo is that it is almost impossible to find your way around. I found it best to have an idea of where I wanted to go but to be completely flexible with what we did when we got there.

    Hakone was really cool because it is a Japanese vacation town. It was surreal to be in a place where the people around you don't belong, but you are even more foreign. I stayed at an amazing ryokan where the fresh spring water was pumped up into a bath on your balcony. They also served a traditional kaiseki dinner and breakfast.

    Kyoto was one of the most amazing places I have ever been. It has a myriad of temples and shrines sprinkled around the city. We would walk in a commercial area and then stumble into an ancient shrine. One of the places that I wanted to see the most was Saihō-ji, a temple famed for its moss garden. We entered a lottery and were able to secure tickets for a one hour visit to the temple. The moss garden was one of the most fantastical places I have ever seen. Visitors are able to walk around the golden pond and immerse themselves into the serene atmosphere.

    While we stayed in Kyoto, we took a day trip to Nara, a former capital of Japan. We were able to feed the friendly deer of Nara who bow for food and occasionally chase down visitors. In a picture in the slideshow above, the deer were bowing to passersby in hopes for a snack.

    I came back from Japan significantly jet lagged, 10 lbs heavier, and with a phone barely functioning due to the amount of photos I had taken. However, I can't wait for the day when I can go back and do it all over again.
    Burnt Miso Ramen at Kyoto GyogThe bowing deer of NaraVegetables at Nishiki Market in KyotoThe smallest kittenThe gardens of the Kyu Asakura House in DaikanyamaPart of our Kaiseki meal at our Ryokan in KyotoThe best tempura soft boiled eggThe moss garden (Koke-dera) of Saihō-jiDishes at a small robotaya restaurant in EbisuThe largest oyster I have ever seenA bowl of Ganso Kaisen Hitsumabushi. First, you eat one-third with wasabi and soy sauce, leaving out the uni. Next, you mix in the uni (with wasabi and soy sauce) to eat some that way. Finally, you pour dashi (fish broth) over the remaining third to enjoy as ochazuke.

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    While New York-based brand Death To Tennis focuses on the aspect of design longevity and subtle twists to pared-down classics, their Spring/Summer 2016 collection is a decidedly (and surprisingly) loud collection with an underlying political and social statement.

    Inspired by Junior Murvin’s political reggae hit of 1976, “Police and Thieves,” the collection boasts statement-making prints and embroidery featuring illustrated scenes of an intense riot. In stark contrast to the prints found on the Micky Shirt and quilted jacket, the Spring/Summer 2016 collection also includes subtle pieces, such as a jersey tee with asymmetrical armholes, elastic pants, and a cool dark palette imbue the brand's subtle complexities.

    Read more about the New York-by-way-of-England design duo below.

    Shop all Death To Tennis here

    Name: William Watson
    Hometown: South Shields, home of the sand dancers in England
    Astrological sign: Sagittarius
    Hidden Talent: I can fully function on three hours of sleep a day
    What was your style like in high school? Bad. Very bad. No, the worst … actually awful
    What's your current Spring/Summer 2016 collection inspiration? “Police and Thieves” by Junior Murvin
    Coolest place to visit in England: Marsden Rock South Shields
    If you were to do another job besides designing, what would it be? Lead vocals in an ‘80s big hair rock group, like Whitesnake and Def Leppard
    What's your go-to karaoke song? “We are the Champions” by Queen
    Four nouns that define you: Insomnia artist, freak of nature, farce finder, doodle dominator

    Name: Vincent Oshin
    Hometown: Gateshead, Newcastle Upon Tyne
    Astrological Sign: Aquarius
    Hidden Talent: I think I can really sing!
    What was your style like in high school: Denim pants, thick white socks, flowered shirts, and a shit-load of Vaseline in my hair (I couldn't figure out for the longest, which is why I kept breaking out in pimples!)
    Do you have a design muse? Dr. Benway
    Coolest place to visit in New York or England: Phoenicia in New York and Bath in England
    If you were to do another job besides designing, what would it be? Easy, a chef (Must get a daily fix of screaming at people in the kitchen... "You little....”)
    What's your go-to karaoke song? “Cake” by Rihanna. Cake!! Cake!!!
    Four nouns that define you: Simon Bisley enthusiast, Face-Off Obsessive, wanna-be critic, poo-catcher, praying mantis
    Shop all Death To Tennis Here

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    For those of you who don’t know Daniel Arnold, you should. The former writer-turned-photographer made a career change in 2013 (April Fools’ Day to be exact) when his ability to capture coherent, real-life moments on an iPhone (!) garnered enough Instagram likes for him to make the switch. While Arnold might call some of his photos “pure luck,” don’t let his modesty fool you… The man is literally on his feet all day (in cowboy boots nonetheless), hunting for strangers’ most honest moments.

    Lucky for us, Arnold headed to Los Angeles for a couple gigs this February and decided to stay the month. Escaping the harsh New York winter is ideal for anyone, but what Arnold found himself truly indulging in was unfamiliarity and the feelings of discomfort that it creates. “I almost prefer to be uncomfortable,” says Arnold. “That experience of being divorced from identity in a weird clean slate where you can be a fluid version of yourself.”

    So how does the unfamiliar translate into a fashion editorial? And even more pressing, how does someone like Arnold (who thrives on capturing real-life moments) photograph a somewhat controlled environment? As he explains: “I’m not a chin-down kind of guy.”

    Arnold directs by giving emotional context, rather than requesting a pose. Instead, he’ll describe a moment or occurrence in a day in hopes of recreating the odd social interactions and unknown territories he had been living all month long.

    “You find an acquaintance at a Walgreens and go around with them for lack of plans, and it sorta loosens your identity,” Arnold explains. “By the end of a day-without-consequences, you're a new, braver thing and the world looks a little tweaked and your relationship with this new crew exists only in a cool, made-up twilight place. But you're alive again.”

    This was the story running through the photographer's head for our editorial, East of La Cienega. For one day, three new friends (and the crew) became a clique. They laughed, ran across suburban lawns, peeped inside of BDSM shops, explored sewage tunnels, and may or may not considered getting tongue piercings á la Thirteen. Draped in some of spring’s most rebellious pieces— Acne Studios barely-there denim shirt, Angel Chen’s open lace-up pleather trousers, and a throwback Anna Sui crop top to name a few—the friends evoke the feeling of what it truly means to be uninhibited, young, and alive.

    So, did Arnold capture in his signature candidness the liberated and emboldened actions that arise from new people and places? We think so, but why don’t you decide…

    View the full East of La Cienega editorial hereIsa Arfen Peplum Dress in mix,  Acne Studios Gelder Denim Shirt in light vintage, Marques'Almeida Low-Rise Cropped Frayed Jeans in shiny black, and Ms MIN Dress in black

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    Towards the tail end of the andro-minimalist ‘90s—when somber palettes, sharp suiting, and angular hair coifs reigned supreme—Raf Simons and photographer David Sims envisioned a requiem for the era. Their photographic book Isolated Heroes featured portraits of male street cast models breathing an all too familiar raw austerity. Much akin to Raf Simons’ disposition as a post-punk Renaissance man culling inspiration from every cell of our collective postmodern anatomies; the designer’s Spring/Summer 2000 collection was inspired by MENSA students and the hardcore techno Gabbar scene (hence the keen-edged bowl cuts). Take the designer’s studied anthropological inspirations and photographer David Sims’ redolently evocative portraits for a thoughtful exploration into portraiture. Bridging photography, art, and fashion, Isolated Heroes was revered as a body of work in its own right.

    Weren’t around for this seminal work of art? Thanks to Simons and his penchant for throwbacks, you can now plaster yourself with those fixed gazes and the spartan appeal of Isolated Heroes with his capsule of parkas, sweatashirts, and tees.

    Feel that ‘90s minimalist malaise with printed versions of early “models” such as Gwen, Jonathan, and Stevie on your own body...

    Shop all Raf Simons here
    Photos courtesy of David Sims; hair by Guido 

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    We all have that moment where Friday night rolls around and a Netflix binge is the primary “event” option. In order to cure your major case of FOMO, we’ve teamed up with The Mirror Cube, a happenings site that features events recommended by artists. With their expert panel of visual artists, actors, writers, and directors, The Mirror Cube brings you the lowdown on what shows, screenings, and exhibits you should check out each week in New York and Los Angeles.

    NY: Blue Velvet at Film Forum
    March 25-31
    Picked by: Lyz Olko
    What: David Lynch's Blue Velvet celebrates its 30th anniversary with a new restoration and a re-release in movie theaters.

    Why Go: Critic Roger Ebert infamously panned Blue Velvet when it came out in 1986, but the surreal neo-noir and dark satire of suburban life is now considered to be one of David Lynch's cinematic masterpieces. On Blue Velvet's initial release, Elvis Mitchell wrote in The New York Times that the film is "as fascinating as it is freakish. It confirms Mr. Lynch's stature as an innovator, a superb technician, and someone best not encountered in a dark alley."

    NY: Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty at MoMA
    March 26-July 24
    Picked by: Aaron Stern
    What: An exhibition dedicated to French painter Edgar Degas's work as a printmaker.

    Why Go: Degas is primarily known for his oil paintings and pastels of ballet dancers, but this show reveals another, surprisingly modern dimension of the artist by focusing on his immersion in the monotype process. A Strange New Beauty collects 120 monotypes, as well as 60 related paintings, drawings, pastels, sketchbooks, and prints.

    NY: Savages at Warsaw
    March 29 at 9 PM
    Picked by: Lauren Cohan
    What: Post-punk rock band Savages headline at Warsaw in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

    Why Go: Savages released their sophomore album, Adore Life, in January, and coming on the heels of their shattering debut LP, Silence Yourself, the London-based rock band is two for two with their records. Lead singer Jehnny Beth is a charismatic and powerful presence onstage, and Savages put on a thrilling live show that The Telegraph called "impossibly compelling."

    LA: Cat Art Show 2: The Sequel at Think Tank Gallery
    March 24-27
    What: The art show focused on the cat as both companion and meme returns to Los Angeles for its second year.

    Why Go: The exhibition will feature 118 feline-centered works contributed by 70 artists, including Mark Ryden, music photographer Mick Rock, tattoo artist Kat Von D, and actor Norman Reedus. Historian Dr. Paul Koudounaris will deliver a lecture on "history's weirdest and most amazing felines" on Saturday, March 26.

    LA: Joanna Newsom at Orpheum Theatre

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    As a dog lover and a proud owner of a beautiful Blue Nose Pitbull, I've never really considered myself to be a cat person. In fact, the only cat I ever felt connected to was Garfield, and that's because we share a mutual love for lasagna.

    My lack of appreciation for cats changed when I attended the opening of the second annual Cat Art Show LA last night in downtown Los Angeles. Curator Susan Michalsbrought in over 70 artists in this exhibition and asked them what cats truly meant to them. Some of my favorite pieces included a watercolor painting by Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd, and a photo of two cooks and a cat in a Russian prison, created by everyone's favorite zombie killer, Norman Reedus.

    Below, I speak with Michals about her fascination with cats, the excitement of working with new artists, and who’s really the boss in her house. Hint: it’s her cat.

    NATHANIEL SANTOS: What prompted your fascination with cats?
    SUSAN MICHALS: ​We always had cats growing up in my family, so I guess you could say I was a cat fan from pretty much day one.​

    Were there any particular artists you were especially excited to bring into the exhibit?
    ​I really love all of the work. But in particular, my favorites include Humanity Detected by Alexei Sovertkov, Dawn Bowery's work because it kind of looks like my cat, Miss Kitty Pretty Girl, and then Leslie Kirchhoff's Jump.​

    Who is your have a favorite cat icon?
    ​Favorite cat icon? Why the Cat Art Show Muse, of course!

    Be honest: How many cats do you own?

    ​Only one... and I have a dog named Olive. But my cat is the boss.

    Cat Art Show runs through March 27

    Think Tank Gallery
    939 Maple Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90015
    Photos courtesy of the artists 

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    When he’s not outfitting everyone from Rita Ora to Kelela, Phlemuns designer James Flemons is acting as his own fashionable version of Emmett “Doc” Brown, taking us back in time to the red carpets of a past life.

    For Spring/Summer 2016, the LA-based designer (and OCLA alumni) looked to an unexpected (and let’s face it, critically-lauded) place in the history of fashion for inspiration: the red carpets of the early-aughts. You know the days: during the prime of Joan Rivers carpet coverage, where Von Dutch reigned supreme and Paris Hilton’s midriff-baring skirts were the talk of the town.

    Offering up a 2016 twist, Flemons provides a range of interchangeable cargo shorts, silver grommets, and denim. In one delightfully unexpected decision, a dupioni silk Western-style shirt replicates Ace of the Powerpuff Girls’ gangreen gang— a design detail that will take you right back to the year 2000.

    Below, Flemons talks Spring/Summer 2016 inspiration, hidden talents, and why he may or may not be the lost member of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

    Shop all Phlemuns in OCNY and OCLA stores

    Name: James Flemons
    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    Astrological sign: A proud Virgo
    Hidden Talent: It's not so hidden but i'm a good dancer. People love me at weddings haha.
    What was your style like in high school? I looked like the lost member of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: cornrows, 3XL white tees, and baggy baggy jeans. There was no mixing of brands; it had to be all one label from head to (sometimes) toe.
    What is your current Spring/Summer 2016 collection inspiration? Pop culture style on the red carpet from the early 2000s.
    Do you have a design muse? I can never stick to one muse, but I always ask myself, Would my mom like this?
    Coolest place to visit in Los Angeles? The Griffith Observatory is always a go-to.
    If you were to do another job besides designing, what would it be? That's a question I've been asking myself for years. I've been designing clothes since elementary school, so I really have no clue.
    What's your go-to karaoke song? It's a toss-up between “Diamonds and Pearls” by Prince or “Africa” by Toto.
    Four nouns that define you: Carefree, dance-crazed, insomniac, and introvert
    Shop all Phlemuns in OCNY and OCLA stores 

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    In 1976, Jamaican reggae singer Junior Murvin released his career-defining track “Police and Thieves.” This subtle battle song would go on to become an international hit that would be covered by fellow riotous punk band The Clash on their debut album in 1977. Today, almost forty years later, the track has more cultural significance than ever— with police brutality cases, moral dilemmas in the American political system, and destruction and confusion constantly mounting. On the other end of the stirring spectrum, New York-based design duo Death To Tennis are bringing fashion into the socio-political conversation with their Spring/Summer 2016 collection, inspired by that iconic Murvin song that’s by and for the people.

    This season, Death To Tennis boasts statement-making prints and embroidery featuring illustrated scenes of an intense riot—the origins of which might not be known, but one can surely pinpoint to any number of recent events. In stark contrast to the chaotic and rebellious prints found on the Micky Shirt and quilted jacket, the Spring/Summer 2016 collection also includes more subtle pieces, such as a jersey tee with asymmetrical armholes, elastic pants, and a cool dark palette that imbues the brand's subtle complexities.

    Now, more than ever, is the time to take both a social and political stances on the topics that impact society. With the Death To Tennis Spring/Summer 2016 collection, you can at least begin to take those first steps.  

    Shop all Death To Tennis here and click through the slideshow above to see exclusive images
    Death To Tennis The Micky Shirt in riot print and The Bloke Shorts in dark denimThe Manchester Jacket in oliveThe Hurst Jacket in olive 

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    We know. Our unabashed proud parent symptom knows no bounds. If we had a bumper sticker for five of the eight OC fam members that made the LVMH cut, wheatpasting would take on a whole new look. With a chance to win a $300,000-euro grant and mentoring from OC’s own Carol and Humberto (who are judges alongside J.W. Anderson, Phoebe Philo, and more), the stakes are unequivocally high, and OC’s candidates—including AALTO, Alyx, VEJAS, Wales Bonner, and Y/Project—are equally as captivating.

    Go behind their designs and get the full run-down on our finalists below.

    Self described as “primitive”, “raw,” and “retro,” Finnish designer Tuomas Merikoski takes inspiration from his homeland. “We really want to explore and show people Finland in a different way,” Merikoski mentioned in a T magazine interview. For AALTO Resort 2016, Merikoski draws from his country’s endless sun, resulting in all-night raves. Flame and collage prints and languid tailoring codify much of the collection.

    With a commitment to research and development in garment construction, creative director Matthew M. Williams harnesses his inspiration from his California youth and global urban subcultures. A masterful eye for capturing the severity of androgynous futurism, Williams’ Spring/Summer 2016 collection is punctuated by silver hardware, a monochrome palette and angular silhouettes.

    Garnering the likes of Beyonce and Kelela, VEJAS is re-envisioning New York’s landscape as we know it. Revered for his elegantly conceptualized, gender-fluid aesthetic, Toronto- based designer Vejas Kruszewski was initially overcome by body and mind in a state of constant fluxus; “Isn’t the idea of being, in body and mind, in constant transformation so appealing? That we are never fully formed entities?” Vejas told Dazed. “How far can we will our bodies and lives to take on the ideal forms we imagine for ourselves?” In tandem with this season’s tenacity for a post-apocalyptic aesthetic, Spring/Summer 2016 offered up an array of radically tailored pieces inspired by the horror movie heroine transcending from a world of destruction into a Garden of Eden.

    Wales Bonner
    2015 L’Oreal Professionnel Designer of the Year Award winner Wales Bonner’s keen eye—and socio-politically progressive vision—provoke inspiration. “I was drawn to that idea of performing blackness, owning identity in an unapologetic way” Bonner remarks to the MoCADA museum. From the story of Ethiopian slave Malik Ambar to James Baldwin’s personal style, Spring/Summer 2016 drew upon a variety of themes resulting in an array of dark-wash denim separates, plush terry cloth, and wrapped linen tops.

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    You know those feelings you get when you return back home to urban civilization from your tropical vacation. Sure, the hard cement and cold stares from passersby have replaced the sandy beaches and friendly smiles from hotel staff, but that sentiment still lingers. These feelings could have something to do with the last remnants of your sunburn...or it could be all of the fresh gear still squeezed into your suitcase. The effect of traveling and the garments you bring home are explored in Our Legacy’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection— fittingly titled “Syndrome.”

    Below, Our Legacy designer Christopher Nying discusses the tropical theme behind the collection, choosing fabrics that fit a “tropic syndrome,” and how a missed trip to Hawaii may have spawned this collection.

    Shop all Our Legacy here

    CHLOE DEWBERRY: Where does the collection name “Syndrome” come from?
    CHRISTOPHER NYING: The project names for the collection were "Tropic Syndrome" and "Stockholm Syndrome," or the idea of being affected by the "other side." In this case I wanted to bring the idea of how you are affected when traveling somewhere and you buy pieces as a result of being in a different mood. The feeling you had suddenly seem strangely far away after your return, but the garments remain in your wardrobe. This is also expressed through a reversed Colonel Kurtz phenomenon. We played with the idea of innocent warriors, or “virgin warriors” as we called them. This added a range of military garments in light, innocent colors, as if even the uniforms were affected by the tropic flowers – struck by the syndrome.

    Were you on a specific trip that sparked the concept for this collection?
    No, the opposite really. I was very eager to go somewhere—to Hawaii or somewhere paradisal— but I didn't. So the first sketches were very vague, like grasping for a lost memory. Our urban take on Hawaiian patterns, made in a rough graffiti way, is a good example of the results of the attempts to touch from a distance.

    What is your process for creating each collection?
    Our process is constantly in process. I don't follow many rules or structure in my own work; it’s more spontaneous feelings. The past season started very conceptual, by looking at my high school and the different subcultures and groups living parallel to each other. . The current collection started more abstract, but was inspired by contrasts whereas Fall/Winter 2016 was sparked by a narrow idea that I had to change halfway through the project. That's why we named it “REHEARSAL” – a moment in-between, mixing both civil and professional clothes.

    Are there any specific details that set this collection apart from the rest?
    Usually when making a collection, we start with the fabrics. But for the spring collection, we started off with the theme right from the beginning. We then chose the fabrics to fit this “tropic syndrome” theme. For example, we collaborated with textile artist Akane Moriyama to create military style outerwear in colorways that are both innocent and toxic at the same time.
    Our Legacy Jacket in red and Army Jersey Turtleneck in green cast

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    Japan holds a very special place in Olympia Le-Tan’s heart. So, when the devastating news hit that one of her favorite hotels in Tokyo, the Hotel Okura, was undergoing demolition, the designer decided to center her Spring/Summer 2016 collection around the country. “I decided that this was the right time to do my Japanese collection,” says Olympia. “‘Sentimental Journey’ is an homage to some of the many things I love about Japan.”

    The collection includes a variety of inspirations—from bondage snaps by photographer Nobuyuki Araki and artist Hokusai to Sanrio characters like My Melody and the Little Twin Stars. But what really caught our eye was the irresistibly kawaii lineup of handmade Hello Kitty bags and clutches.... Because who doesn’t love Hello Kitty?

    In case you were curious, everyone’s favorite feline starting winning the hearts of Japanese since it’s birth in 1974. Two years later, Hello Kitty headed west to the United States—and it's safe to say the obsession didn’t stop there. Her popularity never seems to wane, and among the many reasons why she succeeds after all these years seems to be rooted in the nostalgic nerve Sanrio hits. Remember that lunch bag or pencil case you begged your mom to buy? Because if you don’t, we're pretty sure you were home-schooled.

    Since we’re always suckers for nostalgia, it should come as no surprise that OC’s love affair with Hello Kitty is still going strong. After all, Hello Kitty herself made an appearance at our Omotesando store opening back in 2013, located on Cat Street, so, DUH. She also partied with us at OC’s Fashion’s Night Out events (remember those?). And who could forget her 40th birthday party held in LA?

    Olympia Le-Tan speaks to this sentimentality as well in her collection. “This season, the OLT woman is sensually powerful but sensitive and nostalgic,” Olympia says. “She is wild and tough, but there is a gentle sadness in her eyes.” From the particular shade of red to the felt used to bring the prints to life, everything about these bags evoke an appealing retro vibe. The Hello Kitty series comes in a variety of shapes—from the classic Book Clutch to the circular Dizzie Bag. Each bag is also assembled with care, where velvet patches are strategically placed onto the base fabric and sewn by hand (see for yourself in the slideshow above).

    Scroll through the slideshow above for behind the scenes photos of Olympia Le-Tan’s Hello Kitty bags in the making.

    Shop all Olympia Le-Tan here

    Hello Kitty Teddy Bear Dizzie Bag in red, Hello Kitty How Are You Book Clutch in red, and Hello Kitty Lunch Milk Box Bag in cream

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    We all have that moment where Friday night rolls around and a Netflix binge is the primary “event” option. In order to cure your major case of FOMO, we’ve teamed up with The Mirror Cube, a happenings site that features events recommended by artists. With their expert panel of visual artists, actors, writers, and directors, The Mirror Cube brings you the lowdown on what shows, screenings, and exhibits you should check out each week in New York and Los Angeles.

    NY: Bring Me the Head of Sam Peckinpah at Film Society of Lincoln Center
    March 31-April 7
    What: A comprehensive retrospective of the feature films of director "Bloody Sam" Peckinpah.

    Why Go: One of the greatest American filmmakers of all time, Peckinpah is perhaps best known for his western The Wild Bunch and the revenge drama Straw Dogs, but his filmography (and this series) also includes conspiracy thrillers (The Killer Elite; The Osterman Weekend), a war film (Cross of Iron), and an affectionate (and uncharacteristically bloodless) tribute to long haul truckers (Convoy). If you're new to the cinema of Sam Peckinpah, we recommend starting with the westerns The Wild Bunch, Ride the High Country, and The Ballad of Cable Hogue. From there, you might want to try the underrated rodeo drama, Junior Bonner, which stars Steve McQueen and Ida Lupino.

    NY: The Music of David Bowie at Radio City Music Hall

    April 1 at 8 PM
    Picked by: Raviv Ullman
    What: Over 20 musicians put on a live tribute concert and play from the songbook of the late singer-songwriter, producer, and composer David Bowie.

    Why Go: This event (and the one the night before at Carnegie Hall) are star-studded affairs that Bowie fans shouldn't miss. Ann Wilson of Heart, Cat Power, Jakob Dylan, Blondie, Michael Stipe, The Flaming Lips, Pixies, Tony Visconti, J Mascis with Sean Lennon, Esperanza Spalding and many more will be on the lineup. At publishing time, there were still select premium seats available for purchase, but if you're unable to make it to the show, the promoters will be streaming it live via Skype for a minimum donation of $20.

    NY: Ellsworth Kelly: Photographs at Matthew Marks Gallery
    February 26-April 30
    Picked by: Aaron Stern
    What: More than thirty gelatin silver prints of photos taken by the artist between 1950 and 1982.

    Why Go: This is the final exhibition planned by Kelly before his death in December of last year—and the first exhibition dedicated to his photography. The silver prints (though ostensibly more detailed than Kelly's paintings) share an attention to composition and interlocking forms that's evident in his paintings.

    LA: Elvis Costello at The Theatre at Ace Hotel
    April 2 & 3
    Picked by: Carson Meyer
    What: Singer-songwriter Elvis Co

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    Long before guys were crushing on Natalie Portman with her oversized headphones in Garden State or Clementine introduced the orange puffer coat/blue hair combo in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind there existed a manic pixie dream guy. Quirkily romantic (and not to mention, hella fashionable), this film character was a ‘90s movie staple who could serve the crazy and romantic in both personality and wardrobe. Okay, so we totally made this dude up, but think about the ‘90s film fashion moments reblogged endless times on all the girls’ Tumblr pages.

    While there are tons of ‘90s Leonardo DiCaprio looks to envy, perhaps none are as impressive as his eclectic wardrobe in 1996’s Romeo + Juliet. With this cult classic, director Baz Luhrmann invited us into a world that was a stylistic view of the MTV generation’s version of Shakespeare—albeit with a bit more Hawaiian tees, gun holsters, and Manic Panic. But it’s not just Leo’s outfits that make the movie— it’s his entire Montague crew in general. From Jamie Kennedy’s hot pink hair to Mercutio’s sheer shirts, everything was off-kilter and daring. And don’t forget Leo’s Romeo single-handedly made the Hawaiian shirt acceptable again.

    Rewatching Lurmann’s classic made us realize there were even more off-kilter ‘90s male characters responsible for closet goals. From Nicolas Cage’s leopard jacket in Wild at Heart to virtually every male character in Hackers, the more clashing prints, the better. Even the questionably sane Ace Ventura made a striped trouser and Hawaiian tee combo look fresh (minus the tutu).

    So where does this leave us in 2016? Today, men’s trends are more daring than ever. Dries Van Noten and Coach dabble in leopard touches, contrasting prints, and loud colors for Spring/Summer 2016. And the Hawaiian shirt is back (but let’s be real: did it ever leave?) in sleek silhouettes and unexpected prints. Not to mention Proper Gang’s light Pepto Bismol pink two-piece suit, which would have made Leo swoon like the first time he laid eyes on Juliet.

    Can’t decide on who’s your favorite ‘90s film man crush? Well, if you’re aiming for some serious #SquadGoals … might as well have it all.
    Dries Van Noten Leopard Coat, Dries Van Noten Leopard Print Shirt, J.W. Anderson Double Waistband Trousers in black, and Acne Studios

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    As part of our 2016: Year of China focus, we’ll be rolling out a special edition of our New To OC series to introduce some of the emerging Chinese designers we’re proud to carry this year.

    After leaving his hometown of Qingdao, China to study fashion at 17, designer Huishan Zhang quickly found himself in a whirlwind of fashion courses and promising opportunities. While attending the prestigious Central Saint Martins, Zhang spent his third year of school working for the Dior fashion house. This opportunity would eventually lead Zhang to gain the skills and insights needed to start his own namesake line.

    With a strong focus on an East-meets-West sentiment, each Huishan Zhang collection brings together ancient beliefs with modern-day silhouettes. This season, the designer looks to ancient remedies and Chinese love potions as a source of inspiration. Delicate lace is contrasted with peek-a-boo cut-outs exposing the skin underneath. Ruffles are also predominant in the lineup, seen in neutral off-the-shoulder dresses as well as the front of sheer blouses.

    Take a sip of Zhang’s love potion and meet the designer below. You might just fall in love with him and his Spring/Summer 2016 collection.

    Shop all Huishan Zhang in Opening Ceremony stores

    Name: Huishan Zhang
    Hometown: Qingdao, China
    Astrological Sign: Virgo
    One Chinese superstition no one knows about: You can’t open an umbrella or hang black paintings in your house.
    What is your current SS16 collection inspiration? I wanted to bring together ancient beliefs with modern cuts and silhouettes. The collection is called "Love Potion," as my main inspiration came from uncovering ancient remedies and potions from medical Chinese herbs used in love potions. This is a true embodiment of the brand’s sense of femininity and romance.
    Do you have a design muse? Confident and cultured women who aren't afraid to not follow trends and are led by a sense of romanticism and femininity.
    Coolest place to visit in China: Beijing
    Favorite traditional Chinese food dish? Spring rolls
    What's your go-to karaoke song? “Tian mi mi” by Teresa Teng
    What makes you feel most at home where you currently live? I have lived in London for the past 10 years on and off. Loads of stereotypical British things make me feel at home, like the weather and the tube.
    What do the Chinese characters in your name mean? Flower mountain
    What Western pop culture topic was popular where you grew up? Madonna Madonna Madonna...
    Shop all Huishan Zhang in Opening Ceremony stores 

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    By now, it’s no secret that the only thing that can compare to Korean brand Gentle Monster’s innovative and risky eyewear is their impressive installations inside the brand’s retail stores. Considering they’ve set up shop inside of former bathhouses as well as designed a flagship store that closely resembles a dungeon maze, we couldn’t wait to see what kind of conceptual design the Gentle Monster team would concoct inside of our very-own Soho location. And trust, they did not disappoint.

    “We wanted to use the wavy design elements throughout the pop-up to be dedicated to its unique style, in harmony,” says Gentle Monster’s Taye Yun on the install, which showcases the Opening Ceremony x Gentle Monster collaboration as well as the brand’s Spring/Summer 2016 selection. While the main highlight is of course the intricate eyewear on display, the entire installation gives off the feeling of a luxe ceramic-wrapped cocoon. Red carpeting leads to a series of conveniently placed circular mirrors, where you’ll be able to see yourself in your future new pair of shades.

    But don’t take our word for it, come check out the installation for yourself and see the world through Gentle Monster’s eyes—or rather, sunglasses.

    Shop the Gentle Monster installation at our 33 Howard Street location

    Shop all Opening Ceremony x Gentle Monster here
    Shop all Opening Ceremony x Gentle Monster here 

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    When you already have a successful French fashion brand focused on modern-day contemporary youth culture, what’s your next step in the fashion world? While the answer may seem simple, designer Brice Partouche, founder of brand April77, quickly found himself running towards his next endeavor: contemporary men’s running apparel. With Satisfy, his newly-launched brand launching its first collection at OC this season, we’d say he’s quenching his thirst.

    Featuring breathable cotton, innovatively luxe fabrics, and practical cuts, Satisfy’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection acts as the perfect introduction to innovative running gear at its most practical (and fashionable). Each piece even has removable clothing tags, ensuring that nothing will come between you and an exhilarating sprint. But don’t take our word for it, get in shape for bathing suit weather and go for a run… let the thought of a jog in Satisfy serve as your workout inspiration.

    Shop all Satisfy here

    Name: Brice Partouche
    Hometown: Paris
    Astrological sign: Taurus
    Hidden Talent: Dancing like Morrissey and walking like the Ramones
    What was your style like in high school? Metalhead skater
    What's your current Spring/Summer 2016 collection inspiration? Satisfy is a running brand, and the first SS16 collection was inspired by my experience of long distance runs in Paris, Stockholm, and Los Angeles.
    Do you have a design muse? Steve Prefontaine and The Velvet Underground
    Coolest place to visit in where you currently live: Ob-La-Di coffee shop
    If you were to do another job besides designing, what would it be? Music producer
    What's your go-to karaoke song? Oasis "Supersonic"
    Four nouns that define you: Possessed runner, flea market animal, vegetarian drummer, and happy boyfriend
    Click through the slideshow to see all products from Satisfy  Packable Windbreaker in jadeite OC Exclusive Packable Long-Sleeve Tee in black Compression Short Tee in devil Faux Moth Hole Tee in black

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    We know. Our unabashed proud parent symptom knows no bounds. If we had a bumper sticker for five of the eight OC fam members that made the LVMH Finalist cut, wheatpasting would take on a whole new look. With a chance to win a $300,000-euro grant and mentoring from OC’s own Carol and Humberto, the stakes are unequivocally high, and OC’s candidates—including AALTO, Alyx, VEJAS, Wales Bonner, and Y/Project—are equally as captivating.

    In honor of the Finalists, we’ll be spotlighting each nominee with a one-on-one interview with OC’s fashion director, Carol Song (our in-house tastemaker who culled and curated these emerging brands) each week. First up? AALTO designer Tuomas Merikoski, who is putting Finland on the fashion map with his designs.

    Finland is officially on the fashion map. Not that it wasn’t before— with their ‘90s raver gear and rebellious versions of minimalism—but since the introduction of Tuomas Merikoski’s AALTO, the fashion world has increasingly turned their eye to the Northern European nation for innovation.

    It might have something to do with the LVMH Finalist’s designs. For AALTO’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection, titled “Endless Sun,” Merikoski looks again at Finland’s youth and the endless daylight during the summer months as a source of inspiration. Below, the designer chats with Opening Ceremony buying director Carol Song about Finnish culture, finding inspiration, and remaining humble to succeed.

    Shop all AALTO here

    CAROL SONG: How did AALTO come to life?
    TUOMAS MERIKOSKI: I have always wanted to tell the story of Finland and its special youth culture. It is part of my personality and has also defined a lot of my vision as a designer. I also have always wanted to do womenswear, which I hadn’t done for a while while working at Givenchy and Louis Vuitton. 

    What skill or trait do you feel sets you apart as a designer?
    I am very technical and reasonable in many senses, but at the same I totally go around the corners to look at what’s behind it to challenge things. I also love the idea that if something intriguing I see is ugly at first sight, it actually has the biggest potential as a creative starting point. What sets me apart is a very wide know-how in designing both women’s and menswear and the unique aesthetics coming from my Finnish background. It is quite a mix of qualities.

    Are your skills self taught?
    I couldn’t say so. Thanks to many years in the LVMH group (at Givenchy and Louis Vuitton), I learned so much from them— not only the business people, but also the art directors I have collaborated with very closely. Though, I do tend to make new processes and inspirational design work differently to anything I have done before. AALTO has such a strong identity and unique inspiration which obliges to work it differently.


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    When Lorely Rodriguez, better known by her stage alias Empress Of, first burst onto the music scene, it was a colorful introduction so to speak. Originally releasing a series of one-minute demos cleverly-titled Colorminutes via YouTube, the Cali-native’s debut served as a powerful introduction to her ethereal voice, diary-like songwriting, and layered production. These 15 tracks also took a stance beyond the singer’s enticing vocals, because you learned exactly what Empress Of is truly about in less than 20 minutes. “I didn’t want people to just focus on me and my image as a female electronic artist,” says Rodriguez. “I wanted it to be about the music.”

    More about the music, less about the woman behind it. To add to the mystery, Rodriguez created color-coded backgrounds for each of the one-minute demos to “let people figure it out for themselves.” Since the Empress Of Pantone-heavy debut, Rodriguez has applied the same statement of discovery and self awareness in her work, which comes together when she states her own self-assured idols, the “real divas.”

    “I used to sing a lot of Celine Dion alone in my room and pretend I was her,” Rodriguez admits. “And Mariah Carey, obviously.” No one can deny the fact that Mariah didn’t mind mixing her physical image and the voice, but with Rodriguez’s powerful voice and message, Empress Of might be the right kind of diva.

    Not long after releasing Colorminutes and its follow up, Systems, Rodriguez performed her first live show at the Brooklyn’s 285 Kent venue (RIP), where Terrible Records co-founders Chris Taylor and Ethan Silverman took notice from the crowd. Shortly after, she joined the independent label’s roster and quickly found herself packing for the trip that would change her life... and inform her debut LP.

    The now viral story tells of how Rodriguez discovered herself as an artist while recording Me, her debut LP, while living alone in a remote Central Mexican village— and the transformation shows. The album opener “Everything Is You” flirts with love and obsession while “How Do You Do It” gets as close to a club banger as Rodriguez will allow. But the highlight is “Kitty Cat,” which disguises itself as a love song at first listen, but quickly reveals itself as an anti-catcall anthem. Rodriguez purrs lines like “Don’t kitty kitty cat me like I’m just your pussy” before defiantly proclaiming “Let me walk away” repeatedly in the chorus. But there’s always more to every empowering story, and additional details have been released in the form of Rodriguez’s recently-released track, “Woman Is A Word,” which was noticeably excluded from Me.

    “I didn’t want to make a super feminist record because being a feminist is just another aspect of being an electronic musician… of being who I am,” says Rodriguez. “There are so many different stories to ‘me.’”

    While Rodriguez has taken a much-needed stance on street harassment while being hailed as “Björk unleashing her inner Beyoncé” by music critics, her most memorable accomplishment occurred recently when she returned to Mexico to perform for the same city that helped birth Me. “To go back to Mexico and have three thousand people sing the songs that lived inside my brain and c

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    Since many of us have been incessantly hitting the gym (or not) in anticipation of the summer bod… there’s something else that needs to be considered, your wardrobe. Get ready to swap out winter coats and sweaters for skin baring garments like slinky dresses and sleeveless tops. Why wouldn’t you want a closet full of amazing clothes to show off them legs? Just make sure they’re shaved...

    Lucky for you, OC is kicking this spring off with a special promo offer: 30% off all dresses exclusively online. From ruching to ruffles, off-the-shoulder to slip dresses, we’ve got you covered (as much as you’ll want to be) in the season’s top styles. We’ve also got an extensive selection of new brands for you to discover, Angel Chen and HELENAMANZANO to name a few.

    Use code FROCKOUT at checkout. Just remember this offer won’t last forever… Literally, the promo ends Monday, April 11, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST.

    Shop women’s dresses here

    Promotion ends Monday, April 11, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST. Promotion is not applicable to previous purchases or open to price adjustment. Promotion cannot be combined with other discount offers.

    Enjoy free ground shipping on orders over $100 pre-tax with UPS Ground Shipping method selected. Offer is valid within the contiguous United States only.
    Shop women’s dresses here and use code FROCKOUT at checkout.

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    We all have that moment where Friday night rolls around and a Netflix binge is the primary “event” option. In order to cure your major case of FOMO, we’ve teamed up with The Mirror Cube, a happenings site that features events recommended by artists. With their expert panel of visual artists, actors, writers, and directors, The Mirror Cube brings you the lowdown on what shows, screenings, and exhibits you should check out each week in New York and Los Angeles.

    NY: Bleached at Music Hall of Williamsburg
    April 11 at 9 PM
    Picked by: Natalie Neal
    What: L.A. garage rock band Bleached headline in support of their recently released sophomore album, Welcome the Worms.

    Why Go: Bleached follow up their brisk, fun debut Ride Your Heart with a record that’s as emotionally charged as it is spirited. In their review of the new LP, The Line of Best Fit wrote that “the sense of catharsis is so palpable.” L.A. punk quartet No Parents will open for Bleached.

    NY: Tribeca Film Festival 2016 at Various Venues

    April 13-23
    Picked by: Kaneholler
    What: The 15th annual Tribeca Film Festival presents premieres and special screenings of over 200 narrative features, documentaries, and shorts, as well as live interviews and conversations with filmmakers, actors, and artists.

    Why Go: While the festival has been making headlines this year mostly for accepting and then removing a controversial anti-vaccine doc from their program, there’s plenty to recommend for festival-goers, including a star-studded 40th anniversary tribute to Taxi Driver, the David Byrne concert film Contemporary Color, an intimate discussion between Patti Smith and Ethan Hawke, and the world premiere of the historical comedy, Elvis & Nixon.

    NY: Sarah Braman: You Are Everything at Mitchell-Innes & Nash
    March 10-April 16
    What: Chelsea gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash presents a solo exhibition of new sculptures and panel paintings by artist Sarah Braman.

    Why Go: Braman’s large-scale sculptures are some of the most evocative and tactile on display. Comprised mostly of used materials scavenged from junkyards—like bed frames, truck caps, storm doors, and chairs—Braman’s works in this series are found objects fused to glass forms. The sculptor removes their domestic utility and creates entirely new and elusive objects in the process.

    LA: Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC Campus

    April 9 & 10
    What: The 2016 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books features live author readings, conversations, music performances, art exhibitions, food trucks, and more.

    Why Go: The Festival of Books is one of the largest and highest profile annual book events in the Los Angeles area, and this year, there will be talks with Carrie Brownstein and Arianna Huffington, over

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