Cult-label alert! Bjork, spiritual godmother of fashion individualists, has given it the nod, so it’s official: Moi et Cat, a small label from London, is this spring’s most-sought-after line. Style-obsessed stars like Claire Danes are snapping up the one-of-a-kind pieces by Moi Tran, a Vietnamese designer. It’s easy to see why. Her clothes have a handmade feel and are deeply unusual: Miniskirts have tail fins ($286), jackets have neck ruffles ($418), and an asymmetrical dress has leather ruching and other delirious detailing ($494). It’s not, alas, for the insecure – be prepared to explain why there is an embroidered couple making out in the corner of your skirt. (Available at Steven Alan, 60 Wooster Street, 212-334-6354; and Hedra Prue, 281 Mott Street, 212-343-9205.)
If you passed on last fall’s ladylike bob, you can match your punk-tinged spring wardrobe with the undercut, a drastic hairstyle in which the sides of one’s head are shaved but long, floppy layers are left on top. The part-skate punk, part-A Flock of Seagulls look has steadily gathered steam, showing up in rag-trade layouts, on the fall runways, and in Gucci ads. “It’s kind of ugly, kind of cool,” says Nick Arrojo of Arrojo Cutler salon, who notes that in addition to models – who even sport mullets if they’re in style – lay clients have begun to request the haircut. “I’ve done fifteen since January!” he notes. Not as bad-ass as a mohawk, perhaps, but less mortifying to grow in.
A Head for Business
For seventeen years, Amy Downs had a hat shop on the corner of Ludlow and Stanton Streets, and she became – thanks to her diverse and quirky selection of hats for men and women – milliner to the neighborhood’s artists and general-interest hipsters. “Heads are made for hats!” she says of her calling. But then last year’s turbo-charged real-estate market priced her right out of the neighborhood. “They think it’s the big, fancy place!” she says about the Lower East Side with a laugh. But good news for aspiring Isabella Blow types: Downs has found a new spot on a grungy stretch of 14th Street (227 East 14th Street; 212-358-8756) and stocked it full of funky fedoras and colorful cloches just in time for Easter. “I don’t follow trends,” she says. “I’m just making it up myself.”
Although Robin Newland has styled Missy Elliott, Whitney Houston, and ‘N Sync, there’s nobody she likes dressing up more than her dolls. Newland has thousands of them: GI Joes, Barbies, sports figures like Joe Montana and Muhammad Ali with enormous, plastic pecs – all dressed in miniature hooded sweatshirts or baggy, belted shorts, replicas of the street style she has brought into the mainstream via countless videos and photo shoots. Newland and her dolls are the subject of Girls and Dolls, a critically praised, prize-winning documentary by Drena De Niro (daughter of Robert) that premiered in New York two weeks ago – in front of an audience that included Newland’s mentor, Patricia Field – and will be shown in June on PBS. The film tells the story of Newland’s evolution from a poor girl in the Bronx to an incredibly influential stylist credited with, among other things, pioneering Lauryn Hill’s hip, denim look. The dolls are a big part of her story. “They saved my life,” Newland says, showing off a Japanese Steve McQueen with incredibly mobile joints. “No matter what was going on, they were there with me. Everything I figured out, I figured it out on my dolls.”