Author Archive

Haute Rock

August 21, 2009

Music and fashion have always been close counterparts, filled with quick-change divas like Cher and Lady GaGa, and radical lookers spanning from Bowie to M.I.A. Now, slowly, the showmanship in the rock scene is turning back from the effects to the performer, and the whole scene is changing to fit this radical new attention.

No longer synonymous with spandex and never-ending power chord licks (a mixed blessing at best, if you ask me) rock has become a subjective term, more used to describe the persona behind the music. Songs have been broken down into countless categories and subgenres, but the attitude remains constant across all boundaries and borders.

It is now, as it always has been, about making your own way on your own terms, from the music to the look. On that note, there are a few under-the-radar groups who should definitely get some credit for their progressive sound and style:

First, there is Maystar. Comprised of sound maverick Abe Deleon and front woman May Jacob, this duet is a far departure from the brazen guitar riffs of days past. The icy and sometimes haunting melodies grasp more at a raw heart than rock soul. It is, at best, a unique sound that captivates and resonates to the core. More than a musician, May also designs her unique stage fashions (along with modeling, promoting, and a slew of other activities). She creates her own, characteristic look to accompany her distinctive sound, and the result is nothing if not unique.

photo credit of Maystar Designs and photographer Rob Howard

Photograph courtesy of Maystar Designs and photographer Rob Howard

Next there’s the dirty synth-rock sounds of Dolls House. A London quartet comprised entirely of raw attitude and unrefined energy, Dolls House uses their quick licks and driving rhythms to crash against pop orthodoxy. What’s more, they do it with style. Front woman Camilla Romestrand bleeds panache with her eclectic garb and sonic stare, while the ensemble follows suit in vibrant hues, dark eyeliner and eccentric garnishes. This is a band that’s not afraid of color, cosmetic, or accessory; and certainly not afraid of noise.

Photograph credit of Dolls House

Photograph courtesy of Dolls House

Finally, there’s Ferras. Probably the most prolific name in this post, the LA based singer-songwriter is known for both his melancholy melodies and simple, suave style. After the release of his debut album, Aliens and Rainbows, this songsmith went from unknown to unstoppable, bringing with him his faded jeans, dress shirts, and blazers. His presentation is flawless, both in album and on stage. For Ferras, a degree of sophistication is necessary in everything he does, and he stands out as a man willing to express it.

Photograph courtesy of Ferras

Photograph courtesy of Ferras

So maybe rock is no longer synonymous with roll. Maybe the sound and the life have become two different things. Indie, pop, hip-hop (whatever!) can all embody that unique my way in my time attitude that was once exclusive to the most hardened bands and beats. Certainly these artists have their own sound, and a style to accompany them, but they’re not the only ones. Music is always evolving, and with it goes rock.

Got any favorites? I would love to hear them! Leave their names and let me know.

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California Vintage: Hillcrest, San Diego

August 17, 2009

San Diego is unique as a California city, lacking the pretension of LA and the cold fog of San Francisco. Still, the laid-back nature and temperate climate are only part of why I love it here so much. To me, San Diego is a vintage city, always drawing on its past to create a unique and eclectic future. Maybe I just like my city like I like my closet.

There is something to be said about each neighborhood and borough within San Diego, but the one I keep coming back to is Hillcrest. This is where I find the best food, theatre, and people…and shopping. From the premier vintage at Wear It Again Sam to the fantastic thrifitng at Flashbacks, the thoroughfare of Fifth Avenue represents the best in California style, and San Diego attitude.

Hillcrest, San Diego

Anything goes here. Style is an experiment in the bold, and the attempt is appreciated as much as the result:

Frocks and leggings are good, a trapeze dress is better. A closet staple since the ’60s, their simple silhouettes make them a perfect day-to-night…even better for beach to city.

Shorts are a necessity for the sunny summer days, and can be dressed up, dressed down, or completely customized. A classic casual with a t-shirt or tunic, and a cropped jacket for a bit of texture. Sandals are nice, and so are heels, but I’ve been told they work best as a team; along with big, colorful accessories.

It’s not that any of this is unique, it’s the way it all comes together. Colors and textures take president over cut and silhouette, and more often than not, too much is just about right. The fashion I find in Hillcrest represents the best of what the neighborhood has to offer: diversity, a willingness to stand out, and the perfect mixture between casual and vibrant.

That’s my preview into the best San Diego has to offer. More to come as I begin writing for Avant Gaudy. I’m excited to see what’s to come!