Street Style: Jackie

Posted on May 23, 2014
Filed Under Interviews, On The Street, Women | Leave a Comment

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Jackie Hiersteiner is an artist, former gallerist, and recent graduate of the MA/Interior Design program at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. She is also possessor of a most tremendous set of eyebrows. She has a wicked sense of humor and a wicked sense of style. She is leaving us soon for Boston, so it’s all the more appropriate that I keep saying ‘wicked.’

What are you wearing?
J. Crew coat, Gap top, J Brand jeans, Kate Spade shoes. “The tortoise and suede clutch belonged to my grandmother, Dorothy.”

Fave places to shop online and off?
I do most of my shopping online from small boutiques, new designers, discount designer sites (Last Call Neiman Marcus, etc.). My husband is from Kansas City and I love vintage shopping there. I’m an avid J Crew shopper. I understand how their clothes are cut and sized, and therefore, what will work for me and what probably will not. I keep an eye on their collection pieces (usually pricey silk textiles or cashmere), wait for them to go on sale and then I strike. Not to sound like a cheapo, but I rarely pay full-price for anything, because you never have to!

What defines your personal style? What is important to you when getting dressed? As someone who knows so much about color theory and proportion, any advice for readers looking to hone their style?
My clothing is actually quite simple and always comfortable. It’s the combination of items–pattern and color–as well as structured cuts that make an outfit for me.

As for advice: take risks in pairing unexpected items. Stand in front of your closet and pull sleeves from one end of the closet to the other and see what new combinations you can make in your own wardrobe that way. Those olive pants don’t look so drab anymore when you pair them with a neon top. Clothes should be uplifting. If you aren’t comfortable wearing something, take it off. If you can’t decide what to wear, throw on a black cashmere turtleneck and your favorite earrings.

You have to understand your body type, and the architecture of an outfit – go for balance. I’m a big fan of this equation:
patterned pant + solid top + eye-catching coat + colorful shoe + wow earrings = look good, feel good.

How did your upbringing influence your style?
I grew up in a house that was hung with wallpaper of huge floral patterns and bright colored rugs, which made me very comfortable with color and scale. What l like about architecture and interiors is what I tend to go for in clothes – visual balance, luxe materials, crisp structure and proportion.

In developing my own style over the years, I often thought about my grandmother and how she dressed. She was a lady, and loved to wear monochrome outfits – lavender crocheted short-sleeved sweater, lavender creased silk slacks and matching jacket hung off of the shoulders, lavender perfectly matching shoes and a striped purse. Timeless, classy, polished and thoughtful.

That has translated into my credo that it’s important to look polished but not overly controlled. So what if one eyebrow is a little crazier than the other? Let it be!

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What do you keep in your handbag?
Every shade of lipstick ever made (I literally bought them all), even though I usually just wear Burt’s Bees chapstick, a gold monogrammed navy leather wallet and a bunch of trash and receipts. Don’t lie – you do, too.

Favorite sources of inspiration? Anything on your Spring/Summer wishlist?
I buy a fresh pair of Vans each season. And right now, I’m lusting over this top from Devon Baer.

I mostly look at architectural reads, as I get most of my clothing design inspiration from beautiful wallpapers and textiles. I’ve never been one to read a Vogue magazine from front to back as I am not a good student of Fashion (with a capital F) or trends, but I do love clothes, so I always go for classic. I love the silhouettes and sumptuous silks of the 1950′s. I love the boundary-pushing of the 1960′s, so I Google fashion from those eras often. My girlfriends, you included, are always great inspiration for me! We all agree that it is fun to get dressed.

Yes, indeed!

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Paula Mendoza’s Icons

Posted on December 4, 2012
Filed Under Interviews | Leave a Comment

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This week I caught up with Paula Mendoza, whose eponymous line of earthy-yet-glamorous jewelry has graced the pages of Vogue, O (Oprah) magazine, and D.C.-based publications including Washington Life and DC magazine (and here on PB, natch). I came across her work in 2008 at *Muleh, which still carries her line (the line is also carried at Tabandeh at Mazza Gallerie/Friendship Heights). The Colombian-born designer left DC for New York two years ago, and has since expanded her following from DC’s fashiony set to Isabella Rossellini and many others.

I thought I’d catch up with Paula to talk about her new line, “New York Icons,” and what makes someone iconic, anyway.

What makes someone an icon?
Timeless style, confidence, uniqueness

What inspires you?
People on the streets of NYC inspire me, they are so individual and unique, each person carries their own story in the way that they dress and it is so inspiring to watch it. This is a collection full of passion, and full of my own experience living here. I follow a couple of blogs: The Sartorialist, Garance Dore, Man Repeller, and All The Pretty Birds.

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing?

Tricky question, because I love with all my heart what I do, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I am very lucky and blessed actually.

Who are some of DC’s ‘icons’ and why? can you name one or two and describe what you’d make for them?
I think Robin Givhan always carries herself very well, she knows exactly what she likes and how to put it together. For her I would make something minimalist because I think she is very no-nonsense in her writing style.”

What about Michelle Obama?
Oh my God, Michelle Obama is a complete icon, she is absolutely stunning, and her style is, like I said, timeless and unique. I named my Michelle earrings for her.

I like that there’s some Beltway flair in the collection! What do you miss about DC?
My friends and Cork, the incredible little restaurant on 14th Street!

*Muleh opened a pop-up location in Georgetown, just in time for the holidays. Read more on Refinery29.

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Behind the Music

Posted on June 14, 2011
Filed Under Inspiration, Interviews | 1 Comment

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Thanks to The Washington Post yesterday for featuring me in Play Favorites, a regular feature of their excellent music blog, Click Track. The list features tunes on my current rotation, among them songs I listened to in middle school that I recently rediscovered and re-fell-for (by Frente! and Nanci Griffith), shamelessly cheesy pop-country (Fast Cars & Freedom by Rascal Flatts!) and new(ish) obsession Gold Panda. It all got me thinking about how music defines stages of life, which got me reminiscing about middle school and high school even more, and some of the early 90s “riot grrrl” music I was introduced to. I didn’t really know much about that larger movement (if curious, you might read Le Tigre frontwoman Johanna Fateman’s review of Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution in last fall’s Bookforum), but a slightly older friend introduced me to Bikini Kill and a few other bands, and most importantly, to zines. She had one called Naivete, which later morphed into Panorama.

I still think of zines as early blogs – zine writers exchanged hand-made and pasted ad space and published reviews of favorites (what would be links and blogrolls) – and while I’m sure there there were (and certainly now there are) zines on a number of topics, the zines she passed along to me were full of poetry, doodles, confessions, sometimes dark, angry, and sad, and all part of this larger riot grrl movement. They were wise and naive all at once, which is the wonderful thing about young girls (excuse me, young womyn). I always kinda wanted to have one! But now I have a blog, so it’s fun to think of those songs, those zines, this blog, music then & now and through all of this, reconnect and introduce the younger me to the older me. I asked my friend to send me some old copies of her zine and others she read, and I’ve scanned in a few here. Would love to hear everyone else’s favorite songs from now and from wistful-angsty-emotional teen days….and what you wore then (velour/corduroy were staples for me, and my thrifting adventures began…).

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PB Interview + Giveaway: Project Runway’s Christopher Straub

Posted on September 24, 2010
Filed Under Events, Interviews, Only in Washington | 2 Comments

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Project Runway alum Christopher Straub is in town for the Capital Home Show this weekend, where he’s been tasked with, of course, a challenge: to create a runway look from items sourced from Home Depot. Christopher will be showing off his work with runway presentations on Friday at 1 pm and 7 pm and again on Saturday at noon. Leave a comment (entering your email in the form ensures I have your info, privately) with a challenge you’d like to see on an upcoming episode of Project Runway for a chance to win one of two tickets to the Home Show.

Obvious number one question: what did you make the garment for the Home Show presentation from? Did you tell the folks at the home store what you were doing? Were they helpful, since you know, that’s their schtick?
The items that I used were 2-8′x8′ tarps (green on one side and black on the other), roll of black Duct Tape, black spray paint, and a leather utility belt. Since I’ve been to Home Depot many times I know where most things are and don’t require much assistance when shopping…mostly, I just get in and get out.

Fair enough. What’s been the biggest challenge of striking out on your own as a designer? Do you think Project Runway helped or hindered?
Project Runway has been the biggest boost to my career. Before the show I was a struggling designer trying to make a name for myself and now I’ve had designs in People Magazine, Star, and US Weekly. Craziness!

Have you ever been to DC? What are you going to do while here?
I HAVE been to DC before! I bowl of cereal was $17 in the hotel I was staying at. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to hit up a couple of museums while I’m in town.

Well. Obviously, go to the Corcoran and see the Spencer Finch and Chuck Close shows! Have a favorite designer?
Mine was, and will always be, Alexander McQueen. He was an artist and a true visionary.

In what ways do you see interior design and fashion design as complementary?
I used to be an interior designer and they share many common components. Balance and proportion are very important to both areas. Also, mixing and matching prints, patterns, and colors can make all the difference.

Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met as a result of your time on Project Runway?
It would have to be all the fans. Before I was on Project Runway I was an avid viewer and aspired to be like those people. Now, I have people coming up to me all the time saying that they get inspired by the show. I can totally relate because I was in their shoes just a couple years ago.

What’s your next dream for your fashion career?
I’d love to get my line picked up at a major retailer so the pieces can become more accessible to more people.

Thanks, Chris!

To meet Chris, see his runway design, and check out the Home Show for free, leave a comment with a challenge you’d like to see on an upcoming episode of Project Runway for a chance to win one of two tickets. You have until 6:00 p.m. today – good luck!

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