Punk fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, who designed for the Sex Pistols and clothed the unruly London youth of the late ‘70s, once said, “I didn’t consider myself a fashion designer at all at the time of punk. I was just using fashion as a way to express my resistance and to be rebellious.”
KASURI in Hudson embodies this dual essence at the heart of Punk—the rejection of the status quo and the acceptance of fashion as a powerful mode of self-expression—a way of being in the world. “People talk a lot about the connection between fashion and art—and a lot of bullshit is spun around that—but fashion is most interesting because of the way it relates to art, comes so close to it, and yet is also always something else. At the very least, it is an applied art; one that people are forced to engage with every time they put clothing on their body,” says Jonathan Osofsky, creative director at the luxury clothing boutique.
“For many fashion is about wanting to look richer or be skinnier than everyone else. For some it’s about belonging to a group and disappearing into it. For us, it’s more about appreciating how beautiful a garment is, how incredible the architecture and construction of the piece might be, but also more importantly how it makes you feel. Isn’t it fascinating and exciting how this piece makes you move differently? Isn’t it brilliant how this piece makes you feel powerful or heroic or dangerous? Or how this piece makes you feel sexy or strange, or both?’”
KASURI, which opened in 2014, is a road map of avant-garde fashion through the years. Heavily inspired by heavy-hitting Japanese designers like Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, and Yohji Yamamoto, the careful selection of garments traces a path through the evolution of groundbreaking designers, from Westwood (whom Osofsky calls “the mother of the physical expression of punk”) all the way to contemporary designers like Rick Owens whose “gothic, kinky, conceptual take on revolt can collide with the playful Gesamtkunstwerk of Danish designer Henrik Vibskov.”
Throughout decades, across collections, these “visionary designers,” as Osofsky describes them, are often in dialogue, riffing off one another even while they create something truly distinctive. And Osofsky has the knowledge and the chops to trace these connections and share them when he is talking with visitors and customers.
“The designers we carry have been profoundly influential on fashion design but they transcend it. In fact, they really represent an kind of Anti-Fashion, uninterested in the trend cycles or commerce or luxury for luxury’s sake,” Osofsky says. “It is very important to them to explore what clothes are, what they have been, or can be, in ways that are always exciting and unexpected.”
The Road to KASURI
Osofsky discovered fashion (in particular the work of Westwood, Kawakubo, Yamamoto and Walter Van Bierendonck) as a shy, strange, queer teenager growing up on dairy farm in Columbia County, through hard-to-come-by magazines that he cherished like Interview, i-D, and The Face. “There was nothing like KASURI around when I was growing up. New York City and London were far away. I wore my parents’ clothes from when they were young, pieces from the army navy stores, and the Salvation Army, and put together looks inspired by bands that I loved and what I saw in the pages of the magazines.”
KASURI’s owner, Layla Kalin grew up between Arizona and New York, where her father and mother had their respective homes. Transitioning regularly between these two very different cultures and climates, she never felt completely at ease in either place. Even as a young girl, Kalin was acutely aware of the power of fashion—to make you feel part of something or separated from it. Rather than shying away from that apartness, she embraced it, and found in it bravery.
As a young girl, Kalin’s grandmother sewed clothing for her, introducing her to the magic of pattern-making. In her 20s, Kalin attended Los Angeles Trade and Technical College, and set up dressmaker’s equipment in her garage and experimented with building a small clothing label.
At some point along the way, she was introduced to the work of Yohji Yamamoto. “I can’t remember when I first discovered him, but I feel like he’s always been with me,” she says with a smile. In 2007, Kalin moved to the East Coast, began a family, and eventually wended her way up from Brooklyn to the Hudson Valley.
Observing the commitment to design that belied the culture in Hudson, Kalin came up with the idea to open KASURI, spurred by curiosity about whether a store that unlikely and experimental could survive upstate.
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- Kasuri owner Layla Kalin and creative director Jonathan Osofsky.
Around the same time, Osofsky was toying with a similar business idea, though unsure of how to actualize it. “I certainly didn’t have the resources—I was a frustrated artist,” he says. After many years nomadically wandering from New York to London to Providence and San Francisco, and a lot of places in between, he had found himself back in the Hudson Valley. He was just diving back into the art world, with some hesitation, when he was introduced to Kalin. “Quickly and unintentionally, but thankfully, it became clear that KASURI was a brilliant opportunity for me to apply my areas of expertise—art, anti-fashion, retail, and the history of boutiques that did something more than just sell things—to Layla’s vision.”
Together the unlikely pair have taken on the challenge of building something, a business that is both about the art and commerce of fashion.
The brands carried in KASURI rip open the contemporary, mainstream notion of fashion. Anti-establishment, avant-garde—these terms come close to describing the undercurrent, but with the baggage of overuse, they don’t suffice. “Our designers work within the fashion system, but they operate more as antagonists to it than champions or apologists for it,” Osofsky says. “They shred the lines between categories. They are intense and challenging. Maybe they are interested in interrogating ideas of beauty and ugliness, or exploring how historical dress can be integrated into modern day. Perhaps they like to take clothes apart and see what you get when when you put them back together.” The design impetus ranges from conceptual to formal, but Osofsky is adamant that not everything has to be overly-intellectual—it can also be playful. He says, “It’s usually both super serious and really light.”
The garments are so intensely idiosyncratic to the designer—works of creativity and vision, of guarded integrity—that they transcend much of the mainstream fashion worlds ideas of “relevance.” They are relevant for the designer who created them—and they become relevant for the customer that falls in love with them.
“The (thankfully collapsing) binary of city-versus-country has always been really tedious to me,” Osofsky says. “The idea that people from the country are somehow ‘less cultured’ or creatively literate than their urban counterparts is a false narrative. There are a lot of ‘local’ people who are really interested in this. The idea that you can only dress up in ‘appropriate’ environments is irksome. People often say, ’But I can’t wear this up here.’ I try not to validate that.”
While KASURI does carry many pieces that are essentially sculpture for the body, it is also important to Kalin and Osofsky that people actually wear the clothes the carry. “Some pieces are like billboards for the ideas of the designer—pieces that might distort the body, encasing it architecture and patterns, perhaps with no holes for the arms, because, who needs arms!” Osofsky says with a laugh. “However, equally important are the pieces that show their brilliance discreetly. Those same designers translate the ideas of their show pieces into subtler versions, which are nevertheless just as strong as the more intense pieces, but made for everyday.”
A Community Platform
A self-described post-punk, anti-elitist, anarchist, Osofsky strives to create a welcoming, egalitarian environment in the store. “The most unlikely and eclectic people tumble in here. We engage with everyone like actual human beings,” he says. “This isn’t always the case—there is this perverse logic of ‘luxury spaces’ where sales people act studiously ambivalent or even hostile to their customers. People feel bullied to shop in these spaces, made to feel inadequate with the only solution being to spend a lot of money, which is deeply alienating. We want everyone—the neighborhood kids, the local farmers, the artists, the brilliantly dressed ladies coming from church across the street, the random millionaire—to get same treatment.” Osofsky encourages walk-ins to interact with the garments——to look at them, talk about them, ask questions, try them on. “Obviously we want and need to sell clothes,” he says. “But they are more than just clothes and we want to share them with people.”
In April, KASURI collaborated with the Hudson Area Library and a small circle of people interested in the intersection of design, education, art, youth empowerment, politics, to run a free, three-day Spring Fashion Workshop for teens and tweens. Leading the workshop were writer, poet, programmer and Youth Services and Programs Coordinator Shanekia McIntosh; artist and writer Brandon Acton-Bond; local designer Enky Baryarsaikan (ENKYU); KASURI team member, fashion designer, and musician Dylan Widjiono; and photographer and fashion entrepreneur Tom Roeschlein (CMYLOOK).
While Prince Harry was renowned for being one of the most eligible royal bachelors in the world, he was by no means the only one. If anything, his nuptials to Meghan Markle last weekend highlighted some of the contenders to take his crown, from cousin Louis Spencer to Princess Margaret’s grandson Arthur Chatto. Which got us thinking: who else is up-and-coming on the royal bachelor scale? From Prince William’s 18-year-old godson to the Scandi Prince turned model, here’s a definitive guide…
Princess Margaret’s eldest grandson Arthur has definitely inherited her classic good looks, with the same blue eyes and full lips (he looks a bit like a more manly Harry Styles, no?) The 19-year-old is a fitness buff, constantly posting pictures of his workouts and gym-honed body on Instagram, and is in his fresher year at the University of Edinburgh studying History of Art, where his big brother Sam Chatto is also studying.
Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece
Prince William’s 18-year-old godson (bet that makes Wills feel old…) may be a member of the Greek royal family, but he grew up in London (the family were famously exiled from their homeland, although the deposed King Constantine did move back to Athens in 2013) and is now at university at Georgetown in the States. Clearly inheriting his famously beautiful mother Crown Princess Marie-Chantal’s good looks, Tino, as he’s called, is probably already breaking a few American hearts…
Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah of Jordan
Now that being Queen of England is pretty much a no-go, why not the Queen of Jordan? 23-year-old Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah is first-in-line to the throne after his father King Abdullah, and he’s very easy on the eye to boot. With voluminous dark locks, big brown eyes and well-kept facial hair, not to mention a body honed by playing football, we don’t think falling in love with him would be hard.
Prince Nikolai of Denmark
The first two things that come up when you Google 18-year-old Prince Nikolai of Denmark are ‘height’ and ‘model’, which tells you exactly why he’s on this list. The statuesque Scandi made his modelling debut at London Fashion Week last season, and we can see why, with his floppy dark curls, blue eyes and superior height. If you’re only in it for the money though – there’s a catch. The Prince has effectively been ‘cut off’ by his grandmother the Queen Margrethe, and he’s been let off the hook for any royal duties, too, as the son of the second son and seventh-in-line to the throne. Prince Andrew, take note…
Prince Jean Christophe Napoléon Bonaparte
Alright, history buffs, we know that Napoleon Bonaparte was never actual royalty, and that the French abolished the monarchy in the 19th century, but there are some circles in France who recognize the descendants of their famously war-mongering emperor as a member of ‘the Imperial House’. The 31-year-old great-great-great-great nephew of the famous ruler is fluent in three languages, and has worked in banking in New York, with his most current position being in private equity in London. So if the whole ‘being royal’ thing doesn’t work out, he’s probably quite financially stable, too.
Prince Mateen of Brunei
Brunei’s answer to Prince Harry, this 26-year-old is not only Disney prince levels of handsome, but he also graduated from military training at Sandhurst, plays polo and football and is a pro at boxing and Muay Thai. He’s also big on Instagram – boasting a whopping 892,000 followers – so we imagine he would be up for taking pictures of you on all your exotic travels together, too.
The same sunny days roll around every year, but the debate on what to wear is always a new one. In search of some much needed inspiration, we tapped influencer Lauren Johnson of @Discodaydream for her sartorial expertise. As an entrepreneur, mother, and California native, she knows what’s up when it comes to summer dressing. Plus, she’s always decked in looks that make us want to ditch our current wardrobe and start fresh. Case in point: five outfits (and her tips on how to style them), for the season.
TO A TROPICAL ISLAND
They say packing for vacation is easy (‘just throw a bikini in a bag!’), but it can be tough to find the right cover-up! A maxi dress with smart side ties allows you to wear it loose for the beach, then cinch it in for drinks at night. And don’t forget footwear. A pair of chunky white slides is both chic and comfortable. To really elevate a plain white dress, add the season’s most on-trend accessory: a basket bag. This piece is updated with a long strap.
“This dress is a versatile day-to-night piece that won’t take up valuable real estate in a suitcase.”
TO A MUSIC FESTIVAL
If contemplating another pair of denim shorts and a flower crown has you stifling a yawn, think about pairing a crop top bearing a cool back detail with printed pants, metallic-accented slides, and on-trend cat eye sunglasses. Pants are comfy and will keep you warm when the weather cools down, and a print feels fresher than suede fringing. “These pants are really comfortable and breezy, which is perfect for long days spent outside in hot summer temperatures,” says Johnson.
If you’re looking to expand your wardrobe repertoire, try the ultimate in outfit hybrids: the jumpsuit. It’s an easy one-stop-shop that is both practical and pretty, especially in white lace with statement shoulders and a cute tie. “Wearing a romper for a weekend hangout is the perfect mix of form and function,” says Johnson.” I love the feminine ruffles on this one, and the shorts allow for maximum comfort and movement.” To keep it fashion-forward, wear with gingham flatforms and sling a denim jacket over your shoulder.
TO A PARTY
There’s a reason dresses are a closet staple—they always look great, with minimal effort required. This printed wraparound number, for example, is dressy enough for cocktails with a pair of higher heels, and cool enough for a pool party when worn with slides. Finish off your look with the perfect summer beauty accents: a pinkish-gold bronzer, nude lipgloss and a spritz of your favorite fragrance.
“My summer uniform is normally a mini dress, so this is the perfect flirty party look.”
TO A WEDDING
You don’t want to outshine the bride, but a maxi dress in marigold yellow is special and standout. Skip the florals and look for a dress with interesting details—a crossover back, keyhole cutout, and pleating. The key to keeping it cool is in the accessories: Try metallic shoes with interesting details. “Pairing this dress with gold block heels plays up the warm color and keeps the look fun,” Johnson adds.
Although you might have your favourite go-to labels that serve you well for most of the year, when it comes to picking pieces for your upcoming holidays, it can be a bit more tricky. So, we have rounded up our favourite brands that constantly deliver in keeping us as well dressed as possible during our travels. From swimwear to frocks, accessories to cover-ups, here are the labels we can’t get enough of.
Australian favourite Zimmermann might be an all-year round wardrobe saviour, but its summer selection is particularly covetable. From floral separates to floaty dresses and excellent swimwear, it is the label to have on your radar if you are headed to the beach this season.
Loved by the likes of Kourtney Kardashian and Lucy Williams, there’s no telling how popular swim and resort brand She Made Me will become this summer. The label – which was founded by designer Chloé Dunlop – creates particularly great crochet pieces including dresses and bikinis.
If it’s some new swimwear you’re in the market for, we suggest you make a beeline for New York-based label Solid & Striped. All about simplicity and elegant one-pieces and bikinis, it’s little surprise that the brand has become such a favourite amongst supermodels.
Another of our favourite swimwear labels is Hunza G – a brand first launched back in 1984 which resurfaced a few summers ago and has fast become known for its trademark ‘crinkle’ swimwear which is made from a super stretchy seersucker fabric. All bikinis and swimsuits come in one size and fit to your frame.
Super chic label Cult Gaia might be most famous for its bamboo clutch (that has been seen all over the front rows) but the brand actually has a seriously covetable ready-to-wear and footwear selection too. Striking accessories, fashion-forward separates and breezy dresses will make for the most elegant of summer wardrobes.
From beautiful ruffled dresses to perfect flouncy tops, Caroline Constas is a name to know for pretty, floaty summer fashion. The US-based label is inspired by hot summers on the Greek isles – and the pieces could not be more ideal for wearing there.
Impossibly cool brand Sir The Label is not technically just for your holiday needs but the lightweight dresses, crochet skirts and minimalist blouses make it very holiday-packing appropriate. The even better news is that the Australian label is extremely affordable.
Once just a scarf brand, Athena Procopiou has since evolved into one of the most covetable holiday labels of the moment, now selling everything from kaftans and swimwear to dresses and kimonos. While perfect for the beach, models including Shanina Shaik have taken the brand’s frocks into the city – and we will be following suit.
Matteau is a luxury swim and resort label aiming to create pieces that transcend trends and can be worn holiday after holiday, year after year. From simple colour-block bikinis to chic and shirty cover-ups, head here if you like to keep it minimal and want to invest in your future vacation wardrobe.
If minimal is not your thing though and you prefer to opt for something a bit different when it comes to your swimwear, we suggest turning to Made By Dawn, whose colourful, ruffled swimsuits and bikinis make the ultimate feminine statement on the beach.
We’re always hyped to buy the latest and greatest trends. (Clear heels? Matrix sunglasses? Why not?) But a well-balanced wardrobe also includes a combination of timeless essentials that won’t go out of style. So this summer we’re making sure our closets are stocked with fashion staples that we can wear for years to come.
Once you’ve rounded up the basics, it’ll be easier than ever to get dressed and mix and match items. So read on to see if you have everything on the list below.
Floral Fit-and-Flare Dress
Kate Middleton joined Prince William and the soon-to-be-newlyweds Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for a wedding rehearsal in Windsor. While this marked the duchess’s first public drive through town since giving birth to baby Louis, she appeared bright — and that probably had something to do with her dress.
Kate chose a lovely floral Michael Michael Kors shirtdress ($175) for the occasion, which is a breezy number that was probably pretty comfortable for the day’s agenda. The duchess accessorized with oversize Givenchy sunglasses.
While Meghan opted for an ivory bodysuit blouse and gorgeous diamonds to prepare for the ceremony, Kate’s laid-back, free-spirited outfit is definitely our speed this time of year. Read on for another glimpse, then check out Kate’s exact design and shop plenty of similar looks.
Kate’s Exact Michael Michael Kors Dress
Saloni Izzie Dress
Saloni Molly Dress
Lane Bryant Faux Surplice Maxi Dress
Borgo De Nor Sonia Dress
City Chic Trendy Plus Size Floral-Print Maxi Dress
Zara Crossed Dress
H&M Pleated Dress
H&M Chiffon Dress
Marchesa Notte Guipure Lace Cocktail Dress
Daoroka Sexy Floral Maxi
Subversion is one thing but this is an expensive joke, says Jeremy Langmead
“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore.”
Not words that usually kick off a style column, I know, but I saw Bryan Cranston in Network at the National Theatre. Based on the 1976 Sidney Lumet movie, the play is about TV anchor Howard Beale who, depressed by falling ratings and cynical network owners, has a nervous breakdown on air. Sick of all the “bullshit”, his “mad” mantra is soon taken up by his show’s now growing audience.
I mention this because this month I’m quite furious, too. I’ve become an unhappy concoction of Howard Beale, Larry David, Victor Meldrew and those two old guys in the box in The Muppet Show. This is mostly down to spending 10 days on a no-carbs, no-booze, no-fun health regime. I hated it.
This lack of everything I enjoy has caused me to vent my (purified) spleen on some of the absurd items currently all the rage this spring. It’s normal for the fashion world to present downright ridiculous clothes occasionally — it would be letting us down if it didn’t — but every few years it throws up a torrent of silliness that makes you question your sanity, as well as your age.
Until recently, if someone said you looked like a joke, you’d be rather indignant. Yet today that may well be a compliment as some of the world’s most influential fashion houses charge a lot of money for clothing that takes irony a tad too far.
Of course, this is all part of a subversive take on fashion by a new breed of designers questioning traditional style codes beloved of the establishment and who are playing around with elevating the humdrum into something covetable (long the case with many art forms, such as Duchamp and his urinal), but this an expensive joke to wear for one season or two.
Vetements, for example, offers its take on a certain delivery company’s uniform with a “DHL” logo’ed T-shirt first shown in 2016 that will set you back £485 in 2018. DHL is so thrilled by its unexpected arrival on the fashion scene it has offered customers the chance to win one.
Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia is also behind the commercial success of French brand Balenciaga. From it you can purchase humorous items for less amusing prices: sock trainers (as you might guess, an unsettling hybrid of sock and trainer) for £495; massively over-sized cotton-poplin shirts, designed to drown the wearer and featuring a giant green dragon print, for £875; and a leather tote bag modelled to look like a plastic supermarket carrier, for £855.
Other irony comebacks this year include the bumbag — or fanny pack, as they call it in the US (*sniggers quietly*) — which to give it a point of difference to last time it was in fashion is now worn like a gun holster between shoulder and waist rather than just around the waist. To see how not to do it: Google pictures of ex-One Direction’s Liam Payne wearing his. Payne’s current guise is absurd: he is trying to look Straight Outta Compton when in reality he’s straight out of The X Factor. Bad-ass(hole).
I know it’s not just me who’s a little bemused by the current bonkers-ness. I came across a recent menswear shoot in The Guardian. Shot in a dreary airport, the very miserable-looking model was made to parade in a striped bowling jacket and shirt teamed with tiny satin shorts (basically exaggerated underpants) and white sports socks worn under black leather sandals.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before it popped up on someone’s Instagram feed, soon joined by lots of crying-with-laughter emojis. As well as the following witty comment from the writer Caitlin Moran: “This is how you dress if you’ve had all your clothes stolen by bullies and Miss gets you something out of the lost property basket.” To look that silly and unhappy would cost you nearly £3,000.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, fashion brands are again emblazoning logos on their products. The logo, last embraced so heartily in the Nineties, is big, brash and bold again. Today, it seems you can either dress as a joke, or a billboard. Maybe it’s everyone else who is as mad as hell, not me.