Friday, December 04, 2009

‘Closet’ Cases

Although there are always loads of photographers milling around and recording the fashion scene during fashion week, it was hard not to notice the great looking and interestingly dressed woman with camera in tow (Elisa Goodkind). She approached me as I made my way into the Bryant Park Tents during New York Fashion Week back in September, and asked if she could take my picture. Though I must say, she looked familiar, I could not immediately place her…but she apparently knew who I was and introduced herself, handing me her card.

After a quick intro, she proceeded to tell me about her relatively new ‘baby’, the website, www.stylelikeu.com, of which she is very proud and rightly so, and I’m not just saying that because she asked me to be a part of it. Quite frankly, I think it has such an inspired premise, I’m bummed out I didn’t think of it first.

This online magazine that launched in March 2009, is the brainchild of a creative mother-daughter team (Elisa Goodkind is a professional stylist and New York fashion editor for more than 20 years, and her equally creative daughter Lily Mandelbaum, is a film student). Their ambitious mission is to offer “A deeper look into the thoughts and closets of people with inspiring personal style”, the ones who use their style as an “art form”. They will proudly tell you that the collection of individuals whom they have found, “are some of the most influential, inspiring, artistic, and talented people” they have ever met. (By the way, this duo is pretty ‘inspiring’ as well).

Needless to say, I was flattered when Elisa asked if I would be interested in being a part of the ‘club’ (one of the ‘chosen’ few). And besides, how could I refuse someone so obviously passionate about what she does, so full of life, so energetic, and so curious about the world around her? Someone truly loves fashion, and ‘gets’ the notion of individual, personal style.

The concept was especially intriguing to me since I guess you could call me a ‘closet case’ and somewhat of a ‘voyeur’. (Well…a ‘closet’ voyeur anyway, in that I love to peek into other creative peoples’ closets). The site is already quite a ‘destination’ for those in the know, and they already receive over 45,000 hits monthly. This is not surprising; I can attest to the fact that it’s definitely ‘addictive’ and its one of the sites I regularly check out first thing in the morning, to see which new subject I will be ‘surprised’ and delighted by.

Speaking of ‘surprises’, there is nothing run of the mill or predictable about www.stylelikeu.com and it’s not just another homage to the rich and famous (with big budgets for clothes and personal stylists), nor do they include typical and predictable profiles of those with impeccable social pedigrees (“yawn, yawn” - though what’s so great about it, is that those elements would not exclude someone with the ‘it’ factor). The people selected by Elisa and Lily, who ‘scout’ out subjects here and literally around the world (and then ask those who have been selected, to make suggestions and be on the lookout as well) are a true cross section of New York, and beyond. It’s a global and divergent group representing a completely democratic mix of ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds, occupations, socio economic stations, and includes all ages. Thus far, the youngest is a precocious 5 year old girl (Athena Stuebe’s profile will be up in early December), and the oldest is a woman in her mid 80’s: the ageless and fabulous Barbara Louis.

Elisa explained that she would need about 2 hours of my time, would come to my apartment, interview me with a video and still camera, ask questions about why I dress the way I do, where I get my inspiration from, what some of my favorite pieces are, and photograph me in about 6 of my favorite outfits (My initial reaction was: just 6? how can I pin it down to just 6? But it was actually easier than I had thought). She is quick, organized, is very flexible and easy going, and it could not have been more fun (we laughed a lot), as you can see for yourself. She even got me to ‘confess’ that I have the same exact pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs Cuban heeled rain boots in 4 colors (yikes!).

-Marilyn Kirschner

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