March Madness: ‘Chaos’ and the City

When I attended the opening night party to celebrate the new exhibit, “Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced”, I was especially taken with the exuberantly colorful and playfully color blocked designs that were on display (and worn by some of the Stephen Burrows clad guests), and with the advent of Spring (on the calendar officially, if not exactly weather wise), I found myself overcome with a sudden urge to immediately follow suit. I don’t know about you, but as the weather becomes more spring like, I’m suddenly over run with the desire to wear color and bold patterns, and really break out of that all black uniform that so many of us urban dwellers, and fashion insiders favor. Hey, they don’t call it “March Madness” for nothing . It was at that party, that I spotted a woman wearing what I thought were the most marvelous statement making cuffs in bold and graphic black & white stripes, each one slightly different. When I asked where she found them, she told me they were from a marvelous store called Chaos (how could you not love that name?), located at 25 East 20th Street,, 212 777 3140, and added that they were light to the touch and “inexpensive” ($32), an added bonus.

The store’s whimsical and colorful decor
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I was obsessed and had to pay a visit. I was impressed with both the unique, zany, and colorful décor, and the eclectic, serendipitous, and ever changing assortment of clothing, accessories, jewelry, handbags, home décor, etc. baring names and labels you’re not likely to find anywhere else. This makes it gift perfect (even the presentation and wrapping paper- brown with large black polka dots – is unexpected and unique. The store, which is about to celebrate it’s third birthday, actually started out with the name Peoria but within this past year, it was changed to Chaos, as it was deemed more apropos.

Tall painted metal giraffe
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It is the brainchild of two women who share an affinity for fashion and art, and the combination is very apparent as soon as you walk in. Patricia Grace Stevens has a career in art and fashion that spans more than 30 years, and Elena Agostinis Patterson. According to her bio, she has a “severe case of ‘Obsessive-Compulsive Art Disorder’, diagnosed after emigrating to the US in 1976. Color flows through her veins, spontaneously spilling out into the world around her. Chaos NY is a recent recipient of a transfusion of color. Elena’s condition intensifies with frequent travel to exotic destinations, where the magpie in her never fails to find treasures for the store.”

Eco graphic bangles made from recycled flip flops
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Among the items that caught my eye on this particular visit: Eco’s lightweight, graphic, and statement making bangles in black and white, blue and white, and multi colored stripes, made from recycled flip flops ($32); California based Joy Rich’s reversible 100% cotton fringe trim scarves in graphic black and white stars and polka dots (($46); Eldenna’s loopy scarves made from cotton t shirts ($79); Circa Sixty Three’s massive necklace comprised of sterling silver balls ($595), their chunky necklaces in blue and clear Lucite ($595), and their Lucite bracelets in tutti frutti and pink and red ($129 and $239); the iconic South African company Shine Shine’s Obama themed cloth aprons, pillow shams, and bags ($36, $59, $69); the finger paintings on paper which are the work of a schizophrenic female outside artist from Arcata, California ($85); the tall (about 6 feet) painted metal giraffe and antelope ($3900), and the small wall lizards, done by a South African artist.

Joy Rich graphic fringed scarves in black & white
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A party to celebrate their 3rd birthday will take place on Thursday, April 4th from 6 – 9 pm. There will be food, drinks, music, and trunk shows with some of the designers who sell their wares, in attendance (in addition, there will be 60% off on select merchandise).

-Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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