Friday, May 21, 2010


Ever since I was a high school student, I had been a fervent admirer of BARE, UC Berkeley's award-winning student fashion magazine. Putting together any magazine, after all, is no easy feat -- from attaining the funding to scheduling photoshoots, students have a lot of hurdles to jump. On top of a full course load and the bittersweet nuances of the adolescent years, BARE is a time-consuming but worthwhile activity for the students who dream of following the legacy of their fellow Cal brethren, from Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony to the Rodarte sisters.

Once upon a time, Columbia University had a student fashion publication too. It was called MODE, and Marc Jacobs was once on the cover. It died more than 10 years ago, but this year, I met a group of students who wanted to resurrect the presence of a fashion publication on campus.

Hoot faced a lot of set backs this year. We applied to every single grant foundation on campus -- only to be rejected but all but one. One group even rejected us because we looked "too organized and proactive to be in need of funding." CUarts took a chance on us. Most companies would not trust us with their samples for photoshoots (really, a bunch of college students asking to borrow clothes?). Many beauty companies sent us samples to help us prep for our photoshoots. Makeup Artist Jennifer Nam gave us a free photography makeup lesson.

Most of our staff had never written an article before. I was lending out my digital voice recorder left and right. Those of us who had never interned at a magazine before did not know how to request samples. Some of our design team staff had never used Adobe Photoshop or Adobe InDesign before. Many of our bloggers had never written a blog entry before.

We had a lot to learn, and we're still learning.

Not only have we launched the issue in digital form, but also we have scrounged enough money to be in print.
We've launched a new website and blog, and we're determined to keep growing and learning as members of the Columbia University community!

In any case, Hoot hopes to prove that within our student population, students can be substantial and smart, and still find pleasure in the frivolous.

Miss Couturable

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Remember Now" by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel

As final examinations come to an end for most of you (I finished yesterday), Karl Lagerfeld's new short film, "Remember Now," should be the perfect launch into summer.

May you have a few early-morning dance parties, sparkly knits, and good laughs of your own.

Miss Couturable

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his. - Oscar Wilde
My mother is not a glamazon with a walk-in closet full of Manolo Blahnik pumps and Givenchy gowns. My mother taught me nothing about wearing make-up beyond washing my face every morning and night. My mother has never shared stories about her first kiss with me. My mother is not a size 2. My mother does not speak perfect English. My mother does not have a wedding ring.

My mother was valedictorian of her graduating class in college. My mother gave up her dreams of becoming an artist for a career that could put bread on the table for her children. My mother works six days a week. My mother has two Master's degrees. My mother still wants to travel the world.

She once told me that she still regrets dragging me with her to her college classes and laboratory sessions, where I often sat in the corner, with a book or two. I don't think she realizes that without waking up at 7am every morning with her for a full day of classes at age four, I would not have understood the importance of education as much as I do now. I read my first book, See Spot Run, in the laboratory, as she spliced genes.

I learned how to record lectures on tape as I sat with her in the dark auditorium.
I learned how much perseverance paid off, as she replayed her lecture tapes over and over again because she couldn't understand the professor's rapid English. I learned how to put up with tedium as she analyzed the same mice cells over and over again, every day.

My mother never stopped believing in me.

In many ways, we are from two different worlds. She does not understand why I dress the way I do. She doesn't understand the lyrics to the songs I listen to. She has only been to New York City once.

But, if what Wilde says is true, I am looking forward to turning out like my mother, for my mother has an undying passion and love that never runs out, even when her back aches from a day of treating her patients. Thank you for everything, Mumsies -- I cannot wait to be home in four days.

Miss Couturable

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I never left high school

A couple weeks ago, after a Sunday brunch with high school friends at Riingo in Midtown East, I wandered into the mass pandemonium that was Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue. I really should have headed uptown to start studying for my final exams, but instead I was surrounded by fresh-faced 16-year-old girls and their high-heeled mothers, sipping sparkling water and pink lemonade. I met up with Chelsea of Pink Rock Candy and Arabelle of Fashion Pirates -- ironically, Arabelle is the only one of us who is in high school. Ah, well, it's swell to be young at heart, no?

Lord & Taylor was launching "Prom-a-Palooza" -- consisting of a makeshift fashion show, 25% off prom dresses with free basic alterations, and three exclusive dresses designed by Parsons alumni: Hannah Haien Lee, Nicki Cozzolino, and Samantha Sleeper.This was my favorite dress, designed by Hannah Haien Lee and retailing for a reasonable price of $300. Paired with Betsey Johnson lace ankle boots, it offered a sugary sweet confection of a dress. I would have added a pair of motorcycle gloves and a simple string of pearls to complete the look.
Samantha Sleeper designed this nontraditional dress. While the outrageous skirt can easily be glammed up for prom, it could be suitable for future nights out with a tailored blazer and a nonchalant attitude.
And, of course, for the girl who reluctantly shows up to the dance and intends to leave after 30 minutes -- only to dance the night away against her prior discretion -- Nicki Cozzolino designed this short number. It's a bit short for a school dance, so you better wear tights or leggings with that.

In between mouthfuls of miniature cupcakes, I started thinking about my high school proms, and how I rarely have an opportunity to wear frothy, frilly dresses anymore. While I may have left these days behind for the collegiate world of dangerous minidresses for clubbing and "themed" clothing like "anything but clothes"for frat parties, I could not help but feel slightly nostalgic for the days of yonder, when I shopped (and fought) with my mother for an age appropriate dress.

For those of you in high school who are going to prom this year, I offer you three pieces of advice, as someone who went to junior/senior prom every year of high school and had wardrobe misshapes almost every year (I guess I don't learn my lessons very well):
  1. Get alterations done. If the dress is a bit too loose on top or it drags too far past your feet, please seek a tailor. You've spent so much time shopping for the perfect outfit -- don't let it go to waste. A night of dancing can easily be ruined if you're too busy pulling up your dress or tripping over your date's feet.
  2. Eat before the dance. Yes, you're probably thinking that you don't want a "food baby" in your awkwardly-posed studio photos, but you need the energy for dancing.
  3. If your dress rips or a button snaps, don't worry -- no one's looking. Frankly, prom is very self-indulgent; after the initial glances at your outfit, no one else is going to care that your strap accidentally broke. Bring an emergency sewing kit in your clutch, get a good friend to stitch you up in the restroom, and forget about it for the rest of the night.
And as always, send me photos! I'd love to see what you wore to prom. Stay safe!

Miss Couturable