To be sure, apologies are in order.
On my part, of course, for my rather conspicuous and abrupt absence all these months. I had fallen off the proverbial grid without much of a nominal tweet concerning my whereabouts, leaving only a faint breadcrumb trail that mostly consisted of Instagram photographs of me with an obscenely gorgeous baby girl on my hip. (The baby is my niece, by the way, and nothing short of magic.)
Shooing away any inquiries concerning the next LADYPANTS project, I would simply reply with the ambiguous refrain of, “Soon. Soon…”, and continue to settle my affairs; to get all my ducks in a row; to get my life.
Which, in a matter of weeks, meant securing a new job and radically shifting my career; packing up all my life’s possessions and moving them from the familiar streets of Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, to the sleepy alcoves of Greenpoint; welcoming a beautiful child into my life known as “Izzy”, she my niece and goddaughter, and becoming an aunt (which is the greatest role I have ever filled); scrapping, revising, and rewriting the creative trajectory of this here site; and somewhere along the way turning 30. Yes, 30.
In so much, I was having the “Cadillac” of creative arrested developments: times were hardly rough, but they were hardly giving way to any actual output. The physical uprooting of my life—from one neighborhood to the next—was at once a great stimulant of activity and a huge distraction; an excuse to do things differently and to do nothing at all. Like any temperamental writer will tell you, my environment serves as a huge influence on my work, from my actual productivity level to the very thoughts contributed to the piece at hand. For the three years I called it home, Bed Stuy had informed my dress, cadence, politics, and ostensibly, LADYPANTS. Surrounded by my peers, the neighborhood was an enclave for Black bon vivants, wherein we fed off one another’s youth, beauty, taste levels, and sentimentality for the neighborhood’s past.
I remember watching Terence Nance’s, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, (which is as much a love letter to Nance’s former flame as it is to my old block of Stuyvesant Avenue, where the film is shot) and practically squirming in my seat as I was able to place myself squarely within the circumstances portrayed onscreen. Would my new home of Greenpoint ever elicit such a visceral response from me? It was difficult to tell, as its influence had only revealed itself in very brief, cursory episodes.
There was the discovery of my favorite Polish social club, and the frequenting of the assorted 99-cents stores that dotted the main strip of Manhattan Ave, or the beloved neighborhood bookstore I became a fast fan of. I reacquainted myself with the hard loved G train; met my street’s oldest Polish residents in a blizzard; discovered the best market to buy all my fresh greens; established a relationship with the bodega cats; and vigrously researched the oil spill of 1978 that wreaked havoc on the neighborhood. But it wasn’t until I found myself on the rooftop of my newfound brownstone a month back, on one of the first unanimously beautiful nights of the season, when all those separate instances began to converge into a larger experience.
The nightscape of New York was wild from my building’s vantage point: a perfectly symmetrical outline of the city, with each twinkling light flickering back at me. Rowboats chugged by; water towers soared above; the neighboring church steeple stood as an apex, and I felt the full potential of my space. I felt like, for the first time since moving, that I could properly place myself on a map. Hence me dragging a shabby little beach chair in the middle of my roof a few Sundays later, and planting myself squarely in front of Shanita’s lens. If people wanted to know where I’ve been (and what I have been wearing) all these months, I would simply show them.
Enter the Suno Cellphone dress.
It tugged on my heartstrings for multiple reasons, one of them being that my coverage of the label’s FW 12 collection was one of my first written assignments for the now defunct, Pop Africana. I fell in love with the idiosyncratic style story of the label upon contact that season and was hardly surprised when the line’s designers, Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis, swiped the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear this year—it was a long time coming. Developed in 2008 after Kenya’s post-election turmoil threatened the country’s emerging economy, Osterweis began sourcing dizzying prints from Nairobi’s talented female artisans. Teaming up with Beatty, a one-time designer for Gap and Generra, the pair evolved the silhouettes of Suno into a go-to collection for the globetrotting beau monde. The line was first picked up by Opening Ceremony (naturally), but when I saw their online luxury presence burgeon this Spring (Saks, Avenue 32…), it was exciting to observe their forward expansion.
Suno’s work has certainly been refined since the line’s inception, but the cell phone dress clung onto the label’s signature boldness. It was unapologetically offbeat, awash in references to classic silhouettes, the ubiquity of modern technology (and perhaps, our compulsory over-dependence on it), and the evolution of communication (these cell phones do have antennas, after all). Justifiably, I had to have it.
Admittedly a loud piece for a newcomer to traipse around in on their newfound turf, but I was finding that the varied twists and turns my wardrobe had been taking as of late hardly made me the odd woman out. My penchant for varied textures (think: PVC and lamé skirts), exuberant prints, and sculpted, oversized silhouettes have won over the locals: specifically, Anwar, my connect at the local Polish newsstand. He promised me a discount ever since he posed for this photoshoot, and like a good neighbor, he’s held fast to that agreement. Makes a girl feel right at home…xLP
Scroll through the remaining images of “HOMEGIRL”, below, and be sure to check out Suno’s emerging talent here.
Dress by Suno + Sunglasses by Acne + Shoes by Zara
All photography courtesy of NYC Curb Appeal’s, Shanita Sims
**Many, many thanks to Shanita Sims for lending her talents and eye to this project; all those who encouraged and pushed me through the months; and my dear brother, Jordan, for coming through for me at the final hour.**