Accessories, brooklyn, designers, Fashion, food, hats, personal style, restaurants, Style

Closeup: an interview with Florent Biais of Le Grand Hat

I don’t normally do sit-down interviews because I’m too lazy. I hate taping conversations because I’ll have to play them back and later and, heaven forbid, have to write or type everything. I avoid sitdowns like the plague.

But sometimes you have to make an exception.  lgh3

Remember that time we went to the Brooklyn Museum and met the French Guy with the hat? Well, there you go. I had to go over to this place called Bluebird on Flatbush Avenue to talk to Florent Biais who managed to designed the funniest and most stylish hat in New York right now, Le Grand Hat.

lgh1

This actually wasn’t the biggest hardship, because I live nearby and was able to get some exercise and enjoy a late summer evening. I’d never been to Bluebird anyway. It turned out to be a cool place that has a back garden where you can actually peek at people waiting for the train at Prospect Park station. It’s nice. The waitress was pretty insistent, and came over a lot but that’s better than when they ignore you and you sit around wondering why you have nothing to eat.

It’s also across the street from the best discount store in Brooklyn (maybe the world?) Phat Albert’s. Turns out Florent and I share an interest in the place. I go trolling for ideas there and so does he. It’s a small worls, and it gets even smaller when you find out French guys are shopping at the discunt store, too.

lgh2

So here we go…

SEB: What inspired you to create that hat?

Florent Biais: That’s a good question. Well, I live here (in Flatbush), a Jamaican neighborhood. So I guess I didn’t realize it at first, but I think seeing Rastafarians with their locs wrapped was something for sure. It creates this huge structure. And the top hat was a big influence because of the stupidity of it. The nonsensical attitude of it. You know, fashion is something like that. It’s something just weird.

And I really love the hat culture in the US because we don’t have that anymore in Europe.

SEB: People don’t wear hats in Europe?

FB: No, not any more! We kind of initiated all these crazy hats and stuff back in the day, but not anymore. Except some American influenced sportswear like the baseball hat, but that’s an American thing. So I was fascinated by that when I arrived here, that the US is more inclined to wear hats than we are. And that’s cool. I love hats.

lgh5

SEB: Did you study fashion design?

FB: No, I didn’t I studied architecture. I’m an architect, actually.

SEB: Your instagram seems really fashion-y, like you go out a lot…

FB: No. I wish. You have your real life and your instagram life.

sean ross

SEB: But wait, I saw a photo of Shaun Ross wearing your hat! How did that happen?

FB: Ok, I can tell you a story. My soon-to-be wife [FB is getting married this month! Congrats!!] is a pediatrics nurse and she helped deliver a baby to a couple and they were so into her that they invited us to the bris. So there we were, and after that we became friends. I talked about my project to them and the guy, who is in the movie industry, was really into the hat. He has a desk in a co-working space and he talked about it to a photographer who used to work with Shaun Ross a lot and she said he would love it.

She decided to use the hat in a photo shoot with him for NYFW, so I gave her one so she could put it on his head. It didn’t happen, because NYFW is crazy, but she gave my friend his personal address and I sent him a hat. I wasn’t really paying attention, but then two months later a guy tagged me in a picture and it was everywhere. Shaun was wearing it while meeting Winnie Harlow.

I thought he didn’t like it!

Photo by Florent Biais/Le Grand Hat
Photo by Florent Biais/Le Grand Hat

After we finished talking,Florent takes out a hat and gives it to me. I immediately put it on. People start complimenting me. It’s that kind of hat. When I got home I started messing with it right away. All that other stuff I’m supposed to be reviewing? Totally forgotten.

lgh6

At first, I kind of thought that I would have to dress up to work the hat, but quickly realized that I could wear pretty much anything and the hat was literally the cherry on top. It did bring out some punk tendencies, because it’s the perfect frame for the face. I wore it to Glossier’s showroom down in Soho and got tons of compliments and lots of likes on instagram. After awhile, I was just throwing it on to go to the store. It’s cool without trying and it kind of fascinates people.

I love it.

Get your own Le Grand Hat for $38 each at sqst.bigcartel.com, $58 for customized pieces. You can also get customized pieces. Keep up with Florent’s instalife at instagram.com/legrandhat .

Next up: We go see Goodfellas at Red Hook Flicks

IMG_20150917_093142[1]

Accessories, art, Fashion, meetup, museums, new york, painting, personal style, sculpture, shoes, sneakers, socializing, tech gadgets

Meetup Adventure: in which we go to the Sneaker Culture show at the Brooklyn Museum and meet new people

sneaker1

Back to the museum grind. Actually, I was at a totally different meetup and someone suggested that I attend this one since they were going. So that was nice, like I had friends and whatnot.

sneaker2

With my slimmer self (not as slim as last summer, but not as fat as in January) I was able to wear some favorites that have nothing to do with branding or blogging. I grabbed my favorite leopard print cardi, white cotton short-sleeved blouse and my a-line Ann Taylor skirt, all of those items found thrifting. I did embellish with some blog gifts, though. I was going to wear sneakers, bu went with my gold Ami Clubwear oxfords instead- they have a mesh insert so it’s on that sheer trend. I accessorized with a Revlon ribbon hairband, a Kesh Beauty evil-eye bracelet with Swarovski crystal ($35), delicate spear bracelet from Jade & Jasper ($32), and one of those handbags that I snagged from the Kensie showroom earlier this year.

That kooky librarian look that I love so much. Can I admit that this guy was coming and I was hoping for a flirtfest? Well, I guess I just did.

sneaker3

The Brooklyn Museum is gorgeous all year round, but it comes into its own in the summer, what with the fountains and the abundant places to lounge and sun bathe and people watch.

sneaker4

I was early, of course. All I had to do was walk over from my neighborhood, East Flatbush which is like the next one over from the Museum. I sat outside in the amazingly perfect weather and charged my phone a bit with the Panasonic hybrid charger ($59.99) that I now carry in my purse automatically. Yes, more photos of my outfit. incredibly gratuitous, but I really liked being able to fit into these clothes again!

Also, I had struck a theme without really thinking-

20150721_190409

I was going through old Daily Front Row mags from NYFW and found this orange tend roundup. I mean this was from September 2014, but still… orange you glad I finally jumped on board?

sneaker4a

I actually early adopted a trend this year, thanks to Makeup Forever’s Aquamatic Waterproof Glide-on Eyeshadow pencils ($22). The metallic eyeshadow thing, so easy. I used the ME-80, a metallic pink near the lashline. That’s it. Much like this twit pic of Kylie Jenner- you don’t have to go makeup crazy. Everything else can be simple, the metallic eye thing is the candy on top.

sneaker5

I loved these gigantic sculptures in the lobby. The Brooklyn Museum is a tad funkier than the Met, so you tend to see things that are very of the moment there.

sneaker6

Once everyone had assembled, we went up to the Sneaker Culture show. I am going to admit right here and now that I am not a ‘sneakerhead’. I like shoes. But I figured it was a cool thing to write-up on the blog, so here I was. It was like my little brother’s closet or something, but n a museum with a lot of people around.

sneaker8

I liked these sneakers that referenced pop-art, especially Lichtenstein’s benday dot comic art paintings (photo 1). I also appreciated the sneakers hung from lines on the ceiling, and sort of wished the whole show had that fun, zippy feel (photo 2). These are Converse All-Stars designed by Damien Hirst. So those were ok (photo 3).

I heard Converse is re-designing their shoes to make them less ‘punk’. Ok.

sneaker7

I flipped over the gold sneakers because, my gold oxfords. So Puma, Nike, Louboutin- and me. Shining like the sun.

sneaker8a

I did not like the way that the shoes were displayed because you had to shuffle along like you were in a shoe store. And in fact? I would have liked it if the show was more like the second photo, which is a shoe store window. The shoes are more visible and appealing.

sneaker9

I REALLY liked the FAILE Savage/Sacred Young Minds exhibit, starting with thus urban takeoff of a Roman temple. Mind blowing. What’s even better is that you can walk into this structure and touch everything. You feel it more because of that, the destruction of classical tropes while referencing them, the rise of a new and distinctly disturbing new culture of violence.

Shivers.

sneaker91

There is also a nearly hidden room, you have to watch for the opening, and once you go in it’s all pinball machines and black light posters. Bizarre and incredibly fun.

sneaker92

We decided to go through the museum floor by floor and these are some highlights from the 4th floor (photo 1 & 3). Also, in photo 2 a shot from the Basquiat show, which you should see. Long after his death, he continues to be an artist who captured New York’s primitivist energy, slinging it back out in drawings and rawly created paintings.

It would have been interesting to see what Basquiat would have done had he lived. That’s the sadness of letting an artist die without addressing their pain in a constructive fashion, we lose any further work or ideas.

sneaker93

For some reason, I keep running into French guys. This one had such an amazing hat that I wanted a photo. Turns out that he, Florent Biais,  designed that hat, which is called Le Grand Hat and he designed the t-shirt he’s wearing. You can keep up with him at SQST.tumblr.com as well as on instagram. I wanted to adopt him and drag him into our group, but it turned out that he hadn’t seen the FAILE show, so we directed him emphatically to go back and see it.

That was the last time we saw the French guy.

sneaker94

Once we hit the lobby, it was time to get in on the stencil wall. Ed Roth of Stencil 1 had a station set up with stencils and art supplies, so it was a no-brainer. This is my skull (photo 3). Yes, I signed it.

sneaker95

Afterwards we went to a place called Bar Corvo, which is a good restaurant but I would have preferred something a bit more casual. This guy in our group kind of bullied us into going there, and when I asked him what kind of food it was he said American, which made me hopeful for something fun- but it’s actually Italian and their food is kind of serious. And they had $10 cocktails. Um, hm.

I had already settled on the fried spicy chickpeas ($5) and Peroni ($5.50) when this same guy wanted everyone to order an entree and share all of our food, which to me was a way for him to get a bigger dinner. Whatever. I only leave my house with enough money to cover my own expenses, so while all of this was going on, I knew I had $13 and that was all I was putting on the table.

This place didn’t really have the type of food that was fun to share with strangers, so that idea kind of flopped. the mussels would be cool if you were in the mood, and it would have been nice to know that their calamari was unbreaded and liberally tossed with fresh lemon juice. It’s a good restaurant, definitely date worthy- just not a cool place to go when you want a burger and friendly conversation.

Then when we left this same guy (who I will never ever listen to again) points to a place AROUND THE CORNER and says, ‘oh they have the best fries’! Prompting someone to say ‘we should have gone there, then’ and for once the someone wasn’t me.

Next up: we go to the China:Through the Looking Glass exhibit

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian

beauty, Fashion, footwear, haircare, Lucky Community, makeup, NY Fashion and Trends Examiner, NY Fashion Blogger Project, Photography, Sassy Ethnic Bohemian, Style, Summer

the first week of june! progress! starting a business, planning a shoot, deliveries… sassy’s summer starts for real.

So, yes- it’s July and things are chugging along nicely. However, the blog is back on the first week of June! Like tv re-runs, only a blog and it’s me.

let’s go back… back to before the Coney Island blogger shoot, back before the First Anniversary party, back in time to…the Sassy Zone! (ok, lame joke. forget it).

Onward! 

1. delivery6

This was my house during the first week of June. After I got the delivery of SILK New York clothing too late for my Apneet Kaur shoot, I plotted how to get a bunch of bloggers and shoot the clothes on them. That grew into requests for more  clothes, accessories, footwear, etc. I got deliveries from ParMana Designs, Hechizo, and Desigual. Also a slew of beachy bags from lifestyle retailer Life is good… I love PR people. Without them? I’m nothing. NOTHING. 

 

2. delivery4

I started messing with everything right away, playing with the bags to see which would go with what swimsuits, mentally matching bloggers to accessories… Here you can see the canvas Adventure Stowaway tote, Feelin Beachy ropehandled mini-tote, Palm Tree and Anchor dockside beach bags from Life is good (I love them, they donate 10% of their net profits to help at-risk kids. That’s awesome!). Along with the emerald green and black Dream Awake shoulder bag from ParMana Designs, I played with the Aztec Stripe crochet bikini from Anna Kosturova, the Mika high wasted bikini bottom from WET swimwear with matching Miranda convertible top (halter to bandeau), and the Leila athletic top and matching Anuhea bottom from Cami and Jax.

 

3. delivery5

The styling corner was getting scary, but I was too busy to really get excited. I still had more stuff to pick up…

4. pickup

I was paranoid about scheduling a Daisy Fuentes for Kohl’s delivery, so I went out and picked up my pulls myself. Ran into Manhattan (ok, I took the subway, but you know what I mean) and dragged home my spoils. Standouts for me were the chevron striped blue maxi dress, This amazingly bright raspberry colored striped burnout tshirt, and the alternating striped cream dress with pockets. I love this dress, actually. I wanted to keep it for myself!

5. swimtartewalk1

I still had to pick up swimwear from a company called Swimtarte, and I was excited because they were a new brand that I found on my own. They are located in a Brooklyn neighborhood near mine, so I decided to set out for a soothing walk. I live in a mostly residential area, so there are flowering plants and shady trees, and I make sure to walk down the prettiest blocks when I have a long stroll like this one. 

6. swimtartewalk3

I made sure to walk down Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, lined with upscale boutiques for the fashion conscious. Check out Michelle New York, Girlcat, and Bijoutique– the clothing is gorgeously chic, and you can find unique jewelry and accessories.  

7. swimtartewalk2

I never found Swimtarte… also, I got lost and ended up walking for 4 hours- way longer than I intended. I emailed them to ask if they could possibly drop the suits off at my place, but they said they were too busy. So I ended up not working with them. 

chubbychubs1

So, in addition to plotting my first multi-blogger shoot and First Anniversary celebration? I was planning the launch of a lady business to keep me occupied and generate hands-on revenue. 

chubbychubs2

Ever since I gave up fast food and junk food and pretty much any pre-made foods, I have been baking like mad. I can’t just buy a slice of cake, I have to make a whole one if I get a craving. i can’t go buy cookies, so I mix up the dough and end up with enough for three dozen. Best way to stay sample sized (just in case any companies have stuff to give away- you want to be a standard size, just FYI) I had to start getting rid of my excess sweets. I gave some away, but that’s not as satisfying as selling them to strangers for cash money. 

chubbychubs3

So in the middle of emailing and texting with bloggers, and emailing with PR companies, and getting deliveries, and fetching samples I was baking and buying supplies for my little business. The day that I planned to start? It rained! But I did it anyway. 

chubbychubs4

I wore my rain slicker from NY Cares and my Corinne boots from Cat Footwear (no blog post is complete until I mention them, lol!) and went for it. When the rain got too heavy, I sat in the bus shelter. It wasn’t just stubbornness that made me do it. I had decided that I needed a non-fashion hobby, something that I did on my own just for me. This was my chance, and rain wasn’t going to stop me. 

chubbychubs5

Also, I made money! These are the first dollars that I earned for my cookies and pound blueberry pound cake. I’m really proud. I made something and I sold it and people said it was good. That rocked. 

chubbychubs6

the next day the sun was shining and I was right back out on the corner with my table. And some iced coffe with Califia Farms almond milk. And my Chuck-Chuck bracelet for luck. 

chubbychubs7

The last day before my shoot, I spent selling at Target First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum. I went retro, hoping to impress new customers with my pink thrift store dress and Giverny floral painted hat. I defined my waist with a black leather belt from Ann Taylor and showed off my Fire Rose toenails in weavement sandals. I sold one bag of popcorn, but I had a nice time watching people and just enjoyed the summer breeze while I could. 

shoot1

shoot2

The next day I packed up all the stuff for my first day of shooting, and made treats for the girls. Now + Zen pr had given me bottles of Desigual perfume, so I actually had a goodie bag to giveaway to say ‘thank you’ to the bloggers for showing up. I think that niceness counts, even if people take that for granted. 

shoot3 

I didn’t want to get ‘fancy’ since I would be dragging a suitcase, and running all over the place. I wore my tattered light wash guess jeans, my (now cropped) Earthmover tshirt, a denim shirt, Desigual Fun perfume (why not!) and the Giverny floral painted hat from primadonna- since I was afraid to put it in the suitcase. I threw on two Desigual necklaces that had come with my Aume dress and Uno jacket from an earlier shoot with blogger Amy Vosejpka of Not Official. I had decided that all I wanted in life was this canvas Adventure Stowaway tote from Life is good. It has all these pockets and compartments, and I adored the grey/olive/orange color combination. 

shoot6

 This is me… on the train, exhausted- but ready. 

 

next up? Behind the scenes of my two day four blogger shoot at Coney Island! #staytuned!