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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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-

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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