Hypothetical Oscar dresses from NYFW

Zac Posen for Reese Witherspoon.

Zac Posen for Reese Witherspoon.

Rachel Zoe taught us a lot. In between - or maybe as a result of - denouncing velour and obsessing over vintage haute couture, she invented an entirely new subset of fashion vernacular. She introduced us to "bananas," "I die," "kills it." She also taught us that some accessories are worth going to the grave for, "Just throw me in my coffin now with those earrings on." But most importantly, she taught us that the struggle for securing an awards show dress is real. Shut.it.down. real.

In four days, miniature golden statuesque men will be handed out, and if rewatching clips of the Rachel Zoe Project has given me any insight into prepping for an awards show, it's this: no one knows for sure what they'll be wearing on the red carpet until their soles hit the pavement outside the Kodak Theater. Translation, the dresses above and below from NYFW may be in the running for Sunday's show. Zoe was always one to poach dresses immediately following their runway debut, and I'm confident her predecessors follow suit.

After scanning this week's ready-to-wear collections, I played Zoe and picked out the gowns I would present to my hypothetical oscar-nominated clients. The winner, by far, is the Zac Posen ruby number above on Naomi Campbell, which looks a lot like a dress the Barbie topper on a birthday cake would wear. It's also made in the U.S. As were, you guessed it, all of the other dresses included in my pseudo-styling. And for even more faux styling fun, I've assigned them to the leading actress nominees. I'm betting Marion Cotillard takes home the win, but I'm putting all of my money on crimson being a major contender on the red carpet this year.

Oscar de la Renta for Rosamund pike.

Oscar de la Renta for Rosamund pike.

Oscar de la renta for marion cotillard.

Oscar de la renta for marion cotillard.

Oscar de la renta for felicity jones.

Oscar de la renta for felicity jones.

Carolina herrera for Julianne Moore.

Carolina herrera for Julianne Moore.

The (Other) Best Supporter in Whiplash

Overworked, stress-ridden, sweat-drenched and blood-stained, Miles Teller's character Andrew Neyman in Whiplash is all of these things (usually simultaneously), but I'm referring to his drumsticks. The drumsticks Teller had to relearn to hold in order to master a convincing jazz grip (he's a self taught rock drummer); the drumsticks whose absence result in one of the film's most adrenaline-inducing scenes; the drumsticks that rub Neyman's fingers and hands so raw during relentless practice sessions that his drum kit is coated in blood; the drumsticks that also happen to be made in the U.S. and have been since 1963.

Located in Newport, Maine, Vic Firth has manufactured drumsticks for everyone from Buddy Rich, arguably the greatest jazz drummer of all time and a constant reference point in Whiplash, to Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones. His factory produces 85,000 sticks per day from Tenessee's Appalachian hickory. 

More than anything, Whiplash is a story of limits and how far you're willing to push yourself to succeed. Like Teller, Firth understands drive

The key word for me is persistence. Whatever you set out to do, you have to have a magnum passion for it, and you’ve got to work beyond what you ever dreamed you’re gonna work to succeed at the level that you want to succeed at.
— Firth said in an interview with Sunday Morning.

Vic's sticks undoubtedly serve as Whiplash's unspoken third lead, and given the performances by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, his drumsticks are among this year's most elite performers, according to the academy.

I make it a habit to watch every best picture nominee prior to the oscars each year, and having seen all eight, I can decisively say that Whiplash was hands down my favorite. It's intense, gripping, and a serious roller coaster of emotions. As one reviewer put it, "In an era when so many films feel more refined by focus groups or marketing managers, it is a deeply personal and vibrantly alive drama. Damien Chazelle has taken a relatively staid subject like the relationship between a music student and his teacher and turned it into a thriller built on a brilliant undercurrent of social commentary about what it takes to make it in an increasingly competitive and cutthroat world." Do yourself a favor and check out Whiplash if you haven't already, and while you're at it, Vic Firth's drumsticks.

It's the Weekend

Quite possibly, no, definitively, my favorite music video of all time. At least at this moment in time. Makes me nostalgic for skating rinks, in the summer, in the '80's. Even though in the '80's I was a toddler and would have never been at a skating rink in the summer. But if I were, I would want it to be exactly this. It's like if The Way, Way Back, Roller Girl from Boogie Nights and Adventureland merged for 5 condensed minutes. Plus, this video stars Sid from The Descendants: the dopey love interest of a pre-the-fault-in-our-stars Shailene Woodley and the unintentional sidekick of a pre-Amal George Clooney. I can't stop watching. And it's Friday, so it is, in fact, the weekend. Enjoy, and have a good one!

Alexa Chung for AG Jeans

DJ. Journalist. Model. Designer. Influencer. Cool Girl. Alexa Chung is everything, so it makes sense that her latest collaboration with AG Jeans is also everything. Her inaugural capsule collection includes 21 pieces ranging from overalls and jeans to miniskirts and dresses, all made in Los Angeles. The collab marks the beginning of an ongoing partnership with AG, and according to Chung, her follow-up collection will feature much more than denim. I just wish the "I don't have a boyfriend jean" would have made it in this time around.

This collection was made with care in Los Angeles especially for you by a team of extraordinary, magical miracle workers. The design is imbued with our passion for denim - get it dirty, roll around, climb things, dance all night, sleep in it, be happy.
— with love, Alexa Chung and all at AG

THE EXCHANGE | MICHELLE PIZZURRO NTO DESIGN

Some people are so inherently themselves, to be anything else would be impossible. Michelle is one of these people. A maker by nature, her desire to create is intimately woven into all aspects of her life. "Wordsmith by trade. Designer for fun.", reads her epithet on Instagram.  She's penned copy for some of the biggest names in retail, and when she's not writing, she's hammering, drilling and hand-forming sterling silver into geometric shapes for her industrious (she's self taught) jewelry line NTO Design. The acronym stands for "Never Take Off." Her pieces are delicate, polished and are constructed to serve as a base layer. They're the pieces all other jewelry is worn around. I recently had a chance to visit Michelle in her studio where she spent the afternoon creating for her online shop.

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Current City: Brooklyn, New York

Best and worst thing about being a (fairly) recent transplant to NYC? Best thing? Every day can truly be a new adventure. This can hold true no matter where you live, it’s just easier here. Worst thing? You gotta be tough. It’s a constant challenge.

Earliest design memory… I was recently at brunch with my childhood friend, Candyce Williams, who reminded me of the stationary business we started in the 4th grade. Mrs. Carter would be teaching grammar, and we would be drawing tropical fruits, flowers and cats on envelopes.

Current design inspiration… I get inspired by museum spaces, surfaces and apartment interiors. I like the visual play between a house’s internal geometry and all the things we place in it. It’s a lot like the dynamic between jewelry and the body. How something fits, rests or looks in the context of space. Along the lines of interior decor, I fantasize about Demi Moore’s apartment in the movie St. Elmo’s Fire. So pink, so pastel. I have a Pinterest board titled Art Aesthetic that sums up my inspiration way better than I could ever explain.

Design process... I often sketch my ideas ahead of time. The worst thing you can do is keep an idea in your head. It must live somehow. On paper, in conversation, in action. Only when the idea has left the mind can there be room for more ideas. In jewelry making, sometimes my idea goes as planned and sometimes the plan gets an idea of its own. The result is always something I didn't know I could create.

Your pieces are designed with the intention of constant, continuous wear - that the jewelry becomes second skin. How does durability and longevity play into your design process? It's essential. The chains have to be tough, the jump rings soldered shut. But sterling is so soft, one must be open to the patina that results in all-the-time wear. I love the character worn metal achieves. It’s unique and personal.

What pieces in your personal collection have achieved “never take off” status? I like to wear my newest designs so I have been wearing my new Lanai Tip Ring for the past week and a Rose Handlet. I always wear Betty Studs (two in each ear) and a custom Body Chain.

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What drew you to working with silver? Its pureness. The shine. That it remains shiny on the body. I also adore silver’s softness and its ability to bend and form.

When it comes to wearing jewelry, which theory do you subscribe to: less is more or more is more? Less is more for sure. To me, Minimalism isn’t just dressing plain or owning as few things as possible. To me, it’s about having the confidence to “go without.”  I like making a few, but big, decisions and committing to them. To me, they stand out more, as do I.

Favorite American-made brands? I admire the craftsmanship and product focus of brands like Shinola and Freeman’s Sporting Club, but I LOVE The Row.

Most prized possession in your closet? Anything my mom used to own. Her teal velour track suit, her Gucci and wedding ring. She and I shared a DKNY cable-knit cardigan we bought together in 1991. It would rotate between our closets every four years or so. It’s gray, timeless and full of memories.

Best career advice you’ve ever received? I am still waiting for it.

And finally, to borrow from Oprah, this I know for sure… The less you focus on what you know and more on what you DON’T know, the more successful you’ll be.