Spring Forward

     Before moving to New York for college, I grew up in Santa Monica where it was sunny year-round. Seasons never felt very relevant since the weather was constantly on the warmer side, so seasonal fashion wasn't really an issue. Sure, people wore their Patagonia jackets in December, but they were about a quarter of an inch thick and usually styled with flip flops. Not to say that I was ever that seasonally confused, but experiencing my first bone-chilling winter in NYC certainly opened my eyes not only to dressing appropriately for the seasons but also to appreciating the arrival of spring. 
     The onset of spring inevitably evokes joy, and such cheerfulness served as the inspiration for an editorial I styled for Barnard's Hoot MagazineThe looks modeled by the bubbly Coco McDermott consisted of a lot of denim and white - a nod to the effortless spring fashions of Jane Birkin. Photographer Esther Jung's vibrant aesthetic meshed seamlessly with the jovial theme of the shoot, as she captured Coco at the Union Square Farmer's Market budding with blooms, on a colorful street called Washington Mews and at  the beautiful Washington Square Park. I couldn't think of a better way to spring forward!


Mature in Manhattan

     The draped cardigan over the shoulders look is perhaps best known for its utilitarian quality - if it gets a bit chilly, a warm rescue is right there, hanging around your neck. The style is one that I instantly associate with old men, because for as long as I can remember my grandfather has been sporting button down shirts with a cardigans draped over them. 
     Often in high school I'd dress in this look, joking that I felt like an old man because I hadn't seen any other women wear the style themselves. I always felt like it aged me a bit, which I personally enjoyed because I felt just a teensy bit more maturely dressed than my teenage peers.
     After watching Woody Allen's Manhattan for the first time, I became infatuated with Mariel Hemingway's character Tracy. She's a high school student who dates Isaac (played by Allen) - quite the cougar considering he's 42 years old. It's easy to fall for Tracy's charm through her soft-spoken voice and naïveté  but she also has a sophistication for her young age that may be entirely due to her clothing. In a scene where Tracy joins Isaac and his friends for a walk, she dons the draped cardigan over the shoulders look. As Bill Cunningham once said, "fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life," so perhaps by outfitting herself in a more mature style, Tracy feels more comfortable with her unusual reality of dating such an older man. Whether or not intentions for maturity went into the styling of this costume, it sure does work because Tracy impeccably blends in with Isaac's crowd of adult friends. 


Esther Jung, Photographer

     The word 'sweet' immediately comes to mind when I think of Esther Jung. It comes as no surprise that the girl behind such magical photography, with its dazzling lighting and color palette, has an absolutely endearing personality. To discover more about the charming camerawoman, I interviewed Esther about her NYFW memories, mastering Instagram, and more...

When did you begin to develop a passion for photography?
     About 7 years ago after taking an intro photo class in high school. Surprisingly before this, I actually had very little interest in photography (I was more into drawing/painting). I somehow ended up in the photo class because of scheduling conflicts, but a few months in, I discovered how much I actually enjoyed taking photos. It challenged me to seek out beauty in my everyday surroundings and was unlike anything I'd ever done. 

From editorial to street style to portraiture, your photography takes many forms. Do you have a favorite style of shooting?
     Definitely fashion editorials! I love working with a team (models, stylists, make up artists, etc.) and turning a creative idea into reality. But for all of my shoots, what I really enjoy is that they involve a certain degree of spontaneity. I usually go into a shoot with a preconceived idea, but I don't plan out all of my shots. I rely somewhat on luck - for example, for Neptune's Daughter, we found an amazing sand castle that happened to fit our theme. I love unplanned moments like these and how things somehow always fall into place.

What's your most memorable moment from photographing New York Fashion Week?
     Probably when I realized that I was shooting street style right next to Bill Cunningham (my hero)!

Who or what is your dream subject to photograph?
     Definitely the aurora borealis! Oh, someday...

Your Instagram feed is fantastic; do you have any tips and tricks for iPhone photo editing?
     Thank you! I think the key to good Instagram photos is good lighting. Try to avoid using flash and use natural light as much as possible. The best light is soft - not direct sunlight, but less intense light that won't create harsh shadows or overexpose photos.

Any et cetera?
     I think no matter what a person's career or academic interests are, they should still maintain creativity through some sort of outlet, whether it's photography, dancing, singing, etc. During my first year of college, a few classmates discouraged me from doing photography, telling me that it would distract me from my studies. Four years later, I'm about to graduate with a neuroscience degree and I now have a larger portfolio filled with photos from these past few years. Art and science aren't mutually exclusive and I'm really glad that I ended up doing both.


She's a Jeanius

     While everyone's spent the past year obsessing over Frozen's snow queen, Elsa, I've been ogling over a different blonde beauty by the same name. Swedish model Elsa Hosk is - pun intended - a jeanius. After double-tapping one too many of her personal style Instagram photos, I've fallen in love with the way Elsa simply styles denim but still manages to look super put together. Whether she's sporting a Canadian tuxedo or a fur coat with vintage Levi's, this girl has her pants on point. 


James and the Giant Tee

     In 1955, James Dean not only played a major role as Jim Stark in Rebel Without A Cause but also in the popularization of the white t-shirt. Dean's character Jim made the blue jeans and white shirt look iconic (cue Lana Del Rey). Teens all over America could relate to Jim for his angst and daring demeanor, and tried to emulate the rebel by wearing white t-shirts too. 
     At first glance, a colorless tee doesn't appear to evoke rebelliousness. However, in the 1950s it did exactly that. Simply donning a plain white tee as outerwear was an act of rebellion in and of itself because typically the shirt was worn as men's underwear. Plus, colorless clothing allowed one's true personality to shine through, which in the case of Jim Stark and even James Dean himself, screamed rebel.