Style

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St. Beauty

Vintage Flare & 70s Vibes

st-beauty

St. Beauty is Alex Belle on lead vocals and Isis on guitar and bass. The Atlanta duo — part of Janelle Monae’s Wondaland label — mixes folk, soul, and hip-hop in creating a sound as eclectic as it is infectious. Whether they’re playing a slow burning melody or something more upbeat, their music gets under your skin — “Funk rules the spirit.” We recently caught up with the ladies behind St. Beauty, getting their take on everything from time travel to style.

 

NeueJournal: If you had a time machine, what decade would you live in?

 

St. Beauty: The decade would be 50,000 years from now…

 

NJ: How would you define your style?

 

SB: Our style is defined by our mood that day, but with undertones of a vintage flare, 70s more specifically.

 

NJ: What song best describes your work ethic?

 

SB: Bone Thugs & Harmony, first of the month.

 

NJ: If you could get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?

 

SB: All of the state with North/South/East/West in the name, they should just be merged into one state, its a waste of paper and ink.

 

NJ: Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

 

SB: Concepts for songs, the future.

 

NJ: What’s your favorite Disney princess?

 

SB: Princess Jasmine, she was trill… & Mulan, cause she was fearless!

 

NJ: Who was your favorite spice girl?

 

SB: They all were pretty dope. Related to them all.

 

NJ: What did you care most about when you were 10 years old?

 

SB: Making it home after school to watch Barney or Arthur & cute boys & sleep overs!

 

NJ: How does the internet work?

 

SB: The internet is good & evil all in one.

 

Photography: Joshua Woods for NeueJournal 

The Italian Sojourn

Sightseeing in Italy, Hemingway-Style

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This Summer was a special one: I decided to take a left turn out of fashion and dedicate myself to my new travel project. It seemed as if the only way to stave off the panic of a crazed leap was to take off, Hemingway-style, to the continent. As I’m getting acquainted with my new Di Principe name, Italy was the obvious option.

 

We landed in Pisa, picked up our chariot (a tiny, white smart car) and set off in search of la Dolce Vita.  First to an artists’ commune in Tuscany. An old terracotta palazzo, filled with the ghosts of a grand past, was now embracing its more rough and ready future, playing host to Villa Lena’s artist residency. I arrived dreaming of writing in the rolling hills, but soon realized that nights echoing with cocktails and jam sessions would mean we just had to throw ourselves into the boarding school-like, bohemian family. There was no possibility of hiding alone in our room… And, as a large party of men in gold robes arrived from Florence, it seemed about time to take the smart car on the next battle of wits down the Italian autostrada towards Rome.

 

Our next stop was something a bit magical. Secretly, every girl wants to be a princess, somewhere deep down inside themselves. My dream is that of a Rapunzel waiting to be rescued, although I think my years of commitment to bleach at Vidal Sassoon means my hair wouldn’t really sustain the weight of a prince. Some girls might dream of being warrior princesses – maybe like a Mulan – which also works with this story.

 

Back to the present day, and a very kind invitation for a lucky English girl to visit the Italian Castello Ruspoli. It’s hard to describe the feeling of waking up and padding around barefoot in grand old 15th century entrance halls with doors that swing open onto drawbridges, or wondering how many mistresses had been shown through the hidden door in the ageing silk walls of our room. The effect of living in such obvious history is a strange one: half day-dream, half realizing that I’m just a speck of humanity resting in the castle’s walls.

 

But did I fall for it? Yes I did. Hook, line and sinker. The ease of living and the art of conversation, time to stop and smell the perfectly trimmed roses – all of this is what makes the society of old aristocracy so intoxicating. Our host Tao summed it up perfectly with a quote from his father, the legendary Prince and Don of the Dolce Vita, Dado Ruspoli, who once exclaimed to him in all seriousness: “Tao, I’m just so tired – there was lunch yesterday, now a dinner tonight”.

 

Next was the long road south, navigating Naples, staying in imp-like Trullo’s, and reaching the hot, white city of Lecce just in time for another festival: nights upon nights of local religious festivals light up Italy through the Summer months and into early Autumn, with young and old spilling into the streets and dancing until the early hours.

 

After all this drinking, eating and dancing we obviously needed a break, and at last we landed at Francis Ford Coppola’s perfect Palazzo Margherita hotel. Sofia was married in the gardens of this shuttered marble paradise. I travel a lot, but I have to say this might be my number one place on Earth for a second trip – perhaps stealing my heart as my all-time favorite hotel…

 

Just go see,

 

Ciao x

Dressing for Bleisure

Blurring the Lines Between Business and Pleasure

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One of the USPs of NeueHouse is that it deliberately and effectively blurs the lines between business and pleasure. (Recently I’ve even heard people use the portmanteau ‘bleisure’.)

 

In today’s fluid and creative business environment, working and socializing often happen at the same time – or they can certainly segue from one to the other. This can present dilemmas for the man about town. Such as: “Can I claim this back on expenses?” and “What should I wear?”

 

I’ll leave you to work out the former; but as for the latter, the key is to create a versatile wardrobe consisting of pieces that you can dress up and dress down as the diary dictates.

 

For men who are used to wearing business suits this means dressing down a rung; for men who normally hang out in jeans and t-shirts this means dressing up a rung. The sweet spot is somewhere between the two: deconstructed tailoring.

 

What’s that? It basically means a jacket with some of the stiffness and formality taken out of it. The shoulders are softer and less built up; the fabrics generally have less of a sheen. And these jackets can be worn as a suit or as ‘separates’ with slim-fit chinos, cords or denim.

 

You will doutbless be familiar with J. Crew’s Ludlow suit. In a similar ballpark, look at the likes of Oliver Spencer, Folk, A.P.C, Y.M.C, Margaret Howell, Gant Rugger, Officine Generale, Rag & Bone, Alex Mills. I’m not just coming up with these brands off the top of my head; I’m reading them off the list of designer on MrPorter.com, for whom I am the US Editor.

 

Below I’ve devised 10 style commandments for the NeueHouse man to be read in those 10 minutes between your next business meeting and social coffee. Good luck with the expenses.

 

1. Fit is the fundamental factor. The size on the label matters more than the label itself. Make sure everything in your closet fits you properly and have it professionally altered if it doesn’t. A baggy $2000 blazer will look cheaper than a $200 blazer that has been tailored to you. Shirts should be fitted not billowy. Pants should not puddle on your shoes.

 

2. Give yourself an upgrade. Edit your closet of whatever is doing you no favors and replace where necessary: that tent-like dress shirt, the boxy suit, the off-white t-shirts, the threadbare socks. People notice these details and judge you on them.

 

3. Make wise investment purchases. Spend money on items that have the most impact and from which you will derive the most value over time. These typically are: a smart overcoat, good quality shoes, a leather bag and a fine watch. These are the items that a) people often see first; and b) if you buy wisely, could last you 10 years or more. So buy the best you can afford across the board.

 

4. Present a strong business case. A hard-shell briefcase is often too formal; a backpack can be too informal. A soft-shell leather briefcase or a leather and canvas tote will work for most scenarios.

 

5. Match your leathers. There is one commandment when it comes to leather: thou shalt not mix brown and black in the same outfit. Wearing black leather shoes? Then you can’t wear a brown leather belt or carry a brown leather bag. Brown leathers are more versatile so while black leather can be smarter, you’ll get more wear out of brown.

 

6. Choose well-rounded shoes. No square toes at all, and beware of anything too pointy, especially if they turn up at the end. Rounded-toe shoes are most acceptable.

 

7. Pass the jeans test. Denim can be worn in a smart-casual environment if it is black or indigo with minimal wash and no distressing. Jeans should be worn with a belt (denim ‘gives’ so will loosen during the day) and the fit should be slim rather than skinny – and certainly not baggy. Selvedge denim can be turned-up but three is the maximum number of turns. And black dress shoes with blue denim? Never looks quite right.

 

8. Ties that don’t bind. A silk tie can often feel too formal – especially in a social setting. A knitted tie, however, worn with a button-down shirt, is smart without being stiff. A shirt worn buttoned up without a tie can also a cool option.

 

9. Keep co-ordinated. One way of making sure everything works together is to stick to a fairly standard color palette of blues (especially navy), greys, browns, black and white. Sounds a bit ‘safe’ but these are the colors that suit everyone and it means that you can easily mix-and-match your look and thus get more wear out of the same wardrobe staples.

 

10. Accessorize with a pop of color. Pocket squares, socks, cufflinks, scarves – these are the places to bring in brighter tones to enliven your outfit without overdoing it. Because you can’t be all business and no pleasure.