Obsessed Exclusive: Our Night with Actor Eddie Redmayne

While Channing Tatum fans like them big, dumb and full of...fun (ok, that's what we'll say), Eddie Redmayne appeals to opposing forces of attraction and is arguably the thinking fangirls' idol of choice.

Educated at Eton with Prince William and then proceeding to Cambridge for university, Redmayne's new film, "The Theory of Everything," has him diving back into his own past. Redmayne plays the renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking, and we caught up with him at the Smithsonian's (cue girls in glasses swooning) red carpet screening on a crisp November evening in the District.

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.

"I read it and everything about it was new information to me. I'd been at university where Stephen teaches and seen him a lot, seen him across the campus. And every time you saw Stephen Hawking it was a pretty big deal."

[note note_color="#36424e" border_color="#ffffff" text_color="#ffffff" radius="0"] "When I read this, I knew it was a story important to tell."[/note]

Redmayne speaks with a eloquence and a sweet earnestness that oozes English public school charm, "After I read the script I just couldn't believe there was this whole story behind the icon. Our job at it's best is to tell interesting stories and when I read this, I knew it was a story important to tell."

"The Theory of Everything" is a contextually powerful and ambitious addition to the Redmayne catalogue, which already includes "The Good Shepherd" and "Les Miserables."

Actor Eddie Redmayne. Photo: Reggie Campbell
Actor Eddie Redmayne. Photo: Reggie Campbell

However, playing Stephen Hawking and returning to Cambridge may be his most meaningful and personal project yet. "There were moments while going back to film at Cambridge that were really intense and powerful for me. A lot of memories, a lot of emotions, and even returning to see things and seeing they were not as they once were or at least remembered."

Well girls in glasses, if that doesn't do it for you, we don't know what will!

As for working with Academy Award-winning director, James Marsh, Redmayne was thankful for the creative freedom. "He's an amazing man with amazing capacity. He held us by our hands and emboldened us to create--I hope--interesting work. If I said, hey I've got an idea, he would always say 'Do it!' and allowed us that freedom, which was wonderful."

[note note_color="#36424e" border_color="#ffffff" text_color="#ffffff" radius="0"] "I was afraid, fearful... "[/note]

For an actor that has sung live and held his own in compelling dramas as the son to characters played by Angelina Jolie and Julianne Moore, Redmayne has surely evolved from just another beautiful, young thing into a star of his own. Yet he expressed a charming modesty about tackling Hawking, "I was afraid, fearful... Trying to understanding the science, being authentic to a disease was a huge responsibility. And playing a living man, playing an icon scared me."

We don't think Redmayne has much to fear, as there is already plenty of chatter of his remarkable performance in "The Theory of Everything," with some critics even calling it his Oscar-worthy moment.

As we said goodbye, I had to tell him his suit was killing it.

For the record, he was wearing Gucci and gave us the assurance that there's more modeling and fashion editorial to come soon.

Ok ok, he's still a beautiful, young thing and we love him for it!

VIEW GALLERY

photos: Reggie Campbell

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Naina Singla: Portrait of a Stylist in DC

Naina Singla Portrait Of A Stylist In DC
Naina Singla, Entrepreneur, Fashion Stylist, On-Air Expert, and Editor at NainaSingla.com. Courtesy Photo.

When complaints about the DC fashion community arise it’s usually critiquing the disconnect between their insular trends and the actual lifestyle and aesthetic of the city’s population.

Sure, that’s an interesting, fashion forward outfit on so-and-so’s blog, but can it actually resound with a larger population of client-facing professionals? This disconnect is further exacerbated by the fact that many in the DC fashion scene work for themselves at home, in casual co-working spaces, or at one of the few DC-based start-ups, a far cry from the work lives of most DC residents.

Alternative office life is common in places like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, but not in Washington, and many don’t have the freedom to “express themselves” through their wardrobe choices at work. Thus, when it comes to buying a $400 pair of leather skinnies at All Saints versus an everyday use blazer from Theory, the choice is clear.

Despite gains here and there, the small, rising DC fashion scene continues to be held in skeptical regard and it’s a cold reception by many of the District’s most stereotypical, no nonsense inhabitants.

While a style tip here and there off a blog may be useful, much of DC still adheres to J.Crew, Ann Taylor, Lilly Pulitzer, Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and the like.

But, is this a bad thing? Does this have to be fought?

Enter Naina Singla, a former biotech scientist and Ph.D from Chapel Hill turned DC stylist. With a small, curated list of clients in the metro area, Singla is one of the most trusted stylists in DC whose fashion philosophy authentically embodies even the most rigid metro area sensibilities.

A Stylist Who Knows

Naina Singla is sitting across from me at Le Pain Quotidien in Bethesda, with the rain pouring down outside, and she’s telling me about how she went from Dr. Singla to Naina of STYLE’N fame. In May 2010,she began a blog for fun to explore her interest in fashion. Within two years she had bid adieu to her life as a biotech scientist and had drafted a business plan to work as a stylist.

On Saturday, May 10th, Style Expert, Naina Singla, co-hosted a special DKNY 25th Anniversary fashion show at Bloomingdales Tysons Corner
On Saturday, May 10th, Style Expert, Naina Singla, co-hosted a special DKNY 25th Anniversary fashion show at Bloomingdales Tysons Corner. Courtesy Photo.

"There [are] pros and cons, of course. I left a six figure salary and a healthcare plan!” she laughs, with her long, dark hair swinging to the side.

Singla speaks the way many who have made a courageous career change speak – with gratitude and excitement – when it turns out the decision wasn't so bad after all.“I left it all to become an entrepreneur. But I am so happy. I feel so good everyday and feel like I have so much potential. I feel lucky I found my creativity.”

Singla is down to earth, engaged, and easy to talk to. It’s rare when an interviewee posits questions. Reflection is not at the top of the list while self-promoting, but Singla has a calm, attractive energy. It is believable that she works with women closely, building them up, listening and observing, in order to foster a creative relationship.

A neurotic aggression is easily spotted with a lot of fashion professionals, even the most charming, because having to stay on top of quickly moving trends, in a highly competitive field, requires that of many. Singla has avoided that since her work, while influenced by trends, is most deeply invested in individual style.

“I look at the person, first and always. Who is this client? What is their lifestyle, their profession, what are their concerns about body and image? I do all of this before even thinking about what trend to suggest.”

The Singla Style Philosophy

Many stylists, quite naturally, have a tendency to dress their clients the way they dress themselves. Think Rachel Zoe and how Nicole Richie became her mini-me for most of the early 2000s. Singla, like many stylists, became a stylist because people liked how she dressed and asked for help.

“I had my blog [and then] began receiving messages asking for help. It was amazing! I started out with friends and bloggers to practice. I realized I loved styling and knew I wanted to do it. And I developed my own method.”

Keeping the ego in check, while being able to understand an aesthetic outside of your own, takes a special artfulness and intuition which Singla has. Anyone can go Pygmalion on you, but if they can’t see you, behind their own agenda, you probably won’t end up trusting them. Singla’s styling is a kind of fashion therapy, building trust before moving forward. She works to know what you like and dislike before ever even charging the credit card.

“Most stylists will try to tell you to buy new clothes. I go through the closets of all my clients first. I refresh their wardrobe from the inside before looking to make purchases. I repurpose their wardrobe.  I work with what their style is and who they are,” says Singla, earnestly and kindly.

Regional styles exist, and in fact, distinctions in fashion make it all the more interesting. Not everyone needs to be wearing a One Teaspoon cut-out body con or an Alexander Wang crop top. But just how mass media and television pounded away at regional accents, the internet and its fashion bloggers are crossing coasts, state borders, and international waters to create a new seamless uniform with every season. Where once things could only be seen on the streets of Tokyo or Stockholm, an immense amount of style has lost the specificities of their origination, instead, reflecting on current trends on the world wide web.   The result: if it’s on ASOS, it’s probably on you.

Of course, the greatest loss in fashion saturation is the effortlessness which can only come from being informed by lifestyle. And effortless is what we all are really trying to accomplish when we stand before our closets in the morning.

If you’re in Georgetown, trying to look like Santa Monica, somehow you’ll get it wrong, even if you have all the right labels because you’re just trying too hard. Great fashion is aspirational, always wrapped up with a bit of fantasy. However, when fashion gets caught in the traps of its own whimsy, it loses exactly who it seeks to impress. Singla keenly understands that a disconnect can not only be damaging to a stylists’ business but disenfranchising to clients already struggling with their clothing. Dismissing or downplaying the culture in DC doesn’t buy any favors.

“They say there’s no style in DC , but I think there is. You can also really work to bring out more style in people without making them uncomfortable. People can be very sensitive. Some women refuse to wear heels. More mature clients can be very conservative and are in positions where they don’t feel like they can experiment very much without feeling flamboyant. In these cases maybe a bright, patterned dress isn't best. But that doesn't mean you can’t have color through a beautiful scarf. It doesn’t mean you can’t try something new.”

Singla doesn’t force style but brings out the greatest potential of clients whose wardrobes might not have had a refresh since the last administration.

Naina Let's Talk Live
Courtesy Photo

Like a mole who works from the inside to crack the code, Singla may be the most singularly in touch fashion professional in the District, relating to her clients on multiple levels.

Many stylists have backgrounds in fashion and design, either through school or work experience. The income of many stylists (with renowned exception, see aforementioned Zoe) demands that many stylists must imagine the lives of their well-off clients, like a kind of style astral projection. The divide between stylist and client is a wedged realm. But in Singla’s case, she doesn’t have to imagine what it’s like to have a dress code at work. She lived that life. The relationship with her clients is embedded in trust.  Singla’s advice enhances the style they have within the confines they must operate within. The result is Singla’s rapid and easy success as a personal stylist and her loyal following as as an on-air fashion expert for DC Fox News, among other local news stations.

“You cannot push style onto people. Women, especially in DC, have looks they are comfortable with. And in general, pushing trends ignores the differences in people’s bodies. You have to look at each person individually, their specific needs. When someone is comfortable, that’s when they look best. I want my clients to all look and feel their best.”

Creative Collective

Singla is part of the Creative Collective, brain child of Meg Biram, and has been satisfied with the partnership.

“It’s great to be building these relationships. I am always looking at building relationships.”

With a motley crue of other female creatives, the Creative Collective is in a sunny row house along M. St, overlooking the Key Bridge. Here, Singla, along with Biram and company, have joined forces. The operation already has a well-oiled feel to it and I’ve experienced firsthand the powerful networking and referral power of these women.

For Singla in particular, the office offers a perfect location and space for future projects. “It’s nice to be with all of them. I love the networking.”

Singla, a popular host to many DC fashion events, has found she loves to be part of events. Future projects have Singla eyeing partnerships and continued work on brand collaborations, so the Creative Collective move is ideal.

“I’m looking forward to having an office in the city with greater access to everything.”

Singla’s DC Impact

The rain is picking up again, almost torrential, and the coffee cups are empty. Singla and I are saying our goodbyes and making plans about hopefully meeting again.

I reflect on the conversation as I merge onto Old Georgetown. Having worked in Los Angeles and New York fashion scenes for years, where style is woven into the sunsets, the streets, the smog, and the DNA, the new message of DC-- finally coming into an age of style-- is interesting.

As a DC native, who knows others District-bred, local talk can be ambivalent. It’s hard to convince this local crowd that standard DC prep chic still seen on every kid in private school along Wisconsin Avenue or urban street style a la Up Against the Wall is going anywhere fast.

While DC works on its gentrification and fashion transformation, it will also always be the city where the Capitol resides and all that entails. Growth is always most meaningful and long-term when it’s organic and intuitive. After listening to Singla, it’s apparent the DC fashion community is lucky to have her philosophy of style that listens before it assumes, takes stock before it pushes.

Singla’s last words to me are, “There’s so much I am hoping to do.” It’s certain there is and it's good to know Singla’s on our team.


Spotlight: Lifestyle Blogger Meg Biram on Elevating Creativity in The Capital

Meg Biram2

It is a sunny spring day when I arrive at a walk-up on M St. to interview Meg Biram, DC’s reigning power blogger. Her Georgetown office is called the Creative Collective and shared by Biram with nine other women in the creative industry. I’m greeted by an impeccably groomed woman named Claire Ashley, who I will later discover is a YouTube makeup artist sensation.

Biram isn’t in the office and no one’s heard from her all day. A couple text messages later and I get a phone call. Biram’s stuck at her accountant’s office but she’s happy to chat. She’s candid, straight forward, and enthusiastic. We speak for an hour and as we say our goodbyes over the phone, she suggests I come hang out again with her on Saturday when she holds a workshop. Naturally, I accept.

Capitalizing on the Capital

In 2011, Meg Biram moved to DC where her style blog rapidly conquered and inspired the city. Lauded by everyone from the Washington Post to the Washingtonian, Biram became one of DC’s most prized influencers proving that style hounds do exist within District lines. And it could not have been at a better time, as DC continues its slow but steady move to becoming a more stylish, artistic city.

Biram acknowledges that her great and almost immediate success as a style blogger in DC is due to minimal competition. Biram explains, “I am so grateful to DC. Creatives living in DC are at an advantage because there simply aren’t as many people to choose from. People were instantly open and excited about what I had to say. In a place like New York or LA, there’s so many voices and people trying to do the same thing. It’s hard to stand out.”

DC boasts the highest rate of education per capita in the country. Nearly 70% of residents are college graduates. The basic fact is that DC residents are professionals in the strictest and most traditional of ways, clocking in at government jobs, legal jobs, and other supporting industries.

However, in a generation of young professionals who move from one big city to the next, many are bringing with them artistic and cultural interested culled from more progressive cities. The result is an increasing demand for art, style, and design, and Biram has heeded the call. “DC is growing – so much in the past three years,” says Biram.

When I asked Biram about how living in DC keeps her at a certain arms-length away from where the fashion happens, unlike bloggers who live in Los Angeles or New York, she brushes off the distance. “Of course, living in DC, there isn’t immediate access to show rooms, compared to living in New York or LA, but fashion show stream. There’s so much information available online.”

Sharing the Wealth

Though Biram’s rise to blogger fame seems, at first, to be a typical tale of another power blogger rising from the woods of the world wide web into the spotlight. But before DC labels, Biram was a Midwestern blogger, who’s been hitting the keys since 2007.

GSD Seminar Get Shit Done
Photo: Abby Jiu

Though her blogs have always featured interior design, style, and art, Biram revamped her website last year. “I have evolved with the internet and my blog has evolved with it,” she says.

Now her website includes not only a blog but a curated shop and links to her multiple creative and social media projects. From an online gift giving quarterly to a blogger e-book, her projects are impressively numerous, revealing a compulsive drive to create, share, and engage.

While most power bloggers keep the secret of their success sheathed beneath immaculately privileged veneers, Biram has made a business (literally) out of sharing her trade secrets with hopeful bloggers and female entrepreneurs.

I joined Biram and 8 women who signed up for her “Get Shit Done” workshop on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The workshop’s genesis is Biram’s popular advice posts on her blog, which offer tips on everything from prioritizing life goals to wardrobe organization. Biram hosts these workshops regularly; some focused on life goals, some on social media training, and has done them all over the country.

It’s at this workshop when I first see Biram in person. She is tall, lean and lithe, a pale blonde, but with a decisive energy. Her assertiveness is palpable and so is her eagerness to connect with attendees.

“I channel fear and anxiety into productivity,” says Biram proudly and resolutely. In her workshop, she challenges women of similar anxieties and ambitions, to make the most of it, as she shares actionable advice along with personal anecdotes about how she paved her path to success.

The whole exchange is remarkable. While there are power bloggers out there who occasionally divulge advice here and there, they keep the secrets to their success largely guarded, like a proprietary software that could be replicated and stolen. Blogger success has the myth and the mirrors of fame, like any other. Biram breaks this mold.

“I would go to blogger conferences where people said a lot of vague things about working hard and success but gave no actual advice. I came away not knowing anything or understanding what to do. I am doing the opposite of that. I want to give real, step-by-step help.”

At the end of the workshop, Biram hugs all the attendees, says encouraging words and offers detailed and specific advice, like a realife blogger fairy godmother. The women, hugging their “Get Shit Done” binders full of Biram advice and Kate Spade-filled goodie bags, leave in an air of confidence.

Goodie Bag
Photo: Yvonne Rock
Creating Creative Community

The Creative Collective is awash in light. Sunlight streams through large windows onto pale hardwood floors , upon which rest elevated white desks that fit snugly against each other, in a clutter-less workspace designed in form and function to encourage discussion while availing space to retreat into one’s Apple computer to design a website, post a vlog, or check Instagram. The office is clean but with an artful lamp here and sleek, carved chairs there.  It is curated for creativity.

And if you ask Biram about this space on M St. and the women she has invited to join her, you would find that it was painstakingly developed. “This is something I wanted. I wanted to be with inspiring women everyday, in a creative space where I want to go, where I would be able to run my business and create. And I made it happen. ”

Biram, who browsed co-working spaces, like 1776, ultimately decided she had to branch out on her own. Initially driven by a desire to find the perfect aesthetic, Biram’s idea evolved into creating a workspace for interesting, innovative women that are leading the pack in the District’s creative community.

The Creative Collective so far includes wedding planners, several stylists, a make-up artist, a photographer, event planners, designers, and other bloggers.  Biram, at this point, has closed the office to additions hoping to keep it intimate.

“I would love to us to turn into a go-to for people who need these services. And that you can trust are recommendations of the other person because we really know each other’s work. It was really important I had people part of the Creative Collective whose work I love and can also be reliable.”

I chat with Biram after her workshop for a little while, along with her photographer Yvonne Rock. She has great hope for the Creative Collective space, the photo shoots they can do, the classes they can hold, and the collaborative meetings. The energy is exciting and empowering, and it’s an honor to see a dream become a reality, I tell Biram in so many words. “You’ll have to come to our opening!” she exclaims.

Count me in.


The Art Issue: Breaking Beauty Boundaries

Breaking Beauty Boundaries

Meets Obsession mag

A Conversation With Beauty
Photographer Alexander Straulino

Fashion and beauty photographer Alexander Straulino turns beauty into art with his stunning, vivid photography. Focusing mostly on beauty shots, his work transforms the human form into close-up, provocative works of art.

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Meets Obsession: Describe your signature/aesthetic that you try to incorporate into each of your works?

Alexander Straulino: I try to create a timeless piece. One you can look at for a few years… You lose yourself if you travel with trends. I really adore the ‘40s Harper’s Bazaar. This is what I describe as timeless, it’s more like a classic way of approaching photography.

Breaking Beauty Boundaries3

MO: For anyone who’s interested in pursuing fashion photography, what is the number one thing they need to know?

Alexander Straulino: Stay away from trends! It’s funny. A couple months ago, an assistant of mine quit and he asked me, ‘Alex, what should I shoot now, what do people want to see?’

I think the biggest mistake you can do is think of what they want to see instead of what you want to show. You have to train your technique and art, then later on you can play, but it takes a while. Shoot for yourself and see what comes out of you, show your personality.

Breaking Beauty Boundaries

MO: What or who is currently inspiring you?

Alexander Straulino: I like Terry Richardson as a character, though not his kind of photography. I like the 20s, 30s, and 40s, when the first magazines came out. ManRay. I try to keep away from taking my inspiration from actual magazines, I collect photobooks.

MO: If time were not an issue, whose portrait would you love to photograph?

Alexander Straulino: I would love to [photograph} Picasso.

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Current Boutique Expands Consignment Concept to E-Commerce Platform

Current Boutique, arguably the District’s premiere consignment retailer with four locations in the area, is moving beyond metro city lines to the vast reaches of cyberspace with a new online shop.

With the boutique's new e-commerce launch, the retail experience should be much more streamlined, allowing customers to peruse many one-of-a-kind pieces available and purchase them in a few easy clicks.

Meets Obsession magazine recently spoke with Carmen Lopez, Current Boutique’s owner, about their expansion to the interwebs.

“We are very excited about our online shop because before we often had to refer inquiries about shopping online to our Facebook page and make arrangements over the phone. This wasn’t exactly ideal. There was a real demand for an online store,” Lopez said.

The new e-commerce platform for Current’s local chain of boutiques will offer shipping throughout the United States and Canada and will draw the majority of its inventory from what’s available in store.

Diane von Furstenberg Leopard Print Pony Hair Heels ($108) currently available at Current Boutique.
Diane von Furstenberg Leopard Print Pony Hair Heels ($108) currently available at Current Boutique.

“We have everything from Tory Burch to Chanel. Our clientele is mostly between the ages of 25 and 55, DC women who have many events and need clothing for these events. Now we’ll be able to share our finds with even more women,” Lopez said.

In addition to the online shop, Current Boutique will also be extending a mail-in clothes buying program that had once only been reserved for select clients well-known to Lopez.

“I had clients who were moving or had moved away with great clothes who would ask if they could still sell to me when they left the area. That’s basically how it began. Now we will be accepting clothes mailed in from anyone who’d like to sell.” The extension of the mail-in program will capitalize on the large audience hopefully drawn in by the new online shop.

Will all these new changes create difficulties for local consumers?

No, says Lopez. “For local people, of course, we will still hold clothes for pick up in store. People will also still be able to sell to us in person. We also do home visits for people with great collections of branded clothing.”

All in all, Current Boutique is ending their year with a bang and the launch of their online shop means while you’re online booking all those holiday flights home, you can also get a fashionable prezzie for yourself.

Meets Obsession Magazine


NYFW: Malan Breton Spring 2014

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

As the lithe opera singer, Baiyu Chen, sang in live, romantic falsetto, the crowd at the Malan Breton S/S 2014 presentation at Lincoln Center behaved less than gracefully in their ogling and shoving to the front.

Fashion photographers and iPhoners alike, obnoxiously held position in the front, like squatters in abandoned tenements or the Roman legion in attack formation. Even around Baiyu, people shoved around and she stopped at least once to re-adjust the cable to her microphone.

Presentations tend to be best observed when models are elevated on platforms and centrally placed rather than squared up, backs against the wall, like a criminal line up, which disallows observation of the clothing from behind.

But aside from the ill-formed room plan, the collection shined. And by shine, I mean quite literally.

Polished satin, metallic jacquard, and patterned brocade in deep blues, reds, pinks, silver and gold, reflected the spotlights under which they were shown.

The Asian inspiration is clear for the Taiwanese-born American, Breton, whose previous collections have also been rich in an East meets West aesthetic.

In vogue with Western trends, the men’s suits featured slim-cut trousers cropped above the ankles paired with lapel-less blazers, reminding one of traditional Chinese dress.

The best offerings of Breton’s womenswear were his ankle-length gowns, cinched demurely and beautiful at the waist, topped with shining cropped jackets.

Though not wildly creative, the dresses achieved what was intended: a feminine, classic elegance.


Meeting Joseph Gordon-Levitt: An Exclusive Interview with the 'Don Jon' Star on His Directorial Debut

We Meet Joseph Gordon Levitt An Exclusive Interview With The “Don Jon” Star On His Directorial Debut2
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Don Jon.' Photo by Daniel McFadden – © 2013 Relativity Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] met with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a hotel room at the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton where I found him fresh-faced, freshly dressed in a check shirt and slim cut black jeans, and he looked just like the boyish, slender “JGL” we all love and adore.

It was a familiar aesthetic, though one quite different from his character in “Don Jon” with the biceps, the over-gelled crew cut, and fleur-de-lis graphic tees.

I didn’t expect him to keep up with his Jersey boy porn addict look, but I was curious if there would be any remaining vestiges. A thickness around the neck, perhaps--but found instead what I had always heard of him to be: a warm and articulate guy who also happens to also be a charismatic young star with a deeply creative streak.

As I write this, a collection of short stories published by Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord production company sits on my bedside table.

As other eager journalists counted down the minutes until their turn with him, behind the hotel room doors, we jumped right into the conversation about the why and how of “Don Jon,” a hilarious and surprisingly tender film written and directed by Gordon-Levitt  in which he stars alongside Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore.

I found out what’s thrilled him the most about “Don Jon,” who has the best weed in Hollywood, and his favorite place in DC.

Don Jon” stars Gordon-Levitt as the titular lead, so aptly named because of his nightly sexual conquests out at the club. He is eventually tagged and tranquilized by Jersey beauty, Johansson’s Barbara Sugarman, but despite their romance, he remains addicted to pornography.

The night before, Gordon-Levitt spoke to an audience at a “Don Jon” screening at the Georgetown AMC Loews. And when I asked him how it went, he launched happily into explaining all the fun he’s had while on his press tour from the film, “It’s been really fun and satisfying for me to watch the movie with people. It’s nice to see the audience is having fun. I had to find a balance through the writing process, of being selfish and doing what I wanted to do with the film, and also making it to be enjoyable for others.”

It turns out that the aforementioned writing process began for Don Jon as early as 2008 on slips of paper.

Joseph Gordon Levitt On The Set Of Don Jon
Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the set of 'Don Jon.' © 2013 Relativity Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

[pullquote align="right"]“My earliest notes are dated 2008. I would jot things down here and there. There were various versions in my head throughout the years that evolved with time.”[/pullquote]

At that point Gordon-Levitt had been idealizing the film as a drama and had not yet settled on the characters.

In response to the media drawing a parallel from “Don Jon” to reality stars like the “Jersey Shore’s” The Situation and other related douchebaggery, Gordon-Levitt opposes any comparisons. “No way, he is not a Jersey Shore guy. Don’t those kids drive around in stretch hummers and limos? I see Don Jon to be working class, normal, that’s why I wanted it in Jersey. I grew up a normal suburban kid. I wanted him to be a normal suburban guy. It’s more like a ‘Rocky’ or ’Saturday Night Fever’ thing.”

So the years went on and the notes piled up, but it turns out a little skunky green and a night with Seth Rogen is when Gordon-Levitt realized ‘Don Jon’ was a comedy.

“I remember it super clearly, the exact night. It was 2010 and I was shooting 50/50 with Seth Rogen. He had just handed me a huge jar of this incredible Vancouver weed and we smoked out. Seth always has the best weed.”

Good to know, JGL.

“And as we were hanging out, I realized ‘Don Jon’ should be done as a comedy. Not in an obvious way, but in a ‘Hey, I know that guy,’ realistic way. I wanted to spotlight the problems of a guy who watches too much porn and a girl who’s bought too heavily into the romantic Hollywood movie.”

Continuing, Gordon-Levitt explains, “I think that same night, I came up with Scarlett’s character and knew then I wanted her to play Barbara Sugarman. And Scarlett just did such a good job and I think really understood the character. Being objectified for being beautiful but not being seen for all the other quality reasons one should be seen [for]. I just knew she would be perfect in the role, and she was. She was very funny. Like when she was on SNL.”

And I took the bait. Of course I did and let JGL know I loved his SNL opener a la Magic Mike. He laughed heartily, “Thanks, I appreciate it!”

Back to the casting of “Don Jon,” it wasn’t just Johansson whom he had envisioned in the movie, but he also was hopeful that Moore would take the role he had wrote with her in mind as Esther, an older woman who befriends him in night school and offers him a different perspective on sex and porn.

Julianne Moore And Joseph Gordon-Levitt In Don Jon
Julianne Moore And Joseph Gordon-Levitt In 'Don Jon.' – © 2013 Relativity Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

[pullquote]“I was surprised, honestly. Julianne agreed to do the film and liked the script. I’ve admired her in so many roles. I was so happy. She’s so good and she brings such genuine feeling to every role.”[/pullquote]

It’s been a long ride for Gordon-Levitt, taking into account all the years those slips of paper turned into a film. And it’s not quite done yet, as he continues his press tour for the next couple of weeks before the film’s September 27 nationwide release.

But as he laughed and smiled through our talk, I wanted to know what his favorite part of the whole process was, especially having had a behind the scenes role this time.

“I had always been curious about the production when I was just acting. How they mixed the music, what the directors were doing and all that. But when I really knew I wanted to make 'Don Jon' happen I started paying attention to the directors I was working with and what they were doing. Spielberg when I was working on Lincoln, Chris Nolan when I was working on the Dark Knight. It was great to learn about all of that. I do miss those nights [when] I would just get lost in the writing of the screenplay... I loved that creative part of writing.”

As his handlers came in to remind us of the time, I asked JGL his favorite place to go in DC and surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly, he had walked through our city for hours with a cousin of his who lives in the District, and he was most moved by the Lincoln monument.

And that’s exactly what we love about JGL, even amidst all the raging vulgarity and hilarity, he’s also got enough sweet. [hr]


INTERVIEW: Jonathan Cheban On His New GlamScreen Cell Phone Accessory

Jonathan Cheban On His New GlamScreen Cell Phone Accessory[justified_image_grid link="file" row_height="150" ids="55126,55130,55131,55132,55134,55135"]

You know him from “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” as Kim’s sweet and supportive best friend.  But what you may not know about Jonathan Cheban is that he is quickly emerging as an enterprising and creative businessman in his own right. And why wouldn’t he capitalize on his personal brand when it’s characterized by glamour, Hollywood and great style?

MO Mag spoke with Jonathan recently about several sensational ventures coming up for him this Fall, from restaurants to endorsement deals, as well as his new cell phone accessory, GlamScreen.

“I wanted to put something out there that would appeal to my demographic, my fans from the show [Keeping Up With the Kardashians], but would also be really fun, cool and useful.” Jonathan explained when asked about the inspiration behind the Glam Screen.

GlamScreen is both a screen protector and super high definition mirror for mobile devices which boasts the highest quality adhesive, screen protection, and humidity resistance on the market. When the phone is inactive, it’s a mirror but it instantly becomes see-through when the touch screen is used. Right now it’s available online for purchase at www.glamscreen.com at an affordable $24.99. The Glam Screen works with several mobile devices from iPhones to iPads with new product releases in the works.

“There are cheap versions out there that distort how you look and are just really bad or they crack after being on your phone for a couple days then fall off. They’re not worth the price and are a disappointment. I worked with designers to make a very high quality product that’s the best of its kind.”

When Jonathan handed out GlamScreen to friends, he quickly saw the appeal and popularity. “Girls are always asking to borrow the phone that has the GlamScreen over and over again. It’s just the perfect product to check your hair, put on lipstick, make sure there’s nothing in your teeth. It keeps you always looking good.”

Of course, we asked him if he had the Kardashian sisters using his GlamScreen yet and he said, “Khloe and Kris both use it. They love it.” Indeed, both Kardashians are featured on the website as celebrity users.

As we spoke to Jonathan he was mobbed by fans from Australia, despite being dressed incognito in a hat and sunglasses, on the way to grab a cup of coffee in New York City. “Crazy. My own mother wouldn’t recognize me in this outfit but this happens all the time. I really think it’s just amazing. They’re from half way around the world!”

He kindly spoke to the fans before continuing on about his other upcoming products.

“I’ll be on the show again this season and I have a great new restaurant chain opening up called Billionaire Burger. Plus endorsement deals, including one with Tiger Woods. It’s all really exciting.”

With all that’s going on with charming Jonathan Cheban, he’ll be the one we’ll have to try to keep up with soon!


Alice + Olivia Spring 2013 Collectio (39)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Bright Patterns in Ladylike Cuts Ideal for Spring in Alice + Olivia's Spring 2013 Collection

Fashion Week Chronicles:  Alicem + Olivia

Alice + Olivia, under the direction of Stacey Bendet, is for modern Audrey Hepburn fans with a sharp sense of style.

Bright patterns in ladylike cuts ideal for Spring fever and all kinds of romance compose Alice + Olivia's Spring/Summer 2013 collection.

Thematically,  the collection has a retro-feel, with wide flared skirts, peplum top gowns and collared dresses.

Bendet's affection for 1950s silhouettes in sunny, playful palettes brings a youthful sweetness to old feminine standards. Textures vary greatly from white lace to metallic brocade, and although there is no repeating print in the collection, each piece greatly compliments others with their uniform modern modesty.

The Chelsea presentation at New York Fashion Week was a fun affair with a Magnum ice cream stand and martinis decorated with frozen orchids.

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Fashion Week Chronicles: Blanc de Chine SS 2013

Fashion Week Chronicles: Blanc de Chine SS 2013

Fashion Week Chronicles: Blanc de Chine SS 2013
Photo: Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images North America

Chinoiserie has had a heavy hand in fashion since the days of Indochina, and one can easily imagine Blanc de Chine's designs in some Catherine Deneuve film.

Not exactly an innovative concept.  The conservative line presented lots of silk mandarin collared blouses and cheong sams that felt a bit too stale—as if we’ve seen these concepts years ago with no new updates to the silhouettes.

The Spring/Summer 2013 collection was all too typical and didn't vary much from what you would see in any Hong Kong boutique.

The most interesting look was a shorts and blazer combination with mandarin collar, a Chinese take on men's suiting.

Interestingly, while the conservative fashion of Blanc de Chine is obvious, their seating assignment gave precedence to fashion bloggers over editors and Vogue writers.

Invitations improperly requested attendees to arrive a ridiculous 45 minutes beforehand.  As one would might imagine, there were a lot of begrudged feelings pre-show.

 


Fashion Week Chronicles: Anndra Neen Makes an Architectural Statement for Spring 2013

Fashion Week Chronicles: Anndra Neen Makes an Architectural Statement for Spring 2013

Fashion Week Chronicles: Anndra Neen Makes an Architectural Statement for Spring 2013
Courtesy photo via Bumble and Bumble

Anndra Neen's take on the golden collar brings the hardware trend of crescent moon shaped necklaces back to the Ancients.

Like a Queen of Sheba lineup, models at the S/S 2013 jewelry presentation were draped in simple salmon-colored sheaths bringing maximum attention to the gilded adornments.

In addition to her collars, longer pieces composed of rounded, organic geometrical shapes made a strong statement.

The standout piece was a necklace of symmetrical circles and ovals which extended down the body, past the navel -- the extra icing on the cake if we've ever seen one.


Fashion Week Chronicles: Custo Barcelona

Fashion Week Chronicles: Custo Barcelona’s Whimsical Collection Delivered Just the Right Amount of Crazy

Fashion Week Chronicles: Custo Barcelona
There may not have been a single print or texture omitted from the funky flamboyance of Custo Barcelona's Spring/Summer 2013 collection. From fringe to chevron, it was all there. Bright prints, neon colors, dyed lace — nothing was held back or subdued. The collection — which read like it could have been the older, more luxurious sister of Desigual — could have easily lost itself in its own whimsy and patchwork, but this is precisely what Custo Barcelona is known for.

By far, the mini dresses were best in execution and delivery as they had just enough of the crazy in a precisely tailored package. A strong piece was an ultra-textured mini-dress, which included sequins and a fringe hem with a demure peter pan collar.

The incorporation of low-key details was a refreshing contrast. The men's looks, however — with multi-patterned blazers and rainbow colored ankle-cuffed sweatpants that fell short above the ankle — made for an unflattering silhouette.

Photo credit: Ugo Camera

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Fashion Week Chronicles: General Idea Brings Bright, Colorblocked Coordinates for Spring 2013

Bright colors, color blocking, street style details and a dash of bad-boy sex appeal make up General Idea's Spring/Summer 2013 collection.

If you can imagine the high cheek-boned hottie sitting across from you on the subway with bright kicks, a functional yet fashionable backpack, and a stray gaze your way, then you've just envisioned the story designer Bumsuk Choi seems to be telling.

Coordinates combined slim fitted windbreakers contrasted against loose shirts and shorts created a casual, youthful street aesthetic with heavy influences from Tokyo and Seoul street fashion.[divider]

Photo credit: Dan Lecca

 

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Photo credit: Dan Lecca

 

 


Noon By Noor Spring 2013 Collection (22)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Noon By Noor Presents a Gilded Lineup Of Satin And Silk for Spring 2013

Fashion Week Chronicles: Noon By Noor Spring 2013

Spotted front row:  Olivia Palermo, Cory Kennedy and Nicky Hilton.
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The Noon by Noor Spring/Summer 2013 show was a gilded lineup of satin and silk gowns that flowed and shimmered down the runway.

Among the best looks—which felt like a modern reconceptualization of some luxurious thing Mirtha Jung might have worn—was a watercolor printed high side-cut maxi skirt paired with a rich green silk tank.

However, mid-show there was a kind of mindless lull with familiar silhouettes which borrowed too heavily from Halston and didn't bring enough of its own gumption.

Both Olivia Palermo and Nicky Hilton sat front row among the fashion editors and fans in the audience of the rising brand.

Also, next to them sat internet darling Cory Kennedy. And for those of you wondering where she's been, now you know.

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FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (44)

The Fashion Week Chronicles: SPIN x Refinery29 Party With Azealia Banks and Hunter

Fashion Week Chronicles: SPIN x Refinery29 Party With Azealia Banks and Hunter

With three rad hosts and two young acts, the Fashion x Music party was a wormhole of cool appropriately staged in Williamsburg. It was an intimate and spirited shindig that went down at the Wythe Hotel. The liquor was free, the music was live and the fashion was fresh and casual.

Twenty-seven year old music magazine SPIN and Refinery29, the go-to fashion and beauty site, co-hosted the event presented by Virgin Mobile as part of their Backstage Pass campaign.

The multi-platform Backstage Pass campaign included a microsite and celebrity correspondents, like Whitney Port, reporting throughout New York Fashion Week.

Thrown the night before the beginning of New York Fashion Week and featuring rapper Azealia Banks and Brooklyn-based punk band, Hunter, the event also celebrated the partnership between Refinery29 and SPIN, as well as the strong intersection of music and fashion in general.

Christene Barberich, Editor-in-Chief of Refinery29 said in a press release, "Music is a huge inspiration for designers, and this is a fresh way to showcase that."

Fashion x Music is also officially the first SPIN event since BUZZMEDIA acquired the magazine, and the commitment to broadening coverage to music-related industries is obvious.

Virgin Mobile's Ron Faris spoke of their involvement, saying, "The most aspiring artists have always used music and fashion as their canvas... And we're so proud to extend that opportunity to a new generation of artists and brands that express a fresh new perspective on Fashion Week."

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Photos by Ryan Muir

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (34)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (35)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (36)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (37)
FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (38)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (39)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (40)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (41)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (43)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (2)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (3)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (4)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (8)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (9)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (10)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (14)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (15)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (17)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (19)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (20)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (21)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (22)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (23)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (24)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (25)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (27)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (29)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (30)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (31)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (32)

FASHION X MUSIC presented by Virgin Mobile in Collaboration with Refinery29 & SPIN featuring Azealia Banks at the Wythe Hotel (33)