By Karen Rempel
Bill Cunningham once said, “It’s not style unless it’s on the street.” The West Village is a glorious neighborhood for people-watching, as many of our neighbors and visitors are likely to be dressed in the unique style that makes New York such a fun place to live. On a recent sunny day, I spotted Lucio Abruzzi near the Stonewall Inn, on his way to meet his husband for dinner on Christopher Street. This is what I’m talking about! Check out Lucio’s cream and black striped pants and exquisitely cobbled cream boots. He looks edible, and I swear that’s not oedipal!
Later that same day, I was walking down West 12th Street on my way to a New York Fashion Week runway show at One Oak when I was gobsmacked by Jude Barucha’s Advanced Style (if you don’t know it, I highly recommend this book by Ari Seth Cohen, and the movie of the same name by Ari and director Lina Plioplyte). Judith has been a West Village resident for over 30 years. Judith’s mom gifted her with this fabulous Native American styled, hand-made coat, which she purchased in Palm Springs, CA, for Jude’s 40th birthday. Jude added matching details to her jean hems, and found the perfect hat to cap it off.
Every style has a story. Let’s take a peek below at yours truly’s…
Karen’s Quirky Style
I saw Advanced Style at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2014, right before my first trip to New York, and writer Ari and writer-director Lina were there to talk to the audience. All the women in the audience showed up wearing their couture and outlandish rigs, and it was a celebration of our unique style as Vancouver women (who normally wear GORE-TEX and dayglo cycling gear in all weather). This launched a new life for me, and gave my style permission to fractalize into new shapes and never-before-dreamed-of combinations.
I was lucky enough to go to Lynn Dell’s store, the Off Broadway Boutique on W. 72nd Street, that October and again the following Spring, before Lynn passed away and the store passed into a mountain of trunks. I have a few treasured items from the store, and it always warms my heart when I wear them and remember Lynn’s fantastic contribution to style divas on the Upper West Side and beyond.
Here’s the low-down on the outfit I wore to bring the West Village to a party at VNYL in the East Village.