Illustration by Nelly Aba
I’m ecstatic that The Ecstatic Flash illustrator and friend Nelly Aba is back at the drawing board! And just in time to celebrate my triumphant (ha!) return to the city of neon lights! It’s been a full 6 months since I was last in New York, my other home-away-from-home (my first home away from home being Paris…or is it London? It’s somewhere which isn’t where I am, that’s for sure!). The selective detailing technique with which Nelly rendered this illustration makes details pop in a way that a camera can never quite capture. I’m excited about many soon-to-come collaborations with her now that she is back with a bang
Speaking of collaborations, this set of photos were captured by a dear friend: the poly-creative powerhouse behind NYC-based jewellery brand Charlton and Lola. It’s only taken me over a year to post the photos from that crisp NY spring morning, but you know how the saying goes–better 14 months late than never.
I was lusting last spring over a neon oversize sweater by Kenzo but my wallet was not quite as enamoured as my heart. I decided to go for the high-street equivalent, especially given that spring is but a myth in Atlanta, where I live, anyway. In ATL , the season following winter is Summer with Pollen, and take my word for it when I say it is not exactly sweater weather.
So it the devil or god that’s in the details? Like the selective detailing of Nelly’s art, I believe what makes an outfit interesting, even when it is not groundbreaking, are the small details and little choices one makes. To tuck in the front of the sweater deliberately haphazardly, to pull the sweater just so to reveal a sliver of cobalt strap: these are the sort of mundane details that make a world of difference to the impact an outfit makes…well, at least, to my mind. And as for these pentagonal sunglasses that have served me so well these years, while the shape and colour are high-impact fun, the thin temples and the tiny delicate curve they made at front-facing hinges is what makes them sing to me.
In a similar vein, it is the simple selective detailing of these accessories that draws me to them. I was taken by the subtle hardware of the tote. Clean and elegant, I believe it lends the bag a certain je ne sais quoi. The python slingbacks are quite an old pair, and are my first ever Nicholas Kirkwood baby, purchased on Ebay for song (or perhaps a few tracks in my reality). The shoes exemplify the sort of architectural detail that has made Nicholas Kirkwood one of today’s most influential shoe designers. His reinvention of the platform, especially at the height of the popularity of the style around 2010/2011) is often imitated but never quite duplicated. The two somewhat contrasting bracelets echo the colours of the clothing without necessarily matching them. I wear those bracelets a lot; in my mind they go with everything (so please don’t burst my bubble).
All of this exegesis aside, the best part of dressing up is simply envisioning a collaboration between clothes in ones head and putting the clothes on to find they work. I don’t ever put this sort of thought pre-thought into wearing clothes–the outfit just happens– but it is an interesting exercise to sit and ask oneself why one made those subconscious choices a year later. When I asked Nelly why she she made the artistic decision to only partially shade the illustration she replied, confused, “huh?”. “Oh,” she continued, realising to what I was referring, “just selective detailing of what stood out to me. Wow! I didn’t even realise I did that!”
Many many thanks to both Lola and Nelly for the enjoyable creative exchanges that have culminated in this post.I can return to the city that never sleeps with an almost clear conscience now that I have dug these shots up for the sharing. Here’s to stilettos in the old stomping grounds!
Custom-made rings by Charlton and Lola (which we dubbed “bands will make her dance”)
What I Wore: Topshop neon sweater, Tibi silk camisole in cobalt, Bimba y Lola trousers, Miu miu sunglasses, Balenciaga pocket tote, Nicholas Kirkwood python slingback shoes, Hermès bracelet, Zambian malachite bracelet