Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stylelikeu - The Book


I profiled Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum, the uber creative, mother and daughter team behind the inspired website (which is a unique and true labor of love), www. stylelikeu.com, back in December 2009. I had just been featured as one of their ‘closet cases’ and could not have been more pleased with my profile, or more impressed with them and their amazing body of work. The avowedly “obsessed” duo, who share a fervent passion for finding and chronicling individuals with “inspiring personal style”, offering a peek into the homes and closets of those who “use their style as an “art form”, are on a mission to prove that style is “soulful”, “has no bounds”, transcends age, social economic status, body type, and ethnicity, and certainly has NOTHING whatsoever to do with labels or how much money one spends on their clothing and accessories.

And they have been busy expanding and adding wonderful ‘layers’ to their seemingly rapidly growing ‘universe’. On Monday, there will be a noticeable site redesign which will include many new features, and just this week, their first hardcover book, ‘Stylelikeu’ hit the shelves of bookstores everywhere, published by PowerHouse Books, it is 224 pages with over 350 four color photos, list price $29.95. Elisa told me they were originally approached by Powerhouse last spring, it took about 6 – 8 months to put it all together, and she deferentially credited Lily, her 21 year old daughter who is also a student at NYU, with doing the entire book (“I did nothing”! she told me proudly).


Marilyn featured in spread
And she should be proud of the finished product (and I’m not just saying this just because I was one of the approximately 280 people featured, ranging from the very young to the very old: 92 years old to be exact!) And true to form, as I flipped through the pages, I didn’t see too many recognizable faces, and just a handful of ‘fashion’ insiders (Elisa and Lily’s aesthetic has nothing whatsoever to do with chronicling front row editors like Anna Wintour, Anna Della Russo, et. al., clad in their spanking ‘new this season’ Pradas and Celines, or those who perpetually show up on www.patrickmcmullan.com for that matter). But that doesn’t mean some of fashion’s most well respected figures (and well known ‘eccentrics’) don’t appear within the pages of the book. Uber stylists Lori Goldstein, and Freddie Leiba, (who I worked with at Harper’s Bazaar), are included, as is the award winning jewelry designer Justin Guinta, and fashion designer Magda Berliner. I was also pleased to see the unsurprisingly inventive Victoria Mackenzie- Childs (I covet many of her company’s whimsical products for the kitchen, dining room, and home).

It will take time to really go through the inspiring book, but from what I have seen thus far, it is the perfect companion to their website, filled with ‘colorful’ (and I mean that literally as there is a lot of strong, brash color throughout), imaginative, creative souls representing different walks of life, all ages, ethnicities, religions, and both sexes (and then some - LOL), who are linked by their individualistic freewheeling approach to fashion, eschewing ‘trends’ in favor of a style that suits and pleases them. Let’s just say this is not a group that waits with baited breath, to see what Cathy Horyn’s ‘favorite pieces’ of the season are, or has to read Harper’s Bazaar to find out what ‘What’s in, What’s out’, what’s the ‘Hottest, Newest, Latest’, or ‘What to buy, keep, wear’ (give me a break!) And their styles run the gamut from true classicists and minimalists (well, sort of) to irreverent eccentrics whose credo is “More is more”. While the website provides in depth interviews and uses a lot of different quotes (in addition to many pictures and a video), the book is truly all about the images which perfectly illustrate the harmonious link between one’s personal fashion style and one’s home environment, and thus, there is very little copy- only the person’s name and a corresponding quote taken from a previous interview which is meant to capture and sum up their style credo.

In my case, it was “I’m sort of a fashion schizophrenic, but it is all me” (how true!), and there were unsurprisingly, many others that I completely identified with (“I can’t leave the door without looking like a complete composition”, Lux Leekley; “Accessories are beyond special to me. Those are the pieces that show my style…they dig deeper than my clothes do.”, Christopher Garbushian & Laurel St. Romain; “When I buy clothes, I am not looking for something. I make a choice when I find love at first sight”, Euphrasie Villalard. Unfortunately, “I spend less money on clothes than you can ever imagine”, Barbara Louis, does not apply).

So, what’s next? In addition to a second book (they have so many more subjects to record), according to Elisa, “We take over the world and bring the soul, love and unity back to fashion.” I’ll drink to that!

-Marilyn Kirschner

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