Since this is my first Mademoiselle Robot dispatch from New York, I thought I'd start with a bit about a Brooklyn based shop that carries a good deal of fashion eye candy – Oak. Occasionally I stop in to stare (and sometimes even touch), slack jawed and up close, at the beautiful clothes with the upper triple digit price tags that will someday be, after I’ve married well, mine all mine.
It can be intimidating to go into, say, Prada or Gucci or Dior on Madison Avenue, but Oak – Oak is a store I can go into and feel well, at least at ease if not quite at home. Opened in 2004 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Oak showcases some of the most avant-garde menswear and womenswear designers today, including Oak’s eponymous label.
Oak Wrap Dress
I love a store that showcases both men’s and women’s wear – it’s not often I step into a men’s store to admire the goods, usually confining myself to fashion magazines and lookbooks, so any store that allows me to bask in the splendor of all fashion is aces in my book.
One of the newer designers (her label launched in February 2010) showcased at Oak is NYC-based Sally LaPointe, whose black gown (pictured above) pulled me outside of my fashion comfort zone. I tend to be drawn to the more baroque variety of fashion. The majority of my wardrobe consists of demurely cut dresses with fanciful, whimsical, and/or floral prints – most days I look like I could be a grade school teacher (albeit one with naughty tattoos) – but I also see beauty in more subtly complex designs, such as Sally LaPointe creates. A lesser designer’s attempt at such a piece may turn out looking like a garbage bag gone awry, but this dress is a sophisticated and exquisitely crafted ready-to-wear piece. A rich, metallic black so shiny it gives the illusion of a shifting white pattern. I would love to wear this dress to a late autumn outdoor party with some granny ankle boots and my favorite light layer, picked up from H&M about six years ago and much admired wherever it goes; the print looks like something you’d see on a fainting couch in Louis XIV’s court, with a mandarin collar and distressed, brassy buttons.
Sally LaPointe blue mini dress over metallic blue leggings
Sally LaPointe silver mini dress over silver leggings
I was taken with the designer’s A/W 11 collection, in which prints are the anomaly. Mostly shades of black, gray, and silver, with a very few blues, oranges, and reds to round out the color wheel, in this collection she achieves an effortlessly draped, buttery, melting metal look – simultaneously sharp in its angles and creamy in its feel, like a most luxurious silk. It’s a futuristic look – I actually thought (fondly) of style icon Judy Jetson when looking at the runway photos – but not in a schmaltzy, “Back to the Future II” kind of way.
The colors in her collection are few, but rich ones - deep, tangeriny reds that recall stewardesses of yesteryear. This particular red dress, less of the metallic and more of the creamy, fits like a luscious kid glove.
Elegant, simple pieces like these serve as a reminder that there’s beauty in the minimal, and as inspiration to venture beyond the overtly beautiful, bedazzling print zone into the realm of the understated, well-tailored, single toned piece.
208 North 8th Street
Brooklyn NY, 11211
Words by Carina Kleter
Photos courtesy of Oak NYC & Sally LaPointe