This Chic Jewelry Studio and Café Is Leading a Quiet Style Revolution in Seoul

The neighborhood of Hannam-dong in Seoul contains an unusually quiet residential pocket, steps from a concrete overpass. Deliverymen zip past four-story apartments on electric bikes through streets narrow and winding. It is an unlikely fashion spot, yet those in the know are drawn here by The Room, a jewelry studio cum café from Sarah Cho, the Korean aesthete with a revolutionary point of view.

Cho is responsible for the design of the wildly popular One in a Million café just 12 minutes southwest. Its pretty pink and leafy green interior checked all the visual boxes when it opened two years ago, inspiring a slew of imitators. Yet she quickly tired of it. “It’s too crowded—and I was really getting sick of the color pink,” she says, laughing, as we sit down to iced coffees. “This area is more chill. I really like being here.”

The Room has become an immersive visual experiment and a personal retreat for Cho since it opened last fall. One pushes a swinging glass door and climbs a narrow set of white stairs to enter the café. Its design is of the industrial minimalist school: three rooms lined in concrete and a sun-drenched back patio with a windowpane roof. A simple menu of coffees and house-made rooibos chai lattes, plus tiny cookies and scones can be ordered. The marble tables are flecked with coral and steel blue patches, the chairs are plated gold wire, and a beautiful little green blown glass vase holds fresh white blooms.

The front room is the base for Cho’s line, Scho Studio (hence the name “Scho Room,” a play on show room), which is beloved for its classic yet whimsical designs: enormous clustered pearl hoops, or a cut sapphire crystal suspended by thin silver wire. The peripatetic designer, who grew up between Namibia, the U.S., Korea, and France, maintains an atelier in Paris’s 6th Arrondissement, where she first cut her teeth in the fashion world—working under Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, then shifting to accessories at Alber Elbaz’s Lanvin. Her own design process relies on pure intuition: Drawers of loose colored stones, crystals, and bits of metal and acrylic are mixed and matched in her atelier, “kind of like a puzzle,” she says.

This laissez-faire approach defines her. Take her signature floating crystal choker, affectionately termed the “The Iron Man necklace” by fans due to its resemblance to a mini Arc Reactor. Cho created it to elevate her everyday uniform (“I pretend to be like Steve Jobs and always wear the black turtleneck.”) with a single addition. “You don’t need to dress up like crazy, just pop it on and go,” she says. Cho prefers custom orders and has a roster of star clients, such as the singer Hyukoh for whom she designed weighted silver hoops. Many of them slip quietly in and out of The Room. “The point is we don’t want them to feel exposed, so we keep it quite underground for them,” she says. “I think they feel very comfortable here.”

The pursuit of comfort, of letting things be, is itself an act of rebellion in the high-strung city; from beauty standards to daily dress, aesthetics here are highly manicured. It is one reason why Cho has decided to start things slow with The Room, but hopes to expand in time: crafting objet-like furniture with The Living Room (in fact, Cho made all the marble tables in the café, which customers frequently try to snap up), or perhaps soap baubles for The Bath Room. Maybe one day there will be a full-flung hotel. “But I don’t know if my aesthetic will fit here,” she adds. “I’m trying to do something a little more down to earth and low-key, and we’ll see how that catches on first.” (No doubt it will; despite its remote location, The Room is quietly booming through word of mouth.)

There may be no better way to spread her unfettered point of view than through this jewelry studio-café, which has become an oddly popular mode of expression: See Esra Dandin in Istanbul, who recently traded her Karaköy patisserie to make biomorphic chains halfway across the world. There is something innately grounding about both jewelry-making and sweets: The hand is there, and you can see it throughout the Room.


From Mongolia, House of Od Offers Streetwear for Clued-In Types the World Over

“I like to mix memories with my vision of the future.” Designer Odmunkh Natsagdorj, aka Od, is realizing a long-held dream today with the debut of his own line, House of Od (oh-dee). Like the designer’s own wardrobe, the line is a mad blend of street and athletic influences with dark denim and an update on the classic camo pattern. Made in Turkey and reasonably priced (between 60 and 250 euros), the line is likely to appeal to the same music-loving, style-conscious constituency that snaps up the merch Od has been designing for years for Yung Lean and Sad Boys as well as the Drain Gang, a creative clique working (mostly) out of Stockholm.

Od was born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and became interested in fashion early on. “I think it’s because my mom used to dress us very stylishly,” he muses via email from Mongolia. “I remember in kindergarten, I liked a girl who wore jeans and a jean jacket because I liked to wear denim, too. At that time, my personal style touch was to wear different colored silky polka-dot hairbands. I was just a kid who liked to wear what I wanted, without rules.” After moving to Sweden, Od channeled his creativity into graphic design, and he met and became friends with Zak Arogundade (Ecco2K) at art school. The gear he designs for Sad Boys and Drain Gang features bold, often gothic-style graphics, which are mostly absent from his House of Od line, with its more subtle logo looks like a cross made of ovals.

The Luminous Traveler hoodie is the foundation piece of Od’s line; it features “diamond” zippers that, the designer jokingly claims, “can shield you from bad energy with their shine.” Protective or not, they do offer something that your wardrobe doesn’t already contain, which was one of Od’s goals. His camo print is especially effective on a sports-inflected parka, intended for the street, not the slopes. As for the designer’s jeans, they are dark, they are customizable, and they come in two styles, the AeroDenim classic and a custom-fit cargo; both feature blue-gold hardware.

“I studied fashion and styling from life, Internet, TV, and mostly by observing,” explains the globetrotting Od, who clearly understands what the cool kids like. By combining this empirical approach with his “visions from nowhere,” Od has created pieces that exist “between dream and [a] 3-D world.” You’ll want them in your closet.

Introducing Mark Jacobes: Will 2018 See Bootleggers and Designers Coming Together?


If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Months after Alessandro Michele teamed up with Instagram’s fashion copyright police diet_prada for Gucci’s Spring 2018 runway show, Marc Jacobs is jumping on the bootlegger train and aligning himself with one of the most popular designer logo artists on Instagram. Ava Nirui, now the digital editor at Helmut Lang, is famous for taking the monikers of Christian Dior, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, among others, and reinterpreting them in her own way—decorating an inhaler with Dior costume jewelry or printing “LV” onto a porcelain teacup and saucer being just two examples. On Monday, Marc Jacobs is releasing a white hoodie that he’s designed in conjunction with Nirui. It’s printed with “Mark Jacobes est. 1985” in scratchy font. “A real bootleg,” is how Nirui described the sweatshirt on her Instagram this evening. She also added, “I was making fake Marc Jacobs a year ago . . . life is crazy!”

Indeed, and the fashion world is getting crazier, it seems. Between Michele’s embrace of diet_prada—which, mind you, was one of the first outlets to raise concern about the Dapper Dan jacket look-alike on the Gucci runway—and now Jacobs’s faux hoodie, the fake-chic trend seems to be gaining steam. So, will the designer-approved bootleg item become a big thing in 2018? If Jacobs and Michele have anything to say about it, the answer seems to be yes. And hey, if it helps luxury labels and digital disruptors work together to create something new and cool, then there’s no harm in sleeping with the enemy.

Jessica Biel’s Best Date Night Hair Moments, in Honor of Her Wedding Anniversary

Today marks five years since Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel said ‘I do,’ and the half decade that’s passed since they tied the knot has brought new projects, new haircuts, a two-year-old son, Silas, and a slew of date nights—along with the his-and-hers looks that define them. While Timberlake’s full beard, blue eyes, beanies, and playful nature have served as well-honed signatures throughout the past year, Biel often plays a glamorous all-American foil to her husband’s low-key Southerner.

Back in January, an evening out found the actress shaking out a mane of mussed brunette waves, minimally made-up eyes framed by bangs and offset by a pale pink lip, a decidedly cool counterpoint to her husband’s scruffy beard and black knit cap. Slick updos and edgings of onyx eyeliner characterized Biel’s awards season approach, while Timberlake’s fade haircuts and bow ties offered the ideal pairing to his wife’s sophisticated sensibilities. At the Golden Globes, a dramatically deep part and glossy petal pink lips were paired with strategic showings of skin, while Biel’s Oscars look relied on her statuesque silhouette, sun-kissed skin, and coral lips to telegraph of-the-moment elegance.

For casual outings, Biel’s insouciant knots—bound at mid-level or in topknot territory—were worn both bordered by bangs or defined by wispy flyaways, though sunglasses are always a prerequisite. And the best aesthetic answer to her partner’s freshly shorn buzz cut, worn for the premiere of his new movie, Wonderwall, in New York. In Biel’s world, a scraped-back and slightly risen updo, the romance factor upped by metallic lids and rosebud-colored lips. Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Timberlake—may the coming year be filled with happiness, love, and good hair.

Tracing Donatella Versace’s Beauty Evolution, From Blonde to Blonder

For all of the current commotion over fashion’s major makeover transformations on the runways, there’s something to be said for sticking to a signature look. Take, for example, Donatella Versace, who has spent her career perfecting the unending appeal of body-con dresses and a lifetime honing a trademark shade of rock ‘n’ roll blonde.

Versace’s thumbprint personal taste has not been swayed by aesthetic trends—you won’t find her regretting a pixie, a shag, or a 180 dye job. Case in point: A look back in time proves that for the designer, a waist-grazing blowout goes with everything from off-the-shoulder gowns to second-skin minis and smartly tailored power suits. Often captured in early pictures at the side of her late brother, Gianni, before taking the helm of the family business, she embodied the house’s va-va-voom sex appeal. Although in recent years, not even Versace could ignore the temptation to play with an abbreviated new length and canary tipped ends, as seen at this year’s Costume Institute Gala.

When it comes to makeup, she, like many Italian icons before her, relies on a daily rimming of black eyeliner for instant impact and a bronze-is-better aesthetic. And at least one photograph proves that nothing—not even a dance party with Jennifer Lopez—can come between her and her lip gloss.

Jessica Alba’s Lipstick Switch Is the Ultimate Date Night Trick

Forget a swiftly-executed updo or another coating of mascara—the easiest evening switch-up is best carried off at lip level. For proof, look to Jessica Alba, who welcomed a night out in L.A. with a duo of contrasting pouts, the simple shift seamlessly morphing one above-neck moment into two.

First came an application of crimson, the painted shade commingling with a set of exaggerated gilded earrings and a floral robe coat for a bold, almost exotic feel, furthered by a bit of blush and Alba’s own pregnancy glow.

Later that evening, the Honest Beauty founder prepared for the opening night of Hamilton in Hollywood with two quick changes: husband Cash Warren on her arm, and a swipe of understated nude in place of carmine. Whereas the red had demanded a bit of extra attention, the subtler option served to put the focus on framing details, with the kittenish flick of black liner and polished caramel lengths taking center stage. The lesson? When it comes to repurposing a beauty look, this effortless about-face is more than just lip service.

Ditch Your Ballet Flats For Mary Janes

There’s something about Mary Janes. Breaking news? Not exactly, but there is something about the latest quirky-cool incarnations of the shoe style—from Attico’s oversize buckle closures to Miu Miu’s denim straps dotted in pearls—that have this Vogue writer reconsidering the nineties throwback. There are no hard and fast rules on how to wear them—just channel your inner Courtney Love in black and white Campers or Comme des Garçons, or go more gamine à la Alexa Chung in bow-embellished blush color flats. Pair them with pretty much anything from shirtdresses and skinny jeans to long, lean skirts—but maybe leave the plaid miniskirt and knee-highs at home, lest you be mistaken for a schoolgirl.

5 Days, 5 Looks, 1 Girl: Laura Love

Models in New York City know a thing or two about on-the-go style. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t riding the subway in four-inch stilettos. Laura Love, who moved to New York from her native Los Angeles a few years ago, describes her days as “unpredictable”—she might be on location or working out with her trainer or rushing to fittings, meetings, and appointments all over the city. So her uniform consists of jeans, a T-shirt, a great pair of boots—and a beautiful handbag. “For me, having a nice bag is the most important part of a look,” Love says. “You can wear anything, from workout clothes to overalls and sneakers, and a nice bag will make it feel so chic and clean.”

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s new Dior handbags are fashion-forward but also practical enough to suit Love’s busy life. The Lady Dior bag, for instance, comes with a thick, striped shoulder strap you can adjust to different lengths, and the Dior Addict can be worn on the shoulder for day or as a cross-body for evening thanks to a removable, engraved chain. Here, she wears her favorite Dior bags five ways—one for each day of the workweek–and shares everything from her approach to personal style to her early handbag memories to her go-to coffee shop.

This Photographer’s Bathhouse Nudes Are Challenging Perceptions of Arab Women

Part of the message in photographer Yumna Al-Arashi’s latest project, called “Shedding Skin,” is conveyed simply by the fact that it exists. To those on the periphery of the culture, the idea of a group of Arab women allowing themselves to be photographed nude, in a hammam, or communal bath, in the Middle East seems unlikely. The stereotypical image of Arab women assumes they are devoutly practicing Muslims, wearing hijabs and long skirts and conducting themselves with religious modesty, exposing their bodies exclusively to their husbands, and perhaps to female relatives or friends behind the closed doors of a hammam. Would they allow themselves to be captured in such an environment by a boundary-pushing 28-year-old American artist, for a gallery show? In the Western imagination, probably not.

But here’s the thing: Not only did the Arab women whom Al-Arashi photographed in a hammam in Beirut agree to be photographed nude—they also didn’t look like any sort of preconceived stereotype, comprising instead a scene that could have been in Paris or New York. On a Saturday in April, they filed into the hammam’s waiting area wearing casual clothes and chatting animatedly, checking their iPhones and smoking slim cigarettes between sips of coffee and tea. A group of three friends began to thread each other’s eyebrows and upper lips, bringing each other to knee-slapping tears as they cracked jokes. Later, Al-Arashi would estimate that only about half of them were Muslim. Al-Arashi, who grew up in Washington, D.C., the daughter of a Yemeni diplomat father and an Egyptian mother, is of the faith herself, and has made a name for herself photographing women in the Arab world and its diaspora. But, she explains, “I don’t only photograph Muslim women. A Muslim country isn’t necessarily closed off to other religions.”

When Al-Arashi had originally conceived of the photos—inspired by a visit to hammam in Tunis, where she was working on another project, documenting the last generation of Muslim women with facial tattoos—she imagined finding a beautiful, ancient-looking bathhouse for the setting. She scouted in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, and found some contenders, but quickly struck out; none of the owners were comfortable with the idea. When she came across the hammam in Beirut, which is perhaps the most liberal city in the Middle East, and where she had lived for a stretch, she had some hesitation: It was contemporary, a sort of 1980s interpretation of antiquity, “kind of tacky,” even. “It’s not what I was envisioning, initially,” she said. “And then I was like, you know what? Why am I trying to replicate the old hammams? I want it to be today.”

This conscientiousness was exactly what had made the project possible in the first place: The shoot, along with exhibitions of the finished photos and a short film in New York and Los Angeles, was funded by ASOS, the British online fashion and beauty superstore, as part of the company’s ASOS Supports Talent program, which sponsors up-and-coming young artists whose work has as an aspect of social justice to it. When the company had first reached out to her, she wasn’t sure that they would embrace the concept: “A lot of people aren’t willing to go down the route of turning off people’s opinions about the Muslim woman,” she said. When they signed on, “I was just amazed,” she recalled. Al-Arashi has been similarly encouraged by a growing number of corporations with global reach who she sees as opening a window into the Arab experience, including Nike’s recent campaign depicting powerful Hijabi athletes. “It didn’t say, ‘Hey, don’t ban Muslims,’” she noted. “It said, ‘Hey, she’s one of us.’”

At the shoot, Al-Arashi was radiant with excitement, dressed in black jeans over a black leotard with a chic silk scarf tied around her neck, her long curly hair piled into a bun on top of her head, her skin dewy from the building steam of the bath. She was thrilled to have managed to pull together an entirely female crew, who had been working nonstop for a week to organize the set and gather willing friends and acquaintances to be models. The women, who ranged in age from early 20s to mid-60s, seemed comfortable and relaxed as they undressed and wrapped towels around their waists, revealing breasts and bodies of all shapes and sizes, many with tattoos and piercings. In the bath, they arranged themselves on a pedestal in the center of the room, and on the steps leading up to a hot tub, and along a stone wall with spouts from which warm water gently trickled out. As Al-Arashi began to take photographs, offering occasional direction, they used bowls to pour water over themselves and each other. One woman combed another’s hair, while nearby hammam attendants began to scrub another woman vigorously, sloughing off dead skin. A murmuring din filled the space. The light was dreamy and golden, giving the scene the air of a Renaissance painting.

“I really want to show these spaces for what they are, because they’re important to so many people in this culture,” Al-Arashi said. “I remember, growing up, seeing how these scenes were depicted in art and that was always powerful. Why don’t we ever see this anymore? Why is this a closed-off space to the rest of the world? Because really, when you’re in these spaces you’re just a body. It’s not about how you’re sitting or how many rolls you have or how hairy your legs are, there’s no difference between pretty and ugly. They’re places where people just laugh and talk about everything. It’s really beautiful, and really normalizing.”

Pippa Middleton’s Sculpted Arms Are Her Best Bridal Accessory

It’s been six years since Pippa Middleton’s shapely silhouette became the stuff of bridesmaid legend in a form-fitting Alexander McQueen gown at her sister Kate’s royal wedding. And today, the lady of the hour, who married hedge fund manager James Matthews in Berkshire, England, let one particular sculpted asset play best accessory to her couture gown.

Arriving outside St. Mark’s church in a lace Giles Deacon gown, it wasn’t just Middleton’s healthy bronzed glow and pearl-threaded updo that stole the show, but her impeccably toned arms. Following a rumored three-month boot camp at London’s Grace Belgravia club, which reportedly included yoga, Pilates, and cardio dance class, the athletic brunette was in top shape for the nuptials. Whatever the secret to her sculpted shoulders and razor-sharp, defined triceps, expect Middleton to show off the fruits of her 360-degree fitness and nutrition program at the reception—and brides the world over to beeline for the gym stat.