Tuesday, 11 September 2018

I'm not Atomic Blonde; I'm Atomic Grey

I wore this lightweight snuggly-soft Yuzhe Studios coat on my inspiration walk today, inside-out because I was in the mood for the lighter grey colour of the inside. The pockets stick out like little hip wings, and we know how flattering a look that is. And I wore my man shoes and other stuff. 

On my way home, a young woman breathlessly ran up behind me, seeking my attention. I thought:
Why, look! A fan eager to prostrate herself at my feet after my recent media triumph. And so it begins - celebrity is mine! Bwahaha! Soon I'll need to buy a hideaway in a dormant volcano and hire a team of minions.
I slowed, put on my humble face, and smiled at her with benevolence.
Then she said in a breathless confidential voice:
Excuse me, but I think you have put your coat on inside-out.
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, inside-out grey coat, man shoes

[sound of vinyl record scratching
"Wrong line!" was scribbled in my thought bubble.

I said, "Oh, thank you for telling me. Actually, I know it's inside-out, but I prefer it like this today." Then I thought we'd exchange laughs. But no. She said, "Oh, okay. Sorry, I'm sorry," and power-walked away, red face blazing. I felt bad. How could she have known?

Perhaps the next time I wear this inside-out I need to affix a little label on the back that says, "This inside-out is right-side-out today," to spare awkward feelings all around.

And yesterday I wore this: Jacqueline Conoir suit jacket, altered with additional repositioned buttons, Anne Klein crepe wool, lined palazzo pants courtesy of Dross Into Gold, black glitter booties, and -

The Device 
scratch-built by my partner O 
(his art is here, Etsy here).

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, Jacqueline Conoir jacket, Anne Klein trousers, The Device by Osamu Kobayashi, glasses by Nordstrom

As for the glasses, Charlise Theron wore aviator sunglassses in her role as a British spy in the period action movie Atomic Blonde, so when Nordstrom wardrobe handed me these glasses on set, BAM, I was -

No longer mere Mel - 
I was Atomic Grey! 

I decided to recreate that badass state of mind with this outfit.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, Jacqueline Conoir jacket, Anne Klein trousers, The Device by Osamu Kobayashi, glasses by Nordstrom

There's the Yuzhe Studios coat again, right-side-out. They sent it to me a couple of years ago.

Speaking of atomic, time now to switch gears for a little spacy tripping with this psychedelic vintage '70s outfit that Suzanne, suzannecarillo.com, gave me when I was in Toronto. I almost fainted with surprise and delight. 

The outfit is seductively soft, velveteen I believe. The unstructured midi-length jacket has lapels, slits up both sides, and a single hook/eye closure at the waist. The front is meant to overlap for a fitted silhouette, but I preferred it a bit looser to enhance that tux feeling, so I pinned it closed. The slacks (love that word) zip up the back.

Mel Kobayashi, vintage '70s psychedelic pantsuit from Suzanne Carillo with platform sandals from Nordstrom

To top it off, I wore my blue velvety platform sandals with studded heels from Nordstorm and a satin sleeveless ruffle-front orange blouse with a super-high collar from many years ago.

Mel Kobayashi, vintage '70s psychedelic pantsuit from Suzanne Carillo with platform sandals from Nordstrom

I took these photos with my tripod on Granville Island.

Mel Kobayashi, vintage '70s psychedelic pantsuit from Suzanne Carillo with platform sandals from Nordstrom
Mel Kobayashi, vintage '70s psychedelic pantsuit from Suzanne Carillo with platform sandals from Nordstrom

The grand exit, tux tails flapping.

That's all for this week. I'll link something up with Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. See you there.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Time-travel wear, party wear, nail art, and film debut

Flash Gordonia. Aaa-ah. Caped crusader!

Oh my goodness - I'm in the time-warp tunnel, fleet-footed in my awesome velvety-soft, blue, studded-heel platform sandals made for this exact purpose: "For fleet-footed running in time-warp tunnels," it's right there on the box. 

These are the same shoes I wore to the Nordstrom launch party for their True Nord ad campaign, which I blogged about in my previous post, here. That was more an out-of-body travel experience to Cloud 9 than a time warp. Make sure you also check out Shelley's writeup of the event on Forest City Fashionista, here.

As you can see, these sandals are the perfect all-round transportation device for any determined foot passenger. I highly recommend them as a neutral wardrobe staple that can be worn with all outfits with confidence and joie de vivre (French for "exuberant enjoyment of life").

Below is a flat lay of the full outfit I wore to the launch, except I forgot to include my Ribkoff clutch bag. Drats! 
Note the groovy sunglasses, eh? Nordstrom's personal stylist Farah picked them out for me. We had a blast putting together this outfit. Plus, red is very suitable for a Canada-themed ad campaign because our flag is red and white, although this dress is slightly orangy red. Actually, paisley, florals, beige, and plaids are also very patriotic because we get to wear whatever we damned well like. Heh.

What I particularly love about this dress are the long bell sleeves, the maxi length, and the rufflies along the cuffs and hemline. Again, see previous post, here. I had neon orange nail polish professionally applied to finish the look, but I didn't get a photo.

The clutch is partially visible in the next shot. It's got a pearly iridescent shine and zipper trim detailing.

Photo by Shelley, Forest City Fashionista. It's the only one with shades.

All of these pieces are available in Nordstrom's online shop: Simon Miller dressearrings (on sale), sunglassesclutch. This post is not sponsored and I don't get paid a penny if you click or buy anything (insert Lucille Ball-type Waaaa!!! here). I'm just sayin'. But I did receive the outfit as a gift for the party.

I customized the shoes by painting the studs on the heels with nail polish. The shoe design is a riff on a vintage sandal style, but through my rose-tinted sunglasses, they are badass Elton John.

The rib-knit fabric of the dress lends itself to high and low styling. Below is a more casual combo. I could also wear an oversized pullover and/or pants with it, although not the matching pants as shown in the online shop, too matchy for me.

Vivid reds always blow out on my camera. Vexing. Anyone know how to deal with that?

And below. I was sitting at my desk one night when O presented me two almost-invisible filaments with tiny, tiny red balls on the end that glistened like fish eggs. 

Hahaha. I insisted that we take photos for here and my Instagram. These antennae bend like willows in a breeze. And while they were really stuck on there, one would need to rely on one's maid to carry one's shoes about and do all the housework. I'm going to wear these everyday now! Although I'll have to rehire myself in preparation for the extra workload.

In the next shot I feel like a Vespa-riding secret agent in Moscow or London during the 1960s. Don't we all feel like that from time to time? The antennae activate my high-tech GPS tracking device (it's only the '60s, remember). I must accomplish my mission - if I could remember what it is. My memory seems not to have returned from Cloud 9.

You can see more of O's art on his website, and he sells magic loupes and rings in his Etsy store, OSK Micro-art Studio. He constantly amazes me with his imagination.

And one more thing:

KEEP IT IN THE STREETS documentary update

You might recall that I was in a feature-length documentary called Keep It in the Streets by Everett Bumstead and Sam Koopman, which I blogged about HERE. It's a skater/arthouse/street photography/Humans of New York (Vancouver) film and plans were to premiere it on the film fest circuit.

Well, in the following video, Sam and Ev share a startlingly heartfelt evaluation of where the film is at and their direction in filmmaking. "Make yourself feel awkward every day," Ev says, and, "I feel like an idiot all the time." These are men after my own heart.

They may be feeling down but they're definitely not out! You can subscribe to them on their YouTube channel and IG. There will be a premiere of Keep It on the Streets on the big screen, perhaps soon, and when that day comes, I hope all of you will join me, Sam, Ev and the other cast and crew to celebrate. Moving, timeless works about the human condition never go out of style.

There may even be collaborations with Ev and Sam in the near future as well. Stay tuned!

That's all for now. I'll link up with Patti at her Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine at her #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb.

THANK YOU for all your cheering on my big adventure. Hahaha!! You guys are THE BEST!!! We can move mountains together - although bulldozers are fun too. And those super-mega-earth moving machines too. And tunnel-boring machines.

Tell me your secret mission.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

How to be in an ad campaign

Pinch me! No, don't! I want to ride this surreal wave for as long as possible. You may ask, what's going on, Mel? Well, I'll tell ya. 

I'm in Nordstrom's first-ever Canada-wide advertising campaign. Gaaaa! Picture me happy dancing around the room when I was asked, the Mel football touchdown dance, as it were, not a pretty sight. Be glad there's no video footage or a soundtrack, which would go something like this, "Oof, oof, ouch," as I ran into furniture.

Of course, I should be droll and say, Oh, pfft, another campaign? Pulleeeze, make the carousel stop. I need another break in St. Tropez STAT. Pick me up in the yacht at eight. And shoo those pesky paparazzi off the driveway!

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in Nordstrom's True Nord media campaign
Just so you're not confused, Mel in the red dress is BEFORE, normal-sized head; Mel in the suit is AFTER, swelled head. (Campaign launch party, Broadview Hotel, Toronto, Aug 27)

This campaign is called True Nord, which is a clever play on words: Nord, short for Nordstrom, and nord, French for north. The team flew me into Toronto for several days last month and put me up at a fine hotel, then flew me in again for the launch party earlier this week. 

What did I have to do in this project? Well, try on new, fabulous Nordstrom clothes, pose like mad, and act, just a little. Oh, and get paid for it. Hahaha.

There are several key points I learned from this experience I'd like to share with you. 

1.  Being in an ad campaign is a lot like being a secret agent

You're not allowed to talk about it. This was verrrry difficult. Someone would ask me, "What'sup, Mel," and I'd shrug and mumble, "Oh, you know, same 'ole, same 'ole," maybe jingle the keys in my pocket or look up and comment on the weather, while inside I'm screaming my head off with excitement. 

Now I know why secret agents can be tortured souls - they get a big break and they're not allowed to say anything. Next time you ask your friend, "Hey, what'sup," and she shrugs and says, "Oh nuthin'," you'll have to ask yourself, whoa, is she in an ad campaign?!

2. It takes a village to look good

Hairstylists, makeup professionals, style/wardrobe gurus, executives, creatives of all sorts. It was incredible being surrounded by so much talent, all top of their field. So, yes, it took a village to make me camera-ready. 

But what was so cool is how everyone on set and off brought their personal best to the project, not merely to do their own job well, but to bring out the best in their colleagues too, like they did with my makeup, hair, and wardrobe. There were ricochets of positive energy everywhere. True teamwork on every level. So impressive.

3. I am proud to be Canadian

The True Nord theme of the campaign really made me think about Canada and what it means to me. I shamefully admit that I had forgotten the words to our national anthem because they have changed through the years, so I looked them up on Wikipedia. Imagine my delight to discover that four of the song's ten lines have exclamation marks. Vindication! I use !!!'s all the time because it's in my friggin' blood, people!! 

Also, the campaign showcases how Canada is inclusive, diverse, and welcoming. Right on! Other keywords enshrined in our anthem are in there too, such as "strong and free." I celebrate all of this. Plus, Canada grows the best comedians. I think there's even a statistic for that in our GNP.

4. Friends make everything better

Yeah, I always knew this, but the point really hit home at the launch party. Shelley of Forest City Fashionista bused in from London, Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo drove in from across town, and Patti of Not Dead Yet Style flew in all the way from Florida. What a night we had celebrating each other, dreaming big, laughing, and taking pictures. Suzanne did a write-up here. Shelley did a write-up here.

Patti Not Dead Yet Style, Suzanne Carillo, Shelley Forest City Fashionista and Mel Kobayashi before Nordstrom True Nord campaign party
Patti, Suzanne, me, Shelley taken with Suzanne's selfie stick. Hurray! The only photo of us together. Check their blogs and IGs for more photos. And the Nordstrom website/IGs.

We met in my room at the Broadview Hotel beforehand and Suzanne surprised us with celebratory drinks and gourmet chips. She knows me so well! After the party, we went to a nearby restaurant for a late-night bite. 

On the way out, I heard crickets and cicadas in the park across the street - absolute magic. It's been a long, long time since I've heard them as they seem to have abandoned downtown Vancouver. So friends and bugs, it doesn't get much better than that.

True Nord commercial 

This campaign speaks to my heart - it emphasizes such a great message of hope and acceptance. I was thrilled that they included me, an "oldster," (word from Lost in Space TV series, 1968, "Promised Planet") who is also from Canada's West Coast. 

It was a privilege to be in a scene with Harjas Singh and his "daughter," Estelle Habermayer, which was filmed while riding a streetcar through Toronto. I couldn't even make this stuff up. There is a multitude of people whom I thank from the bottom of my heart for making this experience possible.

Below are a few photos from the pre-party and party taken by Suzanne and Shelley. I was too busy working the room, as they say in the biz, to remember my camera. 

 With model/stylist Mirian Njoh. She is a designer and sewist as well.

With Ishie Wang

True Nord cast with Michelle, Nordstrom Canada Executive VP, next to me

Patti Not Dead Yet Style, Suzanne Carillo, Shelley Forest City Fashionista before Nordstrom True Nord campaign party
 Patti, Shelley, Suzanne

Patti Not Dead Yet Style, Suzanne Carillo, Shelley Forest City Fashionista and Mel Kobayashi Bag and a Beret before Nordstrom True Nord campaign party
 Patti, Suzanne, me still with clips in my hair

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret with Nordstrom photo from True Nord campaign August 2018
It's the end of a long day. A framed photo from Nordstrom worn as badass necklace. They also gave all of us bottles of champagne when we left the party.

And that's my story, folks, or one small part of it. I've been feeling squished in my blogging lately, needing to keep all of this news under wraps, cloak and dagger. Consider this post a big exhale, a great big satisfying exhale. Now you know. 

What else have I been up to? "Oh, nuthin'." Jingle, jingle. "Nice weather we're having."

I'll link up this amazing outfit, which is also from Nordstrom, to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb and her #iwillwearwhatilike. See you's guys there!

Exhale!!!! ←Exclamations because I'm Canadian, eh? Has anything caught your breath lately?

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