A Private {Art} Affair

Painter Martin Swift, in his signature glasses and vintage sweater, worn as a scarf

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of going to the private opening of a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. First, it's a complete dream to be in the museum with only a handful of other people in the middle of the night; the atrium (one of my favorite places in the city) is even more breathtaking. More importantly, the exhibition, entitled "Poetic Likeness," was wonderful. I studied (and wrote) poetry extensively while living in New York and Barcelona, so it was really nostalgic for me to see portraits of my favorites poets. 

I was beside myself with excitement when I bumped into Cat Dawson, who was one of my first friends here in DC (please, ask either of us for the story of how we met, it's priceless), who is off getting her PhD in Visual Studies and generally being brilliant about art and 23,496 other things. After a little meet and greet and wine and dine among the art, our stylish group dashed out for a night at the French Embassy, where Brightest Young Things were throwing their French Underground party. Zut alors, we had a blast! Here are some simple snaps from the night...

Micah Greenberg, looking completely dashing in his pea coat

Cat Diesel Dawson just killing it in leather trousers, Ralph Lauren dress shoes, and the most perfect blazer/shirt combo I've seen, well, ever. The blazer is short-sleeved and the shirt sleeves are black on the botton half for mix-match perfection.

Joseph Palermo in some serious 3-piece tweed

Bonjour, Maison de Francaise!

Morgan West of Panda Head Magazine in a modern take on suede/lace prairie chic. She put together the beautiful feathered teepees and headdresses...trés chic.

The ever-stylish Amy Vong - creative, model, wild woman extraordinaire. Letterman jacket? Oh yes please.

Heat Street

It's time for some more sweet street style! I've been out shooting street on assignment for some awesome style publications - most are still under wraps (shh) but THIS set of summer sundresses came out in Refinery 29 last week and I'm really excited to share it with you! I took these other photos while out shooting for that, since I just couldn't resist. You can see why, I'm sure. It's been meltingly hot here in DC (seriously, the tarmac at the runway melted two days ago), so the fact that these Washingtonians manage to look so fresh is a miracle. Hats off, for sure. Enjoy, and happy weekend!

PS - I'm going to TRILLECTRO tomorrow (many thanks to Modi for the all-access hookup!) and will be shooting some awesome festival style and giving away Uber credit and swag. Get your ticket, come find me (tweet me to do that) and show me your rad style. Hope to see you!

There's more!

Dwayne Brice of Hu's Wear is one of DC's most stylish gentlemen, and I took these snaps when I popped into the store to say hey and visit. 

Deena and her wedge sneakers are so incredibly trendy and I love it.

Performance artist Holly Bass getting her sundress spin on

GoKateTravel: San Francisco Film

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you may have noticed that I've been traveling all over the place recently. For one of those trips I headed out to San Francisco for a week for some work, style inspiration, and some serious play. I loved it! I got some serious quality time with my hometown friend Abbey, who is my oldest friend in the whole world (almost 20 years of friendship!). We grew up doing dance together so it was great to bop around the city together. I also got to see my artist friend Katy from Vermont who now lives in SF. It's so nice to catch up with old friend! We traipsed all over the city but spent a huge amount of time in the colorful Mission district, an arty, up-and-coming Mexican neighborhood with great coffee spots, hole in the wall boutiques, and the most mouth-watering tacos I've ever had. 

After the sudden demise of my vintage film camera (DAMN YOU, TINY OBSCURE BATTERY THAT DIED!), I ran out and got some awesome old school disposable cameras. There's something wonderfully nostalgic about going on summer vacation with the same kind of camera I took to summer camp when I was shooting growing up, and you know how I swoon over the colors from film. 

Check out these super-colorful snaps that document one day of my explorations! I took a whirlwind road trip around the city, from the Mission to Dolores Park and the Golden Gate bridge, documenting all the way. This is a tease, too; I'll be jetting back to San Francisco for a trip to Tahoe in about a month, so there's lots more West Coast love to come! Click through, and enjoy.

Abbey and Katy on the way to Dolores Park

The view of the city from Dolores Park

My first In-N-Out burger, FINALLY! Yum!

I love the beach.

Abbey and I trying on some sweet shades while shopping in the Mission

Birthday Attire: Halston + Fox

I love birthdays, I always have. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll never see me trounce into a club wearing a birthday tiara demanding free bottle service, presents from everyone, and an all-access pass to Disney World. Perks are fine, but I love my birthday because it is an opportunity for me to see all of my favorite people all at once and watch them all enjoy each other. I love. I get so much pleasure from my personal relationships, it’s a delight to see them delight one another as well. That is why I attended, and then threw easy-as-pie parties at bars this year; no muss, no fuss, just seriously deep, seriously stylish crews. Party 1 was in NYC, where I still maintain many friends. I was excited to spend both evenings helping two good friends also celebrate their birthdays, and celebrate we did! Then back here in DC, I invited my best and closest for a stylish evening of vintage, whiskey, and oysters. Delightful! I am to edit up all of the photos from the DC party, but here are some snaps of what I wore for birthday this year…more to come soon.

Both were major deals found while sourcing vintage in the back neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Here are some cell phone snaps to tide you over while I work on the real photos. Enjoy!

The dress. I died a little bit inside when I found it in the back of a really bootleg vintage record store surrounded by a few other no-name, poor-quality pieces. This dress found me. It is vintage 1970’s Halston (!!!!!), bias cut patterned silk. So comfortable and slinky; I love how it draws attention to form in an understated way. 

You don’t have to show a lot of skin to be sexy, and I’d much rather be a little more mysterious and leave something to the imagination! And that pattern! So killer. I may or may not have worn it twice in one week (I KNOW) out of sheer excitement.

Worn with my red leather trench with the fox fur collar, and sky-high platform heels, I was super 70s to the max and loving that disco diva style.

The fur. Serious swoon. The fur I found in a charity consignment shop, where I noticed it poking out of a pile of stuff on a chair. I begged to see it, tried it on and fell in love. I asked how much and when the shop owner started with, “It’s the most expensive item in the store…” my heart sank. Until, that is, he finished with, “…it’s six dollars.” SIX. DOLLARS. As in, single dollar bills. As in, my cab to get late night food last night cost more. I DIED. I seriously died of glee right there on the spot. So I scooped it and carried it away in a flurry of gorgeous, completely real vintage fox fur.

 I continued in my elevated state of bliss until I realized that it was shedding. Everywhere. I looked like a white cat exploded on my lap. My black pants developed a think fluffy white coat, a look that was less than cute, let me assure you. So what’s a girl to do, with a six dollar, rapidly molting fox fur? Why, take it to her stylist, of course! When I returned to DC, I hopped over to IVD to get Elise’s advice. As usual she took care of it, sending it to her furrier in Baltimore to fix. And so for the low, low complete and total final price of $45, I came to own the most mind-altering, gorgeous, divine fox fur coat known to modern disco woman. 

And you KNOW I wore that out for my birthday last night…and to work today…and I’m wearing it for the next week while I’m in Vermont…and will wear it for the NYE party I’m hosting. Because it’s warm and soft and glamourous and matches EVERYTHING.

OK. I’m done raving about the Halston and the fur. But seriously. Epic. Happy birthday indeed.

And for those of you who know me, this last shot of the inside of my camera bag will not be surprising in the slightest. A camera and a little nip of whiskey, what else does a girl need for a little birthday fun?

Push Yourself, NYC

Hey team, I apologize for the hiatus. Friday afternoon I got a message from a close friend who is an amazingly talented photographer and photo assistant in NYC asking if I could come assist on a major fashion shoot the next morning. I have assisting experience, but certainly not on the scale with which I was then faced. I grit my teeth, canceled my plans and was on the bus alone a few hours later, off and away into the night. I got brave and did it because I know it was an opportunity to push myself. 

We had an 8am call, and when we got to the location, I was moved by the incredible light in the unheated warehouse in Manhattan where fashion magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair, and W shoot frequently. The space, model, clothes, and work ethic and vision of the team were truly inspiring. I am moved to investigate the creation of photos, and not simply capturing them as they pass. 

I would love to share images with you, but I was there to assist. As I found with modeling, sometimes the best way to learn photography is to put the camera down and just listen. I don't care for technical photographers who take "nice" photos; I want technical skills in order to develop my vision and expand my potential to manifest the images I have in my creative mind. For all that DC has done for me, I am really excited to work on projects that push me to learn more and develop my photos. 

Thank you for just reading, this once. I'll be back with more photos next, I promise. :) 

Chevron and the Octopus

Thought I'd give you a little sneaky peek at some of my favorite pieces that I'm wearing today. I got this fabulous silk chevron kimono while on the hunt for some yummy new fashions off the beaten path in Pittsburgh. I paired it with a sheer silk tie-neck leopard blouse and three of my favorite pieces of jewelry. The octopus is one of my favorite staples, and comes with a funny story: 

A few years ago while living in New York, my friend invited me to go to a "art and music festival". Thinking that it would be a cool chance to meet some creative people, I got a crew together and went a few towns over. The event was in a Holiday Inn Express (eesh, yep) and as soon as I went in I realized things were a little...different. What had been sold to be as an "art and music festival" was really a "death metal and body modification convention" (YEP), which I discovered shortly after my friend, a generous Puerto Rican guy who rides a Harley and is covered in tattoos, shashayed out (for lack of a better phrase) shirtless and drunk as a skunk to greet me whole heartedly with a bellowed, "KATIE WARRRREN!"

Yep. This is all happening. 

Despite our apprehension, we went inside and proceeded to inspect the various "wares" for sale as we listened to a local death metal band. Tattoo artists or coupled with cendors selling chain mail, knives, sex toys, and, OOOO LOOK, JEWELRY! 

So that's how I came to find my signature octopus at a death metal convention. Needless to say, after purchasing the little guy, I hightailed it out of there since it wasn't really my "scene", if you will. 

Hilarious. This stuff only happens to me, I swear! 

Going to a trunk show tonight for a line of international jewelry being debuted by several national retailers, including Anthropologie. If you'd like to come out, more information can be found here. Hope to see you soon!

Travel Snapshots of the Final Days in Istanbul

On my second to last day in Istanbul, I calmed down about working a little. I rode the ferry from the Asia side of the city to the European side while drinking tea (read: spilling tea) and watching the sun rise as I had most days before. But instead of going to deal with project organizers, models, or vintage clothiers, I lost myself with two other artists in the back streets of the Grand Bazaar. Istanbul has a pulse, a life, and it was important for me to capture that. 

So we shopped. We haggled and bargained our way into 4 kilos of Turkish spices apiece, leaving the young man at the market smiling but scratching his head at how we got such a deal and how we would get it home. We ran our fingers through silks and cashmeres, inspected handmade bowls in hues that mirror the light inside the Hagia Sophia. Spices assaulted our senses. I sat on the steps of the city center mosque with my eyes closed and listened to the rhythm of Istanbul. The light smell of roasted corn on the cob wafted from every direction, and I could feel the hems of ladies long burkas brush the ancient stone steps as they went to pray. In a way, I prayed too, a small and soaring prayer of thanks to the city of Istanbul and its people. 

Photos by Monika Rizovska where noted

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

{Rogue Jack} : Olympos, Turkey

For this pair of portraits, I will share a story from Turkey. 


This is my new friend Jack, of Australia, who I met in Olympos, Turkey. He was rather unassuming until one late night a group of us decided we had to go to the beach at 3 in the morning. The beach is a 15 minute walk from our treehouse bungalows through the ruins, with nothing but nearly full moonlight. The only problem, our friendly bartender informed us, was the presence of a potentially armed guard at the gate of the ruins. Instead of giving up (what fun is that?!), we dressed in black, armed ourselves with beer (necessary for our German compatriots), and my camera, and planned a covert mission to sneak past the guard, manage a fence, and make our way through the cover of night to the Mediterranean.

Off we went. 

With Jack as our fearless leader (although after 3 hours enjoying the bar, none of us were too hesitant), we crossed the dirt road and walked down into the dusty riverbed that runs along the one road in Olympos. Filing silently over the rocky ground, we heard a high, whining noise approaching us. We assumed it to be one of the scouts on a motorcycle, but he was on the road and failed to see us in the shadows. We continued, the Germans' beer bottles clanking much louder than normal, it seemed. 

Finally, we reached the fence, a chain link line that cut from the guard station into the forest as far as we could see. We had been told there was a way through the barbed wire, and when we arrived we found the space where other trekkers had gone before. After scrambling over the wire fence we froze, looking quickly around to be sure we hadn't been discovered. While we had been glad for the moonlight when we we planning our trip, it created the most danger by starkly illuminating the wide creek bed through which we were walking. 

Once past the guard, we scrambled up the embankment to the main path that winds through the ancient ruins and breathed a collective sigh of relief. The moonlight threw eerie shadows among the ruins piled high along the edges of the path. Roman baths, ancient pagan temple arches, sidewalks and roads; the remnants of ancient civilization rose around us. After pausing to collect ourselves, we made our way through the ruins, more quickly now, until we saw a flash of light up ahead. We sprinted, wide-eyed, into the bushes that lined the trail. 

We stopped breathing, hearts pounding in our chests. 

After a long 60 seconds , two figures walked casually past without pausing. 

We made it to the beach shortly thereafter, scrambling over the rocks to curl up and enjoy the stars in a pile of bodies and blankets to stay warm in the depth of the cool Mediterranean night. It got colder and people dropped off, succumbing to exhaustion and temperature, but a handful of us made it to watch the sun rise over the water. It was beautiful; I will post photos soon. Afterward, Jack and I walked back in silence, content to enjoy the experience. 

We waved at the guard on our way out, who looked at us with a bemused cock of his head. 

GoKateShoot meets Butler + Claypool, and friends were made

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending fashion collective Butler + Claypool's pop-up vintage shop at the Lamont Bishop Gallery. The vintage was prime, prices affordable, and the ladies lovely! I had a great time meeting the women behind what has been called one of the fashion projects to watch in DC. 

Why not get a little inspired; these talented fashion gurus write for popular style blogs Fashion is Spinach and Project Beltway, the style section of the Washington Post, the Washintonian, and do gads of other exciting things. They go on adventures! Me too! 

Needless to say, we got along swimmingly, and photo adventures filled with vintage fashions will be had in the fututre. I had lovely chats with several of them and was oh-so-glad to meet some other fashion-oriented ladies. 

Enjoy the photos featuring Rachel Cothran, Holly Thomas, and Kristen Guitar of Butler + Claypool. Accompanying them are bloggers Kou Moore of PeppersoupAndrea Pippins of Fly Girls and her hat-wearing stylish friend. 

The gentleman at the end (be still my beating heart, THOSE MIXED STRIPES!), is Scott, a fabulous tie designer of Derringer Friday (whoo baby, what a name!) .