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The Voice of the College at Florham

"News is the first rough draft of history." - The Voice of the College at Florham

Parting is such sweet sorrow for a senior

LORENA CHOUZA
Executive Editor

This morning I busted out my planner (yes, planner, don’t judge, a girl’s got to be organized!) to write down what seemed like the millionth assignment due this week. Flipping through the pages and dreading what’s due in the next couple of days, my eyes landed on a date that was circled off: Tuesday, May 19.

The words, “Graduation! Wouu!!” stared back at me. I’m not going to lie, a slight shiver ran down my spine. What should be a remarkably happy day, the culmination of years upon years of studying, now seems, well, kind of scary and oh-so-depressing.

The fact that the end of my schooling as I know it is just, what, about a week away, is shocking. I, at 21, will be done with classes forever. The thought doesn’t even seem to process correctly. What do you mean that’s it? What do you mean I’m done? Now what?

Now what?

It seems like ages ago when I first stepped onto this campus, a nervous freshie hopeful of what the next couple of years would hold. Right off the bat I joined clubs, yes it sounds lame, but I figured it would be the easiest way to build friendships.

When I first came to The Metro I honestly just wanted to build my resume, whip up a few published clips and that’s it. Turns out I got much more involved than expected, starting off as a lowly staff writer and working my way up to copy editor and now, writing my last piece as your executive editor!

As cheesy as it may sound, I never thought I’d actually be involved in a school club that I was so very proud of. The school community may not realize it, but endless hours upon hours are poured into this paper. Our writers put their heart into every article they write. And us editors? Well, let’s just say The Metro office is our official dorm on layout nights.

Looking back on all those never ending nights, whipping together last minute articles to fill up space, editing like a maniac fueled solely on coffee, and getting into a scream-fest with Quark (Maggy!), I can say, I’ll actually miss this. No, I am not a masochist. But as I sit here typing this, surrounded by my fellow editors and our amazing adviser, I can’t help but fight back the tears, or is it just the four hours of sleep kicking in?

All that I hope for in the future of our student newspaper is that the following editors and staff continue to put all their love and devotion into every single page.

Take advantage of having a well functioning media outlet, an outlet that’s there by the students for the students.

As for my Metro people, here it comes, you knew this was coming! I feel like I’m on stage receiving an Oscar here.

To our assistant editors, thanks for pitching in and doing the annoying, little details that are really important in the end. Angela, we’re graduating! Kristin and Sam, enjoy the time you have left here, it really, truly flies.

To our photo editor, Dan, thanks for being our resident photo expert, improving the quality of our photos and giving our readers something beautiful to look at.

To our editors, thanks for tracking down our writers, and getting our sections together. Elyse and Kayla, good luck next year! Make us proud, don’t let all our hard work go to waste! We’ll be watching you!

To our utterly amazing adviser, Sarah, words cannot express how thankful I am for everything you have done for us. You’ve been not only an inspiration, teaching us the basics of journalism, but you’ve been a guidance and support beam for all those nights when we wanted to throw the Mac out of the window and give up.

We know how much you’ve done for us, and I don’t think we can ever repay you for what you’ve done. You’ve far exceeded what’s expected of an adviser. We love you!

To my partner in crime, my forever twinsie, Maggy, our editor-in-chief… Oh god, I feel like I’ll need a novel to write about all we’ve been through. We’ve known each other since freshman year and I love how we’ve actually bonded and built a true friendship over our many, many hours at The Metro.

I’ll treasure it all, from the Youtube clips to entertain our lives at the office, to the hysterical fits you throw after the clock strikes 11 on Monday layout nights. I’m so glad it was you and me this year, leading our staff, improving the quality of our paper, and establishing a fully functioning Web site. We are utterly amazing, aren’t we? Love you!

To our faithful readers, thank you for appreciating all that we do. To our faculty, thanks for giving us feedback, providing us with sources and pushing us to make the paper better issue by issue.

As we begin to recheck the articles, shut down the computers, and fill up this last empty space, I realize how fast time really goes by. God I feel old.

I better end now before the water works start rolling in.

Youth not voting is no longer an option

I never liked politics. In fact, I never took interest in the goings on of our government, or such things as the state of our economy. It all seemed so distant. I mean, how would those things ever affect me?

When Bush came into power, and continued in power, the minimal interest I did have was diminished little by little. Now let me explain that a bit, I had, in fact, begun paying attention to how our government handles itself after the tragic events of Sept. 11.

How could one not pay attention to how our nation dealt with such a traumatic event, one that shakes the stability of a 13-year-old’s world? Let me not mention our entrance into a war that I was frankly afraid of and one that I still do not understand.

Yet the mere fact that someone who caused all this fear, and dismantled the very integrity of this nation on a global scale, continued to be in power and was actually voted to stay in office, confused me.

That small fire of interest that took birth beneath the embers was washed out. I lost trust in the political system, which just seemed like an entanglement of deception. It all seemed hopeless to me.

So the upcoming presidential election put me in an interesting predicament. Should I care? Should I submit myself to the bombardment of politically themed news casts, advertisements, articles and programs?

At first the election just seemed like any other, but as time went on it got to the point where one actually had to take sides, and I’m not just talking about political affiliation. By choosing sides I mean that either one cares about who will be in charge of our country for the next four years, or one doesn’t and just stands on the sidelines, watching as that person elected into office dictates the very society you live in.

I decided not to just watch someone dictate me but actually dictate who is put into office. I have recently registered to vote and could not be more proud of myself. (If you are wondering, I was not old enough to vote in 2004, being only 16 at the time, hence the not registering to vote until now).

Although I was not swayed by a particular candidate in this election to begin with, I realized that this is one of the most important presidential elections in the history of the United States. Not meaning to exaggerate, but have you taken note of where our country is headed as of lately: down the drain. It is truly shocking how our nation has taken a turn for the worst, how our economy is dangling on a fragile string, how thousands of our very own are dying in war and how our debt has accumulated to a number that most of us cannot fathom. We can either stand by and say “Yeah, whatever,” or come to realize that how we get out of this mess matters on who will be our next president.

I am not here to tell you who to vote for or here to convince you to chose one over the other; that is up to you. (Although I do admit that one of the candidates has become particularly inspiring to me and makes me actually want to watch the debates and not only hope for, but actually believe, that change is possible). I know that most of us now are finally old enough to vote and why not have a say in who are leader will be for the next four years?

After all this person will be in charge when many of us graduate and go out into the real world in search for a job, when we will have to deal with real life issues as paying for rent, buying our own food and getting all those bills paid without the safety net of our parents paying for everything for us. Not to hit you with the harsh reality, but it will eventually fall on us to pay our student loans and how will we do that if our economy is in shambles?

Our nation right now is on unstable ground. We need someone who will be able to fix the cracks in our system and restore the foundation of our economy, our government and our future. It is up to you to decide who that will be. Change is possible. Improvement is possible. Politics not being “your thing,” is no longer an excuse; as it was for me for far too long.

LORENA CHOUZA
Executive Editor

Bardem sizzles on, off screen

Javier Bardem leans back in his chair. Marlboro in hand, the famous golden statuette next to him, he calmly looks around at the reporters that surround him. The small table in front of him has no room left to fit even one more microphone. Still in his navy Prada tuxedo, he looks as if he were in the midst of an intimate party rather than a post-Oscar press conference, which would air almost immediately on YouTube. Spanish reporters throw questions at him from here and there. Taking his time, he puffs on his Marlboro and leans up in his chair. Everyone grows silent to hear what the Academy Award winner is about to say. Reaching to the edge of the table, he grabs hold of a Heineken and takes a sip.

Being the first actor from Spain to win an Oscar, it is no wonder that Bardem is receiving so much press from his homeland. Bardem has not forgotten his roots, from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to the mainland capital of Madrid. He even gave a special tribute to Spain and its actors in part of his Oscar acceptance speech, which is translated into this:

“Mama, this is for you, this is for your grandparents, this is for your parents Rafael and Matilde, this is for the actors of Spain that have brought, like you, the dignity and the pride of our work. This is for Spain and this is for all of you.”

He walked off the stage and showed off his Oscar in hand to the flashing cameras backstage. Bardem is used to this kind of attention by now. Coming from a long line of Spanish actors, Bardem has grown up in the film industry. In fact, his mother, Pilar Bardem, brought a young 6-year-old Bardem to the set of the Spanish television show, “El Picaro,” in 1974, since the show needed someone to fill the role of a child. Now 38, Bardem has a long list of Spanish and internationally acclaimed films under his belt; with his title roles in “Before the Night Falls,” and “No Country for Old Men,” winning him Oscar nominations.

London-based director James Lebon worked with Bardem for a segment in the British television show, “Passengers,” which aired in the ‘90s. The “magazine show,” as Lebon described it in an e-mail, covered topics such as fashion and music and was aimed at viewers of the young-adult age group.

Lebon filmed Bardem in the very beginning of Bardem’s career. The segment for “Passengers,” which is just about three minutes long and can be viewed on Lebon’s official YouTube Channel (youtube.com/user/JamesLebon), shows a young Bardem acting childlike, as he runs around the streets of Madrid, grabs the camera to film himself and points to a magazine that has him as the cover model. Bardem speaks about his hopes, his fears and his passion for acting as he eats some tapas at an outdoor café in Plaza Mayor and lies down on the grass in El Parque del Buen Retiro.
Lebon, who has filmed the likes of Kylie Minogue, Laetitia Casta and Penelope Cruz, admits that Bardem was one of his favorite celebrities to work with.

“He was a real gent and great to work with,” Lebon wrote on the description to his video on YouTube.

“I found him very down to earth and very funny,” Lebon wrote in an e-mail. “His English was [at the time] not 100 percent and my Spanish zero percent but he managed to communicate very well. Even though he was starting to be very successful he did not have an attitude at all…He was the one actor that I have worked with, only for a day that I would love to work with again.”

Many agree that Bardem seems to always remain believable in his roles; having the ability to completely submit himself to the character at hand. It is this chameleonic ability that is seen in the legends of film.

“The character is with me, inside me,” said Bardem in a recent interview with Glamour Spain.

“Most actors and actresses lose something when you know or have met them,” wrote Lebon in an e-mail. “They lose some believability. But when I watch a film with Javier in it I am instantly sucked into the movie. I think that he has matured as an actor.”

Julian Schnabel, the director of “Before the Night Falls,” described Bardem to USA Today as “one of the greatest actors walking on this earth at this time. It’s one of those things you get born with. He works as hard as anyone I’ve ever met. He’s very smart. He’s very devoted to what he’s doing.”

Besides his life onscreen, Bardem has received quite a few fans for nothing less than his own sly personality and his rough-edged looks. In fact, he was nominated this year as one of People magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive.”

“I’m ugly!” Bardem told Glamour Spain. “When they told me that, I thought ‘That’s funny. Every time I wake up, I see myself like somebody beat me up,” he told Donna Freydkin, for a recent USA Today article.

It is also this charisma that attracts people to him. Bardem has been described as a fun-loving and simple guy by his colleagues and closest friends.

“When he’s acting, he’s into that character. The moment he’s not acting, he’s a lovely ball of fun,” Russell Smith, the producer of “The Dancer Upstairs,” told USA Today. “He’s a lovely man with a big smile. He lights up a room, that guy. When he wants to have fun, he just has fun and makes everyone have fun around him.”

Adds Lebon, “He has a great charisma and character.”

Freydkin added onto this description of Bardem in her USA Today article, admitting that Bardem is a true entertainer, the life of the party. “He drinks beer. He sings. He loves to dance.”
Despite being described as the outgoing-party-type, Bardem has said he does have his more quiet and reserved side.

“I’m quite timid in my private life when I’m not representing a character [in film],” Bardem told Glamour Spain. “I don’t have to call attention to myself at every second just because I’m an actor.”

Josh Brolin, his cast mate in “No Country,” elaborated on Bardem’s seemingly hidden quality.

“At the beginning, it seems like he’s intense, but he’s just shy,” Brolin told USA Today. “ The guy just doesn’t know what to say…when he gets on stage [to accept an award], it’s awful for him. It’s complete torture.”

Bardem, seems to cover up that fear quite well, as his acceptance speech showed. This Spaniard actor has come a long way from his beginnings in small roles in barely popular films. Yet he is not satisfied with his gains and aspires for more.

“I have certain aims,” Bardem told USA Today. “I’ve been working since I was 18 years old. I know what I want to do. Sometimes you have to fight for it, and it’s not easy. But in the end, you are lucky, because you have the privilege of choosing. You have the privilege, so why not choose? I want to die doing this job.”

When asked during the Spanish CNN press conference, “What does Javier Bardem have that all of the actors that we have interviewed speak highly of you?” Bardem answered with a suave air of honesty, “F—-, well I’m a very nice guy.” A broad smile trickled across his unshaven face. His deep laugh broke into the silence, accompanied by another sip of his Heineken.

LORENA CHOUZA
Published in the April 3, 2008 issue of The Metro

Classics stand the test of time

The classic: a piece that stands the test of time. In the ever-changing world that is fashion, it is the classic that remains eternal. The classic remains everlasting, when all other pieces sizzle for a brief moment, then fade away. Yet what is it about a classic piece that makes it so permanent? What is the allure that allows generation upon generation to fall in love with the classic?

From the CEO to the average student, it seems that classics have that something to lure everyone into their powerful hold.

FDU junior Sierra Hayes thinks that classics have that special appeal because, “They are so simple and can go with almost any piece of clothing. It just makes a quick, easy outfit.”

And it is this reliability and simplicity that makes junior Tara Graziano believe that just about everyone has a classic piece in their closet. “I think that everyone does own at least one of the classics…I know I do,” she said.

Junior Krystin Barnett agrees. “I love classic pieces in fashion. I find myself always turning to staple outfit pieces when I want to feel comfortable and put-together at the same time.”

Sophomore Dennel Avellana feels the same way. “I appreciate the classics. They are easy options when you feel like you don’t have anything to wear, and you can never go wrong with them.”

Thinking of the classic in our very own closets may, in fact, help us figure out what makes them such a staple in our wardrobes. Take jeans, for example. It seems that no other pant has been cut, colored, ripped, and adorned so much, and yet they still hold their natural allure. Jeans may also be the only pants that can be worn under a broad range of social situations. Wear them down with a pair of flats to class, or glam them up with heels for a night out on the town. It’s this very flexibility that makes us rely on them, love them, and keep them throughout the ages.

“I love jeans,” said Avellana. “I’ll never get tired of them. They’re timeless, comfortable, and they look good with pretty much everything. I rely on jeans as a staple for my wardrobe because of their versatility.”

The same sense of reliability goes for the crisp white button-down shirt, tank tops, and t-shirts. Change the cut, dye it a different color, put little frills and bows here and there, they all still remain utterly the same at their base and core. And who can forget about the reliable little black dress (LBD)? Need to go to a last-minute party or a lunch with the boyfriend? Slip into the LBD and you’re flawlessly set. Trench coats, peacoats, leather biker jackets, pencil skirts, cardigans, cashmere, ballet flats, Chanel pumps, Louis Vuitton luggage, Gucci’s leather shoulder bag, the Hermes Birkin or Kelly bag and even Calvin Klein underwear were all pointed out as classics in an article in last month’s Glamour. Under the category of jewelry, who can deny that a simple strand of pearls, a quirky charm bracelet, a pair of diamond studs, or a Rolex or Cartier watch can complement any look?

In fact, there are even some unique and semi-outrageous pieces that have become “unexpected classics,” as the article in Glamour puts it. For example, big sunglasses, animal prints, and even Pucci’s bright acid prints have all become staples throughout recent decades.

What may make all of these pieces everlasting, and termed “classics,” may in fact be that they are subject to change and can morph and mold themselves to fit the times. Just because they are permanent pieces does not mean that they don’t get tweaked and altered to blend in with the changes in society around them.

“Classics change,” wrote Lisa Armstrong in the Glamour article. “Yes I know, that sounds like a
total contradiction, but allow your mind to expand a little…The point is that updating a design doesn’t devalue its core values…classics need to be tinkered with from time to time.”

Hayes said, “Well classics do change, but not dramatically.”

Avellana added onto this idea, “Classics…simply go through phases of variation. A jean is always a jean, distressed or not. Their changes aren’t really significant enough for them to contradict what they stand for as classic pieces.”

Barnett believes that classics may change slightly but they, “still hold that something that makes them a classic in the first place.”

Yet even if classics do change to blend in with the times, they still remain utterly timeless.

“I think it is very funny to see how no matter how much styles tend to change throughout the years. The classics are the ones that still remain…even if they are altered,” said Graziano.

But what exactly keeps classics in style, despite the fact that they are changed?

Avellana sums things up, “Classics remain stylish because even with slight variations, they look great.”

Not only do classics themselves change from time to time, but their individual importance changes from person to person. Not everyone looks good in a trench coat or a tailored jacket. Classics are not the entire society’s uniform, but rather a personal statement.

“We’ve all got classics,” wrote Armstrong. “It’s just that they’re not necessarily the same as everyone else’s. That’s probably why classics have proved so adaptable and enduring. Or to put it another way…Sort out your own classics and your style will take care of itself.”

Many FDU students admit to having their own personal classics.

“The classic style that I can always rely on is the little black dress,” said Graziano. “It always comes in handy for many occasions. Whether it be a fancy dinner or just out with your friends, everybody needs a little black dress!”

Barnett said, “I love nautical, especially with dark browns and beiges. I think classics can be edgy and funky, never boring. For example, I love my aviator jacket, especially with tall boots, aviator lenses, and hoop earrings! Oh and I always wear this large face silver watch I got on the street in France…it’s got a very timeless look to it.”

It’s all about “nailing your personal style,” as Armstrong puts it. We all love mixing and matching a few classics with a very now piece, to recreate our image and establish ourselves as different from the pack. Yet it is the classic that we always turn to for that sense of security and the knowledge that we will look stunning, and effortlessly put-together, when that out-of-this-world fad piece is, simply put, so not you.

“Thank goodness for classics,” Avellana said. “What would we do without them?”

So, what’s your classic?

LORENA CHOUZA
Published in the February 28, 2008 issue of The Metro.

Professor Landau’s ‘Deep Six Holiday’ shown in Florham Park’s Ridgedale School

“Deep Six Holiday,” a play written and directed by FDU’s very own Professor David Landau had its premiere at Ridgedale School Theater in Florham Park on Jan. 25. Being shown to Landau’s home crowd of 17 years, Florham Park, the play ran on Jan. 26, and again on Feb. 1 and 2.

“Deep Six Holiday” is described as “a new romantic comedy about murder, lust and writing cheap detective novels” by The Florham Park Players on their Web site (collaborations.com/FPP). An award winning comedy/mystery, the play has been shown on the “off-off Broadway circuit.”

“Deep Six Holiday” is based around protagonist James, a pulp mystery novelist, according to The Florham Park Players’ Web site. While at his editor’s beach cottage to write a novel, he meets his neighbor’s wife, Julia, and a secret relationship emerges. Meanwhile Julia’s husband dies, just like in James’ novel. Wrapped up in his own novel, James doesn’t know if he’s writing the story or if the story is re-writing his own life.

Landau, a film and theater professor, is currently teaching several classes at the College at Florham including Production I, Screenwriting I and Stage Combat. He described the play as a “sensuous and fun mystery” which “college age people would truly enjoy.” Landau explained that he has been writing plays ever since he was in college and was inspired to write “Deep Six Holiday” after being introduced to the novels of Raymond Chandler and James Cain by a close friend. He was particularly interested in the dark humor and sexual tension that was present in such classic mysteries as “The Big Sleep” and “Double Indemnitiy,” Landau wrote in his playwright notes.

“I wanted to see if it was possible to bring that sensuous, sarcastic mystery style to live theater and do it in first person,” he said.

“Deep Six Holiday” also puts an interesting spin on the normal play setup by being told entirely through a flashback, Landau explained. In most plays, the fourth wall — which is the invisible wall that separates the actors on stage from the audience – is up; allowing the actions on stage to
remain almost in another dimension which cannot be permeated by the audience.

The play “Deep Six Holiday,” on the other hand, “breaks the ‘fourth wall’ by allowing the main character
to talk directly to the audience,” Landau said.

The play itself has had a long and ever-improving history. Writing the first draft of the play during the early 80s, Landau put his own money into the first production of the play in 1989, he explained in his
playwright notes. Shown at East 74th Street in New York City, the play was well liked by audiences. Despite this, Landau lost his own money investment in the play and no producers turned out, he wrote. “Deep Six Holiday” has changed a lot since then.

“It has matured and gained experience,” Landau wrote in his playwright notes. “For a playwright, every production of a play gives the writer new ideas and a fresh outlook – we see many things that
can be changed, deleted or added.” Since its first production, the play has been rewritten various times and has even won first place in 1991 at the Futurefest Playwriting contest in Columbus, Ohio,
Landau wrote.

“After each production, I would rework the words, the scenes, the act break,” he
said.

In fact, “Deep Six Holiday,” was even offered the chance to be turned into a television movie, but later turned down by Showtime. The version shown at Florham Park was all new, and “a version of this
story that has never been told before,” Landau wrote. It has been the result of countless rewrites and endless hours of input by Landau himself, and such experienced film enthusiasts as Emmy award
winning producer Susan Aronson.

Landau has worked professionally in the film and television industry as a producer, director and camera man. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Mystery Writers of America. Landau has always had a passion for anything in the theater and film realm.

“I’ve always been a writer, and theater has always been a great joy of mine, so I started writing plays,” Landau said.

As Landau wrote in his playwright notes, he is probably best known for being “the inventor of the popular interactive mystery play, having written and produced 100s of productions internationally
for the public and private corporations.”

Landau has also written several award-winning scripts: including “Murder at Café Noir” and “Stab in the Dark,” according to his personal page on the FDU Web site. The professor is also the founder and artistic director of Murder To Go Productions and is featured on the IMDB Web site.

The future looks bright for Landau, who is currently working on bringing his play to new heights.

“It’s great finally being able to see this version up on its feet,” Landau said. “We are taking it to NYC for a backer’s audition, for invited theater producers. I have both a theater agent and a film producer interested in the play.”

LORENA CHOUZA
Published in the February 14, 2008 issue of The Metro.

More than just a pretty face: Models branch out

Models. They’ve got that pout, that pose, that perfectly sculpted body. But lately it seems that they’re more than just pretty faces.

Models have taken the dive into different fields that don’t necessarily require being beautiful as a prerequisite. Famous faces such as Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum and Kimora Lee Simmons are proving that they can do more than just strike a pose.

Model Simmons has expanded on her passion for fashion by creating and modeling for her own line, Baby Phat. The line, which stems from Simmons’ ex-husband’s Phat Farm line, uses Simmons as model and muse in their advertisements. Simmons, in turn, has creative say over the line, and is now president and creative director of Phat Fashions LLC.

In the television realm, it seems Banks has been the pioneer of modeling shows. With her hit show “America’s Next Top Model,” which is now in its ninth season, the Banks name has skyrocketed in popularity. As a result, she now has her very own talk show, “The Tyra Banks Show,” which is now in its third season. The show is aimed at young women and is set up under the same format as “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” with its mix of true life issues and celebrity interviews.

Another top model who hosts her own show is Klum. Much like her fellow Victoria’s Secret Angel Banks, Klum has developed “Project Runway.” The show, now in its third season, follows aspiring designers in a competition in which they are pitted against each other for a chance at winning a spot in New York Fashion Week, as well as enough money to start their very own fashion line. Klum stands in as host and judge on this Emmy-nominated series.

FDU students tend to think that models, just like everyone else, need to have more
than just good looks to get by.

“To be successful you need to be more than pretty. They need have the brains to expand their careers,” said FDU junior Sarah Carr.

Senior Mike Sorbino tends to agree that models need to possess more redeeming qualities than just being beautiful. This recent trend of models being more than just breathing mannequins is a good thing in his eyes.

“I think it’s a good trend because now they’re using their brains instead of their beauty to promote themselves,” he said.

This career expansion seems to have a ripple effect on the very popularity of the model. Are models now considered icons and celebrities in this day and age?

“Models have always been celebrities,”said Carr.

Junior Amanda Damato agreed but also pointed out that not every model has celebrity status. “Some models have made themselves into celebrities, like Tyra Banks. There are some of the really popular models that everyone knows but then there are others that no one has even heard of,” she said.

The overall opinion of many students is that all top models are right in expanding their horizons. Despite the fact that many of these shows may be copy-cat images of each other, most still are addicted into this high fashion and glamorous world, tuning in weekly to find out who will be America’s
next “top” model.

“Some of the shows are the same,” said Carr. “But I’m still watching them.”

Says Sorbino, “Keep the shows coming!”

LORENA CHOUZA
Published in the December 5, 2007 issue of The Metro

Famous sisters team up for fashion

Working with your own sister? Some celebrities think it’s the key to success and have created their very own fashion lines, keeping it all in the family. Famous sisters Sienna and Savannah Miller, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Penelope and Monica Cruz have jumped in on this trend, reaping the benefits of having a reliable business partner.

British icon Sienna Miller has been known for her outfits as well as her acting skills. What most don’t know is that she has a designer for her sister. Savannah, three years older than Sienna, studied fashion design in Central Saint Martin’s in London and under such designers as Alexander McQueen and Betty Jackson. During a brief time when the sisters lived together, Sienna would serve as Savannah’s muse, inspiring her with her quirky attitude, comments, and even standing in as a fit-model.

“Sienna’s always been quite forward-thinking in her approach to fashion, so working with her is great as she comes up with crazy ideas that I perhaps wouldn’t otherwise consider,” Savannah said about her sister on the fashion line’s Web site (twenty8twelve.com). “She’s also great to bounce ideas off and was an excellent fit-model when I was freelancing.”

Sienna feels the same closeness to her sister. “Sav is the closest person to me,” she said in a recent article featured in Vogue Spain. “Now I’m working with her…what could be more fun?”

Their fashion line, Twenty8Twelve, is named after Sienna’s birthday. Sienna serves as the creative thinker, while Savannah stands in as the detail-oriented designer.

“I tell Savannah what I like, and she, who’s used to designing, is the one in charge of the details,” Sienna said in a recent interview with Glamour Spain. “I don’t pretend to make myself draw. I’m not an expert on the technical side of fashion, but I let my instincts take over.”

Their 80-piece line debuted in September in Nieman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. The line has vintage feminine touches with an air of masculinity. Their style is set to target the mid-range when it comes to high-fashion versus cheap clothing.

“It’s designed to cover the gap that exists between very cheap clothing but that’s not of good quality, and that of great designers, that is exceptionally expensive and that you don’t even think of buying when your 28,” Savannah told Glamour.

“I absolutely adore the Miller sisters’ Twenty8Twelve line,” said FDU sophomore Dennel Avellana. “It’s edgy and androgynous with delicate feminine touches, and that’s something that strikes me as interesting and different.”

Twin actors Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are also forward thinking fashionistas who have graduated from kid-friendly outfits to an edgier adult line. Known for their commercial appeal, the sisters already have been the face of their own clothing line, which was sold at Wal-Mart, when they were young. The difference was that the clothing was targeted at young girls and the twins had no say or input in the designing process. That all has changed with the introduction of their first high-fashion line, The Row.

“We want to control its image and each piece and each collection,” Mary-Kate said about the new line to Women’s Wear Daily. “The Row is very separate from everything we’ve done so far.”

Ashley added, “It’s definitely in a different marketplace.”

The line falls under a palette of dark hues, ranging from charcoal gray to pitch black, with just hints here and there of the purest white. In the U.S., the line is sold at Barney’s New York and Maxfield in Los Angeles. It includes such pieces as “$3,220 Tuscan lamb-fur coats, $1,700 cashmere tuxedo jackets with three-quarter sleeves, $875 banded strapless dresses and $360 legging-style pants,” according to the article in Women’s Wear Daily.

The twins’ newest line, Elizabeth and James, which is named after two of their siblings, shows a wider range of patterns and hues. “The spring collection, which will be the second season for Elizabeth and James, includes silk chiffon printed tops, high-waisted pants, slim skirts, leather jackets, evening gowns and silk party dresses,” according to another recent article in Women’s Wear Daily. The line is mainly sold on the West Coast by Neiman Marcus but is expanding to include wider spread audience. Elizabeth
and James seems to be the brighter, more upbeat counter part of the older Row pieces.

“When I hear ‘The Olsen Twins,’ I think original, offbeat, and eye-catching,” said Avellana. “This is why I was disappointed when I saw their lines. You’d think a pair of fashionistas like the Olsen twins would pull off a great line, but they ended up coming out with the stuff H&M put on clearance in March.”

Spain’s leading actresses Penelope and Monica Cruz have also created their own Spanish-inspired line for Spain’s worldwide chain Mango. Modeling in the line’s ads, the sisters have designed a 25-piece collection (with prices ranging from $29 to 219) that includes exotically printed tops, oversized pants, retro and balloon minidresses, winter coats, and accessories, according to the chain’s Web site, mango.com. The Cruz sisters have been inspired by simple things, such as paintings and books on photography, and the very 50’s and 60’s eras to create this distinct, yet oh-so-Cruz style.

“[The line] is thinking about all women, [it’s] following trends, but it’s comfortable and elegant,” Monica said in a recent article in Glamour Spain.

FDU freshman Karina Rodriguez picks the Cruz sisters’ line for Mango as her favorite among the lines mentioned.

“Their clothes are edgy, yet still have a sophisticated tone to them,” she said.

What stands out as distinct from other contemporary lines is that the Cruzes’ exotic jacket pieces are made with only fake fur.

“We would never wear authentic fur, we’re against that,” Penelope told Glamour.

Having some experience in designing for Japanese brand Samantha Thavasa, along with being part of the glamorous world of the movies, fashion is not new to the Cruz sisters.

“Designing for Samantha Thavasa has given us some experience,” Penelope told Glamour. “But we have to be humble; it’s the first time that we make clothing. We love this world, we are really in touch with it because of our line of work. We dedicate time to it and we know about the topic, even though we aren’t professional designers.”

Students tend to think that a sister relationship, like that of the Millers, the Olsens, and the Cruzes, would be successful.

“I believe there could be a lot of success between sibling business partners,” said Rodriguez. “Not only do they understand each other better than say friends would, but they are also more likely to try and work out any problems that may arise in the process of creating a fashion line.”

Yet other students do believe that some tensions may arise out of a sister-sister business relationship.

“On one hand, they could be very successful because their lines could complement each other and they would obviously get along if they were business partners,” Junior Puja Patel said. “But then again…when people who know each other go into business together, their relationships tend to become strained.”

The Cruz sisters have proven otherwise, showing that working with one’s sibling is not only rewarding, but much easier in terms of communication.

“When we get together, we realize that the two of us are following the same path,” Penelope told Glamour. “We have a lot of telepathy,it’s something very curious…We’re a great team.”

LORENA CHOUZA
Published in the November 14, 2007 issue of The Metro.

Designers sell high-fashion for less

A Vera Wang dress for under $200?! It is possible. Leading fashion moguls are creating their own fashion lines sold at much lower price tags.

It’s not only high-end designers like Roberto Cavalli and Wang, but stars such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Amanda Bynes and Kate Moss also have pursued their love of fashion by putting on the designer’s hat and trying their hand at providing runway clothing available at prices that most people can afford. These pioneers have teamed up with huge department stores worldwide to provide their clothing to the masses. With the current trend of popular stores such as Forever 21 selling copy-cat images and knockoffs of their runway clothing, high-fashion designers have retaliated.

Wang, known for her sophisticated wedding dresses, has started a “Simply Vera” line, which is sold at Kohl’s. Apparel, accessories, eyeglasses and even home furnishings are available at a $20 to $200 price range, according to Thebudgetfashionista.com. The look is classic Wang, urban chic yet simply feminine, all created under a dark palette of grays and gem-like violets for winter.

Italian designer Cavalli will release his line of affordable clothing in the well known retail store H&M. Following in the footsteps of such stars as Madonna, Kylie Minogue and designer Stella McCartney, Cavalli brings his exotic touch to 20 men’s and 25 women’s pieces set to be released on Nov. 8, according to the official H&M Web site. The line, which mimics his signature style, ranges from bold underwear pieces to breezy animal-print dresses.

Top model Moss has widened her fashion spectrum and has designed her own line for the British store Top Shop. The line is described as, “mixing rock’n’roll chic with bohemian charm,” on its official Web site (katemosstopshop.com). Moss describes her line on the Web site as an “eclectic capsule collection of effortlessly cool, signature pieces” inspired by her very own wardrobe. The line ranges from sheer party dresses to funky tops to classic overcoats and accessories to top it all off. Prices range from $7 to $300. Discounts slash the pricier and classic pieces – such as a leather cropped jacket – into something just about everyone can afford.

Actresses also have joined in on the “fashion for less” crusade. “Sex in the City” star Parker has revolutionized the fashion industry by starting her own line, “Bitten,” which sells everything for $19.98 or less in Steve and Barry’s stores nationwide.

“We’re so ingrained to think that we can’t get quality and have it be affordable. It was a completely new way of thinking,” said Parker in a documentary on “Bitten,”which can be viewed on the Web site. “I loved this philosophy. I loved the idea of quality affordable clothing, for everybody.”

“It is every woman’s inalienable right to have a pulled-together stylish, confident wardrobe with money left over to live. GET BITTEN,” as stated on the line’s manifesto on the Web site.

The “Bitten” line includes nearly 1,000 pieces, including wool and cashmere sweaters, woven and knitted tops, suits, dresses, swim wear, lingerie, and accessories, according to the official website, bittensjp.com. Parker herself models in the line’s advertisements, wearing shirts with the slogan, “Fashion Is Not A Luxury,” emblazoned across the front.

“It’s stuff that I will wear,” said Parker in the documentary.

Teen icon Bynes created her own line, “Dear,” which is also sold at Steve and Barry’s. Targeting her audience at “a younger woman who wants to be stylish on a budget,” all items are $19.98 or less, according to the line’s official Web site (dearbyamanda.com). The clothes include casual, teen pieces, from hoodies to tanktops to jean skirts and beaded necklaces.

“I like the idea that designers are making cheaper lines,” said junior Kelli Chapleski. “Charging thousands of dollars for an item of clothing is ridiculous to begin with and the fact that fashion lovers can find pieces by their favorite designers for affordable prices will not only broaden the fashion world but could significantly increase profit for designers.”

Junior Beth Amodeo tends to agree.

“Personally, I think clothing is overpriced as it is,” Amodeo said. “Why should any of us have to pay $50 to $300 for a strip of cloth that isn’t even thick enough to clean my sink as good as a towel?”

Amodeo does think that some good can come out of these cheaper lines. She believes that customers, as well as high-end fashion designers will eventually profit.

“If fashion designers are making their clothing cheaper to compete with the knockoff companies, then I guess I say all the more power to them,” Amodeo said. “In the end, we are the ones they are competing for, and more competition equals lower prices, which is not only better but more reasonable for us.”

LORENA CHOUZA
Published in the October 31, 2007 issue of The Metro

FDU Mobile should be utilized for alerts

As many students have noticed, lately our school has been put through various safety alerts. First, it was the discovery of shotgun shells in the recreation center. Next it was a message that warned the campus about a possible bomb on campus. Some students may feel confused and possibly a bit scared.

The fact is that many don’t feel safe. We are left wondering why such things would happen on our campus. With the arrival of the FDU Mobile phones, most thought that campus communication would be improved. We would no longer have to rely on the faulty e-mail system, which we all know does not always work. If there was any important information to be conveyed to the whole campus community, or worse, if there was a possible safety threat, we would have the ability to be instantly warned and be kept informed of the campus’ happenings.

As of late, this does not seem to be true. Many are left wondering why the FDU Mobile text message system was not used to warn and inform students about the recent events.

The day of the bomb threat on campus, I was working in The Metro office. All of a sudden, Student Life Director Sarah Azavedo knocked on the door and told me that everyone had to evacuate the building since there was a bomb threat. I had to admit I was a bit scared, and the overall presence of police and news helicopters flying overhead only heightened this feeling.

Outside, FDU professors, students and employees sat and stood across the grass, practically baffled by the situation. We stared at each other in puzzlement and talked to each other, trying to figure out what in the world was going on.

Students who just got out of class and were unaware of what was going on headed in groups to the Student Center, but were turned away at the door. No one understood what was going on. And it was only until hours later that I, as well most others in the FDU community, found out through e-mail.

I thought that we had FDU Mobile for a reason?

We are lucky that nothing happened, but something could have. The only thing is that officials apparently did not feel that a possible bomb on campus was an “immediate threat.”

The system “must only be used in the case of an immediate threat to the campus community,” according to the mass e-mail sent to the community. The presence of shotgun shells in an unlocked locker was also not considered a “threat.”

I don’t know about you, but I believe that both of these instances are threats. They put everyone in our FDU community in danger and I believe we should be warned and told to keep cautious and have our eyes open in such instances.

Plenty of students don’t check their FDU e-mail on a regular basis. If something did happen in either of these cases, a simple email warning could have proved to be fatal. Haven’t we learned from the tragedies across the nation in which e-mail was used to warn students?

Some might wonder, if such things as a bomb threat and shotgun shells found on campus aren’t considered “immediate threats,” what is?

Most students think that we should at least be warned of what is going on. Time is important in such cases, and to wait it out and see if there is really a threat present may prove to be fatal. FDU Mobile is here in part to protect students, to convey a feeling of safety, and to improve the overall campus communication. So why aren’t we using it that way?

LORENA CHOUZA
Published in the October 17, 2007 issue of The Metro

Sedaris reads ‘with a Nicaraguan feeling’

New York Times Bestseller David Sedaris shared his new works and personal reflections at the Community Theatre at Mayo Center for the Performing Arts in Morristown, on Oct. 4. Reading from his new book, which will be released in June 2008, and his own personal travel diary, the audience was kept in stitches. Sedaris, himself, even joined in the laughter at times.

The night started off at 8 p.m., and the crowd packed the theatre from top to bottom. A spotlight shone on Sedaris as he stood with a blue pin-striped shirt folded up to the elbows, a maroon tie neatly set in place, tan pants, and brown shoes that seemed worn in. With only a pile of a few, seemingly unorganized papers, Sedaris began to read from his new work, which still has a tentative title. As Sedaris explained that he has in mind the title, “An Indefinite Leave to Remain,” the audience grew silent. Sedaris replied, “Yeah, that’s what my editor told me.” The crowd burst into laughter. He went on to reveal that he never read this section of the book before to a live audience and wanted to, in a way, test it out and see what the reaction would be.

Sedaris revealed intimate sides of his personality and personal life in his reading. His written stories are packed with true life events, from his childhood shenanigans with his family, to quirky tales of living in France and New York City with his partner Hugh.

Sedaris told the audience about his art teacher, who would pronounce certain Spanish words with a fake American imitation of Latino speech. Sedaris mimicked his teacher’s pronunciation by saying such words as “Nicaragua” (sounding like “Nija- raa-huaa”). The audience joined in with harmonious, barking, hand-clapping laughter. They were clearly amused by the image of a young Sedaris annoying his teacher by forcing him to say
“Nijarahua” over and over.

Sedaris took time to share his personal diary with the audience. He shared witty thoughts of traveling, with his partner Hugh, to such places as Tokyo and different regions of the United States. He also shared a small excerpt of one of his favorite series, “The Onion,” which he received as a gift from a friend. In this particular edition, the book gave comical descriptions of different destinations in the world. His choice of sharing the “Brazil” section had even Sedaris cracking up in laughter, joining in with the audience members around him who were already breathless and holding their stomachs. Backing up from the podium, red faced and out of breath, Sedaris had to pause and take a sip of water. He seemed almost childlike, innocently laughing at profane and satirical jokes.

Sedaris also promoted Richard Yate’s book, “The Easter Parade.” He described it as “depressing…but deliciously depressing.” Sedaris told the audience that all of his favorite writers do not necessarily write like he does, or talk about the same topics as he does. In fact, he said, “They would probably hate me if they were alive.”

After reading, Sedaris opened the floor to questions from the audience. He was asked about everything ranging from whether he would write more serious, not comical, works to what his partner Hugh would say about living with Sedaris. The audience learned Sedaris’ most intimate side when he confessed, “I do nothing,” when talking about his home life. Sedaris said his partner does all the repair and hard work at home, while he makes bee shaped figures out of foil to waste time. Sedaris also said that he would probably not write any serious pieces. Recalling an instance in his life where someone
told him to write about what he cares most, he stated that he simply thought to himself, “Me.”

Sedaris left the stage with an immense round of applause from the audience. Holding his mess of papers, he stopped midway and bowed.

After the reading, fans lined up to get Sedaris to sign their books – or stack of books. Books on sale included his past hits, such as “Naked,” alongside the promoted “The Easter Parade.”

The line of fans snaked down three flights of stairs and almost out the door of the theatre. Some people waited around for three hours just to get a few minutes with the recognized author. Sedaris took his time with each fan, giving advice on writing, or just chatting about what the person was going to do after leaving the theatre.

When told that he was going to be featured in an article, Sedaris simply said, with an innocent and almost pleading face, “Be kind.” A toothy grin followed. “I usually don’t like to read what they write about me,” he said. “But if it’s good, I’ll take my time out when I’m on tour to read it.”

Fans left the theatre recalling specific parts of Sedaris’ reading and comparing autographs that included such unique remarks as, “…with a Nicaraguan feeling, David Sedaris.”

LORENA CHOUZA
Published in the October 17, 2007 issue of The Metro.