Want to know where Laid-back star Summer Phoenix gets her enviable style? She takes us to her favorite downtown sources. By Zoë Wolff photographs by jenny Acheson
It may be a while before you're strapping on a sundress, but you can start preparing for Summer. The youngest of the prodigious Phoenix can, Summer, 24, appaered in no less than three projects released this month. She toughed it out as a junkie in the made-for-MTV Wasted and played a mascochistic neo-Nazi in The Believer (forwich she received an independent Spirit Award nomination). But it's her leading turn in Esther Kahn as a singleminded jewish girl living in late 19th century London that's eliciting Next Big Thing wispers. Forget her film work for a moment, though, and consider her style. phoenix, a resident of lower manhattan, is the embodiment of downtown chic - no surprise from a girl whose brothers are the untouchably cool late River and the badass Joaquin. Moreover, her fashion is influenced by her ethics. She was brought up vegan by bohemian parents, and to this day won't wear leather (Payless is a big source for shoes, she says). However, one look at her getup - a faded Levi's denim jacket, black Converse sneakers, a thick silver ring strung on a piece of winecolored lace worn around her neck - and it's clear this free spirit is more than hippie. So where does the woman get her goods? Turns out she's an expert shopper, which I discover as she whisks me around to her favorite downtown spots.
1. Matt Umanov Guitars (273 Bleecker St between Cornelia and Jones Sts, 212-675-2157) is a mecca for guitar geeks, which Phoenix happens to be. Her 84' glossy black Ovation (a hand-me-down from Joaquin) needs a tune-up, so we jet upstairs to the repair shop - a beguiling chaos of wrenches screwdrivers and heavy machinery that calls to mind Geppetto's workshop. (Downstairs in the store proper lives an incredible selection of new and old instruments, picks and straps; books and CDs, and a mint Fender juke that's still rocking.) Phoenix and her siblings often make music together, and she plays piano on a song that sister Rain recorded for the Wasted soundtrack. But Phoenix jam sessions are mostly just for kicks. "We're not going to be the next Partridge family," she says.
For cool indie-girl garb that hasn't been co-opted by every fashionista in town, Phoenix suggest 2 Legaly (109 Thompson St between Prince and Spring Sts, 212-966-4827), a soho nook stocked with pristine vintage clothing, garments from the shop's own label (an eyelet top made from Marc Jacob's leftover fabric, $145), upstairs brands (Bell, Mel et Stel), and accessories antique and new. A pair of adorable galoshes defies rainy-day frumpiness. phoenix is sweet on naïf socks by Japanese designer Antipast ($25-$30) - "The best high-heel socks," she says - and can't resist a fitted red plaid corduroy jacket or a tin of colorful Mimco bobby pins, which she declares are "so friggidy!"
phoenix recycles, does yoga and doesn't use products tested on animals, so naturally, she has an affinity for the 3 New York Open Center (83 Spring St between Broadway and Crosby, Sts, 212-219-2527), a three-story building that offers daily yoga classes and lectures on everything from chinese herbal medicine to trantic sex, and houses a small store crammed with sundries for healthy living. Alas, it doesn't have Spirital Midwifery by Inna May gaskin (the classic manual on home birth that Phoenix wants to give to a pregnant friend) amid its stash of Dalai Lama books, Ram Dass tapes and Buddha statues. We take a moment to clear our minds in the center's meditation room, a soundproof chamber that's open to the public seven days a week. Ascending the ladder of fame, it seems, has no effect on the clotheshorse's addiction to the 4 Salvation Army So what if you encounter a few nasty stains? The scores here are well worth it. phoenix recently bought an old desk at this Salvation Outlet (69 Spring St between Crosby and Lafayette Sts, 212-925-1909) but today, she's on the hunt for skinny ties to be worn loose, like a necklace, with a with T-shirt. We scour the kid's section for snug tees and sweat shirts, and happens upon a pair of moon boots with a Space Invaders-type pattern. For $20, Phoenix walks out with a plastic bag full of goodies, including a chunky cameo from the often overlooked jewelry case and a sheer black shirt with a cream-colored-lace collar. (Lucky me - i get the boots.)
"I'm really digging your lining, " Phoenix says to Amy McCracken, owner and designer of 5 Hadu (239 Mulberry St between Prince and Spring Sts, 212-966-4072). It's the little details that draw Phoenix to McCracken's flirty collection: Cool bomber-style jackets (now on sale for $100) are lined with striped silk while sunny yellow and deep coral sundresses ($260) skirts and pants are decorated with floral-print pockets and vintage buttons. Sprinkled throughout the Nolita boutique are gently worn treasures, a gold sequined belt inspires Phoenix to sing '80's tunes, and she decides she must have it, even though she has too many belts already. Also laid about are tulip-hued Cosabella underthings - evindently the foundation of cool, as Phoenix has a ton of them. in keeping with her down-to-earth style, Phoenix doesn't head to a chichi spa for a massage, but to 6 Best Chinese Qi Gong Tul-na (222 Lafayette St between Spring and Broome Sts, 212-941-6038). We enter the belowground oasis, a bare-bones space in which a series of massage tables are illuminated by lava lamps, and give ourselves over to the ladies in charges. A $40 full-hour rubdown is the most expensive service on the menu, and even a 15-minute massage ($12) renders us monosyllabic (the hot-towel wipe down is a nice finale). I ask Phoenix how she discovered the place, and she gets a little sheepish. "My boyfriend (Casey Affleck) took me here on our first date," she says. Guess that's what celebsib soul mates do together.
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