Despite the chilly weather and event-packed weekend, 1401 Chestnut Street was at capacity Saturday night for the issue launch of Austin-based online multimedia magazine Bleach and grand opening of Maggie Martine’s boutique, Through the Looking Glass.
The crowd was full of familiar faces of East Austin’s favorite creatives, donning warm — but still effortlessly hip — attire. Lots of colored tights paired with dark, oversized sweaters and matte lipstick were fitting compliments to the black and white striped walls of the cozy, DIY-esque boutique that officially opened Saturday evening. Party-goers browsed suspended bars of unique, reasonably priced vintage clothes arranged in staggered rows from the ceiling of the small space while snacking on small plates from Hillside Farmacy.
“This is exactly why this space was created," says owner Maggie Martine. "Austin is full of so many talented people, and I love the idea of celebrating that and showcasing their talents.”
Outside was a sea of beanies and brimmed hats, as the smokers and cold-blooded huddled underneath heaters and sat on top of picnic tables in the front yard of the boutique, where a projection screen leaned up against an old Volkswagen van showed edgy images from Bleach's latest issue, “Storytelling.” In a corner of the yard, a Deep Eddy pop-up bar offered various vodka concoctions, while other attendees BYOB-ed, passing around bottles of wine.
The evening was a very typical Austin gathering — and not because of all the beards, mustaches and blunt bangs. The party was illustrative of the creative culture and community of Austin: inclusive, heavily collaborative and with a DIY ethos.
The joining of Bleach and TTLG for the party itself wasn’t the only collaboration of the evening. Hanging on the striped walls of the shop are surreal, black and white drawings from a series titled “The Dead 60s” by local artist Xavier Schipani. The art looks at home in the space and among the hand-picked clothes, which Martine says are heavily inspired by '60s mod surrealist movement. Martine visualized the concept for the pieces, and Schipani brought them to life. “I called and basically said I have this idea — '60s icon portraits of women in film, music and the infamous scene interpreted through your eyes. Xavier was on board, and that was pretty much it!” says Martine.
This issue of Bleach — guest edited by former Austinite Tiffany Tso (founder of Voyeur and currently in New York writing for Lady Gunn) while Bleach founder (and sometime Austin resident) Jacqueline Fernandez took time to work in Los Angeles — features work by almost exclusively Austin artists. An earthy photo shoot (“Take Shelter”) showcases the work of Austin artist and photographer Katy Shane, along with two different pieces by Austin photographer Jackie Lee Young.
In addition to an interview with Jackie Lee Young, the latest issues of Bleach also includes a piece entitled "The Leaders", which is comprised of a photo shoot and video directed and styled by Martine, who says the shoot was her “dream team, full of positive energy and people.” The video (which debuted at the party) is set to a soulsy rendition of “I’ll Put a Spell on You” and featuring edgy, impeccably styled girls romping around a football stadium in colorful platforms, suspenders and straight-legged pants. Before the video's premiere, Martine, grinning, hopped around her shop, asking everyone to head outside for the viewing, where a sizeable group was huddled around the projector screen. Faces from the video sat front and center, at first focused and serious looking at their own work, before erupting into applause and laughter.
Afterwards, guests refilled their drinks and headed back inside to browse Schipani’s drawings (still available for sale at the store) and Martine’s clothes. As for future collaborations at TTLG? “Yes, of course!” says Martine, “This is exactly why this space was created. Austin is full of so many talented people and I love the idea of celebrating that and showcasing their talents.”
The full and latest issue of Bleach Online, “Storytelling”, can be viewed here. Through The Looking Glass, located at 1401 Chestnut, is open Tuesday-Saturday, 12-7 PM, and by appointment before or after hours. More information available via their facebook page.