Arcana NYC and Us- Two Niches one Philosophy

At Chess and the Sphinx we hunt for the best of vintage, yet we are always on the track of contemporary design. We search for clothing from the past that also blends into a modern wardrobe. Actually this quest really goes both ways. Every season those designers we love the most look to the history of dress for their inspiration- calling on different decades as a raw material from which new concepts emerge.

For Arcana NYC, a Brooklyn based label by designer Arianna Reagan, this practice is not just a tool, but a philosophy, and an ethical objective. She describes her designs as “heirloom fashion,” each garment has its own lineage, and in a sense has been "handed down." This concept informs almost every aspect of her process. She uses ethically sourced textiles, which are combined with vintage textiles such as antique kimono silks from Japan. Her silhouettes consistently reference past fashions- bustiers, shoulder pads, tap pants, and bias cut slip dresses are reimagined with the modern woman in mind.

As professional vintage devotees we feel in Arcana a kindred spirit. We have a shared objective to take the old and make it new again. So, we placed her Cameron peasant blouse alongside an antique lingerie blouse. A pair of Arcana tap pants match seamlessly with our painted 1920s robe. Her bone clock trousers and Horologist Blazer are perfect with one of our favorite Marni tops and a 1940s scarf tied as a blouse. Two hand embroidered dresses from the 1920s reference Arcana’s use of antique textiles.

The final result is an original amalgam of past and current- the shapes, prints, and patterns express a prevailing yet timeless dress code. There is almost a century between most of these garments and yet they harmonize to create the uniquely ethereal effect we covet.

Meowing from Within

Animal print is a language of spots and stripes- a code of confidence. They say leopard is a neutral; yet, wearing it is a subtle expression of dominance. To us, wearing animal prints lets the world know you don't hold back. 

As summer shifts to fall we see these prints as a bridge between seasons. A leopard jumpsuit keeps you cool and camouflaged. When nighttime breezes sneak up, a silk tiger striped trench adds a fresh layer to your evening. A leopard turtleneck and high waisted neutral pants create subliminal weekday sexiness. When the temperature drops, a fuzzy robe coat adds a much-needed dose of Joie de Vivre. 

As we enter pre-fall our collection of animal prints is here to feed your inner glamour puss.

Fun fact: We are huge Horror film fans. When the idea for a scary movie themed photo shoot started percolating in our minds we knew just the partner in crime -- friend and fellow Horror film devotee, Daphne Gardner, co-host of the Ladies Horror Night podcast.  

So what would a Chess & the Sphinx x Daphne slasher look like? In a genre where women are so often portrayed one dimensionally as the victim, we wanted to create a story where women were the exclusive subject - both the deviant antihero and the martyr. Visually inspired by Jawbreaker, we envisioned a tongue-in-cheek femme fatale of the Y2K era as our villain and protagonist. A picture began to solidify of Patrick Bateman as a teen girl -- a psychopath with a taste for butterfly clips and an ear for Destiny's Child. A suburban Prom-Queen-contender with a fashion sense as candy-colored and girly as her heart is craven and cruel. 

And now, without further ado, Chess & the Sphinx presents....

 

Summer Slaycation

 

Lingerie All Day

 

Our babydoll lingerie is here for the joy found in a bit of provocation. It accentuates the nude while adding a coy romance. Sheer bright colors and ruffles express a flirtatious persona. Sensuality and subversion combine in translucent shades that enhance our natural state. 

Shop the self love.

 

The Chess & the Sphinx Workout Tape

Because what else are you going to wear with those ugly/beautiful Balenciaga sneakers?

Let's shop physical!