33: mimi + minh-ha

minh-ha + mimi
sartorial academics

Mimi and Minh-Ha met in grad school in 2004. Since then, their friendship has been forged through differences of sartorial sensibilities, consumerist modes, and Vietnamese accents as well as across the distances between hotel double beds, New York City, Champaign, and San Francisco. In 2007, they launched Threadbared, an evolving collaboration between two clotheshorse academics to discuss the politics, aesthetics, histories, theories, cultures and subcultures that go by the names “fashion” and “beauty.”

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mimi

mimi

mimi

minh-ha

minh-ha

minh-ha

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on the nightstand:

mimi:

a box of tissues for allergic reactions to my enormously furry maine coon morton. a thrifted novelty glass filled with life-sustaining water. my eyeglasses and contact case. decorated science fiction author connie willis’s latest novel of time-traveling historians called blackout (hardback, with the cover removed for reading purposes).

minh-ha:

my laptop and eyeglasses for late night, middle of the night, and early morning working—insomnia, though not my friend, seems to have settled in and temporarily (I hope!) rearranged my work and waking hours. also, Martha Woodmansee’s fabulous historical account of the political economic constructions of “the author” and “creativity”.

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am loving:

mimi:

  • my girlfriend fiona, whose teaching leave look of fifties juvenile delinquent or off-the-clock mad man makes me swoon
  • you tube videos of kate bush’s “wuthering heights” dance and recreations thereof
  • the posthumous publication of michel foucault’s brilliant, witty lectures

minh-ha:

  • fancified jersey by preen line and future classics
  • b-love’s copycat levain chocolate walnut coconut cookies hot and gooey from the oven
  • small kindnesses

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what inspires you about spring?

mimi:

  • the tulip bulbs i do not have to nurture at all in order for them to nonetheless sprout at the side of my house.
  • spring break, which marks the beginning of the end of the semester and the promise of freedom from teaching, whether or not i leave town.
  • the thrill of being able to shed my woolen layers and fleece-lined boots.

minh-ha:

in new york, the first street-sightings of spring dresses without puffy coats always starts a warm glow inside of me. I’ll be back in nyc when this is published and that’s what i’m most looking forward to.

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what’s one item in your spring wardrobe you can’t go without?

mimi:
this year, it appears that it will be something bright green.

minh-ha:
my new cropped steel blue leather jacket with the slightly puffy shoulders and the pin tuck pleats running diagonally down the sides.

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what’s your idea of the perfect homemade spring meal?

mimi:
agedashi tofu in dashi, topped with freshly grated ginger, green onions, seaweed and bonito flakes. bowl of white rice. seaweed salad.

minh-ha:
I second mimi’s agedashi tofu and would also add a bowl of Vietnamese cold noodles with julienned mint, carrots, cucumbers, red leaf lettuce and lumpia (which, admittedly, i prefer more than Vietnamese spring rolls) and a good dousing of nuoc mam.

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what are three constants in your day?

mimi:

  • fiona
  • my feline friend morton
  • my laptop

minh-ha:

  • brian, my choreo/dance partner for life
  • my laptop
  • coffee

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tell us about the inspiration behind the work featured here.

mimi:

Fiona and I are both invited to present at Sarah Lawrence College’s 12th Annual Women’s History Conference called “The Message Is in the Music,” this first week in March. We had been researching and discussing the Los Angeles punk and new wave scenes in the late ’70s and early ’80s for her talk, which inspired me to revisit my former new wave/no wave nightlife persona (from an era when I lived somewhere with a queer nightlife) for these photographs.

minh-ha:

The inspiration actually came from a conversation mimi and I had about our sartorial sensibilities back in January—published on threadbared. I always knew I favored solid colors (mostly black and gray) but the conversation and the photographs we took for the blog post made me conscious of how really focused my wardrobe is. So in the spirit of Spring, I wanted to experiment with color and new shapes in ways that still felt true to my style—which explains the fuschia and blue patterned tights as well as the blue and white striped asymmetrical dress (thereby fulfilling two new sartorial curiosities: complicated jersey and small flashes of color—and please note that the blue and white stripes don’t even come close to “nautical”). While the sweatshirt vest is gorgeously gray, its loops, pleats, and multiple exposed zippers make it a great example of jersey grown-up. As for the blue jumpsuit—a not too recent purchase that hadn’t been photographed but has been worn a lot (usually with a black turtleneck underneath) and always with one gathered pant leg pulled up à la LL Cool J.

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6 thoughts on “33: mimi + minh-ha

  1. I know exactly the choco walnut cookies that Minh-ha is talking about! My sister lives right across from Levain. I smiled when reading her description! Great issue.

  2. I love MImi & Minh-ha! This is the best thing photoshoot-interview ever. I love the: red boots, big necklaces, blue jumpsuit, perfect bangs, architectural details, entire premise + concept, agedashi tofu, any mention of vietnamese noodles, and well just about everything else mentioned/shown as well!

  3. I would definitely go for something bright green too- This reinvention of things past can be such great fun in the right hands- these seem to be the right hands-

  4. Pingback: Threadbared, Outfitted (on this joy + ride) « threadbared

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