by Kimberly Rae Miller
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Profession: Event Producer
Shien Lee established her home in NYC in 2007 to continue her graduate studies at Teachers College Columbia University after having lived a life of adventure in Prague, Montreal, Honolulu, and Taipei.
She is the founder and producer of the whimsical Dances of Vice events in New York and plans to begin an international event and entertainment agency in the coming year.
Ms. Lee is also the songstress of the band Shanghai Foxtrot, the only jazz band in the United States to perform jazz, blues and swing classics from 1920-30s Shanghai that is faithful to the era.
How would you define your personal style?
I am a New Romantic. I love romantic clothing that references fashion of the 17th to early 20th century, mixed with an element of surreal, futuristic glamour. I also love the glam rock and gothic style, and my look is a synthesis of new romantic and historical glamour. My style is deeply entrenched in my love for the art, music and culture of various historical periods across the world.
Favorite item in your closet?
At the moment, it is a plum and black latex dress custom made for me by my dear and talented friend Renee Masoomian. The design is based on a vintage cheongsam with the most exquisite latex floral embellishments across the skirt.
Are there any trends that you wish would just go away already? Styles you wish would come back?
Bad fashion doesn’t annoy me, but I do feel sorry for its poor victim every once in a while. I love the retro look, and wish contemporary clothing was not all so casual. There isn’t enough romance or glamour in contemporary fashion!
Can one ever be too decadent when it comes to style?
I believe in a sense of propriety, so there is a style appropriate to each occasion, but yes, less is oftentimes tragic! Especially, when it comes to social events. You should have a look at the Dances of Vice gallery – it is an event for connoisseurs of unique beauty, where beauty is our religion and there is no end to the measure of decadence. At least in style!
Favorite Five: What are your favorite stores in any of the five boroughs (to buy make-up, or fashion)?
1. Obscura Antiques: Obscura features all manner of rare clothing, accessories and antiques, and the store owner has impeccable style. They usually have a lot of great hats and Victorian shoes in mint condition. I bought my friend a riding crop there for his birthday, which contained a concealed blade. Another year, an 18th century wig made of horse hair. Pretty cool, right?
2. Jo Malone Boutique: I think perfume is an important component of one’s personal style, so I hope this counts! Jo Malone uses all natural ingredients in their colognes and I love that you can accessorize your fragrance with your style changes by layering different scents on top of each other to create your signature fragrance. My favorite combination is Pomegranate Noir with Orange Blossom or Pomegranate Noir on its own for any bold, edgy looks, and Orange Blossom or French Lime Blossom with Vanilla & Anise for more romantic and feminine outfits.
4. Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market: This is the place to go for rare vintage finds and deals on fashion, jewelry, furniture, and memorabilia. I’ve acquired a number of fantastic hats and accessories here, from elaborate antique fans to glittering vintage jewelry. If you dress stylishly, I think you’ll have an upper hand in haggling because the owner knows the item will be going into appreciative and loving hands. At least I like to think so.
5. Search & Destroy: Most of my clothing is purchased online, custom made by independent designers or from flea markets, but Search and Destroy has a great collection of vintage alternative clothing. I’ve bought a number of 70s and 80s glam pieces there, and often head across the street to Trash & Vaudeville to check out their shoe selection.