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In 2018, when Meghan Markle arrived in Tonga during her first official royal tour, she wore a long-sleeved red dress with its return tag flapping at her hemline. That fashion faux pas caused a frenzy. Within two days, the brand behind her dress—Self-Portrait—had received more than 1.5 billion mentions on social media and in the U.S. press. But Han Chong, the young, Malaysian-born designer who started Self-Portrait in 2013, a few years after he graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins, was already somewhat familiar with going viral. His lacy, romantic designs have been worn by everyone from Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé to Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton. Luckily, Self-Portrait is more affordable than most brands worn by pop stars and politicians: dresses start at $250. There’s a reason his combination of textures and finishes, along with his dresses’ flattering A-line silhouettes, are still a success. ( —Bridget Arsenault

Set Free: Lawrencia Bembenek released on $10,000 ball. 1991=

Run, Bambi, Run

In 1980, the men of the Milwaukee Police Department liked to party—both on and off duty. As the boys in blue were drinking and stripping in public parks, the department heads were ordered to hire a certain number of women for the force—though hitting the quota counted even if the ladies didn’t stay on the payroll very long. In her latest podcast, journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis explains how 21-year-old Laurie Bembenek, nicknamed “Bambi,” quit modeling to become one of the token female Milwaukee cops, a career change that ultimately ended up with her in jail. After the M.P.D. fired Bambi for far less than her male colleagues got away with, she sued them for sexual discrimination. A few months later, when Christine Schultz, her husband’s ex-wife, was murdered, the police department pinned the crime on Bambi. But was Bambi really to blame? Over eight episodes, Grigoriadis walks listeners through the crime, the case, and Bambi’s brief escape from prison. ( —Jensen Davis


The Coca-Cola Kid

In 1985, when Yugoslavian art-house rabble-rouser Dušan Makavejev (W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism) released The Coca-Cola Kid, critics were unable to resist Coke-related puns in their mostly scathing reviews of the corporate satire/romantic comedy. (The Washington Post:The Coca-Cola Kid is not the real thing.”) Starring a beach-blond Eric Roberts as Becker, the titular beverage giant’s marketing wunderkind, the film sees the Atlanta headquarters ship Becker all the way to Australia to bolster Coke’s hegemony. The idiosyncratic flick plays out like something akin to Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero (1983) naughtily dosed with a blotter sheet of LSD. Essential to the wonky cuvée is the memorably sexy Greta Scacchi (The Player), Becker’s proto-manic pixie-dream-girl secretary. Making its worldwide Blu-ray premiere this month, courtesy of reissue label Fun City Editions (the release features a retrospective essay by yours truly), The Coca-Cola Kid is a fun, funny, and incomparably odd 80s gem. (Blu-ray, $39.98; on demand, $4.99; —Spike Carter


Oiji Mi

It’s been 48 hours, and I am still craving chili lobster ramyun. The problem is, there’s no way us mortals can even attempt to approximate the dish that Brian Kim, the executive chef of Oiji Mi, has perfected at his new Korean fine-dining restaurant. Situated in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood, it’s Kim’s high-style follow-up to Oiji, his popular East Village restaurant that opened in 2015. With interiors from AvroKO that nod to the aesthetics of a Korean home, Oiji Mi looks spectacular both on and off the plate. In Kim’s universe, diners are in very capable hands, and his five-course tasting menu avoids the usual pitfalls of the format (too much food, too many drinks—too much everything). By the time we made it to the chapssal—doughnuts filled with Gruyère cheese and finished with crème fraîche ice cream—we were making our next reservation. Unfortunately for us, it’s booked solid. A few tables in the lounge are reserved for walk-ins. We suggest running. (Five-course tasting menu, $125 per person, —Ashley Baker



At Givenchy’s spring ’22 show, jewelry was A Thing. Inspired by wire, the collection’s necklaces, earrings, and bracelets were full of intricate twists and turns. These gold-tone earrings (for pierced ears) are among our favorites. Asymmetrical in nature, they are just understated enough to merit daily wear, but executed with plenty of style to become a conversation piece. Consider them the newest gold hoops of your wardrobe—hardworking, versatile, and up for any outfit. And if you’re prone to coordinating, the matching necklace is pretty great, too. ($690, —Ashley Baker


Green Fingers Market

From the street, Green Fingers Market just looks like a plant store. They do sell plants—hundreds of them, from cacti in hand-painted pots to preserved flowers in vintage vases, to birds-of-paradise in delicate containers. But past the plants, toward the back of the small Lower East Side store, there’s a selection of well-curated vintage clothes and housewares. Satoshi Kawamoto—a Japanese fitness trainer turned creative director—founded the shop in 2013. Since then, he’s expanded it, to Milan. Although both locations are relatively tiny, they fit more types of plants than you’ll find at most boutique plant shops. ( —Jensen Davis

Issue No. 149
May 21, 2022
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Issue No. 149
May 21, 2022