Musical Muse: Binki Shapiro’s Pitch-Perfect Style


Enlarge Image In the courtyard of her building, Binki wears a Eugenia Kim hat, Helmut Lang jacket, 3.1 Phillip Lim top, vintage skirt from Wasteland in L.A., vintage black ankle boots, and a ring by Meghan Farrell.

Binki Shapiro has a name destined for stardom. A member of beachy band Little Joy, Binki is a master of no short of a zillion different instruments, is a muse to both musicians (Beck) and designers (Phillip Lim), and started a charity which has raised over $50K to aid Haitians. The lovely lass shares her Union Square pad with boyfriend and bandmate Fabrizio Moretti (also of The Strokes), where she played hostess to our team one lazy afternoon. She shares her space (and mindspace!) with us, right after the break.

Enlarge Image "Oh my god, Weather Report. Fab listened to that on loop recently over and over and over... That cover is so ridiculous! It should be titled, 'Dr. Jones takes the City by Storm.' That commemorative plate was done in Rio atop the Pão de Açúcar when we did our music video for 'The Next Time Around.' We had such a weird time that was so fun. Makes me miss Brazil."

What are the five key pieces you find yourself wearing constantly?
"My new Isabel Marant tweed jacket, my wrap-around snake ring by Skova, my silver Cross-King ring by Meghan Farrell, my Margiela ankle boots, and my favorite soft and cozy T-shirts by Cavern!"


Enlarge Image In the dining room, Binki wears a vintage shortsuit and black Margiela ankle boots. Fab and Binki shipped the table out from Los Angeles. It was the table they sat around when they recorded their Little Joy demos. It has old cigarette burns on nearly every edge. In the background are framed blueprints by Fab's father Stefano from 1956 when he was studying to be a nuclear engineer.

What's your secret style weapon?
"YSL liquid eyeliner. If ever my hair is dirty or I just feel yuck, I throw that on and instantly feel as close to Sophia Loren as I ever will."


Enlarge Image Binki and Fab's friend and family photos mixed with Fab's artwork (top right and top left, both in light wood frames). "I am obsessed with Fab's artwork and am constantly framing doodles and drawings of his I find laying around the house."

Tell us your ideal song for...
Getting ready for a night out: "'Pussycat' by Missy Elliot."
A road trip: "'In the Morning' by Nina Simone."
A rainy day at home: "'Who Loves the Sun' by The Velvet Underground."

Enlarge Image "We had that little framed canvas laying around and Fab drew that on there and set it by my bed. Very sweet."

Fabrizio is such a stylish guy—do you ever steal clothes from him?
"I only steal clothes BACK from him! When Fab and I first started dating I would loan him shirts when he would stay over... I think he thought they were gifts."

Enlarge Image "In this shot I'm standing in front of one of my favorite vintage shops, Stock Vintage. They have the best T-shirts and old boots and oxfords. I'm wearing my Band of Outsiders peacoat, a crazy Phillip Lim bag, and a lovely, lovely dress I wear all the time, designed by Whitley Kros—a clothing line by Sophia Banks and a good friend of mine, Marissa Ribisi. WK also makes some of my favorite soft and cozy T-shirts!"

Do you have a secret vintage store that you love?
"It wouldn't be a secret if I told you... Is this a trick question?"

Enlarge Image In the living room Binki wears a favorite pantsuit from 3.1 Phillip Lim.

You often wear Phillip Lim (and represent at his shows)—what about his design draws you in?
"I love Phillip Lim because he understands women better than we understand ourselves... And I'm only half kidding! I love his line because I've yet to look at something he's designed and think, 'Oh, this would be perfect if it were just more this or had less of that,' His designs are eloquent, beautiful, classy, and most importantly, I feel like myself in them... Not to say that I AM those things, but I like to pretend I am. It's always baffling to me when someone shows such quality in their prolificacy, but when you go to his showroom and see the team that he works with, it all makes sense. They all love what they do and seem to work so well together. They're like that cool, creative family down the street that you want to run away from home and be a part of."

Enlarge Image Knick-knacks on the piano sill alongside a photo booth photo of Binki, Fab, and Rodrigo.

Any Little Joy news we should know about?
"We have a bunch of new songs as Little Joy and are just trying to wait till the three of us are free so we can roll up our sleeves again and get to work. I'm hoping that will be in the next few months because I'm really excited about the songs we've been working on and I can't wait to see them fully realized."

What do you do to get the creative juices flowing? Any rituals before you get into the music-making zone?
"I don't know that there's anything I do to get the 'creative juices flowing' other than decide to sit and play the guitar and sing along, hoping something good will come from it... occasionally something will click and that's when I get inspired and encouraged to go forward. I really just try to hole up and shut out any possible distractions, like my cell phone. Our apartment is kind of a revolving door. People are always showing up to laze about or play around on the Playstation, and as nice as that can be, it can also be really tough when you're trying to stay focused and be your own disciplinarian, especially when you're quite easily sidetracked, as I most often am!"

Enlarge Image "My mom is a big collector of vintage clothes—this dress is one of the many things I've 'borrowed' that she'll never see again!"

We were really impressed with your fundraising efforts for Haiti when you launched Crafts For A Cause. Can you tell us a little bit about how that project started and whether you plan on continuing or expanding it?
"Just after the earthquake struck in Haiti, my sister found a small group that was going to volunteer at a demolished hospital in Port Au Prince and she decided she would go with them. She wanted to bring the medical supplies and all the things the volunteers who were already there were asking for, but she didn't have the funds to get everything, so while she prepared to go, I went to friends and got donations, which amounted to $10,000, which we used to buy all those things. Once she was on her way to Haiti with all the supplies, I was left with a strong sense of obligation and just felt like I hadn't done enough. I started asking friends and colleagues who were in the arts to contribute something one-of-a-kind for the auction, and they asked their friends, and it became Crafts For a Cause. Honestly, organizing this auction was kind of a crazy whirlwind because not only was it imperative that it be done as swiftly as possible. I hadn't been involved with much charity work prior to this. I definitely got pretty overwhelmed at times, but the whole experience was immeasurably rewarding on a personal level. I feel like I now have a slightly better idea of how to be more organized and run an operation like that, so it would be a shame not to do another one. I think (or hope) I could raise a lot more money next time. So yes! I would definitely do something like this again."

Enlarge Image "That piano gets a lot of use—I'm so happy we're able to have a piano in New York."

Can you tell us a little bit about working and living with Fab?
"It's amazing to be able to work and play music whenever one of us is inspired, but that's also sometimes a curse. When you're at a studio or have a rehearsal space that you go to, there's usually some sort of curfew, but when you live and work with your boyfriend/bandmate (and have well-insulated walls), our only cut-off is when someone decides to be a bummer and call it a night. I'm kind of weird in the way of the clock; There's a mother in me that sees it getting too late and feels like we're gonna turn into blueberries or something if we're not in bed by a decent hour. It's become a ritual for us to pick up two or three bottles of wine and work on music till the last drop, then go to bed, but recently Fab came home with a case of wine, and when he walked through the door with it, I was like, 'Jeez, are we gonna finish the record tonight?'"

Enlarge Image Backstage passes from Binki and Fab's many musical escapades.

Who are your style heroes?
"Hmmm... I think the only person in my life I could really call a style 'hero' would be Madonna. Growing up, I was utterly mesmerized by everything about her: the way she moved, the way she dressed, her power and sexuality... she always crossed the line just perfectly. For me, her style and originality are still completely unrivaled. Back when we were little, my sister and I had a tape with all her '80s music videos and we would put it on every day after school and just study her. Everything she wore always seemed so effortlessly fashionable. I remember that in the video for Borderline, she wore these bright orange heels with lime green socks that were so insane. I don't know what it was about that combination that enthralled me so much, but it's one of those magical little weird things that has stayed with me to this day. I remember being at a toy store when I was about 5 or 6 and finally finding that flaming orange pair of heels that I'd looked for for ages! Unfortunately, they were Barbie-sized, but I held onto those tiny shoes even after I got rid of my Barbies."

Enlarge Image On Binki's bedside table are a lamp she found on eBay (her "favorite place to hang out), a stack of Rebecca Minkoff studded bracelets, and a stack of favorite books topped with a photo of her and her sister.

What's your best cheap score of late?
"I bought a beautiful, enormous, vintage Turkish rug for our bedroom at a flea market a few weeks ago. There was a woman sitting at her booth (that clearly wasn't getting much attention) and I walked up and asked how much she wanted for the rug, and she said, '$35.' I was in such disbelief over how low the price was that I said, 'Really?? Thirty five dollars?!?' and she said, 'Alright, I'll give it to you for thirty, but I really can't go any lower'... Best accidental bargaining of my life!"

Enlarge Image On the roof of her building, Binki wears an Isabel Marant jacket, American Eagle sweatshirt, vintage Levi's shorts, Rachel Comey shoes, and her favorite velvet bow/studded/snakeskin bag by Phillip Lim. "Sometimes I just look at that bag in awe. It's so so pretty."

Do you have anything in your closet that you could never bear to throw away?
"I have an old nightgown that my mom wore when she was pregnant with me. It's floor length and the cotton is so super soft, it's practically non-existent... I put it on whenever I'm feeling sick or hungover and it makes me feel like a kid. I could never throw that away."

Enlarge Image "I write all my songs on this guitar. It's absolutely one of my favorite things I've ever owned. It's a Gibson hollow body from the early '60s, but it's a 'Student Edition' so the body is really small, about the size of a Les Paul. It fits in my arms perfectly and is super easy to play. The sweatshirt is Ralph Lauren, the sweater is by Opening Ceremony, and the pants are by Zara. I never take off that onyx ring—I found it at a flea market in Santa Monica for $60."

If your style were a song, what song would it be?
"'Oogum Boogum' by Brenton Wood."

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