Under the Influence

Ian Michael Crumm. Photos | Jonathan Pushnik

Outside the Art Alliance on 18th Street, a paper airplane’s toss from Rittenhouse Square, it’s just another day at the virtual office for Ian Michael Crumm. Surely the architects of this 111-year-old Italian Renaissance palazzo-style mansion never imagined it would one day be used to this end. Crumm is handsome, but with his round baby face outlined by a delicate, carefully manicured beard, he’s not your typical chiseled male model. More important than his physique is his look: stretch denim by H&M, brown leather high tops by Andrew Marc, camo bomber jacket by Guess, wristwatch with camo strap by MVMT, camel-colored leather backpack by Pikolinos, and Crumm’s trademark John Varvatos sunglasses. He leans on a sandstone ledge with his left arm [click], then his right [click]. The bag rests on his shoulder [click]. The bag slides to his right hand [click], with his left leg up on a wall [click], then down to the ground [click]. Crumm moves to the stairs, where he sits, carefully arranges the backpack, and looks off into the distance at nothing in particular [click click click].

“Because when you sit down,” he says cheekily, “everything’s just perfectly positioned.” Crumm gives a quick Miley Cyrus flash of his tongue as his photographer/friend, Briana Sposato, laughs and snaps away.

Crumm is what’s known as a social media influencer, or, to some grandmothers in South Philadelphia, a kid who takes phone pictures for the Internets. This is his job, and no, he doesn’t live in his parents’ basement. He makes a living primarily through taking photographs of himself in different clothes and sometimes in locales of varying glamour, then posting them on his Instagram account, @ianmcrumm, and his blog, “Ian Michael Crumm — Life Connoisseur.” None of this makes Crumm unique; minutes earlier, a 20-something guy in a Yankees cap was mugging for a fancy camera a few blocks away, outside the restaurant Dandelion. I saw two young women in uncomfortably snug minidresses surrounded by a pack of photographers on the Schuylkill Trail the other day. If you’re under the age of 35 and don’t have a FOMO-inducing digital life, you might as well not exist. Read more »

Connoisseur: Danuta Mieloch’s Favorite Things

Photography by Courtney Apple.

The founder of Rescue Spa is a longtime fixture on Philly’s beauty scene, but now, after fielding desperate pleas from our neighbors up north, she’s expanding beyond her Rittenhouse outpost with an NYC location, slated to open later this summer.  Read more »

Freckle Tattooing: The Newest Way to Look Fresh-Faced Year-Round

Photo via Jens Stuart/Trunk Archive,

Photo via Jens Stuart/Trunk Archive

After years of Kardashian-inspired contouring and shellacked foundation, beauty has boomeranged back to a natural look. Glossier’s skin tint, an alternative to foundation, routinely sells out, while Tarte recently debuted an “athleisure” makeup line targeted at the sporty low-maintenance set. In fact, we’ve become so obsessed with being natural that we’re not only embracing imperfections; we’re faking them.

Case in point: Faux freckles, a.k.a. semi-permanent cosmetic tattoos (akin to tattooed eyeliner) that typically cost $250 per application, have earned mega-fans in NYC and L.A. Fake freckles have even gone mainstream: CoverGirl’s newest spokesperson, James Charles, sports them — he applies his with a brow pencil — in his latest campaign. Read more »

Connoisseur: Steven Grasse

Steven Grasse. Photography by Courtney Apple.

Steven Grasse. Photography by Courtney Apple.

The founder of ad agency Quaker City Mercantile has long been involved in Philly’s booming spirits scene, but now he’s adding a twist by partnering with Kensington’s New Liberty Distillery on new liquors and turning his Old City boutique, Art in the Age, into a booze-and-barware-only spot. Read more »

The Warby Parker-Philly EyeWorks Feud Intensifies

Philly EyeWorks airs its grievances with groovy picket signs. Photo by Andrew Bonacci.

Philly EyeWorks airs its grievances with groovy picket signs. Photo by Andrew Bonacci.

On Saturday, January 28th, as eyewear brand Warby Parker feted the grand opening of its sparkly Walnut Street storefront, seven demonstrators stood outside, pumping candy-colored signs into the air and doling out cards emblazoned with “FUWP.” While the rest of the city was dizzy with excitement over the brand’s arrival, the ragtag group picketed, imploring Instagram followers to take photos with a #FUWP sign and post them online with the corresponding hashtag; randomly selected winners would win a free pair of Philly EyeWorks specs. For a protest, it was kind of, well, cute.

Leading the resistance was Philly EyeWorks’s Clifton Balter, who first faced off against Warby Parker back in 2012, when the latter parked its school bus — a roving eyewear shop on a cross-country “class trip” — outside InnerVision, his Rittenhouse eyeglass boutique, for two consecutive Saturdays. Sales tanked during this time (falling to about half the average, Balter says), and his anger was stoked. Adding fuel to the fire: He then had to stand by and watch as Warby Parker’s profile skyrocketed. (Launched by Wharton students who soon fled Philly for NYC, the start-up quickly vaulted to unicorn status, achieving a $1.2 billion valuation.) Read more »

Connoisseur: Amy Sadao

Amy Sadao. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou.

Amy Sadao. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou.

Since becoming director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in 2012, Sadao, a Rittenhouse resident, has used her keen eye and business acumen to help catapult the University City museum to national recognition. Here, the acclaimed aesthete shares the places, people and things on her radar. Read more »

The Utterly Fabulous (and Totally Boring) Life of Laurentius

Laurentius Purnama and his son, Jude. Photograph by Christopher Leaman.

Laurentius Purnama and his son, Jude. Photograph by Christopher Leaman.

It’s 4 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, and I’m sitting in a butter yellow Queen Village kitchen, watching six-year-old Jude Purnama as he slurps up his after-school snack of bubble tea, a weird milky concoction dotted with gummy-like blobs that he hunts with a spoon. The kitchen, like the rest of the house, is a riot of homey clutter that teeters on messy but lands just this side of lived-in. A bright green credenza teems with tchotchkes; vintage canisters are clustered on the tops of shelves; cabinets are papered with Jude’s artwork. A speaker atop the fridge plays a schizophrenic loop of music: Billy Joel, Lady Gaga, the Beatles, Katy Perry. In the brief interludes between songs, there’s the faint mewing of cats — a trio of them, Spot, Maude and Charlie Chan — who slink through the house and periodically wind around my ankles. Katy Perry belts out her fiery fight anthem, all about rising and roaring, but the whole scene calls to mind a more down-to-earth soundtrack: Our house is a very very very fine house with two cats in the yard. …

Even amidst all this color and clutter and noise, I’m drawn mostly to Jude’s hair, a silky brown mop that crests over his ears and falls just below the nape of his neck. It’s beautiful, in the way most little-kid hair is: shiny and bright, of a shade that women spend hundreds of dollars to get in a salon. It’s the color of a coffee bean, but under the kitchen light, I notice streaks of reddish gold. They’re subtle but unmistakable. “Like lava!” Jude says. I mention how beautiful they are.

“Oh, that’s not all natural. I highlighted his hair! Babylights! It’s a light bayalage, just to give it some dimension,” his dad, Laurentius, says. Jude nods, plucks a gelatinous bubble from his glass, and pops it in his mouth, as if this is all perfectly normal. But in this family, a six-year-old with bayalage highlights that cost more than some people’s rent is normal, because Laurentius is Laurentius Purnama, a 43-year-old former hairstylist to the stars and the owner of one of the most high-end hair salons in Philadelphia, a sleek white-and-glass sanctuary that caters to the city’s most well-known — and well-off — citizens. Read more »

Day in the Life: Tenaya Darlington

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

I wake up just before dawn, stretch for 20 minutes, and then fix a cup of Steap and Grind’s Black Tea with Coconut with a slosh of Green Aisle’s raw milk. By 8 a.m. I’m on Google Hangouts with my brother, André. We’ve written two books together, The New Cocktail Hour and TCM’s Movie Night Menus. Read more »

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