We wandered into Shahbano one afternoon months ago (it’s just down the street from La Botica) and ended up just hanging way after our lunches were done. What can I say? I found an old copy of TimeOutNY and I obviously had to read every page. Shahbano sells flavorful soups served with half-sandwiches, good coffee and beautiful silk tunics. The place is a kind of store/cafe hybrid, all through the vision of the owner Annick Belanger. We got a chance to chat with her one evening about her global roots and the store while we sipped a little sangria.

Annick was born in Montreal but spent years as a child living in Cameroon. She first came down to Panama with her husband seven years ago and ended up getting a house here. It was not until she sold her restaurant in Montreal that she spent more than a few weeks a year here. Even once Annick was living in Panama, it was a trip to South Asia that led to Shahbano. “I went to India for the first time in 2009 and I was there in five weeks,” Annick said.

“I met this man who did the most incredible embroidery. When I met this man. I looked at my husband and said, I think I found what I wanted to do.”

Annick decided to created a business that would combine her interests in food and clothing. “I always had a passion for fashion. I was always creating my own clothes. That’s where the idea for Shahbano came from. I didn’t want to have the clothing without the food, or the food without the clothing,” Annick explained.

She designs all the clothing sold in Shahbano herself. The pieces are then created in New Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur. She also designs all the home decor and masterminded the menu. I don’t really understand where she found the time, either.

Shahbano opened in April 2011 and Annick says that after a year, the place is still developing.   She’s begun a changing system of exhibitions, showing a different artist every month at the moment. The overall goal for Shahbano is be a space for clients to feel at home.”

“There was a proposal done here yesterday, up here,” Annick continued. “I wasn’t here but my staff told me about it. Apparently the man [who was proposing] told the waitress, ‘I put a book about our relationship here on the shelf. [When] I ask you to bring me a book, bring me that one.'”

“That, for me, is what I’m looking for,” Annick said. “To create that kind of environment.”

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THANK YOU THANK YOU to everybody who stopped by our Ropa Vieja Clothing Swap to drop their clothes off, stayed for strawberry mojitos, and found some new stuff for themselves to bring back. We really really luv you! Shouts to Raisa Mar @ Terrae and Adrian @ Sara Bassan Alta Costura for all your help. We were bad with the camera on Saturday, but here are a few pictures if you missed out… after the jump.

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A little taste of moda to mira. Sequoia tees does specials that feature works by all kinds of artists but this one is the best by far. You might know Jane Dickson from her reveller mosaics that line the Times Square subway station. I know her best as my mom. Either way you should check out her fan to the left and her shirt below. Sequoia makes only 100 of each, with the number engraved on the arm, so hurry if you’re feeling haunted.

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If you haven’t already heard, MiraModaPTY is hosting its first official event this Saturday. It’s called ROPA VIEJA, and it’s a clothing/accessory swap. Come to Terrae with a bag full of clothes you think deserve a second life. Think: that shirt that’s not quite your color, the dress that never fit quite right and those shorts that straight-up aren’t your size. We will separate everything into cute piles and you can take what you like from other people’s stuffs. The result will be a trimmed down closet, some free new clothes and happiness.

To get y’all hyped for Saturday, here’s sneak peak pixx of stuff that’s been hiding in the back of our closets we will be giving away at Ropa Vieja. If any of it catches your eye, get there early to scoop it up!

Send along pictures of your ropa vieja and any questions to

Harajuku Girl Red Jelly platforms, fits size 6.5-7.5

Egyptian cotton screen-print t-shirt

Guess high-waist jean shorts

white crochet summer dress

lacy & one of our favs. come in person to check it out.

if you’re feeling mod-hippie-chic…

or just need some simple flats, sz 6.

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Liz Moreno is a blogger, a stylist, a new member of the Miss Moss team, and an all-around sweetheart.  She’s worked for the last year styling fashion shoots for Stage magazine, check one of the shoots here and styles lookbooks for Cupcake’s Shop and Design. Which, by the way, you  need to check out – Liz can style the colorfully exhilarating or the perfectly moody (kind of like the outfit she’s wearing above. Liz learned some tricks of image consulting from the Instituto Marangoni in Milan, where she went to school in 2010. She followed it up with a program in fashion styling at The School of Style in L.A. We pulled Liz out of the Miss Moss offices last week and chatted over ice coffee.

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MAIRENA BRIONES: WHO’S THAT GIRL? We met up with Mairena Briones, the super-beautiful and talented PTY-based graphic designer and DJ for some empanadas and coffee to talk about her work and the evolution of Panama City’s cultural scene. Mairena is the creative mind behind LateralPTY, Panama’s alternative print-turned-digital publication. She’s studied in both Costa Rica and Spain and has years of professional experience (she was a producer and creative director at Blank Magazine, and also a graphic designer for the Panamanian agency Aji Pintao). She considers herself “an eclectica — I work freelancing, art direction, branding, everything.”

PART 1: VORTICE If you’re familiar with the PTY nightlife scene, you’ve probably been to a Vortice or two. Vortice is the name for a party Mairena and her two friends have been organizing and hosting since 2004. Nowadays, the party is thrown thrice a year, always at a different Panama City venue.
  When Vortice started, Mairena was in charge of advertising and decorating the parties, but is now its creative director. Vortice has been going on for eight years, but the party people are definitely not sick of it. Mairena explains why Vortice is always held at different places: “We want people to remember the experience of the party, not the place.” True, true.
   The theme of last month’s Vortice (which was awesome, we might add) was  mod. “I love pop art and I love Andy Warhol and the New York scene of the 60s, so I’m very in touch with that. And I was so picky,” Mairena explained, giggling. “I hired a friend [to do decorating], and I was like I want that like that, and I want that like that!”Look out for Vortice’s annual Halloween party, which Mairena says is always their most crazy. “It’s always a costume party. Always big, big, big, ones, and we do them in big big big places.” Well, that settles it. There’s our reason for re-visiting Panama next fall.
PART 2: LATERAL: Mairena and her friend Carla Garcia de Los Rios (who currently runs Hoja de Bijao) hit on the idea for Lateral in December 2010. They imagined a publication that would cover creative types not just from Panama but from all over Latin America.
   “Everytime you hear about a very good designer they are from Spain, or the States, or England. I don’t want to say no to that but I started thinking okay, we have a lot of good designers here too,” Mairena said.
   The name’s a reference to both the creative lifestyles Mairena seeks to cover and the original side-project status of Lateral. “The thing that’s right al lado de tuyo,” Mairena said about the title, “I used to work 9 to 6. My projects were my lateral activity – not work based.” Plus she said she wanted the name to be some meaningful and more importantly, to be in Spanish. “ The first print edition was published in 2011.
     I happened upon Lateral’s website one late night right before I moved to Panama City, when I was panicking just a little bit that there wouldn’t be any kind of art and culture scene in the city. Lateral, with its killer design and well-written coverage, was the best reassurance I could have found.
    After two print editions, Mairena realized that shipping paper copies was not the best way to create a cross-countries magazine. “I shipped stuff to Costa Rica and Guatemala, but it was like too much money and time,” Mairena said. “I thought to myself, what I should do? and I was like no, I’m going digital. It isn’t only about the money, it’s about getting your information out there.” Lateral’s website just relaunched with a new design just last week.
   Even without the paper copies there will still be plenty of opportunities for IRL Lateral interactions. Mairena’s planning a series of Lateral Sessions, starting with a workshop led by a Coolhunter she’s bringing in from Buenos Aires. “if todo sale bien, it will be in agosto,” Mairena said. The sessions aren’t yet set in stone. “[They’re] new things I’m trying to work out,” Mairena added. “Promoting people and making activities for people to learn.”
    Mairena is also starting a local gallery in collaboration with Hotel Decapolis. Starting in June, the restaurant Brava Pizza & Espuma will project works from a different digital artist every month ‘til January.


MM: So we want to tell you a little about an event we’re doing on June 9th at Terrae. It’s a clothing trade called Ropa Vieja, where everyone brings their old clothes, we organize it and then you can take what you like. So what do you have lingering in the back of your closet?
MB: I like things a lot. I’m not a coleccionista, but I like things. I have so many pieces of jewelry, so many little things. I have a lot of accessories that I don’t use that much now, but I still have because I think it’s coming back.
MM: We ask everyone about their recommendations in Panama City, so, anything that you would recommend in Panama City?
MB: I love Via Argentina. I think it [has a] very not-Panama style, in that people live there, but there are [also] a lot of coffee shops, like in Mexico City or Buenos Aires. You can feel the soul of the city. I love walking around, here [in Panama] you don’t see that so much. The classic stores like Espacio Vintage, La Botica. You should definitely put in Sak’s.
MM: [Redacted 10 minute story of Eve buying a full red linen suit for under $5 and Christina getting a $400 silk blazer for $8.] Oh my god we love Sak’s. And Dorian’s.

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Renato sometimes makes accessories, such as this necklace, to go along with his collections.

Renato Amado, the designer behind the label Lyle Thomas, has taken the opposite path than us across the Atlantic. Renato’s parents were born in Colon, Panama, and lived in Panama City until he was eight. Then he moved to New York, and it’s been his home ever since. Renato currently lives in South Brooklyn and has an atelier in Chelsea, just north of FIT.

We talked to Renato on Skype about where he got his start, his inspiration for the Fall 2012 season, and all the crazy cool things going on in Panama right now.

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