Style Icon: Nancy Cunard

Thursday, January 31, 2008 No comments

Nancy Cunard, a clear inspiration for the Africa photos below and a whole helluva lot else.  Not much of a muse to women, she was known to get Wyndham Lewis', Aldous Huxley's, Tristan Tzara's, Louis Aragon's, Ezra Pound's, Ernest Hemingway's, James Joyce's, Constantin Brancusi's, Langston Hughes', Man Ray's and William Carlos Williams' juices flowing (some probably more than others).  
Safari Chic: Vogue Deutsch's Africa Appeal by Koto Bolofo

Thursday, January 31, 2008 No comments

Here comes the bride!  I think I've found my ideal veil/hat combo for the big day (years and years away).  Might be a bit much to ride in on a giraffe, but I'll keep it as an option. 

I spent last night home, sifting through the resort collections and almost fell asleep with lack of inspiration -- and discovered that I honestly like about 4 different styles in the entire history of fashion -- and I only really like them in white, black, tan and brown. My god, I really love beige (hey now, that giraffe fits the bill).  So, I was delighted to crack open the February German Vogue to discover this Irving Penn-inspired homage to my favorite color scheme.  (Note: I've always been a little less dull with accessories.  "Buy the basics, spend your money on shoes and bags," my mom always said.)  The excellent Koto Bolofo (whom I'll go on about in my next post) shot the spread.

"Taxidermy" for the Junior Set: Hansa Stuffed Toys

Thursday, January 31, 2008 No comments

Williamsburg is home to my choice for New York's most adorable kids' store -- Sweet William, a Scandinavian-interiored mostly organic clothing shop on North 6th Street from the former fashion market editor at Cookie Magazine. What really hooked me were the abundance of little realistic woodland creatures sitting about. They come from Hansa and are available in all sizes -- even ride-on and life size (that will run you about $1,000 per animal). Little Osa Johnsons in the making would sure love to sleep in the wild with one of these guarding the bed!

Destinations: The Grand Palais, Paris

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 No comments

YSL (and many others) held its Spring 2008 show at Paris' Grand Palais (which reopened a few years ago after a 12 year restoration -- it was closed when I was there last).  Not breaking any news by pointing out this architectural gem, but thought it was worth highlighting.  According to The Frog Blog, it's the largest existing ironwork and glass structure in the world since London's Crystal Palace burned.  It, like La Tour Eiffel, was built for the 1900 World's Fair, and was meant to be torn down.   If you watch the YSL show, note that first great Blade Runner-cut jacket.
Steamer Trunks Go Modern: Pinel et Pinel

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 No comments

French leather goods company Pinel et Pinel offers up endless ways to transport your -- office, entertainment center, picnic necessities and even your bike -- in style.  The website lets you customize your Krug Champagne picnic set or  folding Brompton bike (a beautiful British bicycle maker) box with any of their 51 different colored leathers.  The tan would be beautiful with the pale pink lining for a lady.  And dark brown and seafoam is always a lovely combo.  Click and play around.  

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008 1 comment

Every New Yorker -- and every person even remotely interested in American history -- should buy and memorize Ric Burns' New York. It tells our nation's history through the lens of the Big Apple and makes you wish you'd had your literature and music teachers sitting in on your childhood history lectures to add anecdotes about Whitman and fall instantaneously into song. This version of Sidewalks of New York (sung by Robert Sean Leonard -- just found that out) has always been one of my favorite scenes in the documentary.

Brooklyn Vintage: Hotel Delmano

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 2 comments

Every bit of the non-italicized following (and the photos) is shamlessly stolen from I'm going in the next couple days. Am ashamed to be so late to the party for something so aesthetically perfect right in my hood. The Freemans crowd had their Christmas party here. You don't get a better endorsement than that. Also -- it seems to be in the old Saved space. God, was that a great store. It's too bad they didn't salvage the chandeliers (hopefully the Saved owner took them with him) -- great brass and crystal numbers with stag heads, rescued from an old Elks lodge. They stuck arrows through them, adding just the perfect touch. The etched glass doors are works of art.

This is Hotel Delmano, Williamsburg's first proper expensive and atmospheric cocktail bar, opened a couple weeks ago on North 9th and Berry. There has been very little buzz about this place (as in none), considering what it means for the neighborhood and for Brooklyn. It's one of the trio of serious cocktail bars (Hideaway and Weather Up, the others) that have opened in non-Manhattan practically over night, which is to say, this may be the moment that cocktail culture makes a jump to the other side of the East River.

The team behind Hotel Delmano are Union Pool owners Alyssa Abeta and Zeb Stewart and cocktail man Jeff Hansen (Diner, Pencil Factory). Eater correspondents were on the scene Friday night and the verdict is clear: place is a stunner. The ceiling fans, the old fixtures in the bathroom, the long marble bar and big leather banquettes--this is Brooklyn with the ante upped. And the drinks are on par with those at operations like Pegu Club and East Side Company Bar, both in taste and in the $12-14 price point. Finally, on the matter of its name. A hotel she isn't. There is a vague and long off plan to rent out the rooms above the bar, but at present the name is strictly for effect.

Dispatch from San Francisco: Weaving Spiders Come Not Here

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 2 comments

On a recent sojourn to San Francisco, I passed by a lovely florist cum taxidermy shop near Union Square. This passage occured after a few cocktails, leaving me without the presence of mind to write down the name. Lucky for me, my former neighbor recently relocated to the city on the Bay and I've sent him on a passive quest to locate this gem. In the process, he's discovered something even better. He writes:

Haven't figured out the taxidermy place yet, but you would have passed a mysterious building inscribed with the motto "Weaving Spiders Come Not Here" which is ... drum roll ... the Bohemian Club, the ultra-exclusive social club which organizes the buck-wild Bohemian Grove gatherings of the rich & powerful.

He knows how to get a gal's attention! Upon further research I discovered that The Bohemian Club was formed in 1872 by men who sought shelter from the frontier culture (or lack of culture). The Bohemian Club owns the aptly named Bohemian Grove, a 2700 acre redwood forest, located in Monte Rio, CA. that contains accommodation for 2000 people to "camp" in luxury.

Maclean's magazine (via a website called, March 23, 1981 reported:

"Each summer, for three weekends - this year's will be the 103rd - nearly 2,000 Bohemians, with guests in tow, speed in by car and corporate jet to their guarded Grove, close by the hamlet of Monte Rio (population 1,200) on the Russian River. The Grove's Shakespearean motto, "Weaving spiders come not here," is an injunction to forget wheeling and dealing which is widely ignored. While 'ruling-class cohesiveness' rarely lets slip details of accommodations arrived at there, some - such as the 1967 agreement by Ronald Reagan, over a drink with Richard Nixon, to stay out of the coming presidential race - have helped mold America's destiny.

The Club has evolved into an association of rich and powerful men, mostly of this country (there are similar organizations in other countries). Some artists are allowed to join (often at reduced rates), because of their social status and entertainment value. The membership list has included every Republican U.S. president (as well as some Democrats) since 1923, many cabinet officials, and director; & CEO's of large corporations, including major financial institutions.

Major military contractors, oil companies, banks (including the Federal Reserve), utilities (including nuclear power), and national media (broadcast and print) have high-ranking officials as club members or guests. Many members are, or have been, on the board of directors of several of these corporations. You should note that most of the above industries depend heavily on a relationship with government for their profitability.

The members stay in different camps at the Grove, which have varying status levels. Members & frequent guests of the most prestigious camp (Mandalay) include: Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, S. D. Bechtel, Jr., Thomas Watson Jr. (IBM), Phillip Hawley (B of A), William Casey (CIA). and Ralph Bailey (Dupont). George Bush resides in a less prestigious camp (Hillbillies) with A. W. Clausen (World Bank), Walter Cronkite, and William F. Buckley.

Today, a prospective member faces an interrogation that, according to one club man, 'would satisfy the KGB.' There is a waiting list of 1,500 notables, all eager to pay the $2,500 initiation fee and $600 a year dues.

The grove is the site of a two week retreat every July (as well as other smaller get-togethers throughout the year). At these retreats, the members commune with nature in a truly original way. They drink heavily from morning through the night, bask in their freedom to urinate on the redwoods, and perform pagan rituals (including the "Cremation of Care", in which the members wearing red- hooded robes, cremate a coffin effigy of "Dull Care" at the base of a 40 foot owl altar). Some (20%) engage in homosexual activity (but few of them support gay rights or AIDS research). They watch (and participate in) plays and comedy shows in which women are portrayed by male actors. Although women are not allowed in the Grove, members often leave at night to enjoy the company of the many prostitutes who come from around the world for this event. Is any of this hard to believe? Employees of the Grove have said that no verbal description can accurately portray the bizarre behavior of the Grove's inhabitants.

For decades, there have been vague rumors of weird goings on in Bohemian Grove in more remote parts of its 2200 acres. Reliable reports claim Druidic like rituals, druids in red hooded robes marching in procession and chanting to the Great Owl (Moloch.) A funeral pyre with "corpses." (Scores of men work in the Bohemian Grove as servants so this party is fairly well established.)
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Monday, January 28, 2008 No comments

Porter and her travel companion Christopher are staying here for five of the nights of their Moroccan adventure. The camera work is a little nauseating, but it gives you a great idea of the aesthetics. It'll be great if they're not knocked off in that dubious alley.

Destinations: Hotel Baron in Aleppo, Syria

Monday, January 28, 2008 No comments

A well-travelled former schoolmate recently returned from a whirlwind adventure through the Middle East. In the midst of visiting cafes in Beirut, Northern Iraq and Damascus, he holed up at the Hotel Baron in Aleppo, joining the ranks of the site's other stylish (and powerful) guests: T.E. Lawrence (his bill is framed in the lobby), Agatha Christie, Charles Lindbergh and Teddy Roosevelt. The New York Times' Seth Sherwood calls it, "a faded grande dame from the era of steamer trunks and ragtime."

Married to an archeologist who worked in Syria, Christie wrote some of ''Murder on the Orient Express'' while holed up here. The young Lawrence also worked on archeological digs in the area, though apparently he found time for less rugged and martial pleasures. ''These three days have been frenzied rushes and bargains for antiques (we have spent nearly two hundred pounds) from breakfast till after dinner in the evening,'' he wrote to his mother in 1912, gushing about having spotted ''the loveliest painted and lacquered gilt ceiling that I ever dreamed of.''
- The New York Times, June 24, 2007

Another beauty to check out: the 8-room Beit al-Mamlouka hotel in Damascus.

Lobby at the Hotel Baron
Earhart/Lindbergh Chic: H&M Leather Aviator Hat

Sunday, January 27, 2008 No comments

If you can't afford the Paul Stuart version, H&M has come up with a really beautiful aviator hat for $34.99! The linen scarf is H&M, as well, and only $10! Also -- I've recently become obsessed with Utowa's ML cosmetics line. My lipstick in this photo is Brown 45. I also use Rose 55 (a vibrant hot pink that looks like the perfect red with my skin tone -- I've struggled to find one for years) and Beige 43 (an ideal neutral), as well as the Cleansing Oil Rich. If you live in New York, it's worth a trip to the beautiful flower-filled store at 17 West 18th Street.
Creations: Vintage Baseball-Themed Invites

Sunday, January 27, 2008 1 comment

My mom always went above and beyond with invitations.  She worked at Hallmark, but never would settle for ready-mades.  She sent out vintage 45s with special labels for my '50s-themed 7th birthday party.  The grandness of the invites told the guests (well, their parents), that we meant business.  All moms of the girls in my class commissioned custom-made poodle skirts for their daughters and the boys showed up in pint-sized greaser leather jackets.  A similar story for my western party the next year and cooking party the next.  So, when I was commissioned to design the invitations for a baseball-themed bar mitzvah, I took my mom's mantra to heart and went for an object -- a baseball.  The real, leather Rawlings ball includes the logo and the date of the event.  The box, based on an old vintage baseball box design, has all the party information.  The RSVP cards are meant to look like old tickets. For the baseball cards, which will serve as the thank you notes, I painted the boy's portrait in watercolor and designed the card around it.  The most painful part -- cutting out all those squares with rounded corners!  All in all, it was about 600 pieces.
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Thursday, January 24, 2008 No comments
Through my YouTube surfing, I've serendipitously come across two rock different rock songs playing along perfectly over Jean-Luc Goddard movies -- and what a wonderful effect.  Like The Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon trick for the romantic Francophile set.  This clip meld's the Brian Jonestown Massacre's Devil May Care over Goddard's 1964 Band of Outsiders (Quentin Tarantino named his production company after this movie).  Speaking of Tarantino, I was shocked to see the similarities between the dance scene in La Dolce Vita and Vincent and Mia's Chuck Berry number.  Once you see it done Italian, it's hard to go back.  I'll try to find and post.
The Original Dandy -- Beau Brummell

Thursday, January 24, 2008 1 comment

George "Beau" Brummell, watercolor by Richard Dighton (1805)

Beau Brummell, nĂ© George Bryan Brummell (7 June 1778, London, U.K. – 30 March 1840 (aged 61), Caen, France), was the arbiter of men's fashion in Regency England and a friend of the Prince Regent. He established the mode of men wearing understated, but fitted, beautifully cut clothes, adorned with an elaborately-knotted cravat.

Beau Brummell is credited with introducing and establishing as fashion the modern man's suit, worn with a tie. He claimed five hours to dress, and recommended that boots be polished with champagne. To wit, his style of dress was known as dandyism.

In 1794, Brummell was an undergraduate at Oriel College, and later embarked upon a military career, but resigned his commission and abandoned it when his cavalry regiment was ordered quartered to Manchester.

Brummell's downfall was caused by a falling-out with the Prince of Wales;[4] provoked by his infamous remark, Alvanley, who's your fat friend? (about Prince George, who had earlier snubbed him in a fit of flightiness); it doomed his social prominence in that it removed the Regent's social umbrella that had protected him from creditors and the like. In 1816, he fled to France to escape social ostracism and the sudden demand for payment in full of thousands of pounds sterling owed.[5] He lived the remainder of his life in France, and died penniless and insane from syphilis in Caen in 1840. (All from Wikipedia)
Reciprocal Blogger Love: Either The Drapes Go or I Do

Thursday, January 24, 2008 1 comment

Porter's Bard classmate Patricia No has one of the best, most tasteful, beautiful blogs out there: Either the Drapes Go or I Do. She loves great glasses and classic literary references. All her choices embody a perfect hipster sensibility grounded in tradition. You must check it out (be sure to read about Patricia's imperial birthday -- what a life!). In a very flattering move, she's paid homage to the sisters Hovey! What an honor! She was very kind and picked some very flattering photos of us and our friends - photographer Brad Robotham, fashionista Liz Sapienza, stylist and world traveller Christopher Lopez Thomas, Print Magazine associate editor James Gaddy and Danish surf rockers Bjarke Bentsen & Rasmus Nybo .
Salinger Chic: Anthony Goicolea

Monday, January 21, 2008 No comments

Each one of Brooklyn-based photographer Anthony Goicolea's shots is like a little Wes Anderson film.  He's his own little army of seemingly pre-to-just-pubescent models. The multiples might just be eerie or symbolic of preppy conformity.  Either way, it's genius.  Books of his photos and drawings are available through Twin Palms Publishers.  All images copyright Anthony Giocolea.
Paul Bowles Letters

Monday, January 21, 2008 No comments

Porter's Morocco travel companion, Christopher, brought over Bernardo Bertolucci's Sheltering Sky (1990) last night, which featured some amazing costumes and the strangest pair of breasts (nudity theme today, it seems) ever caught on film. Paul Bowles wrote the book upon which it's based and a couple of his letters are up for auction on Ebay (bids start at $1,000).


PAUL BOWLES (1910-1999). Bowles was a writer and world traveler before he moved to Tangier permanently in 1947. He wrote The Sheltering Sky, Up Above the World and In the Red Room.

TLsS. 2pg. 8 ½” x 11”. December 8, 1981 and November 29, 1982. Tangier. Two typed letters signed “Paul Bowles” to Professor William Plumley. The first letter, dated December 8, 1981, states:

“I have your letter of the thirty-first of October, with its request that I contribute to your projected volume of graphic works by American writers. You mention that ‘rumor has it’ that I’ve tried my hand at line drawing. Everyone who has every made a doodle could be said to have done that. The only line drawing I’ve made is one which I did for a book of self-portraits published by Random House three or four years ago; it wasn’t particularly successful. Tennessee Williams and Gregory Corso have been painting for decades, and I can quite understand that they would respond to your call. I should like to do as much, but I have no idea how to begin. I have not trained my visual capacities over the years, having been too intent on that which is auditory. (In my writing I eschew visual description, doubtless for that reason.) If I discover that I’ve been able to make a few drawings, I shan’t hesitate to send them to you, execrable though they’ll surely be.”

The second missive, dated November 29, 1982, reads:

“Thank you for the news about Helen McDonald; I didn’t realize she was still in Key West, nor, of course, did I know that you were acquainted with her. I’m not sure what letters you refer to: letters Tennessee Williams has written to other writers, or letters others have written to him? I assume it’s the latter, since you mention the hope that he hasn’t burned them. But then you ask if I’ve kept letters from him. We’ve had no correspondence over the years; I’ve received perhaps eight letters from him in more than four decades, and what missives came from him were not in any way concerned with literature. But then, one doesn’t discuss books and writing in letters, or so it seems to me. I didn’t understand your mention of Sally Bowles, in which you say she’s on your list ‘to contact’. I suppose it would have to be through the good offices of Christopher Isherwood, who invented her for the Berlin Stories fifty years ago. He would tell you more than anyone about the original ‘Sally Bowles’, whose name was Jean Ross. I hope your work on Tennessee’s letters goes well.”

Both letters are in very fine condition with two mailing folds and the original envelopes.

The Brooks Saddle Obesssion: 2006 Ads

Monday, January 21, 2008 No comments

Don't think these cheeky ads ever hit the mass media in the States (not that I'd even begin to know if they were in every bike magazine printed). What a great little (seemingly impractical) pouch.
Colonial-ish Transport: 45rpm Bike

Monday, January 21, 2008 No comments

It's sort of like colonialism on two wheels...or at least a perfect melding of East + West: Brooks saddle and leather handlebar tape (they sell some Brooks items at Freeman's Sporting Club) with the stick of a croquet mallet (England!) + white, yellow-wall tires, that vintage light and the little tied up package (Asia!). Available only in Japan, this limited edition is the fourth bike from 45rpm. UPDATE: Instead of just posting a billion blogs about the Brooks saddle, I've decided to actually buy one. I'm going to cobble together lots of cheap bike parts, paint the body black (or racing green) and hopefully come up with some sort of gem. I'll post my progress.
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Thursday, January 17, 2008 No comments

I've always loved this song, especially when it encourages Sloopy (and me, when feeling saucy) to let her hair down.  An anthem for long-tressed children and strippers everywhere.  Without ever seeing this video, I managed to perform that exact dance for hours in my childhood basement in Kansas City.  Rick Derringer somehow reminds me of a blonde Seth Cohen -- I think it's the teeth.  Sorrow's quite a great McCoys' tune, too, but not enough of a U.S. hit to garner YouTube attention.
Technology: Leather MacBook Case

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 No comments

I just got myself a new black MacBook, which desperately needed a cover because I've found that I love to lotion my hands before typing, hence a complete mess (the poor little mouse area). Just found this fantastic Case-Mate leather shell for $70.95 from Sector 29.
Entomology Chic: Gold Spider

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 No comments

My mom always told me that the daddy longlegs was a "good bug" -- I guess she was right.  14 carat gold with a natural pearl by Nicole Landaw Jewlery.  $1,900 at Matter.
Men's Fashion Week: Exotic Leathers and Other Touches

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 No comments
Burberry Prorsum

(While the bootleg pants sort of frighten me -- not nearly as much as the baggies at BV or the completely stuffed pleated options shown at Missoni -- I completely love the look of this whole collection.  The bags and gloves steal the show.)



(I wish they'd used different lighting with all these brownish grey tones! Love that hat -- reminds me of the even simpler current Lanvin versions.)