In Honor of Harry Wales: An Homage to Men in Uniform

Friday, February 29, 2008 2 comments
I personally like him better in dirty white polo pants, but - no matter how dangerous and potentially foolish - it was pretty brave of Prince Harry to have the stones to put on his desert camo and fight. It's more than most of America's leaders' children can say for themselves (just ask Michael Moore). These photos of an older generation of fighters come from the incomparable Library of Congress collection. Browsing through is almost like facing a diner with a 20 page menu (so much of a good thing that it overwhelms). But how incredible to see these shots in color -- and not faded "vintagey" color, but bright P.L. DiCortia technicolor grandeur. Editorial note (similar to my recent call out to the staff of Men's Vogue): If you happen to resemble the gent in photo #3, with or without the plane and the goggles, drop me a line and I'm yours.

YSL's 1930s Poke-His-Eyes-Out Manicure

Friday, February 29, 2008 3 comments
They say there are the women you, er, "date," and the women you marry. Neutral or not, these are no bride nails. YSL's Stefano Pilati has stripped out the dark from the pointy, Newton/Dietrich-esque manicure he favored for spring, but kept it just as sinister for fall with this carcinogenic-looking tan. You're not going to appeal to the masses with claws like these, but maybe you'd attact the kind of man who'd bring you a king protea. Rarrgh!
My Open Love Letter to Men's Vogue

Thursday, February 28, 2008 7 comments
There is no better magazine -- bible -- out there than Men's Vogue. It drips rich leather, bespoke tailoring and intellect. I practically chew off my hand in anticipation of each month's new issue (which, when it was starting was a little dangerous given the months and months and months of tantric publishing torture they laid on me). This spread tells the whole story. You have everything you'd ever need: tweeds, one very nice pair of spectacles, wools, Wellingtons and a whole lot of well-bred Welshmen...and an accompanying article by my favorite Londoner, A.A. Gill. It's a good read. (Editorial note: If anyone at Men's Vogue comes across this post and wants to date me or employ me, just drop me a line and I'm yours).

Balenciaga Fall 2008: Hokusai School Meets Hudson River School

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 No comments
Nicolas Ghesquière's looks for Balenciaga Fall 2008 may still look spacey, but at least they'd look great on someone in my sitting in my apartment (something I actually consider when shopping or designing invitations that hint at a theme) -- or hanging on the wall. He seems to have found inspiration in other things that commonly hang on walls. While he told that he "wanted something austere, but with a bit of Spanish drama" he seems to have wanted some Upstate New York and Japanese drama, too.

Asher B. Durand’s painting Kindred Spirits, an 1849 landscape depicting Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painting, and William Cullen Bryant, a journalist who inspired Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Boy on Mt. Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai
(Shopping) Around the World in 80 Clicks

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 2 comments
(Vietnamese Two-Layer Lidded Basket, $48)

If you're worried about British Air misplacing all your great travel finds -- or find yourself simply unwilling to lug chairs and baskets back from foreign lands, 10 Thousand Villages can help you out of a pickle with all your friends at home who are expecting some major mementos from your adventure. It's also great for corporate slaves with very little vacation time who want to appear very well travelled (me). Pearl River Market in New York also works for this only slightly underhanded purpose. (Note: the spacing on this post is heinous and I can't figure out how to fix it. If anyone knows, let me know).

(Vietnamese Bamboo Lounge Chair, $74)

(Vietnamese Floral Ceramic Pitcher, $28)

(Bangladeshi Recycle Tote Bag, $28)

(Laotian Oval Rattan Basket, $38)

(Bangladeshi Recycled Glass Pitcher, $16)

(Bangladeshi Lidded Picnic Basket, $44)

(Indian Kalamkari Tablecloth, $38)
The Perfect, Pervy-Nicknamed Protea

Saturday, February 23, 2008 2 comments

I might marry a man on the spot if he brought me a South African King Protea (Protea cynaroides). He could choose it based on aesthetics, thinking, "Wow, Hollister's one exotic gal and this would look just wonderful against the black wall and next to all her taxidermy," and simultaneously display a coy, cheeky sense of humor. This genus' nicknames: "sugarbush" and "honeypot." Ah, it's a courtship flower afterall. (I've recently been making Saturday trips to Sprout Home on Grand Street in Williamsburg to pick up my naturey tidbits for the week. It's a fantastic shop and I love how they wrap the cut flowers in butcher paper and twine).

THE LIST: New Vintage Shopping Makes its Debut!

Friday, February 22, 2008 2 comments

THE LIST of New York and Brooklyn's "new vintage" stores is now up and growing on the right side of the blog. This, along with THE LIST of "new vintage" eating and drinking destinations, should allow you to grab your can of mustache wax and tortoise shell glasses (or red lipstick and soft-sided pith helmet) and feel perfectly at home all over the metropolis. Again, please send suggestions in and outside the area!
The History of Victorian Taxidermy (and Taxidermists) Compiled!

Friday, February 22, 2008 4 comments

Practical Collecting & Preserving Trophies dated 1891 by Rowland Ward

As much as I'm on Ebay, the auctions tend to be more like online shopping than real pot boilers for me. I type in my maximum and let the fates decide. This however was not the case last year when I bid on a black goat head stuffed in 1923 by the New York Museum of Natural History's top taxidermist. Some carcass loving fanatic swooped in within the last five seconds and stole my prize right out from under me. My stomach fell to my feet, my jaw to the table. People might feel similarly over a death or a natural disaster. Perhaps that evil bidder was linked to the Brits behind, which claims to be a group of the UK's largest and most dedicated Victorian taxidermy collectors. The look of the site leaves a lot to be desired, but the information is priceless. On top of the countless images of the stuffed animals, you get full histories of the men who immortalized them.

Victorian invoice relating to a Horses Hoof from Rowland Ward.

African trip, where Carl Ethan Akeley nearly lost his life. The New York Natural History Museum
Mark Twain Travels Abroad Innocently and Then as a Tramp

Friday, February 22, 2008 No comments
Who better to guide you through Europe and the Middle East than Samuel Clemens? Published in 1869, The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims' Progress chronicles Twain's pleasure cruise on board the chartered vessel Quaker City through Europe and the Holy Land with a group of religious pilgrims. It was the best selling of Twain's works during his lifetime.

This version from 1889 is available on ebay for $185 or you can read it at your computer for free through Google books (a service that could topple corporate America if we weren't all so stricken with attention deficit disorder).

In the inofficial sequal, A Tramp Abroad, Twain and his made up companion make their way through Germany, the Alps and Italy. This 1880 first edition is going for an intimidating $1,050, but you can also read it for free (I love that the copy Google scanned was a 1955 addition to the Harvard library).

Updates to THE LIST of New Vintage Bars: Smith and Mills and Weather Up

Thursday, February 21, 2008 No comments

Talk about cross polination in the cocktail world. This is Smith and Mills, a 1920s industrial chic TriBeCa bar from Employees Only's Matt Abramcyk and Akiva Elstein and John McCormick, the vision behind Moto.

Smith and Mills, 71 N. Moore (between Hudson and Greenwich), 212-219-8568.

Milk and Honey’s Sasha Petraske trained the staff at this new subway tiled Prospect Heights watering hole, Weather Up. They're serving up classic cocktails like the old-fashioned, a Brooklyn, a Florida daiquiri, a Presbyterian, a honeysuckle, a Sazerac, an aviator, and a bee's knees. The bee's knees, indeeed!

Weather Up, 589 Vanderbilt Ave., nr. Dean St., Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Marvelous Marni: The Hats! The Gloves! The Glasses!

Thursday, February 21, 2008 1 comment

A while back one of the fashion magazines ran a great editorial penned by a heterosexual man that included an anecdote that went something like, "A woman sat next to man at a fashion show and went on about how much she loves Marni. 'It's a good thing you're married, then,' the man replied." In the past the clothes have veered towards art more than sex appeal, but this season there are cinched waists and sexy heels...and per usual, simply incredible accessories. Consuelo Castiglioni has created my favorite collection of Fall 2008 (and if you look at the whole thing, you'll see that it's actually dripping with color). The top look reminds me of Jane March in L'Amant (see that -- I managed to compare Marni to a highly erotic film! Amazing).

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008 1 comment
Guide books may tell you what food tastes good, but it's a battle to really find a place that will fit your mood -- and supply you with the proper genre of patrons (which, let's face it, is vital to a good dining or drinking (pick up) experience).

Guide books should be organized by aesthetic category to help everyone stay within their little cliques and only venture outside them if they're in the proper mood. A visiting preppy will want to know about J.G. Melon, P.J Clarke's and Bar Martignetti just as much as I want to know about Freeman's and Marlow + Sons, the joints where the male patrons and staff cover themselves in facial hair and thick rimmed glasses as much as the owners have covered the walls in black paint, wood and taxidermy.

So, I've culled together a list of my new-but-looks-old-in-the-most-authentic-sense haunts (on the right hand sidebar). Please send along suggestions of anything you think should be included -- especially outside of New York, too! THE LIST of stores and spas, coming soon!
Dangerous Decorating: The Indiennes Print

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 No comments

Some people should be punished for their decorating choices, but the French were especially penally passionate about fabric, especially when the economy got involved:

"It is a rare print that can claim a history of persecution. Indiennes are French interpretations of Indian hand-painted cottons. Introduced to Europe by the East India trading companies in the seventeenth century, the foreign cottons grew to in such demand that they threatened local weaving industries and were banned. In France from 1686 to 1759 and in England from 1700 until about 1764, they could neither be imported nor worn. Accordingly, they became immensely popular, even though in France the punishment for breaking the laws included the death penalty. In the French free port of Marseilles, which was protected from the import laws, Indian cottons were both traded and copied, and then smuggled throughout the country. Since they could not be worn publicly they were worn in private, lending domesticity the pleasure of the illicit. Even after they were legalized they remained in great demand. Indiennes became a specialty of the Chrisophe Philippe Oberkampf mill in Jouy and survived the French Revolution to endear themselves to Napoleon and Josephine - and to the public ever since." - Textile Designs: Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout and Period by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers.
Dispatch from San Francisco: The Elusive Florist cum Taxidermy Shop Found!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2 comments

As noted in the last SF dispatch, my internet searches failed to locate the lovely florist I'd passed and fallen in love with during my recent trip there. But my West Coast correspondent, E.D., came through big time and discovered that I'd been pressing my nose against the glass at Floréal. The Nob Hill shop, owned by a lovely French woman named Dominique, has been in business 26 years, but only recently decided to embrace Mother Earth wholeheardedly. What started with flowers now incorporates corals, wood planters, shells and taxidermy animals. Just how I like it.
533 Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 885-4261
All-Time Favorite Chairs: Frits Henningsen Highback Wingchair

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2 comments

Nothing is scarier than entering a store with no price tags. A black leather 1938 version of this Frits Henningsen Highback Wingchair (which made its debut in '35) is available at J.F. Chen in L.A., but you have to contact them for the price. Prepare for sticker shock if you make the call. One went for $48,000 in November 2004, according to The New York Times. The brown version pictured went up for auction in 2006, but ArtNet is being polite and refuses to discuss money on this one.

UPDATE: Anthropologie's Archibald canvas and leather chair closely resembles the Henningsen version -- and is on sale for $499! 
Prada Ruffle Bags

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 3 comments

In what has been a generally banal Fall 2008 Fashion Week, Miuccia managed to inspire and look fresh, while bringing back dickies and lace in the process. Of course, the bags are beautiful, especially in this honey brown.


Speaking of brown leather, I was shocked to read Bill Cunningham's news flash that brown is the new black in men's footwear. Perhaps I've beem living in my little war-era bubble for too long, but honestly, when were brown shoes anathema? GQ recently highlighted the Barker Black two-tone spectator with a cuffed pant. That's a great vintage look to write headlines over. But brown shoes? That ain't news that's fit to print, Bill.